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Why I Am Not Keen On Not Too Young To Run Bill

As at last count, not less than  24 states have endorsed the Not Too Young To Run Bill. Many people are of the view that passing the bill is the end of our leadership problems in Nigeria.  But bad leadership cuts across all ages. If I remember correctly, since independence, Nigeria has always been ruled by young and middle aged people.

Nigeria has had 15 presidents and heads of state since 1960 and only two became president when they were above 60; Olusegun Obasanjo ‘s second coming in 1999 at the age of 62 and President Buhari’ s second coming at the age of 72.

The average age of Nigerian presidents since independence is 48 years which means, we have always been ruled by young men and ,we are yet to get to El Dorado. Age is not a problem per say as bad leadership had always been our problem irrespective of age.

Where will our young people get money to buy presidential and gubernatorial forms and run a campaign? We all know that in Nigeria, elections cost money. The Not Too Young To Run Bill is good on paper but may not fly in our present realities.

SOS To Aviation Minister

Flying by air is usually regarded as the safest means of transportation in the country because of safety and security issues. Armed robbers and kidnappers have taken over the roads and arriving at one’s destination after spending hectic hours on the road, usually calls for testimony and thanksgiving. That’s to show you how unsafe our roads are.

According to statistics released by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), an average of 13 people were killed in road accidents daily across Nigeria in 2017.  The rich and the middle income earners these days prefer air travel as they are free from crime. However, the narrative is changing since the last few weeks.

Recall that in January, Wizkid and Tiwa Savage were returning onboard a Bombardier Challenger 605 jet from Akwa Ibom State  and they both claimed their cargo compartment was burgled and their luggage was stolen.  In February this year, bandits attacked an Air Peace Boeing 737 aircraft while it was taxiing to depart from Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos for Abuja.  Burglars forcefully opened the cargo hold of the Air Peace Flight 7138 while it was on the runway.

Added to the mix is one scary event that happened recently when an emergency exit door fell off a Dana Airplane with 120 passengers onboard while taxiing to the apron area of Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.  Imagine if it had happened when the plane was mid air? We would have still been in mourning mood by now.

Just last week, another air disaster was averted when cows took over the runway in Akure airport. Save for the ingenuity of the pilot, we would have had a plane crash on our hands. This is one too many gaffes already in our airports. Aviation disasters are usually very terrible.

How can burglars steal when the plane is about taxiing without the connivance of airport official?  If they can open the compartment, what stops them from inserting bombs into the cargo compartment when the plane is taxiing?   How did cows make it to the runway of the airport? Our security agencies in the airports are obviously sleeping on the job .

I call on the minister of state, Aviation, Hadi Sirika to strengthen security at the airports. With the way things are going,  a major air disaster is in the offing.

Fuel Scarcity: Something Got To Give

 

Fuel scarcity is gradually becoming the  norm in Nigeria. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation( NNPC) had embarked on blame games since the scarcity started in November and still no end in sight for the scarcity.  Last week, the federal government announced that a National Economic Council     (NEC)  committee will interface with the NNPC to review fuel price. Making the announcement, Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar said “As at today, most, if not all independent marketers have stopped importing, refined products into Nigeria. It is only the NNPC that has been doing it. And the NNPC has been suffering a lot of setbacks; the highest amount of under recovery.

“By under recovery,  it means the inter-play between the landing cost of a litre of the PMS in Nigeria and the pump price of that product. If the product lands at N170 for example and you sell at N145, immediately you know that you have an under recovery of about N25 for each litre of fuel.”   So submitted his report and the National Economic Council has a committee that has been interfacing with all revenue generating  agencies of the federal government under the chairmanship of the governor of Gombe State.

“That committee has been charged with the responsibility of interfacing with NNPC with a view to determining the correct price for PMS considering the price of the product, especially in countries that are bordering Nigeria. Because that is one of the reasons that encourages smuggling of the products to these areas, “ he added

The more the government argues that they have tamed the monster of fuel scarcity, the more the fuel queues grow longer .Every effort to end the crisis had defiled all solutions.

The government right now is in a fix. They have two choices- increase fuel price or reintroduce subsidy. Remember the last subsidy regime was marred with frauds and many people became overnight millionaires. On the other hand, increasing fuel price a year to the election is very risky because in Nigeria, everything depends on fuel price. When you increase fuel price, inflation will shoot up.

I think something got to give .The easiest option for me is for the government to reintroduce fuel subsidy. Subsidy is not bad but the abuse is the problem. The regulatory agencies should effectively monitor marketers with subsidy claims and this will solve the problems for now.

The government is also hoping on Dangote refinery to come on stream. But what is the guarantee that Dangote will not sell his fuel to our neighbours for a higher price?  After all, he is a business man and making profit is his goal. The government needs to take a decision. If not, this fuel scarcity will continue throughout this year. Increasing fuel price is not an option at the moment and the easiest option now is to reintroduce subsidy.

 



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