By Edwin Uhara
Since the announcement on the redesigning of N200, N500, and N1,000 notes was made public by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) late last month, I have seen different people express divergent opinions as well as read several commentaries in the print media.
In my view, the understanding of the plan is very poor outside the fact that the apex bank failed to carry critical stakeholders along before unveiling it to the public.
Their reactions have undoubtedly shown that the new plan took most of them by surprise without room for further negotiations.
Credence was, however, given to this notion by the type of reactions that trailed the announcement, especially from major stakeholders like the Minister of Finance, the National Assembly, the faith-based community and other interest groups in the nation’s economic sector.
I have also observed that there is a wide gap between the stated objectives and what the Nigerian people, especially those in the lower class, are taking home to be the new CBN plan.
No thanks to the fake news, which has become an industry of its own; which capitalised on the inability of the apex bank to consult widely as well as step-up sensitisation mechanisms as a follow-up strategy to the announcement in order to drive home their points; so that Nigerians would fully embrace it. But nothing of such ever came from the bank outside the clarification it made about the approval given to the plan by Mr President.
Accordingly, because nature abhors a vacuum, spin doctors went to work by distorting the original intention expressed by the bank and started pushing their own narratives about the plan down the throat of the people.
Some even went as far as doing a video which is currently circulating on different WhatsApp groups, saying that government wants to print N5,000 and N10,000 notes in order to loot them and then use some for next year’s general elections.
There are many interpretations coming from different opinion leaders about the plan, but the most dangerous one, which should force the CBN to go beyond average in their sensitisation plan, is the religious dimension some clerics and analysts are trying to associate the plan with.
However, in all these, I see a battle between the opposing side and the promoting side for the attention of the Nigerian people.
The nation has interestingly become a free marketplace of ideas where everyone is a buyer and a seller at the same time.
On the other side, the apex bank has filled up the vacuum created by the various political parties in this electioneering season.
For the fact that the Nigerian people are more interested in the programmes of the Buhari administration, which has about six months to officially wind down, instead of focusing attention on what would likely be the policies and programmes of the next government and how it would affect them; shows that the people have lost interest in the various campaign strategies so far adopted by the various political parties.
If I’m not mistaken, the only thing I can understand as their campaign is accusations, counter-accusations, and promotion of trivialities, mockeries and insults without really telling Nigerians what to expect and how they plan to deliver them to the people.
The various campaign spokespersons have moved away from being the image makers for their candidates to becoming dramatis personae, diverting attention to themselves instead of adding colours and believability to the cause they were employed to promote and defend.
Even among those who have unveiled their manifestoes, there are no detailed and sector-specific strategies on how to get stuff done, but they are filled with general assertions and untested hypotheses.
So, we can’t really blame the people for paying much attention to the policies and programmes of the Buhari administration, especially the currency redesigning plan of the CBN, because they know that this is the administration that truly means well for them but has, unfortunately, become the victim of clandestine and multi-sectoral conspiracies.
Nonetheless, the aspect I would have loved the debate on the new CBN plan to focus on would have been the area of microeconomics, which is the study of how the plan would affect individuals, households and firms.
According to the apex bank, “as of the end of September 2022, available data at the CBN indicates that N2.73 trillion out of the N3.23 trillion currency in circulation was outside the vault of commercial banks across the country and supposedly held by members of the public.
“Evidently, currency in circulation has more than doubled since 2015, rising from N1.46 trillion in December 2015 to N3.23 trillion as of September 2022. I must say that this is a worrisome trend that must not be continued.”
This is caused by “significant hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80 per cent of the currency in circulation are outside the vaults of commercial banks.
“Worsening shortage of clean and fit banknotes with an attendant negative perception of the CBN and increased risk to financial stability and increasing ease and risk of counterfeiting evidenced by several security reports” are some of the reasons that have necessitated the plan.
However, in a nation of over 200 million people, where about N2.7 trillion is pulled out of circulation, what do you think would be the general economic outlook across the country? Your guess is as good as mine!
The questions are; who pulled these monies out of circulation? Why and for what purposes?
Just imagine the impact N2.7 trillion would have made in the nation’s economic sector if there were in circulation and were within reach of the commercial banks to be made available as loans to investors, manufacturers, businesses and small and medium-scale entrepreneurs.
But because 80 per cent of the currency in circulation is outside the vaults of commercial banks, the government became the main driver and sustainer of the economy through many programmes like ‘Business Grant,’ ‘Subsidized Loans,’ ‘Market Money,’ ‘Trader Money,’ ‘Conditional Cash Transfers,’ ‘N-Power,’ ‘Anchor Borrowers Programme,’ and several other direct supports to victims of natural disasters among others.
With N2.7 trillion in circulation, we could fight insecurity with jobs. We could boost the Internally Generated Revenues of many states. We could boost the domestic production capacity of the nation, thereby exporting some of our products to the international market, where access to foreign currencies would have increased.
Even when the announcement for currency redesigning was made by the CBN, instead of hoarders of these monies to push them back into the economy through investments and other economic boosting avenues, they chose to be converting them to foreign currencies, thereby pushing the demand for these currencies over the roof.
What this means is that the cost of importation or even production of goods and services would be too high, and as a result of such, the new market price for essential commodities in our various local markets would increase astronomically in the coming festive seasons.
In conclusion, the CBN should not only intensify its awareness campaigns for the plan to enjoy popular support among the people, but it should also collaborate with genuine Bureau De Change operators as well as commercial banks to make special arrangements for genuine importers and manufacturers to have easy access to foreign currencies in order not to make the prices of essential commodities to be out of the reach of the common man.
Comrade Edwin Uhara is a Public Affairs Commentator and UN-trained Negotiator. He can be reached via email@example.com
Itsekiri And Ijaws’ Creation of Hyper-Modern Path to Peace Via Football Tournament
By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
Benikrukru Community field, Gbaramtu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State, the kickoff venue of the Ijaw/Itsekiri peace and unity football competition initiated by Chief Sheriff Mulade, Ibe-sorimawei of Gbaramatu kingdom and National Coordinator/CEO, Centre for Peace & Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), was on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, filled to capacity and moderately dotted with imposing banner conspicuously positioned with screaming but familiar inscriptions that emphasise on the importance of peace and unity to humanity.
The ambience at the venue was refreshing as merrily dressed guests strolled in. Community members of Ijaw and Itsekiri origins were relaxed in their sitting positions. They were entertained to the rhythms from the stable of Ijaw and Itsekiri traditional dancing maestros.
Their humble and friendly dispositions complimented each other and made it very easy for non-indigenes to be at ease in their presence, even as that was the maiden visit to the community.
Aside from having in attendance former Super Eagles players, Christian Obodo and Sam Sodje, among others, the event was also graced by courageous Niger Deltans, who have met resistance from their own government in the past but refused to give up in their quest to build a better Niger Delta region and Nigeria by extension.
But of all that I observed, the gathering acknowledged what has been on the mind of Nigerians.
Fundamentally, it frontally demonstrated a strong conviction that non-discrimination, justice and fairness are the foundation for peace, unity, stability and economic prosperity of any nation. From the love that existed among the two ethnic groups on that day, at that time and in that place, it was obvious that building a nation where all citizens of the country shall not be discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, birth or other status is possible.
Essentially also, from the way the two teams entered the field with a stride of confidence and fair play, the competition provided Ijaw/Itsekiri with an opportunity for introspection by the two ethnic groups on the journey so far. Some gave the ‘union’ kudos for the tremendous progress it has made in forging unity and peace and riding the area of hatred and hostility, while others felt that the new challenge before the two ethnic nationalities is to transform into a strong economic bloc in order to position for the challenges of the 21st century as it patterns Niger Delta region.
To assist readers in appreciating this current journey to sustainable peace by the two ethnic groups via football tournament, it is important to underline that the district of Warri in Delta State, going by reports, has been the scene of ethnic and territorial conflicts between the Itsekeri and the Ijaws since March 1997, when ethnic violence broke out between the Ijaws and the Itsekeris following a government decision to relocate the headquarters of the Warri south local government council from an Ijaw community to a community belonging to the Itsekeris.
Though the hostility was overtly arrested and brought under control, covertly, it has remained a zone where fierce war has been raging between ethnic and social forces in Nigeria over the ownership and control of oil resources. And as a direct result, a long dark shadow has been cast on efforts to improve the well-being and economic development of the region’s individuals, peoples, and communities.
Without a doubt, the Ijaw/Itsekiri hostility is not only telling evidence of the numerous problems facing the people of the Niger Delta region, but largely an expose of unwillingness by the government over the years to address problems which possess the potent capability to affect the stability of Niger Delta as a region.
The above claim, in my view, becomes more telling after listening to Mulade, who spoke on the sidelines in the kick-off match, where he stated that ‘’The essence of this tournament is to try and reduce the hostility among us. Some years ago, we had some misunderstandings. That led to what is known as the Warri crisis. So, what we are doing is building the relationship. So, for you to join us is to support this celebration of peaceful co-existence.”
Certainly, there are grains of truth in the above position. The tournament has not only brought out something different and fundamentally new that will help shape the relationship between the two ethnic groups. Rather, it has assisted in providing health and vitality of peaceful co-existence, rededicating commitment to peace, promoting unity and intensifying harmonious development of the Niger Delta region.
The facts are there and speak for it.
On Monday, November 7, 2022, it was reported that the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, while playing host to Chief Mulade Sheriff and members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) who paid him a courtesy visit in his palace, gave his endorsement and royal blessings to the peace and unity football event. The Olu applauded Chief Comrade Sheriff Mulade for initiating such a laudable programme and promised to liaise with Mr Amaju Pinnick to bring his wealth of experience in football management to support the process.
In a similar style, members of the LOC, on November 11, 2022, were received by Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba of Gbaramatu Kingdom in his palace at Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of the kingdom.
In his response, the monarch appreciated the organizer’s initiative and implored him to continue preaching and spreading the need for peaceful coexistence because peace is not negotiable. He also enlightened the LOC team on the importance of peace to attract development to Delta, particularly Warri and its environs. He encouraged the untiring contribution of the LOC towards uniting Ijaw/Itsekiri, the importance of which is crucial to harnessing the dividend of development and opportunities to our people.
While this piece celebrates the feat, there are, however, accompanying beliefs in my views that the Ijaws are a truly peaceful set of people.
The first such example is a recent statement by an Ogbe Ijoh-based political pressure group, the Independent GrassRoots Liberators (IGL), where the group, among other comments, pleaded with the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’s led Delta State Government to immediately settle the communal disputes between Ogbe-Ijoh, Ijaw ethnic nationality of Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta state and Aladja, an Urhobo community in Udu Local Government Area of the state, adding that they want to live in unity as they have been living before. “We don’t want to be killing ourselves anymore,” they said.
The second has to do with the recent comment credited to Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Oboro-Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba, at his palace in Oporoza, the ancestral headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom while he played host to Mr Ali Muhammad Zarah, Managing Director, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), on Sunday, November 13, 2022.
The first-class monarch, according to media reports, said; “This is Gbaramatu Kingdom, and we are very peaceful people. If you come closer to the people, you will know the kind of people we have here. Some people can castigate our names or tarnish our image, but we are not like that. We know who we are.”
Waxing philosophically, the Monarch said, “We want to say, if the children are happy, definitely the father is happy too. Recently, I told some senators that instead of staying in Abuja and speculating about what is happening in the Niger Delta region, they should take a trip to the region for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. If they come, they will know how the people are, but staying far from them, you cannot know how they really are. So I am very happy for people like you visiting our Kingdom.”
As the author of this piece, while I commend the efforts of the tournament organisers, the piece, on its part, thinks that there is a lesson government must draw from the above words of the revered traditional monarch.
Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy) at Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org/08032725374
Makeup Through the Years
From a very young age, girls are taught that makeup is a way to enhance their natural beauty. There are endless tutorials and tips on how to apply makeup. The reality is that most women don’t wear makeup for the sake of looking good. In fact, many women wear makeup as a form of self-expression or as a way to boost their confidence. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there are certain makeup essentials that every woman should have in her beauty arsenal. These include a good foundation, concealer, powder, blush, mascara, and lipstick.
With these products, you can create various looks, from a natural daytime look to a glamorous evening look. While some women are content with a minimal makeup routine, others enjoy experimenting with different products and looks. If you’re someone who loves experimenting with makeup, then you’ll need a wider range of products, including eyeshadow, eyeliner, and bronzer. No matter what your reasons for wearing makeup are, there’s no denying that it can be a lot of fun. So go ahead and experiment with different products and looks to find what makes you feel your best. When you figure it out, it’s a 22Bet bonus!
As the years go by, makeup changes with the trends. In the early 1900s, makeup was used to accentuate the features of the face and was seen as a way to enhance beauty. Women would use rouge on their cheeks, kohl around their eyes, and lipstick to accentuate their lips. This was seen as a way to attract a husband and was seen as being very important for a woman’s social status.
However, in the 1920s, makeup became more about individuality and self-expression. Women would experiment with different colors and looks, and it was seen as a way to be creative. Women were also starting to wear more makeup in public, and it was seen as a way of empowering women.
The start of the “glamorous” look that was popular in Hollywood was in the 1930s. In the 1940s, makeup was used to create a more natural look. Women would use foundation to even out their skin tone, and they would use powder to set their makeup. They would also use rouge on their cheeks and lipstick to accentuate their lips. This was seen as a more sophisticated look, and it was also seen as being more appropriate for work and other public places.
In the 1980s, makeup was used to create a more polished look. Women would use foundation to even out their skin tone, and they would use powder to set their makeup. They would also use eyeliner and mascara to define their eyes. Today, makeup is used to create a variety of different looks. It is up to the individual to decide how they want to use makeup to express themselves.
Does Nigeria Have a Problem or a Situation?
By Prince Charles Dickson PhD
In 1845, Karl Marx jotted down some notes for The German Ideology, a book that he wrote with his close friend Friedrich Engels. Engels found these notes in 1888, five years after Marx’s death, and published them under the title Theses on Feuerbach. The eleventh thesis is the most famous: ‘philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it’.
The most widely accepted interpretation of this thesis is that, in it, Marx urges people not only to interpret the world but also to try and change it. However, we do not believe that this captures the meaning of the sentence. What we believe that Marx is saying is that it is those who try to change the world that has a better sense of its constraints and possibilities, for they come upon what Frantz Fanon calls the ‘granite block’ of power, property, and privilege that prevents an easy transition from injustice to justice.
Nigeria is a very strange place. In Nigeria, we debate what is real, and imagined, what is fantasy and what is reality.
In Nigeria, we are problem-focused. We always have problems, our politicians, our leaders, the systems, our structure, our past, our present and future, our people, our democracy, and our elections. Everything has a problem. Everything and everyone is a problem.
You leave Plateau state to Bauchi to do an MRI scan because there is a problem with the problem. The prestigious and renowned University College Hospital Ibadan where it was said the Saudi royalty once upon a time came for their healthcare, currently has barely a twenty-bed ICU. See problem!
The governor of Abia has done a lot, including getting an eatery to establish an outlet in the state, the same Abia boasts of Aba, considered one of the dirtiest cities around and also one of the most industrious and neglected by the government. Solution and problem joined together!
Tell me the state and I will show where the people are drinking multidimensional pove-tea from all strata of government. Daura in Katsina hasn’t produced an exceptional student in any exam, even as the president’s homestead and the state continue to be plagued by insecurity.
Fake teachers from Abeokuta, the cradle of knowledge, to Jos, the land of natives and non-natives.
What are we committed to, what are we sacrificing for and to, what does Nigeria mean to us? Let’s break it if that’s a solution, so pedestrian and easy, I will remind us when the arm dealers are sealing and dealing with The Nupe Warlords, Anaguta freedom fighters, Fulani Miyetti and Hausa Aggrieved Warriors or Rare Igbo Union, it won’t be funny.
Welcome to Nigeria, in Nigeria, we don’t have problems because we are the problems, no. We don’t have problems; we have situations. If your wife catches you with a neighbour’s wife, you don’t have a problem, you have a situation. Problems are had to solve; situations can be solved. If your girlfriend is spending more time with another guy, if you don’t have money, all these are situations. Change your girlfriend or change your mindset, your work or something.
Nigeria as a whole, as a country, or nation, as a people have a situation we have gotten to that point on several occasions, we were there, and the civil war broke out, our several ethnographic-ethno religious conflicts have taken us there, the menace of herdsmen and farmers, bandits and politicians keep taking us closer to the precipice.
The powerful not only control social wealth; they also control the public policy discussion — and what counts as intellectually correct. Good ideas are never sufficient. They are not believed or enacted simply because they are right. They become the ideas of our time only when those who come to believe in their own power, which use this power to struggle through institutions and advance their ideas, wield them.
Nigeria is in a situation, will men of a good conscience and patriots stand up to be counted? There’s no structure or system to build upon. Yet we must sit and talk about who we are and how we want to live, our current situation provides yet another opportunity for us to look forward, and understand where we are coming from, and take a leap with understanding what needs to be done according to each peculiarity.
I end with this story.
So, I went to a mental institution and wanted to send one person home. So I am going to ask a simple question. I asked the first person 3×3, and the fellow scratched his head, and he answered 164, I said to him, go back. Then I asked the second person the same question, and he smiled, looked up and then responded after a while Tuesday. Sorry. Wrong answer. Go back to your room
I almost gave up, until I went to the last person and asked the same question, if you can answer this question, I will let you go. He looked back at the other two who had left and smiled and said doctor, it’s 9. Right, and I gave him the release papers, and he started running to the door. But before he ran away, I said I need you to tell me something; your two friends did not come up with the right answer. How did you manage it? He said it’s so simple. I multiplied 164 by Tuesday, and I got 9.
Nigeria may get the right answer, but is the thinking correct? Nigeria finds answers often at the last minute, but truth be told, ‘the country has been interpreted in various ways that only capture problems, without a change in thinking, we won’t solve it, we must see our present circumstances as situations that can change with a different interpretation, and better thinking.
We must, as a people, want to try and change our situation despite the sense of the constraints and possibilities of the ‘granite block’ of power, property, and privilege that prevents an easy transition from injustice to justice. We must want to try, we must want to change, we must want to solve, and must want a new narrative. Are we in trouble or in a situation where there are solutions? Only time will tell.
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