Sunday, 30 December 2012

THE CHANGING REGIONAL POLITICAL EDUCATION AND AWARENESS IN NIGERIAN. LOCAL POPULATIONS ARE TAKING RESPONSIBILITIES.

                                                            The Nigerian regional map

The Nigerian political landscape is gradually opening up a new phenomena, and its in the process of   engaging its people to understand what democracy is all about. As a child grows up and begin to understand his environment, he discovers that there are some things he needs to do for himself and not being directed by anyone. But much action of the child depends on the mother's social and cultural understanding of the environment. As usual, not all children do get to that stage of discovering or understanding that they themselves have out grown the age to be paddled. For those kids who by instinct or studying their cricumstances find solutions to their problems tend to instruct their parents not to spy on them as helicopter parents do due to embarrassment they are faced with in the presences of the mates. While some parents will no more be responsible for the actions of their children, others due to the stagnant nature of the social and political events in their societies, attitudes do not change easily, until a new phenomena happens by a stroke off luck or changes are forced due to the actions of a dynamic leadership.

If that does not occur, the ability for family members to start distinguishing between a son with wisdom and the one without would be evident in task distribution. Family members tend to allocated for the child which is still tied to his mother's apron little portion of resources when it has been discovered that he can not survive without the mother being around to instruct him on how to manage the resources knowing well that he has no personal initiative of making the best out of it. And for a child that can stand to defend himself under any circumstances as he grows, known with charismatic attitudes within the entire family, no matter the challenges his faced with, he has been seen to take personal initiatives to solve them even right or wrong, the family members tend to allocate a much bigger resources to such a child.

This analogy seems to be the next phase in which the Nigerian democratic dispensation is gradually moving into. Many states in the federation have decided to take upon themselves the mantle of electing a candidate they feel would be able to manage their resources, not totally on the basis of political party but on the basis of his manifesto and precedence in governance. The South West states of Nigeria are the first set of states to get to this self conscious political awareness. A natural political awareness that distinguishes between a personality and his party, that now follows not only party affiliations but a masses that have discovered that they have reached the age of telling the mother I can, I know and I can decipher the difference between a political party and a personality. The crowning of the cake was the Ondo governorship elections which Olusegun Mimiko won. At that level, it shows the wisdom and enlightenment of the South West population in their growth for better governance and ability to choose that which they feel can deliver unto them their desired results. Edo state under Governor Adams Oshomole and Imo state under the leadership of Governor Rochas Ockoroch is another example of early "teenage" political awareness in the Nigerian political scene.

 The South East still has alot to do to get to this political awareness, its people both in rural and urban areas are still below the self consciousnesses of knowing the right candidate to elect after 13 years of democratic dispensation. It has been difficult for those in that society to harness their ideas and vote for a trusted candidate. Rochas case in the South East was a case of an individual that has spent time and money chasing Presidential slots and the Imo people were convinced he could deliver democratic dividend with his wealth. Not until, he began to change the perception of the people of Imo state with his socialist democrat ideas, that they knew the state has been receiving and generating enough for its development. The South East still need probably more years to study personalities and separate them from party politics for majority of its people to reach the required threshold which enhances the moving in the right direction of the masses towards the Nigerian political development.

Apart from Edo state which falls within the edge of South West and is aligned to the South South regionally, all other South South states are no different from their Norther region counterparts. Just of recent, Chief Edwin Clark a former Nigeria information minister in the 1970s, and an indigenous fellow of the South South said for the past 13 years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rule in the Niger Delta states its governors have wasted 7.3 Trillion Naira without an tangible social infrastructure to show for it . Both the South South states and the Northern states in the North West, North East and North Central are seriously lagging behind in political enlightenment and development of its population, they have no other choice but to see party politics just the way it was handed down to them by the military regime in May 1999. They are still living in a distorted and imaginary democratic societies wishing to see a political change without a political education deep rooted from self consciousness. With the rate at which other regions are moving fast, the lack of political education will present a serious danger to the general political awareness of the entire Nigerian population. If there will be means to export these democratic ideas of differentiating between a personality and a party by political and social activist in both the South South and the Northern region to snatch away the populations of these regions quickly from their one way political belief of what they think the Nigerian politics is all about. It would be a good step in the right direction to save them before it becomes a culture which they will be willing to teach to the next generation.

The Northern part of Nigeria is in a more serious dilemma because those who claim to come from the major opposition parties, the CPC and ANPP which the people voted for in the last elections and are in various government offices both in local and national levels are no different from their PDP counterparts. The Northern masses choice in electing officials to manage their resources have not given them the desired democratic results which the South West are beginning to enjoy as dividend of democracy. Their efforts will not pay off as far as they rely on their low knowledge of the political situations and the way to fix it.  The prerequisite for any dividend of democracy comes when the people can decipher within a specific period of time not more than 15 years in their polity to understand a personality with his own ideology to be different from a party ideology that is based on enriching members and not the society. After-all, it is a common knowledge in Nigerian that political parties since 1979 are not born out of ideology but designed as a committee of people who are interested in getting power for the benefit of their party members. These the people of the entire Northern region and their counterparts in the South South should discover in earnest for there to be any meaningful change in their political thinking first before there can be any socio-economic changes in their region. Political power belongs to the people, and the moment they cast it for the wrong candidate, the future of their region is in doubt.

 The fact remains that Northerners are still far from reality in understanding the Nigerian political landscape that its only a personality with a people's vision that can bring about a change they desired for now and not a political party which puts its members welfare ahead of those which voted the party into power. If after 13 years, the people still do not know what to do and the educated ones among them have not discovered the political changes and consciousness that has been going on in the South West regions of  the federation, then, before its too late,social activist have to raise up to the challenge or else there will be no remedy but to keep electing losers from the ruling party just as they have started doing now.  The entire North with its large population have to put on their thinking caps and its political sociologist and commentators should begin to reason beyond religion and ethnicity which politicians use as a weapon to tied them down. But rise to the challenge of breeding or following a new sets of committed persons for the political development of  the entire Northern region. While, the South South population must wake up and begin to calculate the strategies and ways to implement ways of not being left behind after 13 years in political enlightenment and education which is changing the concept of governance in democratic Nigeria to the benefit of the people and which is making states government especially in the South West to deliver the dividend of democracy to its people.

As the Nigerian political family portrays the genetic composition of an African traditional family, the husband has provided the money with the platform for education, its now left to the wives that their children are just entering into puberty age to lecture them on what to do to keep them up to date and how to go about it. I hope no region at the puberty age of democracy would want to take his or her bath outside the compound. But if there is a mother among the wives that does not care then she should be expecting her region to be responsible for her failure and for those mothers who wish to teach their child the necessary steps to take, the extended family can be sure such child will not be a nuisances and a disgrace to the entire tribe.

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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

WHY ISRAEL AND HAMAS MUST ACCEPT A CEASEFIRE BROKERED BY EGYPT EARLY

                                             A Palestinian woman on the rubble of her home

The fighting has not stopped and both sides are trying to edge out each other on negotiations while still firing missiles and rockets into each other territory. Both Israel and Hamas leaders must know that the Middle East region is changing and the new sense of democratic and diplomatic moves must be adhered to in negotiations. No nation or group today can bomb its way into enemies submission, probably Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that to be evident to the world we live in.  Both parties have to work out the best options which will provide adequate peace that would be nurtured for a reasonable period of time before they can sit and talk of a prosperous future where they would live side by side.  


The question now is if any ceasefire is reached, for how long will the ceasefire be ad-heard to between the two parties. The foreign minister of Israel Lieberman, says he expects the ceasefire to last for between 5 and 6 years. Making those in the Middle East to wonder why both Hamas and Israel would have to re-arm themselves for the next couple of seasons. But analyst believe  any slightest mistake from the other side of the divide might cause another round of conflict even while they both observe the cease fire. Many analyst believe the ceasefire can not hold effectively until Israel recognizes the fact that its right to exist in the Palestinian land depends on how it treats the Palestinians.  The Palestinians have to be treated equally before there can be any improvement in the cessation of hostilities and that Israel must stops its policy of land grabbing.


 While Israel demands that Hamas be held responsible for making sure the Gaza Strip's other groups uphold the Palestinian end of the deal. In return, Israel will stop the IAF strikes and the assassinations of militants. However, Israel demands that it retain its right to take militarily action in order to thwart nefarious operations against it in Gaza. Which the Hamas regime in Gaza considers an insult to its integrity as far as it controls Gaza. Hamas has seen itself equal to the regime in Israel and believes it have the right to protect its own citizens just like Israel does against any aggression. 
Expecting that during the second stage, once the cease-fire is given a trial run of sorts, Israel would be willing to open talks with Egypt on Hamas' demands, especially loosening the blockage on Gaza and opening the border crossings. Israel demands that, at that stage, discussions concerning the smuggling of arms into the Gaza Strip will take place and that Egypt will provide assurances to prevent its taking place.
Analyst believe to ignore the Israeli occupation of Gaza farmers land, and the complete siege of Gaza and other Palestinian lands in West Bank in this ceasefire is like just a time out for the two to go and prepare for another round of confrontation which might be coming very soon due to the technological advancement of the Hamas military wing in Gaza during this war. Hamas is willing in every occasion to tell Tel Aviv that it has the capacity to target the capital of Israel in other to get the blockade of Israel removed.
Hamas have establish itself in Gaza and has proven to the world after the Arab revolution that it can advance its cause of the Palestinian people. A better illustration of this is the frequent visits of Arab leaders and diplomats to Gaza to show solidarity to the Palestinians and support the Hamas government and the people of Gaza against Israeli aggression. It was initially expected that Hamas would learn from the Arab governments around the Middle East but the concept has changed and its more like the reverse is the case now. 

Israel should find a diplomatic solution to the crisis now and remove its blockade of Gaza. It should lift the blockade on the sea and in the border crossing because Hamas feels its planning to occupy Gaza again after the withdrawal in 2005.  The world see Gaza as an open prison and believes those in Gaza are suffering in the-same manner which the European Jews suffered in the hands of German Nazis during the 2nd World War. And for that purposes, lifting the siege must be a necessary development in the ceasefire deal or else the ceasefire might not last long before another round of violence takes effect.  Hamas government feels its people are suffering and it has been able to depict that image to the world that Israel is the cause which prompts the supports it receives from both the Middle East and Iran to continue defending  itself. 


Hamas military wing capability and its know-how in military warfare has increased beyond the 2008-09 Israeli "Operation cast led". Probably, it caught everyone by surprise even the Israelis did not expect it, this shows a change in tactics and one can not dispute how its efficiency would be in the next coming years. The resources it needs for its protection and defense will continue to advance even if there is to be a land invasion, military analyst are of the opinion that it will end up being a dangerous attempt for the Israeli.  The Hamas military wing will continue to protect itself and fire with precision new advance underground missiles which is believed gotten from Iran against Israel. The Israeli regime must not let the notion that the only language Israel understand in any dispute is war which is a common thread among the resistance armies in the Middle East become a reality. 


Israeli must gradually work towards the cessation of hostilities and let both sides avoid retaliation on mistakes that might occur between the Israeli Gaza border. It must let peace reign and allow for the free entry of goods and people into and out of Palestinian territory.  Targeted and killing of Hamas leaders must be brought to an end after a cease fire must have been negotiated by the Egyptians and change in rhetoric must be adopted by both sides to facilitate the cease fire quickly. And Hamas must stand by the ceasefire negotiation which it is expected to sign for and do not allow any faction in Gaza to fire rockets into Israel.



To understand the mentality and psychological state of both population in the long age conflict. The Guardian reporter Chris McGreal, reporting from Beit Lahiya, Gaza, quotes a Palestinian named Mohammed al-Khoudry:
"I've really tried to understand the Israelis. I used to work on a farm in Israel. I speak Hebrew. I watch their news. All the time they talk about fear. How they have to run to their bunkers to hide from the rockets. How their children can't sleep because of the sirens. This is not a good way for them to live," said Khoudry, who now scrapes a living growing his own produce.
"We Palestinians don't talk about fear, we talk about death. Our rockets scare them; their rockets kill us. We have no bomb shelters, we have no sirens, we have nowhere we can take our children and keep them safe. They are scared. We are dying."

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Saturday, 17 November 2012

HAMAS GAINS POLITICAL AND MILITARY VANTAGE OF THE ARAB REVOLUTION


Israeli military lying in bunker to evade rockets from Gaza

The Arab revolution served as an avenue for the ordinary Arab man to rediscover his political personality and economic strength in the Middle East and it has significantly placed both Egypt and Tunisia to become a significant player in the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.  Before the revolution both nations were proxies of the West and there was nothing they could do when Israel invaded the Gaza strip during the military ''Operation Castled" when it turned Gaza into rubble. The significant aspect of the Arab revolution has started to present itself in the region and national leaders that took over after the revolution have begun to speak their mind on issues that are important to them. It is important to know that many Arabs foreign officials have be visiting Gaza even with the unrelenting bombardment of the Gaza strip by the Israeli military.
Breaking News:Tunisian FM- Israeli government should know it has no more free hand.


The  nature of the revolution is a serious challenge to the Israeli regime and that was why it was necessary at the early days of the revolution after two regimes had fallen that the West and their Arab cohorts in the Middle East has to create a diversionary method and stole the Arab revolution from the people. Now it is glaring that the revolution has empowered the less equipped Palestinians Hamas led government from Gaza to strike back and their strike has proven that its military rockets made in Gaza is more sophisticated than it was four years ago. The Hamas rockets  now travels deep into Israel reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem after more than two decades which it had not experienced such.

Breaking News: Radio Israel- 4 soldiers injured today from the rockets fired from Gaza.
One woman, 4 kids dead in Gaza in Israeli airstrikes today.

The Hamas government had prepared for this day and it took a good advantage of the Arab revolution which ousted Hosni Mubarack to secure an advantage in its military might. Though, it is a well known factor that before every election in Israel, War on Gaza is always a way to rally more vote for the ruling party. And this was not an exception. The challenges of the conflict can be seen through the urgency of response to the danger which Hamas military wing is presenting to the Israeli after the Arab revolution. Israeli had to increase the number of the Iron dome which intercepts the rockets fired from Gaza which has only been able to intercept about 230 rockets an average of one out of three rockets. The Israelis believe that most of the rockets were manufactured in Iran and sent to Sudan where it was dismantled and sent through the desert to Gaza, that was the reasons why the Israelis bomb an arms factory in Sudan last October believing it was the store for arms being imported for the Hamas led government in Gaza. And there are still some who believed the revolution which ousted the Libya leader Mohamed Qaddafi paved the way for arms and ammunition to be transported to Gaza. But it is evident that much of the rockets fired from Gaza were locally made. 

*Israel sends 5th Iron Dome battery to intercept missiles fired into Israeli from Gaza.
State of emergency declared for all hospitals in Israel due to the rockets fired from the military wing of Hamas which controls Gaza.

The nature of the conflict has proven to the world that democracy can truly change the equation of the regional challenges in the Middle East both militarily and politically. The economic challenges which the world is facing and particularly the Western austerity has added another dimension to the level of involvement which the United States and its western allies want to get involved in the crisis. On the first day of the crisis, the price of crude oil jumped significantly to 112 dollars even with the economic recession that the west is treating and protecting not to fall over the cliff. The charge by the Iraqi government to all the Arab  nations to withhold their oil as a punishment for the support which the west gives to the Israeli regimes is another factor which creates fear, but every nation is looking into the crisis t decide the necessary step to take.

Reports: Rockets fired by Hamas military wing from Gaza are remote controlled which shows the advancement in its technological improvement compared to its response to the Israeli invasion of Gaza 4 years ago.


Due to the nature of the vast resources in the hands of the Hamas military wing which is not yet clear to the Israeli regime, an attempt to invade Gaza is still a strategic decision because over 17000 military reservist were called upon for an all out invasion. And with the recent development which Hamas said it has shot down one Israeli war plan and captured two of its pilot, the Israeli government is threading with caution not to fall into the traps of the Hamas resistant army. Though, in order to make the population of Gaza panic, leaflets have been dropped in norther Gaza as a reminder for an invasion and the people are asked to distance themselves for the Hamas government. And it has been announced by the Chief of Staff to the Israeli government that more reservist should be called upon for an all pout war on Gaza. Messages have been sent to 70000 reservist to prepare for the invasion, a number that was much than its last military operation four years ago. 

Breaking News: Israeli Radio- Chief of Staff Gantz approves expansion of Gaza operation.

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

THE CHALLENGES OF THE MIDDLE CLASS AND LACK OF PREPARATION FOR THE FUTURE


"Urban slaves" virtually find it difficult to have any investment which he controls and manages by himself after retirement and if such person ever has one, he invest all his saving on it and within few years the business suffers  and probably closes down after a few lifeline must have been thrown into saving it. This happens due to the inability to understand the necessary managerial and entrepreneuralship skills needed to sustain a business which he felt he once helped someone managed. But what he never knew was that he was a "single line" administrator focusing to achieve a single result for the management while the "Urban slave" was working with an organization. The remunerations received while working and after retirement by an "Urban slave" does not equate to the amount of self development in managing a business that such a person would need for his personal business.  Personal businesses have a wide array of machinations and knowledge needed to make it succeed. What the remuneration does is to induce him to use all his productive abilities  to help grow an investment owned by an entrepreneur .

Have you ever wondered why many bank managers, Accountants, Financial advisors, Stock brokers, Public administrators, Civil servants, Auditors and many others have ended up struggling after retirement not to fall in poverty ?  Have you ever taken time to seek  answers to this questions? Take  an in-depth study around your environment and society at large to discover the reasons why these problems are so common and probably you can find an answer to it before you become a retired "Urban slave" today. But the only minimal advantage an "Urban slave" can get is to establish himself after retirement on that single line which he must have perfected himself and operate within that range, any attempt outside it can be disastrous to the business. Consultancy on matters relating to his profession is far more easy to venture upon rather than opening up new frontiers in business.

Due to the nature of the "Urban slave" jobs, they are secluded and restricted to the same pattern of job routine on daily basis, they are a people who lack the required skills of an entrepreneur,  and for those who had tried to invest in one or two sectors during their days of active duty, the trends of the changing economy situations has taken much of their investment into the drains. Few among them that ever invested in blue chip stocks are not really happy with the returns of their investments due to the global economic recession of the 21st century. Many people have virtually lost all their life saving as the company they invested in folded up or went bankrupt due to cheap goods imported from other countries, some lost everything as a result of cheap labor  and new innovations, and for those businesses rescued by the government using the tax payers money, it simply explains the inability of stock managers  who claim to have the knowledge on how to manage a client's future saving to be inadequate.

 PREPARE AHEAD
While being active and having enough to spend in excess, an "Urban slave" has to start rethinking and become a producer while been productive to his Boss. Absolute trust in shares and stocks bought should be discarded and thrown out because the Urban slave has no control of the nature in which the business is being run. This is because I once found a 70 year old man in Florida seeking for a job in a restaurant. A man who needed to be resting and enjoying the proceeds of the 40 years he had spent working and had invested in stocks and share with his 401k. This happened because the man had given the control of his future income to the stock brokers.

In  order not to be prepared for such, take this tips and work with them while you have the opportunity to do so.

*The ability to start learning how to survive and control future personal  business empire must start early before an "Urban slave " retires and at best while he is still been productive for the organization he is working for.

*He must look beyond his immediate environment for potential business ventures and study the laws guiding such businesses in each country.

*Urban slaves must not rely on the monetary values as a life time security source for economical survival due to change in global markets.

*Urban slave must in earnest develop innovations and ideas outside the frame work of his daily routine as a preparation for the future.

*He must open his heart for new ideas and seek beyond the much he thinks he has acquired.

*Learning new management skills outside his profession to be able to manage any future investment which he feels he would want to venture into, and through that he would learn the ability to control and employ the right person to advance his course, just like he was employed to advance another person's investment.

*Ideas and ability  to manage businesses are not freely given, he must work towards achieving the necessary tools to manage his business before being retired.

*Planning, analysis and projection is a skill that must be attached to his daily routine over what business option he would want to venture into and the ability which is health status can manage.


Saturday, 10 November 2012

JUNGLE JUSTICE: A PART OF THE NIGERIAN CULTURE


Living virtually in every part of Nigerian has given me an understanding of the people’s culture and their response to security challenges. In social sciences, a man is known to be a political animal but not an animal in the real sense of it which does not know how to dictate and control the excess of its own specie. The animal in man has always adjusted itself to the rules and norms of the law in every human society and it is expected to always perform the duty which its superior senses have over the wild animals in the jungle. The nature at which Nigerians respond verbally or physically to criminal situations far from the domain and within their domain to an alleged suspect is similar. The Nigerian people in tradition for decades have adopted a norm which is acceptable to various ethic conflagrations within its society and this norm has being transferred to different generations over the years. An average Nigerian man takes the act of criminality extensively personal depending on the degree of the act within his environs and his level of socialization with the Nigerian justice system.

video

        WARNING: This video is of a sensitive nature. The brutal response of the Nigerian security agencies towards its citizens.


 Nigerians believes the first response to any criminal act around his environment is to strike with force the alleged suspect with any available weapon that blood might gush out from the apprehended person before the suspect realized that what he or she has done is wrong and that will make the suspect to know that his environment will never condone such acts of criminality. That is the Nigerian man’s perception of teaching a suspect that his not welcomed in the society. The concept stems from the notion that demobilization of the apprehended suspect must be done first and the best way to achieve that is to brutally injure such the suspect in question and that would simply send a message to other criminal minded fellows to learn the consequences of their actions against the society.  But the fact remains that their actions has not changed the criminal situation in the country.


THE FAMILY AND ITS INFLUENCE
Virtually every Nigerian family makeup and their response to acts of lying or stealing within the home works with the traditional rule which states that when a child does wrong, he must be beaten mercilessly and a permanent scar of torture must be added to the child’s body which will last in the memory of such individual for a life time. As the child as he grows up to become an adult, he remember what he had done  and the scar on his body represents the trophy for his actions and in return, the act of striking hard on suspected criminals is simply translated in their daily attitude as children growing up within the confines of the society. Their response towards stealing or lying in the larger society then must be attached with a brutal strike and a deep cut in the body which will create a permanent scar that would not make such a suspect repeat the same criminal offence anymore.


If such a person could not be contained and continues with acts of criminality, parents of such children become an outcast in the society and if the mother was the caring type, the father would say to the mother that such a child was not his biological child and that the mother must take the child to his father. At that moment the child is disowned by the father while the mother a times would curse the day she gave birth to the child. And probably out of pain and shame, which the child has brought to the family, the mother would say if she had knew she would have flushed the child or converted the egg in the fallopian tube into a wasted menstrual flow. All she would be saying out of anger and frustration is that is she would have aborted the child when he was still in the womb and that would have not brought the shame she was witnessing in the presences of the people which specks volumes in retrospect.


Parents on many occasion resort to divine intervention for their children that are addicted to criminal acts, but it seems the more they seek for divine intervention the more hardened those children become and when all hope is lost on rescuing such children, they would be waiting for a day when they would see the child no more. At that point, parents of such children would be expecting to hear that their notorious children are either apprehended by the state and sent to prison or killed by security agencies when caught in the act of stealing, never expecting them to end up in mob attacks.


And if that does not happen, the fate of suspected criminals would be determine by the irritated mob that both went through the same parental culture of treating a suspects as a war enemy. At that moment the survival and death of the suspect would be determined based on the quick presence and response of a well respected educated and civilized person in the community to rescue the suspect from the hands of his own people.


A Nigerian child grows up within this cultural setting develops the same mentality and believes that justice has to be dished out to the suspect even before the police are called to the scene of the incident. Children growing up in the Nigerian society are prone to act in such manner which seems to be a common way of dishing out his own share of home breed justice system before the state judicial system decides what it wants to do with the arrested criminal. This same set of people with home breed justice system secure jobs into the police college, the military and other security agencies run by the government and they grow along the ladder even with the formal education they must have received from their primary school days up to their university days. But the fact has being that the formal education they received has not in any way changed their traditional perception of the way a suspected criminal must be handled.


THE SECURITY AGENCIES               
Over the years, jungle justice is a modus oprandi of the security agencies in Nigeria. The security agencies response to hardened and defiant criminals for several decades speaks volumes.  Extra- judicial killings is a way of life in the Nigerian judicial system and continues to be a way of finding quick solutions to the menace. The Nigerian security system operatives believes it was the best way to reduce the work load of engaging in long criminal investigation and since the judicial system is floppy, security operatives can issue instant judgment without it having any consequences, a judicial system learnt from the society way of handling suspects. The fate of arrested suspects which had given security agencies a tough time before they are being captured are left in the hands of the security agencies just the way the fate of arrested suspects with a community is left in the hands of the mobs to determine.  It is a common knowledge in the country that people arrested on the act by the police are initially molested in the even in the presence of the people and those suspect that finally find their way into the custody of the security agencies are violently treated and bruised in order to obtain certain information from them and in the process many ended up dead due to torture.


The number of deaths in police operations which should have been averted and those in custody over the years is an example of what the society has thought its citizenry and their brutal response is a trade mark of their hatred towards those who do wrong in the society. The brutal attacks on the members of Boko Haram, a Muslim sect in Borno state by the Nigerian security agencies in the Northern part of Nigeria attest to this culture of jungle justice which is a norm in the society and which many Nigerians were proud of it and hailed the security agencies response. It is a norm within the Nigeria police service to have criminals being treated in the same manner in jungle justice without proper judicial steps taken which the public can learn from.


 Unaccounted numbers of suspects have died in custody due to torture and many have been sent to their graves out of administrative anger from the authorities fueled by the notorious nature of the suspect or the feelings that the criminal cases against such persons would take years and the state cannot afford to wait for proper judicial judgment which might free such persons. Nigerian security service operators have the mentality which the society possesses by seeing an alleged criminal as an enemy in war that must be eliminated at all cost even if he pulls out the white flag to surrender. The believe is that eliminating the suspect who has been a danger to the society immediately is viewed as a honorable thing to do in the Nigerian society. And for the security agencies, it was the best way of closing the case forever and the truth has being that many innocent souls have been victims of the jungle justice. 


Protesters are not left out among those who are facing similar attacks in the hands of the security agencies, no matter the nature of their political demand in the hands of the state. Anyone who opposes the view of elected officials and decides to take to the streets to express his anger against the political system is bound to be treated brutally in the same manner as a suspected criminal in the hands of the security agencies. It is more of a societal problem which expresses itself in the institutions of government that are expected to promote the rule of law among its citizens. And since the Nigerian security agencies with the level of their training cannot control themselves within their ranks and files and follow the rule of law when on duty, their actions will be the basis of entrenching jungle justice institutionally thereby educating the people on what to do to alleged criminals. Decades of institutional extra judicial killing has made both the citizenry and the security agencies to promote the same response against alleged suspects in whatever crime that must have taken place in the society as a society that accepts and appreciates jungle justice as a quick solution to stamp out criminality.


EDUCATING THE SOCIETY
The society in general has an enormous task ahead in re-educating its citizenry on how to tackle criminal acts and handle suspected criminals within the society. To start with, the home is a significant place where the education and re-orientation must start from.  Parents must start changing their attitudes towards criminals and suspects that are apprehended within their locality and must consistently educate their children about the acceptable ways a suspected criminal must be dealt with and demobilized before being transferred to the police. A new orientation on the need to protect the lives of suspected criminals is needed to be taught  to the members of the public and consistent awareness among the citizenry through the ministry of information and other relevant agencies of government needs to commence in earnest. The police must educate its personnel and recruits educated and disciplined Nigerians into its academy.


video

WARNING: This video is of a sensitive nature. The brutal response of common Nigerians against themselves.

Schools must introduce curriculum that would drive away the traditional notion in the mind of its student which states that injury to a suspected criminal is the crucial way of making the suspect to realize that his act was wrong. And the security authorities need to demonstrate to public what the consequences of their actions would cause as an impediment to investigation. Because much information that would have being derived from suspected criminals have been lost due to the actions of the mob and the security agencies which had sent suspected criminals to their graves in the process of executing a jungle justice. The media should play a major role in this aspect by promoting and educating the public on issues pertaining to criminal apprehension and advise the public to desist from encouraging jungle justice, no matter the degree of the crime. While those who carry out such crime must be brought to face the full wrought of the law. 


The media should be allowed to follow up the police investigation for the public interest while the nation’s judiciary must be prepared to do away with judicial cases of theft and armed robbery fast enough because it is believed the justice delayed is justice denied. It is a known factor that security agencies cannot perform effectively in any society without information, security agencies rely on information to achieve results and the best reliable information on knotty security issues can only be gotten right from the horse's mouth.

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

HOW THE ARAB REVOLUTION WAS STOLEN FROM THE PEOPLE.


Protester in the Arab world


The Arab revolution was at its initial an implosion that was expected to bring down several autocratic and inefficient leaders in the Middle East due to decades of social neglect, political and economic disparities that was associated with so much hopelessness and psychological pain among the majority of the people in the Arab world. The political and economic underdevelopment of the Arab world was a situation which the people consistently struggle to deal with on daily basis as a result of the long stay in power by dictators and autocratic monarchs. The anger within various populations of each Arab state was an inbuilt expression that could not be expressed publicly for decades. And among the majority both at home and abroad who were born within the reign of the dictators and monarchs, life has never been better from that which their parents had.  There was no way they could add value to the system of governance of their respective countries so that, that which they dream of could manifest, not until the clarion call to change their destiny and the uneven political environment was triggered in Tunisia.


 Socio-economic challenges, lack of job opportunity, corruption, injustice, miss-placed governance and human right abuses manifested themselves in the fabrics of the Arab society throughout the Middle East for decades and it became the route that led to the revolution fashioned against those who govern them.  The Arab rulers never saw it coming neither did the Western governments that supported these dictators ever expected that various Arab population could rise up and express their anger and hatred which had been suppressed for decades in a public show of revolts and discontent towards their leaders.  The early events of the revolution in Tunisia and the exile of its President, Bin Ali to Saudi Arabia gave confidence to other fellow Arabs in the region, that the natural flow of the revolution was driven by the people. The Egyptians tagged along in the revolution by using much of the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to organize themselves for demonstrations at  Tahir square in order to see to the end of their President, Hosni Mubarak whom had spent 30 years in power. Their effort paid off after 18 days of struggle, sweat and blood and it was glaring that the people’s power was at work. The Arab spring became a raging fire that was sweeping through the Middle East and had crumbled two long serving leaders and their governments within a short relative period of time.


                                  Tear gas fired by police in pearl roundabout Bahrain


The natural flow of the revolution and the response of the ousted Tunisian and Egyptian leadership became a freighting precedence for other Arab despots and even their Allies in Western capitals. International political analysis of the Arab revolution at its early stages showed that the uprising would take many of those autocratic rulers that align themselves towards the West. This was because the Arab populations were much intertwined with the political and economic disadvantages that were taking place in the region which is the basis of their anger. One should not exclude the much pathetic situation which is deemed to be the cancer of the region, the emancipation of the Palestinian people from the Israeli occupation as a reason for their anger against their leaders.  The Arabs are of the view that the Western capitals rapport with their autocratic leaders paves the way for maintaining the American and European control over the region continuously at the expense of the people and the unabated brutality of the Palestinian people by the Israeli regime.


Conclusively, they felt the attitude of their leaders towards the Palestinians resistance group was in tune with that of the West and Israel. The Arab world saw President Hosni Mubarak exhibited those attitudes before and during the Israeli “Operation Cast led” which killed approximately 1,400 people in the Gaza strip.  The Western demonization of the elected government of Hamas that controls the Gaza strip, the wars atrocities committed by the Allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and the sufferings emitted out to the Palestinians by the Israeli government to mention a few, was a source for concern among the Arab population, that never saw justice to what the Americans and Europeans preached as human values. And ousting those leaders that they felt are the cause of their social and political problems was what the revolution seems to offer.


When protesters took to streets and began to demonstrate on daily basis demanding democratic governance in the Katif region of Saudi Arabia, capital city Manama in Bahrain, Casablanca in Morocco and in Jordan. There were fears in the palace and the kings had to think of a way to suppress the demonstrations with the support of their Western allies. Western backed dictators and monarchs frantically made calls to Western capitals to get assurances that their grip on powers will be guarantee in the chaotic situation which they are faced with. The Western allies guaranteed the security of countries like, Morocco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Yemen was asked to work in synergy with Saudi Arabia due to its proximity, for the fact that if Yemen was to fall into the hands of the revolutionaries, the possibility of the revolution spilling into Saudi Arabia was certain. With those strategies in motion and daily update of reports within the security and military circles of both sides, they were able to guarantee the stay of the Arab monarchs in power till date. Saudi Arabia which had much of weaponry and was not short of military personnel sent in reinforcements to Bahrain its neighbor to quell the uprising in the country when the King’s security capability could not handle the protesters. While that of Yemen had a safe presidential exit due to his long standing relationship with many western capitals. The natural flow of the Arab revolution was not able to get beyond few states in the Arab world before it was hijacked. This was because its growth and influence if allowed to consume the region would become an anathema to the strategic advantage of the West and their Middle Eastern allies.


  It was common knowledge within diplomatic circles around the world that the Arab revolution was a natural triggered action which seeks for a change after decades of misplaced governance; it was a response by the people to create a better way of administration that would improve the wellbeing of the Arab man in the region. The people that revolted or did mass mobilized themselves in the monarchical states of the Arab world, with the intention to do away with their leaders like those of Egypt and Tunisia did waited expecting to receive support from various international organizations around the world that preached democratic principles, but never found any institution to lend them their support. Even the mainstream media in the West which is known as an advocate of good governance, expected to report the events in Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the world, hid their cameras from the struggle.


The natural journey of the Arab spring was cut short instantly, when it was evident to both regional and international political powers which had immense influence in the Middle East that the revolution was going to sweep away their surrogates in the region. The best option was to seek for a diversion and get their monarchs out of impending danger and for the U.S maintain its 5th naval fleet in Bahrain and other military bases which is strategic to its dominance in the region. The U.S government and other European governments’ involvement in the revolution changed the pattern of the Arab spring and that was the moment the revolution was stolen away from the Arabs. Their support for opposition and involvement was utilized as a means to oust leaders that were not ready to submit to the command of the Western capitals. 
To achieve its purpose, a channel was opened through western intelligence agencies stationed in the Middle East, it was mandated to convert the few protesters energy in Libya and Syria into a full fledge revolutionaries energy through western media support for their actions and that of Al-Jazeera satellite network which is situated in Qatar, a monarchical state. The protest became bloody when protesters turned to armed men and began to fight government forces. As soon as protesters began to wield guns, it was virtually clear to all that it had become a sponsored revolution. The armed insurgency went into full swing simultaneously in both nations that their leaders were rebellious to the western and Israel officials. The strategy worked effectively through what some viewed as foreign sponsored terrorism to the advantage of the opposition and the activists that sent information out of both Libya and Syria. Terrorist organizations like Al-Qaida which was officially reported by the Gorge W. Bush administration to have blown up the World Trade Center in New York and viewed as an enemy to the Western world in Afghanistan and Iraq aligned with the West to fight alongside the Sunni sect led opposition in Syria to oust President Bashar Al-Assad who is an Allawit sect an offshoot of Shia.


 The revolution in Syria became a civil like war between the Sunnis and the Allawites sects that held on to power in the heterogeneous society.  Ethic power and religiously aligned politics was the determinant in Syria as expressed by the Western media like CNN, BBC and Fox News which backed the Sunni rebels.  Some Sunni controlled media outlets in Lebanon and Al-Jazeera in the kingdom of Qatar through its news items severed as an avenue for recruiting members for the terrorist groups fighting in Syria. It’s depiction of the revolution in Syria advocated and sided with the protesters turned rebels. Al-Jazeera news reporting on the Arab revolution in Syria was entirely different from that of Bahrain that had majority of its citizens to be Shia followers while the Monarch who rules the country is a Sunni. Presstv an Iranian satellite station consistently had its news items to be pro Syria and showed much interest in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen revolution.  While in Libya, the revolution was a NATO backed rebel insurgency officially lunched in Benghazi against the Gadhafi regime. The attention of the world was quickly driven towards Libya because of its strategic advantage and the fact that Mohammad Gadhafi was an arrogant leader practicing socialism that had ruled Libya for 42 years and sitting on a massive oil resource needed by the West.


It was only in Tunisia and Egypt that the people had the advantage to change the autocratic governments at the early stages of the Arab revolution which was determined by the natural movement of the people’s revolution. The foundation of the revolution in effect, was based on the “Will” of the people which had no foreign interference and that gave rise to the present sense of stability in Egypt and Tunisia’s democratic institutions, where the people’s voice is one of the mechanisms for the direction of their governments. For Yemen it would be a difficult task ahead due to the intervention its revolution witnessed, that was occasioned by regional and foreign powers which led to the technical transition of power between president Abdullah Saleh supporters and the revolutionaries.


In conclusion, for the citizens of those Arab monarchical states and self imposed presidents and prime ministers  that believe their leaders are puppets, they will still have to wait for another revolution or better put, an evolution which might not be for now until the advantages of Tunisia and Egypt revolution begin to manifest. But in the event that, the Arab monarchs are still viewed in Western capitals as allies that need not lose their absolute powers, Western powers will always come to the rescue them against the wrath of their citizens, in order to avoid a re-occurrence of the Western blunder which led to the 1979 Iranian revolution.
And if possible they will end up being constitutional monarchs similar to that of Britain when the second Arab revolution gets tougher.

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

OBAMA AGAINST NETANYAHU: RESCUING THE WHITE HOUSE AND RESTORING THE IMAGE OF AMERICAN PRESIDENCY FROM ISRAELI INFLUENCE

                                                   Barack Obama in the oval office

Obama practices the concept of putting pressure and sanctions on perceived erring state of the world which has been a norm existing and acceptable to the United States foreign policy makers since it became the world leader after the Second World War (1939-1945). The right wing political groupings in the Western world and that of the Republican Party in the US have been seriously courting the Netanyahu administration in Israel to put pressure on the Obama administration since they both hold similar position when it comes to foreign policy and the control of resources in the Middle East. On many occasions one would understand that the Obama administration do not play along in keeping with the existing structures built by the Neo conservatives of the Bush administration that have supported Israeli policy makers influence in the United states political landscape. The partnership between the Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Right wing Republicans and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has affected the American governance psychic over the years with its influence.President Obama has developed liberal response over the years even before he got to the presidency in January 20, 2009,  His programmes and strategies severs as a necessary response to the AIPAC and Netanyahu’s influence in the American politics, especially their strong influence on those who occupy the White House and the Congress.



The aim of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in collaboration with some powerful US citizens that control the activities of AIPAC in the USis to make the Obama administration forcefully draw a red line on the Iranian nuclear program at the peak of the presidential debate. But the administration remained adamant and exhibited the fact that it was not willing to do such since it has no credible intelligence reports stating that the Iranian regime was building nuclear bombs in any of its nuclear facilities.Netanyahu knew placing the US military strategic advantage at the doors of the Iranians in the Middle East would be seen as a threat to its existence by the Iranians and will serve as a crucial advantage for Netanyahu to stop Iran’s nuclear technological advancement. That alone can establish the “myth“ or “fact” that Israel is the only geo-political regional power in the region and it would explains to its Arab neighbors and Americans that the Israeli government has a key to unlocking  the men who occupy the White House and the Congress, but it failed woefully during the US 2012 Presidential campaign.


While the Obama administration was looking for a better approach to satisfy the Israeli regime and the AIPAC, it went on its Democratic Convention to announce to the world that Jerusalem was the undivided capital of Israel and that the party recognized Israel as Jewish state by a voice vote which was strange to many and other Arab American delegates at the convention. That was not a satisfying response from what Israeli prime minister desired. Netanyahu response to the Obama administration was disastrous at home which nearly derailed the focus of the administration during the campaign which gave Mitt Romney a better lead in opinion polls but the Obama administration quickly developed a damage control formula, it was either Netanyahu gets what he wants from Obama or destroy political support which the Obama administration has for his re- election bid through the information industrial complex that it is at the Israeli regimes disposal which is situated in the United states. 

Within days, sponsored attack ads from the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, dominated the mainstream media and polls began to favor the Republican candidate while the media cash in profits at the expense of the people in the ensuing drama. But the Obama administration was quick to counter the movement by releasing a video shot in the Republican donor’s conference where Mitt Romney was seen saying 48% of American voters who rely on government handouts will not vote for him and simply referred to them as lazy Americans. This was able to nip in the bud the negative ads that were against the re- election of Barack Obama. That being successful by the Obama campaign office, a quick strategy to maintain the pressure on the administration was adopted by PM Netanyahu which had a greater ramification on US Global security strategy and foreign policy.

It was the release of a 14 minutes low grade anti-Islam movies which was made in the US by an unknown Coptic Egyptian that was on parole not seen by many around the world on You Tube but “advertised” on major media outlets around the world which led to demonstration at various US embassies in many Arab and Muslim nations around the world. The chaos that followed the demonstration led to death of protesters in few Muslim countries and consequently the death of the US ambassador to Libya in Benghazi, when a group of terrorist fired several mortal rounds into the embassy building killing four Americans. 


The Obama administration could not find an adequate response to the low grade film which created the anti- American sentiment all over the Arab and Muslim world, but it definitely condemned the actions of the film makers consistently in its press reports. Explaining to the world at the 52nd UN general assembly, President Obama said there was no way he could stop free speech since it was enshrined in the US constitution but again, repeatedly condemned the action of the film makers for dishonoring other people’s faith.
At the UN, for the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, it was a platform to express his opinion about the Iranian regime and simply the lackluster attitude of the Obama administration to take aggressive and decisive steps towards the advancement of the Iranian nuclear program. When he took over the podium at the UN general assembly, while he was addressing the delegates of different nations, Netanyahu was able to give a detailed lecture on the Iranian nuclear programme advancement to the United Nations representatives and to cap it all,he decided to do what Obama was not ready to do practically on his behalf in theory by using a red pen to draw a line on the board which depicts the size of the Iranian nuclear bomb he claimed that Iranians are producing.

 Since the early days of the Obama administrations Nathan Yahu has not been comfortable with the psychological impact and the influence of Obama in both the Middle East and the US, and the US 2012 presidential campaign was a solid ground for Netanyahu to test-run his popularity and influence against Obama within the American polity. It is wildly believed that Obama’s speech in Cairo Egypt addressing the Arab world was an instigator or considered as a trigger to the Arab revolution which took away some dictators that are loyal to the Israeli regime thereby opening a wider political front for the Arabs to rediscover their potential in the Middle East. And for the Israeli regime, it was an aberration to have such a balance of power in the Middle East even though the intention of Obama was not to make the Arabs go on rampage against their sit tight leaders that dance to the tune of the West. In order to counter the free flow of the Arab revolution not to consume Western Allies completely, and for it to favour the Israeli government, the status quo had to be restored quickly and remain for the benefit of the Israeli and the AIPAC. 

The nature of the revolution had to be hi jacked and thrown quickly to the gates of the “enemies” in the Middle East which was the erring Libyan and Syrian governments that supports Hezbollah in Lebanon. And that went down well with those in the Obama administration and the AIPAC. To avoid much friction, strategist in the Obama administration sought for another soil to satisfy Netanyahu by supplying “Non-lethal” support to rebels in order to avoid the ragging disparities between Netanyahu and Obama personally. Yet Netanyahu desired a more decisive approach to tackle the source “Iran” which challenges its authority in the region.

A scenario exhibited by the U.S diplomats at the 52nd UN general assembly shows that the Obama administration has complete control of the White House and not ready to give an inch to the Isreali administration in determining how its foreign policy works. The US diplomats decided to listen attentively for the first time in many years to the president of Iran Mahmoud Ahamadinejad while he was addressing the UN general assembly. It is a fact that Obama is becoming a game changer in American political psychic and its administration, its consistency would be determined when reelected by November 6, 2012. The strategic steps and policy actions of the administration since he took office in 2009 proves that he is systematically reclaiming the pride and dignity that was previously lost by former White House occupants. The dignity that has been stripped away due to the influence of AIPAC and several Israeli regimes over the years is being gradually restored in a modest way, even though the US allegiance to Israel remains intact, the administration will not allow that preferential treatment to affect its reasoning and strategies in its foreign policy dictates. Until Obama and Biden are reelected, that is when absolute control of the oval office in America can be said to be in control of the American sovereign but that is not a guaranty for future administration.

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Saturday, 13 October 2012

POWER SUPPLY CAUSES INFLATION: EPILEPTIC POWER SUPPLY A MAJOR CAUSE OF INFLATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES


It will be interesting to note that as I write this article to post on my web page, I depended on a generating set fueled by petrol to get it posted on the Internet, while it would have cost me next to noting if I had constant electricity supply from the national gird to power my home. Well for your information, it cost me 10 U.S dollars using premium motor spirit (PMS) imported into the country even when Nigeria is blessed with the natural resources at no cost.

                                                  Cars queue at a fuel station in Cairo Egypt
                                                  
A vibrant economy that has some control over inflationary trends depends on the consistent supply of energy to both the household and the industries alike. And without energy supply to the two sectors; development and advancement of the society will be at a comatose. The society will be dependents on factors outside its control and its territory to survive which will lead to a total collapse of the entire economy. The circular flow of all modern economy with its relation to economic development and increase in per-capital income of its people is based and dependent on the increase and demand of the energy needs and supply of the nation. Economic development and its currency stability to other world currencies are tied to the amount of energy generated and distributed to the industries and household. This makes it simple to understand why increase or decrease in the cost production by industries has a relation to the price of goods and services in the economy and the stability of its currency.
Increase in the price of crude oil in the world markets, increases the production cost of industries in many developing nations due to their dependency on factors outside their control and this in effect affects the growth of the economy negatively cascade in relation to the profit margin of the industrialist and the purchasing power of the household. Governments in developing nations have so much relied on oil imports to generate energy for their local industries and household and they have neglect other energy sources to power their economy which would have reduced their dependency on international factors that determine the price of oil through demand and supply which is not within their control. Even when some among them are blessed with the oil and gas resources it has been difficult for them to take a good advantage of it.


Cost of using petroleum powered generating plants in a country like Nigeria has increased tremendously over the years and it seems there is no stop to it. Generators that power industries in order to produce its desired output play a significant role as a source of inflation in the local markets which in turn is a determinant of the purchasing power and the saving capability of the population. Fuel consumption by the Nigerian household is at its highest level since the year 2009 due to epileptic power supply from the national grid which is controlled by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Nearly every household has a generating set to power their homes at night when they return from work and even at work the same fuel powered generating sets are used as source of power to operate their businesses. The increase in the price of petroleum products by the government of Goodluck Jonathan in the early days of January 2012 which led to a nation wide strike by the nation's labor unions and other civil societies has increased the cost of living and diminished the standard of living which has thrown many back into poverty which the middle class technically escaped during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.


A good example is the neglect to Invest in various power sectors by previous governments in Nigeria and that is now having a serious catastrophic effect on its population and the growth of the economy. The billions of dollars invested in the energy sector  by the democratic administration from 1999 till date has been shrouded in massive corruption and has drawn the nation backward due to wastage of the country's financial resources which was in the hands of corrupt officials. The nation has not been able to attain the 4000 megawatts of electricity which the last military regime left in 1999; instead it has led to more reduction in the number of megawatts. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has been in power since May 29, 1999 has not been able to achieve a substantial result in the energy sector after 13 years in power which should have reduced the nations dependency on the high price of imported fuel consumption and bring about a change in industrial development and its operations from the sluggish nature which has led to the shutting down of many industries across the nation.



The increase and fluctuation in the price of crude oil in the world markets affects many developing economy and in return increases the price of goods and services which has led o inflation in many local economies around the world. Many never knew Inflation played a role to trigger the Arab revolution and was not only all about political change but economics. Developing economies should know that foreign direct investors look into the prospects of a country's energy sector and the alternatives in diversifying to determine its investment portfolio in the country. FDI’s can not venture into economies that the cost of production is high and where there is no stable power supply, it would rather prefer to direct its investment to nations where power supply is stable at its lowest cost. This is the reason why countries like Ghana, South Africa and Egypt have greater advantage and chances of attracting more foreign investors among developing nations than Nigeria. Even though, Nigeria has the market and the population when it comes to investment destination, it is more expensive to do business in Nigeria due to its epileptic power supply and inadequate infrastructure which increases the cost of production.


Developing nations must invest much of their political will in various energy sources if they want to develop quickly and reduce inflation that are imported from other countries, dependency on imported petroleum fuels must be drastically reduced for solar, hydro, nuclear wind, thermal and gas powered turbines for rapid development and economic growth. Investment on these alternatives source of energy will increase the national income of these poor nations of the world which has geometric population increase. It must prepare diverse energy sources for its coming generation to avoid being trapped with the oil economy that causes inflation. But for now more hand has to be on deck for developing nations in the 21st century to industrialize its economy which will reduce sky rocketing inflationary trends based on importation of goods and services.