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Monday, December 31, 2012


   Unlike the year 2011 that witnessed a lot of controversies on the issue of introduction of Islamic banking by the central bank of Nigeria (CBN), especially the licenses of Ja’iz bank, the year 2012 witnessed fewer controversies as regard the introduction of the novel scheme. We all remember how some Christian clergies roused against Islamic banking in the year 2011 calling on the national assembly to stop the move as they alleged it would lead to the Islamization of Nigeria. A lawyer from the southern part of the country rushed to court asking the judge to declare Islamic finance unconstitutional. The country’s main umbrella representing the nations Christian bodies, CAN, issued many press releases on the issue of Islamic banking, expressing their reservations on the introduction of the system. But, despite these controversial oppositions the process to introduce the Islamic banking system in the country witnessed some progress. At the beginning of the year the first fully pledge Islamic bank start operation in January of the year with three branches in Kano, Kaduna, and Abuja putting to history book the believe that the operation of a fully pledge Islamic Bank is not possible in a secular Nigeria. Later in the year in an effort to expand it operations across the country Ja’iz Bank sold its shares out in a private placement helping it to attain the minimum amount of capital required by the Central Bank for a bank to operate as a national bank with branches across the country.  Ja’iz has since joined efforts to finance important commercial dealings and projects across the country, especially in the real estate sector and retail businesses.

  Also during the year the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Lotus capital (a fund management firm) entered into a joint agreement that led to the establishment of the first ever Islamic Index on the Nigerian stock exchange that has since made it debut operating along side the all shares index of the exchange. The establishment of the index has made it possible for those craving for ethical means of investing in and outside the country to invest their hard earned money. This move has further widening the number of investment channels available to those restricted by religious injunctions in their business and investment dealings. As at Friday 28th December 2012 the NSE LOTUS Index stood at 1,771.59 higher than NSE-30’s 1,324.44 but lower than the NSE all shares’ 27,866.51.  The number of financial institutions that shows interest in entering the Islamic finance industry in the country also witnessed an increase with interest been shown in areas such as insurance, micro financing, Islamic banking window, and fund management. Likewise interest from academic institutions on courses related to Islamic banking and finance has increased; the centre established at Bayero University Kano (BUK) the previous period to run Islamic Banking and finance courses and train Islamic Banking and finance professionals has already started its programs during the first half of the year with different postgraduate programs. The country’s deposit insurance body, the Nigerian deposit insurance corporation (NDIC) also organized training programs for its staffs towards equipping them with the knowledge of the field and on the possible challenges of insuring Islamic financial institutions. Next year we look forward to see whether the Central Bank will make its plan to introduce Sukuk bond into the Nigerian capital market a reality.

Friday, December 7, 2012


   The word 'Journal' gave rise to journalism, 'capital' to capitalism, 'social' to socialism and so on and so forth. But, while capitalism and socialism denote a general movement or a system, Journalism refers to a career, a profession that according to its dictionary meaning connote ‘the work of collecting and writing news stories for newspapers, magazines, radio, television and indeed the internet. Though, most online reporters or writers prefer the name blogger, to mean that they maintain an online web journal accessible to everyone with internet access, or that they have more freedom to write what is on their minds, and the fact that they are not limited by the stringent rules and censorship that is found in both the print and electronic media. It also means that they are moving with the changing world, the era of globalisation that witnessed the rise of modern technology and herald the demise of less sophisticated technologies and systems. But, not every body welcome the century of 'citizen journalist' in particular and social media in general, many old journalists who practiced their trade in a period when the internet is no more than a means of sending and receiving messages see social media as threat to the profession of journalism as they knew it. One of such old school journalist is chief Olusegun Osoba, former governor of Ogun state as well as former managing Director of the defunct Daily Times, who sees the business of social media as “jungle practice”. In his speech during the national convention of the Nigerian institute of Journalism alumni association (NIJAA) in Abeokuta (Sunday 1st December), Osoba rises alarm over what he sees as the growth of social media who poses a threat to the practice of journalism. He observed that some of the practitioners of this internet journalism know nothing about journalism, and therefore, called on the authorities to censor them. But, the real threat to the practice of journalism are people with a mindset such as that of Osoba, because changes such as the one brought by information technology are inevitable, is either you go with it or you perished as many industries have seen. And, Osoba need to be reminded that you cannot censor the freedom of speech in the internet era, as regimes such as that of communist China and Mubarak’s Egypt have seen.

    Coming back to the central topic of this piece as announced in the title, financial journalism still lag behind general journalism that comprises aspects such as political reporting and current affairs. This to me can be attributed to the following factors, shallow grasp of financial literature in particular and economics in general on the part of the journalist, Mathematic-phobia (fear of numeracy), lack of interest on the part of Nigerian public on business and economic news due to poverty and low literacy, scarcity of standard economic and financial newspapers and magazines, poor training and coordination between major economic institutions in the country such as CBN, NDIC, SEC, NSE, economic departments of Nigerian universities and the financial reporters, lack of interest on the part of academicians and professionals economics on economic and financial journalism leaving the business in the hand of amateurs, and finally, media owners lack of interest to invest substantial money in the field. This goes contrary to what obtains in the developed countries where economic and financial journalism is as strong as general journalism competing with it in every aspect. The economic and financial literacy rate in those countries is higher than anything you will expect to get from a country like Nigeria making it easy for papers that cover finance to prosper. The fact that professional economists show much interest in financial journalism there, have contributed to their successes. One of the world best know weekly magazines The Economist of London that started publication from September 1843, has economics, business and finance as it  central themes. Other major international titles includes, Financial Times of London, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes Magazine, and Fortune. As Nigerian economy grow at higher rate, the complexity in the working of the different sectors of the economy is bound to increase making it difficult for reporters with poor Economic and Finance background to comprehend it well, thereby failing to report it properly. In order to avoid this problem there is urgent need for the recruitment of people with economic background as finance and business reporters. Second is the extensive training of the existing financial reporters on the working of more advance economies and complex financial engineering.

   An average Nigerian newspaper usually carries three to five pages of business and financial news, this will not allow for deeper analysis and wider coverage of the happenings in the business world. A lot of the coverage of the reports are limited to news of conferences, annual meetings, and press releases from corporate organisations including a table showing the transactions on the floor of the Nigerian stock exchange. But, what is most needed pertaining to expert analysis of business, economics and financial news is scanty, only seen occasionally and in most cases lack rigor and technical grasp of major findings from world renown economic journals. With the exception of such Nigerian daily newspapers as Businessday, which is a business and finance paper, most papers lack dedicated economic and finance columns with expert contributions. Hardly will you find a good economist, like a university professor being allocated a column where he makes regular contributions on economics and finance. On the part of the Nigerian academic economists there is this tendency to look at newspaper contributions as less than the minimum in his field, preferring to feed his ingenuity and vast knowledge to professional journals whose circulation is limited to the professionals in the field. But, professional economist contributing to newspapers and magazines is the norm rather than the exception in other parts of the world. Some of the world most renowned economists in the world with Nobel Prize to their credit are regular columnist in newspapers and magazines. Most prominent example here is the late Professor Paul Samuelson the first American and the second person in the world to win Nobel Prize, who maintains a regular column in Businessweek. Samuelson is a true financial journalist par excellence who contributed a lot to the development of the field apart from his globally recognized contributions to almost all the major areas of economics from econometrics, mathematical economics, macro and micro economics, to consumer theory. Paul Krugman, another Nobel laureate and Professor of economics at Princeton University, contributed a weekly column to the New York Times and monthly column for Fortune magazine.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


    Teaching of Economics in Nigerian universities has not witnessed substantial progress like it happens in the case of its quasi-rivals such as Business Administration and Accounting, who after all are offshoots of Economics who developed into independent disciplines not more than one century and a half ago. Business Administration has transformed into money making machine for Nigerian schools who run Masters of Business Administration (MBA) that continue to attract people with deep pockets such as bankers, employees of multinational organisations and tax collectors. But, the fact of the matter is that, though, many people continue to rush for MBAs their corresponding value in term of the type of job they can get one into is fast declining. And, the explanation for this is not far fetch. The standard under which these courses are being offered do not meet international standards, as many schools compromise standard in order to make more money from big pocket students Thus, ending up producing graduates who fall below employers’ expectations. Hence, the rush to offer professional courses such as the ones mentioned has affected the research ability of these departments and their manpower strength to offer regular courses such and, further eroding the general standard of university education. In Economics department itself, professional courses such masters of banking and finance are now seriously encroaching on regular academic programs due to lack of available academic staffs to cover both.

   There are over hundred Nigerian universities (both private and public) today, located across all the six geographical parts of the country with substantial numbers located in the Southern part of the country. The number of universities offering Economics among these universities numbers more than 50% of the total because of the popularity of the course and the demand for it in the labour market. A university like University of Ibadan (which is also the first university in Nigeria) boasts of the oldest department of Economics in the country that up till today comprises of sizeable number of highly qualified professors. The country’s main center for economic research (the equivalent of America’s NBER) is based in the University of Ibadan, likewise the Nigerian Economic Society (equivalent to the US American Economic Association). Other universities that came after University of Ibadan such as Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Nigeria Nsukka, University of Lagos, and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, established their own economics departments that were to play a prominent role in producing the earlier generation of Nigerian economists. But, that is where it all stops as the Nigerian Economists and the Economic departments in its various universities are today the shadow of there former selves. known globally for producing critical thinkers and scholars who have contributed in formulating government policies as well as playing important role among the community of academic economists and practitioners around the world. 

   Some of the most prominent players in the formulation of the country’s economic policies were locally trained. This is to tell you how good these departments were during the 1970s and 1980s when graduates from Nigerian universities were on high demand around the world, and Professors left their chairs in Europe to come to Nigeria in order to take teaching appointments. Those that were produced during those years include Prof. Charles Soludo former CBN governor (UNN), current CBN governor Sanusi L. Sanusi (ABU), Minister of national planning Shamsudden Usman (ABU), Mansur Mukhtar former finance minister (ABU), former Managing Director of United Bank for Africa Toney Elumelu (Lagos), to mentioned only the key players of the current period. One of the reasons for apparent decline in the status of Economics departments of Nigerian universities is absence of quality teachers to help with the teaching and the researching in the universities which like most other departments have been affected by brain drains in which good professors who have published in world renown academic journals have gone abroad where there is better condition for teaching and research.  Some of those that cannot move abroad have moved their services to the private sector where there is better pay and working condition. The few quality professors that remain have divided their attention between the department and their outside consultancy works. Thus, at the end of the day the one that pays the high price of this unfortunate scenario is no other than the graduates being produced by these institutions.

  Some of the world acclaimed economic departments such as Massachusetts institute of technology (MIT), Cambridge, Harvard, London school of economics, and Chicago boast of not only a number of Nobel laureates but an alumni base that has defined the course of Economics over the last century and contributed to the development of the World economy. In these places, the quality of their teaching materials is superb; their libraries and research centres the best in the world. No wonder everyone wants to go there in order to pursue his academic interests. Their academic staffs contributed to some of the best known Economic journals in the World such as Review of Economics and Statistics, Econometrica, Journal of political economy, Journal of monetary Economics, American Economic review, Economic Letters, etc. They not only contributed to shaping the curricula of Economics around the World but defined it future direction. They adapt to technological changes as they appeared on the horizon and help define its contribution to business and economy; something you cannot say of Nigerian schools’ Economic departments. They support promising students who show academic excellence with scholarship to further their studies something you hardly see here. Some of the unlucky half bake graduates produced in Nigeria end up pursuing careers different from the economic training they received at school.

  There is little contact between students and their lecturers apart from the occasional meetings for the usual class lectures, this did not help the development of the students into critical thinkers as they are left with the only mastery of what is contain in the hand out, a kind of garbage-in-garbage out (a world of crammers). This is contrary to what obtains else where, where apart from the class meetings professors give students individual attention to discuss economic matters with them and even help them to publish papers earlier in their career. In his autobiography after he received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1992 the eminent American economist Gary Becker described how the department atmosphere was at Chicago where they were taught by great economists like Milton Friedman, Gregg Lewis, and T. Schultz. On Friedman, Becker has this to say, “He emphasized that economic theory was not a game played by clever academicians, but was a powerful tool to analyze the real world. His course was filled with insights both into the structure of economic theory and its application to practical and significant questions. That course and subsequent contacts with Friedman had a profound effect on the direction taken by my research.”

   Going back in time to 1930s, the department of economics at Harvard of that period comprised of some of the world greatest economist under one roof. These include Joseph Schumpeter, Alvin Hansen, Seymour Harris, Edward Chamberlin, Edward Mason, and Wassily Leontief who helped to inspire students that would later become world renown such as Paul Samuelson, Lloyd Metzler, Paul Sweezy, Kenneth Galbraith, Abram Bergson, James Tobin, Richard Musgrave, Richard Gilbert, Lloyd Reynolds, John P. Miller, and Richard Goodwin. Across the Atlantic ocean at London school of Economics (of the same period of time) the economic department comprises academic staffs that include John R. Hicks, Lionel Robbins, Friedrich Von Hayek Roy Allen, Nicholas Kaldor, Abba Lerner and Richard Sayers. Thus, at the centre of the success of any Economics department around the world is the composition of its lecturers who are on average brilliant, hardworking, versatile, and highly motivated to contribute to the development of the department by given there one hundred percent to research and teaching. In Nigeria today it is only few departments that comprises of more than five full time professors (and this is mostly restricted to federal universities who paid professors in excess of N400, 000.00), majority of these lecturers comprises of masters holders and others pursuing their PhDs. And, the recruitment process into some of these departments have become skewed in favour of those who are connected, and where merit is followed some of the newly recruited tend to start looking for greener posture elsewhere the moment they get what they want.

    The curriculum in those departments also needs some changes to reflect the changing reality of our time. Like most things in Nigeria it is very difficult to introduce changes as those against it will do everything possible to frustrate it. Many scholars and commentators have emphasized the need to introduce courses that encourage free thinking and brainstorming but instead the curriculum stick to syllabus that emphasize pure mastery of the subjects in order to pass exam; as the only thing that matter is the certificate that one will graduate with at the end of his program. And, some of the lecturers are to blame for this scenario as they are accused of using strict marking scheme that do not allowed for student own contributions and research. Such lecturers are said to have given marks out according to what they provided in their lecture handout. This explain the inability of the graduating students to conduct any research of their own instead resorting to stealing others ideas and works and putting their names on it. Outside the school period, in their later places of work graduating student find it difficult to contribute to freethinking and innovation- that develop their places of work- what in reality Economics is all about. Though, economics is considered to be a quantitative subject one will be surprised to find out that a lot of economic students fear mathematics and statistics and consider them as their number one enemies. But, how can one consider himself an economist when he fears quantitative courses?

   But, the death of research culture is not only restricted to the students as the lecturers themselves find it increasingly difficult to conduct researches. In those circumstances where they wrote their papers they end up being published in departmental or faculty journals that in most cases are of lower quality than international or national journals. Then there is the proliferation of private journals in Nigeria and abroad who accept any kind of paper in as much as the author pays them the publication fees. Though, this problem is not restricted to Nigeria as is seen in other places around the world, that does not means the Nigerian academic economist should accept it. Though, not all fee paying journals are of low quality, there are a lot many that do not deserve the name academic journal. The only national Economic journal of refute that remain in publication for over sixty years is that published by Nigerian economic Society, Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies (NJESS) since 1959, the quality of the type of papers contributed to the journal both from Nigeria and abroad attest to the reputation of the journal in Nigerian academia. Other highly regarded journals include the ones being published by the central bank research department, CBN Economic and Financial Review, and periodicals like that of Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation. But, the aim of any aspiring academic Economist is to publish in world renown journals such as the ones I have made mention of earlier, so as to get international recognition and not to restrict his papers to national periodicals. Departmental conferences also have become the thing of the past as departments of
economics around the country find it difficult to get the financial and human resources needed together to organize such conferences, as was the case before, when they organized international conferences that attracted world renowned scholars from around the world. The proceedings of such conferences later get published in the form of books thereby providing student and lecturers with working materials of international standard base on their local environment. 

1                             Autobiography of James Tobin,
2                             Autobiography of John R. Hicks,
                  Autobiography of Gary S. Becker,

Monday, November 5, 2012


     Buhari political economy that is derived from his believe in the principles of elimination of wastages, economic self determinism, productive investments, equity, and long term savings is indeed very different from what we have today in the Nigerian version of American liberal economic model that failed to learnt from the positive changes that have taken place in America itself in the last hundreds years. But, instead found a perfect partner in our local corruption, tribalism and absence of sympathy for those down the ladder who are in need. If you ask most people in the current government what its economic ideology is only few will give you a ready answer, as majority will be tasking their brains to find an answer. And, the simple answer you will get is economic growth; that this government aims to achieve economic growth so as to enter the league of the biggest economies in the world.  But, how should that economic growth be achieved? Economic growth without development, that champion the pauperization of the majority by the few, that act as a harbinger for the development of cabals who control both political and economic power is not in the long run interest of Nigeria. Neo-liberal models as we have seen in the post communist Eastern Europe can result in economic and welfare complications, destructions of major social fabric of societies, enrichment of few powerful groups by means of sale of government assets and finally hardship at the bottom of the scale. The obsession with the creation of the richest individuals on the continent, its biggest banks, or tallest building should not be the main concern of our policy makers. Like the famous development economist professor Dudley seers has rightly observes, the main questions that should preoccupied the minds of our economic planners should be what has been happening to poverty, inequality, unemployment? When these are reducing we will now talk of economic development. In the case of Nigeria all of these indicators are increasing despite our claim to have achieved more economic growth.
    What differentiate Buhari from most of contemporary Nigerian leaders is that the Nigerian poor sees him as highly committed leader who abhor corruption and injustice, a moral crusader in his own right. In term of commitment to the development and progress of his own dear nation and its people Buhari can be compared to such world leaders as Abraham Lincoln, Moa Zedong, and our own Murtala Mohammed. Like Murtala Ramat Mohammed that came before him, Buhari was kin on removing Nigeria from the clutch of Western debt institutions by his administration regular debt repayments and reduction in our dependence on external finances.  Buhari’s tract record as public servant during his military and post military career show him as efficient administrator who plug all leakages and wasteful expenditures, as well as some body who champion the need to boost the productivity of public employees. Exploitative capitalists and crook business people were brought to order making them to pursue their business interest inline with the national interest. Free enterprises economic system, as we see it in practice in some countries around the world, is a better economic system when compared to either of socialism or communism, as it allow freedom of trade and individual right to own property assets; but as good as it is it need strong government and institutions to function well or else it will result in anarchy and exploitation of the weak by the strong. In a country where corruption, rent seeking and bureaucracy has eaten into the foundational base of the economy, not any kind of government economic machinery can bring the needed scour to relief the nation and it people from the clutch of power hungry cabals. For free and fair competition to find a place in any economic set up you of all things need strong judiciary devoid of partisan politics and corruption, strong central government steered by accountable team, strong property and copy right, effective watch dog to fight against corruption and rent seeking, and easier access to sources of  finance. In a place where the central government still fights to restore peace and stability in unruly parts of the country, investors are not so sure of the security of their lives and properties; much remain to be done to achieve the desire economic change.
  In a recent special report by the London based the Economist, a weekly magazine, on the world economy, Nigeria was placed among the countries of the world that continue to experience increased inequality between the rich and the poor. This is happening despite its high economic growth rate that tends to concentrate wealth in the hand of few. The richest few continue to enjoy the dividend of democracy at the expenses of the majority who are poor; despite the fact that the leader of the current government (President Jonathan) as he widely told his audiences during the last year election campaigns, once moved around without shoes in his youth. Examples of how this regime favour the rich at the expense of the poor abound; the creation of Asset management company (AMCON) by the CBN to help prevent the collapse of the Nigerian financial system end up providing billionaires such as Otedola with highly subsidized loan paid from taxes payers money. All of the beneficiaries of the AMCON bad loan buyout are very rich people at a period when the government is removing subsidies on fuel. Federal government import and export licenses allocations, land distributions, contract allocations, taxes waivers, and employments all favour the rich and other government cronies. Thus, it should not be surprising to any one that the Nigerian elite don’t want changes to the status quo as offered by opposition politicians such as General Muhammadu Buhari. The elite main fear is that under Buhari the political and economic powers they hold for decades will shift ground and move to the poor, a kind of Marxian revolution. But, we all know that this is simply taken things too far, though the poor is expected to benefit from Buhari’s government that does not in any way exclude the rich. The fact that we are operating under democratic system with it inbuilt system of check and balances allays fears of any tectonic changes that should eliminate the Nigerian capitalist class.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


    Last Saturday, North East leaders under the banner of NORTH EAST FORUM FOR UNITY AND DEVELOPMENT (NEFUD) met in Bauchi to proffer solutions to the region unending problems that range from poverty, illiteracy, deceases to the mother of all 'Insecurity' that already crippled the region.  But, like most such forums from the region the deliberations of the meeting could not hold due to perceived politics and absence of commitment on the part of leaders from the region. The major casualty for the lack of united front and purposeful leaders from that part of Nigeria is the poor masses who continue to wallow in abject poverty. In all the major indicators of human development, North East is the worst in the whole country. Some of the most poverty stricken states in the country are concentrated in the region, in addition to being the incubating ground for Boko Haram and its insurgency activities. The biggest city in the region, and its commercial nerve centre, Maiduguri has since lost it vibrancy and dynamisms to other place such as Gombe due to the insecurity of the place. Maiduguri that have some of the richest people from the region and known for it peace and accommodation of strangers has since lost that, forcing thousands of people to migrate elsewhere where there is calm and siren atmosphere for business to prosper. What remains now of Maiduguri is a shadow of its former self. The same, to a lesser extent, is true with other major towns in the region such as Bauchi and Yola that are being ravaged by the same security threat on daily basis. In a response to the apparent underdevelopment and marginalization of the region, former Yobe state governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim threaten of more violence from the region if Federal government does not change it policy toward the region. The marginalization of the region can be seen in the 2013 budget presented to the national assembly by Mr. President. The former governor now Senator rightly observed that Boko Haram is a product of poverty, but the question is who and who are to blame. Is the federal government the only one to take the blame? 

  The first group of people to blame are the leaders from the region, that produced Nigeria’s first prime minister Tafawa Balewa (the golden voice) and such great people like Sir Kashim Ibrahim, Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu,  and Brig. Zakari Maimalari. But the leaders of today, from the same region that produced these giants of humanity, are busy accumulating wealth for themselves and their children. Ask yourself how many of them are living in the region before the advent of Boko Haram crisis? They are very few, most of them have relocated to places such as Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, Lagos and Dubai (UAE) since before the advent of something called Boko Haram. Preferring to visit their states during Sallah festivals and Turbaning ceremonies. The region is left for the poor masses and street beggars to sort things out by themselves. Let compare some figures, in term of number of universities the North east has the least number (about 11) when compare with other two regions in the North, North West (16) and North Central (about 22 including FCT). Tertiary health facilities (Teaching hospitals), North East (2), North West (3), and North Central (4). The same is true with top government officers and political office holders: North East has head of service of the federation, chief of air staff, minister of FCT, Women affairs minister, EFCC chairman, PDP chairman; North West gets Vice President, Speaker, CBN governor, National planning minister, Security adviser, NDIC boss, PTDF chairman, IG of police, Custom boss, NNPC boss, acting FIRS chairman, Education minister; North Central boast of Senate President, Chief of Defence staff, Interior minister, information minister, Attorney General of the federation and so on. But, do not forget the fact that during Obasanjo first tenure the region got most of the juicy positions that were allocated to the North, including Vice President, Defence and Finance ministries.

  One major federal project that the region elders should have hurried Jonathan administration to complete is Kano to Maiduguri express way. This road in the whole North (when completed) can only be compared to Abuja to Kano express way that have in no small way boost the economy of the areas linked to it. The completion of Kano to Maiduguri will do the same to the region by reducing transport fare, increasing the availability of needed good and human resources to the region. Increasing movement of Agricultural products produce in the region to other parts of the country, and serving as link to other parts of Africa such as Chad, Niger, Cameroun, Central Africa Republic and Sudan. While the work on Lagos to Kano railway line continue albeit slowly, no one talk of that of Maiduguri to Port Harcourt; or linking areas such as Yola and Jalingo to Abuja by means of an express way. Then coming back to the issue of Boko Haram, it seems the federal government is not doing enough apart from the use of force. Like we have seen in the case of Niger Delta insurgency in the South-South, brutal use of force never solves any crisis anywhere around the world, dialogue and rehabilitation is the better alternative. There is need for massive job creation in the region to reduce the number of jobless youth who are easy target for those with dubious motives. Just like in the Niger Delta, youth from the region should be selected, thereafter, sponsored by the federal government for training abroad or somewhere in the country. Finally, politics of rigging and imposition of candidates on voters should be avoided, as some of the violence we are witnessing today are traceable to these ugly practices very common in the region and other sections of the country.