A Is For ‘Allocation’

I have just been on a virtual tour of every Local Government in
Nigeria and I am happy to report my findings.<o:p></o:p>

What I have found striking is that, Nigeria does have a ‘fairly’
decent structure…at least on paper. By this I mean, a fairly decent amount of
‘fairness’ is inbuilt into our system. <o:p></o:p>

There are of course a lot of bugs in the system…some glaring,
some not so obvious. What we need to be asking anyone who wants to run for
President next year is how exactly he/she plans to fix this country and get it
to work. Bearing this in mind, let’s proceed into a fantasy world where all the country’s money is shared among it’s citizens………….<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


You will struggle to find a Nigerian who thinks any of the last
few censuses we have had in Nigeria were anything approaching credible
exercises. This cynicism has fed the urban myth, no doubt propagated by
politicians, that our censuses are designed to understate the numbers in one
part of the country [usually the South] while boosting the numbers in another
part of the country at the same time [usually the North].<o:p></o:p>

But who really benefits from a large population?
Say we had a miraculously credible census and the results showed that Southern
Nigeria is more populated than the North, does it mean Southerners will
automatically be better off?<o:p></o:p>

Here’s how Wikipedia defines Per Capita Income<o:p></o:p>

capita income
how much each individual receives, in monetary terms. It is the measure of the
amount of money that each person earns in the country, of the yearly income
generated in the country. This is what each citizen is to receive if the yearly
national income is divided equally among everyone”

Bearing the above in mind, I decided to do a small exercise based on the Revenue distributed to the 36 States  and 774 Local Govts by the Federation Account Allocation Committee [FAAC] for the month of March 2010 [paid in April 2010]. 

Using the 2006 Census figures which puts Nigeria’s population at 140,431,790, it’s pretty straightforward working out the Per Capita income down to the local government level. What you find is unmistakeably clear; the more people there are, the poorer that local govt [and subsequently state] becomes. 

To make life simpler, I didnt bother allocating the FG’s share of the revenue as this will simply be divided across everybody in the country. But even if we did each person would get an extra N800 on top of the PCI I will show you below. 

We can also calculate the PCI before and after the 13% derivation is added to the mix. In March, a total of N22bn was shared across 8 Oil producing states [Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, Rivers] on top of the money given to the LGs and the states.

So what’s the richest LG in Nigeria when you divide the total allocation given to the LG and the state by the population before adding in the 13% derivation? Abaji LGA in the FCT Abuja. The PCI for this LG in March was N3,383. Cigarette money some might say, but that’s how ‘rich’ Nigeria is I’m afraid. See the top 10 list below. And the poorest? Abuja Municipal [AMAC] in the same FCT with a PCI of N377 for March 2010 or just over 10% of what their neighbours in Abaji are ‘worth’. This is of course a typical Nigerian thing….poverty and wealth coexisting happily side by side. It’s important to note that even though AMAC got N292m in total for the month while Abaji got N198m, the population numbers [776,298 and 58,642 respectively] completely turned the PCI on it’s head. 

The first LG from an oil producing state list to appear on the PCI ranking [sans derivation I hasten to add again] is Udung Uko LGA in Akwa Ibom at number 18, again helped by a low population [N1,652]. Ibeju Lekki LGA comes in at #10 [boosted by the VAT element of the LG’s allocation] while Bakassi LGA in Cross Rivers [are they still part of Nigeria??] comes in at #3. The rest of the top 10 is made up of LGs from Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Ekiti, Osun…all of them driven by low population numbers with the exception of Ibeju Lekki as explained above.

Switching to the bottom 10, an astonishing 8 of the LGs there are from Kano State. AMAC is bottom of the pile followed by Nasarawa, Dala and Kano Municipal LGAs. Extend to the bottom 30 and it’s the same. Kano state makes up 20 out the 30 bottom LGAs. Consider that Kano has 44 LGAs in total and it’s even more striking to note. In fact the ‘richest’ LG in Kano state is Tofa LG which comes in at #437 in the list of 774 LGs [PCI: N985]. In the bottom 30, the only southern LGs that make the list are all from Oyo State [Ibadan North, Ibadan North East, Egbeda]. You dont need me to tell you that the number one driver of this compounded poverty [the country isnt rich in the first place] is a large population. 

What is also sad from looking at the numbers is how much damage corruption is doing to us as a country. Corruption basically entrenches the poverty our people already find themselves in. Take Jigawa State under Saminu Turaki as an example. The EFCC charged him for stealing N36bn from the state over the 8 years of his governorship [1999 – 2007]. Now in March Jigawa received a total of N4.2bn which works out to a PCI of N992 per month for the citizens of that state. Now say Jigawa received N4bn per month for 8 years, they’d have received something like N384bn……and Saminu Turaki walked away with 9.4% of that. When you feed this into the PCI, each person in that state will be poorer by nearly N100 per month….and that’s before factoring all the other people who have their hands in the coffers and inflation and everything else which makes people poorer. 

A friend on Facebook recently remarked that Nigerian democracy is effectively a war by politicians against the people. You can see why….everytime they steal, we just get poorer and poorer. The message is clear; it’s not enough for us to hate corruption. That wont do. We must despise it……the anger must well up inside of us when we hear of people stealing public money….whether the person is a Fashola who is ‘performing’ or an Alao-Akala who is bleaching. No one has a right to appropriate our money for themselves.

The time for games have also passed. We are not just looking for a career politician as President in 2011. We are looking for a brilliant Manager. This country is NOT rich….dont let any half baked politician fool you. We need people who understand this fact so they can know how to allocate our scarce resources for maximum effect.

The other day I was speaking to a friend who told me that Nigeria is currently importing Cassava into the country to meet local demand! These things are heartbreaking to hear…….cassava only needs to be stuck in the ground for it to grow…you literarily just stick the stem into the soil and you are good to go. And we cant deal with that as a nation…..SMH

Back to our PCI calculations. Now let’s add the ‘oyel’ money into the mix and see what happens. Abaji LG in the FCT still has the highest PCI in the country but after that it’s all change as they say on the London Underground. Remember Udong Uko LG in Akwa Ibom? They are now #2. It’s an almost perfect place to live [lol] because of the combination of a very low population [53k] and a N1,587 derivation top up to to the N1,652 it already had from the LG and state allocation. In fact numbers 2 to 7 on the list are all LGs from Akwa Ibom state. Kolokuma LG in Bayelsa breaks the trend at #8 with a PCI of N2,932 before the Akwa Ibom juggernaut resumes from #9 to #16. Nembe LG in Bayelsa comes in at #17 and Akwa Ibom again holds numbers 18 to 26. This is the richest state in Nigeria per capita by a mile. Again a combination of a low population and oil money does the trick. If you are from Akwa Ibom and you are unable to see the evidence of what I am talking about, you need to have a word with Obong Godswill Akpabio. There cant be any excuse for a lack of visible development in that state. 

How about the bottom of the list after the derivation money is added? Naturally it remains the same as before. Kano is still dominating the pack along with Kaduna, Katsina and Oyo states. The first state to break their monopoly on this infamy is Ifo LG in Ogun State. As an aside, Ifo is one of the LGs in Nigeria to have more women than men according to the 2006 census. It’s also interesting to note that Enugu and Ebonyi states are the only states to have more women than men in the total population [only Uzo Uwani and Igbo-Etiti LGs have more men than women of the 17 LGs in Enugu State] . My guess is that the women of Enugu dont know this….given the allegations of wife battery that dogged Chimaroke ‘Ebeano’ Nnamani while he was governor of that state. 

The long and short of the above is that high population numbers only makes everyone poorer. We as the citizens must excuse ourselves from the arguments made by politicians to boost the population numbers of their states. The simple question to ask is ‘how does it benefit me if there’s more of us in this state? It benefits the politician because it means the govt allocates more money to the state from the federation account [the formula for revenue allocation is a bit complicated but it’s safe to say around 40% of the money a state receives is directly driven by population while the rest of it is indirectly driven by population numbers as well….stealing the money is pretty straightforward though].

So why do people lie about population numbers then? I will try to explain that bit in part 2…..titled P is for ‘Power’. 

This note’s long enough already and I hate to bore you.



Beer Parlour 2: Chief Ojo Maduekwe in The House!

It’s worth restating: One of the aims of Beer Parlour Activism is to fight ignorance and misinformation among Nigerians. A BPA should normally have more knowledge to share than the average man on the street

Nigeria’s immediate past Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe has agreed to take questions from the Beer Parlour Activists. 

Again, we are looking for information and insight into how government works in Nigeria….the method to our madness if you like.

As someone who has been a 3 time minister in Nigeria since the return of democracy [Tourism & Culture 1999 – 2001, Transport: 2001 -2007, Foreign Affairs: 2007 -2010 and PDP National Secretary] Chief Ojo is very well qualified to take and answer our questions.

The ground rules are simple

1. No personal questions or insults [ I understand Chief Maduekwe is very ‘popular’ with young Nigerians on the internet :-)]

2. Let the questions be as technical as possible i.e seek to unravel how government works at the highest level in Nigeria.

3. No need for long greetings or prayers. Straight to the point

4. Send your questions to naijabeerparlour@gmail.com . The deadline for submitting questions is 9pm on Monday 17th May 2010.

5. Please feel free to send in more than one question. However, a team of 3 Barmen [Editors] will make the final selection of questions based on the criteria above. 

Please use your imagination and objectivity when sending your questions. Remember that as a BPA you are speaking on behalf of millions of Nigerians who cannot read, write, have no telephones, have no education and have no access to the internet or any means by which to speak to their representatives in government

To truly shame the likes of IBB who claim we cant govern our own country, we must first arm ourselves with information.

Finally it’s important to publicly thank Mrs Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili for blazing the trail in this series. Her example is partly what has made this, and hopefully many more to come, possible. [If you still want a copy of the Q&A with Mrs Ezekwesili, just send an email to naijabeerparlour@gmail.com with ‘Oby’ as the subject and we will reply with a copy]

God bless The Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Beer Parlour Activists for Nigeria [Peppersoup Included]

P.S If you are new to this and you are wondering this is all about, you can read the BPA charter here

The Law of ‘Unsowed Reaping’*

The Angel of The Lord appeared to Goodluck son of Jonathan while he lay asleep with his wife Patience in the palace of Akinola Aguda. The Angel caused a deep sleep to come over Patience such that she did not awake while he spoke to Goodluck.

‘It has pleased the Lord of Hosts to grant you good success where thine predecessors had severally failed. The Lord has heard the cries of His children since 1972 for there to be light in the land and He has seen it fit to answer their supplications. Therefore tomorrow you shall proceed to the temple where Power is Held here in this city and you shall turn on the lights across the nation’ the Angel said.

‘How is it that the Lord has seen it fit to grant me this success? The Lord knows that I sit on this throne precariously and out of necessity…why has the Lord chosen me for this task?’ Goodluck queried.

‘Was it not the Lord your God who brought you out of Otueke? Was it not He who saved you from the creeks of Bayelsa and gave you your fedora in place of your fisherman’s net? The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof….He freely gives to whom He pleases. Was it not The selfsame Lord who saw it fit not to allow Moses to lead His children into the land of Canaan? If it pleases the Lord He is able to allow any man to reap where such a man did not sow….the work has already been done, the Lord only requires that you go and turn on the light’ the Angel countered.

‘The nation has toiled for many years and many billions have been spent on light. My predecessors have been snared by promises of thousands of megawatts in the past and they have failed. But nevertheless at thy word, I will go forth to the temple where power is held and will turn on the lights’ Goodluck said.

After the Angel of the Lord had left, Goodluck son of Jonathan was unable to go back to sleep and he roused his wife Queen Patience to narrate what the Angel told him. But the Queen did not pay him much attention as he spoke for she was still in a state of half slumber.

In the morning, King Goodluck called upon his closest advisers Odein son of Ajumogbia, Diezani daughter of Allison who was also the wife of Madueke as well as Ima son of Niboro. Together they headed to the temple of power holding and demanded the keys to the room from where the nation’s light was controlled. 

King Goodluck turned his eyes to the heavens and said a prayer ‘My Lord My God you have instructed me to do this and I have believed you. I ask that thou wouldest not forsake me as I turn on the light for your children’ 

The King then turned on the light and for a few moments nothing  happened. Then the lights everywhere in the temple began to come on for the temple where power is held itself had no light. The King nervously instructed Ima son of Niboro to seek out reports from all parts of the land as to whether the darkness had been overcome. 

All over the country there were reports of pylons which had hitherto lain moribund coming to life. Wherever power was generated, it was being used to turn on the lights and the people were liberated from their darkness.

And it came to pass that in the time of the Acting King, Goodluck son of Jonathan, the lights were turned on in the nation.

From Potiskum to Port-Harcourt there was much light in the land and the people knoweth not what to do with it. There was an out pouring of great joy and in churches and mosques all over the nation the people came in rejoicing bringing in their sheaves.

The merchants of black gold who had hitherto profited from the darkness suddenly became pariahs in the land as the people swore never to return to the darkness again. The merchants of black gold cast their eyes upon their stock of black gold and the several ships which were on the waters bringing in more of the commodity and they too knoweth not what to do with it. Many of the merchants soon fell into financial ruin and their leader who had previously been feted across the ocean in foreign lands as a leader of commerce, proceeded into exile to escape his creditors.

And after a few months the people knoweth not what to do with their generators for they had lain redundant for many months. Soon after the people began to gather in various parts of the land in large open spaces to burn their unwanted generators. And they came in their thousands with many people bringing in several generators to be burnt.

And after the generators had been burnt, there remained a great mass of liquid metal in the furnace and yet again the people knoweth not what to do with it. 

And the leaders of the people who congregated under the banner of the red and green umbrella decided to make a graven image of King Goodluck son of Jonathan from the great mass of liquid metal proclaiming ‘O King Goodluck son of Jonathan, may your reign be forever. As you have liberated we your children from the darkness that had hitherto enveloped us, may your reign be long and without end’.

All across the land, the people cast graven images of King Goodluck son of Jonathan and in some places they made images of Queen Patience. And the King did nothing to discourage them. 

And the Lord looked down on the nation and what He saw greatly displeased Him. 

But the Lord looked at His Angel whom He had sent to deliver the message to Goodluck son of Jonathan and He smiled.

*The writer by this piece is making a prediction [not altogether bold but based on factual and anecdotal evidence] that there will be a remarkable improvement in the supply of electricity in Nigeria sometime in 2010. 

The Law of Unsowed Reaping states loosely that it’s not always the person who puts in the hard work into a project that ultimately gets the popular credit for it.