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Aug 31, 2018 19 tweets 11 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Aso Rock picked on the bankers of the opposition in a busy week that also saw it acting coy on personal civil liberties and rolling the carpet for two of the EU’s most powerful leaders. All these occurred while cocoa simply could not find its way to the country’s main ports.
@officialEFCC’s interest in @ZenithBank’s transactions involving @riversstategov signals a willingness on the part of @MBuhari's administration to focus on the latter given its pre-eminence in the political architecture of the opposition @OfficialPDPNig.
@riversstategov has emerged as the hub and financial nerve centre of @OfficialPDPNig – a position that has seen its governor, @Gov_Wike, as one of the most important figures within the party's ranks, if not its most influential kingmaker.
Allegations of malfeasance involving @riversstategov could very well be seized upon as a pretext for freezing the state’s accounts ahead of an election year during which resource mobilisation for political campaigns will become more significant.
A ruling party that has hinged its re-election bid on the need to consolidate on its “war against corruption” is likely to double down on such rhetoric in 2019 as it seeks to supply a useful narrative for justifying actions targeted at the opposition.
Concerned actors may mount legal challenges seeking judicial clarification of the executive order which empowers @NGRPresident to freeze the bank accounts of institutions and individuals being investigated for corruption.
On @MBuhari's remarks to @NigBarAssoc, although he didn't specify current court cases for which @AsoRock views the need to uphold the “national interest” above the rule of law, @AbubakMalamiSAN, used the national security argument to explain the refusal to release of Sambo Dasuki
@AsoRock has, in the past, made the same argument to justify the continued detention of @zakzakysupport leader, Ibrahim El Zakzaky.

This can't be an acceptable argument for a democratic government in the middle of asking voters to exercise their franchise in its favour.
The critical context to highlight here is that the only institution that is permitted to derogate civil rights is the judiciary - one whose independence has been consistently undermined by the current administration - including a crackdown on some senior judges in 2016.
With @MBuhari's latest remarks, @AsoRock’s convenient extra-legal justifications for worrisome behaviour has thrown out the door, its rule of law pretensions.
#Nigeria currently ranks a joint 5th with #Cameroon among the world’s biggest cocoa producers, with @IntlCocoaOrg estimating 2017-18 output at 240,000 metric tons.
@LagosChamber says that the slow down from bad access roads to the ports has led to rising costs and has such a significant toll on economic activity that haulage costs have gone up about 400%.

The fact is that the incentive that is measured is the one that is optimised for.
In #Nigeria, the main incentive the ports are measured on is revenue generated for @AsoRock only, and this has created the situation where there is no concerted effort to drive down the time it takes to do actual business at the ports.
Coupled with bad roads, it is clear that #Nigeria as a place ready to do business with the world is mere lip service.

The ripple effect is clear - exponential cost increase, waste and lost business.

Ultimately, the farmers who have worked so hard are left poorer.
It is clear that @GOVUK is attempting to create new opportunities as the fallout from #Brexit intensifies.

#Britain may be desperate because of its internal political realities, but #Nigeria will do well to realise that @EuropeUnion will be a more profitable trading partner.
We are #Germany’s second biggest market in #subSaharanAfrica, for instance.

#Britain is a service-based economy with a relatively limited demand for Nigerian exports, still largely raw commodities.
Furthermore, this demand is unlikely to rise to fill any gaps created if the negotiations lead to @GOVUK receiving some preferential concessions from a whittled down @EuropeUnion.
@EuropeUnion is also driving its own agenda of supporting the kind of economic development that will curb the tide of African migration - legal and illegal - hence @AngelaMerkeICDU’s visit to #Nigeria (as well as #Senegal and #Ghana).
Thus, @AsoRock will do well to take advantage of @GOVUK's tight situation, and obtain the most favourable terms of trade possible.

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More from @sbmintelligence

Sep 28, 2018
There was cheery news that regulators had seen the error of their ways regarding indiscriminate use of iron fist tactics.

This step forward was blunted by events such as leap backwards in Osun, a problematic strike action, and a return to bad old habits by a bus company.
On 25 September, @cenbank governor, Godwin Emefiele, said that he was optimistic the regulator would resolve the dispute in a way that will ensure that “everybody will be happy.”

We think this is a belated attempt at reassuring waning investor sentiment towards the country.
A day earlier, @SBGroup, one of four banks @cenbank alleged helped @MTNNG illegally repatriate $8.1 billion, said the regulator may review a decision to penalise its West African unit.
Read 27 tweets
Jul 20, 2018
President Obasanjo once called maintaining Nigeria Airways (NAL) irresponsible. Six years later, one of his successors, despite a petition from former NAL employees appealing for ₦45 billion in severance pay, is shopping the world for an investor for a proposed national carrier.
Between a ferocious fight over revenue sharing, and ignoring the obvious on Boko Haram, bad ideas seem to die slowly, such that it has almost obscured the recognition Nigeria’s music industry got from the world’s largest music label.
The latest #BokoHaram attacks don't suggest a resurgence of the group so much as they demonstrate its resilience, capacity for strategic hibernation and stealth.

They also indicate that the financing with which it procures weapons and its recruitment remain largely uninhibited.
Read 27 tweets
Jun 29, 2018
Plateau’s bloody week holds important long-term consequences for the rest of the country, as does our global poverty profile, the President taking a swipe at restructuring advocates, and the finance ministry’s chest thumping while not saying much.
The #Plateau incident underscores the simmering nature of multiple low and medium intensity conflicts occurring across #Nigeria, a historically certain prelude to a total breakdown of law and order.
Inter-communal distrust has continued to escalate with cyclical patterns of strife in conflict areas.

The pervasive loss of confidence in @AsoRock as a neutral arbiter is a key factor in this escalation as it encourages communities to adopt vigilantism with catastrophic results
Read 20 tweets
Jun 6, 2018
Yesterday, a rare joint session of both houses of @nassnigeria met and issued resolutions that has set it on a collision course with @AsoRock, and holds important political and economic consequences for #Nigeria as it stares down the barrel of #election2019.
The tension between the 2 most important arms of the FG, both controlled by @OfficialAPCNg, has endured through the tenure of @MBuhari's administration and is consequential for the party, for the wider political state of the country and in driving economic policy.
Federal lawmakers, in passing a vote of confidence in the principal officers of @NGRSenate and @HouseNGR, condemned the “systematic harassment and humiliation by @AsoRock of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions including legislators and the judiciary,”
Read 24 tweets
Jun 1, 2018
The needle shifted a little further into the red zone with concerns over an expanded security vote chest, an import rate hike bound to affect fuel prices, talk of water colonies, and the CBN’s continued fixation on forex.
The glue that holds up the inefficient political system in #Nigeria, and skews it against both the will of the people and a level playing field for better candidates to emerge, is the existence of slush funds that warp campaign funding.
Security votes rank high up in upholding this system.

When the existence of the security votes is taken along with the abysmal security situation across the country, the irony is not lost on observers.
Read 17 tweets
Mar 12, 2018
The Egmont Group, an international body of 155 Financial Intelligence Units that provides a platform for the secure exchange of expertise and financial intelligence, meets from today, March 12, 2018, until Thursday, March 15.
A deadline to Nigeria to separate its National Financial Intelligence Unit from the EFCC lapsed yesterday, without Nigeria enacting a law that would have done so. The likely outcome of the Egmont Group’s meeting will be Nigeria’s expulsion from the group.
In July 2017, @EGFIU lost patience with #Nigeria and suspended the NFIU because of @officialEFCC's habit of leaking sensitive financial intelligence to the media.

@officialEFCC had also refused to cooperate in efforts to grant the NFIU operational independence.
Read 19 tweets

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