By Nneka Okumazie
It is likely that a key reason for Asia’s powerful rise in recent decades is that white people fell into a deep perilous sleep – with no wakefulness in sight.
There is something significant to free enterprise – cold hard cash. And Asia continues to beat them at their own game.
Capitalism, predicated on competitive productivity, found fertility in Asia, as the whites optimized for profit, which goes to some, and waned in – a – collective progress.
Budget cuts, deficits, dismaying healthcare situations, austerity, unemployment, recession, etc. are bells of a decline, though strengths abound in other areas.
There is wealth in the dirt and for centuries, the whites were able to pass around aspects of the unpleasant – in important but profitable work – to others.
But this, for Asia, unlike others in the past for situation, prescience, etc. was willing to seem dumb and get roughened, learn, position, get better and become the engine of global supply.
Though many posit paths for Asia’s not so simple rise, one thing is clear, they took advantage.
The rise of Asia does not mean they would overpower the world, or lead it – unlikely, at least through this century, but they have taken hold of something that in possession of the whites may have been – some – more equitable for the world.
The rise of the dominant civilization through centuries came with trenchant imagination, invention, overwhelming courage, in-group fairness, trust, some integrity, rarefied observation, impermeable loyalty, push-pull drive or attempt propensity, spot-opportunity-alertness, etc.
But these, for more whites, continue to recede.
It is true that after near matchless excellence through history, to relish and chill, because with what should be part decline – remains far ahead of most of the world.
Though emerging differently – Asia was able to soup together their ways and other aspects of growth determinism.
There is no way it should not have been obvious that in a capitalist society, the most important sector is the economy and the most important field is economics.
Another dance is of the drifter’s drum.
Once the economy falters – others follow.
Most of the things that grow – commercially – are for perceived value, graded by price.
Big stuff like the defence that grows across nations – seeming to defy local economics, is not by itself growth but a governance tumour.
There is the security hallucination of weapons first, forgetting the economy is the greatest weapon.
Aside from growing wastes with rusty weapons across zones, there are categories that will almost never be used, not because there won’t be conflicts but because there is less incentive for self-destruction, for those that have things going – somewhat – well for them.
Also, those in power, who initiate wars, often believe that they can win and retain power, not because they see it as a path to ruin.
So, battles are often circumspectly selected, and the mad person is not that crazy – at least initially.
There is a point of enough for direct weapons of war – in proportion to priority objectives.
But there may never be enough for indirect weapons of war – economy, food, development, etc.
The groupies for direct weapons forget that some of the leading nations of present-day productivity are not the most abundant with weapons. Those, for years, on weapons speedway focused on it, to lead, losing out on other areas, as others rose.
Some countries almost seem to have outsourced their defence. Also, there is a high attraction for others to have an alliance with those who make stuff, or maybe prioritize them.
More weapons may mean an appetite for conflict or hyper-belligerence.
Conflicts remain uncertain with the use of fair weapons, as well unclear benefits amid so much noise.
The economic decline may – maybe – be turned around with invasion centuries ago – and then occupation, but with horror weapons now and continuous options for resources and production elsewhere, weapons winders bear economic senescence.
Some may argue the need for new frontiers of defence, yes, maybe, but the economy, economy mostly.
There should be at least hundreds of new economic ideas tested on small scale across locations – to find new options with demand, supply and more.
Economics should be the most with the number of tryouts seeking how to make progress in a changing world, but painfully, most in the field are showroom economists, displaying data prowess, bickering over trends and terms but deficient in applicable economic ideas for continuous progress.
They have become watchers of the gauge, rather than seek hundreds of mobility alternatives to keep the economic cargo moving; that if some parts go to others, there should be tens of options to redirect the loss in gainful ways.
There are some big ideas on what to do in some cases and sometimes just one. If the best to come up with is just one, not at least twenty, it has already failed. Who cares about prestigious titles, degrees, places or roles if they have little ideas in their field on how to move all forward as they watch their civilization asphyxiate?
Most economists in recent decades had no major paths for the future. They sheltered in the lack-of-better-ideas prison, similar now by most economists, towards the future, with resignation. Such a shame that they know how many economic troubles had been responsible for problems across the world throughout history, but refuse to drive economics reproductively with great ideas for new options regardless of what emerges and how tough it gets, uncertainties or catastrophes.
Most economists are an embarrassment, with nothing to contribute to progress than – to be dated analysis, debates over who crashes first, sham indicators and void revisions.
They forget how responsible they are not just for their own civilization, but also for the developing world since the majority of the developing world will never do anything new for themselves except copy from elsewhere, or adopt something really insignificant to their collective progress and yell.
Many years ago, the rigid capitalism models, caused lots of union troubles that may be led, in part, to horror stance that maybe also led, in part, to trouble ideologies years on. Economy first, but most economists show no leadership, so the advantage is taken of their turf for all kinds of illegal stuff.
If for example, in many developing countries, someone asks some people, why are you involved in organized crime? They may give common ludicrous answers, but one thing they don’t often say:
They want to be regarded.
In many developing countries, money – per capitalism copy – rules, so not having means being nothing, and many don’t want this.
So, for them, it is a status game, show-off and classifying display to appear better than others.
Status is worthless.
It is not often obvious because most people want to be admired, but status by itself – as a destination, not a tool – is worthless.
The world is a collection of segmented countries. If developed countries are trains on their tracks, and some emerging nations too are, some developing nations have no trains, no tracks and their people are standing by.
In that no progress situation, some are better off, so instead of most seeking ways to found a new track, or repurpose an old track, get some locomotor and get started, their people on that ground, table on status, use possessions or exposure to class, so as to distinguish selves from others.
Some get aboard other trains, do OK, but mostly get sucked in becoming little to progress.
They may not see it but are insignificant in how most act or appear, to many on trains of progress.
Who cares that someone in some null developing country somewhere drives a cool vehicle?
What does it solve? What does that do for the world or their people per progress?
There is some developing country somewhere, with their reputable companies, neighbourhoods, schools, positions, tribalism, with people there thinking they have it all, who cannot look at themselves at how backwards they are, and find ways to collectively go forward.
Most often forget that individual success is mostly an opportunity to take the collective risk so that if it works, it benefits them and their people. But unfortunately, these places lack much, while getting consumed by petty heavy nonsense, repeating the same with many of their progenitors.
There is often an insistence on education, democracy, freedom, transparency, etc. Those are cool indexes but are like the tenth need for most developing countries.
Since their schools mostly don’t have advanced facilities or much, rather than focus on studying what others are studying, yet not great at it, they should instead have institutes of imagination, colleges of observation, labs of integrity, departments of courage, groups of fairness, schools of trust and integrity.
Most of the countries lack these. There is hardly a way for most new leaders or many of the sham revolutions to do much.
Why won’t many be corrupt?
On the ground, the goal is to make it comfortable or maybe find ways to feel better than others, etc.
What a joke for all the symbolism from most of these places that they just cannot have basic fairness.
Conferences, summits or gatherings to discuss their nothing subjects all lack emotional observation, no exception.
The same way status is worthless in those countries is the same way status is worthless anywhere in the world.
The moving train has several mechanical parts, it is possible to be on an amazing train and have others work on the ugly parts, but after a while, those tending and supplying the ugly parts hold some power. Status may still seem valid, but others handle something important.
Status, Rolodex or connections, as the way things should happen, is part of the model of economic decline.
It was cool monarchy powered stuff, but with similar, now, in parallel to Asia’s fierce economic procession, doom, doom.
There are many of the bygone eras who hardly saw the future. Then in their status, feeling like the centre of all, are gone, faded, irrelevant, not remembered. This is often forgotten by many in the present.
There are people who for whatever reason believe that being born white or in some associated country means being special, or better than others, NO it does not.
Those in the tug for this or against can’t see their loss in economic substitution.
For some, they claim they are protecting civilization, or others from taking over, but this will not happen.
Mostly, in these major countries, they have so many programs, to assist the sick, the troubled, those in need, including interventions, tips against addiction, harm, etc. The summary of the message is don’t waste your life, even if it achieves nothing grand per se, just do OK, and who knows, it might.
Now, in some places, certain tiny groups say they have to do ruinous martyrdom to conquer others. So an ideology that tells people to waste their life will conquer a place already evolved to cherish life?
It won’t happen.
Most of the fears are diversions from an economy that has cratered and no answer, so find something to grab minds and leave out answers.
Whatever the future may hold, hate is not the future.
Deception is not the future.
It is possible to predict their directions, but both will not win.
In hindsight deceit revealed is sometimes more than disappointing, just like hate, greed, lust, evil, wickedness, etc.
It is easier to predict the future, with themes than with events.
The future is extremism, though could be in useful stuff.
Extremism, not moderation will be the future, from different directions.
Though Asia made it, they don’t have big ideas that would move them or the world far super forward.
The world too is short on answers.
The fields that produce studies and should quadruple outputs, to close in on pervasive progress face funding cuts and diversions.
Progress stalls because of economics and swing set, post-ideas economists.
Technology is far subject to economics than many believe it is an advance driven progress.
There is a big country whose meaning will – maybe – depend on sabotage and antagonism because they have lost out on the future, so they have to posture with both.
There is also another big country, with super-smart people doing amazingly and leading across fields nationally and internationally, but that country is unlikely to succeed, even if some of their known cognitive snipers elsewhere – come to power.
This is due to religious aggression, certain culture and the funnel of their people to get out to enthusiastically build the civilization of others.
Religion is mostly about association and possession – what the people believe they have. It is not often the most important to decisions as many prioritize whatever according to desires, needs or status, not adherence or pure heart.
The future is religion as well, though may not be just organized.
Some people remain consumed by what skills people would need in future?
Economics is before all, few see it or that it is diseased and needs massive multiple ideas, instead most people run amok seeking scraps of economic servants.
[Matthew 6:21, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.]
Bayelsa and the Nation’s Emerging Power House
The Niger Delta, Changing Narratives
By Jerome-Mario Utomi
A few days ago, precisely on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, I listened with real curiosity to Mr Daniel Alabrah, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Mr Douye Diri, the Governor of Bayelsa State, speaks at the recently held GbaramatuVoice Newspaper 6th anniversary lecture/Niger Delta award, at the Eko Hotels and Towers, Lagos.
Among other things, Mr Alabrah, who represented his boss, noted thus; “somebody mentioned to me a few minutes ago that Nigeria is a blessed nation, blessed in the sense that we have oil and we also have gas.
“But looking at what we have done in our history as a country,” he added, “it is obvious that all these years, we took the less important resource and focused on it while leaving the more important resource which is gas.
“Maybe now we are beginning to realize it. If you check as of today, Nigeria has 260 trillion standard cubic fields of gas reserves and what that tells us is that we are fortunate to have alternatives.
“If oil finish today, Nigeria has an alternative and let me also mention this that as of today, Bayelsa produces about 30 per cent of the revenue derived from oil but more importantly, Bayelsa perhaps has the largest gas reserve in the country today, and now the question that arises is what is the way forward?”
Again, let’s listen to him; “the way forward is nothing else order than investment in gas. But I am bothered and that fear arises from the fact that from the way we have treated oil, are we going to treat gas in the same way.
“If after 60 years of exploiting and exploring oil, Nigeria does not have a beautiful story to tell, what will happen to us when we begin to explore gas? The good thing is that Nigeria is beginning to wake up to that realization that if oil finishes, that we have gas. So, let us begin to focus, I guess that is why the federal government in 2020 declared the next decade from 2020 to 2030 as the decade of gas.
“So, let us see whether we will be able to answer that question, whether we will be able to utilize gas better than the way we have done with crude oil,” he concluded.
So, using the above scenario as a dashboard to correct our leadership challenge which is gravitating towards becoming a culture, it will be important to note that they are objective concerns.
As a nation, we must openly admit and adopt both structural and managerial changes. To my mind, this will necessitate our leaders welcoming approaches that impose more leadership discipline than conventional and creating government institutions that are less extractive but more innovative in operation.
This shift in action is important as we cannot solve our socio-economic challenges with the same thinking we used when we created it.
As noted by the CPS, our leaders must remember that today, a lot of people are afraid that oil is going to dry up, that we are exhausting the oil resources that we have in Nigeria, a lot of people are wondering, particularly when you go to the Niger Delta region, every day when we talk about the state of affairs of the region, particularly the kind of impoverishment you see in the region, many usually ask; if crude oil is a blessing or a curse to the Niger Delta?
While Nigerians await the federal government to provide answers to the above question, it must again be said that this time is auspicious for our government to bring a change in leadership paradigm by switching over to a leadership style that is capable of making successful decisions built on a higher quality of information while dropping the age-long mentality which presents execution as more important than idea incubation.
This crucial leadership fence-mending calls for a higher level of transparency on the part of the government and an objective way of using the opportunity provided by gas deposit to find a solution to the societal problems vis-a-vis youth unemployment and developing a climate of sustainable future and innovation in the Niger Delta region.
Talking about youth unemployment in Nigeria, a report recently put it this way: “We are in dire straits because unemployment has diverse implications.
“Security-wise, the large unemployed youth population is a threat to the security of the few that are employed. Any transformation agenda that does not have job creation at the centre of its programme will take us nowhere.”
Youths challenge cuts across regions, religions and tribes, and has led to the proliferation of ethnic militia as well as youth restiveness across the country.
But this threat has become more pronounced in the oil-rich region of the country with the chunk of the proponents spearheaded by the large army of professionally trained ex-militants currently without a job.
Proper management of these teaming youth is the panacea for determining the success or otherwise of the 2030 sustainable agenda. It is only by engaging these teeming youths through employment creation that the incessant youth restiveness can be abated.
Aside from implementing in a transparent manner the recently passed and now signed Petroleum Industry Act, we must all recognize that for peace to reign in the region, the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the region must drop the attitude of viewing the Niger Delta region as an endangered species strategically marked for extinction, using neglect and abandonment as a formidable tool.
They (IOCs) must also do away with the age-long but erroneous belief that so far, the eggs are secured; the condition of the goose that lays the eggs becomes secondary. We must develop the Niger Delta region- geese that lay the golden eggs.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org/08032725374.
By Jerome-Mario Utomi
Aside from being perceived as backward and degraded, occasioned by crude oil exploration, exploitation and production, the Niger Delta region means different things to different people.
To some, it is a region where the communal right to a clean environment and access to clean water supplies is being violated in the Niger Delta. By its admission, the oil industry has abandoned thousands of polluted sites in the region which need to be identified and studied in detail. Aquifers and other water supply sources which are being adversely affected by industrial or other activities need to be recovered while communities are adequately compensated for their losses.
To others, it symbolizes a location where the government, employs a non-participatory approach to development/broad-based consultative approach that strips the people of the Niger Delta their sense of ownership over their own issues, where the government and other Nigerians failed to see the problem of the Niger Delta as a national one and not restricted to the region.
To the rest, it is a zone where fierce war has been raging between ethnic and social forces in Nigeria over the ownership and control of oil resources in the Niger Delta. And as a direct result, a long dark shadow has been cast on efforts to improve the wellbeing and economic development of the region’s individuals, peoples, and communities.
However, looking at recent developments particularly as it affects the region; it will not be described as hasty to say that the narrative is changing.
Out of many, this piece will concentrate on two.
First is the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by both Houses after seventeen years of back-and-forth movement on the Bill. And recently, precisely on Monday, August 16, 2021, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A Bill, now an Act that provides legal, governance, a regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry and development of host communities. It contains 5 Chapters, 319 Sections and 8 Schedules.
The second development has to do with the recent declaration/revelation by Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in Lagos at the GbaramatuVoice Newspaper’s 6th Anniversary Lecture/Niger Delta Awards.
Beginning with the last, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, among others, told the gathering that this administration was determined to see through to completion of all the critical projects embarked upon in the region.
In his words, “we have invested significantly in the Niger Delta as the region that holds the energy resources that have powered our progress for six decades as well as the keys to an emergent gas economy.
“In 2017, following my tour of the Niger Delta, which involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region, the New Vision for the Niger Delta was birthed in response to the various challenges which had been plaguing our people.
“The objective of this New Vision is to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from their wealth, through promoting infrastructural developments, environmental remediation and local content development.
“We also have the Solar Power Naija Programme under the Administration’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which will complement the federal government’s effort towards providing affordable electricity access to 5 million households, serving about 25 million Nigerians in rural areas and under-served urban communities nationwide.”
At this point, the Vice President, who was represented by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Office of the Vice President, Mr Edobor Iyamu, said something that looks more like a presentation of a scorecard.
He captured it this way; “Today, I am pleased to announce that the New Vision for the Niger Delta has begun to yield some tangible achievements. As part of the quest to expand economic opportunities in the region, this administration has promoted investments in modular refineries.
“The objective of this initiative is to address our present energy demands and empower the Niger Delta people through promoting local content. So far, 3 Modular Refineries have now been completed, these are the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) Modular Refinery in Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery in Delta State and Walter Smith Modular Refinery in Imo State, whilst there are several others at different stages of completion across the region.
“The remediation exercise happening in Ogoni land, under the recommendations of UNEP is another milestone we are proud to announce as an administration. The clean-up commenced in January 2019, with the handover of the first batch of sites to the selected remediation firms.
“A total of about 57 sites have so far been handed over to contractors by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) under the Federal Ministry of Environment.
“It is important to note that the Ogoni clean-up is the first of its kind in the history of the Niger Delta. Indeed, this is the first time the federal government is directly involved in remediation activities within the region.
“We are equally committed to expanding infrastructure in the region. This includes the ongoing construction work on the 34-kilometres Bonny-Bodo Road/Bridge. This project, which was abandoned for decades, is a tripartite agreement between the federal government, Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) and Julius Berger Nigeria.
“When completed, the Bonny-Bodo Road/bridge, which was flagged off in October 2017, would connect several major communities and boost socio-economic development in the region.”
The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line project, which was commissioned by Mr President in September 2020, and has the capacity to handle both passengers and freight services, is connecting several communities and promoting commerce within the region.
The federal government is also developing a number of deep seaports across the region, including the Bonny, Warri and Ibom Deep Sea Ports, among other development projects such as the establishment of Export Processing Zones to boost economic activities.
In 2018, the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved the commencement of undergraduate degree programmes at the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State.
President Buhari approved a N5 billion take-off grant to support this university, which happens to be situated in the great Gbaramatu Kingdom. The University currently has students spread across 13 undergraduate programmes in three Faculties, namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.
In terms of addressing concerns around public safety and social security in the region, while ensuring peace and stability in the region, the administration has, among other things, sustained its commitment to the Presidential Amnesty Programme under which youths and ex-agitators are engaged in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment programmes that offer a pathway towards productive and dignified livelihoods.
The cumulative effect of all these measures is certain to have a positive transformational impact on the Niger Delta and on the future of our nation as a whole. This path of progress and prosperity is one that we will pave by maintaining the partnerships between the administration, the leaders of the region and the communities. He concluded.
Away from Vice President’s comments to the recently passed/signed Petroleum Industry Act. Among its content, Chapter 3 made far-reaching provisions for the Host community’s development.
The chapter, going by commentaries, demands that any oil prospecting licence or mining lease or an operating company on behalf of joint venture partners (settlor) is required to contribute 3% – 5% (upstream Companies) and 2% (other companies) of its actual operating expenditure in the immediately preceding calendar year to the host communities development trust fund. This is in addition to the existing contribution of 3% to the NDDC.
The board of trustees and executive members of the management committee may include persons of high integrity and professional standing who may not necessarily come from any of the host communities. Available funds it added are to be allocated 75% for capital projects, 20% as a reserve and 5% for administrative expenses.
Finally in my view, even as these developments appear alluring/ welcoming, the truth must be told to the effect that the people of the region are particularly not happy with the paltry 3/5% allocation to host communities by the new ACT.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via email@example.com/08032725374.
Buying a house can be a long-drawn-out process with many steps in between the time you get preapproved for a mortgage and pick up the keys.
Sure, once you find the right one, it might take just a month to close with new technologies making the actual transaction piece faster, but that’s only one small part of it.
According to mortgage data firm Ellie Mae (as reported by Bankrate.com), the average time to close a loan on a home purchase in December 2020 was 56 days.
The short answer to when to start looking for a house might be now depending on your particular situation, but understanding each of the steps to buy a house will help answer that question more definitively.
Before looking, you need to make sure your finances are in order by estimating your budget based on income, savings, debt, and all other financial obligations. The less debt you have the better, so if you can wait until all or most of it is paid off, you’ll be in a better financial situation, making it easier to qualify for a home loan and get a better interest rate. Even if you make a significant amount of money, if you have a lot of credit card debt, for example, it will limit the amount banks will be willing to lend.
You’ll need to have enough money for a down payment – while 20 per cent of the home’s purchase price is usually recommended, it can be anywhere from zero to 10 per cent depending on the type of loan. Closing costs will have to be paid as well, generally ranging from 2 to 5 per cent of the price of the home. Your credit score should be at least 680, but preferably 740 or higher in order to get the best possible interest rate.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin looking will tell you how much you’ll be able to afford which avoids wasting time touring homes that are out of your price range. It will also give you a competitive advantage in a seller’s market as it makes your offer more credible.
You’ll need to gather all of your documents such as W-2 forms, pay stubs, and copies of your two most recent state and federal tax returns. If you’re self-employed, bring 1099s and tax returns to prove your income. Proving assets typically requires 60 days of statements for investment accounts like CDs and IRAs.
Now that you know how much you can afford, you’ll want to think about your needs and wants in a home and make sure it’s realistic based on your price range. Make a list, prioritizing things like the number of bedrooms and location, as well as items you’d like to have but could do without, like a pool or hot tub, for example.
Armed with your list and preapproval, it’s time to get a buyer’s agent. If you have a family member, friend, or co-worker who has recently gone through the home buying process, they may be able to recommend someone. An agent who is highly experienced in the community in which you’re searching for a home is your best bet for a good experience. But you’ll also want someone who is a good fit personally as you’ll be spending lots of time with them throughout the buying process.
There’s no definitive timeline for finding the right home – it could happen in a week or it could take months. It’s possible that you’re outbid multiple times before an offer is finally accepted.
When you find the right home, your realtor will help you put the offer together. In a seller’s market, this can be a suspenseful process while waiting for a response. The seller might accept or reject it, or send you a counteroffer. Once your offer is accepted, it takes a week or two for the appraisal, which will need to be higher than the negotiated price, otherwise, you’ll have to renegotiate or increase your down payment.
After the appraisal, you’ll typically have 10 days to complete the inspection. It takes about 24 hours to get the report plus another week or so to negotiate if any unexpected issues arise.
Finally, after making the down payment, paying closing costs, and signing that mound of paperwork, you’re officially a homeowner.
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