Archive for September 2019

Wobbling economy, cash deposit charges and Vision 2020

September 23, 2019

By Casmir Igbokwe

Last week, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was upbeat. It flashed a semblance of some seriousness in tackling Nigeria’s ailing economy. The President, for instance, appointed an Economic Advisory Council made up of renowned economists like Professors Doyin Salami and Chukwuma Soludo. The issues of the cashless policy and value added tax (VAT) also made headlines.   

With effect from 2020, VAT will increase from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent. For government, this increase will yield more money to its coffers, especially after huge campaign/election spending and dwindling oil revenue. But to average private and corporate individuals, this is like trying to treat a sore thumb by cutting it off.

Remember, there are also companies income tax, education tax, personal income tax, withholding tax, road taxes, land use charge and many others. Sometimes, government agents allegedly divert these taxes to the detriment of both the people and government. The Auditor-General of the Federation, for instance, reported some errors in the amounts included as the Federal Government share of VAT for 2016. 

Without tackling these errors, increasing VAT in 2020 will engender more problems. It will affect prices of goods and services. Many consumer goods companies that have been posting decline for some months now may be forced to lay off more workers.

Simply put, it is inconsistent with the current economic reality in the country. It will also make a mess of the now elusive new N30,000 minimum wage for workers signed into law by the President more than four months ago.

On top of this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced charges on cash transactions from N500,000 and above for individuals and N3 million and above for companies. This means that withdrawals will attract 3 per cent processing fees, while deposits will attract 2 per cent processing fees for amounts above N5000,000 for individuals. For corporate bodies, banks will charge 5 per cent processing fees for withdrawals and 3 per cent for lodgements above N3 million. The charge on deposits took effect from Wednesday, September 18, 2019, in pilot states such as Abia, Anambra, Kano, Lagos, Ogun and Rivers as well as the Federal Capital Territory. It will take effect nationwide from March 31, 2020.

To the CBN, the charges would drive development and modernisation of the country’s payment system. This, it said, was also in line with Nigeria’s Vision 2020 goal of being among the top 20 economies by the year 2020.

Well, it is largely the economies of banks and some government functionaries that will likely improve. A recent media report indicated that, between January and June 2019, four leading banks generated N24.3 billion from account maintenance charges on their customers. In the corresponding period last year, they generated N20.39 billion. The banks also charge customers for card maintenance, automated teller machine (ATM) withdrawal, SMS alert, commission on turnover (COT), stamp duty and all that.

I am not sure how these charges will enhance the financial inclusion policy the apex bank is championing. Rather, people will naturally avoid putting money where it will generate huge losses than profits for them. Some will start multiple deposits and withdrawals to beat the charges.

Granted, there are risks involved in moving huge cash from one point to the other; granted, online transactions save time and cost associated with cash payments; but how many Nigerian traders are literate enough to use online banking services? And does the announced intention of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to impose VAT on online transactions not negate the drive for cashless transactions? Even if you want to impose charges to encourage cashless policy, do they have to be this high?

Small and medium-scale businesses will feel the impact more. Most times, government agents equate their turnover to profit. It is not necessarily so. Turnover may be high, but profit may be less than 2 per cent. When you impose heavy taxes or charges on the little profit, you are indirectly preparing grounds for high inflation and the liquidation of those businesses.

Already, the prices of essential food items like rice have increased. This is partly attributable to the closure of Nigeria’s borders. Banning some foreign food items is okay, if we have enough local and cheaper alternatives. But we don’t. We have not given enough incentives to local manufacturers. We have not provided the necessary amenities. We have not tried to better the low ranking of Nigeria on the world ease of doing business index. Little wonder some foreign companies now prefer to establish in Ghana than Nigeria that has a bigger market.

Government should consider entrepreneurs and manufacturers in churning out its policies. This is because what will move us closer to Vision 2020 is production, not increased taxation, and definitely not reckless accumulation of debts. As at March 31, 2019, Nigeria’s debt profile rose to N24.95 trillion from N21.725 trillion it was in 2017.

Before imposing heavy taxes on people or borrowing to service our leaders’ ostentatious lifestyle, government should first of all prune down the cost of governance. Many public office holders, for instance, go home every month with outrageous allowances. They change cars like clothes and acquire other choice properties with reckless abandon. That is why some of them are ready to kill to get to that position.

Recently, some civil society groups took legal action against the alleged plan of the Senate to buy exotic cars for principal members of the ninth Senate worth N5.5 billion. Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT, Enough is Enough and 6,721 concerned Nigerians are asking the court to, among others, restrain and stop the Senate from collecting the said money until downward review of the amount proposed by the Senate.

I believe citizens will gladly pay their taxes if they discover that their leaders utilise the money well; if they find out that public officers live moderate lifestyle; if they notice that there is genuine fight against corruption; and if they see fiscal discipline among the three tiers of government.

Re: Now that Buhari is ‘eminently qualified’

My friend, Casmir, seeing how Walter Onnoghen, Sylvester Ngwuta and many others were subdued and humbled at their age and near the peak of their professional career, if you are in the position of the five judges at the Supreme Court, in a so-called entity, a fraud mine tagged Nigeria, won’t you hold your peace? Will you want your house broken into, vandalised before your wife and children and nailing exhibits planted therein to end your integrity? My friend, please forgive the five ‘wise’ judges. Nigeria’s destiny and glory is in perpetual chains by organised strong political criminals that were around at Independence and are still there. They have intimidating looted resources, unspeakable wealth, coordinated overbearing influence and ‘unlimited’ power to hold down the status quo – the system that frustrated our youth, pushed them to criminality worldwide and made us a laughing stock in the comity of nations. A land of wastage where nothing ever works but treasury or commonwealth looting and nepotism! I weep for Nigeria, my country, seeing her fragmented and dying every day in the hands of the mediocre!

– J.A. Solomon, Kaduna, +2348099577661

Casmir, as you rightly said, Buhari has been certified ‘eminently qualified’. However, the judges, Buhari and APC have made quality of our judiciary doubtful. Our democracy can be likened to Fela’s demonstration of craze. The fight for corruption is a ploy to destroy the opposition. The judgement will be sending a wrong message to the youths just like Ps 125 v 3 said, “The wicked will not always rule over the land of the righteous. If they did, the righteous themselves might do evil.”

– Pharm. Okwy H.A. Njike, +2348038854922

Sarcastically, Buhari is overqualified to rule Nigeria. Without a certificate! What a country! I am laughing o. He stifled the judiciary; the legislature is a rubberstamp; the security agents are the attack dogs. Nigeria will remain a pariah in the comity of nations. The evils men do live with them nowadays. Nigeria is reaping herdsmen, banditry, kidnapping, Boko Haram, robbery, and yet no lesson learnt. Nigeria is cursed and sick.

– Smart, Abakaliki, +2348134774884

I hold Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of PDP in high esteem because of his doggedness in politics and business. But now that the presidential election tribunal has declared President Buhari as rightfully elected President of Nigeria, my advice is that all opposition contestants should accept the decision by congratulating President Buhari. In every contest, winners and losers must emerge.

– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

Casmir, I thank God Almighty for your guts over national issues. For the verdict of the presidential election tribunal, I was able to have clear verdict from the inception of the tribunal, and it became clearer to me when the former Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen, was intrigued out. This is Nigeria and Nigeria is eminently owned, and this cannot be disputed. Like you said, xenophobia has existed in our nation from far back and, if I may say, whatever xenophobic feelings the South Africans are displaying today on their soil is a carryover from their Nigerian counterparts.

Now to you our President, now that you are convinced of your mandate, relax to see Nigeria as your single constituency and make amends where needs be. With your security chiefs, let Nigerians travel on their roads, sleep at night and hear less of banditry, kidnapping, killings, armed robbery and the like.

– Pastor Livy Onyenegecha, Ibeku Okwuato, Aboh Mbaise, Imo State, 08036174573

  • Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, September 23, 2019.

Now that Buhari is ‘eminently qualified’

September 18, 2019

Casmir Igbokwe

Last week, I wrote a piece entitled ‘Injustice is another form of xenophobia’. Published in NewsProbe, an online publication, the article compared the barbaric xenophobic attacks in South Africa to another version of it in Nigeria. It also commended the Nigerian government’s noble intervention but advised that while we attempt to remove the speck in South Africa’s eyes, we should not gloss over the log in our own eyes.

Part of the article reads, “In this country, justice is on vacation and the worst form of xenophobia is injustice. Or how do you describe the fact that in our unity colleges, for instance, a boy from Zamfara State who scores 2 will get admission before my son from Anambra State who scores as high as 139? They say this is to fulfil the federal character principle. Fair enough. But why was this federal character not observed in many federal and security appointments in the current dispensation? Why has the present government blocked its ears to the calls for restructuring which will give every section of the country a sense of belonging and justice? Why has the government shied away from effective reform of the country’s justice system?

“Look at what happened in the Osun governorship election of last year. The exercise recorded massive infractions. The Osun State election petitions tribunal noted those anomalies and ruled in favour of justice when the matter came to it. But the appeal tribunal murdered that justice on the altar of legal technicality. This drew our march to genuine democracy backwards. The nation eagerly awaits the judgement of the presidential election petitions tribunal.”

Last Wednesday, the five-man panel finally delivered their verdict. For over eight hours, the judges – Muhammad Garba, Abdul Aboki, Joseph Ikyegh, Samuel Oseji and Peter Ige – laboured to justify dismissing Atiku and Peoples Democratic Party’s petition. On the server issue, the tribunal ruled that no law in Nigeria allows for electronic transmission of results using card reader. They said based on available evidence, it was clear that the results were collated manually, saying “card reader machine has not replaced the voter register.”

On President Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate saga, the Chairman of the panel who read the lead judgement, Justice Garba, said, “It is established that a candidate is not required under the Electoral Act to attach his certificate to his Form CF001 before a candidate is adjudged to have the requisite qualification to contest the election. In effect, the 2nd defendant went through secondary education and then proceeded to military school. The military school is higher than secondary education. Thus, our conclusion is that Buhari is not only qualified but eminently qualified to contest the presidential election.”

The judges were also of the firm view that the petitioners failed to prove that Buhari submitted false information which is fundamental in nature to aid his qualification to contest the election as prescribed in section 35 (1) of the Evidence Act 2011. Buhari had claimed that his elusive certificates were with the military board. This turned out to be untrue.

In a bid to get this certificate, the President and his handlers procured some documents with variants of his name – Muhammadu and Mohammed. The petitioners felt they proved the perjury charge beyond reasonable doubt. But our wise judges felt otherwise. What this means is that I can procure a PhD certificate from Toronto bearing Cashmere Igbokwe and use it to get a job in the Presidency.

My only worry is that we are sending wrong signals to the world. I used to think that the only concrete evidence to show that one attended a school is the certificate. You can’t enter any Nigerian university, for instance, without tendering your secondary school certificate. And you cannot get a serious job without attaching and even physically showing your certificates. By the ruling of our wise judges, you don’t need that in election matters. Invariably, you can go to school and leave midway and still get the privileges of someone who toiled to finish with first class. All you need to do is to present a picture you took while in school, swear an affidavit and you will be cleared.

Injustice has no other better name! The PDP and its supporters rightly described the verdict as subversion of justice. The party expressed its intention to approach the Supreme Court to challenge the judgement.  

Nevertheless, stalwarts of the All Progressives Congress and their supporters believe the judgement is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria in recent times. Information and culture minister, Lai Mohammed, even asked the PDP and Atiku to apologise for “wilfully distracting” Buhari with their petition.

The National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, boasted that the ruling party would always defeat the PDP even if it took the petition to the World Court. I don’t blame Oshiomhole and his ruling party. The Supreme Court of today appears essentially crippled. See the way the hitherto tough Justice Sylvester Ngwuta and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, were subdued to pave way for the current CJN, Tanko Muhammad.

Recall that Onoghen was hounded out of office for alleged false declaration of assets. Recall also that security operatives from the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded Ngwuta’s house in 2016. He was charged to court for money laundering and passport fraud. Though Justice John Tosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja freed him of these charges last year, Ngwuta appears to have been rendered impotent at the apex court.  

The hope of many Nigerians is no more in the courts. In the next four years, we may have to endure the misfortune of having this government in power. We may have to continue to endure the current economic trauma. We may have to continue to pay the price of a poor justice and electoral system.

Now that the tribunal has declared him eminently qualified to be president, Buhari should drop the toga of mediocrity and wear the cloak of eminence. He should surprise Nigerians by initiating the reform of our entire electoral system. In this modern age, electronic transmission of election result is the best way to go. It will minimise rigging and ensure that the votes of Nigerians count in subsequent elections.          

Re: Anambra and 2021 governorship va-va-voom

Dear Casmir, permit me to use metaphor of jumping frogs to highlight the beauty of your analysis. Only political bullies, and or diehards, will challenge or fault the existing APGA and even PDP Zoning; arrangement, which now favours Anambra South Senatorial Zone comprising Aguata, Ihiala, Nnewi (North & South), Ekwusigo, and Orumba (North & South). Serial or professional  guber candidates like Dr. Senator Andy Uba, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah,  and Senator Uche Ekwunife, or any other butterfly politician, should know that the nice “krom krom” sound of bitter kola, “ugoro”, or “aki ilu” in the mouth, is different from its bitter taste.  And that many of them may have qualified for public beating by our people in Diaspora.

This time round, our dear sister, Senator Iyom Uche Ekwunife, and her colleagues, should sit down and concentrate on successfully concluding their senatorial offices creditably. Literally speaking, it is true, traditionally, that too much jumping around can kill the Frog.

Dr. Chuka Nwosu, Port Harcourt, 08085914645.

Cas, you have opened up a new and fresh area many other writers have avoided. For sure, the race for the governorship seat in Awka will be hot and will be for the highly intellectual ones and no longer an all comers event. The erstwhile governor has raised governance in Anambra very high; so to measure up to his scale or to surpass him may be herculean. Let us keep our watch and see what plays out in a state that is blessed with great men of wealth in all areas. By reason of academic guru, they are surplus; when you talk of men with political know how, they are in large supply; even men who have rehearsed their dancing steps into the government house many years before are there. It is going to be intriguing. 

Pastor Livy Onyenegecha, Ibeku Okwuato, Aboh Mbaise: Imo State, 08036174573

Casmir, I believe that the Anambra politics has gotten to certain standard that people who want to lead must be judged by such standard. People who betrayed the state when they were in government should not be involved. The development of Anambra state will be such that one can easily say welcome to paradise. APGA zoning formula should be retained. I see a battle line drawn between APGA (Prof. Soludo) and PDP (Uche Ekwunife or Godwin Ezeemo). Pharm Okwy Njike, Nawfia, Njikoka LGA, +2348038854922

Let there be no zoning in Anambra again which is synonymous with quota system in Nigeria because it may breed mediocrity. We want intelligent people and not third class holders with dual citizenship to rule us.

Mr. Chinedu Ekwuno, JP, 08063730644

My bro, va-va-voom is an understatement. But PDP and APGA should put their house in order because APGA is currently riddled with an intractable internal crisis. It’s like Obiano lacks the political dexterity to settle it. APGA is no longer what it epitomized! Anambarians should not allow herdsmen party to win any state in the South East, so that they will not execute their Ruga programme easily and other obnoxious agenda against us. APC is anti-Igbo.

Smart, Abakaliki, +2348160638941

The guber election in Anambra state come 2021 will be interesting because the type of people who are preparing to take over from Gov Obiano are well to do in their field of endeavours. All aspirants and candidates should do their home work well to get electorate votes by providing people-oriented projects before the election time.

Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

  • Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, September 16, 2019.    

Injustice is another form of xenophobia

September 10, 2019

Casmir Igbokwe

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) calls Nigeria a zoo. From what has happened in South Africa in the past few days, it seems the former apartheid enclave is worse than a zoo. Animals in a zoo are under control. But South African animals are wild and uncontrollable. They have killed and still kill and burn innocent foreigners, including Nigerians, in their midst. They also indulge in looting of their properties. They call it xenophobia – intense hatred or fear of foreigners or strangers. It is barbaric and condemnable to say the least. But it is important to note that while we attempt to remove the speck in someone’s eyes, we should not gloss over the log in our own eyes.

First, let us examine the speck in South Africa’s eyes. A few years ago, the beasts in that country threw two Senegalese and a Mozambican off a moving train. In 2000, two Nigerians were among those who died in another attack. On April 18, 2015, some deranged beings brutally murdered Emmanuel Sithole from Mozambique and seven other people. Those who escaped death had their shops looted. About 10 people reportedly lost their lives in the current madness. Their only crime was being foreigners. There are many other instances.   

The major worry is that the South African government appears to be in tacit support. It has not taken any decisive action to stop it. And when a deputy minister of police, Bongai Mkongi, tried to justify the savagery, you need no soothsayer to tell you how their mind operates. Recall that the Zulu King, Goodswill Swelithini, also reportedly precipitated the 2015 similar attacks when he allegedly called on foreigners to go home.

No wonder the whites dealt with them during the apartheid era. Even then, the world, especially Africa, rallied round the country’s black population. Nigeria particularly played a prominent role in the fight against that obnoxious system.  And due to its noble role, Nigeria became one of the frontline states though it is not a southern African country.  

Unfortunately, South African youths have forgotten this history. These are illiterate and lazy youths. Unfortunately too, some Nigerian youths acted in similar manner. They angrily moved against some South African interests in Nigeria. They torched and looted some MTN offices and Shoprite supermarkets in some parts of the country. This action forced MTN to close its offices nationwide. South Africa also shut down its High Commission in Nigeria.

In response, the Federal Government took some commendable actions. It not only recalled the country’s High Commissioner to South Africa, it also boycotted the World Economic Forum held in that country last week. Nigeria’s leading airline, Air Peace, volunteered to evacuate our citizens willing to return from South Africa free of charge. It was good and reassuring breathing the air of patriotism coming out from many Nigerians.

However, it would have been more reassuring if we had frontally tackled our own brand of xenophobia. The other day, some beasts killed a Catholic priest, David Tanko, and set his corpse ablaze in Taraba State. The priest had gone for a peace meeting on Tiv and Junkun communal conflict. A few days ago, some Hausa and Yoruba youths clashed in Lagos over a minor misunderstanding. Terrorist herdsmen have also been killing and kidnapping people in different parts of the country. 

The South-easterners have particularly found themselves at the wrong end of the Nigerian equation. Any time there is crisis in any part of Nigeria, they are always the major victims. This is because of their itinerant nature. In 1966, there was a pogrom against them in the North. This resulted in a 30-month civil war. Millions of our citizens died. Intermittently, they face xenophobic attacks in different parts of the country.

In this country, justice is on vacation and the worst form of xenophobia is injustice. Or how do you describe the fact that in our unity colleges, for instance, a boy from Zamfara State who scores 2 will get admission before my son from Anambra State who scores as high as 139? They say this is to fulfil the federal character principle. Fair enough. But why was this federal character not observed in many federal and security appointments in the current dispensation? Why has the present government blocked its ears to the calls for restructuring which will give every section of the country a sense of belonging and justice? Why has the government shied away from effective reform of the country’s justice system?

Look at what happened in the Osun governorship election of last year. The exercise recorded massive infractions. The Osun State election petitions tribunal noted those anomalies and ruled in favour of justice when the matter came to it. But the appeal tribunal murdered that justice on the altar of legal technicality. This drew our march to genuine democracy backwards. The nation eagerly awaits the judgement of the presidential election petitions tribunal. It is hoped that justice will be served in the case and that the learned judges, without fear or favour, will elevate justice over technicality in their soon-to-be-announced verdict.    

This is not forgetting the economic injustices in the country. The rulers are busy amassing wealth and allocating resources to themselves while the masses live in penury. Currently, Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world. This dire economic situation is partly what has pushed some of our countrymen to foreign lands to look for greener pastures. Even with free Air Peace ticket, many Diaspora Nigerians will not come back.

We pride ourselves as the most populous country in Africa. That is true. But big population without effective law and order confers no advantage. That is why serious companies now find Ghana a better environment to invest in than Nigeria.

In simple terms, we are gradually losing our relevance in the world. Today, South Africans are asking us to go. Tomorrow, Ghanaians may follow suit. Until we take the bull by the horns and tackle our variegated problems frontally, other nations will continue to take us for a ride.

Anambra and 2021 governorship va-va-voom

September 2, 2019

By Casmir Igbokwe

Don’t mind the big word ‘va-va-voom.’ It simply means something that is exciting or vigorous. The word is derived from the sound of a car engine being revved. I consider it an appropriate metaphor that describes the great excitement over Anambra State’s governorship contest. The battle is in 2021. But the political machine of the state is already revving.

One big issue on the table is zoning. Some segments of the state want it. Some others vehemently oppose it. The incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, is from the northern part of the state. By 2021, the zoning proponents argue that it would be the turn of Anambra South.

The ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) agrees with this position. The party has zoned the governorship position to Anambra South. This is to conform to the action the party took when former Governor Peter Obi was about to leave office in 2014. Obi and the ruling party had reasoned that, since the inception of the state, nobody from the Anambra North had occupied the governorship seat. For equity’s sake, they went for a candidate from the north.

Today, one candidate who epitomises the drama and the dilemma trailing the zoning debate is Mrs. Uche Ekwunife. The woman currently represents Anambra Central in the Senate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But for the purpose of the governorship contest, some of her supporters say she is from Anambra South. Yes, by birth, she is from Igboukwu in Aguata Local Government Area, which is in Anambra South. But by marriage, she is from Nri in Anaocha Local Government Area, which is in Anambra Central.

Dual citizenship is part of the beauty of being a woman. She can claim her birthplace, she can also claim her husband’s place, depending on where the bread will be better buttered.

On some social media platforms where this debate is raging, Ekwunife’s supporters readily refer you to women who have enjoyed this dual citizenship opportunities. Stella Oduah, for instance, is from Anambra but married to Edo. She currently represents Anambra North in the Senate. Florence Ita-Giwa represented her native Cross River South in the Senate. Daisy Danjuma is from Taraba by marriage but she represented her native Edo South in the Senate between 2003 and 2007.

Those against Ekwunife say, in Igboland, a woman has full rights in her husband’s place and not in her birthplace. According to them, that is why a woman does not partake in the sharing of her father’s inheritance. Her supporters counter this argument by citing the Supreme Court ruling that now empowers women to also inherit their father’s property. Whatever, the woman is watching events as they unfold as she also tries to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Professor Chukwuma Soludo is also watching. A strong member of APGA, Soludo is the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He is from Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of the state. He has not declared his interest formally. But it is an open secret that he is eyeing Agu Awka, as the seat of power is called. Like Ekwunife, Soludo’s supporters are also marketing his credentials.

In a recent article, one of his admirers, Joe Anatune, wrote, “We need a man tried and tested, with track records for big ideas and excellent execution in order to create prosperity and put Anambra on the world map. After Ngige, Obi and Obiano, more than 90 per cent of Ndi Anambra believe that the next big thing will be Soludo Solution.”

No doubt, Soludo has what it takes to make Anambra the Dubai of Africa. But the road to Agu Awka is filled with thorns. One major headache for the former CBN boss is Dr. Godwin Maduka, from Umuchukwu in Orumba South Local Government Area. Maduka, a United States-based medical doctor, is a philanthropist with deep pockets. The man has done a lot for his community and will attract many supporters if he declares interest. To his credit are world-class edifices such as educational institutions, 17-storey multipurpose skyscraper, high court, health centre, churches, civic centre, police station, roads and houses for indigent indigenes, especially widows, etc. Many people are already projecting him. Will he run? The situation still wears a hat.

There is another aspirant in the person of Comrade Peter Nwosu. He is Obiano’s Senior Special Assistant on Petroleum Matters. In a recent interview granted an online publication called NewsProbe, Nwosu, a native of Nnewi North, said it was time ‘Old Testament’ (old politicians) gave way for ‘New Testament’ (youths) in the governance of Anambra. How far he will go remains pregnant.

Nevertheless, these APGA aspirants have a major hurdle to cross – the opposition PDP.  Unlike the ruling party, the PDP is not taking the zoning route to 2021. Its priority is to field the best candidate who can recapture the state from APGA. And it has an array of aspirants who can do that.

Chief Godwin Ezeemo is one of them. This Umuchu, Aguata-born business icon was the governorship candidate of the Progressives People’s Alliance (PPA) in the 2017 election in the state. Last month, he, together with the state and local government officials of the PPA, defected to the PDP. The man has not only announced his intention to contest, he is also silently working underground, visiting different towns to identify with them in one social outing or the other. His supporters have also been projecting his philanthropic activities.

However, Ezeemo has Oseloka Obaze, Ekwunife, Osita Chidoka and Chris Azubogu to contend with. Obaze was the governorship candidate of the party in the last election. He is a fine gentleman and an astute administrator. His major challenge is that he is from Anambra North. And if the sentiment to zone the position to the South does not subside, he may have an uphill task in the coming battle. The same zoning issue may also affect Chidoka, a former aviation minister, who is from Anambra Central.

This is not forgetting Ifeanyi Ubah, the enfant terrible of Anambra politics. He had moved from one party to the other just to realise his ambition of governing Anambra, all to no avail. In the last senatorial election, Ubah, who is from Nnewi in Anambra South, won on the platform of the new Young Progressives Party (YPP). He had invested a lot of resources in APGA, but felt short-changed when the party denied him the opportunity to contest the senatorial seat. I am not too sure on which platform he would want to contest the governorship position when the time comes. But suffice it to say that he is currently in the Senate representing Anambra South and would want to acquit himself well there first while watching as events unfold.

Andy Uba also represented Anambra South in the Senate. He wielded enormous power when former President Olusegun Obasanjo was in power. He was governor of Anambra for 17 days in 2007 before Peter Obi dislodged him through the court. I am not too sure what his present permutations are. But he has Tony Nwoye to contend with.

Nwoye flew the governorship flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election. Like Obaze, he is also from the North and may find it difficult to overcome the sentiment of zoning. Even Sharon Ikpeazu, whose name has also come up as a likely candidate of the APC, is from Anambra Central.

Many unknown aspirants will definitely emerge with time. Some of them will come out just to crave publicity and relevance. Some will eventually bargain for one political appointment or the other.

At the appropriate time too, we shall analyse the leading candidates, their strengths and weaknesses. Until then, va-va-voom!

Re: Multiple tax collectors, defaulters and auditors

The gap between the haves and the have-nots will continue to widen in Nigeria. Soldiers kill policemen to free a wanted kidnapper; corrupt people are fighting corruption. These are indices of a failed state. It’s like Karl Marx had Nigeria in mind when he advised the working class to allow capitalism to grow, so that people will see the evil inherent in it. They should keep accumulating! The working class is uniting in another form and things are falling apart! Revolution is inevitable if they don’t change because Rev. Fr. Odey contended that, if you want to stop criminality, kill what breeds crimes first.

– Smart, Abakaliki, 2348160638941

Casmir, thanks for your good work on the above topic. I want to see the issue of taxes from three sides. 1. Government, federal, state and local, that receives the tax and diverts some due to corrupt officers among them. 2. The collectors, staff and companies charged with the collection, who play the role of the biblical Zacchaeus and yet fail to show the true amount they got before government.  3. The payers, companies, small/medium businesses and those who want to pay but have no money to empower business. Government should first plan with banks to give out loans at good terms. Once done, defaulters will decline.

– Pharm Okwy Njike, +2348038854922

Those who are behind the financial mess in the ministry of finance should be brought to book as a deterrent to others. Some people feel that being in government is to loot the treasury for their selfish aims. It is very bad and uncalled for.

– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

  • Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, September 2, 2019.