Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nigeria's Great Dilemma | Fuel Subsidy | (Part 1)

Author: Muktar Usman

This is an essay spread over five articles dealing with the initial removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria on the 1st of January 2012 which caused price of fuel to shoot up from its subsidised rate of N65 per litre to N140. (N=Naira: Nigerian Currency).

I recently reread the inaugural address of J. F. Kennedy, which was delivered on the 20th of January 1961. Of the one thousand three hundred plus words written on the paper, nineteen still resonate in my mind with a clarity only words of profound wisdom possess: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich”. The unilateral and abrupt removal of fuel subsidy on New Year’s Day of 2012, without having first put in place effective palliative measures to cushion the inflationary impact of the removal policy on the mass of poor and already impoverished Nigerians, makes it appropriate to remind Nigerian policy makers of those nineteen words and the dangers inherent in continuing to build a paradise for the rich and powerful on the withered backs of the poor and disenfranchised.

Friday, February 10, 2012

African Cheetahs, Learning to Jump the Biggest Hurdles

Author: Mohamed Toure

As Professor George Ayittey puts it, young Africans (the ones who are driven to seek change and not fall in the traps of corruption, incompetence, and nepotism that ensnared previous generations), are Cheetahs. These young saviors of Africa's future toil wherever they are for their own well being, and for the sake of their motherland. Essentially, they struggle every day to surmount hurdles.

I still recall my younger brother's track meets, the summer before last. In fact, I remember his entire progression, from his very first competition as a runner circa 2007. The kid began with an undeniable talent; with time however, I noticed the discipline of his rigorous training overtaking him and his relay mates. He ran fast, and his mates ran fast. They all ran fast, like Cheetahs, never allowing their performance to be hindered by the nature of the contest. Their form was flawless, even graceful at times. They ran 400 meters, and they ran 800 meters. They ran relays, and they ran hurdles. The hurdles are the ones that sparked some powerful imagery about Africa in my mind; all this as I sipped a cup of hot chocolate earlier this week.