SOVEREIGN WEALTH WAHALA (1)
Nigeria is not the first country in Africa or the world to have legislated into being, a sovereign wealth fund. Although this country made the chart of sovereign States with such funds only this year under the name Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) with oil as the origin of assets for the fund ($ 1 Billion US dollars), the records of other countries in that category are rather instructive and remarkable.
In terms of existence, the first off the block was the pre-independence Kuwait which, in 1953, set up the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), with a whopping sum of S202.8 Billion (US Dollars) and Oil as the origin of that fund.
Still on the chronological emergence order, the second was Kiribati, which provided $ 0.4 Billion Dollars in 1956 for its Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund (RERF), and stipulated Phosphates as the source of the fund.
Third on the Wikipedia list was the United States of America (U.S.A), which, in 1958, through the New Mexico State Investment Office Trust (NMSIOT), set aside $13.8 Billion Dollars from a 'non- commodity' origin, and the fourth was Singapore, which, via the Temasek Holdings (TH), provided $ 157 Billion US Dollars in 1974 for assets of non - commodity origin.
According to Wikipedia:'A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) is a State – owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals or other financial investments (which) invest globally. Some of them have grabbed attention making bad investments in several Wall Street financial firms including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. These firms needed a cash infusion due to losses resulting from mismanagement and the subprime mortgage crisis….'
Furthermore, we learn that the term sovereign wealth fund 'was first used in 2005 by Andrew Rozanov in an article entitled 'Who holds the wealth of nations' in Central Banking journal. The previous edition of the journal described the shift from traditional reserve management to sovereign wealth management; subsequently the term gained widespread use as the spending power of global officialdom has rocketed upwards.'
As Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala told the world last week, the fund was aimed at ensuring 'that some of Nigeria's oil wealth is saved and can't be tapped on a regular basis to finance the government's running costs. The fund will help the country save for the future, invest in strategic infrastructure projects in Africa's most populous nation and act as a 'buffer' against volatile oil prices…'
Obviously, nothing can enter the accounts of this NSIA unless it comes from the country's Excess Crude Account and almost all the States in the Federal Republic of Nigeria last Monday prayed the Supreme Court 'to restrain the Federal Government from making any withdrawal from the Excess Crude Account pending the hearing and determination of a suit they filed in 2008', and to order ' that all sums standing to the credit of the account … be paid unto court or be otherwise secured as the court may deem fit, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit…'This is one of the latest controversies in town now, after the lingering issue of how to deal decisively with Boko Haram's funding fathers(and, perhaps, mamas)…..call it the new bone of contention around.
The stage has therefore been set for testing the rule of law and the nature of power relationships among Nigeria's federating units. The political and financial stakes are very high indeed. More, later!!
Re: Security Threats, Yesterday And Today
Thanks immensely Mr. Thompson for your three-part series: 'Security Threats, Yesterday And Today.' I agree with the view (as implied) thatan issue not addressed or sufficiently and satisfactorily addressed at?its right time is certain to resurface at a future date more complicated and daunting; having spread to involve other things. This is facilitated by the interrelatedness of all things. Therefore, the challenges or threats of today have their origins in the past.?
Challenges are those obstacles or situations we must face and overcome if we must develop and forge ahead. And if we are to forge ahead, we must be engaged constructively in the face of all challenges. That calls for being undaunted when challenged. On the other hand, threats are purely disruptive; and for anything to constitute a threat, it must be disruptive and destructive.?
Problems are either congenital (from birth) or acquired in the process of growth or development. A good example of congenital problems is congenital blindness. And for being congenital, the problem is?intractable. But when blindness or any problem is acquired in the course of growth, there is often time to wade into the matter and arrest the disruptive process(es) and reverse the trend. Therefore, ?processes are disruptive or engage destructively either at the beginning or at any point in the course of evolution. Now, let us relate this to the Nigerian situation and the difficulty in the attainment of nationhood since the amalgamation of 1914.?
The Nigerian nationhood has continued to be elusive since the amalgamation of 1914 because Nigeria never formed and therefore, never quite took off. And the reason for this is that in the process of forming Nigeria, there were in-built disruptive processes that militated against the natural order of things in which the free will of the people was mindlessly subordinated to entrenched colonial agenda. The result is that Nigeria emerged from the womb of the evil of colonialism not only its by-product; the Nigeria that emerged from the disruptive processes is a colonial design (defined by disruptive processes in all spheres of national life) in furtherance of the colonial agenda.
That explains why all about Nigeria is an assumption. For instance: • A Nigerian nation is an assumption; • Our unity is an assumption; • A common or pan-Nigerian agenda is an assumption; • Our democracy is an assumption; • Our independence is an assumption; • The status: 'Giant of Africa' is an assumption;?• Patriotism or nationalism in Nigeria is an assumption; • What we call the vision of our founding fathers (who never met to articulate a vision of Nigeria in the post-colonial era) is an assumption; to mention but a few of such assumptions.?
When the process of disruption is systemic and congenital, the ensuing problems thrown up become intractable. At the point Nigeria proved to be intractable, the colonial Administrator, Sir Hugh Clifford said in 1923 (88 years ago) that it is virtually impossible to unite the disparate nations that were welded together to form Nigeria into one homogenous nation. Nigeria similarly proved intractable for all other?colonial Administrators; who embarked on the frequent review of the constitution to no avail. The same is applicable to all post-independence rulers of Nigeria. It is not a matter of leadership. And if all who have ruled here in Nigeria are bad rulers, then something is fundamentally wrong with Nigeria. 'You are under a curse- the whole nation of you- because you are robbing me.' (Malachi 3:9) And come to think of it: to be a by-product of an evil system; to be premised on the evil of injustice; to be dressed in the evil cloak of falsehood; and to glamourize evil, is God not being robbed of His glory?
If in reality there were any such people from the Northern part of the country who wanted to destabilize Obasanjo's government as claimed by Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retired National Security Adviser) and of course return power to their Region, I have a hunch that Gen. Gusau was the last person to be expected to reveal that to Obasanjo. Were such people (military officers and civilians) ever rounded up and charged for treason? At this juncture, we recall that it was precisely to return power to the North (confirmed by Gen. Gowon in his inaugural broadcast on 1st of August, 1966) that General Ironsi was brutally murdered together with his host, Lt. Col. Francis Adekunle Fajuyi.
And it is the suspicion that for similar reason, Chief M.K.O. Abiola (the late acclaimed winner of the June 12th 1993 presidential election) died mysteriously in detention. And also for similar reason, constitutional crisis was made to brew when it came to handing over power to Dr. Jonathan when President Yar' Adua was critically ill and did not transfer power as required by the constitution. And yet for similar reason, some people from the North openly boasted that they will make Nigeria ungovernable for the president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.?
In the absence of any classified information, theories are then woven to explain all security matters. One must not be a rocket