Square Pegs and Round Holes


April 2016

Issue Voting

2019 will see the rise of the issue voter in Nigeria. Most people will be focused on issues like security, the economy, rule of law, corruption, poverty reduction, provision of infrastructure, etc. This is a progressive way to select preferred candidates after aggregating their performance on the core issues important to the voter. It is mostly subjective as the voter sees the performance from the prism of how these issues affect them. For instance, if the second Niger bridge is not completed in four years, there might be a voter backlash from residents of the South East regardless of the advances made in delivering, say the Kano-Lagos or the Calabar-Lagos rail lines, power sector reform goals, etc.


Some will still vote based on hang-ups of 2015 and the other ethnic colorations and the other non-progressive markers that exist everywhere there are people with differences.  That will most never leave world politics. On the other hand there will be some who will be single issue voters. These are the ones that will focus on just one issue dear to their heart and not even care about the candidates performance on the other equally if not more important issues.


I will be a single issue voter in 2019. I will focus on an issue that is dear to me. I will not bother too much about the other ones. I will leave those to you. Also, I believe the government will do well on the critical indices given the opportunities that abound and within the context of local and global constraints.


My single issue will be sensitivity. Is that progressive? I’m not sure, but that’s where my heart leads me.



The Yes Men

One time I was involved in some civil construction work. Through it I met many artisans, equipment and materials vendors and all kinds of professionals.
I had one artisan/sub-contractor who I will call Tunde. He was very good at his job. His English was not perfect, but I understood all his text messages and quotes. He could use technology. He would proactively shoot me pictures to explain a point and show progress. He was very loyal and supportive. I came to trust him because he had many opportunities to cheat me or withhold what belonged to me and each time he passed the test with shinning colours.
But he had one problem. Let me explain.
Whenever we went out to select materials together, he would agree with all my choices.
“Oga this one good. I like am”.
“That one too sef good”.
“Yes, you fit take this one too if you like am. E fine well well”.
Me: But I bring you here because na you be expert. You need to tell me the reason why one better pass another one so that I go fit choose”
Tunde : OK Oga. Which one you like out of all of them? That one? OK. Na im fine pass. Make we buy that one. E go last and e fine.”
Very exasperating, to say the least.
So I stopped taking him out to select materials. I would ask him for the qualifying parameters prior to my store visits and then just go out and make a choice.
Then I would return and say “Wetin you think of this one?”
Him: Ah, Oga you get taste o, you sabi better thing o! This one dey very good. Na the best one”
And when I make an obvious error in giving work direction? He would not correct me. So it happened that we spent a lot of money to buy a material that was not suited for the specific application it was to be used for and it failed. It cost money and more materials to remove it, get a different one and return to the site. So I asked him how come he later spoke like he knew that was going to happen. Yet he watched me through the decision phase to implementation and never stopped me or expressed a word of caution? Did he know how much that cost us in time, money and opportunity?
Tunde: Oga no vex Sir. I no want make you vex. I too believe you. I too small to correct you. Who I be for where you dey?” No vex Sir!
Me: Your job na to work for me and also advise when I dey go wrong. If you continue like this I go terminate our agreement and get someone else. Make you no fear me abeg. Na you know your work pass me. Na you be the expert. I go listen to you. Na you dey see wetin I no dey see. Dey tell me as e be every time abeg, you hear?
Tunde: Yes sir!
It was a work in progress still. Sigh.

What’s On Your Bookshelf?

The books you buy, keep or read say a lot about your personality. One can easily guess taste and behavior trends by going through people’s books. What you read feeds your mind and ends up shaping your thoughts and behaviors.

I raided Doye’s book shelf recently and today being the World  Book Day, I am sharing  pictures from a random selection of this eclectic  reader’s book choices through the years. Meanwhile, I have known Doye since I was maybe eight. He’s always been quite “bookish”. You should have seen his glasses before the Lasik. 😜😄🤓

Tell us your opinion of some of the books shown here.

See pictures below the cut.




Cattle Ranching and Farming

There is already deep mutual distrust between landowner farmers and herders. This is not helped by the frequency of “clashes” and the resulting multiple fatalities on the side of farming communities, which have gone on through successive administrations without a noticeable response from law enforcement. Also, there is no way to ensure the herdsmen and their cattle do not stray from the prescribed areas.

The only thing that’ll work is a prescription that keeps these two sets of people apart in the struggle for pasture and preservation of farm crop yields; or have them form a mutually beneficial agreement guided by law.

Ranching is that solution and it must be private sector driven. Livestock owner negotiates for land and buys/leases it from “willing” owner. Government must not use executive fiat in facilitating this deal as is currently stated as one of the powers to be vested in the “National Grazing Commission” in section 20-22 of the bill. This land must also be provided perimeter fencing as much as possible.

The owners of the cattle need to follow the example of the farmers in South Africa, Argentina, USA and other livestock farming countries. Businesses evolve with the times. This is no different.

Meat will become more expensive initially as the livestock owners pass on the cost of ranching and providing feed, etc., to the meat buyers. This is also ok. It is standard business practice. The consumer will adjust.

This is April 2016. A lot has happened between the herders and farmers/landowners. Many communities in the south and middle belt are opposed to this bill, regardless of what their NASS members say. A simple test of this is to have the FG or the NASS members engage the people in town hall meetings around this issue to get the pulse of the people. It is unfortunate that this has not even been communicated talk less of getting feedback. If the intent of this bill is to forestall future clashes between these two groups, then this bill would not do that. In my mind, it would do the opposite.

And if your angle is about “people’s ancestral practice and age long culture”, then my response to you is that this is not a progressive mindset. Can the constitution accommodate everyone’s ancestral, cultural and economic practices? Especially as some other will feel they are bearing the brunt for it through the targeted land “acquisitions”? Remember we are still facing backlash and sabotage from communities in the Niger delta over land and mineral resources? This will open another vista and create even more tensions and sabotage opportunities.

Unfortunately, one of the main causes of this migration is desertification. This has also seen billions of Naira sunk in by government through the years with scant evidence of progress. There is decades old technology out there to reverse desertification, carry out remediation on lands that were previously fertile and also new age technology like hydroponics that grows pasture without soil. New feed types should also be adopted. Pasture grass is not the only feed available to cattle.

Way Forward

There is so much more in modern livestock farming. We should look at this on the medium to long term while we allow the cattle owners to approach “willing” landed communities to procure short-medium term land leases for pasture land that will be transparent and perfected through legal means with clearly delineated hard boundaries and all the stakeholders carried along. We do not need a powerful bureaucracy wielding the Land Use Act to do this. All we need is for the rights of each party to be guaranteed under the law and ALL cases of infractions addressed to a logical end.


This is my opinion. It is how I read the situation and the dangers the bill portends for integration and mutual co-existence.




Images from and

Suggested reading:

Analysis of the (consolidated) National Grazing Routes and Reserves Bill (2016, HB 388)  by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, Abuja.

National Grazing Reserves Bill : SB 114

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