Will A Marred Presidential Election Be Used to Discredit Buhari and Nigeria?

February 21, 2019
The two leading candidates in Nigeria’s Presidential election. On the left-President Muhammadu Buhari (APC). On the right-Atiku Abubakar (PDP)
Plans are afoot to potentially use violence or other means to disrupt Nigeria’s Presidential election re-scheduled for Saturday February 23, 2018, in order to discredit President Buhari, and Nigeria. I am not making an idle prediction. Knowing Nigeria and its history as I do, and the intent of financial predators to weaken the Nation State of Nigeria, one must be prepared. Hours before the polls were to open, the Independent National Election Commission postponed the voting for one week. Leading up to the originally scheduled vote on February 16, circles in the US and UK issued unprovoked condemnations warning President Buhari to conduct a “fair and transparent” election. Why such warnings delivered weeks in advance, when Nigeria had distinguished itself in 2015 by conducting, by most accounts, the most honest Presidential election in its history? The most dangerous threat against President Buhari came from George Soros’ Open Society of West Africa. Soros, a member of the financial globalist oligarchy is notorious for using his worldwide tentacles to foster regime change. Read: External & Internal Forces Fear Continuance of Buhari Presidency Earlier this week, Republican Congressman Chris Smith, who is the party’s point man on Africa, issued a denunciation of President Buhari. In his statement Cong Smith said: “Responsibility for the delay of Nigeria’s presidential election lays squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari and those close to him.” He went on to accuse the President of “undermining confidence that this election and subsequent gubernatorial elections will be free and fair…” Smith is no friend of Africa. He is a proponent of regime change and has joined with anti-Muslims forces in the US in calling for the removal Sudanese President Bashir. In April of 2018, when Ethiopia was celebrating the selection of Dr. Abiy Ahmed as its new, young reformist Prime Minister, Smith’s subcommittee on Africa, passed a resolution denouncing Ethiopia for alleged human rights violations. On February 19, John Campbell (retired US Ambassador to Nigeria), published a blog for the Council of Relations raising suspicions of President Buhari’s involvement in the postponement of the February 16 election. Campbell reports that many Nigerians “are seeing the postponement as part of a strategy to throw the elections, most often to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.”  He goes on to say: “Nigerians are also concerned that the postponement provides more opportunity for the incumbent powers to buy votes and deploy security services to intimidate voters.” Campbell in his blog, retails the allegation from President Buhari’s opponent, Atiku Abubakar, “claiming that the Buhari administration postponed the vote to ensure a lower voter turnout.”  He also repeats the accusation that President Buhari’s plan: “is to provoke the public, hoping for a negative reaction, and then use that as an excuse for further anti-democratic acts.” Violence: A Political Weapon  There are forces inside and outside Nigeria, who would like to undermine the nation’s sovereignty, preferring a malleable government that would permit the continued exploitation of Nigeria. Since Royal Dutch Shell descended on Nigeria with its first oil well in 1956, Nigeria has never been truly sovereign. Mega oil companies and their financial cohorts, conspiring with a cabal of corrupt “middlemen,” have looted Nigeria’s oil for decades, resulting in economic and political instability for Africa’s largest populace. The Buhari administration has not yet acted to fully mobilize the Nigerian economy as forcefully as required to end abject poverty and generate productive jobs for millions of unemployed youth. Not nearly enough has been done to reverse the British nurtured deep ethnic divisions that have instilled great mistrust in Nigerian society. Sadly, these volatile ethnic, religious, and geographic fault lines have been easily manipulated into wanton violence. However, President Buhari has displayed a nationalist commitment for economic development, initiating the largest expansion of vitally needed infrastructure in Nigeria’s history. He has also demonstrated his determination to alleviate the horrible conditions of life in the Lake Chad Basin (where Boko Haram recruits), through his steadfast support to replenishing the shrinking Lake Chad. The next President of Nigeria should be decided by the Nigerian people. One cannot dismiss the likely probability that violence will be instigated as means to undermine the legitimacy of the election. Not only is there a history of violence in Nigerian elections, but Boko Haram, which has brutalized the Nigerian people, is dedicated to using violence as a political weapon. In the last two weeks leading up to this Saturday’s election, over one hundred Nigerians have been killed or injured. Not just by Boko Haram, and other extremists, but also from clashes between the APC and PDP, ethnic conflicts, and attacks by suspected herdsman. This has created an opportune environment that provocateurs may exploit in their scheme to disrupt the voting process in this all-important election. Watch: Will Nigerian Election Be Destabilized? Interview with Lawrence Freeman

China is NOT Exploiting Africa, But Investing in its Future: The Case of Nigeria

February 18, 2019 The article below, “Nigeria’s balanced and diverse relationship with China is key to sustainability,” provides a useful examination of the healthy bilateral relationship that China has developed with Nigeria, especially during the administration of President Buhari.  It is also important to note that Nigeria has officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative in January of this year. (excerpts below followed by a link to complete article) 1)    Infrastructure Nigeria has one of the largest infrastructure deficits in the world; two thirds of the population still does not have access to safe water and over half of the population has no access to reliable electricity. Logistics costs are also extremely high; it costs more to transport a good from Lagos in Nigeria’s South to Kano in the North (1000km), than it does to ship a good from Shanghai to Lagos (over 12,000 km). Nigeria’s government is investing in infrastructure, but external funding is needed. As cited in the National Integrated Infrastructure Master-plan (NIIMP) developed by Nigeria’s Ministry for Planning in 2015, it is estimated that the country requires $3 trillion over the next 30 years, with $500 billion required in the first 10 years. This estimate, which has wide sectoral scope, is reached by comparing Nigeria’s core infrastructure stock of around 20-25% GDP to international benchmarks of around 70%. Yet, even as the government increased its budget allocation for capital expenditure to 30% in 2017, this remains at least 80% short of the annual amount prescribed by NIIMP. Alongside self-funding new infrastructure, Nigeria has also looked to the World Bank, European Commission and African Development Bank as sources of infrastructure capital. Yet while they might have the risk tolerance and investment horizons, their capital remains diluted over a number of countries. In its 60 years of operation in Nigeria, the World Bank has invested on average $100 million on infrastructure a year – significant but still a drop in the ocean versus Nigeria’s needs… 3)    Manufacturing     While Nigeria is the richest economy in Africa, with the largest population and one of the better educated work forces, 4 in every 10 people still remain unemployed. Nigeria needs more inclusive industrialization that creates jobs for all, as opposed to focusing solely on sectors such as oil. Opportunities lie in the manufacturing sector, which creates more jobs through stronger forward and backwards economic linkages than any other sector. Nigeria is again leveraging its relationship with China here. Some Chinese manufacturers have started relocating production to Nigeria, partly in response to rising wages in China and to take full advantage of the size of Nigeria’s domestic market. Sun Ceramics is one such example; they produce ceramics the size of 10 football fields every day, employ over 1,000 locals and also source all their raw materials from Nigeria. If it weren’t for Nigeria’s difficult business environment, Chinese firms claim they would commit greater amounts of investment. Stronger ties to stand the test of time. Nigeria, however, has managed to…build a balanced and more diverse relationship with China. Nigeria’s relationship with China extends beyond resources and infrastructure to security, financial planning and sharing of best-practice in manufacturing, to name a few areas of cooperation. Particularly in the realms of security cooperation; the Chinese have found an area that helps win them local support on the ground in Nigeria given a near-universal desire to eliminate insurgent forces. Nigeria also recognizes that the size of its domestic market offers the largest opportunity in Africa for Chinese companies; and that has helped to improve the balance in the relationship. It is this combination of balance and diversification that is key to a sustainable relationship with China. Read: Nigeria’s Balanced and Diverse Relationship with China

Guardian of Nigeria Publishes “Proposal for Nigeria’s Future” by Lawrence Freeman

The Guardian of Nigeria published on Monday, January 28, 2019, my article: “Proposal for Nigeria’s Future”  with included pictures of President Trump, President Xi, and myself that were omitted from the on-line article.

US-China ‘Trade War’: What Implications For Nigeria?

October 13, 2018
My comments on the potential effects for Nigeria and Africa from a trade war between the US and China are quoted below in an article by “The Herald” a national Nigerian newspaper. (Not all of my comments are reported with complete accuracy)
The Herald Nigeria

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Positive Developments for Nigeria : Railway  Infrastructure and Value Addition in Agriculture

Bellow is a very informative article by my colleague, PD Lawton, creator of the website, on Nigeria’s expansion of its railroad network and its policy to become food self sufficient. 

11 July 2021

Under the visionary leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has become a key African partner in the Belt and Road Initiative. The benefits of Nigeria`s participation in the BRI are outlined in this article:

President Buhari has said that Nigeria cannot be seen as an island, that the country will never have peace and prosperity while its neighbours live in poverty.

In saying that, he expressed the spirit of the New Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the ethos of a shared future for mankind.

It is for that reason that President Buhari has championed extension of the railway into Niger.The Nigerian Railway Modernization Project will revolutionize national and regional trade.

The railway network will be extended to Maradi in Niger which is one of the landlocked neighbours along with Burkina Faso and Chad who currently only have road access to sea ports in Accra in Ghana, Cotonou in Benin and Lome in Togo. In September 2020, the Nigerian government announced the funding of $1.9 billion to construct the 250km line from Kano to Maradin, a village in Niger. In Maradin, warehouses will be built for cargo.

As of the 12 January 2021 the contract for the $1.9 bn line from Kano -Maradi has been signed with Portuguese construction firm Mota- Engil.

For centuries the trans-Saharan trade route went from Maradi to Kano and was prosperous until colonialism and more recently destabilizing forces changed such fortunes. The original city of Maradi is ancient , dating back thousands of years to the time of the Silk Road.

The remaining section from Maradin to Maradi will be financed and built by Niger.The contractor for the Nigerian line is a Portuguese company (Mota-Engil). The line is being financed by two European banks.

The government has been heavily criticized for extending the rail network beyond its borders.The Kano-Maradi line goes from the northern capital, Kano, across the border into Niger to the town of Maradi which has a population of 267,000.

The critics say that Niger has nothing to offer. There are cities in Nigeria that have a higher income than the entire Niger State, which is geographically larger than Nigeria but mostly desert and desperately poor.The critics say why help Nigeriens when Nigerians are suffering ? The government is being accused internationally of trying to capture the trade that currently goes to the port of Cotonou in Benin and of favouring the Muslim north of Nigeria to garner popularity for President Buhari`s APC ( All Progressives Congress) party. So why extend the line to Niger?

Because Africa must unite.

Apart from gold deposits, Niger is considered to have only one asset, uranium.Since 1968, Areva, an 80% French state-owned corporation has obviously been the main beneficiary in a partnership which is definitely not `win-win`. Niger is the 4th largest uranium producer globally. It has high grade deposits. Areva ( now called Orano)pays 5.5% tax and royalties to the Nigerien government. When asked to raise this pathetic ammount, the extraction plant ceased service for a number of weeks and the tax rate remained unchanged.

Image : African arguments. Resident of Arlit sells the daily ration of water.

Mining in Africa is dominated by the City of London extractive interests. The level of tax and royalties paid to government is consistently low. Glencore Xstrata is one of the main culprits

Uranium is mined near the towns of Arlit and Akokan, 1200 km northeast of the capital, Niamey, on the western range of the Air mountains. The mined ore is transported by truck 1600 km to Parakou in Benin, from where it is transported by rail, 400 km to Cotonou Port and then exported.

Between them, Niger and Namibia, two of Africa`s most arid and impoverished countries, could be supplying all of Africa`s uranium, not if, but when, the continent turns to nuclear power. However, uranium should not be regarded as Niger`s primary asset. Instead we should regard the 23 million Nigeriens as the source of true wealth because it is they, given the creative freedom from absolute poverty, who have the potential to transform the economy of their country.

The African Development Bank is funding a program to strengthen Niger`s rural economy. Food shortages, malnutrition and outright starvation are a permanent situation for the majority of Niger`s rural population. In 2013, only 8% of the population had access to electricity. 82% had no access to sanitation. As of 2020, 15% of people have electricity. According to World Data, Niger has an annual energy consumption of 1.07 billion kWh which is 46kWh per person per year. Life expectancy is around 60. There are no railways at present.

If China has elliminated absolute poverty in one of its poorest and dryest regions, the Uygur Region, there is no reason at all why it cannot be done in a country like Niger, provided that Africa as a whole, adopts the Chinese methods of developing the physical economy. Niger is a partner in the BRI. On a State visit to Beijing in 2019, President Mahamadou Issoufou and President Xi Jinping agreed to strengthen ties within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,stressing the importance of carrying out key projects in infrastructure, people’s livelihood, energy and agriculture. China has also committed to assisting Niger with technology and skills transfer in all fields including building a modernized health care system.


To the critics of the Kano-Maradi railway we can say that maybe `today` Niger has little to offer but `tomorrow` it will be the Sahelian Region`s largest energy exporter and it will be Niger that powers industry from Mauritania to Sudan!

In 2015, as part of the Niger Renaissance Programme, the government hosted a conference in Niamey, capital of Niger, to initiate a national nuclear power program under the umbrella of the West African Integrated Nuclear Power Group (WAINPG) to study the feasibility of regional nuclear power capability.

The Nigerien High Authority for Atomic Energy (Haute Autorité Nigérienne à l’Energie Atomique (HANEA) have submitted Phase 1 of the feasability study to the IAEA. This was done in 2018. Japan has assisted in the funding of the proposal.

IAEA -Niger: Integrated Nuclear  Infrastructure Review (PDF)

Niger, despite being arid. does have plentiful rainful around the Niger Delta but the rain is torrential for a period of weeks often leading to flooding. The government have built dykes but even these failed recently under the volume of water. Not only did this cause loss of life, homes and livelihoods for thousands, but many rice fields and granaries were ruined further contributing to food shortages.


The African Integrated High Speed Rail Network ( AIHSRN) includes a link from Lagos to Algiers which will directly link the Gulf of Guinea to the Mediterranean. The route traverses Niger which will be of immeasurable value to the economy of Nigeria, Niger and Algeria and will contribute greatly to the stability of the Sahel region.

Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, conducted many interviews with the Nigerian press during the this year`s 60th Independence Anniversary in which he said:

Last week, we awarded the contract for Kano to Maradi and people were screaming why are we taking it to Niger Republic. It’s important to take it to Niger because of economic reasons. Most coastal territories in Africa are competing better than us in terms of cargoes coming from not the hinterland, the landlocked countries. “We decided to join the market and compete so that we can make our seaports very viable. We decided to introduce the Kano-Maradi rail so that we can convey their goods from Maradi (a boundary village) to our ports with ease. I don’t know why people are screaming about it. It’s about economics, not politics.

You should know that railway generates employment and that as you move from Kano to Maradi you’re going to to go to Kano, Dutse, Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia before you get to Maradi, imagine the number of persons that you’ll create jobs for just at the beginning of the construction. “At the end of construction, imagine the number of businesses that you can site along with that area just because there is transportation. So when you talk about timing, poverty doesn’t have timing, unemployment is causing insecurity and banditry is a product of poverty, not just lack of education. So you have to find an alternative to those who participate in banditry. “So what we are trying to create is a source of growing the economy of Nigeria and creating opportunities for those who want to do real business, so they’ll be able to move their manufactured goods and reduce the cost of production around that area. That’s what we are trying to do.



The Nigerian Railway Modernization Project, will connect Lagos in the south west to Kano in the far north, by standard gauge railway.The modernized national rail network is around 3000 kilometers in length and of standard gauge. It will connect all major cities and link to the ports. The network will link to Niger.

It is replacing and expanding on the old colonial era narrow gauge system which was slow, inefficient and by 2013 all but collapsed with only the Lagos to Kano ( south to north) line operational. The average speed was 45km/h and the journey took 31 hours. With the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan line, that leg of the journey now takes less than 2 hours!

In 2006 an agreement was signed with the China Civil Engineering Construction Company for $8.3 billion. The entire project will cost $36 – $40 billion.The CCEC has, over the last years, constructed the Abuja-Kaduna Railway , Abuja Mass Transit Railway, Itapke-Warri Railway and now the Lagos-Ibadan line. The project, which is funded by China`s Exim Bank and the Nigerian government, is being built in segments to spread the cost over time.

The new metro light rail system in Abuja will be connected to the National Rail Network. Abuja Airport is also connected to the new metro network and the city centre (Abuja’s Central Business District). The Abuja Metro is the first light rail system in West Africa. The metro relieves traffic congestion, is reliable, fast and safe, and cheaper than local taxis.The metro will link Abuja with the towns of Nyanya, Kubwa, Mararaba and Lugbe in the near future.

Expansion is planned for the ports at Lekki and Bonny to make them deep water harbours of between 17 -18 metres deep. A new river port will be built at Warri and Ibom.

Lekki Port expansion is under construction. It will be Nigeria`s deepest sea port and is situated in the Lagos Free Trade Zone. It will be one of the most modern in West Africa. Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has tasked the project managers with commencement of commercial activities by 2022.

The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line will link the north eastern region to the eastern sea port of Bonny which has been approved already, work will commence soon. From Bonny the line will go to Port Harcourt – Aba- Umuahia – Enugu – Makurdi – Lafia – Jos – Kafanchan – Bauchi – Gombe – Damaturu, and Maiduguri, with a spur from Port Harcourt to Owerri.

According to the Transport Minister Amaechi :

Where we have about two seaports or river ports in Port Harcourt, you’ll be able to transport a lot of Iron Ore deposits from the North East through the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail. The completion of this project which we hope that if it doesn’t start this year, will start the first quarter of next year, the completion, will move cargo, create employment, create industrial development and it will grow the economy.

Transport Minister Amaechi explained that ports and rail work together:

Currently, Nigerians move about 30 million cargoes between Lagos and Kano in a year. The capacity of the Nigerian Railway Corporation as of today is about 200,000 cargoes per year. That’s appalling. So, if you want to make the factors of production to be cheap and make our goods competitive, then you must provide logistics, either the road, by air or by railway. But the cheapest form of transport in this regard is the railway because it’s subsidised by the government. So the idea of complying with the instruction by the president that all railways must terminate at the seaport is because you want to move your cargo. The moment you begin to move cargo, you’ll see the transformation. The movement of cargo will improve the industrial development of Nigeria.

The Lagos to Calabar line will run along the coast.  It will be 1,400 km and will link all the key sea and river ports.It will run from Calabar – Uyo – Aba – Port Harcourt – Yenogua – Otuoke – Ughelli – Warri – Sapele – Benin – Ore – Ijebu-Ode – Lagos.

The Abuja to Kaduna rail line is completed and in service since 2016. It is 186km long. Itakpe-Warri line is completed which is 326 kilometres long.

The Lagos-Ibadan line is the first double-track standard gauge modern railway in West Africa.It is 156km long. Track-laying of the high speed standard gauge railway from Lagos to Ibadan was constructed  by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). The project was started in March 2017. The line is now in service and has 10 stations.

The main station is in Lagos and will act as the operations centre as well as a passenger terminus. Initially 3 pairs of trains will run each day. The maximum capacity that the project is designed to accommodate is an incredible 15 pairs (inward and outward bound) per day!

The building which is still under construction, will be a colossal 11,200 square meters. It will be the largest railway station in West Africa with a capacity for 6000 passengers. It was hoped that the building will be completed by the end of 2020.

Investment in infrastructure leads to the growth of ancillary industries. In the case of the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project, a new factory in Kajola, Ogun Province is just one example. The factory will bring an initial 5000 jobs and will be manufacturing the rolling stock for the new, modernized railways. It will then proceed to supplying the rest of West Africa and beyond!

Nigeria: Value Addition in Agriculture

In 2015, Nigeria initiated the Value Chain Development Program that is improving cassava and rice value chains for small farmers in targeted districts The program aims at increasing productivity in the staple sector, increasing food production and thereby reducing poverty.70% of Nigerians live in rural areas and are small farmers who produce 90% of the nation`s agricultural products. Dire poverty in Nigeria is mostly in rural, agriculture-based communities and it is these communities that the government are targeting.

According to the Nigerian Statehouse website:

“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, developed by the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people – the nation’s most priceless assets.”

The program aims to put the oil-based economy on an entirely different trajectory to transform the economy and thereby alleviate poverty.Key components are the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project which is part of the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan which includes the construction of new, or modernization of existing, ports, bridges and road networks.

According to the Statehouse website:

“This Plan will use science, technology and innovation to drive growth. It also provides a blueprint for laying the foundation for future generations by focusing on building the capabilities of the youths of Nigeria to be able to take the country into the future.”

“Using agriculture to achieve food security, create jobs and save foreign exchange for food imports. Plans are already in place for national self-sufficiency in rice by 2018 and wheat by 2019/2020. Successful harvests will contribute in reducing inflation and promoting economic diversification.”

The Nigerian Agricultural Transformation Agenda was initiated in 2013. It is a program to alleviate rural poverty and increase production.Since the discovery of crude oil, IMF`s globalist policy has been to advise on oil export and food import which over the years harmed the country`s agricultural industry with cheap foreign imports having a negative effect on domestic production.

Rice self-sufficiency had reached 84% by start of 2019. Government and private sector initiatives have provided support,credit,training and seed, along with even distribution of rice milling (polishing) plants across all regions.

Mechanization solutions and the case for small modular processing plants are some of the innovative ideas being pushed by Richard Ogundele, CEO of JMSF Agribusiness Nigeria, a key player in the agricultural transformation program. According to him:

Another thing that we could see working here, is SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) branding. The farmers who grow them and the processors at that lower level, need to understand quality assurance from the start to the market end. And that`s where branding comes in, packaging, handling,storage and distribution. So opportunity for logistics is also there. Logistics in agriculture is still a challenge across Nigeria, storage, transportation, packaging, handling. We need improvements in this value chain service provision area. So if anyone is interested in this sector, we can always guide them and talk it through. And of course there will be the multiplying effect on the economy because more jobs will be created along the value chain for those who will be offering services to the core operations within the sector.”

Infrastructure, including water infrastructure, is having an immensely positive effect on production.

Nigeria is currently the largest rice producing country in Africa.

This is largely the result of conscientious efforts by the current administration to place more emphasis on agrarian production. The move was aimed at reducing the nation’s over reliance on oil which has in the past year proved economically devastating as oil prices plummeted on the global market.

The government is also keen on improving the country’s self-sufficiency and reducing the commodity’s import burden that currently runs into almost $400 million annually. Rice farming in the country has received a boost from the local central bank through the Anchor Borrowers Program that avails loans and distributes requisite tools to farmers to boost production. By the end of 2017, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture director claimed that the country had indeed reached self-sufficiency in the commodity. According to a report from the ministry, the country’s production capacity had reached 15 million metric tons. This would translate to major savings as the country would no longer need to import the commodity. The country in fact consumes about 8 million tons, a figure that rises by about 6% annually. It is therefore projected that with around 34 states involved in rice cultivation the country would have a surplus for export by the year 2019. The country is taking steps to control the rampant smuggling that has had a negative impact on local market prices.


Rice is the Nigerian staple. Local Nigerian varieties of rice are found to be of a higher nutritional value than imported rice.The local rice is not as highly polished which increases nutritional value and it consumed fresher compared to imported rice which can be many years old.

Nigeria`s self-sufficiency policy has caused `rice wars` with international exporters flooding the market with super cheap, low-quality produce. This has resulted in a series of protests from within the country as people demand cheap rice. It has been difficult for the government to convince the nation that by supporting the domestic market, they will have a better product which will become cheaper over time as production increases.

The black-market for rice is a continuing problem as Nigeria`s expansive borders are porous and rice is routinely smuggled across from Benin.

In September 2020 the government stopped tomato imports and has adopted a similar tactic to boost tomato production by value adding and processing into puree, thereby supporting domestic tomato growers and to encourage job creation.

The Nigerian government recently announced the release of funding for 300,000 new affordable homes which are to be built with 90% local materials, further supporting the national economy.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton


President Buhari and China Collaborate to Build Needed Railroads in Nigeria

July 28, 2020 Nigeria, and the whole of Africa desperately require electrical power and high-speed rail lines to become industrialized economically sovereign nations. Congratulations to President Buhari and China. Map from Lagos, Nigeria to Maradi, Niger


President Muhammadu Buhari-left and his new Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari-right. (Politics Nigeria)

Gambari COS for Buhari: Right Man at Right Time for Nigeria

Lawrence Freeman May 15, 2020 President Muhammadu Buhari has unexpectedly chosen an exceptional new Chief of Staff (COS), Professor Ibrahim Gambari, (his friends call him “Prof”), to replace the recently deceased Malam Abba Kyari. Over these many years, through meetings formal and informal at the United Nations, Washington DC, Abuja, and Darfur, I have come to respect Prof. Gambari as an honorable and thoughtful Nigerian leader. During our many discussions, his depth and breadth of strategic thinking was evident and contributed to my knowledge of Nigeria, Africa, and the United States. President Buhari and Prof Gambari know each other well. Prof Gambari served as the Minister for External (Foreign) Affairs between 1984 and 1985 under General Buhari’s military regime before it was overthrown in a coup. It should be remembered that during that time period, when the government of Gen. Buhari resisted the “Washington Consensus” and the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), the Naira was worth $1.34 dollars. Following the regime change of the Buhari-Gambari partnership, the Naira was immediately devalued to 25 to $1. As it is said, the rest is history. Not a career politician or member of the foreign service, Prof Gambari as ambassador headed the Nigerian Mission to the United Nations from 1990-1999 and had the distinction of serving under five heads of state during his tenure. Recognizing his experience and diplomatic skills, Prof Gambari upon leaving the Nigerian Mission was appointed Special Adviser on Africa to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan from 1999 to 2005. He was the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2007 under Secretary-General’s Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon. Prof Gambari was later appointed head of the Joint African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from 2010-2012. As head of the 26,000 man UNAMID force, Prof Gambari navigated a difficult peace keeping operation between the government of Sudan and those international forces who were intent on a Khartoum regime change. Nigeria in Difficult Times Nigeria is experiencing multiple tribulations. Its economy is suffering with 40% of its 200 million population living in extreme poverty and the majority of Nigeria’s tens of millions youth are unemployed. Infrastructure is inadequate, especially the lack of daily accessibility to electrical power for consumers and commercial enterprises. Furthermore, the murderous Boko Haram is still operating in the northeastern section of the country. Worsening the condition in Nigeria is the COVID-19 pandemic, which could potentially explode given the insufficient healthcare needed to contain and combat the effects of the coronavirus. The collapse of the price of oil now fluctuating below $30 per barrel has caused significant shortfalls in Nigeria’s revenue and its ability to accumulate foreign exchange. Nigeria’s national budget has been thrown into turmoil because it was predicated on a minimum price of $50 per barrel. Essential priorities for Nigeria, which I have discussed with government leaders:

  • A national economic growth  plan that benefits all geographical sections of the nation
  • Massive building of physical infrastructure including an urgent mobilization to upgrade and expand healthcare
  • Reverse the shrinking Lake Chad and transform the Lake Chad Basin by implementing Transaqua, an inter-basin water project supported by President Buhari.

Stark weaknesses of globalization have vividly surfaced due to the spread of COVID-19, which has caused devastation, and will likely continue throughout 2020. As a result, the world is crying out for a New International Economic Order to replace the currently defective international financial system. A new paradigm for development that values human life above debt service, prioritizes economic growth, and the elimination of poverty. Nigeria and its people, whose potential has been recognized since the liberation of the continent from colonialism, should play a leading role in this economic transformation of Africa. To begin the process of accomplishing these goals, President Buhari, in the remaining years of his second term, will need the support of a trusted group of counsellors.  It is my hope that my friend, Prof Gambari, a first-class strategic thinker, and a patriot who cares deeply for Nigeria, will galvanize this effort. Below I provide excerpts from an article I wrote about Prof Gambari in March 2002, because of their relevancy today. Professor Gambari discussed the effects of “debt over-hang” on Africa’s development. “The heavy debt burden of many countries is robbing them of their sovereignty, and impeding their pursuit of economic and social policies. The sad part is that debt overhang is hitting generations that had little or nothing [to do] with its contraction. As the UNDP poverty report observes, the ‘truth of the matter is that demands debt servicing are no longer a matter of money, but a source of the excruciating impoverishment of people’s lives.’ ” While not attacking globalization directly, Gambari diplomatically discussed the consequences for African economies–the unequal benefits from the globalization process.” Globalization, “driven by market and capital expansion, often pays little attention to governance of these markets and their repercussions on people,” and does not guarantee “equity and human development.” The results of globalization are that “Africa’s share of world trade has declined from 40% (1980s) to less than 2% at present.” Read my outline for the development of Nigeria: Guardian of Nigeria Publishes “Proposal for Nigeria’s Future” by Lawrence Freeman Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in the economic development policy of Africa for 30 years. He is the creator of the blog:


US-China ‘Trade War’: What Implications For Nigeria?

The escalating trade disputes between the United States (U.S) and China have kept the global markets on their toes with uncertainties pervading the global economy and implications for other countries. Analysts say the trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies portend consequences in commercial relations among countries as it has repercussions in differing degrees for some of these countries. China constituted U.S. largest supplier of imported goods worth more than 500 billion dollars in 2017 while U.S. exports to China was approximately 185 billion dollars at the same time However, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed varying degrees of tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese products starting early 2018 and China also retaliated with its own tariffs on U.S. goods. Since then, both countries have engaged in full-blown tit-for-tat measures that have unsettles the global markets in different degrees, which is gradually manifesting to a full-blown trade war. Political-economists express concerns that African countries could be hit because of the global network of economies in that what affects the U.S. and China’s economies affects the entire global economy. They say for instance, the impact was largely felt on the stock markets in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa – with Nigeria and South Africa being the two largest economies on the continent. Mr Lawrence Freeman, a U.S.-based Political-Economist Analysts for Africa, said that the trade war brewing between the two world superpowers could have dire economic consequences for Nigeria. Freeman said: “If President Trumps precipitates a full-blown tariff war; it could disrupt the world economy, inflict financial penalties on China, and undermine China’s currency. “This could lead to harmful effects for Nigeria, since both nations are coordinating currency transfers and have worked together to improve, Nigeria’s agriculture with billions of dollars of investment’’. He opined that Trump’s trade war with China has serious political, economic, and even military implications for all nations of the world, alleging he {Trump} has little understanding of how an economy functions, and how to achieve real economic growth. Trump is a follower of the myth of free-trade “buy low-sell dear” without regard for the economic security of a nation. “For example, in the most recent meeting between Presidents Trump and Muhammadu Buhari, Trump proposed increasing the sale of U.S. agricultural products to Nigeria. “This is the absolutely wrong approach. Nigeria should be reducing the amount of food imports by building up its agro-manufacturing sectors,’’ Freeman said. Freeman also said that China, on the other hand, has embarked on an economically healthy policy of investing in infrastructure in Nigeria and Africa to drive economic growth, as evident in the Belt and Road Initiative. According to him, Nigeria, like the rest of the African, needs massive investment in hard and soft infrastructure. He noted that in collaboration with China, Nigeria is building railroads across the country for the first time since colonialism, observing further that this, with increasing energy production, “is essential for Nigeria to develop and achieve stability. “President Trump should be more thoughtful in helping Nigeria overcome its huge infrastructure deficit, by joining China in expanding the BRI in Nigeria and across Africa. Continue reading


The Nigeria You Never Knew By Sylvester Okere


I have been resisting to speak-out about the stereotypes against Nigerians. BUT LET ME UNAPOLOGETICALLY TELL THE WORLD THE TRUTH ABOUT WHO NIGERIANS REALLY ARE!!! On Tuesday May 29, 2018 at approximately 3:13pm, I Sylvester Okere and Chief Dr. Hyacinth Nwachukwu received unexpected phone call from a reporter at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (a lady … Continue reading


Nigeria needs $35 billion annually on infrastructure to sustain economic growth

Premium Times November 12, 2017 The Managing Director, Infrastructure Bank, Adekunle Oyinloye, has said that Nigeria needs $35 billion per annum for five years to sustain a robust economic growth. Mr. Oyinloye, said this in Abuja while presenting a paper on “Economic Indices and Relationship with Infrastructure Development” at a forum for set 1988 Economics Class, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. While speaking on the role of infrastructure in economic development, Mr. Oyinloye said capital investments in infrastructure was a reliable avenue for engendering sustainable economic growth and development. “According to the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), Nigeria needs about $35 billion per annum for a succeeding period of five years to sustain robust economic growth. “That is what we need but we have never gone beyond about $12 billion; so it estimated that the infrastructure funding needs for the next 30 years is in the region of $3 trillion. “The NIIMP relies on empirical data to identify critical linkages between economic growth, sustainability and Infrastructure development. “And emphatically noted that developed economies typically record core infrastructure stock and value of about 70 per cent of this stock as proportion “With power and transportation infrastructure usually accounting for at least half of that total stock volume. “In contrast to national benchmark however, Nigeria’s core infrastructure stock is estimated as at today to be around 20 to 25 per cent of our GDP,” he said. Breakfast Bed Tray with Reading Rack According to Mr. Oyinloye, infrastructure is a key ingredient for enhancing the nation’s productivity and economic growth. He, however, said it was important to utilize relevant economic indices to ascertain its level of investment. He explained that for emerging and frontier economies, the imperative for governments in terms of infrastructure investments was to attract private participation in infrastructure financing. Also, Salamatu Isah, the Head of Department of Economics, ABU, in her remarks said lack of infrastructure had been a major problem in the country. Ms. Isah recalled a recent statistics by the NBS which showed that services and other sectors had the highest rates while the manufacturing sector had the lowest. According to her, the low rate performance by the manufacturing sector is due to the obvious challenges of infrastructure in the country. She however called on the government and relevant authorities to ensure infrastructure development in the country so as to improve  the basic standard of living  of Nigerians. {I fully support this outlook for Nigeria. Massively expanding Nigeria’s infrasrtucture is vital for its economic future, and security. It cannot be delayed without endangering the nation.}


Lawrence Freeman Receives “Leadership Award”

Dr. Sylvester O. Okere nominated me for this award. Received on July 29, 2017.

It reads: “For Generous Commitment of Time, Support & Inspiration to Africa Endeavors”


City of London Declares War on Nigeria President Buhrai Looks to China

By Lawrence Freeman, April 26, 2016 The Financial Times-(FT), speaking for the City of London, the headquarters of the Western financial system, has declared their intent to break the will of Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, who has up this moment resisted devaluing his nation’s currency. The April 13 editorial of the  FT, entitled, “Nigeria’s new start is in danger of derailing” echoes the not so veiled edict to devalue the naira, delivered by Christine Legarde, head of  International Monetary Fund, when she visited Nigeria at the beginning of this year. Ignoring the reality that the Trans-Atlantic economies themselves are in a state of collapse, their orders to devalue the naira would only further bankrupt Nigeria and increase the suffering of its already poor citizens. As a result of years of mismanagement Nigeria has become a totally import dependant economy, thus a decline in the value of the naira would instantly make basic necessities of life unaffordable. President Buhari has wisely shunned these demands, remembering as do many Nigerians, what happened to Nigeria after President Buhari was removed from office in 1985 by Ibrahim Babangida. Following Burai’s ouster, the new government immediately adopted the IMF’s structural adjustment programs-(saps) including devaluing the Naira that resulted in the destruction of the economy from which Nigeria has never recovered fully. Threats From the West: Devalue Or Else After stating that support for President Buhari is “evaporating” a year after his election, the FT reports that Nigeria is: “Starved of fuel, electricity and foreign exchange the economy is grinding to halt. Businesses are laying off staff in droves.” Their solution is to devalue Nigeria’s currency that they claim “fixed at an unrealistic level against the dollar.” These financial predators, who thrive like sharks off so called free-trade currency manipulations, falsely claim that the naira’s value is distorting the “free markets” and holding back growth. President Buhari said no to Lagarde in January, said no to the U.S., and has repeatedly resisted all sorts of pressure tactics and arm twisting over the last several months for devaluation. He knows that with Nigeria’s huge dependence on imports, a devaluation from the official rate of 1 dollar for 198 naira towards the black market rate of 1 dollar to 300-350 naira would drive Nigerians further into extreme poverty and death, reminiscent of the conditions 1985-1986 that followed the IMF ordered devaluation of the naira under Babangida. Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, in response to discussions at the IMF-WB Spring meetings in DC, politely said, no thank you to the western financial institutions, and made clear that Nigeria will not use the IMF loan facility to go further into debt. She went on to say that “Nigeria is not sick” and that this government will rebuild the Nigerian economy by diversification so as not to be dependent on oil as the only revenue source. Adeosun fully backs the president’s policy of supporting the naira and has said she will not implement polices that harm the Nigerian economy “just to be “the darling of the IMF and other multi-laterals.” The FT on behalf of the western financial oligarchy is threatening Nigeria that without devaluation of the naira western financial institutions will not put their money into the Nigerian economy, even while they admit that such a move will dry up the country’s dollar reserves, and offers “no panacea.” They write: “It is a tough choice and an even tougher political environment to make it in. Nigerians are impatient for the gains they voted for and have little appetite for further pain. Mr Buhari squandered an opportunity to act early on when he enjoyed the goodwill of the public. But the painful measures required to set Nigeria’s economy on a sustainable growth path (sic) becomes no more palatable the longer he delays.” Nigeria Looks East for an Alternative Is it possible that the fulminations from the FT were related to President Buhari’s high level visit to China, where he met with President Xi Jinping and concluded a number of economic and financial agreements? In fact, the rant by Britain’s FT occurred while President Buhari was in China securing a commitment from them for $6 billion in credits to fund critical infrastructure projects. According to Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama: “It is a credit that is on the table as soon as we identify the projects.”  Minister Onyeama said that China “is not looking for political gain, not looking to dominate any country…they are ready to help us” with our economic building blocks.  China is already Nigeria’s largest trade partner This offer by China is entirely consistent with President Ji’s “win-win” approach and his leadership for the “One Belt-One Road” global infrastructure policy, the launching of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the creation of the BRICS nation’s New Development Bank. Increasingly, African nations are realizing that western governments and financial intuitions will not invest in long term, low interest credits to fund Africa’s huge infrastructure deficit, without which, Africa will never experience the level of real economic growth required to sustain their expanding population. Another feature of President Buhari’s visit was the securing of currency swap agreements between Nigeria’s Central Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the largest lending intuition in the world. Although the amount of the currency exchange has not revealed, its intention is clear; to facilitate trade between the two giants. Nigeria is the largest economy and the most populated nation in Africa and China is the most dynamic economy and most populated nation in the world. To further integrate the two economies, Nigeria will use the Chinese yuan as a reserve currency that will diversify its reserves from strictly relying on the dollar, and allow traders to bypass dollar pricing and dollar conversion for exports and imports. Not to be overlooked was President Buhari’s visit to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation during his trip. Nigeria is the first international customer of the Chinese corporation, having already purchased two satellites and has signed an agreement to buy two more. Aerospace also made a commitment to build satellite developing facilities in Nigeria to strengthen space cooperation between them. . Nigeria’s Challenge Although there are no public reports of an agreement on “panda bonds”- yuan denominated bonds to be sold on the international markets, there were discussions prior to President Buhari’s visit that Nigeria was looking for new mechanisms to raise money to cover its budget deficit, having made clear they will not borrow from the IMF. President Buhari has proposed an ambitious budget for Nigeria of 6.06 trillion naira ($30.6 billion) a third of which-$10 billion-will be dedicated to capital expenditures which is triple the amount of previous budgets. As a result of the dramatic collapse of the price of oil, which accounted for 70% of Nigeria’s revenues, the new budget will have a deficit of approximately $10-$11 billion. The government intends to raise funds for its deficit both externally and internally and is looking to China and possibly other nations for help. Nigerians knowledgeable about the government in Abuja believe the new president did not know how seriously underdeveloped the Nigerian economy was when he took control of the nation.  Recognizing the failure of previous administrations to build a vibrant economy, and mistakenly relying on oil as its primary revenue source for foreign exchange over many decades, President Buhari now wants to diversify the economy with an emphasis on rebuilding Nigeria’s agricultural sector. He has also stated correctly that: “No country can develop without power.” This is another challenge for Nigeria, which distributes less than 3,000 megawatts of electrical power, leaving half of its 180 million people without access to on line electricity, and daily blackouts through the country including Abuja. Improving the conditions of life for millions of Nigerians, and creating meaningful productive employment for tens of millions of unemployed youth necessitates a complete transformation of the Nigerian economy. This requires applying the methods of President Franklin Roosevelt, whose top down approach to rebuilding the U.S. economy “miraculously” led to a successful recovery following the Great Depression. Embracing the new paradigm of development put forward by China and the BRICS nations offers Nigeria a pathway to realize its untapped economic potential that has laid follow for more than a half century since its liberation from British colonialism.


Nigeria Votes Up a Change in Government; Huge Challenges and Opportunities Lie Ahead. Will Nigeria Look to the BRICS for Its Future?                                       

By Lawrence Freeman April 30, 2015 The author witnessed the election and observed conditions in the country during his stay in Abuja from March 24 to April 3, and has been involved in Nigeria for almost 25 years. Without a doubt, Nigeria’s March 28 Federal election for President, Senate, and House of Representatives was an historic accomplishment of the Nigerian people, and the single most important political event in Nigeria since it achieved independence from the British Empire in 1960. It will benefit Africa and the world. This election—free, fair, transparent, and unhampered by ethnic or religious violence—is special for the Nigerian people, who demonstrated they would no longer accept having their leaders imposed on them without their consent and participation. A spirit of freedom, such as the poet Percy Shelley described in his “Defense of Poetry,” helped guide the Nigerian people to act in this unprecedented manner. However, given the woeful economic conditions of this country, the most populous in Africa with 177 million people, the challenges facing the new government of President Elect General Muhammadu Buhari, who will be sworn in on May 29, are daunting, but not insurmountable. Of 68.9 million registered voters, 29.4 million turned out to vote (42.8%). General Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) received 15.4 million votes to the 12.9 million for incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party. Gen. Buhari’s defeat of President Jonathan by a margin of more than 2.5 million votes, 54% to 45%, and winning in 21 of Nigeria’s 36 states, is a clear mandate for change. Some longtime Nigeria watchers are also calling it a referendum on the incumbent’s six years as the nation’s chief executive. Until this election, only PDP candidates have won the Presidency and the PDP has maintained a majority in all elected bodies since the end of military rule in 1999. With the March 28 vote, the APC is the majority party in the Senate and the House. Similarly, the APC won a large majority in the April 11 gubernatorial and state house elections. The rejection of the ruling PDP and President Jonathan was driven by the population’s extreme frustration and rage in response to years of failed policies that have made even simple daily existence a challenge. Nigeria’s Underdevelopment Must Be Addressed It is clear to any thoughtful observer that Nigeria has not progressed significantly in more than a decade and an half of “democratic” rule. In some of the major cities, road infrastructure has improved and there is a considerable amount of new housing in Abuja, but the fundamental, underlying conditions of life for the majority of Nigerians remain abysmal. Nigeria’s rich agricultural potential remains underdeveloped. The minimum monthly wage for civil servants is 20,000 Naira, equal to about $100. More than 100 million Nigerians live on $1 to $2 a day, and the lack of jobs and misemployment plague the country. Unemployment for youth runs as high as 90%; for college graduates it is 45%. The informal economy, as it is called, is a cancer destroying the productivity of the economy. Youth line the roads, selling every imaginable consumer commodity by running in traffic alongside moving cars, retrieving their money from drivers who dangle it from their car windows. Able-bodied young men, who should be working to build the country’s infrastructure, are instead selling chewing gum to passing cars. A complete waste of creative labor power! Human beings constitute the only known species capable of discovering new principles in the universe. It is this “creative spark” that makes human beings in the image of the Creator. To degrade Africans to a bestial existence is to deny the sacredness of human life. The egregious failure of this and previous administrations is reflected in the utter paucity of electrical power for Africa’s most populous nation of almost 180 million. Imagine, only 2,500 megawatts (MW) of electric power out of a maximum of 4,000 MW capacity is available from the national grid each day, leaving Nigerians to fend for themselves, the better-off having expensive personal generators and home batteries that are used to store the electricity when power is provided. At night one can hear the hum of residential generators that collectively generate several tens of thousands of additional megawatts above that supplied by the national grid. There is no Nigerian household or small business that does not experience a blackout at least once every day and usually several times a day, forcing citizens to operate in the dark and without air conditioning, despite the extreme heat. If Nigerians were to live at a U.S. standard of living, consuming 1.4 kilowatts per capita, Nigeria would require 250,000 megawatts, or 250 gigawatts– several orders of magnitude more than what is available today. Despite the deadly presence of Boko Haram—which has created an extraordinarily dangerous security situation for northeastern Nigeria, especially in Borno State—the state of the economy, the difficulty in just finding the means to survive and provide for one’s family, remained the number-one issue motivating Nigerians to oust the incumbent President. The single most important task for the next President, in reviving Nigeria’s undeveloped economy, is to provide plentiful, accessible electrical power. President Elect Buhari is not unaware of the causal relationship between poverty and security. Concern about security is not just about terrorist attacks. Robberies, murders, and kidnapping for ransom are also part of daily life in Nigeria. Western Governments Oppose Development The United States and Europe today have no commitment to the development of nations. It is not an overstatement to say that governments in the west are utterly opposed to building up the physical economic capacity of developing nations, much less their own, due to their slavish, obsequious bowing at the altar of Wall Street and the City of London with their quadrillions of dollars in worthless derivatives. President Obama has made abundantly clear to all what the U.S. government’s policy towards Africa is with his expression, “we don’t do infrastructure.” The only U.S. institution that provides credit for infrastructure projects, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, is so restrictive in its contracts and so limited ($1–2 billion a year for small-scale water, sanitation, and power projects), that it fails to actually help countries expand their agro-industrial sectors sufficiently to provide for their populations. We have to go back more than a half century, to the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, to find a period in which the United States engaged with African leaders, such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, to foster physical growth, not merely monetary values. Africa needs hundreds of billions of dollars in the form of credits to build regional and transcontinental infrastructure, especially railroads, electric power, water management, and healthcare, to overcome the genocidal effects of decades of deficits in these crucial categories of investment that are absolutely essential to foster economic growth. Today there is a new world dynamic no longer dominated by the pessimism and geo-political outlook of the West. Through the emerging leadership of the BRICS configuration and its New Development Bank, and China’s “One Belt and One Road” commitment to extending the Silk Road around the globe and into space, nations have an opportunity to work together for a common purpose—to raise the physical productivity of their economies and improve the living conditions of their citizens. China, Russia, and India are leading the world in the construction of nuclear energy plants, high-speed rail lines, and water projects The process is already leading Africa to closer collaboration with the BRICS nations. In April, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission discussed with Russia’s Rosatom the possibility of building four 1200 MW nuclear power plants at a cost of $20 billion, with the first one scheduled to be operational in 2025. In another collaboration with BRICS nations, Nigeria signed a $12 billion agreement with a Chinese company to build a railroad around the southern rim of the country last November, in what was China’s biggest-ever overseas construction deal. A subsidiary of the china Railway Construction Company has signed a $3.5 billion contract to build a 334 kilometer long inter-city railway project in Ogun State. On April 14, the president of the African Development Bank, in which Nigeria has a significant role, welcomed the new, China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank-AIIB, saying he hoped the two institutions could work together to plug the funding gap for infrastructure in African countries.  The new AIIB credit bank, with 57 prospective founding member nations is expected to have its charter signed in June. While Europe and the United States remain obsessed with attempting to protect purely meaningless, monetary values that are actually destructive to the real economy, Africa is turning to this new alliance for progress. All the Africans that I have known over many years are expecting Nigeria to play a leadership role in this new global movement for development. In fact, for its own survival, it has no choice. Transaqua’s Time Has Come Boko Haram is at war with the four nations that border Lake Chad, the founding members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC)—Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. The 40 million Africans living in the Lake Chad Basin are suffering from the shrinking of the lake, which is reported to have shrunk by approximately 90% from its 1963 size of 25,000 square kilometers. Increasing poverty among the fisherman and farmers facilitates recruitment to Boko Haram, which pays the poor, alienated youth from this region more money than they can otherwise hope to make off the land. In northern Cameroon, underemployment of all ages is a least 75%, according IRIN humanitarian news. IRIN reports that Boko Haram takes advantage of the extreme poverty and lack of opportunities in the region. Those young men are “faced with the choice of joining Boko Haram and securing their financial future or sitting at home with nothing to do as their families struggle to afford enough food to eat.” One youth told IRIN that Boko Haram is willing to pay recruits $600 to $800 per month, where the monthly minimum wage for those who can find jobs is $72. President Elect, Buhari has already stated that he intends to use the full power of the government to defeat Boko Haram. With his military experience and longstanding relations with Nigeria’s armed forces, Nigerians expect to see results. Over recent months, there has been a growing realization that an effective counter terrorism strategy requires more than just military deployments, and that alleviating the poverty in the region is also a crucial ingredient to countering violent extremism. This has led to an interest in Transaqua, the great water project, designed by Dr. Marcello Vichi of the Bonifica engineering firm over 30 years ago to replenish the shrinking lake. The proposal is to transport 5% of the water from the Congo River Basin north across the Central Africa Republic through a 2,400 kilometer canal to the Chari River that empties into Lake Chad. This idea is also being promoted by Nigerian engineer Sanusi Abdullahi, Executive Secretary of the LCBC (see {EIR} December 5, 2014). In discussions with this author, President Elect Buhari, who has been following the condition of Lake Chad since the days when he was the Governor of Northeast Nigeria, showed concern for the lake and interest in such a water transfer project. Transaqua is a transformative infrastructure project that would create a development corridor from the Great Lakes Region to the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel, affecting the economies of a dozen African states. The donor countries and multilateral institutions that fund the LCBC have flatly rejected transferring water to refill Lake Chad. The U.S. government has also officially shown no interest in this potentially revolutionary project for Africa. If the Nigerian government were to take the leadership in spearheading the campaign for Transaqua, it would have a profound effect for all of Africa. However, since Transaqua is of such great importance in preventing the southward march of the desert and developing such a large portion of the continent, the African Union, representing all African nations, should make this water transfer project a primary goal. Nigeria at a Turning Point Winning the election was a necessary step, but now the Nigerian people are rightfully expecting a major up-shift in the functioning of their government and an improvement in their lives. During the election campaign, Buhari highlighted his commitment to dealing with the security crisis in Nigeria. In a column in the {New York Times} on April 14, he declared that his first act will be to defeat Boko Haram militarily. He recognized that Boko Haram is alluring: “They offer impressionable young people money and the promise of food, while the group’s mentors twist their minds with fanaticism.” He also promised to end corruption, create jobs, and build needed infrastructure. The new government will be given a short honeymoon with expectations understandably sky high. General Buhari is well known for his integrity and incorruptibility from his time as the military leader of Nigeria, from January 1984 until August 1985. Oil is at the heart of corruption in Nigeria. Having failed to build functioning oil refineries, Nigeria—one of the top ten oil producing countries in the world—has to import fuel. It is the daily buying and selling of fuel on the international markets that creates the conditions for corruption and outright theft of Nigeria’s natural wealth through collusion between the major international oil companies and their Nigerian criminal allies. Since Royal Dutch Shell moved into Nigeria over a half century ago, the nation has never fully freed itself from its control and manipulation. The new government will have to find a way to break the back of this nefarious cabal. To deal with Nigeria’s dysfunctional economy, Buhari and his team will need to initiate a set of radically new policies to unite a country that is divided along ethnic, religious, and geographic lines, around an economic nation-building program much like that of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt’s “First 100 Days.” When Roosevelt took office in 1933, the country was gripped with fear and despair, with 25% of the labor force unemployed, and a bankrupt financial system. On his first day in office, having prepared in advance, he launched a set of policies to get the country functioning and lift the American people out of the suffering of the 1930s great economic depression, by creating a new economic platform. For Nigeria to realize the full potential of its enormous human capital and vast natural resources, it should apply the Rooseveltian-Hamiltonian principle. By that I mean President Roosevelt’s top down approach to rapidly employing millions of unemployed men to build dams, roads, and waterways—new infrastructure that electrified entire sections of the United States—exemplified by the federal government’s creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, then the grandest infrastructure project in the world. Roosevelt was himself a student of Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington, who united the colonies into one nation through the establishment of a national credit bank. Roosevelt, upon assuming office, lawfully issued new government credit to restart the moribund U.S. economy in accordance with the sovereign responsibility of a government to provide for the “general welfare” of its citizens. Roosevelt was too smart and too much of a patriot to allow the future of the United States to depend on the “money-changers” as he called them. Buhari has a history of resisting the interference of the global financial institutions. When he came to power in 1984, he rejected a new $2 billion loan from the World Bank, designed to drive Nigeria further into debt. He refused to accept the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program, whose demands included curtailing spending, freezing wages, removing fuel subsidies, reducing tariffs, raising interest rates by 30%, and a minimum 60% devaluation of the Naira, which would have massively increased the price of Nigeria’s imports and significantly reduced revenues from the export of its oil. Buhari’s refusal to accept the IMF-ordered destruction of Nigeria earned him the enmity of especially the Anglo-American political-financial establishment. There is little doubt that General Buhari’s principled stand in defense of his nation against the financial oligarchy was a motivating factor in his removal from office. Following the coup against him in 1985, the floodgates were opened for the destructive IMF Structural Adjustment Program, from which Nigeria has never recovered (see documentation). Now, 30 years after his first period as the nation’s leader, General Buhari returns as President of Nigeria with the future of the nation resting heavily on his shoulders. DOCUMENTATION Excerpted here are remarks by Major General Muhammadu Buhari at the Fourth Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Lecture in Kaduna, Nigeria, on May 15, 1998, under the subhead “Economy,” paragraphs 5–11. “…The came the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) after the collapse of the resistance to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And instead of a graduated 60% devaluation of the Naira, the national currency experienced its greatest humiliation. Henceforth, disaster descended on the Nigerian people. (1) “The new value of the naira—unrealistic, indefensible and the result of utter lack of patriotism is perhaps the most enduring act of official recklessness and lack of regard for the economic well being of Nigerians. “With one announcement the government pauperized the majority of the people of this country. In a way the devaluation of the Naira occasioned by SAP has contributed more than any single measure in destroying the moral fibre of Nigerians. Beside its direct effect on people’s savings and purchasing power, the devaluation of the Naira has had more far-reaching effects on the economy. “From 1986 to 1992 inflation grew nine-fold. Even though the GDP grew by 5.4% per annum during the same period, its rate of growth declined to just a little over the pre-86 level of 2%. But for the people there was deterioration in their standards of living as real wages continued to decline. “…If our future leadership wishes to be and remain relevant, people must be the focus and beneficiaries of all government activities. {Henceforth, therefore the question of growth and economic development must be linked to the changes in the objective conditions of the people of the country and not by an impressive array of mere figures or other economic indicators.} [emphasis in the original] “As one development economist said, the questions to ask about a country’s development are three: what has been happening to poverty? What has been happening to unemployment? What has been happening to inequality? If all these three have declined from higher to lower levels, then beyond doubt this has been a period of development for the country concerned. “But poverty in Nigeria has for the past decades been increasing and is now pervasive; unemployment has reached record levels as thousands of our university graduates roam the towns without work to do, and inequality resulting from several distortions has been deepening. The middle classes have all but been wiped out.”

  • It is worth noting that when Gen Buhari was head of the military government, the Naira was worth more than the dollar, reaching a high of 1 Naira equal to $1.34, before he was toppled and the IMF took control of Nigeria’s economy. In the period leading up to this year’s election, $1 was trading for N225.


Will Nigeria Become A Tsunami for Africa?

Lawrence K. Freeman January 28, 2012 An African friend recently told me that if the “Arab Spring” comes to Nigeria; it will create a tsunami for the rest of Africa. I believe he is right, and it may be coming sooner than we think, unless Nigeria makes an abrupt change in policy. In the Arab countries where demonstrations erupted last year, there were legitimate reasons for popular dissatisfaction with their governments, and the same is true in Nigeria.  However the break-up of Nigeria has long been desired by the British financial empire, to carry out its policy of genocide throughout the African continent, which continues unabated today through food shortages that are killing millions, and will kill millions more in the months ahead Continue reading


Professor Sam Aluko: There Will Be No Development in Africa Without a Strong Government Role

Interview, September 12, 2008 “I told Obasanjo, that at the end of his period, if he continues that wrong policy, the economy will be worse than when he took over. Of course, he didn’t agree with me. He said that my economics was backward, was old fashioned; that the modern economy was one of globalization, one of free trade, one of privatization and deregulation, of retrenchment of public sector workers.  At the end of his Presidency, the economy was worse than in 1999 when he became the President.” Continue reading


Professor Sam Aluko: Peace Through Development: The Nigerian Perspective

Germany, May 3, 2001 One of the most evident characteristics of the African continent is that it has always been a “follower continent”; that it continues to remain a “follower continent”; and, unless it finds faith and independence in its own peoples, action, and governments, Africa’s continuing economic decline, its financial and moral crises, will not only increase and deepen, but will also ultimately constitute a threat to the peace and stability of the entire world. This is because the enormous economic and natural resources of the African continent will continue to invite the competitive exploitation and spoliation of today’s world’s most developed nations, as their diminishing resources recede further and further while their insatiable appetites grow more gargantuan by the day, and the financial and economic crises which are beginning to manifest in their countries deepen and defy solution. continue reading


Will Nigeria return to the IMF fold?

Lawrence K. Freeman February 12, 1999 With only a few weeks until the Feb. 27 Presidential elections, Nigeria is being pressured to submit to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Paris Club. When Gen. Sani Abacha came to power in November 1993, he reversed the subservient relationship that Nigeria had to the IMF under Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s regime (1985-93), during which Babangida destroyed Nigeria by following the IMF’s structural adjustment program and “free market reforms,” including the massive devaluation of the naira, Nigeria’s currency. During the last several years, the IMF has been denied direct control over Nigeria’s economy, especially because of Nigeria’s 1994 government ban on accepting any additional foreign loans Continue reading


Helga LaRouche face off against the British in Abuja, Nigeria

Lawrence K. Freeman December 12, 1997 The dirigistic “Chinese model” for development of the physical economy, in the tradition of the American System of Political Economy, presented by Mrs. LaRouche, stands in stark contrast to Prof. Paul Collier’s advocacy of the “free-trade” system applied by the British Commonwealth against its “former” colonies in Asia and Africa.  Collier’s pedigree places him in the service of the nastiest imperialist faction of the British Empire Continue reading


Professor Sam Aluko: IMF conditionalities are destroying Nigeria’s economy

October 27, 1997 Interview in Abuja, Nigeria What we have been proposing to government is that we should clearly identify those areas of the economy that are growth-propelling, and we should invest in them. In 1995, we suggested to government that instead of just spreading out all our revenue over a multitude of projects—none of  which will be completed—let us identify in a year, four or five or six projects. Say, this year, we are going to finish the iron and steel mill, which, of course, the World Bank and IMF and the Western world don’t want us to complete. We say, “No.” If we don’t complete those, we never take off. Continue reading


Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu: What Nigeria is doing to end military rule

Chief Ojukwu, former member of the Nigerian Constitutional Conference Paris, France-July 11, 1995 Nigeria is a very important country. I don’t say that just because I happen to be Nigerian. Aspects of our importance have been mentioned. But I would further stress that the failure of Africa is actually the failure of Nigeria. The leadership which Nigeria should have given to Africa, it has not been able to give because of certain difficulties. And those difficulties can be summarized-as His Excellency the Ambassador has mentioned-as those of nation-building. Nobody in Nigeria today ever applied to become Nigerian. Nigeria was the concept of Lord Lugard-the name itself was given by his girlfriend, who couldn’t think of anything else …. Continue reading


Adamo Ciroma, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture: “We deserve respect for what we have done”

Interview Abuja, Nigeria-July 1, 1994 EIR: We see globally signs of the weakening of the current financial system; that the policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and free trade are beginning to fail. What effects do you see of the collapse M the present monetary system for Nigeria? Ciroma: We are going through two phases. The first phase was acceptance by the Nigerian government to apply IMF policies; that was between 1985 and 1993. In the 1994 budget, we have had to introduce some controls in order to deal with the problems introduced by the IMF policies of deregulation. It is clear that while the market forces arguments and deregulation are being held up as ones that allow resources to flow into the right areas, and which are corruption-free, the proof, in fact, is somewhat different. The market deregulated system has a great deal more corruption than was the case during the previous era of regulation. Secondly, the free-trade policies, as part of the IMF policy, allowed resources in a depressed economy to be applied to the importation of items which one would not expect to see on the shelves, like dog food, cat food, and similar items. These are sharp contrasts, and nobody can actually defend it. Now the new policy, which introduced the fixing of exchange rates, the fixing of interest rates, has drawn a lot of flak from the banking sector. In their words, the policy must fail. And from the information available to us, they gave the policy six months, by which time it would fail. And this has the backing of the IMF and the World Bank, whose officials publicly and gleefully predicted the failure of the Nigerian policy. Continue reading


Dr. Sam Aluko: “We emphasize the function of production in our economy”

Interview with Dr. Aluko, member of Nigeria’s newly formed National Economic Intelligence Committee. Abuja, Nigeria July 1994 EIR: Your committee was set up in February to examine the 1994 budget and to look at the Nigerian economy and report to the commander in chief. Could you tell us exactly what your findings were on the Nigerian economy? Aluko: We were set up to monitor the 1994 budget, to monitor the economic activities, and advise the head of state every quarter. But we felt that it was not just enough to look at the budget without looking at the economy itself. So, since we were set up, we have produced two reports to the head of state, one in March, the other one just this month [June]. But what we have done, really, has been to interact with various sectors in the economy. As of today we’ve interviewed about 26 to 28 various organizations: trade unions, manufacturers who sell to Nigeria, bankers, finance houses, manufacturers, motor assembly plants, cement factories, farmers, even colleagues from at home and abroad. This was in order to have an overview of how the economy is functioning. We tell every one of them that we would like to have a dialogue with you on a confidential basis–hide nothing from us; we will hide nothing from you. Continue reading


Al-Haji Bamanga Tukur: “Our priority is to improve our agriculture and industry’

Interview with Mr. Tukur, Nigeria’s Minister of Industry Abuja, Nigeria-July 1994 EIR: Before we get into specifically Nigerian industry, how did the International Monetary Fund’s structural adjustment programs affect Nigeria over the recent period? Tukur: They affected Nigeria positively in many ways, and also negatively in others. Positively, in the sense that when smaller exports and smaller-scale industries started, there was a kind of determination to have self-sufficiency. But because of the many structural defects, that which ought to have helped the real structural adjustment to take place, was not in place. So the whole thing really flattened. And then naturally, with the fall of prices in the oil economy, the hardship really surfaced more than anything else. Ccontinue reading