Sani Garba Consulting

The interactive Power BI report follows the short narrative

The world reached a definitive milestone with the COVID-19 scourge. The cataclysmic change from the novel coronavirus pandemic tested the resilience and leadership disposition of all nations; many, including developed countries/regions, discovered with dismay the inadequacy of their medical emergency response systems. Some, more than others, had been able to interpret the data emerging from the virus infection and use the knowledge to halt its rapid spread. Those slow to react experienced higher rates of infection and mortality among the people. Influence of Data had never been more evident than during the coronavirus pandemic, proving that the success of every venture, social or economic, must not only be anchored on well-thought-out plans but must rely on reliable information derived from sufficient and proficient data.

Several global, regional and national reports on the corona pandemic are available on the internet, but only a few had paid more than passing attention to Africa. The following report aims to provide basic insights into the COVID-19 impact on the African continent. The data for the nCoV19 Pandemic Report–Focus on Africa was sourced from the GitHub repository as curated and made available by the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Systems Science & Engineering. Other sources include the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the National Bureau of Statistics. Refer to the INFORMATION page in the Report for more details.

To give the reader distinct and relatable information on the impact of COVID-19 on nations, the report has been scaled into Global, African, Regional and Nigerian sub-reports. The two pages at the end of the report are comprehensive details of the COVID-19 data presented in tabular form.

April 6th, 2020 was selected to benchmark analysis in this report. It marks the midpoint between 22nd Jan 2020, the date data on the pandemic was made publicly available, and the date this article was published. On this day, every country/region had come to the full realization of the existential threat of COVID-19; the only continent with no recorded case was Antarctica which has no indigenous inhabitants.

The reader would have an immediate appreciation of the growth of the pandemic by comparing data of different periods that can be selected on the live and interactive Power BI report at the bottom of this post. The following briefs would explain some of the basic insights that the report offers.

Global Pandemic Report

The Global Report page tracks the continental aggregations of reported cases and provides context to the sub-reports. Table 1.1 shows the distribution of confirmed cases among the six populated continents as of 6th April 2020, while Table 1.2 shows the impact per a population of one million.

Table 1.1 – COVID-19 Impact Status on 6th April, 2020
Table 1.2 Confirmed Cases per I Million Population on 6th April, 2020

It is instructive that, 60% of the world population of 7.4 billion is in Asia, the epicentre of the pandemic, which accounted only for 17.70% of the global confirmed cases as of 6th April 2020. Africa, the 2nd in population, recorded the second least number of cases after Oceania, the least populated of the six inhabited continents. Europe, accounting for 10% of the world population, recorded the highest number of cases at 652,327.

By 14th June 2020, the COVID19 global map had been reshaped. Table 1.3 is a summary, showing an increase of 497.90% over the April 6th recorded numbers. North America recorded the highest number of deaths, least recovery rate but second highest mortality rate.

Table 1.3 COVID-19 Impact Status on 14th June, 2020

Africa Pandemic Report

According to Wikipedia   Africa is home to an estimated 1.2 billion people, representing 16 % of the global total. Regardless of the political disputes, Africa comprises 55 countries in 5 geographical regions as indicated in Table 2.1

Table 2.1 Population of Africa

Summary of the impact of the pandemic by April 6th is contained in Table 2.2 below, while Table 2.3 shows the pandemic update on 14th June 2020, which displays a sharp contrast.

Regional Highlight

There are two significant insights the Africa Report has revealed pertaining to the East and Central African regions. First, Central Africa, comprising nine countries, which was once the epicentre of the Ebola pandemic, recorded the second-lowest count of confirmed cases as of 6th April 2020. However, in relative terms to both the population and the number of the confirmed cases, suffered the highest COVID-19 mortality rate on the continent. The inverse relationship between fatality and recovery rates means the region had the lowest rate of recovery from the infectious disease, as well.  

The North African region, comprising seven countries, had the highest number of confirmed cases and fatality rate in comparative terms. Factors such as proximity to Europe, particularly Italy, and sharing similar climatic conditions, could have influenced the rapid spread of the virus to the Arab nations.

The second highlight is a perspective on Madagascar, one of the 18 countries in East African. Often described as geologically a sub-continent, ethnographically South-East Asian, it is geographically the fourth largest island in the world located on the southeast coast of African. Madagascar had 304 confirmed cases, 114 were recovered, 190 undergoing treatment and ZERO death by 17th May 2020.

The President of Madagascar had claimed and, indeed, staked his reputation on the efficacy of a herbal solution he had manufactured as a cure for the coronavirus infection. There was a public launch of the product that he later made a generous allocation of to several African nations.

The discovery was greeted with enthusiasm in Africa but with the expected scepticism around the globe, including a call for caution from the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the recent pronouncement by WHO that where a system of medicinal practice had persevered for over 200 years amongst any society that system should stand recognized. This is a welcome development coming on the heels of several tested claims of the potency of African organic medications.

When Africa unites to establish a continental body, Africa Health Organization, for instance, for the study and research into African medicines, results that could delight both investors and political leaders would likely be achieved. The main challenge, however, would be how to negotiate the monolithic corporations controlling the global pharmaceutical industry.

Senegal was another African success story, proving again the resilience and resourcefulness of the African community when faced with an existential threat. This West African nation of 17 million people established one of the most successful systems of administration and management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world. It brought down the cost of a single unit of test kit from $61 to just $1 and produced all the ventilators it required at just $60/unit as against the global price of $16,000. The story is available here.

The sudden increase in the spread of the coronavirus in the Southern African region should alarm the African Union. With only 5 nations, the region has the least number of nations and the lowest aggregate population as well. However, the region has recorded a jump of over 4000% rate of growth in COVID-19 confirmed cases per population of 1 million against the regional average of 2000%. Table 2.3 below compares the position between the April 6th and June 14th, 2020.

Table 2.4 Growth of Confirmed Cases per I Million Population

West Africa Pandemic Report

With an aggregate population of 340 million, the West African Region comprises 16 nations that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and ranks second in population size after East Africa. Nigeria, where ECOWAS is Headquartered, holds 52.15% of the region’s population and is the most populous country in Africa as well as its largest economy. When Nigeria closed its borders on 14th October 2019 for economic reasons, the measure was widely regarded unpopular among the neighbouring States. With the benefit of hindsight from the COVID-19 development, however, it was hailed as a significant contributor in stemming the cross-border spread of the coronavirus. A summary of the impact status on the region as of 14th June 2020 is captured in Table 3.1 below.

Table 3.1 COVID-19 Impact on West Africa Region on 14th June, 2020

Given its population size, the commercial and social propensities of its people, it was less of a surprise that the number of confirmed cases recorded by Nigeria was the highest in the region as of 14th June 2020. Maintaining correlation with population size, Ghana recorded the second-highest number of cases in the region. Liberia’s mortality rate of 6.99%, the highest in the region, deserves a mention and attention.

Nigeria Pandemic Report

According to several sources quoted from data supplied by the United Nations, Nigeria’s 2020 population estimate of 206 million, representing 2.64% of the global total, is ranked 7th on the list of countries. It is also regarded as the most populous black country in the world. These metrics, which point to great economic and political potentialities, are responsible for some of the attention Nigeria attracts from the global community. The socio-economic implication of the closure of Nigeria’s borders pre-COVID and beyond as discussed earlier was one of such impacts.

The number of cases recorded by the country’s Centre for Disease Control as of 14th June 2020 was 16,805. With an active rate of 64.94% and mortality under 3%, Nigeria demonstrates a notable resilience of the African nations not unlike the type it demonstrated on the onset of the July 2014 Ebola outbreak. The institutional memory from the effective management of the Ebola outbreak would appear to have significantly contributed to the COVID19 structure established to manage the coronavirus pandemic. A dedicated Nigeria COVID-19 Report is available here

Final Thoughts

The COVID-19 Report has been presented in a story-like form, a popular culture in data analysis and reporting environment that has been adopted in providing clarity on data-based issues and structures. The knowledge shared is intended to lead to the formulation of measures against the COVID-19 scourge and support a new architecture of a reliable response framework against similar occurrences in the future. Business Intelligence and Analysis tools such as the Microsoft Power BI have eased the extraction and transformation of massive amounts of data to help reveal timely insights for actionable decisions.

In the future, daily disease forecasts channels would most likely evolve, similar to the ubiquitous weather channels, to broadcast warnings that would enable us to take preventative and remedial actions without waiting for belated government interventions. The evolution of such outlets would be driven by Data Merchants, entrepreneurs of actionable data for sale. They will substitute government information organs to bridge the information gap and profit from the opportunities. Events such as the one reported by Forbes in the United States of America present the perfect scenario for the new enterprises. Forbes reported a study published revealing that:

Around 54,000 coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. could have been avoided by early May if states issued coronavirus restrictions on March 1, 2020, according to a new Columbia University model that starkly demonstrates how early action might have curtailed the growth of the virus

The fact that if requisite warnings had been issued on time, 54,000 people could have been alive today, would continue to resonate with most Americans. A sub-conscious sensory memory for self-preservation has been created and would provide the perfect trigger target to the data merchants to formulate and offer customized on-demand information to willing clients.

Cloud computing powered through Artificial Intelligence, Machine and Deep Learning would continue to advance technological developments and the creation of opportunities that are yet to be fathomed. While many appear to resist and even regard the changes as digital sorcery, the new world order isn’t going to reverse itself but will continue to evolve because data has, indeed, become the new oil and forms the bedrock for all forms of human advancement.

Why Microsoft’s Dominance over Big Data is a Given

The business model adopted by Microsoft has defined its growth and overall success story. For the purpose of this article, I shall call it the Access Model (AM). The acronym should not be confused with MA, Microsoft Access; if you contemplated the association, however, your thoughts are trending alongside mine. The musings that I am putting forth concern the recently affirmed recognition by Forrester Wave™ of Microsoft as a Leader in enterprise business intelligence (BI) platforms. And, for added perspective, let’s also mention Gartner’s recognition of Microsoft again as a leader in Analytics and BI platforms for 11 consecutive years.

Having used Microsoft Windows and Office since the 1980s and observed the entry of these products into the Nigerian homes and offices, I could hypothesize that the growth of any tech giant can be foretold by assessing the degree and scope of its penetration as an entity and product into the developing nations, particularly those in Africa. For this purpose, I have classified these companies into two categories. Companies with very strict or protectionist marketing policies that tend to be governed by the fear of open and new grounds would choose to remain local and private. You would find Apple in this category, a leader in its exclusive and secure club. Those with a generous outlook tend to be liberal and willing to take higher risks; by conquering imagined and real phobias, they boldly plunge into Africa and other similar risk adjudged markets. They would first make generous allowance to absorb projected risks and fears regarding unstable markets and losses occasioned from copyrights infringements. Microsoft belongs in the second category.

The average middle class and most of those below that class were introduced to the world wide web through Microsoft products; Widows, Office and the ubiquitous Internet Explorer had made it possible for a broad demographic to know and use the internet earlier than would have been possible without their presence. I am unable to envision any scenario where that would have been possible if Apple were the producer of those products and services. Microsoft would definitely not deliberately promote the piracy of its products, but making them accessible to many had effected a return on investments to Microsoft on a scale it probably never contemplated.

Let me digress to relate a marketing tactic deployed in Africa by the makers of Three Rings cigarettes in the 60s. Buyers narrated that when they bought a tin of cigarettes that contained about 20 sticks, they discovered lying at the bottom of the container the exact same amount of money they used to purchase the product. Additionally, the case was an attractive and useful ornament that delighted their sight as they got high and delirious on the nicotine they were sucking from the smoke. By the time the makers withdrew the free refund, enough customers had become hooked and more than willing smokers who continued to buy the product now in mutilated and ugly packaging. No one cared so long they could get their daily fix. The only analogy here is the habit formation capability of Microsoft products as tools of trade and commerce. Free is the most magical tactic to guarantee a successful marketing strategy. If you can provide cheap or free access to your product, depending on the long-term vision and resources, you have secured yourself growth and profits.

I neither subscribe to nor encourage copyright infringement to facilitate access to a product or service. The reference to it above was to underscore the conjecture I had theorized earlier. Evidently, growth models must design for accessibility and availability in terms of pricing and affordability to achieve full potentialities. Amazon realized this on its Market platform. Google and Facebook have attained successes primarily by deploying the Access Model founded on the platform of free and affordable infrastructure. Apple, on the other hand, though a manufacturer of high quality but an expensive and not easily accessible range of products, would remain a local high-value company that would not operate in the same league as the other global tech giants. Samsung’s struggle to compete with Apple has constrained the company from joining the elite AM club. Google too could have been a contender with its array of android, pixel and chrome products but is conflicted between the very successful search engine and various products it had fathered but was unable to keep faith in.

Microsoft, however, sticks with all its products and would trip only into the precipice of success. While Google had created and scrapped several chat apps, including Google+, a highly celebrated social platform, Microsoft kept faith with every single software that is created. Microsoft has transmuted its products into either Platform as a Service (PaaS) and/or Software as a Service (SaaS).

Now, let me run with some wild imagination.

The use of any of these products invariably leads to the other and slowly but surely the new modern era Matrix emerges under the seduction of the Oracle S to create a Singularity of Superior Soft Service. Teletransporting through and above the clouds into the tranquil blue sky that is the AZURE. Though Cloud and Azure Services do not actually hold any data, the symbolism carries a depth of meaning and demonstrates the amorphous capabilities and mastery in the accumulation and management of Big Data. By understanding the significance of Azure, one would have grasped the force driving Microsoft to emerge the head of the UDK – Ultimate Data Kingdom.

Data is regarded as King; though others would rather see it as the new virtual soil. Whoever commands and controls Big Data becomes the master of all. While Amazon and Apple are restricted to the atmospheric territory bounded by the Clouds, Microsoft transcends to the Azure into the mystic realm of the machine; comprising a chain of a satellite system that gathers and marshals all the data. This is the real Space Force comprising a virtual army that has effectively colonized the primary level of data generation and extraction from earthly computers. Then, it integrates with the secondary data being gathered under level two cloud chambers by Messrs. Amazon Web Services & Apple iCloud et al. Azure, sitting above it all, is the crown seat of the UDK where all data is coalesced to form a Singularity that unites all under the supremacy of Microsoft. Unlike the Blackhole that spaghettifies and destructs everything, the UDK transforms and constructs new robotic capabilities that would shape and dictate the New World Order.

I might have overstretched limits of imagination, but you understand the overall idea.


True Federalism is a mirror that reflects Devolution of Powers, Regionalism, Resource Control or, Restructuring as some would prefer to call it. The clamour for “Restructuring” of the Nigerian nation has become more vocal as reflection of the maturing democracy, which ironically, had become the target of criticism. The call to restructure the nation is simply the new form that the agitation for “Resource Control” and/or “Devolution of Power” has taken.


The following definition of relevant terms and phrases as contained in this article.

1.2 Federalism

This is simply defined as a system of government with specified relationship between the central government at the national level and its constituent units at the regional, state, or local level. It is, in a legal terms, a system of government which has created, by written agreement, a central and national government to which it has distributed specified legislative (law-making) powers, and called the federal government, and regional governments (or sometimes called provinces or states) governments to which is distributed other, specified legislative power.

1.3 Fiscal Federalism

It is easy to situate this if we grasp and understand that the principle under which federalism operates dictates that power and authority are allocated between the national and local govemental units, such that each unit is delegated a sphere of power and authority only it can exercise, while other powers must be shared.


2.1 Universal Applicability

This is concerned with “understanding which functions and instruments are best centralized and which are best placed in the sphere of decentralized levels of government” (Oates, 1999). In other words, it is the study of how competencies (expenditure side) and fiscal instruments (revenue side) are allocated across different (vertical) layers of the administration. An important part of its subject matter is the system of transfer payments or grants by which a central government shares its revenues with lower levels of government. Federal governments use this power to enforce national rules and standards.

2.2 Fund Allocation

There are two primary types of transfers, conditional and unconditional. A conditional transfer from a federal body to a state, local authority, or other territory, involves a certain set of conditions. If the lower level of government is to receive this type of transfer, it must agree to the spending instructions of the federal government. The second type of grant, unconditional, is usually a cash or tax point transfer, with no spending instructions. An example of this would be a federal equalization transfer.

2.3 Devolution of Power & Fiscal Decentralisation

Fiscal federalism constitutes a set of guiding principles, a guiding concept, that helps in designing financial relations between the national and subnational levels of the government; while the principle of fiscal decentralization on the other hand, is a process of applying such principles. This is what should interest us the most here in Nigeria as it relates to the sharing of revenues from, say, tax between the central government and regional or local authorities. The revenues may be raised by either authority and switched between them, as VAT is raised by governments and passed to the national government for distribution. (


Fiscal federalism is delicate as sovereignty must be focal to nationhood and whatever relationship that defines the constituent units, a balance that strengthens rather than weaken it must be ensured. The principle of dependency and interdependency should be brought to bear on the concept of the indivisibility of a sovereign nation.

3.1 Inter-Dependence

Fiscal federalism supports the independence of the federating units in the management of their fiscal affairs. In other words, fiscal affairs are decentralised and the units enjoy management of their revenues, expenditure and debts. In the Federal Republic of Nigeria, however, this relationship is governed by the principle of fiscal responsibility where the sanctity of the oneness of the economy is preserved and the activities of all tiers of government, which impact national economy are coordinated by the federal government.

3.2 Independence

The central government is expected to ensure equitable distribution of income, maintain macroeconomic stability and provide public goods that are national in character. Decentralised levels of government on the other hand are expected to concentrate on the provision of local public goods with the central government providing targeted grants in cases where there are jurisdictional spill-overs associated with local public goods.

3.3 Principles of Fiscal Responsibility

Fiscal Federalism demands Fiscal Responsibility, which principle is underscored by the following:

• government spending is prudently managed and sustained,

• government is not over-leveraged,

• government spending promotes growth,

• uniformity, transparency and accountability as well as timely disclosure and reporting of government financial affairs.

3.2 Fiscal Responsibility and Devolution of Power

✓ Decentralisation or devolution of power can simply be defined as the transfer of part of the powers of the central government to regional or state authorities, usually in response to demands for diversity and agitations based on perceived imbalance. In general decentralization or devolution is a response to the problems of centralized systems. It is seen as a solution to problems like economic decline, government inability to fund services and the demands of minorities for greater say in local governance. Decentralization or devolution of powers is linked to concepts of participation in decision-making, democracy, equality and liberty from high authority.

✓ The processes by which entities choose to achieve decentralization vary. They can be initiated from the central government in a top-down approach. Top-down decentralization may be a political gimmick while bottom-up decentralization initiated by individuals or states may be opposed as is the case with federalism we are now debating. At any rate whether it is top-down or bottom-up decentralization or devolution, it may not be constitutionally binding. Such decentralization or devolution may depend on the whims of the central government either to implement or ignore it.

The following reasons are often advanced for the increasing demand for decentralisation/devolution of fiscal affairs of the nation: –

• Central governments increasingly are finding that it is impossible for them to meet all of the competing needs of their various constituencies, and are attempting to build local capacity by delegating responsibilities downward to their regional governments.

• Central governments are looking to local and regional governments to assist them on national economic development strategies.

• Regional and local political leaders are demanding more autonomy and want the taxation powers that go along with their expenditure responsibility.

In 1997 the World Bank and other multilateral institutions observed that decentralisation had become a feature of reform agenda, which they promoted and continued to support. The rationale for this had been in part that decentralisation promotes accountability. It was not therefore surprising that by 1997, 62 of 75 developing nations, Nigeria inclusive, had embarked on one form of decentralisation or another.


In Nigeria, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 as an enforcement instrument for fiscal federalism, was promulgated toward ensuring a behaviour true to a federal nation.

4.1 The Theories of Fiscal Federalism

• “Fiscal Federalism” concerns the division of public sector functions and finances among different tiers of government. In undertaking this division, Economics emphasizes the need to focus on the necessity for improving the performance of the public sector and the provision of their services by ensuring a proper alignment of responsibilities and fiscal instruments. While economic analysis, as encapsulated in the theory of fiscal federalism, seeks to guide this division by focussing on efficiency and welfare maximisation in determining optimal jurisdictional authority, it needs to be recognised that the construction of optimal jurisdictional authority in practice goes beyond purely economic considerations. Political considerations, as well as historical events and exigencies, have in practice, played major roles in shaping the inter-governmental fiscal relations in most federations.Economics teaches us that public goods will be under-provided if left to private market mechanisms since the private provider would underinvest in their provision because the benefits accruable to her or him would be far lower than the total benefit to society. Governments and their officials were seen as the custodians of public interest who would seek to maximise social welfare based on their benevolence or the need to ensure electoral success in democracies.

• Once we allow for a multi-level government setting, this role of the state in maximizing social welfare then provides the basic ingredients for the theory of fiscal federalism. Each tier of government is then seen as seeking to maximize the social welfare of the citizens within its jurisdiction. This multi-layered quest becomes very important where public goods exist, the consumption of which is not national in character, but localized. In such circumstances, local outputs targeted at local demands by respective local jurisdictions clearly provide higher social welfare than central provision. This principle, which Oats (1972) has formalised into the “Decentralisation Theorem” constitutes the basic foundation for what may be referred to as the first generation theory of fiscal decentralisation (Oats, 2004). The theory focussed on situations where different levels of government provided efficient levels of outputs of public goods “for those goods whose special patterns of benefits were encompassed by the geographical scope of their jurisdictions” (Oats, 2004: 5). Such situation came to be known as “perfect mapping” or “fiscal equivalence” (Olson 1969).

4.2 Issues with Fiscal Federalism

To discuss the problems of fiscal federalism is actually to enumerate the problems of Federalism itself. And the single most important issue that is being viewed by most, from the political dimension, is over-concentration of power at the centre. This translates to more resources in the hands of the federal or central government. At the moment, all revenues accruing to the Federal Government of Nigeria is lodged into a pool account called the Federation Account and broadly shared in the following manner:

The table above represents the subsisting constitutional arrangement, which is implemented on monthly basis after 13% derivation on the gross oil revenue is first deducted and shared between the eight oil-producing states of the Republic of Nigeria. This information is generally published online and in different reports produced by government every month. Some see the above arrangement as fiscal centralisation or skewed fiscal federalism. States have continued to call for the decentralisation in the sharing of the national income so as to give them greater share corresponding to their responsibilities and, most importantly, the derivative nature of these resources. Some of the factors supporting this call may be discussed under the following:

4.2.1 Infrastructure

The states have vast needs to develop intra-state road network to enable economic movement of persons and goods

4.2.2 Agriculture

Many argue that agriculture could be a sustaining sector for the nation or, at least, a major complementary area for the nation’s sustenance in food crops and earnings from cash crops.

4.2.3 Education

Education has continued to defy measures taken to stop the falling standards in all the three tiers of education.

4.2.4 Employment

Government has raised the National Minimum Wage to a level that some states had decried; current realities have made the ₦18,000 objectionable to most.

4.2.5 Environment

Environmental degradation of the oil-producing areas is also an area posing social and security concerns, and, hence, the call for a higher derivation share or greater resource control.

4.2.6 Insurgency

The surge of militancy and terrorism in the north-east and south-south Nigeria threatened the core existence of Nigeria. The central government only was responsible for bringing back normalcy. Whatever level of Fiscal independence that is granted the federating units, national security is always handled by the Central Government with Security as its exclusive preserve.

4.2.7 Poverty

Poverty level differs between state to state and region to region. It was regarded the precursor to the insurgencies in the country.


Every region, every state in Nigeria is richly endowed with resources, be they oil, solid minerals, forest resources, arable land, etc. The centralisation of oil wealth and the resultant over-dependence of all states on the revenues therefrom has accelerated the national degeneration into the resource curse and Dutch disease conundrum. What we have done by this process is that, we have shielded the states from a hard budget constraint, thus encouraging them to merely ‘raid the commons’. Incentives for developing own tax bases and resources are thus stultified to the detriment of overall growth and development. Recent studies provide evidence on the growth impact of decentralisation and enhanced regional autonomy (Kee, undated; Desai, 2003).

The global shift from fossil energy derived from crude oil, natural gas and heavy oils to alternative and renewable sources has ushered a dawn of realization that, for any nation to remain a viable economy, it must diversify to other sources of economic and human sustenance. Nigeria is a fledgling democracy operating a centralised federalism under an equally centralised fiscal federalism. The previous constitutional amendment took cognisance of this fact and, therefore, carefully avoided adjusting the subsisting fiscal arrangement .

Our main concern should be the focus on the political unity of the federation for now. Issues concerning decentralised fiscal federalism can still be revisited under the ongoing constitutional review without losing sight of where we are headed. Let us target the consolidation of true gains of democracy, and aim to achieve paradigm shift in our collective psyche as well as a measurable shift from dependance one a mono production society to other alternate national growth enablers such as agriculture and industrialization. The basis for my concern predicates on the consequence of absolute devolution where each state gets 100% control of its resource. Oil, as a priceless resource today, will cease to be so in a decade or two, according to the global trend. Ownership of Nigeria’s main commodity may change with time. We need to keep faith with the shared model for the political and socio-economic survival of our Nigeria.

Meanwhile, for true federalism to be realized, the centre may need to surrender its substantial holding on federation allocation. The following is suggested:

The devolution of resource control to the federating units as proposed, shall effectively abrogate the 13% derivation allocation of resources to any specific state or unit as obtained under the current arrangement. The devolution of resources to producing and controlling federating units is an inclusive principle and impartial principle of universal application.

Under the proposed arrangement, a few of the responsibilities being exercised exclusively by the federal government are expected to devolve to the federating units with the emphatic exceptions to security functions. The lower federating units are to be granted the largest share of VAT income, to spur them into greater income generation activities at the grassroots level. Power and resources shall be effectively exercised by the local governments, hoping that, fiscal responsibility by all tiers of Government, would not only be respected but assiduously observed.

A Template of Success

Sometimes success comes in a template; that template is President Muhammadu Buhari.

In October 1994, the pump price of fuel was increased to ₦11 from ₦3.25k by the former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, which caused restiveness across all sectors of our socio-economic existence. Following the hues and cries generated by the hike, the General promulgated Decree 25 establishing the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund. A retired Major-General and a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated the Executive Chairman of the Board on March 21, 1995. An initial ₦60 billion was made available to the Board to commence operations. The fund was worth ₦115.1 billion as at December 31, 1997. The only mandate given to him at the time was to ensure distribution “….of the gains from the (petrol price) increase on social and infrastructural projects.”

On accepting to serve as Chair, he said to the PTF contractors “If you perform well, you get a handshake. If you perform badly, you get a handcuff.” That quote became very famous. The PTF went ahead at inception to award contracts for the rehabilitation of 12,000 km of federal highways. It impacted our health care, education, water, and the agricultural sectors. The successes of the PTF are numerous and, was unarguably the only Agency to achieve a very high success level within the period it existed. He exhibited transparency and accountability as, for the first time, a government agency produced and published audited accounts two consecutive years.

Notwithstanding the controversies surrounding the appointment of a consortium of professional consultants that managed the fund, the overall achievements recorded by the PTF are incontrovertible. The records of its successes and mistakes provide an adaptive template that can be refined with acquired experiences and modern technologies.
From reports, we know the EFFC has so far recovered stolen assets worth about $3.1 billion. Mopped up funds on the TSA have also been announced. Several sources have been identified in fantastically unscrupulous nations that harbor stolen assets taken from this country and efforts have been intensified for their repatriation. The President has promised to reveal more on 29th May 2016 when he addresses the nation on Democracy Day. Planning for efficient utilization of these resources for national good is equally as important as recovering them.

In an earlier post, NO PAIN, NO GAIN (you can read it here, I suggested the creation of a Trust Fund to manage the recovered assets. I called it the National Asset Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund (NARRTFUND); replicating a success template developed from the PTF era. Several administrative structures are available, but one where an Executive Vice-Chairman reports to the President or his Vice may present the ideal framework, giving the Presidency a grip on policy oversight. An appropriate legislation is therefore desired, both as a critical legal support and as an essential component of our laws to serve all generations. The NARRTFUND can serve this purpose.

In a military regime, policies desired by the junta were easily decreed into law, but never so in a democracy. The National Assembly is the only body empowered to appropriate federally owned funds before they are expended, and the recovered assets were once federal resources that had been shared inappropriately. Legislation that created the Sovereign Wealth Fund under the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority presents the right framework to be emulated. The encouragement here is to get the Presidency to romance the NASS to legislate for the establishment of the NARRTFUND. The politics that will dominate debate on the legislation would very much border on not just who to appoint, but majorly a battle of who appoints who as members on the Board of Trustees. The National Assembly, uncertain as some of us are regarding its efficacy, will serve to check and balance any excessive discharge of duties. Most importantly, the social media and the civil societies in cohort with the conventional media have consolidated into a dominant force in the cyber world that can even bring a government down to its knees. There are more than enough formal instruments and informal authorities to watch over the Fund.

Let’s consider a few of the benefits.

Annual Budgets in the past have failed to impact on the economy mainly because of their short lifespan. Like the 2016 Budgets, its predecessors have never been passed and made operational by January, the beginning of every financial. The budgets were often signed into law halfway into the year. With the rigors of procurement processes eating more into the year, hardly are three cohesive months available for implementation to achieve meaningful outcomes regarding real projects by the end of the financial year. The result has often been abandoned and cost overrun projects. This circle of waste can be stemmed by upgrading priority capital projects to a greater budget cycle of three years. The accounting year needs not change, but the project and programme budget period can extend beyond a conventional twelve months’ cycle.

The legacy of the Change Government must be felt, seen and labeled. Here, I’d like you to visualize an insignia inscribed on milestone projects, say, a modern bullet train that travels on schedule from Lagos to Sokoto bearing the “NARRFUND” label. A truly and well dredged River Niger to allow large ships to move goods and people to and from the hinterland. A Nuclear station to power up one-third of the country. All these monumental projects built from the proceeds of the fund would surely be a legacy to bequeath Nigerians by this administration.
It is my hope and that of all Nigerians that, as he unfolds his plans on Democracy Day, President Buhari would present policies, programmes, and projects to grow and develop our economy and to honestly claim the title “Giant of Africa” and a regional economic superpower. An end that more than justifies the means.

I close with the following quote, and most of you will nod in agreement.
An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep – Alexander the Great

He Needs to Succeed. He Has the Will; He Has our Support!

I took a friend to a local orthopedic surgeon to mend a fractured limb. Two previous visits were unsuccessful and were actually the cause for the third before this renowned surgeon whose works had received good testimonies in the region.

After 15 minutes of intense examination, which caused my friend to emit groans and sweat in pain, the ensuing verdict was not only a frightening proposition but felt like medieval judgement direct from hell. The old man announced that to mend the limb, he would need to break it again to reinsert a missing piece then realign the bones together before placing the leg in a locally assembled cast. We didn’t invite the patient into this part of the conversation, knowing he would have to undergo this procedure without any anesthesia, but only the strength of the surgeon’s son to hold him down. I now leave you to imagine the level of pain my friend had to endure.

The procedure was successfully completed and my friend retained his leg as against the amputation early proposed in the conventional Hospital.

Do pardon the long story above, which I hope you enjoyed. The purpose is this: in life and more often than not, we are compelled by circumstances to endure seemingly destructive and unpleasant processes and procedures in order to attain permanent and enduring ends. As it is said, the end justifies the means. If my friend did not endure (I accept we forced the choice on him) the pain of the dislocation procedure and the subsequent resetting of the bones in his fractured limb, he would have ended up with no leg at all.

The 67.63% or ₦58.50 increase in the pump price of PMS from ₦86.50 to ₦145 is a painful process toward a journey of mending the Nigeria economy and growing it to a sustainable and enviable levels. I am not going into reminding you that the true cost of purchasing fuel at ₦86.50 in the past couple of months was much more than the new pump price. But do remember the nights spent in petrol stations, diluted fuel bought at black markets, increases in the prices of products resulting from the mentioned reasons. The list is long, but we had lived through them. I agree with those who rationalize that so long as the end result brings steady fuel supply and whatever subsidy withdrawn is finally ploughed back to develop the economy, then it is a sacrifice worth making. Yes, I agree and wish to proffer a few more suggestions.
Functional channels of information dissemination like the National Orientation Agency and other Social Media outlets need to be immediately reinvigorated. There is no better time as now for the President to address the nation on the State of the Nation. The 2016 Budget should serve as fulcrum for unfolding and justifying all the policies aimed at addressing the many economic maladies The nation faces. Do not leave Nigerians to the mercy of their imaginations, perception is often greater than real truth. Talk to the people, as often and directly as possible.
Set up a National Asset Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund (NARRTFUND). With the 2016 Budget Strategic Implementation Plan already unfolded, the President could use the opportunity to inform the nation of his plan regarding the recoveries being made of the looted assets. It may take a year or more for most of the assets to be fully or substantially recovered; the Government will gain accolades by unveiling a strategic plan to put the funds to direct and specific development projects. I suggest the setting up of the NARRFUND, the legalities of which may take sometime to establish. Now is the best time to spread the news as national morale has been scathed by the sudden increase in fuel prices.
Our dear President needs to come out guns blazing against the current economic tides with the same gusto he is fighting this fantastic monster called corruption.
Introduction of palliatives for political fiats only such as the purchase and introduction of refurbished vehicles could grossly abuse workers collective psyche, and is therefore not advised.
The next bold and necessary thing is to restructure the entire civil service in both the federal and states. The gains of the Public Service Reform attempted during former president OBJ have been substantially eroded in part by policy somersaults, but mainly due to non completion of the reformation programme to 100% level as conceptualized.
Shrink to 60% the Public Civil Service workforce. Split the 40% into two groups and redirect one to an Elite Agricultural Programme to be set up for the purpose. I’d suggest a drastic scale down in the sizes of our two legislative chambers, but I won’t. Certain things are better left not done. The complexity of the Nigerian State demands an all-inclusive engagement at the Federal level at all times; not to do so would create a problem greater than any planned financial savings.
The second group disengaged from the service should be prepared for high-end entrepreneurial programmes directed at skills acquisition and business strategies. Remember that over 60% of our annual budget goes into sustaining the workforce. If 40% of the funds saved through down-sizing in the first two years are channeled to fund the foregoing programmes, the economy would be the better for it while providing life employment to the disengaged persons. I’d gladly elect to be a participant in the Elite Agric Programme.
To further support and ensure the success of the programmes, funding can further be drawn from the interests earned on the contributory pension funds, the accruing excess crude oil proceeds and, of course, the NARRTFUND.
Sometimes in order to relocate to another position, dislocation becomes inevitable. Happy events, like the rebasing of the economy, sometimes come unexpectedly, other times, like now, the situation is painful but necessary to ensure the attainment of a long-term permanent succor.

Mood of the Mind and Productivity

There is no journey greater than that leading one to self-rediscovery. Rediscovery is the self-awareness when you finally accept and embrace the idiosyncrasies that uniquely define you. Understanding the how is more important than just finding out why. Civilization, progress and development all happened due to our differences. It will highly be boring if we all are the same, doing the same thing all the time. Just imagine everyone talking at the same time and churning out the same thing. That would be maddening. Uniqueness is essential, and it always is the fulcrum employed by the imaginative to catapult on to success.

We each are distinct, our goals and needs also are, and knowing this helps. You do not require to arrive at a destination that is not your goal.

The mind has its workflow processes that are different in each of us. I had discovered, for instance, that I do not enjoy working on just one task at a time. In fact, working on just a single task gets me procrastinating several times over. However, by introducing another challenging project, I learned that I could get the initial work completed faster as well as the second one, sometimes simultaneously, or not far apart. I wrote this article outside of a window I created during an important assignment. I oscillate between the first task and the writing of this article dictated by and in tune with the mood of the mind.

The best mood of the mind is its emotional equilibrium. Whatever person you happen to be, you can use the varying degree of the state of your mind to determine and segregate tasks, according to calculated associative tendencies. It is important that you know the mood of your mindset and its optimal compatible associative function, which is guaranteed to lead you to a state of maximum performance. People who rely on drugs for stimulation to get things done know exactly the effect they expect from ingesting those substances, and they set to undertake tasks within the zone so enabled. The trick is to discover what mood of the mind simulates a ‘high zone’ and apply that time to an associative task.

You can attain a state of stabilization when you achieve a balance between the creative mood and a rebel sporting spirit, which is always lurking and seeking to distract. Instead of playing on the downward swing of the nonassociative task, its onset needs be recognized immediately and then determinedly taken control of and asserted over the dominant one.

Fatigue caused by physical exertions diminishes productivity, which is as a result of incessant demands on the mind. We are often more fatigued from excessive thinking on how to do a task rather than from doing it. The mind often chooses to relapse into boredom and become disinterested in pursuing the task. At this point, a break is desired away from that consuming thought towards another for which the mind has a preferred and suitable mood. A simple walk, gym workout, solving a puzzle or writing an article, are sometimes the best outlets to explore. Research has proven that students who study in a stretch that does not exceed thirty minutes followed by short breaks tended to understand and solve problems better than those who study for longer periods without taking occasional breaks.

It is best to apply oneself one hundred percent to solving petty issues; this gives you the freedom to tackle important and critical issues with greater efficiency and ease. Multitasking capability is necessary for this jet age. The Dwight D. Eisenhower productivity model is of significance. It emphasizes the isolation of tasks by their degree of importance and urgency and encourages that we categorize tasks by their level of importance and urgency then determine when and how to accomplish them.

Where two or more tasks struggle for prioritization, it is necessary to focus on what is more important and what is urgent. While Dwight’s model calls for strict compliance with its tenets to attain optimal productivity, our innermost voice that dictates our moods, must equally be respected; the mood of your mind can navigate you successfully between two or more tasks, improving your productivity.

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