Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Can this be true?

Ojogbon TF,
Most  certainly Gov Okorocha officially stated that 3 working days at the office and 2 days on the farm fir Imo state workers. And the central lsbour organisation NLC has quickly criticised his position. I have not heard  of any news media that reported the case of Benue state. But  being the "basket food"of Nigeria he may also be tempted into believing that subsistence agriculture and small farm holdings are what will lead to mass employment and food production.
Abu

On Thu, 18 Aug, 2016 at 16:47, Toyin Falola
<toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
Can someone please confirm that a state in Nigeria, Benue, has decided to have a 4-day working week, saying that state workers should use Friday and weekend to farm?
And that Governor Okorocha is planning the same?
I want to think that the information is not correct.
If it is correct, how do we convince "power" that productivity is key to economic development?
TF

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

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Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Can this be true?

Dear Prof. Brother and Mentor,

Thank you sir.   You just reminded me of a discussion I had with Prof. Adebayo Adedeji ex Fed Minister, ex USG United Nations world acclaimed orifessir if development economist.

He told me how he started life as a DO District Officer in the 50s in Ilaro my home town.  One of his first duties was to take baton wielding police men to arrest his maternal uncle from Ijebu Ode who was a cocoa dealer but was not paying taxes to government.

Later after all back taxes were paid the uncle went to his mother in Ijebu dialect, "Ye Bayo nse ni omo re Bayo ko Olopa wa la kondo mo oruwo mi!" Bayo's mum your son Bayo brought police men to hit my head with their batons.

The civil service you describe here is no more. The civil service that Pa. Simeon Adebo in 1955 built from scratch to the awesome admiration of colonial civil servants who thought it was impossible is no more.

That Western Region civil service was so successful that it was used as the model for the civil service in British East Africa - Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. They came to understand and understudy it and technocrats were sent to help them with setting up theirs too.

From 15 January 1966  the ignorant soldiers have consistently eroded the civil service and have turned it into a very corrupt unmeritotious over bloated institution.

The reality on the ground is that the current civil service both at the centre and in the states are over bloated inefficient and a drain on resources. The oil boom is gone and the huge subsidy that subsidises our inefficiencies and unproductive lives is no longer available.

The reality is mass retrenchment of the bloated civil service. The first step is identifying the ghost workers and prosecuting the humans collecting the salary of the ghosts and mass retrenchment.

The Benue and Imo experiment will soon be copied by the over 20 states of Nigeria that are not viable because they can not sustain themselves without federal allocation or are too indebted to pay salaries.

The Governors of states have looted the treasuries of states brazenly especially under the PDP.

It is pay back time and we must all brace ourselves for the consequences of many years of bad governance.

Abo mi re o!
.
Cheers.

IBK


On 19 Aug 2016 14:35, "Toyin Falola" <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
IBK:
Thanks. I have received many private Email messages saying the same thing. In effect, Nigeria operates some kind of welfare system without saying so! Indeed, one of the private contacts said that in his office, eleven of them report to work daily but there is no work  ever assigned to them.  
An unknown part of my life to many people is that I was once a civil servant, an Administrative Officer. It was such a difficult job to get. Following the British system, we did written exams. in the last year of a degree program. Those exams were graded by neutral agents. Months later, rigorous oral interviews were conducted. At the end of it, the State only hired 5 of us. The governor of the state or the permanent secretaries could not influence the process. The five were then assigned to ministries on the basis of performance. I was posted to the Civil Service Commission, headed by Mr. Faturoti, a distinguished school principal whose son, Demola, is on this list. I was trained on how to handle promotion and disciplinary matters. I became powerful! Tough work. At 5 PM, you checked all the cars that no one senior to you was still around, and you must never leave. Should the Commissioners keep working till 9 PM, I had to stay till 9.30. The work could never be completed.

….and institutional decay and collapse began to set in gradually from the 1980s. Governors became emperors. Politicians enlarged the bureaucracies as these are the places they can get jobs for their followers…

Today, the disaster you reported below….the rot of a nation begins slowly

In textbooks on politics, one that we now have to revise in Nigeria, the civil service is the force of stability and planning. Politicians come and go, the civil servants remain the rock. 

Alas! Since there is no work for them to do, as you pointed out below, they are now being asked to recede to the farms, as educated peasants! I thought all the theories of the late colonial and early years of Independence asked them to leave the farms!

I thought part of the path to the civil war was that one part of the country was accused of dominating another via the civil servants, with innocent lives eliminated in the process.

I thought over 80% of the country's annual revenues are committed to personal matters and overheads.

Question: why not allocate the budget to agriculture, and go back to the basic—develop the rural areas so that the genuine farmers are empowered, and the civil service is cut by 60%?

Drastic circumstances call for drastic measures., although I understand that cutting off a head may be too drastic a cure for a lingering headache.

A mass movement, cutting across all religions and all ethnicities, must emerge to begin planning for a mass revolution that will change cultures and values, rethink politics and democracy, etc. 
TF

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)


From: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Ibukunolu A Babajide <ibk2005@gmail.com>
Reply-To: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Friday, August 19, 2016 at 4:01 AM
To: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>

Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Can this be true?

Dear Prof.,

The civil servants do nothing. They will be more productive on their farms.

The alternative is mass retrenchment in the public service which is worse than the current policy.

Cheers.

IBK


On 18 Aug 2016 18:47, "Toyin Falola" <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
Can someone please confirm that a state in Nigeria, Benue, has decided to have a 4-day working week, saying that state workers should use Friday and weekend to farm?
And that Governor Okorocha is planning the same?
I want to think that the information is not correct.
If it is correct, how do we convince "power" that productivity is key to economic development?
TF

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

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Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Bring Back Corruption

I too was curious how the abysmal depictions of the Nigerian state, govt, and social circumstances compares with Cameroon. My sense is that the people of Senegal feel more positively about their lives and govt than what we’ve been reading about Nigeria on this list. But Cameroon, under an interminable autocracy, has not seemed to be a very happy state.

ken

 

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/

 

From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Thursday 25 August 2016 at 05:57
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Bring Back Corruption

 

 

Incidentally, what Moses says about Nigerians under Buhari is exactly what I hear some Tanzanians say about the new dispensation under President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania. Under President Magufuli, they lament, life has become very hard. There is no money. He is too strict. 

 

 

______________________

Meshack Owino, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of History,

Department of History, RT 1319,

Cleveland State University,

2121 Euclid Avenue,

Cleveland, OH 44115,

USA.

 

Tel. 216-523-7264.

Fax. 216-687-5592.

E-mail Address: meshack.owino@yahoo.com; m.owino@csuohio.edu

 


From: 'O O' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Sent: Sunday, August 14, 2016 8:50 AM
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Bring Back Corruption

 

"WE" ARE ALL CORRUPT NOW BUT SOME OF US ARE MORE CORRUPT THAN OTHERS?

 

Corruption has been so chronic, so endemic and so embedded within the foundational fabric of Nijiria to the point that one can identify Nijirian corruption as congenital. 

 

CULTURALLY AND THUS PSYCHOLOGICALLY, THE AVERAGE NIJIRIAN (average not just in a narrow sense of the ordinary or everyday but also in a broader or more inclusive sense of the typical (be he or she a top-level or mid-level or low-level bureaucrat, soldier or politician or "faith"-preacher or professional or entrepreneur or educator [or professor!] or student or gambler) IS NOT AGAINST CORRUPTION. THE AVERAGE NIJIRIAN ONLY PRAYS FOR THE WHEEL OF CORRUPTION TO PASS HIS WAY, HER WAY. 

 

Nijirian corruption comes osmotically. Corruption lives in every country or culture, but in Nijiria corruption does not just live, it thrives. In other words, in Nijiria, corruption is an everyday way of private and public life. 

 

Assumably, we have a "populist" Nijirian (cultural?) logic: corruption benefits Nijirian economy, so corruption is good for the Nijirian economy? And hence a quagmire reducible to a Buhari or a Jonathan? Or a lesson that means robbing Peter to pay Paul ?


On Aug 13, 2016, at 7:58 PM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

Bring Back Corruption

 

By Moses E. Ochonu

 

Nigeria is gripped by the familiar anxieties of an economy in distress. This escalating crisis has demystified a president once thought capable of astute, if not magical, economic management. In their desperation for respite, many Nigerians are now paradoxically yearning for the corruption that they and their leaders blame for their economic woes, but theirs is not a nostalgia for corruption per se but for a period in which, despite or because of corruption, the flow of illicit government funds created a sense of economic opportunity and prosperity.

 

During a recent trip to Nigeria I sampled the opinion of various segments of the Nigerian people to gauge their perspectives on the troubled economy of President Muhammadu Buhari, which just entered recession. One refrain I heard fairly regularly was “bring back corruption.” It is not an entirely new rhetoric. For months, Nigerians have been advancing this idiom on social media as a sarcastic rebuke of what they see as Buhari’s narrow, obsessive focus on corruption.

 

“Bring back corruption” mocks the logic making the fight against corruption the sole preoccupation of governmental while hardship stalks citizens who previously occupied safe economic perches, and while the government fails to ease the economic strictures and contractions caused by the said fight against corruption.

 

When the refrain first appeared in Nigeria’s dynamic political lexicon, its architects intended to use it to draw attention to the tension between fighting corruption, which Nigerians believe to be responsible for their economic predicament, and worsening economic conditions. It was meant as an indictment of Buhari’s singular focus on corruption to the detriment of sound economic management.

 

Many of those who invoke the refrain today do so half-seriously to make two points; first, to illustrate the primacy of economic survival and wellbeing above all else, including the fight against corruption; and second, to yearn for a return to the imperfections of the pre-Buhari era, when, in their reckoning, corruption was rampant but life was easier, cheaper, more livable.

 

“Bring back corruption” is profound beyond the awareness of those deploying it as an idiom of political critique. It underscores the paradoxical, often unacknowledged political and economic utility of corruption in Nigeria — the functional, instrumental entwinement of corruption in statecraft as well as corruption’s capacity to mediate the economic relationship between Nigerians and the state.

 

The Buhari administration’s feisty rhetoric on corruption ignores the ways in which governmental graft has been democratized in the polity, trickling down in the form of monetary flows, patronage, expanding volumes of business transactions, and general liquidity. The Nigerians I heard saying “bring back corruption” were not simply saying that they preferred the corrupt but more prosperous era of former president Goodluck Jonathan to Buhari’s less corrupt but leaner time, although their rhetoric signals that order of preference. They were not endorsing corruption either.

 

Without realizing it, they were making an insightful comment on how corruption is paradoxically, and contrary to conventional political rhetoric and anti-corruption jargon, the fuel of the Nigerian economy, sustaining everything from major real state transactions to the patronage economies of petty retailers. In Nigeria, the trickle down effect of governmental corruption is enormous. Corruption generates secondary and tertiary ripples and transactional economies that benefit even the pepper seller in the market.

 

Rather than simply being a vice that has invidiously infiltrated the institutions of the state, corruption has become integral to the patronage networks through which politics and governance are conducted. This is a controversial but important point to make. For decades, corruption was at the very center of the state, politically and economically. The circulation of illicit funds, which move stealthily from government to the private sector and back again through a convoluted loop in repeated circular flows, became the mainstay of the economy.

 

Historian Steven Pierce makes the point eloquently in his book, Moral Economies of Corruption, arguing that, to understand the history of statecraft in Nigeria, one must understand how corruption, in its various governmental iterations, has functioned as an arbiter in both adversarial and productive political engagements. Corruption is the recurring decimal in politics and governance. Rather than being an anomalous virus of politics, what we call corruption, Pierce argues, is integral to how the Nigerian state is constituted and reconstituted by political elites.

 

The corollary to Pierce’s argument tacks back to the “bring back corruption” meme.  While corruption flourished unchecked in the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan, that corruption found its way in trickles to all the consequential corners of the economy, lubricating the sinews of an economy that depends, for good or ill, on the state’s revenue mobilization, spending, and leakage.

 

Nigerians who secured jobs and livelihoods working in or tending to the investments of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats didn’t care where the money came from. They were happy to have a job or to partake in the financial rewards of investments and projects financed by illicit money.

 

The concept of an economy nourished by illicit financial flows may be hard to grasp for many outside the Nigerian context but it is the crux of the Nigerian economic dilemma: you may have to undermine the economy in the interim by fighting the political graft that sustains it, in order to ultimately save it.

 

In Buhari’s Nigeria, the avenues of leakage are being plugged and corruption is being fought, however imperfectly, preventing the trickles that traditionally lubricate the economy. This has trapped funds, which usually circulate to power the economy, at the top of the state-dominated economic food chain. The non-circulation of corruptly acquired funds does not necessarily mean that corruption is not occurring. Rather, it indicates that corruption is now restricted to a small circle of people in government, who are too spooked and too discreet, given the current anticorruption measures, to release their illicit funds into the real economy.

 

Aside from sensational, multipronged investigations, high profile arrests, and multiple, ongoing prosecutions of corruption cases, the government has implemented a set of measures to keep illicit flows of government funds to a minimum. The most important of these measures is the Single Treasury Account (TSA), a policy instrument designed to centralize and domicile the funds of all federal government agencies in a single account at the Nigerian Central Bank, preventing the proliferation of multiple government accounts that are difficult to monitor, prone to abuse, and are the primary source of funds for lazy commercial banks feeding fat on government deposits.

 

The result is a cash crunch never before seen, a squeeze that has affected all sectors of the economy, and that, coupled with the government’s import and foreign exchange restrictions, has led to a loss of confidence and a drastic reduction in liquidity.

 

When Nigerians say “bring back corruption” they are thus decrying this cessation of secondary and tertiary benefits from the pipelines of official corruption. They are expressing a nostalgic longing for an economy in which corruption may have been the order of things but in which this corruption performed a functional, productive service to the economy by loosening and oiling its crevices.

 

Once you shut down the pipelines of monetary flows with origins in corruption, the logical outcome is an economy starved of its lifeblood.

 

This logical, unintended consequence of the war on corruption calls for a loosening of other avenues of monetary and transactional flows, such as the foreign exchange and import sectors, both of which, if managed intelligently, can generate increased domestic trade and arbitrage as well as patronage that would mitigate the squeeze caused by the disruption of illicit financial flows.

 

This is one of the biggest blind spots of the Buhari administration. In its righteous zeal to fight graft, the Buhari administration has not reckoned with how corruption, like it or hate it, had become the mainstay of the economy and how fighting it without easing restrictions in other corners of the economy would inevitably generate self-defeating outcomes and hurt the Nigerians the fight is meant to help.

 

Much of this failure to recognize a complicated, nuanced reality stems from the government’s determination to live up to a mystique of unflappable incorruptibility that Nigerians erected around Buhari, and which the president and his party leveraged to dislodge Jonathan and the PDP in last year’s elections. The elections are over. The president needs to free himself from the burden of an election-time persona that keeps him from governing realistically and effectively.

 

The “bring back corruption” meme illustrates the ways that governmental corruption has become instrumental to the quotidian transactional momentum of the Nigerian economy. It shows that serious efforts to fight corruption without a corresponding set of ameliorative and stimulative measures can be counterproductive, causing increased hardship and turning citizens against anticorruption measures, no matter how sincere the measures may be.

 

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