By Alon Ben-Meir The Iraqi Kurdish referendum vote for independence, scheduled for September 25, is more than likely to pass by an overwhelming majority of the Kurdish population. Sadly, however, not a single country (with the exception of Israel) expressed its support for the Kurds’ impending historic decision to finally realize their decades-old dream of establishing a state of their own. Although the passage of the referendum will not automatically lead to statehood, it represents a crucial step forward that opens the door for negotiations with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad to reach an agreement. Regardless of how difficult these negotiations will be, and notwithstanding the opposition to the referendum even by the Kurds’ allies, especially the US (presumably because it is ill-timed), the Kurds must remain resolved to proceed as planned, which is decades overdue. To put things in perspective, a brief historical account of the Kurds’ plight is warranted. The...

Buharism: The Missing Ingredients

President Muhammed Buhari(PMB)’s place in the history of Nigeria is assured. He is a General’s General. He took active part in the civil war and was also involved in all the military coups that eventually led to his first shot as Head of State in 1983. He came back in 2003 to contest the presidential election with governance integrity as his major selling point. He was rejected at the polls of that year and in 2007 and 2011. He lost the elections not because the opponents were better or stronger but more because the elites or the ruling class were not comfortable with his stand against corrupt practices. He was much loathed in the southern part of the country, particularly in the East, for his role in the civil war and the perception of being an ethnic champion whose interest and affection is first to the Hausa/Fulanis, Muslims and Northerners...
BY Ifeanyi Omokwe, Abuja In an interview published in national newspaper, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Kingsley Moghalu, exercised his inalienable right to freedom of expression on some national issues, especially in the areas of youth empowerment, citizens’ obligation to pay taxes, unemployment, leadership and public policies. As a former public official and academic, Prof Moghalu, more than qualifies to voice his enlightened opinion on these and many more socio-economic subjects of concern. In one of his submissions during the interview, Prof Moghalu expressed worry over the debt burden of Nigeria, calling for it to be “completely overhauled”. He said, “I see that the government recently requested the approval of the National Assembly for US$5.5 billion in borrowing. If you consider that more than 60 per cent of revenues earned by Nigeria are already going into debt servicing, you can see that we are going...
BY Bako Suleiman As federal allocation decreases by the day,  following the sinking worldwide crude oil prices, the 36 states of federation are grappling with the challenge of managing the decreasing income from the Federation Account. Most states in Nigeria look fervently for ways of increasing their internally generated revenue. More people and organisations are being engaged in tax net as a means of boosting the generation of income internally. But in Kaduna, the case is different. Fully aware that the only way the people of the state could work in tandem with the state government on any venture that would generate revenue internally is to appeal to their interest, Governor Nasir el-Rufai chose to look in the direction of waste management and stop capital flight occasioned by processing waste outside their domains. He embraced a system whereby people can earn money while disposing their waste and keeping the environment...

The National Carrier

By Daniel Omale Since his appointment as the minister of state aviation, Hadi Sirika, the Buhari administration’s impetuous head of air transportation, has vigorously canvassed for the re-establishment of a national airline. While the idea itself seems patriotic and well-placed, the nuances and precepts of floating another failed public enterprise are graver than the honourable minister can palpably discern. On paper, anyone can nurse the idea of a viable national carrier, but the ingredients to crystallize such a complex notion must rest on two variables: (1) funding, and (2) management. It is quite elating to see Ethiopian airlines, Emirate, Qatar, and other national carriers’ invasion of national airspace, carting away billions of dollars year in-year -out, but the financial and management intricacies cannot-- and will never be replicated in a country like Nigeria—where indiscipline and share theft have become our national lexicon. Sources of Funding While the idea of private equity to...
As the drum beat to concession the four major airports in Nigeria (Lagos, Abuja, Kano & Port Harcourt) gets louder, there are obvious signs of abnormalities and insidiousness. The core questions we must ask in this proposal are: judging from the antecedents of privatized government entities, will the airports perform better? Who stands to gain from this exercise---the public or the concessionaire? What have been the outcomes of previous, partial concession of some airports vis-à-vis the inconclusive and, hotly contested binding agreement between Bi-Courtney Aviation Services and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)? What will become of the other 19 low- revenue- generating airports? And, finally, what will be the fate of the thousands of employees of FAAN in this time of plenary economic recession? Although the words “privatisation” and “concession” have different connotations, in Nigeria --the difference between the two is blurred when reference is made to public companies....
By Daniel Omale n a recent flight from Nashville, Tennessee, USA, to Nairobi, Kenya, I had the opportunity to glance through the trip’s operational expenses (landing, over flight permits, handling, and fuel) for the technical stop in Santa Maria; a Portuguese Island located in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean. This is the most favourite refueling station for aircraft wishing to cross the Atlantic to and from North America to the rest of the world (Europe, Africa, Middle East etc.). I was surprised that landing fee for a G550 aircraft, of over 41,000 kg weight, was mere $160; additionally, the price of Jet A1 per litre was $0.52 (fifty-two cents). These prices are much lower than what they are priced for in Nigeria. With these low-costs, fast and efficient services on the island, it is not surprising why so many aircraft operators choose Santa Maria as their technical stop route. From 1980 to date,...