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OPINION: Thought Subsidy Was Bad. Why is Tinubu Bringing it Back? – Farooq A. Kperogi

A September 21, 2023, enterprise news report (i.e., a news report that’s not from a news release or a press conference) from the Daily Trust found that “Despite the numerous assurances by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that… subsidy is gone… the federal government paid N169.4 billion as subsidy in August to keep the pump price at N620 per litre.”

What happened? I thought petrol subsidies were evil, harmful, no-good drains on the economy that should be avoided at all costs. I thought the government had no responsibility to tame the savagery of market forces and to protect citizens from the full fury of the vagaries of international oil prices.

I thought the “invisible hand” was supposed to regulate prices unaided by any governmental intervention (which has been thoroughly disproved by the fact that petrol marketers arbitrarily increased their pump prices after Tinubu precipitously announced that subsidies were gone even though they were selling the old stock of petrol that had been subsidized by taxpayers.)

I thought it didn’t matter that unaffordable and extortionate petrol prices are causing hundreds of thousands of Nigerians to starve and die, small- and large-scale industries to collapse, unemployment to skyrocket, the economy to shrink, quality of life of the average citizen to plummet, and Nigeria as a whole to regress to the Stone Age.

With the naira on an unprecedently free fall against the dollar and global petrol prices on the rise, it’s inevitable that a liter of petrol would have been at least 1,000 naira a liter by now if the “invisible hand” that conservative economists have invested so much faith in were left to determine the pump price of petrol. It’s conceivable it could climb to 2,000 naira per liter in the coming months if the government doesn’t interfere with the vagaries of the market.

Why is Tinubu committing “economic blasphemy” by misdoubting the power of the omniscient and omnicompetent Invisible Hand to take care of everything? Why is he intervening to stop the pump price of petrol from getting to its appropriate rate? Does he want our petrol to be so affordable that our neighbors will smuggle it?

Does he no longer want to save money to build and renew infrastructure and fund education? (Never mind that we haven’t seen where the money saved from the withdrawal of subsidies since May has been put to productive use. Or that only the living and the healthy can use infrastructure and go to school.)

Well, I guess Tinubu and his ideological cheerleaders in and out of government are beginning to see what some of us have been saying for years: that subsidizing an essential commodity like petrol in Nigeria whose price affects every facet of life is not an option; it is an abiding moral imperative.

The government’s primary reason for existing is to protect lives. As is by now evident, withdrawing fuel subsidies in an oil-producing country that is the poverty capital of the world, that has one of the world’s lowest minimum wages, and that has no public transportation system is a trigger for mass suffering and mass deaths.

There is something else that must have informed Tinubu’s decision to stealthily halt the impending rise in the pump price of petrol: insurance against mass anomie and revolt.

Although Nigerians can be some of the most incredibly docile and self-hypnotic people on earth, it’s stupid to assume that they will always be so. As someone once remarked, “The day when large numbers of men have to choose between feeding their children and providing a roof over their heads—is the day when nothing will stop the torches and pitchforks.”

In other words, there is a limit to human endurance of pain and deprivation. Most people won’t listlessly just roll over and perish because of persistent adversity. People with an overpowering will to live who can’t survive government-engineered suffocation of their lives (which withdrawal of subsidies amid endemic poverty represents) will turn to crime out of desperation. That’s why the crime statistics in Nigeria have quadrupled since May.

But it’s going to get worse. For now, the victims of crimes are the poor and the disappearing middle class. The rich and the powerful are next if the current subsidy-removal-activated excruciation doesn’t abate. After the poor, the lower middle class and the middle class are dispossessed, the rich will become the next meal of the desperately poor.

“Eat the rich” is an enduring, often metaphoric, revolutionary catchphrase usually mouthed by conscientious, socially sensitive middle-class intellectuals to denote redistributive economic justice, but it could become literal in Nigeria once it gets to the point when only the rich—politicians and their underlings, wealthy businesspeople, and other government-subsidized fat cats—have all the food. That’s why so-called bread riots are historically the most common triggers of momentous mass insurrections.

Cynical conservatives in the West like to say subsidies for the poor are basically protection money to stop the poor from stealing and revolting. The rich in the West don’t want to be awake because the poor can’t sleep. The late Professor Sam Aluko captured it brilliantly in 1999 when he memorably said, “The poor cannot sleep because they are hungry, and the rich cannot sleep, because the poor are awake and hungry.”

That is why the welfare state was brought forth in the West. The International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences defines a welfare state as “a state that is committed to providing basic economic security for its citizens by protecting them from market risks associated with old age, unemployment, accidents, and sickness.”

Ironically, it is the same welfarist West whose institutions (such as the IMF and the World Bank) encourage, in many cases compel, developing countries like Nigeria to strip the poor of basic economic security through the removal of subsidies.

Of course, our rapacious, self-loving leaders who want exclusive control of the state’s resources for themselves and their families welcome the freedom from being responsible to struggling citizens that removal of subsidies represents. And slavish, unthinking ideologues of the “Washington Consensus” cheer on.

There is not an example of a single country on earth that has made progress on the basis of the cruel policies that the World Bank and the IMF impose on countries.  As Professors David Held and Anthony McGrew persuasively showed in their book, Globalization/Anti-Globalization: Beyond the Great Divide, “Developing countries that have benefited most from globalization are those that have not played by the rules of the standard [neo]liberal market approach, including China, India and Vietnam” (p. 226).

In fact, even America, the patron saint of capitalism, doesn’t practice the sort of cruel, extreme capitalism that Tinubu is practicing and that even his opponents promised they would practice if they got a chance to be elected president.

As I pointed out in my December 10, 2016, column titled “Dangerous Fine Print in Emir Sanusi’s Prescriptions for Buhari,” when it comes to the welfare of its citizens, America doesn’t practice on its soil what its institutions preach to developing countries.

I wrote: “But when the United States went into a recession between 2007 and 2009, it didn’t follow any of these neoliberal prescriptions. The dollar wasn’t devalued. Subsidies weren’t removed. The state wasn’t rolled back. The government didn’t retrench workers. Taxes weren’t raised.

“On the contrary, the government increased expenditure. The financial burden on the populace was eased with lower taxes.  Government, in fact, sent lots of money, called tax rebate checks, to lower- and middle-income families so they could have money to spend, since recession is essentially the consequence of people not having enough money to spend. I was a beneficiary of the tax rebate, so I know what I am talking about. Financially distraught private companies (particularly car manufacturers and banks) were bailed out by the government.”

I don’t know if Tinubu and his team are finally realizing that the problem with fuel subsidy was the monstrous corruption in it and not the subsidy itself. Most of what passed as fuel subsidy was fraud. Any government worth the name should be able to tackle corruption and administer subsidies for the collective benefit of Nigerians.

But Tinubu was swept over by the idiotic anti-subsidy mass hypnosis that has engulfed Nigeria in the last few years.

This has ensured that Tinubu has had by far the shortest honeymoon in power. Why won’t he? He promised to hit the ground running but instead hit the ground ruining— with his infamous “Subsidy is gone for good” declaration on inauguration day. He promised renewed hope but is giving renewed hell. He promised the dawn of a new era, but people are seeing the dawn of a new error after Buhari.

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Why there is increased coup d’etat in W/Africa – Shehu Sani

Former member of the National Assembly Sen. Shehu Sani has identified five reasons for the increasing reemergence of military takeover of governments in Africa, especially in the West African sub-region.

Sani frowned at what he considers the increasing reemergence of juntas in the politics of especially West African countries but maintained that they keep recurring because the conditions were being created for them to return.

“We have seen in the past few years how democracies in the West African sub-region have collapsed. It has happened in Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and now the Niger Republic.

“Coup d’etats are internal issues and they do not happen within a day. Conditions are created for the military to take over power. And in West Africa today there are about five conditions that I have noted to be responsible.

“First is the destruction of democratic values. Elections are rigged. Many people who call themselves Democrats have no respect for the Rule of Law. And the constitutions are consistently violated.

“When that is done the spirit of democracy is killed and the seed for the destruction of democracy is planted.

“Second, is economic inequity and inequality.  There is so much poverty in the land. And when you have poverty, you have social dislocation and social crisis. By that, an atmosphere of illegal overthrow of the government is created and gives justification for people to say democracy is not working because people are suffering, so the military needs to take over.

Sani who was the Deputy Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs in the 8th National Assembly identified the third reason as the issue of insecurity.

“The rise of terror groups in the Sahel – Boko Haram, the ANSARU, ISWAP – has made civilian authorities become dependent on the military for their safety and security.

“There is so much reliance on them. And that has given them that thinking and the mental redirection that they should be in charge.

“The fourth has to do with the fact that there is no coordinated attempt to save democracy in Africa. You find that whenever there is a coup there is no coordinated strategy or penalty for coups. And they happen and continue to happen.

“So, the coup in Niger could have been prevented if the democracy was saved.

“Fifth reason: There are issues regarding the election of Niger’s ousted president Mohammed Bazoum which ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) closed their eyes to.

“Look at it this way. In Cote d ‘Ivoire Alassane Ouattara tinkered with the constitution as president and gave himself a third-term mandate. The ECOWAS and AU never raised an issue with that.

“The President of the Central African Republic today has tinkered with the constitution and given himself a tenure extension. The same thing has happened in Burundi. The AU and other sub-regional groups don’t raise questions,” he added.

According to him, a situation where democratic governance in member states deteriorates and regional and sub-regional bodies in the continent decide to speak out only when coups happen can always lead to the military takeover of government

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Festus Adedayo: France, your Queendom is falling!

Zimbabwe-born medical doctor and activist, Arikana Chihombori-Quao’s viral video which hit airwaves last week evokes the music of iconoclastic Jamaican reggae musician, Peter Tosh. The video explains the rebellion going on in the Sahel against France. In Tosh’s system-bashing, anthem-of-resistance song, a call to action against the evils of colonialism and oppression, the coup in Niger Republic and France’s decades of paternal oppression against French-speaking Africa gets graphic detailing. His Mystic album, especially the track Babylon, your Queendom is falling, is pregnant with powerful lyricism that is unpretentious against colonial oppression.

It calls on black people of the world to reclaim their hearts, their lands, culture, heritage and humanity from the stranglehold of colonizers. Tosh especially chose the oppressive colonial and post-colonial system that underdeveloped black people for censure. He labeled this power structure system that has enslaved and exploited black people in the world for centuries as “Mystery Babylon.” The concept of white supremacy and its Queen(King)dom is falling, Tosh sang: “Mystery Babylon, your Queendom a falling/Tumbling down/And Rahab, a Ethiopia calling…”

If you call Tosh a prophet, you would not be mistaken. As the lyrics lament white oppression, wrapped in fluid-flowing and danceable tune, Tosh addresses the systematic downfall of Babylon and how Ethiopia, regarded as the promised land of Africa, is rising in rebellion, from its ashes of oppression. After so many decades of sustenance of black people’s oppression from the capitals of oppression of the world, Tosh sang, the Babylonian system is meeting its waterloo as the oppression is coming to an end.

He made a biblical allusion to Rahab and then to Ethiopia, the only African country never colonized. Rahab was the prostitute from Jericho who helped Joshua and his army in the conquest of the city of Jericho and his reference to Ethiopia was a call for the overthrow of white oppressive system in Africa.
Tosh sang effusively in the Jamaican patois with optimism that all that was stolen from Africa and taken to Babylon would be returned after the system’s overthrow: “Gimme back mi gold, mi ruby an mi diamond…sent I sons and daughters from a far off… I said all those that are called of I name…Gimme back mi zebra, mi lion an mi tiger… Gimme back mi land, mi language and mi culture… I said, take back your chink, your roach, and mosquito…” He asked for the repatriation of all stolen invaluable possessions which he symbolized with gold, diamonds, rubies, zebras, lions, tigers, land, language, and culture, rudely and crudely stolen by stealth by white colonizers.

In the viral video, Chihombori-Quao had appeared on Eye Gambia, alongside other commentators. She gave a present-day bite to the Tosh song, especially France and French-speaking Africa colonial and post-colonial relations. Former African Union representative to the United States from 2017 to 2019, Chihombori-Quao viewed Africa with the same lens that Tosh looked at the continent’s underdevelopment. This outspoken Zimbabwean, renowned for her caustic review of the implications of the Berlin Conferenc in Germany in 1885, made some earth-shaking revelations that put the coup in Niger and the rebellion in the Sahel in perspective. Chihombori-Quao is known for her rave lectures delivered on the outcome of the selfish, self-centered and haphazard partitioning of the African continent in Berlin. To her, that division is responsible for the multiplication of Africa’s problems and why, in the words of Walter Rodney, Africa remains underdeveloped.

“The government of France has significant control over all their former colonies, specifically fourteen of them. When they were giving them independence, they forced them to sign a document which they called the pact for the continuation of colonization. On one hand, they say we are giving you independence which comes out to be political independence but that you have to sign this document… You are going to be independent, but you have to agree to continually be colonized. Two countries said, absolutely not, they (were) not going to sign the document. They are Mali and Guinea. What the French did was that, they entered those countries, took everything that they thought they brought into those economies, poured concrete into sewage pipes and completely devastated the two economies. They did this to let other countries know that if they (did) not sign this document, this (was) the fate that (awaited them).

“The impact (was) terrible. The pact that that those countries had to deposit 85 per cent of their bank reserves with the French Central Bank, under the control of the French Minister of Finance, and should those countries wish to request some of those monies – remember they are only left with 15 per cent of their reserves – they have to submit the financial statement for the country and if approved, they can only access up 20 per cent of whatever they had deposited year before as a loan at the commercial interest rate. The only difference now is the 85 per cent deposits have now been lowered down to maybe 50 and 60 percent but the countries are still forced and required to deposit their bank reserves with the French Central Bank.

“Now, picture this situation: you are depositing your monies with France. Should you need some of your money, you get it as a loan at commercial interest rates. Immediately, you have credit with France, but you begin to owe France! This has been going on and continuous till this day. So, combined, the 14 countries are giving to France cash of over $500 billion every year and France takes that money and invests it in its own stock market under the French name… currently, for every 14 billion that France takes out of Africa, by the time they finish investing it in the French stock market, they realize upwards of $300 billion so you do the maths to see how much France takes out of Africa every year. And France has the audacity to then look at African countries and call them poor. Why would poor African countries give France $500 billion year in year out? But what gets me the most is, how does the world sit back and watch this carnage take place in Africa.

Where is the United Nations? This is the body that is supposed to be looking for any violation of human rights. It is my humble opinion that, singularly, what France is doing to Africa is the biggest violation of human rights. Women and children are dying of starvation, youth unemployment and these same poor countries are giving $500 billion to France. It simply does not make any sense and I don’t know how the world can sit back and watch all this unfold and nobody is saying anything. It is unacceptable. It is wrong and we are simply asking France to do what is right, what is just and right with Africans,” she said.

Ahmed Sekou Toure was the president of Guinea who refused to sign that pact of servitude. He rejected the French and its bid to appropriate the wealth and farmland of Guinean traditional landlords. He was famous with the lingo that “Guinea prefers poverty in freedom to riches in slavery” and argued that Africa lost its essence and future during colonization. He advocated that Africa should retaliate by cutting off ties with her former colonial masters and for clinging to the apron of the west as their puppeteers. He also voiced his distrust of other African nations.

The above Chihombori-Quao submission may sound inscrutable, horrific and frightening. Another video, which went viral recently, was of Sierra Leonean-German multi-facetted social entrepreneur, Mallence Bart-Williams. At a Ted event, she explained the chaos and crises in Africa and said that chaos in Africa is orchestrated because of the resources of Africa that are cheaply and fraudulently taken out of Africa. “A healthy and thriving Africa will not disperse its resources as freely and cheaply… which in turn may destabilize and weaken western economies established on the post-colonial free meal system” she said. Affirming France’s yearly collection of foreign reserve deposit from Africa posited by Chihombori-Quao, she said France based it on “colonial debt which they force them to pay.” This, she said, was affirmed by former French president Jacques Chirac who an interview said that “we have to be honest and acknowledge that the big part of the money in out banks comes precisely from the exploitation of the African continent” and that in 2008, Chirac said that without Africa, France will slide down in the ranks of third world powers.”

Another expose has put the animosity against the new military rulers of Niger to the pipeline project that passes through the republic on the way from Nigeria to Europe. The uranium deposit in Niger is also the contention, a mineral that Europe and Africa have been stealing from Africa for decades. The resistance against the new junta, a regime that has promised to disconnect the stealing and cheap sales of is “the quest to gain back their wealth, the uranium, gold, iron, phosphate, iron and gas and this scares the west.” In this quest to regain their national sovereignty, delink from being an European colony and Russia is backing French-Africa. This incenses the west and America.

This is why the Bola Tinubu-led ECOWAS’s resistance to the revolution going on in Niger and other Francophone African countries is benumbing. Some have alleged that the post-colonial planting of puppeteer governments in Africa, held by the CIA, MI6 and other intelligence services, may just be the explanation. The overwhelming voices in Africa right now are that the imperialists, Peter Tosh’s “Mystery Babylon,” should get out of the continent. If ECOWAS does not listen to the voice of reason and continues to abet America and the west’s continued servitude of Africa, they will be footnotes and flotsams of history when today’s story of their people’s rebellion against puppeteers is told.

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Column: The outlook for African oil in 2023 is promising- NJ Ayuk

Several years ago, the African energy industry was in survival mode. The COVID-19 pandemic had practically eliminated the demand for crude oil, and African exports dropped sharply.

That’s why — though many African states are still feeling the wounds inflicted by COVID — I find it encouraging to learn that Africa’s liquids supply in 2023 has reached nearly 7 million barrels per day (MMbbs/d), more than 430,000 barrels per day (bpd) above Africa’s 2020 lows of about 6.55 MMbbs/d.

This progress is among the topics covered in the African Energy Chamber’s newly released State of African Energy Q1 2023 Report. The report details the emerging trends shaping the world’s oil economy and highlights Africa’s role in meeting global demand.

And the overall outlook for African oil production in 2023 is promising.

Russian energy supplies to Europe continue to decline in the wake of the Ukraine war, Africa is poised to increase its oil and natural gas exports to the continent, and African oil supplies are expected to remain steady throughout 2023 and beyond.

Highlighting Africa’s Role in the Global Oil Economy

The State of African Energy Q1 2023 Report provides several key insights into African oil production for the remainder of this year.

The 2023 global liquids (crude + condensates) month-on-month outlook is expected to stay flat and stable with an annual average of 83.4 million bpd.

Africa’s liquid supply is expected to contribute 8% of the global volume over the year.

The continent’s top five producers—Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Angola, and Egypt—will contribute to over 80% of Africa’s 2023 liquids output.

While the majority of the production from Nigeria and Angola is from offshore projects, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt’s production comes from their respective onshore fields. Libya is expected to deliver increased 2023 production as its civil war subsides.

New Projects Across the Continent Will Drive 2023 Supply

A number of new projects are expected to drive African supply in 2023.

In Nigeria, Shell’s Bonga North project believed to hold as much as 525 million barrels of crude, could help the country boost its production to pre-pandemic levels. Nigeria’s production is on the rebound, reaching a one-year high of 1.44 million barrels per day in February and accounting for two-thirds of the rise in OPEC’s oil production that month.

With a $10 billion investment from TotalEnergies, Uganda’s Lake Albert development, together with the Tilenga and Kingfisher projects and the 1,500-kilometer East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), is predicted to produce as much as 230,000 barrels per day.

Ghana stands to double its production to over 400,000 barrels per day with recent discoveries in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points Block, operated by Norway’s Aker Energy. Ghana will have a significant role in shaping the region’s outlook this year as it also reopens its 45,000 barrel-per-day Tema oil refinery.

Senegal’s Sangomar Field Development, reported 60% complete as of last September, is expected to yield its first oil this year. The $4.6 billion project, led by Woodside Energy in partnership with Senegal’s national oil firm Petrosen, is expected to yield approximately 231 million barrels of oil in its first phase of development, with total recoverable oil resources estimated at around 500 million barrels over its lifetime.

Angola’s output has soared, reaching 34.29 million barrels in January — an increase of more than 580,000 barrels over the prior month. Its capacity has more than tripled since it completed the rehabilitation and expansion of its 65,000 barrel-per-day Luanda Refinery.

These impressive numbers represent a significant growth trend for Africa as we move further into 2023. With more than 70 oil and gas projects slated to come online by 2025, analysts predict Africa could produce as much as 2.3 million barrels per day of crude by 2025.

Oil Production Boosts Mean New Life for African Economies

The data and forecasts in our State of African Energy Q1 2023 Report paint an encouraging picture of Africa’s energy industry. In a turbulent global oil and gas market, the continent’s oil production is steady and growing. Our oil and gas industry is poised to breathe new life into our economies and create new opportunities for Africans in 2023.

NJ Ayuk, is the Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber 

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May 1: Awaiting a Happier Workers’ Day (By Most Reverend Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo)

Workers’ Day, May 1st every year all over the world, necessary calls for an evaluation of work, workers and working conditions all around the world. This is because work is one indispensable resource by which God made man and by which man sustains the world. We are told that after all the work, God saw that what he had done was good. For this reason, we know that there is dignity in work and work is really love made visible. It is thus befitting to congratulate workers on this day to congratulate all who provide work and do the same to all who provide the conducive environment in which work can be done. Important and fundamental though work is, however, too many factors deny millions of workers of the joy and fulfilment which they should derive from the work they do. Regrettably today, conflicts, discrimination, unjust structures, scarcity of jobs, bad management and greed hamper the integral human development that work ought to bring to individuals, families and society. This, to say the least, is unfortunate and deserves urgent attention.

Integral human development, the ideal of all humanity, will remain a mirage if contentious issues concerning work are not resolved. The Catholic Church teaches that just wages are a legitimate fruit of work. It can be a grave injustice to withhold or refuse it. “Remuneration for Work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social and cultural levels…”.

Governments and people cannot honestly desire peace or authentic development without ensuring just wages for work done. The exploitation of others or their resources, forcing down prices of raw materials, inhospitable conditions of work, unjustly taking over the property belonging to others or the like, impugning human dignity, damaging social trust and offending the moral law of God. Conversely, at the personal level workers too must do just work for the wages they receive in order to fulfil the social contract and in order not to be guilty of dishonesty and stealing.

The Catholic Church has always taught that there is dignity in labour and that work is a vocation with a spiritual dimension. Every worker in some way participates in the divine project of advancing the work of creation. According to Pope Francis, on May 1st, each year, the feast of St Joseph the Worker, is the day the Church remembers the world of labour. On that day the Church demands “that work be dignified everywhere and for everyone,” and that the work of men and women everywhere “inspire the will to develop an economy of peace all over the world.” The Church also prays for all those who in the course of their work have lost life, limbs, and property in the course of their work, especially victims of corrupt and unjust systems, that their sacrifice be not allowed to pass in vain.

In Nigeria, the condition of most workers remains pathetic. Government insensitivity to the plight and demands of workers like doctors, nurses, teachers, journalists, and security agencies is nothing short of cruel, especially when compared to politicians’ remunerations. This, sadly affects the entire masses who rely on the services which those workers provide. In fact, working conditions in both the public and private sectors yearn for serious and urgent overhauling. Nigeria, so to speak, needs a moral blood transfusion. Nevertheless, with the imminent dispensation, employers and employees must embrace a new “regime of merit” and rebuild the crumbling labour fortress. Only a just relationship driven by dialogue and sensitivity can guarantee an escape from the quagmire of resentment and suspicion which currently characterizes the relationship between employees and employers in the country. With that new hope, it is still pertinent even today to say to all: Happy Workers Day with hope for a brighter future!

Most Rev Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo is the Bishop, the Catholic Diocese of Oyo (

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Sports News: African Rugby is Big Business, Let’s Stop Pretending it is not- Herbert Mensah

African Rugby needs to respect itself and behave in a “world-class” fashion before it can be respected by the rest of the world.

African sports have been forgotten by the world.

More so, it seems that African sports have been forgotten by Africans. In the world of rugby, in particular, there are countries across the continent that haven’t had active rugby leagues in more than three years!

Nothing is more demonstrative of this sentiment than the very view that World Rugby, the sport’s global governing body, has of African sports. Last year, World Rugby awarded just $2 million to promote the sport across the whole African continent. This is an absurdly small amount for a whole Continent, but what is more telling is the way it undervalues the African continent more than anything else. We see evidence of this when this same organization is willing to award $5 million, or $6 million dollars per year, to a Rugby Europe country while leaving the entire African continent with scraps to promote Rugby to a population of over 1.2 billion.

This fact alone is telling of how little respect is given to African rugby by the world and it is inevitable that we ask ourselves, if that respect shouldn’t first come from us, Africans. We have the same governing bodies that rich Western nations have, the associations, the managers, the boards, the board meetings, but what is it all for if they are mostly populated by “friends of friends in high places” and if they have no monetary support to act on any of the decisions they might take?

We need to remind ourselves of the power and the value of Sports. It is Big Business ergo Rugby, is Big Business!

I’ve dedicated my life to running various businesses in and outside Africa and if there is one thing that drives any business, it is money. We cannot continue to act like African sport is a charity case in need of aid. I profoundly believe in H.E. The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo’s vision of an Africa Post-Aid, and Post-charity!

That is my vision for African rugby, rugby post-aid.

The path to achieving that is no mystery. We all know it, even if most times we are unwilling to admit it. Rugby is Big Business, and it needs to be run like a business. It is that simple. That is the only way there will be capital to promote the sport and make it grow. Capital generates capital. We need to improve our governance track record across the board, get better managers that will drive the business forward, and raise capital to give them the tools to do their jobs right.


The world of rugby sees Africa as one big poor country. This must end.  The diversity of the continent’s nations is manifested equally in its sports cultures. We need to adjust our tactics to the specificities of each market and each region. We need to brand ourselves and promote ourselves to the world, making ourselves worthy of notice and respect. Only then will we be able to demand from global organizations the respect and capital we deserve?

Herbert Amponsah Mensah
Herbert Amponsah Mensah

That starts with changing our practices, with implementing World-standards to what we do, rather than African standards. We have forgotten the positive impact sports, and sports events can generate. Sports competitions are not about entertainment and physical prowess. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry that generates advertising revenue, tourism inflows, infrastructure development, and investment in a myriad of different economic sectors. It promotes social growth, and on top of it, showcases a country to the world. Sports help to elevate nations, drawing the spotlight on a country worthy of investment, worthy of visiting, and worthy of doing business with. Sports actively contribute to elevating a nation’s economic development and the lives of its citizens.

This is the true potential value of Rugby, and the potential value of treating it as the Big Business that it is.

We need to change the way the world looks at African rugby, by changing the way we operate, and showing our value and potential for growth. The change must start with us! We cannot go begging rich countries to borrow money to start generating money. We need to lobby, we need to organize, we need to engage the political leadership of each nation and region to engage the continental institutions that can help finance these developments. We need to engage the African Union, Ecowas, African-owned Banks, African Development Bank, and the like.

Once we have professionalized the world of rugby and managed to finance ourselves within ourselves, then, and only then, can we look at demanding more from World Rugby, from global advertisers and sponsors, competing side-by-side to bring major international competitions to Africa.

Treating Rugby as Big Business is not reinventing the wheel. Understanding that image, perception, and branding, is everything when we want to attract capital and visitors is nothing new, and yet it has never been done for African rugby. This has meant a loss of hundreds of millions of Dollars and the direct and indirect benefits that could positively affect hundreds of millions of people across the continent.

That is the vision that I will bring to Rugby Africa if my candidacy for its presidency is successful.

This is the first time that there is competition in the election for the Presidency of Rugby Africa.

Let’s make things differently, let’s make it count.

Let’s Make Rugby Africa a Big Business, for the benefit of all.


 Herbert Amponsah Mensah is a Ghanaian businessman, sports administrator, and the president of the Ghana Rugby Association operating as the Ghana Rugby Football Union and the Candidate for the presidency of World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa




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Tourism and Hospitality: Revolutionary Tools To Boost Economy By Adewale Adenrele

Tourism is a social cultural and economic phenomenon that entails the movement of people to a country or places outside their usual environment for personal, business/professional purposes. This person may be a tourist or excursionist, resident or non-resident, and tourism has to do with their activities.

There are kinds of tourism like adventure tourism, cultural tourism, scientific tourism, sports tourism, water tourism, natural world tourism, area tourism, and many others. It is rightly said that. All tourism is travel but all journeys are not always tourism.

Hospitality is the relationship between a guest and a hotel. Hospitality is the act or exercise of being hospitable. Tourism and hospitality enterprise is associated with each other. Hospitality is the act of welcoming, receiving, hospitality, or enjoyable the guest. It includes ward and beneficent welcome of the tourist

The terms hospitality and tourism do not exist in the most common international industry classification, so these terms encompass a very wide range of businesses. Hospitality is a subset of tourism.

Within tourism, there are tourism-specific businesses that make most of their money from domestic and international short-term visitors (examples: airlines, hotels, attractions, cruises), and then you have other businesses that make some revenue from visitors (examples: restaurants and shops).

The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry.

Hospitality and tourism represent a broad range of career opportunities in industries that include: hotels and resorts, restaurants and commercial food service, meeting and event planning, tourism destinations and attractions, leisure, recreation and sports management, airlines, cruises and other transportation, environmentally sustainable and cultural tourism development, spa and wellness management.

According to United Nations World Tourism Organization celebrating Tourism Day 2019 with the Theme: “Tourism and Jobs — A Better Future for All”. Tourism’s role in job creation is often undervalued. This is despite the fact that tourism  generates 10% of world jobs and is included in Sustainable Development Goal 8 for its potential to create decent work.

Nevertheless, new policies are needed to: Maximize tourism’s potential to create more and better jobs, especially for women and youth. Reflect and incorporate ongoing advances in technology. Address the current mismatch between tourism skills that are taught and those that tourism employers need.

Revolutionary tools to boost the economy

Nations of the world have become increasingly aware of the immense benefit derivable from tourism, and are vigorously developing their tourism industry as a result of the positive economic impact in any area of tourism that boost the economy.

 Agritourism:  This is where agriculture and tourism meet to provide you with an amazing educational experience, whether it be a tour of a farm or ranch, a festival, or a cheese-making class. Farmers, ranchers, and wineries turn their land into a destination and open their doors to the public in order to teach more about what they do. Agritourism is becoming an increasingly popular industry in almost every state. Destinations across the country offer unique experiences ranging from picking your own fresh fruit at an orchard and trying your hand at calf roping to hayrides at a pumpkin patch. There are tons of unique activities waiting to be explored. This is helping to support the local agricultural economy.

Adventure tourism: This is a type of niche tourism involving exploration or travel to remote areas, where the traveler should expect the unexpected. Adventure tourism is rapidly growing in popularity as tourists seek unusual holidays, different from the typical beach vacation, travel in historic regions, or adventurous sports such as mountaineering and hiking (tramping)

Cultural Tourism: The journey of people to specific destinations that offer cultural attractions, including historic sites and artistic and cultural events and shows, with the aim of acquiring new knowledge and experiences that meet the intellectual needs and individual growth of the traveler. This includes urban tourism, visiting historical or tourist sites such as Osun Osogbo, and Olumo rock, and experiencing their cultural heritages. This type of tourism may also include specialized cultural experiences such as Art museum tourism where tourists visit many art museums during tours

Educational Tourism:  Educational tourism is developed because of the growing popularity of teaching and learning of knowledge and the enhancement of technical competency outside of the classroom environment. In educational tourism, the main focus of the tour or leisure activity includes visiting another country to learn about the culture, study tours, or to work and apply skills learned inside the classroom in a different environment, such as in the International Practicum Training Program

In conclusion, the focus on tourism and hospitality will automatically provide infrastructures to develop any country and Africa at large.  


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OPINION: Lessons from Sierra Leone: How to get girls back to school

Mariamu* did not intend to give birth at school. She had discovered she was pregnant, aged 16, during Sierra Leone’s nine-month Ebola lockdown in 2014. Her boyfriend disappeared and she was consumed by shame and despair. She dropped out of school thinking her education was over.

Then, eight months into her pregnancy, her family received a visit from staff at a new “community learning centre” with a remit to enrol pregnant girls and teen mothers. The centre – one of the hundreds set up in the wake of Ebola across Sierra Leone – was staffed by specially trained teachers who taught there after their regular classes, using accelerated learning approaches.

This means condensing the regular curriculum into a shorter time frame to help students catch up, focusing on the foundations of literacy and numeracy, alongside social and emotional learning. Mariamu was thrilled to be learning again.

One day in class, she started to feel cramps. The centre’s coordinator took her to her office. Before they could arrange transport to a health centre, her baby boy was born.

Just two weeks after giving birth, both mother and baby were back at the learning centre three days a week. Mariamu was given a space to breastfeed and the centre coordinator looked after her baby while she was in class.

Today, eight years later, Mariamu is in the second year of her college degree course, having reintegrated into formal school and completed her secondary education.

While giving birth in school is rare, Mariamu’s predicament is not. The Ebola epidemic gave us a terrible foretaste of the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns on adolescent girls. Multiple studies around the world have shown how the shutdowns of 2020 and 2021 resulted in heightened levels of gender-based violence, teen pregnancy, child marriage, and child labour. Research in Western Kenya, for example, showed how teenage girls were twice as likely to fall pregnant at this time.

The wide incidence of rape and lack of access to contraception sent pregnancy rates soaring during both COVID-19 and Ebola. A United Nations study showed how Sierra Leone’s teen pregnancy rate surged during the Ebola crisis from 30 to 65 percent, with 14,000 additional pregnancies. In 2020, Save the Children estimated that COVID-19 shutdowns would lead to an additional 23,000 teen pregnancies in the country by the end of the year.

These vulnerable adolescents are the lost girls of COVID-19 – 11 million girls globally who the UN predicted might not return to classes after the pandemic, on top of the 130 million already out of school.

Meanwhile, research from across Africa suggests that it’s older girls, like Mariamu, who are least likely to return now. These girls are among the most marginalised of the marginalised. To get them back, experience shows that we need urgent, purposeful and targeted action: We need what in Sierra Leone is described as “radical inclusion”.

It starts at the grassroots, in the community, where deeply entrenched beliefs and gender norms are often barriers to pregnant girls and young mothers continuing in education. In Sierra Leone, informal learning centres like Mariamu’s conduct intensive outreach with influential community members, including paramount chiefs and local leaders who act as non-partisan members of parliament. They sit with them, listening to their viewpoints and explaining why these girls should continue with their education. The leaders see the value of educating girls and the role they can play in more prosperous families and communities.

It worked. In 2015, with the support of international donors, 14,500 pregnant and breastfeeding girls were enrolled in community learning centres, with 5,000 of these reintegrating into the formal school system in both 2016 and 2017.

Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 response has built on this experience, with dedicated remedial classes in more than 300 community learning centres. Girls have been provided with school bags, shoes, books, writing materials, sanitiser and face masks to cut the costs associated with school. So far this calendar year, the centres have reintegrated more than 800 adolescent girls in four districts into formal schools.

Their ability to reach more has been hampered by financial constraints as international donor support dwindled. Dr Olive Musa, who leads the programme nationally, says much more still needs to be done, especially when it comes to supporting young mothers to generate income to provide for their children. International donor support and coordination across government sectors are critical.

As well as getting girls into school and empowering them to believe in a different future, radical inclusion means addressing the mindsets of men, boys and communities that perpetuate tired stereotypes of what girls can and can’t do. This calls for gender-transformative approaches.

One example is a four-year project that the NGO International Rescue Committee ran in Sierra Leone. As well as education and empowerment activities for girls, it included community dialogues and radio shows that challenged communities’ attitudes to educating adolescent girls. An evaluation showed that this had a significant impact, including a decline in child marriages.

Supportive legal and policy frameworks are also vital in achieving positive change. Sierra Leone made a start by, in 2020, overturning a ban on pregnant girls and teenage mothers attending school and sitting for exams. This was followed, in 2021, by a Radical Inclusion Policy for the education of historically marginalised groups, including pregnant girls, parent learners, children with disabilities, children from rural and underserved areas, and children from low-income families.

The policy aims to strengthen Sierra Leoneans’ access to free quality basic education for all. These important policies must be complemented by other measures – health services and meals in schools, sexuality education, as well as childcare and income-generating support for girls returning to class after giving birth.

Sierra Leone is also decriminalising abortion to protect young women’s health and choices. Research has shown that 34 percent of pregnancies and 40 percent of maternal deaths in the country are among adolescents.

Finally, to do all this well, governments need robust data that is disaggregated so we can see what’s really happening with different groups of girls, instead of treating them as a homogenous group.

Sierra Leone’s move towards an education system that truly works for everyone is still a work in progress, but we hope the country’s approach of radical inclusion towards girls who have dropped out of school offers valuable lessons for others.

Its example could not only help other nations recover from the ravages of the pandemic, but it could also assist them in building more robust education systems for the 21st century. Mariamu’s story shows what can happen if we get it right.

* Mariamu’s name has been changed to protect her right to privacy.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


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OPINION: We are all guilty- Immanuel Odeyemi

One thing I’ve come to terms with in the past few years is that the Nigerian is psychologically flawed in his general approach to things.

I have always posited that our problem is not only that of leadership but also a commensurate followership problem inclusive. That is why I feel that Professor Kingsley Moghalu appears to be the only person who understands where to start the campaign to salvage this country when he preaches the social re-engineering model. Cultural and social values are almost completely eroded, and many are even oblivious to who we have become as a people. Many are not even conscious of the fact that they’re guilty of the same kind of malfeasance and other ‘crimes’ they accuse politicians of. We are all ready to bend the rules, cut some slack, and look the other way for a crime to go undetected, yet bad leadership is our sole problem! Like those leaders came from the Netherworld.

I watched with amusement as people commenced the search for loopholes in CBN’s cash withdrawal limit policy. Everybody has suddenly become armchair financial analysts of sorts, explaining how kidnappers will circumvent the policy, how it will encourage the illicit trade in currency, and how generally it will not work.

Immanuel Odeyemi
Immanuel Odeyemi

Is there any policy that is 100% foolproof? And this is not about any particular administration or government, I approach this issue with every sense of responsibility as a citizen of Nigeria. We are all sadly allergic to basic civic responsibilities, which are naturally supposed to be catalysts for effective government policies. I don’t know so much, but I’m just rationalizing that what if, just what if we all decide to test any government policy by playing along? I mean, play along in the sense of simply refusing to see the (perceived) negatives, and play our own part as citizens by not engaging in acts inimical to the successful implementation of these policies?

We fondly talk about ‘saner climes’ like those places are annexes of the heavens, completely forgetting that the seeming successes of those climes are a combination of a socially responsible citizenry who have earned the moral right to constantly call their leaders to order whenever necessary.

Sometime around 2014 in Lagos, a fine policeman by the name Bayo Suleiman was the Commander of the Lagos State Taskforce. As a reporter covering the Governor’s Office and Lagos State Government MDAs (Fashola was Governor), I got a call around 6am on Saturday morning to cover some arrests made by the Taskforce. Back then, it was a regular occurrence, so I jumped off my bed, got dressed, and headed for Alausa. Getting there, we were granted access to those who were arrested for various offences in different locations. The one that caught my attention was a man in his mid-30s who looked quite affluent with the way he was dressed and the gold accessories on his neck and fingers.

When I interviewed him with other reporters present, he explained that he was a resident of Malaysia and was on holiday in Nigeria. He was stopped for driving against traffic somewhere in Ikeja, but he got aggressive and was resisting arrest until he was subdued and brought to the Taskforce office. The young man at this point was begging us (journalists) to help him appeal to the Taskforce Commander. We actually did make the appeal, and Bayo Suleiman asked the offender a simple question; “can you drive against traffic in Malaysia?” and chin down, he replied with a quiet “no sir”. When asked why he drove against traffic in the early hours of the morning when the roads were totally free of traffic, he said he felt that since he was in Nigeria and nobody obeys traffic rules…. I was shocked! He was sentenced to 2 weeks of community service, sweeping the roads where he committed the offence (law and order was a big thing during Fashola’s administration).

I ask nobody to agree with me, but these are just random thoughts and I claim absolute responsibility for this conjecture.

Finally, the earlier we all know this truth the better for us as a collective; if Angel Gabriel becomes President of Nigeria today, nothing will change! We are inherently flawed as a people, the way we think, act, and react is horrendously abnormal. How do we expect institutions to work when the people who are supposed to drive them are poised to be cogs in the wheels of progress?

We can shout true federalism, referendum, secession, marginalization, and many other tags we have gotten used to over the years. If we do not embark on a social re-engineering process, we will continue our macabre dance of one step forward, five steps backwards.

-Immanuel Odeyemi is a journalist

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Political Puzzle: Can Nigeria’s northern cabal convince Kwankwaso to partner with Atiku?

With the Nigerian presidential race in 2023 already taking on ethno-religious overtones, speculation has been rife about the deals leading candidates may reach to advance what may wind up becoming a regional agenda.

Millions of Nigerians watching the presidential primary of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on 28 May 2022 were surprised when Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal publicly announced that he was dropping out of the race.

More shocking, however, was that Tambuwal, who was an ally of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike asked his supporters and delegates to vote for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

“I have come to a patriotic conclusion to step down. I appeal to my supporters to take this in stride and (push) for national unity and patriotism – not only that, those that are delegates here should vote for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,” he said.

Wike had supported and financed Tambuwal’s presidential ambition four years earlier but the Sokoto governor was defeated by Atiku at the 2018 PDP primaries. Many had therefore assumed that in the event that Tambuwal would step down, it would be for Wike.

Atiku went on to garner 371 votes against Wike’s 237. Atiku’s supporters described Tambuwal as the “hero” of the day even as debates on whether Wike could have won had Tambuwal not done what he did, continued to dominate political discourse.

Northern interest

While Tambuwal later explained that he decided to endorse Atiku in order to strengthen democracy, the back story reveals something more interesting.

Days before the PDP convention, the northern aspirants had made a pact that one of them would emerge as the winner of the primaries against the wishes of the southern aspirants who believed the next president must be from the south. However, the northern aspirants could not reach a consensus ahead of the convention.

With time running out, a powerful northern cabal which also includes retired generals had reached out to Tambuwal and other aspirants from the region to ensure Atiku wins the election. More importantly, the northern leaders were against Wike’s emergence because of statements he had made against the north in the past as well as his radical behaviour.

Zoning game

Apart from Atiku of the PDP the three other frontline candidates are Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). Atiku and Kwankwaso are both from the north while Tinubu and Obi are southerners.

Alh. Atiku Abubakar


Both Tinubu and Obi are banking their ambition on the belief that after the eight-year term of President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, the presidency should automatically go to the south in consonance with a gentleman agreement that power should rotate between the two regions in the spirit of fairness.

This agreement is buttressed by the Federal Character Rule in the country’s constitution. This rule stipulates the fair and equitable representation of different ethnic and regional groups in the composition of all tiers of government.

But this line of argument has not been without its antagonism. Politicians and political analysts against this position have hinged their arguments on the calculation that since the return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999, the south has ruled Nigeria longer than the north. They also argue that no law precludes anyone from contesting. Atiku, a former Vice President, and Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano state, are hinging their ambition loosely on this thin line.

Kwankwaso’s game

Eager to actualize his ambition, Kwankwaso joined the relatively unknown NNPP in March and convinced several notable politicians in Kano State, including his arch nemesis Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, to join him in the party.

Kano State has the second largest voting population in Nigeria and produced the largest number of votes for the APC with President Buhari polling 1.9 million votes and 1.4 million in the 2015 and 2019 elections respectively.

Kwankwaso, who enjoys a cult following in Kano State, sought to leverage on the huge votes in Kano and a few other northern states coupled with a strong partner in the south to win next year’s election. However, talks between him and Peter Obi broke down in June. He has been unable to make inroads into the south.

This handicap has weakened Kwankwaso’s chances thereby fuelling speculations that he would most likely negotiate with another candidate who stands a chance of winning.

Losing footsoldiers

Last month, Senator Shekarau dumped Kwankwaso and openly declared his support for Atiku, a development that the PDP has been celebrating. Some of Kwankwaso’s footsoldiers have also dumped his party and returned to the APC.

With his chances of victory waning coupled with a lack of national appeal, speculations that he would work for either Tinubu or Atiku are rising.

So will Kwankwaso partner with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje – his former deputy turned foe – to actualize Tinubu’s ambition? Or will he work with his arch nemesis – Shekarau – to work for Atiku’s victory in the spirit of northern brotherhood?

mutual distrust and personal ambition … will make it very difficult for them to come together”

But Atiku and Kwankwaso have a history that may not make this relationship work out. A professor of political science from Bayero University, Kano, Kamilu Sani Fage said it was widely reported that in 2019, Kwankwaso got election ‘ mobilization money’ from Atiku but did not use it during the presidential election. Atiku would end up polling 391,593 votes against Buhari’s 1.4 million votes in Kano state.

Rabiu Musa Kwankaso

“That was one of the reasons they fell apart. So, I think there is that mutual distrust and personal ambition, which will make it very difficult for them to come together. Also, if Kwankwaso joins Atiku in PDP, it will rekindle the battle for supremacy with Shekarau,” he said.

Fage, a former Vice President of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA), however, added that “as far as Nigerian politics is concerned, there is nothing impossible or surprising because politics is primarily of self-interest not of principles or ideologies.” He, therefore, argues that it is unlikely that Atiku and Kwankwaso will work together.

Preferred candidate

But an associate of Atiku, Dr. Suleiman Yusuf Dambatta, who is the deputy governor candidate of PDP in Kano, told The Africa Report that though it would be difficult to convince Kwankwaso to abandon his presidential ambition at this time, the PDP family would welcome him if he decides to team up with Atiku.

Kwankwaso’s recent Freudian slip during a TV interview where he said if he does not make the presidency, he would support Tinubu, the ruling party’s candidate, had also brought to light his preference for Tinubu. However, he later claimed he didn’t mean he would be stepping down.

as far as Nigerian politics is concerned, there is nothing impossible … because politics is primarily of self-interest not of principles.”

Elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, who also supports Tinubu, told The Africa Report that this televised position of Kwankwaso, coupled with the fact that there is no assurance that Atiku is even the preferred candidate of the ‘so-called Northern cabal’, makes a union between Atiku and Kwankwaso almost impossible.

He said even if the union materializes “it is not Kano (alone) that will determine the outcome of the election. My calculation is that whoever gets 25 per cent of votes in 24 states and works hard to get the majority of the total votes will emerge the winner.”

Merger talks

Also, Aminu Abdussalam, the deputy governorship candidate for Kwankwaso’s NNPP in Kano state and one of Kwankwaso’s closest associates, told The Africa Report that all the talks of a merger portray Kwankwaso as someone who cannot make it “and I think that is a terribly wrong and baseless permutation.”

“Kwankwaso will never step down or work with Atiku. We are all out for the challenges. No retreat, no surrender,” he said.

Similarly, Kwankwaso’s campaign spokesperson, Ladipo Johnson in a statement titled ‘Kwankwaso is in the race to win’ dispelled speculations that the candidate is considering backing other candidates.

But the voting pattern in Nigeria has shown that the 12 Muslim-dominated states in the north have always voted in the same direction in all Presidential elections since 1999.

Northern unity

Political associates of both northern heavyweight politicians (Atiku and Kwankwaso) believe that the union, though difficult, may not be off the table going into the election which is still five months away.

“Historically, the north has always been more united than the south. That’s why the motto of the dominant northern party in the 1960s was ‘one north, one people. Never say never when it comes to Nigerian politics,” a PDP Presidential aspirant who wished to remain anonymous, tells The Africa Report.

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