Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Virtual data rooms Facebook Status

Just successfully cloned and expanded a virtual hard drive using clonezilla and gparted with no data loss ... now my WinXP VM has plenty of room to expand! While doing that I dinged a level and spent my xp on Virtual Machine Guru :D


WORD GUESS
Which word has 3 double letters (letters repeated once in quick succession e.g gg...tt...yy) ?


iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) seeks to promote diversity in graduate programs and research.

Application deadline: April 12, 2013.

What and When is i3?

The iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) is an undergraduate research and leadership development program that prepares students from underrepresented populations for graduate study and careers in the information sciences. Students undertake a year-long experience that includes two summer institutes held at the University of Pittsburgh and a year-long, virtual team research project. Students are immersed in special-topics workshops, professional development seminars, research projects, and network-building opportunities.

i3 is held at the University of Pittsburgh from June 2-28, 2013.

How Do Undergraduate Majors Map to the Information Sciences?

The information sciences are focused on finding new ways to solve problems. We help people to discover better information, design and use better technology, and to make better decisions. Whether those problems are in business, medicine, education, the arts, or any number of other fields, information professionals are able to make a tremendous impact in their organizations and careers.

The information sciences range from highly technical to non-technical areas of study. Students interested in highly technical fields can learn about robotics, artificial intelligence, software engineering, cyber-security, and data analysis, among others. For those students more interested in the social sciences or humanities, the information sciences offers topics like game design, policy informatics, social media and blogging, business and project management, archives and preservation, information literacy and education, libraries, health informatics, and many more.

Who Should Apply?

Undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited college or university in the United States; students that have recently graduated may also apply
Students enrolled in any academic major; undeclared or undecided students are also welcome to apply
Students who have an interest in graduate school and research opportunities
Students who are open to exploring the information sciences and its many interdisciplinary fields
Individuals that can demonstrate a commitment to diversity and increasing opportunities for underrepresented populations
U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents

How to Apply

To apply, applicants must submit the following items:
Online application with essay questions
Two letters of recommendation
Official undergraduate transcripts

The application deadline has been extended to April 12, 2013. Students are encouraged to submit their application materials early to receive priority consideration. Admissions decisions will be made on a rolling basis. Students will receive an admissions decision via email within three weeks of completing their application.

Additional Benefits

During their stay at the University of Pittsburgh, students receive funding support and a daily stipend for their participation.

Full funding for travel, housing, and dining
$50.00 per day stipend for continued participation
Students may arrange for i3 to count as a for-credit internship at their home university/college
Upon completion of the program, i3 Scholars are eligible for scholarship opportunities at select graduate schools in the United States

The iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences. Please direct all questions to Michael Depew at i3info@pitt.edu.

Sincerely,

Michael Depew

--
Michael Depew

Director, iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3)
University of Pittsburgh
School of Information Sciences
135 N. Bellefield Avenue, Room 603
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
mdepew@pitt.edu
412-624-3981


CHICAGOLAND!!! Here are a ton of new Job Leads from Ms. Crystal Marshall of WRITE TO SUCCESS! As Always, THANKS, CRYSTAL!!

JOB LEADS AS OF 3/11/2013 By Crystal Marshall in WRITE TO SUCCESS

Crossing Tavern is hiring doormen. The bar is located at 2548 N Southport Ave (Southport and Wrightwood). Interested applicants please stop by to fill an application in person on Wednesdays 3/6 or Wednesday 3/13 from 11am - 4pm or apply online at www.crossingtavern.com

The YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago is offering a FREE “Advanced Microsoft Word 2010” class Monday – Wednesday, March 11th – 13th 5:30pm – 7:30pm at 6600 S Cottage Chicago, IL 60637. This class is FREE and open to the public. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Shquestra Sitawi or Tonya Yolo at 773-496-5620

Staffing Network is hiring Food Assemblers (1st and 2nd shift) for a warehouse in Romeoville, IL. Pre-screenings will be conducted at The CDTES Training Center 3039 W Harrison Chicago, IL. Sessions will be held every Tuesday and Thursday, 9am – 3pm. Call (312) 588-3860 to schedule your appointment. Let the Receptionist know you are from the community and would like to schedule an appointment for a pre-screening. No experience is required. A high school diploma/GED is not required. Must submit to and pass a drug screen. Must be 7 years removed from any felony conviction. Must have reliable transportation to get to Romeoville, IL. Attend the pre-screening session dressed to impress with an updated resume.

Pearson (Lombard, IL) is looking to fill hundreds of positions to read and score student essays. Paid training will begin at the end of March for these six to eight week scoring sessions. Successful employees may be asked to work additional projects. Pay is $13/HR. Day shift is Monday – Friday, 8am – 4:30pm. Evening shift is Monday – Friday, 6pm – 10pm (10% shift differential). Must have a 4 year Bachelor degree and be able to provide the degree or college transcript. To apply go to www.flexiblescoring-reg.pearson.com

Brookfield Zoo has the following seasonal openings: Admissions attendant, Food Service Attendant, Camp Counselor Assistant, Stock, Cashier and Merchandise Attendant. Must be 16+ years of age. Apply online: www.czs.org

Manpower has the following openings: Call Center Representative ($12/HR - $16/HR) and Lockbox Operator ($10/HR). To see a full job description and apply, go to www.manpower.com

If your new year's resolution was to get control over your finances, now would be a perfect time to get your free annual credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can access all three credit bureau reports in a matter of minutes. You can do this once every 12 months for free (no strings attached).

Dial America (Oak Brook, IL) is looking to fill several Call center Representative positions. If interested in the position, please Apply Online http://dial.am/RIID

Telesight, LLC. Is hiring Telephone Interviewers. NO SELLING INVOLVED. We conduct market research interviews. Must type 35wpm and have great speaking skills. Pay is $9.25/HR. Apply in person Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm at Telesight, LLC. 820 N. Franklin Suite 100 Chicago, IL Phone: 312-640-2509

IASair is looking to fill several Customer Service Agent positions. Customer Service Agents -- Accurately completing various data entry operations and routines, sorting and filing of air way-bills and other air cargo documentation, use of various cargo management systems/programs, creating and disseminating daily reports and logs. Must be able to lift 75lbs. Must be 18+ years of age. Must have a valid state issued driver’s license indicating your current address. Must have a 10 year clean background (no felony convictions). Apply in person Monday – Friday, 9am – 3pm at 11301 W. Irving Park Rd. Franklin Park, IL 60131. For further directions, call (847) 737-0049

Accurate Personnel Job Fair. Wednesday, March 13th. 9am – 4pm at 2401 S Oakley Ave Chicago, IL 60608. Open positions: Forklift Driver, Picker/Packer, Machine Operator, Maintenance Mechanic and General Warehouse. Bring an updated resume and 2 forms of government issued ID.

Corner Bakery has the following openings: Cashier, Line Cook, Expeditor, Service Attendant, Delivery Driver and Dishwasher. Apply Monday – Friday, 8am – 11am and 2pm – 4pm at 444 N Michigan Chicago, IL

Morris Graduate School of Management at Robert Morris University seeks part-time faculty to teach new courses in Business Analytics, Decision Science, Business Intelligence and Data Mining to graduate students at the Chicago location. Must have a Master degree in Business, Marketing, Math or Engineering required; Ph.D. strongly preferred. Must have No less than 7-10 years’ experience in senior-level roles that require decision-making through data analysis. To apply email your resume to hr@robertmorris.edu or fax your resume to 312-935-6711

Jacobson Staffing is hiring Experienced Reach Forklift Operators ($11/HR) for our Monee location!! The qualified candidate is preferred to have one (1+) more experience operating a Sit Down Double Fork Truck. Additional qualities include ability to work in a fast paced environment. Must submit to a drug screen and background check. Apply at 25810 S. Ridgeland Ave. Monee, IL Or Call 708-534-3080

BECO is hiring a HR Recruiter. BECO seeks a college graduate to join our team with dual roles in recruiting and business development. Our team has a great work environment where creativity, fun, success and levity are encouraged. Candidates must have a high energy level, strong organizational skills & a desire to succeed. While recruiting, you will be responsible for finding and contacting potential job candidates and matching them with opportunities that match their background and skill set. While working in the business development your role will be to further establish our customer base by actively prospecting for new clients while bolstering relationships with existing clients through a combination of phone and in-person contact. Our in-house marketing team will continuously provide creative and productive ways to assist you with branding while our experienced recruiting team works side-by-side with you to qualify complex technical job requirements then deliver the right candidate each and every time. The synergy of these efforts produces satisfied customers and ultimately, your success. To apply email your resume and cover letter to JLondon@becogroup.com

Focus Pointe Global, a leading market research company, is seeking a part time Host/ Hostess for our Chicago facility. We are looking for high energy candidates that are computer literate, responsible and flexible, and well spoken. Previous experience in Hospitality, Hostessing, Hotel or Wait Staff, Market Research, or related field is preferred. Flexibility with schedule/hours is a must as hours can vary from 6:00 am - 11:00 pm, Monday - Friday. Generally no weekends. Fast, Fun, Friendly and Professional Atmosphere! Please apply to jobs@focuspointeglobal.com with "CSR-CHI" in the subject line. In addition, in order to be considered for this position, please call 1-800-220-5046 and follow the prompts.

Central Baking Supplies Inc. - Distribution company near Loop is seeking individuals who are safety conscious to fill warehouse positions. Individuals must have basic knowledge of English Language. Forklift Certification preferred. Apply in person at 1500 S Western Ave Chicago, IL 60608

Mariano’s Fresh Market has the following openings: Cashier, Bagger, General Team Member, Deli Team Member, Cake Decorator, Floral Team Member, Food Service Team Member, Meat Cutter and Sushi Chef. Apply online: www.marianos.com

Affordable Moving Co. is presently seeking dependable, full time Warehouse Associates. Apply in person at 5000 W. Bloomingdale Chicago, IL 60639

BULL MOOSE TUBE COMPANY, a progressive organization dedicated to meeting our customers perception of quality, has production opportunities for experienced Tubing industry candidates at our Chicago Heights, IL plant site. Excellent benefit & compensation are available. Must be computer literate. Must have good math skills. Must have a high school diploma/GED. Apply online: http://bullmoosetube.iapplicants.com/ViewJob-413497.html

Midwest Groundcovers is hiring order pullers for seasonal positions in the St. Charles area. There will be a paid 2 week training program to learn how to pull product to fulfill orders. After training employees can earn between $10-13 per hour with significant overtime from April through June. This is outdoor work and requires frequent lifting of product. Call 847-468-2017 for further information or you may apply in person at 6N800 Route 25 in St. Charles.

Auto Spa Car Wash has the following openings: Car washer, Detail and Porter. Must have verifiable experience. Apply in person with an updated resume at 6747 W. Touhy Ave.
Niles, IL 847-983-4111

Pride Staff is currently seeking to fill 8 High Tech Assembly positions on the 1st Shift (7:00 AM to 3:30 PM) for an industry leading technologies company based in Tinley Park, IL. These are Temp-to-Hire positions that start @ $10.00 an hour with insurance available, that also offer a raise and full benefits at hire-on! Candidates for this position should have at least 6 months recent assembly experience. Candidates also need strong Visual and Math skills and must pass a finger dexterity test. If interested please apply online @ www.pridestaff.com/chicagoland and attach a resume there as well.

A-1 Airport Limousine Service is looking to fill several FT and PT Customer Service positions. Please state on your resume or cover letter if you are looking for FT or PT. Benefits available.
If interested, please send resume to jim.miller@a1limousine.com

ISM Security is currently recruiting for Full Time and Part Time Armed and Unarmed Security Officers to work at a medical care center located in Harvey, IL. Salary: Compensation is between $9.50 and $10.00 per hour based on experience. Skills-enhancing training and opportunities for career growth and promotion. Must have a high school diploma/GED, PERC card and valid state issued driver’s license. Please apply by emailing an update resume to
employment@ism-security.com or by coming into the office to fill out an application: ISM Security 905 W. Glen Park Ave Griffith, IN 46319

DSI Security is currently hiring Security Officers in the Chicago, IL (Bedford Park) area. Weekend availability is a must. Must be 18+ years of age. Must have a high school diploma/GED. Must have a PERC card. Apply online: www.dsisecurity.com

LIDS is having a special, one day only, open interview session on Thursday, April 4th from 10am-3pm. This event will be held at the Lids location at Lincolnwood Town Center. Interested applicants should walk in the day of the event. Dress is business casual. Open positions: Store Manager, Assistant Store Manager and Keyholder

Loft Michigan Ave “Sales Associate” Job Fair. Tuesday, March 12th 9:30am – 12:30am and Wednesday, March 13th 5pm – 8pm at 51 E Randolph St Chicago, IL 60602. Positions overview: Drives revenue and provides an exceptional client experience through relationship building, product knowledge sharing, and presenting a clean, safe, well-maintained store environment. Consistently achieves individual goals that support store goals. Must have a high school diploma/GED and 1+ years of sales experience.

Clarity Partners is looking to fill several Call Center Agent positions. Hours of Operation: 7:00 am -- 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding City holidays. Agent will maintain 40 hours a week within hours of operation. Must have 1+ years of customer service or call center experience. Must be proficient with Microsoft Office Suite software. Pay is $11/HR - $13/HR. To apply email your resume with “Call Center Agent” in the subject area to
xn6pr-3661842226@job.craigslist.org

NORC is looking to fill several Telephone Interviewer positions in downtown Chicago. You would work a minimum of 16 hours per week with a possibility of up to 30 hours per week. We have evening and weekend shifts available. 1 weekend shift on Sunday is required. To apply for this job, visit our website: http://www.norc.org/WorkingAtNORC/ and Select "Become an NORC Telephone Interviewer" to see a listing of available positions.

Total Airport Services is looking to fill several Warehouse positions. FT and PT positions available. Must submit to a drug screen and background check. Apply in person at 514 Express Center Drive Chicago O'Hare Airport Chicago, IL 60666

Rivs is looking to fill several Data Entry Specialist positions at a financial institution in downtown Chicago. 9,000 keystrokes per hour and up ONLY. Around the clock shifts needed, 1st, 2nd and 3rd are all available. Prior experience with Data Entry preferred. Applications without resumes and cover letters will not be considered. Submit your resume and cover letter: https://www.rivs.com/01-03-54/

Lakeshore is looking for either full-time (ideally) or part-time Customer Service Representatives who ROCK the phones. YOUR job will be to form a liaison between prospective college students and schools by providing excellent customer service. Then, YOU will follow up with the prospect by verifying contact information, their program of interest and that they meet all school qualifications. YOUR last step will be to submit the request to designated schools that will then use YOUR lead to contact the student in regards to their specific university or college program. This is an indefinite temporary assignment and if you're really AWESOME could go perm. Pay starts at $11/hr and some weekend and weekend shifts will be in the mix. Remember -- all the world is a stage and the all the men and women merely players. If you're a player who loves to shine while having a good time send us your resume at sarahf@livinglakeshore.com and CC chicagojob@livinglakeshore.com

Convention Connection is searching for professional, temporary employees with fantastic customer service skills to help our clients' conventions run like clockwork. You must be comfortable working and learning on a computer, and be versatile enough to handle any task from on-site registration to greeting/providing directions. We are currently recruiting and scheduling for programs in February and in March, and preference will be given to candidates available those dates. This position is a temporary position on an as-needed basis. You must be 18 or older to apply. Apply online: http://conventionconnection.com/form1.html

Paramount Staffing is recruiting for various positions at sites in Chicago and the suburbs. Apply in person with 2 forms of valid government issued ID and an updated resume Mondays and Wednesdays, 8am – 1pm at 7019 North Ave Oak Park, IL 60302 (708) 383-3355. Be prepared to thoroughly complete an employment application and provide references.

Gate Gourmet has several entry-level positions available near O’Hare Airport. No experience necessary. To see full job descriptions and apply go to www.gategourmet.com

Evergreen Eagle is hiring Ramp Agents to work at O’Hare Airport. RAMP AGENTS provide careful handling of cargo and luggage, safely operate service equipment, meet and marshal arriving flights, fleet servicing customers with special requests, and perform any ad-hoc requests as needed. Must be 18+ years of age. Must have a valid state issued driver’s license. Must be 10 years removed from probation/parole from all felony convictions. Pay is $9/HR - $12/HR. Apply Monday – Thursday, 10am – 2pm @ O'Hare International Airport Building 511 Old Cargo Road, Chicago, IL 60666 773-686-7460

Haymarket Center has the following openings: Counselor, Case Manager, Case Aide, Recovery Coach, Reintegration Specialist, Child Development Specialist, Security Officer, Housekeeper and Laundry Attendant. Apply online at www.hcenter.org or fax your resume and cover letter to 312.226.1501

Sinai Health System presents Healing Hearts: A Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group. Thursday, March 21st. 6pm – 7:30pm at Sinai Community Institute Building 2653 W Ogden Ave 3rd Floor Chicago, IL 60608 (773) 257-5225. All meetings: a light dinner will be served; transportation assistance available: parking vouchers or CTA passes; children ages 5-9 are welcome to attend our separate children’s program (occurring at the same time). This group will be facilitated by hospital chaplains, social workers, nurses and our bereavement team and child specialists.

Daddies of Shorties is sponsoring a 1000 Men March on Saturday, March 23rd at 12:45pm at the cross section of Cicero Ave (4800 West) & Lake St (200 North). We are fathers with common issues in a community where opportunities are limited. We seek to address unemployment, lack of training, education, trade skills, along with legal issues which does not allow us to compete in the job market. This will allow us to become productive members of society. We invite everyone (women, men and children) to join us in this march.

Jet’s Pizza has the following openings: Crew, Driver and Manager. Apply in person at 4112 Dempster St Skokie, IL 60076

Extended Stay is hiring for the following openings at multiple locations: Front Desk, Guest Services, Housekeeper, Overnight Laundry and Porter. Apply in person at one or all of the following locations: (1) 4575 Frontage Rd Hillside, IL (2) 1075 Lake Street Hanover Park, IL (3) 445 Warrenville Rd Lisle, IL (4) 1181 Rohlwing Rd Itasca, IL (5) 3150 Finley Rd Downers Grove, IL

Jane Adams Resource Corporation is offering an “Introduction to 3D CAD: SolidWorks” training program. Customized, hands-on training in 3D CAD using SolidWorks. No previous CAD experience required. Learn the fundamentals of 3D part modeling. Build and view virtual assemblies. Create and interpret engineering drawings. Understand design intent, fits and tolerances. Verify part dimensions and geometry. Design parts, fixtures and jigs. Learn the power of 3D modeling! SolidWorks has an intuitive user interface that is suitable for all skill levels! Integrate your skills with any Computer-Aided Machining (CAM) Software! Duration: 8 sessions (32 hours). Schedule: April 5th-May 31st, 2013* Fridays 8am-12pm. Location: JARC Tech. Training Center 4222 N. Ravenswood Ave. Chicago, IL 60613. Cost: $500** ($450 if paid in full by 4/1). *No class Friday, May 24th (holiday). **Financial aid options may cover 50- 100% of training cost. For registration and more information, contact Jake Williams Phone: 773-728-9769 ext. 29 Email: jakew@jane-addams.org

Prudential Security has immediate openings for Security Officers in the Downtown Chicago area. Open positions include floaters and part time Security Officers. Must be 18+ years of age, possess a high school diploma/GED and possess a valid PERC card. Apply online: http://www.prudentialsecurity.net/

Porteous Fastner Co has the following openings in Carol Stream: Warehouse Order Puller. Must have 1+ years of warehouse experience. The pay is $10/HR - $12/HR. Apply in person at the Branch: 410 Fullerton Ave. Carol Stream, IL 60188

Old Country Buffet “Restaurant Management” Open Interviews. Thursday, March 21st. 10am – 6pm at 6560 West Fullerton Avenue Chicago, IL 60707 (W Grand Ave & N Narragansett Ave). The ideal candidate will have experience as a General Manager, Assistant Manager, Restaurant Manager, Supervisor, Leader, Kitchen Manager, District Manager, Area Manager, Multi-Unit Manager, FOH Manager, BOH Manager, Food and Beverage Manager, F&B Manager, or another restaurant management position.

Corner Bakery has the following openings: Cashier and Cook. Apply Monday – Friday, 8am – 11am and 2pm – 6pm at 35 E Monroe Chicago, IL

Jewish Vocational Services is offering a FREE 8-week Home Health Aide Training program designed to develop the skills for health care occupations such as Home Health Care Aide, Homemaker and Companion. Classes meet Monday – Friday, 9am – 3pm at Westside Holistic services 4909 W Division Chicago, IL 60651. Participants must have a high school diploma/GED, reading at an eighth grade level, be unemployed/ender-employed/low income- with documented eligibility and 18+ years of age. Must submit to a drug screen and background check. Prospective participants with a criminal background must obtain a healthcare waiver from IL Department of Health prior to participation in the program. Call (773) 287-1712 to schedule an intake. Please bring the following to intake: social security card, birth certificate, current state issued ID, high school diploma/GED and proof of income. The next session starts April 8th, 2013.

CD One Price Cleaners has the following openings: Counter/Customer Service. Apply Monday – Friday, 11am – 3:30pm at 2955 N Ashland Ave Chicago, IL 60657

Lacosta Services has the following openings in Bellwood: Light Maintenance. This Position is from Friday to Monday 6AM TO 4:30PM Candidate must have Maintenance exp, Fork lift exp. pay rate is 10.00hr. If interested please apply at www.lacostaservices.com

Claretian Associates, Inc. is looking to fill an Accounts Payable Clerk position. The Accounts Payable Clerk is responsible for the daily accounting of vendor transactions and payments. Essential duties include review and processing of vendor invoices; check request processing; resolution of vending issues; maintenance of vendor, employee and independent contractor accounts; payroll processing and end of year filing for W2s and 1099s. Several years of similar experience or an Associate Degree required. To apply email your resume and cover letter with “Accounts Payable Clerk” in the subject area to micheller@claretianassociates.org

Caffe Baci has the following openings: Cashier, Counter Help and Delivery Driver. Monday – Friday, 9am – 11am and 2pm – 4pm at 2 N LaSalle St Chicago, IL

The Residence Inn By Marriott Chicago/O'Hare, a leader in the hospitality industry, is searching for energetic Housekeepers preferably with limited-service or extended-stay hotel experience to join our Housekeeping team. You will be responsible for changing linens and cleaning/vacuuming rooms on a daily basis and providing overall superior guest service. Previous housekeeping preferred. Must have a flexible schedule to include weekends and holidays. Apply in person at 7101 Chestnut Street Rosemont, IL60018
Chick-fil-A has the following openings in the Water Tower: Cashier, Customer Service and Kitchen Staff. Email your resume and cover letter indicating the position of interest in the subject area to cfawatertower@gmail.com

Gino’s East of Chicago has he following openings: Host Staff, Wait Staff and Cleaning Staff. Apply in person with a resume at 162 E Superior St Chicago, IL. No phone calls and do not ask to speak to a Manager.

Community Counseling Centers of Chicago has the following openings: Administrative Assistant, Case Manager, Evaluator, Integrated Care Specialist, Community Support Worker and Supported Employment Specialist. To see full job descriptions and to apply, go to www.c4chicago.org

Thresholds has the following openings: Community Support Specialist 2 & 3, Desk Clerk, Team Leader, Administrative Assistant, Shift Staff, Executive Assistant and Employment Specialist. To see full job descriptions and to apply, go to www.thresholds.org

Paramount Staffing is looking to fill several clerical and light industrial positions. Apply in person with an updated resume, ID and social security card prepared to complete an application Monday – Thursday, 9am – 3pm at 1441 Lee St Des Plaines, IL (847) 390-8400

Maywood Job Fair & Career Expo. Wednesday, March 13th. 10am – 1pm at 200 S 5th Ave Maywood, IL 60153. For more information call 708-450-4492 or 708-848-1700. Positions available include: Security Officer, Account Manager, Insurance Sales, Collections, Call Center, Customer Service, Legal Secretary, Accounts Payable/Receivable, Light Industrial, Bank Teller, Machinist, Personal Banker, Corrections Officer. Academic Advisor, Education admissions, Financial Services Rep, Merchandising specialist, Warehouse, Retail, Dietary Aide, Laundry Aide and much more.

Plato's Closet in Harwood Heights and Skokie are hiring Sales Associates! Both day and night shifts are available, weekend availability is required. Sales associate responsibilities include: buying, selling, customer service & merchandising. Apply in person at (1) 4614 N. Harlem Harwood Heights, IL 60706 and/or (2) 9330 Skokie Blvd Skokie, IL 60077

Accurate Personnel has several manufacturing, light industrial, mailroom and clerical openings. Full-time and Part-time positions available. Apply in person with 2 forms of ID prepared to complete an application and interview Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm @ 35 S Prospect Ave #2 Park Ridge, IL 60068 (847) 692-6740

Insomnia Cookies Open Call. Wednesday, March 13th. 5pm – 8pm @ 2260 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL. Open positions: Supervisor, Front Counter/Baker and Delivery Driver

Pancake House Open House. Friday, March 15th. 10am – 2pm at 17601 South Torrence Avenue Lansing, IL. Open positions: Server, Host, Busser, Dishwasher and Cook. Bring an updated resume and 2 forms of ID.

Keefe Group, a leader in the prison supply industry, has an excellent opportunity for Part-time Commissary Representatives servicing the Cook County Jail in Chicago, IL. The Commissary Representatives will be responsible for hand-delivery of store purchases to inmates. These positions are located inside a correctional facility and will have contact with inmates. To apply: Please apply online at: http://employment.centricgroup.com or www.centricgroup.com

Raffaello Hotel provides four-star downtown Chicago hotel accommodations - minutes from the Magnificent Mile, Lake Michigan and upscale boutiques. Open positions: Front Desk Agent, PBX Operator, Reservations Agent, Room Attendant and Houseman. Apply Tuesday – Thursday, 10am – 2pm at 201 E Delaware Pl Chicago, IL

ZARA has the following openings: Cashier, Sales Associate and Stock Associate. Apply in person with an updated resume at 700 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611

The Gap “Sales Associate” Job Fair. Monday, March 11th. 5pm – 7pm at 35 N State Chicago, IL.


StarrHost Tech Tip: Using a Mac and want it to run faster? Try cleaning up files on your primary hard drive. The hard drive that Mac OS X will use to start up from will also be used heavily for Virtual Memory.

If you store your data on a different drive, your Mac will have room to stretch its legs, thereby having more resources available to do what you ask of it.


The first budget from Senate Dems in 4 years includes $1 trillion in NEW taxes. Is this what our economy needs?


We're prepping for the 2nd round announce!

Who would you want to see added to the lineup??


KEELING CURVE.
Abstract
Keeling curve is the measurement of the atmosphere is compounded with carbon dioxide for so many years. It was recorded by Charles D Keeling of Scripps institution of Oceanography, during their 50th anniversary at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere was through human activities such as bush burning, fossil fuel, using of heavy machine, agriculture activities etc .All these factors are due to human population. Human need to clean the foot prints they have made the environment so that future generation will also enjoy the carbon free atmosphere.


Introduction
Keeling curve was derived by Charles D. Keeling. He made research about the rate at which the atmospheric carbon dioxide is raised at rapid rate. Charles stated “Keeling curve is the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide by very precise measurements” producing a data set now known widely as the "Keeling Curve." Is a curve that depicts the concentration of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over a period of time causing global warming worldwide .

Global warming is the rise in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century and its projected continuation. Since the early 20th century, Earth's mean surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), with about two-thirds of the increase occurring since 1980. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and scientists are more than 90% certain that it is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all major industrialized nations.

According to the study published in 2007 by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, by 2100 the average temperature will be 1 to 6 degrees C higher than today. In the coming decades we are likely to see more and more droughts, with its impact on agriculture and livestock, the difficulty of finding drinking water, food shortages and even famine. Rainforests would give way to arid landscapes, with the inevitable extinction of entire species. The ice masses would melt with the consequent increase in sea levels by up to half a meter, enough to flood many of the world's inhabited areas. Tropical pests, such as the dengue mosquito, would thrive in the new climate. All this would have economic consequences, thereby increasing social tensions and possibly even armed conflict.



Since the Industrial Revolution began in the eighteenth century, we would have been altering our thin atmosphere to the point that we may be increasing its temperature. The solution to this problem would have a high economic cost. But due to some uncertainties, there is still no consensus on how to act.

An analysis of the scientific reality of this is difficult, because unfortunately the issue of global warming has been politicized. But lets suppose that the hypothesis at vogue ends twisting the wills.

In addressing this issue, we first need to clarify that greenhouse effect and global warming are two different things. Heat comes from the Sun mostly in the form of visible light, and leaves in the form of infrared light from the heated surface. There is a balance between what comes in and what goes out, and the temperature is kept constant. Estimates say that, because of the distance, the light from the Sun is insufficient to warm the Earth to more than 20° C below zero as average global temperature. However, because of our atmosphere the temperature is actually 14° C positive on average. There is a warmth that "wanders" before leaving, due to certain gases in the air, like carbon dioxide. This is called the greenhouse effect, and prevents our planet from freezing.

If we change the concentration of any of these gases we change this equilibrium temperature, and if the balance point moves up we are talking about a global warming.

Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years. Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include coal, petroleum, and natural gas. They range from volatile materials with low carbon:hydrogen ratios like methane, to liquid petroleum to nonvolatile materials composed of almost pure carbon, like anthracite coal. Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields, alone, associated with oil, or in the form of methane clathrates. Fossil fuels formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over millions of years. This biogenic theory was first introduced by Georg Agricola in 1556 and later by Mikhail Lomonosov in the 18th century.
It was estimated by the Energy Information Administration that in 2007 primary sources of energy consisted of petroleum 36.0%, coal 27.4%, natural gas 23.0%, amounting to an 86.4% share for fossil fuels in primary energy consumption in the world. Non-fossil sources in 2006 included hydroelectric 6.3%, nuclear 8.5%, and others (geothermal, solar, tidal, wind, wood, waste) amounting to 0.9%. World energy consumption was growing about 2.3% per year.
Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form, and reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being made. The production and use of fossil fuels raise environmental concerns. A global movement toward the generation of renewable energy is therefore under way to help meet increased energy needs.
The burning of fossil fuels produces around 21.3 billion tonnes (21.3 gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, but it is estimated that natural processes can only absorb about half of that amount, so there is a net increase of 10.65 billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year (one tonne of atmospheric carbon is equivalent to 44/12 or 3.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide). Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that enhances radiative forcing and contributes to global warming, causing the average surface temperature of the Earth to rise in response, which the vast majority of climate scientists agree will cause major adverse effects.

The utilization of fossil fuels has enabled large-scale industrial development and largely supplanted water-driven mills, as well as the combustion of wood or peat for heat.
Fossil fuel is a general term for buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials, formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the earth's crust over hundreds of millions of years.
The burning of fossil fuels by humans is the largest source of emissions of carbon dioxide, which is one of the greenhouse gases that allows radiative forcing and contributes to global warming.
A small portion of hydrocarbon-based fuels are biofuels derived from atmospheric carbon dioxide, and thus do not increase the net amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In chemistry, a hydrocarbon is any chemical compound that consists only of the elements carbon (C) and hydrogen (H). They all contain a carbon

Combustion or burning is a complex sequence of chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat or both heat

A power station or power plant is a facility for the generation of electric power. At the centre of nearly all power stations is a generator.

Coal is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground by underground mining or open-pit mining (strip mining). It is a readily combustible black.

Deforestation is the permanent destruction of indigenous forests and woodlands. The term does not include the removal of industrial forests such as plantations of gums or pines. Deforestation has resulted in the reduction of indigenous forests to four-fifths of their pre-agricultural area. Indigenous forests now cover 21% of the earth's land surface. Deforestation is brought about by the following:
* conversion of forests and woodlands to agricultural land to feed growing numbers of people;
* development of cash crops and cattle ranching, both of which earn money for tropical countries;
* commercial logging (which supplies the world market with woods such as meranti, teak, mahogany and ebony) destroys trees as well as opening up forests for agriculture;
* felling of trees for firewood and building material; the heavy lopping of foliage for fodder; and heavy browsing of saplings by domestic animals like goats.
To compound the problem, the poor soils of the humid tropics do not support agriculture for long. Thus people are often forced to move on and clear more forests in order to maintain production.

AIR POLLUTION WORLDWIDE

No region or country in the world therefore escapes from these problems which would put the planet in jeopardy. For example, data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) show that the Interior Atlantic Forest of the Upper Paraná River is being turned into smoke so fast that in five years could disappear completely, mainly to make room for farming. It is an economic problem, and the solution is difficult, to the point that environmental organizations have to go buying forests.

In the case of Third World cities, watching from any traffic light is easy to be convinced that its inhabitants are breathing a huge amount of toxic smoke. The solution is that all vehicles (Diesels too) must follow a heavy, thorough maintenance, but for this we must reach into our pockets. It's much easier to blame everything on public transportation, right?

But a more complex problem is carbon dioxide, also known as carbon anhydride, carbonic gas, or CO2. This gas, transparent to our eyes and odorless, forms whenever we burn anything containing carbon (such as gasoline, Diesel oil, alcohol, cooking gas, wood, etc.) with oxygen from the air. It is non-toxic, but in recent centuries we have released it in such quantity that we may be altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Data published by James Hansen in 2005 show that since the 60s the overall concentration has increased by 20% and it continues to rise. And coincidentally, something that is also raising is the temperature of the Earth. Are we disturbing the natural balance of the greenhouse effect?


It is believed that the increase of carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be prevented by stopping burning carbon-containing fuels. Some propose going back to the seventeenth century, but probably neither you nor I want that.

But we can write laws mandating the use of fuels that absorb carbon in their production, such as alcohol or biodiesel, or encourage the use of hydropower, wind power, solar, or who knows, clean nuclear reactors: those of fusion. Maybe all of the above combined.

But it is not easy to choose these alternatives. Fusion reactors are experimental and none have worked but for only brief moments. Large rivers are few and dam reservoirs destroy forests. Wind energy is still more expensive than that obtained by burning oil, and the same is true for solar energy, and alcohol and biodiesel compete with food agriculture and they depend on the success of each harvest. Alternative sources of energy will cost us money. And not just to a few big capitalists: simply to all of us who like heavy and powerful vehicles, use plastic bags, want supermarkets with fresh products brought from far away and buy products manufactured in countries that have almost no hydroelectricity.



Carbon dioxide variations over the last 400,000 years, showing a rise since the industrial revolution.
According to U.S. Scientist Jerry Mahlman and USA Today: Mahlman, who crafted the IPCC language used to define levels of scientific certainty, says the new report will lay the blame at the feet of fossil fuels with "virtual certainty," meaning 99% sure. That's a significant jump from "likely," or 66% sure, in the group's last report in 2001, Mahlman says. His role in this year's effort involved spending two months reviewing the more than 1,600 pages of research that went into the new assessment.
Combustion of fossil fuels generates sulfuric, carbonic, and nitric acids, which fall to Earth as acid rain, impacting both natural areas and the built environment. Monuments and sculptures made from marble and limestone are particularly vulnerable, as the acids dissolve calcium carbonate.
Fossil fuels also contain radioactive materials, mainly uranium and thorium, which are released into the atmosphere. In 2000, about 12,000 tonnes of thorium and 5,000 tonnes of uranium were released worldwide from burning coal. It is estimated that during 1982, US coal burning released 155 times as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as the Three Mile Island incident.[2]
Burning coal also generates large amounts of bottom ash and fly ash. These materials are used in a wide variety of applications, utilizing, for example, about 40% of the US production.[26]
Harvesting, processing, and distributing fossil fuels can also create environmental concerns. Coal mining methods, particularly mountaintop removal and strip mining, have negative environmental impacts, and offshore oil drilling poses a hazard to aquatic organisms. Oil refineries also have negative environmental impacts, including air and water pollution. Transportation of coal requires the use of diesel-powered locomotives, while crude oil is typically transported by tanker ships, each of which requires the combustion of additional fossil fuels.
Environmental regulation uses a variety of approaches to limit these emissions, such as command-and-control (which mandates the amount of pollution or the technology used), economic incentives, or voluntary programs.
An example of such regulation in the USA is the "EPA is implementing policies to reduce airborne mercury emissions. Under regulations issued in 2005, coal-fired power plants will need to reduce their emissions by 70 percent by 2018."
In economic terms, pollution from fossil fuels is regarded as a negative externality. Taxation is considered one way to make societal costs explicit, in order to 'internalize' the cost of pollution. This aims to make fossil fuels more expensive, thereby reducing their use and the amount of pollution associated with them, along with raising the funds necessary to counteract these factors ]
According to Rodman D. Griffin, “The burning of coal and oil have saved inestimable amounts of time and labor while substantially raising living standards around the world”. Although the use of fossil fuels may seem beneficial to our lives, this act is playing a role on global warming and it is said to be dangerous for the future.[2

Reference:
Dr.ralph D. Keeling(2012)The unfolding story of rising co2 and life in the Greenhouse,Califonia-San Diegoss


BINGO Blitzers: We're currently investigating connection-related issues that several players have experienced and reported this morning, both on our phone/tablet apps and here on Facebook. Please bear with us, and thank you for your patience!


You fucktarded libertarians need to realize the GOVERNMENT isn't the problem, it's the corporations that have HIJACKED *OUR* government and made it into an untrustworthy entity that doesn't work for The People, but for the upper crust money hoarders only.


Cyberwar in the Underworld: Anonymous versus Los Zetas in Mexico

Abstract—Little attention has been paid to non-state actors conducting cyberwars against each other and the disruptive effects these wars can have on nation-states. This article explores the online clash between the hacker group, Anonymous, and the Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas. This type of cyberwar was unique: it was an incident where two clandestine non-state groups used the digital domain to attack each other and it was largely a private affair. Yet the incident had public consequences that left the Mexican government as a bystander. Such criminal activity beyond the reach of government intervention blurs the line between public safety and national security.

In the fall of 2011, two clandestine non-state groups—a hacktivist collective and a Mexican drug cartel—stared each other down in the digital domain, with potentially fatal real world consequences for both sides. Los Zetas, a Mexican drug trafficking organization composed of former members of Mexico’s Special Forces, kidnapped a member of Anonymous, the global hacking group, in Veracruz on October 6th. In retaliation, Anonymous threatened to publicize online the personal information of Los Zetas and their associates, from taxi drivers to high-ranking politicians, unless Los Zetas freed their abductee by November 5th. The release of this information on the Internet would have exposed members of Los Zetas to not only possible arrest by Mexican authorities, but also to assassination by rival cartels. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Los Zetas then attempted to “reverse hack” Anonymous to uncover some of its members and to threaten them with death. As a consequence, a few members of Anonymous sought to call off the operation and disavowed those members who wanted to go forward. With time running out and locked in a stalemate, Los Zetas released their kidnap victim on November 4th with an online warning that they would kill ten innocent people for each name that Anonymous might subsequently publicize. Anonymous called off its operation; each side appeared to step back from the brink.

This was a cyberwar of a different kind. Most of the theorizing about cyberwar has centered on cyber attacks that cripple the digital systems critical for military, political, social, and economic operations of nation-states or the use of cyberspace to attack the infrastructure of modern society like power grids, financial systems, and emergency services. However, according to James Bosworth, an expert on organized crime and cybercrime, neither Anonymous nor Los Zetas:

“. . . control big servers containing significant data that can be hacked. They don’t have critical infrastructure such as electrical grids or heavy machinery that could be vulnerable in a cyber attack . . .. While there are certainly targets (emails, police records, financial data, propaganda), it’s not the same as attacking a government or a corporation.” 1

Another portion of cyberwar theory discusses the conduct of virtual operations “to promote dissident or opposition movements across computer networks.” 2 Within this portion of the theory, labeled “social netwar,” political and social activism is enhanced by cyber-enabled social networking tools and sites.3 Here, the various dissident movements in some countries, such as those of the Arab Spring, are better able to link with each other via social media like Twitter and Facebook for greater effect. Once again, social netwar does not capture the dimensions of what occurred between Anonymous and Los Zetas because neither was a national dissident movement that sought to change the composition or structure of a particular government through the use of the digital domain. Not only did the cyberwar between Anonymous and Los Zetas expose gaps in cyberwar theory, but it also demonstrated how substantively unique this type of cyber war was. First, it was an incident where two clandestine non-state groups used the digital domain to attack each other. Clandestine non-state groups and individuals have attacked governments, private businesses, and individuals using cyberspace for a variety of political and non-political reasons. Activist groups and organized criminal groups have not, however, attacked each other through cyberspace in the way that unfolded in Mexico. Second, this incident occurred without the involvement or intervention of any government. In fact, even though each side was clearly engaged in illegal behavior—kidnapping, extortion, hacking—no government was able to intervene to end the standoff, leaving the parties involved to settle the dispute themselves. It was almost entirely a private affair, but with public consequences that left the Mexican government as a bystander caught in the crossfire. Mexican institutions, like the police and the military, could neither stop Los Zetas from acting to track down members of Anonymous nor prevent Anonymous from releasing the names of Los Zetas and their accomplices. In addition, the Mexican government would be responsible for dealing with the subsequent violence. Third, such criminal activity beyond the reach of law enforcement and government intervention blurs the line between public safety and national security. Indeed, this cyberwar could have had catastrophic consequences in Mexico and the United States. Had Anonymous released information on Los Zetas, parts of Mexico would have devolved into more lawlessness as cartel violence would escalate and as Los Zetas sought to exact revenge on members of Anonymous. With Anonymous and Los Zetas (and other Mexican cartels) both active in the United States, an escalation in violence may have spilled over the border, especially if Los Zetas carried through on their threat to kill ten people for each released name.

Taken together, the unique features of this confrontation reveal the contours of an overlooked aspect of cyberwar, namely a conflict between two shadowy, non-state groups with differing motives and agendas that have the capacity to go online and create significant instability and disorder in the society of a nation. This episode demonstrates the limits of government in not just “securing cyberspace,” but also in securing citizens from effects of conflicts that spill out from cyberspace. Although there were unique features to this confrontation, had each side not relented, the cost to Mexico in terms of lives lost would likely have been high, while the potential cascading effects on civil society would have been significant and damaging. The episode was brief, but exploring the composition and motivation of Anonymous and Los Zetas and how they came to clash with each other provides invaluable lessons for developing a richer understanding of the concept of cyberwar.

Understanding the Belligerents

Both Anonymous and Los Zetas prefer to operate with a high degree of anonymity and autonomy making cyberspace a useful domain for the continued success of each group. Cyberspace offers both groups the abil- ity to conduct their operations with little detection of their members and with little outside interference by governments or any other outside group. In addition, both use cyberspace to communicate with their respec- tive members and constituents and to coerce people and institutions to do their will.

The confrontation between Anonymous and Los Zetas was largely the product of the different lenses of organizational logic through which each group views cyberspace. Although the two groups use cyberspace for similar purposes, their respective understanding and value of this domain stand in opposition to one another. The members of Anonymous see cyberspace as a type of commons that should be accessible to all. The freedom of the digital domain is thus central to the ethos of the collective. Los Zetas, on the other hand, do not view cyberspace through an ideological lens but through an operational lens. As a drug trafficking organization, Los Zetas sees cyberspace as a tool to further their core profit-making criminal activities and as a means to shield its membership and its operations from detection, interdiction, and elimination. They also view it as a way to expand their criminal schemes by using cyberspace to launder money, commit identity fraud, and engage in extortion and blackmail. Thus, it is the information in cyberspace and the access it provides for their operations, rather than cyberspace itself, that is most relevant to Los Zetas. The cartel’s desire to suppress and control this information clashes directly with the cyber-culture ethos of Anonymous that seeks to push organizations toward full online transparency.4 With both groups having an active presence in cyberspace, but given their different and competing visions of access and use of the cyber domain, Anonymous and Los Zetas were bound to clash.

Anonymous

Anonymous is believed to have originated in 2003; its group cohesion is largely based on the hacktivist creed that the internet should be accessible to all, without external control by governments or businesses, and that the concentration of information in the hands of a few is dangerous and contrary to the nature of the internet. Anonymous generally adheres to the “hacker ethos” that 1) all information should be free; 2) people should distrust the centralization of information; 3) and therefore people should promote its decentralization.5 Rather than selecting their actions along a political spectrum of left versus right, Anonymous adheres to the hacktivist tradition of viewing disputes as being “individual versus institution.” 6 The members of the collective see Anonymous as a type of immune system for the Internet, striking enemies of online freedom.7

Anonymous’ operations reflect its ethos. Although there were smaller operations near the year of the group’s creation, Anonymous gained notoriety for its 2008 operations against the Church of Scientology. In that year, the Church pressured YouTube to remove a leaked video of church member and actor Tom Cruise. Such pressure exerted by the Church of Scientology ran counter to the Anonymous ethos of transparency. In response, Anonymous launched an operation that combined distributed denial of service (DDOS), attacks to bring down the Church’s website with pranks such as phone calls with repetitive music, constant faxing of black paper to drain printer cartridges and ordering unwanted pizza deliveries and taxi service.8 Operations against other targets have included the release of personal and financial information of individuals associated with financial institutions as well as governments, political movements, and corporations that are engaged in activities and practices that Anonymous deems as antithetical to its mission. The group has found common cause with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Occupy movements, and accused leaker Bradley Manning; several of Anonymous’ operations have been aimed at agencies and institutions such as PayPal, Mastercard, and Visa, which refused to process payments for websites that were raising funds for the legal defense of Assange, Manning, and those associated with Occupy Movements.

Recently, some members have sought to reorient the group’s ethos toward “morals- motivated” attacks against groups, organizations, and institutions that not only suppress freedom online, but that also suppress freedom offline by abusing individual liberties and committing crimes. This became apparent with Operation Tunisia when members of Anonymous attacked the government of Tunisia’s websites and aided Tunisian hackers during the government’s crackdown against the popular uprisings of the 2011 Arab Spring.

These morals-motivated attacks, or “cyber-vigilantism,” were an essential part of the group’s efforts in Mexico. In August 2011, Anonymous launched Operation Paperstorm in the Mexican state of Veracruz where portions of the collective felt that local government authorities were actively cooperating and shielding Los Zetas while prosecuting those who posted kidnapping reports on Twitter. Initially, the operation began as a leaflet campaign, denouncing the state government for its collusion with Los Zetas while the state of Veracruz proceeded to prosecute those who were freely sharing information online about the cartel’s crimes. Following Los Zetas’ murder of an Internet blogger in another Mexican state, Anonymous launched a DDOS attack against the websites of the state government of Veracruz as a form of protest. In choosing to go after Los Zetas, an informal spokesperson for Anonymous, Barrett Brown, provided an interview that not only summed up the group’s reasons but also provided a glimpse into its ethos:

“The idea that one should not even criticize or bring attention to oneself in the face of some organization is poison to me; I don’t think it’s the right kind of thinking in general. [People] should give some thought to whether or not what we are doing is more or less responsible, more or less necessary than those things done by any number of governments, any number of private groups around the world every day.” 9

The structure of the collective is also a reflection of its ethos. As a loosely affiliated group of online social activ- ists, Anonymous takes pride in being unstructured with- out a hierarchy or central authority. A former member described how it was organized: “Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they’re a group? Because they’re traveling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely.” 10 Thus, one member or a small group of members can decide to engage in an online action that is derived from the Anony- mous ethos; others in the collective are then free to join the action or not.

The group’s loose structure complicates many of its opera- tions, as was evident during its attack on Los Zetas. The collective is susceptible to being hijacked by anyone who has a particular grievance against another group. There are “wannabes” and copycats who seek to build their reputation, credibility, and legitimacy by adopting the name of Anonymous for their actions. Indeed, a substantial portion of the group has disavowed some operations that have been claimed by Anonymous. As a collective, Anonymous is also vulnerable to internal splits and schisms that can break out into the public and hamper the collective’s goals. Such division within the ranks of the collective mired the proposed action against Los Zetas, with many members arguing that it was far too dangerous and not worth the potential cost in lives. Others became more determined and adamant that the campaign must continue in spite of Los Zetas threats.11 This loose structure with an ethos that included the free flow of digital information and imbued with a desire to stop abuses of human rights led Anonymous to target Los Zetas. However, this same structure was rife with schisms and competing interests, leaving Anonymous vulnerable to Los Zetas’ ethos and its form of cyber counter-attack.

Los Zetas

Los Zetas were originally recruited by the Gulf cartel in 1999 from the Grupo Aeromovil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE) of the elite Mexican counterinsurgency forces. Los Zetas were used by the Gulf cartel to “collect debts, secure new drug trafficking routes at the expense of other cartels, discourage defections from other parts of the cartel organization, and track down particularly ‘worrisome’ rival cartel and gang leaders across Mexico and Central America.”12 They very rapidly became one of the “most technologically advanced, sophisticated, and violent of the paramilitary enforcement groups.” 13 After their split from the Gulf cartel in 2010, Los Zetas continued to structure themselves like a military force, by dividing themselves into operational divisions in a number of Mexican states, cities, and towns. It was the Veracruz operational division that kidnapped a member of Anonymous, sparking the cyberwar.

Los Zetas combine their military prowess with operations aimed at the government and society, making them unlike other cartels. With their Special Forces background, they have a reflexive need to control information about themselves and their criminal activities. For the group, operating clandestinely is in its organizational DNA. This need to operate covertly, combined with the cartel’s special operations background, has meant that it is particularly skilled at using information warfare; the result has been attacks against the media to reduce the coverage of the group to prevent a public outcry against many of its violent attacks.14

Controlling information allows the group to act more freely and with more impunity. In 2011, leading up to their clash with Anonymous, Los Zetas had expanded their war against information about them to include social media. Before the kidnapping of the Anonymous member in Veracruz, Los Zetas killed several online bloggers who reported on their acts. In Nuevo Laredo, a man who helped moderate a website that posted news of shootouts and other cartel activities was murdered and left mutilated at an intersection. A message was left on his corpse saying, “this happened to me for not understanding that I shouldn’t report on the social networks.” 15 A female blogger known as Laredo Girl was decapitated in late September of 2011, and the brutalized bodies of a man and woman were hung from an overpass earlier that month with a sign saying they had been killed for their online activity.

Los Zetas were able to track down these activists because, during this same period, they were working to increase their proficiency in using the cyber domain. Los Zetas and other Mexican trafficking groups have routinely kidnapped computer engineers and university students in the information technology sector to diversify their criminal activities to include cybercrime, like identity theft and document forgery.16 In time, these professionals and students, aided by access to sophisticated tracking technology used by the Mexican government, military, and law enforcement, allowed Los Zetas to track down the Internet users who they subsequently killed. These techniques also played a crucial role in the cyberwar against Anonymous.

Due to their professional military expertise, Los Zetas maintain an ethos that takes slights against their honor very seriously. They have a “criminal brand” that is used as a way “to exert control over their opponents by sparking fear in them.” 17 Their acts are designed to convince people in an area that local politicians, local police, federal authorities, and other cartels are weak and that the real power lies in the hands of Los Zetas.18 The threat by Anonymous to release the names of Los Zetas members was an affront to the group that exposed their inability to control all information about them and, in their eyes, weakened their criminal brand. Los Zetas’ attempts to reverse hack Anonymous and their threat to kill ten people for each name released by the collective were designed to counter these affronts.

Moreover, Los Zetas’ need for secrecy and their fear of exposure represented a key vulnerability for the cartel. Like other organized crime groups, Los Zetas relies on a network of corruption to circumvent the state. Police officers, soldiers, judges, and politicians have been bribed and coerced to act on behalf of the interests of Los Zetas. This collusion exposed Los Zetas to a hacking group like Anonymous. One member of Anonymous claimed that the group had garnered their information on Los Zetas by hacking nearly 200,000 emails from Mexican police agencies and analyzing their contents over a six-month period prior to the group’s run-in with the cartel.19

The Revelations and Mysteries in the Aftermath

This clash reveals that non-state groups have vulnerabilities that can be exploited via cyberspace and that a conflict in this domain has unique aspects that have been overlooked in the ongoing debate over cyberwar. Organized criminal groups, like Los Zetas, have a critical infrastructure that is susceptible to a form of cyber attack. Unlike the servers, equipment, and machinery of a government or private company, the critical infrastructure of a drug trafficking organization consists of a network of smugglers, enforcers, messengers, look-outs, and corrupt officials; their anonymity is essential to the group’s survival. Anonymous placed this network in jeopardy by threatening to publicly release information and expose those individuals who form this critical infrastructure. The gravity of the threat ensured that Los Zetas could not merely ignore Anonymous. With the ultimate release of the Anonymous hostage, it also demonstrates that this form of coercion can be successful.

Anonymous also has its share of weaknesses that Los Zetas were able to exploit in a limited degree. It has been assumed that Anonymous’ geographically dispersed mem- bership and nebulous structure have been strategic advantages for the collective. But operationally, these characteristics have proven to be troublesome. Due to Anonymous’ loose structure, any operation can move forward or be cancelled in a capricious man- ner. Furthermore, as a collective, members can do more than just dissent against a planned operation and opt out; they can actively work against the operation by launch- ing counterattacks against factions with whom they disagree. They can also prevent members from accessing online fora, where many members find each other. Internal schisms and “civil wars” have occurred among Anonymous members who wanted to undertake operations in accordance with the hacker ethos, others who wanted to take on morals-motivated attacks, and yet others who were purely interested in hacking for “spite and fun.” 20 By attempting to reverse hack Anonymous and by threatening to kill ten innocent people in the event of any subsequent release of information about the cartel, Los Zetas took advantage of these divisions by significantly raising the stakes. It quickly became the first Anonymous operation where there was the potential for significant loss of life. As previously discussed, several Anonymous members had seri- ous misgivings about moving forward with the threat against Los Zetas because of the danger while others wanted to move forward.

Because of Anonymous’ collective structure, much of its decision-making and control of information is murky and contradictory. The reasons it did not renege on its agreement are subject to speculation. After all, the collective was not bound by any agreement to retreat from its threat and the killings of random people at the hands of Los Zetas would not have affected the collective in a meaningful manner. Perhaps only a small cadre of Anonymous members had access to the information on Los Zetas which was not available to the rest of the collective and to which the rest of the collective was, ironically, denied access. Therefore, in fact, rather than in spirit, Anonymous does have a type of hierarchy when it comes to the possession of critical information and to making decisions about how to use it. Perhaps it was this cadre within Anonymous that felt threatened by Los Zetas attempts to reverse hack them, find them, and exact revenge or whose consciences would have been deeply affected by the deaths of innocent people had the collective put Los Zetas to the test.

This leads to a number of unanswered questions that need further exploration in order to understand the full dimensions of this sort of cyberwar. For example, is there a type of mutually assured destruction (MAD) in cyberspace for these groups? An escalation beyond threats may have led to significant harm to each group, which each side was not willing to accept. If there is a notion of MAD for these groups, is each side now deterred from attacking each other in the future? The nature of the collective means that a small group within Anonymous or an offshoot or a collection of “wannabes” can decide to begin another operation against Los Zetas, or any criminal group, without direction or permission. On the other hand, Los Zetas is increasing its proficiency in using cyberspace and may be able to uncover the identities of Anonymous members and others who decide to target them through the cyber domain in the future. Finally, it is not clear that any government can prevent, intervene, or respond in another similar clash. At best, the state may be able to find the perpetrators and arrest them before an escalation in a cyberwar. But a government’s attempt to track anonymous online users takes time, as do efforts to locate and detain them; any cyberwar among these groups may already escalate in the interim. The cyberwar between Anonymous and Los Zetas shows that there are a number of unconventional and multifaceted ways that non-state groups can use the digital domain to engage in conflict. Rather than using cyberspace to destroy, Anonymous and Los Zetas used it to coerce one another by threatening to damage the underlying anonymity that the Internet provides to each group. As Los Zetas and Anonymous indicate, cyberwar among non-state groups has the potential to rapidly cross the line, leading to more internal violence and greater erosion of the state’s authority and legitimacy.

The clash between Anonymous and Los Zetas demonstrates that cyberspace is the ultimate ungoverned territory. Government jurisdictions are weak while criminal groups have near free reign when it comes to the use and abuse of the online world. In countries like Mexico with its weak institutions, sophisticated organized criminal groups, and high levels of internal violence, the line between public safety and national security is already a fine one.

To combat these threats, more attention should be devoted to analyzing how these groups may evolve in their understanding of the coercive use of cyberspace to further their interests. For example, such groups may move to coerce individual members of the state like decision makers, politicians, military members, and law enforcement personnel by threatening to “dox” them by releasing their personal information online or electronically drain their financial holdings. This sort of “Wikiwar” of intimidation, in certain situations, could significantly impair a government’s capability to act.

Additionally, Anonymous’ operation against Los Zetas also shows the potential for the “crowd-sourcing of conflict” in the digital domain. The next outbreak of a cyberwar may begin with an online announcement of the targeting of another non-state group, the reasons it should be attacked, and a call for anyone to feed information about the group’s membership and activities to the collective. Anonymous may then choose to use the information in a coercive manner that is consistent with its ethos. Or, it may merely organize an online poll so that individuals can vote for who should be targeted by the group. This is a unique feature of Anonymous as a non-state group. “Anonymous is a classic ‘do-ocracy’ . . .. As the term implies, that means rule by sheer doing: Individuals propose actions, others join in (or not), and the Anonymous flag is flown over the result. There’s no one to grant permission, no promise of praise or credit, so every action must be its own reward.” 21

Intervention, Engagement and Response

An important first step in developing successful policies and strategies to counter new outbreaks of cyberwar in the underworld is for national decision makers to recognize that current conceptions of cyber security are incomplete. Building better firewalls, increasing resiliency, and maintaining redundancy of systems in the cyber domain have little application to illegal non-state groups who are more than agile in their capacity to circumvent such efforts and to gain information from a number of different sources. Additionally, there is little that can prevent the posting of personal information on the web to coerce another party; groups like Anonymous and Los Zetas do not have to abide by existing criminal laws or conventions. Therefore, policies aimed at suppression or prevention of the actions by these groups will be of limited utility. Nonetheless, the best tools for policy makers to tackle cyber- warfare in the underworld lie in the realm of law enforcement supported by robust intelligence capabilities. Policy makers should focus on approaches that stress intervention, engagement, and response. Rather than being sidelined by an outbreak of cyberwar in the underworld, governments should design structures that can more actively intervene and engage in the cyber domain to follow activities that might lead to its outbreak. Beyond merely having law enforcement agencies keeping up-to-date on the latest cyber-vigilante threats or acts as they pop-up on the web, special divisions and task forces should be created within government agencies. These entities should monitor and track cyber-vigilantism and morals-motivated operations, which could lead to widespread violence and disorder (much like those that follow terrorist groups’ and organized crime’s activities on the web). Task forces that are dedicated solely to investigating hacking must expand their scope to incorporate analysis units to assess how hacking activities may lead to operations with the potential to create significant social disorder.

Intelligence agencies have a role to play in intervention. They can work to infiltrate groups like Anonymous to gain insight into potential cyber coercion and to counter such operations. Covert cyber actions, operating within the parameters of the law, may be also viable in forestalling or misdirecting potential attacks. This was done previously in the case of the early founders of Anonymous. The FBI was able to track down, arrest, and turn one member of the group into an informant who worked with agents to thwart other operations. Such strategies can be used more extensively by a variety of government agencies, from federal to state to local.

A corollary to a policy of intervention besides covert intelligence operations is to find ways for law enforcement and intelligent agencies to engage those portions of clandestine cyber groups who are involved in morals-motivated and cyber-vigilante operations that dovetail with national policy. For example, Los Zetas is a known violent drug trafficking organization with a members that are wanted by U.S. and Mexican authorities; the DEA, FBI, and Mexican Federal Police should have sought avenues to reach out and work with Anonymous to gain the release of their captive member and to receive information on the cartel’s membership. Given the hacktivist collective’s misgivings about government power, this may appear far-fetched. However, the fragmented nature of the collective may enable law enforcement and intelligence to find inroads with some individual members who want to resolve a particular dispute without violence. In the future, with promises not to track down or reveal the identities of the members of the collective who are cooperating, law enforcement can cut deals to solve the dispute before it escalates. Essentially, such efforts mimic law enforcement efforts to persuade real world vigilantes to “let the police handle it.”

The United States and Mexico should also work to foster international multilateral cooperation to respond to future outbreaks of cyberwar from illegal non-state groups. There is already a degree of international cooperation in the area of combating cybercrime and many joint efforts in the realm of counternarcotics and counterterrorism. These multilateral relationships should be expanded and strengthened to include responding to cyberwarfare in the underworld. Policy makers should begin to craft cross-national agreements that include options to respond to cyber threats, particularly in the event that a cyberwar in the underworld begins to escalate. A fundamental aspect of this effort should be the development of a series of early warning signals—such as chat room conversations that discuss doing more than DDOS and defacement attacks—that task forces in various countries could use to recognize escalatory actions. Designing a type of cyber rapid response team nested within these task forces would be beneficial. Such a team would be composed of members who continue to track and monitor the cyber activities of belligerent groups, try to intervene in the cyber domain, act in the real world to mitigate outbreaks of violence, and keep decision makers up-to-date with the unfolding events related to escalation.

These policy approaches are by no means exhaustive, but they represent a limited template to begin the discussion of designing appropriate government policies to deal with an overlooked aspect of cyberwar. As seen in the case of Anonymous versus Los Zetas, the use of the digital domain by non-state groups for unanticipated forms of cyberwar is only limited by the human imagination. The next outbreak of cyberwar in the underworld may create significant disorder and instability, meaning that national security professionals must be equally creative in determining policies and strategies that can lessen these risks.


They wrongly point accusing fingers at me
Full text of Buhari’s speech at the Africa Diaspora Conference in London
by Muhammadu Buhari

Protocols
1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expectations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems.
2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country, Nigeria.
By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today.
Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility.
DEMOCRACY
3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary.
4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities.
5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely.
As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”.
6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy.
7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist.
8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay.
9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government.
10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% – 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures.
11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003.
12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections.
13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay.
14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections.
15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment.
16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement.
17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop-keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper.
No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day.
CONCLUSION
18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported.
19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion.
INDUSTRIES
20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption.
Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria.
21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure.
22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South-South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria.
23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime.
24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015?
25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections.
26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only way I and many more experienced politicians than myself expect the 2015 elections to be remotely free and fair is for the opposition to be so strong that they can effectively prevent INEC from rigging. I would like, here, Mr. Chairman to repeat what I have said time and time again at home in Nigeria with regards to the election aftermath. Some commentators and public figures have wrongly pointed accusing fingers at me for inciting post-election violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a public servant all my adult life: a soldier, a federal minister, a state governor and the head of state. My duty is to Nigeria first and foremost. Post-election violence was triggered by the grossest injustice of election rigging and accompanying state high-handedness.
27. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I will attempt to address the two very important questions you put to me namely: How can the poverty level in Nigeria be reduced? And How can the masses generally benefit from the nation’s vast wealth? As remarked earlier, there is no short cut to poverty eradication than to get people to work and earn money. Poverty means lack of income. If serious efforts are made to support agriculture through states and local government apparatus in the shape of inputs, i.e fertilizers and pesticides, extension services and provision of small-scale credits, agriculture will boom within 5 – 7 years. Farmers will generate more income to enable them to grow the food the country needs and to look after our environment. In addition, the drift to urban centres will be greatly reduced. Equal attention should be paid to the revival of employment-generating activities such as Railways, Industries, notably textiles and other land and forest resource based industries to absorb urban labour to tackle poverty, reduce urban stress and crime and at the same time boost the economy. However, these two major policy initiatives can only succeed if there is substantial improvement in power generation. As remarked earlier, adequate provision of power will help small scale business to thrive and link-up with the general economy. Power is the site of the legion, in other words, it is central to all economic activity.
28. May I, Mr. Chairman, conclude this presentation by referring to the distribution of income in Nigeria today? No better illustration of the huge income disparity can be quoted than the statement of Malam Adamu Fika, Chairman of the Committee set up by Government to review the Nigerian public service. In the course of presentation of his Report, the Chairman pointed out that 18,000 public officers consume in the form of salaries, allowances and other perquisites N1.126 trillion naira (£4billion) of public funds. The total Nigerian budget for 2013 is N4.9 trillion (£20 billion). This is the worst form of corruption and oppression. A wholesale look at public expenses vis-à-vis the real need of the country has become urgent.
29. Mr. Chairman, the Honourable Members, Distinguished Guests, I thank you for your patience and attention.
General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
London – United Kingdom
Tuesday, March 5th 2013.


Scholarships.com - Find Money For College

Home
Scholarship Search
College Search
List Your Scholarship
Educators

Find College ScholarshipsTake a TourLogin
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Financial Aid > College Scholarships > Scholarships by Type > Minority Scholarships > African American Scholarships
African American Scholarships

African American scholarships are out there, as are African American college grants. A college education isn't confined to what is contained in your textbook or how much extra credit you can get for completing side projects or doing research for a professor. A postsecondary education allows students to step out of their hometown comfort zone and to develop relationships they may not have otherwise developed. You could learn a lot from someone who comes from a different culture, a different background. This experience can be as valuable as the academic knowledge and career preparation and training you had in mind when you enrolled. This is one of the reasons why colleges offer financial aid packages designed to fill campuses with students of different cultures, economic backgrounds and life experiences. Like students who belong to other minority groups, African American students can benefit from this search for diversity. Numerous scholarships for minorities exist, and many more scholarship awards are available specifically for African American students seeking a postsecondary degree.

Check out some of the awards below for information about a few of the many African American scholarships that may be found at Scholarships.com. Mind you, there are often other criteria, in addition to ethnicity, for qualifying for these and most other scholarships, which is why you should conduct a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com to get a list of scholarship opportunities tailored to your specific situation and qualifications. This will save time searching so you can spend that time applying for and, hopefully, winning scholarships!

RTNDA Ed Bradley Broadcast Journalism Scholarship
Application Deadlines: May 31, Annually
A $10,000 award established by 60 Minutes Correspondent Ed Bradley. Preference given to an undergraduate student of color. Career goal must be broadcast journalism. Applications must be postmarked on or before May deadline. For more information about this award and to download the application form, please visit our [...] More

Edward S. Roth Manufacturing Engineering Scholarship
Application Deadlines: February 01, Annually
All applicants must be seeking a bachelor's or master's degree in manufacturing engineering from an ABET-accredited school. All applicants must have/and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. Preferences will be given to students demonstrating financial need, minority students and students participating in a Co-Op program. The scholarship can be used only as a credit toward books, fees [...] More

National Association of Black Journalists Scholarship Programs
Application Deadlines: Varies
Annually, NABJ awards deserving students interested in pursuing a career in journalism awards of more than $30,000 in NABJ scholarships. Each scholarship is worth up to $5,000. Scholarships are open to any foreign or American born students, currently attending an accredited four-year college/university in the U.S. or those who are candidates for graduate school. To be considered and to receive a [...] More

Ohio Newspapers Foundation Minority Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 31, Annually
Applicant must be a collegebound high school senior and enroll as a college freshman at an Ohio college or university for the coming school year. The applicant should be planning on majoring in journalism. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required. Two letters of recommendation from high school faculty members familiar with the student's work and career interests, with special emphasis on student's [...] More

Stan Beck Fellowship
Application Deadlines: July 01, Annually
Applicants for the Stan Beck Fellowship must be graduate or undergraduate students in entomology or related disciplines at colleges or universities in the United States, Mexico, or Canada. They should also have some sort of need, either based on physical limitations or economic, minority, or environmental [...] More

Wisconsin Minority Undergraduate Retention Grants
Application Deadlines: Varies
Awards under this program are made to Wisconsin resident minority undergraduates, excluding first year students, enrolled at least half-time in independent, tribal, or Wisconsin Technical College institutions. According to the statutes, a minority student is defined as a student who is either an African American; American Indian; Hispanic; or Southeast Asian from Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam [...] More

CANFIT Program Scholarships
Application Deadlines: March 31, Annually
CANFIT Program Scholarships are open to undergraduate and graduate African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latino students who express financial need and are studying nutrition, physical education, or culinary arts in the state of [...] More

Catharine Lealtad Scholarships
Application Deadlines: Varies
Catharine Lealtad Scholarships are awarded to African American, Latino, and Native American students who have a strong high school record. The award is $3,000. Students who are National Achievement or National Hispanic Scholarship Finalists and who have a strong high school record will receive an annual award of $5,000. This scholarship is named for Dr. Catharine Lealtad '15, Macalester's [...] More

Augustana College Diversity Scholarships
Application Deadlines: Varies
Diversity Scholarships are for full-time students who are members of a minority ethnic group and bring diversity to campus. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000 per year and can be renewed each year. Verify your eligibility with the Offices of Admission or Financial Aid. For more information on Augustana scholarships and grants, please visit our [...] More

Surety Industry Scholarship Program for Minority Students
Application Deadlines: April 30, Annually
Established in 2003, the Surety Industry Scholarship Program provides awards of up to $2,500 to outstanding minority students to support their studies in the areas of insurance/risk management, accounting, or business/finance and to encourage their consideration of the surety industry and surety underwriting as a career choice. This program is administered by The Surety Foundation, the [...] More

National GEM Consortium - GEM Fellowships
Application Deadlines: November 15, Annually
GEM provides three fellowship programs: MS Engineering, Ph.D. Engineering and Ph.D. Science. These fellowship opportunities are for students pursuing a master's degree or doctorate in science, engineering or a closely related field. The deadline for applications is November 15. Applicants are required to submit transcripts and three letters of recommendation. For more information, please visit [...] More

George A. Strait Minority Scholarships
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
George A. Strait Minority Scholarships are awarded annually by the American Association of Law Libraries and an endowment from Thomson West, a provider of e-information and solutions to the U.S. legal market. Applicants must be college graduates with meaningful law library experience who are members of a minority group as defined by current U.S. government guidelines, degree candidates in an [...] More

RTNDA George Foreman Scholarship
Application Deadlines: May 31, Annually
Given to an undergraduate student of color who attends University of Texas at Austin. May be enrolled in any major so long as your career intent is electronic journalism. Preference given to an undergraduate student of color. [...] More

Lagrant Foundation Scholarship for Graduates
Application Deadlines: February 28, Annually
Graduate student applicants meeting the following criteria and completing the application on the reverse side (typed, not handwritten) will be considered for The Lagrant Foundation (TLF) scholarship: Applicant must be a U.S. citizen and a member of one of the following ethnic groups: African American, Asian Pacific American, Hispanic or Native American Applicant must be a full-time student at a [...] More

Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
If you plan to become a preschool, elementary or secondary school teacher and are of African American/Black, Hispanic American, Asian American or Native American origin, you may qualify for up to $5,000 per year as part of the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program to pay for tuition, fees and room and board, or commuter allowances, if applicable. This scholarship may be received [...] More

The Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Managment Students
Application Deadlines: May 01, Annually
In 1988, Hyatt established this fund through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF) to provide financial aid to minority students pursing a degree in hotel management. Over the years, Hyatt has continued its investment to permanently endow the fund, currently valued at more than $800,000. Since 1988, more than 200 minority students have received funding for college through [...] More

ESA Foundation Computer and Video Game Scholarship
Application Deadlines: May 15, Annually
In 2007, the ESA Foundation established a scholarship program to assist women and minority students who are pursuing degrees leading to careers in Computer & Video Game Arts. In 2009 we extended this opportunity to graduating high school seniors and doubled the amount of awards granted from 15 to 30. The scholarships are offered for full-time undergraduate study at accredited four-year colleges [...] More

KATU Thomas R. Dargan Minority Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 30, Annually
In the tradition of Thomas R. Dargan, dedicated and lifelong broadcaster, this scholarship is intended to encourage and assist minority students to complete their education in broadcasting or communications. Eligibility - Applicant must be a minority citizen of the United States. Minority is defined as Native American, Black, Hispanic or Asian. - Applicant must be enrolled in the first, [...] More

Indiana CPA Society Diversity Summit Scholarship
Application Deadlines: June 15, Annually
INCPAS is currently accepting applications for the Diversity Summit Scholarship. Completed applications are due to INCPAS no later than June 15th. Multiple scholarships of $500 will be awarded at the INCPAS Diversity Summit on Aug. 9 th at the Marriott Downtown Indianapolis. Applicants must meet ALL of the following eligibility requirements: - Must be an under-represented U.S. racial/ethnic [...] More

Smithsonian Minority Student Internship
Application Deadlines: Varies
Internships in residence at the Smithsonian are available for students to participate in research or museum-related activities for periods of 10 weeks. U.S. minority undergraduate and beginning graduate students are encouraged to apply. The appointment carries a stipend of $350 per week and travel allowances may be provided. Deadline: February 1 (For Summer) October 15 (for [...] More

Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship
Application Deadlines: Varies
Internships in residence at the Smithsonian are offered to minority junior and senior undergraduate and graduate students in Business and Public Administration. This program is designed to promote excellence and diversity in the management of not-for-profit scientific and cultural institutions. Appointments are for a period of 10 weeks and carry a stipend of $550 per week and a travel allowance [...] More

Ronald McDonald House Charities African American Future Achievers
Application Deadlines: December 20, Annually
Local Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) Chapters, with support from RMHC Global and McDonald’s Corporation (McDonald’s®), offer scholarships to students from communities who face limited access to educational and career opportunities. These scholarships are part of the charities’ ongoing commitment to education. Eligibility: - Currently enrolled high school seniors who have at least one [...] More

ASA Minority Fellowship Program
Application Deadlines: January 31, Annually
Minority Fellowship Program applicants can be new or continuing graduate students. However, the MFP is primarily designed for minority students entering a doctoral program in sociology for the first time or for those who are in the early stages of their graduate programs. MFP applicants must be applying to or enrolled in sociology departments which have strong mental health research programs [...] More

Woods Hole Undergraduate Fellowships for Minorities
Application Deadlines: February 15, Annually
Minority Fellowships are awarded to undergraduate students who have completed at least two semesters of undergraduate study at a U.S. college or university and are interested in the marine sciences, oceanographic engineering, or marine policy. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents in order to apply. Under-represented groups included for consideration in this particular program [...] More

Caterpillar Scholars Award Program
Application Deadlines: February 01, Annually
Scholarship applicants must be a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in a manufacturing engineering degree program, have completed a minimum of 30 college credit hours, and be seeking a career in manufacturing engineering. Preference will be given to students who have participated in a STEPS camp. All minority scholarship applicants may apply as incoming freshmen. Eligibility Criteria: - [...] More

AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
Science and technology increasingly shape our world. New discoveries and inventions have exciting outcomes, but can also lead to unexpected consequences. Science writers have the opportunity to explain those discoveries, and what they mean, to the public. Even though science is a global activity, the demographics of the journalists who cover it don't reflect that diversity. AAAS offers the [...] More

English-Speaking Union Luard Scholarship
Application Deadlines: November 14, Annually
Since 1969, the English-Speaking Union has provided full junior year abroad scholarships to the United Kingdom, for academically, highly talented sophomore students attending United Negro College Fund member institutions, and Howard and Hampton Universities. The Luard Scholarships are unique merit awards open to sophomore students pursuing a four-year degree in all major fields of study that [...] More

Fisher Communications Minority Scholarship
Application Deadlines: May 31, Annually
Since 1987 Fisher Communications, Inc. has sought to attract minority students into careers in broadcasting with annual scholarships. Fisher’s interest in minority broadcasting students goes back many years and has included training programs in technical areas and on-air. As a result of this nurturing environment, minority employees have made numerous contributions to the standards of excellence [...] More

Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science SOARS Program
Application Deadlines: February 01, Annually
SOARS encourages applications from individuals who are members of a group that is historically under-represented in the atmospheric and related sciences, including students who are Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino, female, first generation college students, and students with disabilities. SOARS welcomes lesbian, gay, biSalman Khanual, and transgender [...] More

ALA Spectrum Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
Spectrum provides a one-time, non-renewable $5,000 scholarship award paid in two installments directly to the recipient. Recipients must begin a program by the fall semester following the award, funds will be forfeited if enrollment is delayed. Recipients must be enrolled at the time of the second installment, or they will forfeit this portion of the award. Recipients are announced at the ALA [...] More

GRCF Hackett Family Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
Student must be a senior at or have graduated from any Grand Rapids public high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is an undergraduate attending an accredited college/university or skilled trade school of their choice. Preference is given to women of color. For more information, please visit our [...] More

The Negro Spiritual Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The "Negro Spiritual" Scholarship Foundation works with Orlando Opera to sponsor a vocal competition for sacred music performed by the solo voice in characteristic Negro spiritual style. Senior high school students of eleventh or twelfth grade level who are of Afro-ethnic descent may enter a statewide vocal competition to rehearse and perform these arranged Negro spirituals. Students who enter [...] More

ABA Diversity Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The ABA Diversity Scholarship focuses on broadening the number of traditionally under-represented groups in the management and operation ranks of the transportation, travel, and tourism industry. Eligible candidates must have completed, at a minimum, their first year of college at an accredited university; must have a declared major or course of study relevant to the transportation, travel, and [...] More

Actuarial Diversity Scholarship
Application Deadlines: May 04, Annually
The Actuarial Diversity Scholarship was formed in 1977 as a joint effort by the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries. The door to the actuarial profession has been opened to hundreds of minority students over the years. In 2008 this Scholarship program was transferred to The Actuarial Foundation to further strengthen, increase and to assure the continuation of a diverse, high [...] More

AICPA Minority Accounting Students Scholarships
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants established the AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students to provide funds for deserving students. The Center for Scholarship Administration, Inc. (CSA), a non-profit, independent organization is the administrator of the program. Applicants must be students who are underrepresented minorities in the accounting profession (e.g., [...] More

APS Scholarship for Minority Undergraduate Physics Majors
Application Deadlines: February 01, Annually
The American Physical Society Scholarship for Minority Undergraduate Students Physics Majors consists of $2,000 per year for new recipients and $3,000 per year for renewal recipients to be used for tuition, room & board and educational materials. The goal of this minority scholarship is to increase the number of under-represented minorities obtaining degrees in physics. It provides funding and [...] More

AMS Minority Scholarships
Application Deadlines: February 08, Annually
The AMS Minority Scholarships help support the college educations of minority students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, especially Hispanic, Native American and African American students who intend to pursue careers in the atmospheric or related oceanic and hydrologic sciences. The two-year scholarships, funded by industry and through donations made by members to the AMS 21st [...] More

APSA Minority Fellows Program
Application Deadlines: Varies
The APSA Minority Fellows Program, which was established in 1969 as an effort to increase the number of minority scholars in the discipline, has designated more than 300 fellows and contributed to the successful completion of doctoral political science programs for over 70 individuals. This year, the Association has refocused and increased its efforts to assist minority students in completing [...] More

Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship
Application Deadlines: May 11, Annually
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of over 8,000 attorneys, law students and legal professionals in the Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF is one of the largest and most dynamic metropolitan bar associations in the U.S., with a long and distinguished record of community action, public service and service to the legal profession. Our [...] More

ACS Scholars Program
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
The basic criteria remain the same for all components fo the American Chemical Society Scholars Program. Application to the basic American Chemical Society Scholars Program automatically places the applicant in consideration for the sponsored components. The number and duration of scholarship awards is subject to available funding and the intent of the co-sponsoring group or organization. To be [...] More

Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard School of Public Health
Application Deadlines: December 15, Annually
The Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics(CCDD)hopes to foster the development of new investigators and emerging scientists in the field of infectious disease modeling through education, mentoring, and financial support. Students studying the quantitative aspects of infectious diseases undertake projects ranging from analysis of large data sets to the development of new methods for data [...] More

Dr. Dan J. and Patricia S. Pickard Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
The Dr. Dan J. and Patricia S. Pickard Scholarship Fund was established at The Dallas Foundation in 2004 to assist African-American male students in Dallas County. Dr. Pickard was an optometrist and founder of the Pickard Eye Clinic. Called "Magnum" by his patients, he believed that if you do something nice for someone and they do something nice for someone else, you can affect the lives of many [...] More

The Three Sisters Scholarship Foundation
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Evanston Township High School "Challenge" Scholarship * $500 in the first year * $1000 in the third year * Awarded to two students per year * Open to E.T.H.S. seniors intending to enroll in a four year college or university. * Preference given to an African-American female who has demonstrated academic improvement, involvement in sports or other extra-curricular activites and a committment [...] More

Fellowship on Women and Public Policy
Application Deadlines: September 01, Annually
The fellowship program is an intensive leadership development program designed to promote equity and excellence in public service and encourage government to be more responsive to the needs of women, children, families, and communities in New York State. By offering policy-related placements in New York State agencies, the Legislature and statewide nonprofit advocacy organizations, the fellowship [...] More

Gates Millennium Scholars Program
Application Deadlines: January 16, Annually
The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS), funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education, in all discipline areas and a graduate education for those students [...] More

EPP Undergraduate Scholarship Program
Application Deadlines: February 15, Annually
The goal of the EPP Undergraduate Scholars Program is to increase the number of students who undertake course work and graduate with degrees in targeted academic fields integral to NOAA's mission. This program targets students who have completed their sophomore year, attending minority serving institutions (MSIs), and have recently declared, or about to declare a major in atmospheric, oceanic, or [...] More

Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Application Deadlines: February 01, Annually
The goal of the Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MURF) program is to increase the number of underrepresented undergraduate students who wish to, and have demonstrated the ability to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) in microbiology. Students from non-research intensive institutions will have the opportunity to conduct full time summer research with an ASM member at a [...] More

South Carolina Graduate Incentive Scholars Program
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Graduate Incentive Scholarship (GIS) Program will provide forgivable loans to "other race" students in master’s, first professional, and doctoral programs at public higher education institutions where such programs are offered. The GIS program is implemented annually at the following institutions: Clemson University, University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina School of [...] More

Hawaii Community Foundation Scholarships
Application Deadlines: February 17, Annually
The HCF Scholarship program consists of more than 170 different funds established by private foundations, generous individuals, businesses and organizations. Each scholarship fund has specific eligibility criteria that were defined by the donor when the fund was established. Please read through the specific criteria for each scholarship to see if you are eligible for any of the funds. Criteria [...] More

Humphries/HKS Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 31, Annually
The HKS/John Humphries Minority Scholarship was established to assist senior architecture students enrolled in the Skyline High School Architecture Cluster. Funds may be used for: Tuition and fees. Geographic limitations: Must be a resident of Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Eligibility: Must be a resident of Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and enrolled in the Skyline High School Architecture [...] More

AWWA Holly Cornell Scholarship
Application Deadlines: January 07, Annually
The Holly A. Cornell Scholarship was created by CH2M Hill, Inc. to honor the name of Holly A. Cornell, co-founder of CH2M Hill and to encourage and support outstanding female and/or minority students pursuing advanced training in the field of water supply and treatment. Eligibility - Female and/or minority (as defined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) U.S. citizens who are [...] More

HP Scholars Program
Application Deadlines: Varies
The HP Scholar Award is a scholarship opportunity for students interested in engineering. The total value of the four-year cash scholarship, HP Scholar Productivity Package and the three paid internships will exceed $40,000 per student. Scholarship awards are $12,000 ($3000 per year for four years) and are intended to help defray educational expenses. Upon acceptance into the program, each HP [...] More

HSF/Marathon Oil Corp. Scholarship Program
Application Deadlines: October 26, Annually
The HSF/Marathon Oil Corporation Scholarship Program is a scholarship of up to $15,000 per year. Selected students will receive up to $10,000 for two academic years for a possible total award of $30,000. In addition, scholars will be offered the opportunity to participate in a possible paid 8-10 week summer internship at various Marathon Oil Corporation locations. Scholars will also be paired [...] More

Human Capital Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 15, Annually
The Human Capital Scholarship provides educational opportunities for first-generation college students from any underrepresented ethnic groups. Two scholarships of $1,500 will be awarded to incoming freshman attending the University of California in the fall. Background: - Number of awards: 2 - Amount: $1,500 - Renewable: No Eligibility Criteria: - Incoming freshman enrolled full-time [...] More

Idaho Minority and "At Risk" Student Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Idaho Legislature established the Minority and "At-Risk" Student Scholarship to assist talented students who are "at-risk" of failing to obtain a college education because of their cultural, economic or physical circumstances. The award is $3000 a year and is renewable for up to four years. To qualify, you must: Be a resident of Idaho and be a graduate of an Idaho high school. In [...] More

Minorities in Hospitality Scholars Program
Application Deadlines: January 31, Annually
The IFA Educational Foundation and Choice Hotels International have partnered to sponsor the Minorities in Hospitality Scholars Program. The purpose of the scholars program is to recognize and support minority students who are enrolled in the Hospitality course of studies complete their academic programs by providing scholarship assistance. A competitive award of $2,000 will be presented [...] More

The Jacqueline Woodson Fellowship for a Young People’s Writer of African or Caribbean Descent
Application Deadlines: October 15, Annually
The Jacqueline Woodson Fellowship for a Young People’s Writer of African or Caribbean Descent is offered once annually to a writer of African or Caribbean descent starting the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program during the winter residency/spring semester. Fellowship recipients will receive a $1,000 award toward their first semester’s tuition. Fellowships are awarded based on [...] More

The Jean Evelyn Freshman Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Jean Evelyn Freshmen Scholarship is intended to provide assistance to an African-American Female interested in attending Prairie View University in Texas. The scholarship is $500 per semester for books and materials needed outside of tuition. The candidate needs to have a 3.0 G.P.A. Please submit a letter of interest to [...] More

Joshua David Gardner Memorial Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 30, Annually
The Joshua David Gardner Memorial Scholarship Endowment Inc., was established in June 2007 to provide scholarships to undergraduates at historically black colleges and universities. Scholarship Eligibility Criteria: - Open to United States citizens (ages 17-25) who are admitted or enrolled in an accredited four-year historically black college or university in the United States with a minimum [...] More

Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship Program
Application Deadlines: May 01, Annually
The Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship program is designed to assist financially needy, academically competitive students who are identified as members of any of the following ethnic/racial groups: African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; or Hispanic. Selection priority is given to applicants who are [...] More

Kaplan Leadership Program
Application Deadlines: February 01, Annually
The Kaplan Educational Foundation is seeking a select group of students for its Kaplan Leadership Program. This is a unique and comprehensive scholarship program designed for promising students who have a financial need and are pursuing an associate’s degree in the New York City metropolitan area. The scholarship benefits will begin while students work toward their associate’s degree, and the [...] More

Lagrant Foundation Scholarships
Application Deadlines: February 28, Annually
The Lagrant Foundation annually provides 15 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who are attending accredited institutions and are pursuing careers in the fields of advertising, marketing or public relations. Scholarship Criteria for Undergraduates: Undergraduate (current freshmen, sophomores, juniors and non-graduating seniors ONLY!) applicants meeting the following criteria and [...] More

Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Racial Ethnic Minority Students
Application Deadlines: March 15, Annually
The Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Racial Ethnic Minority Students awards a $2,500 scholarship for undergraduate study of religion journalism or mass communications. It recognizes of the work of Leonard M. Perryman, a journalist for the United Methodist Church for nearly 30 years. The scholarship assists a United Methodist undergraduate who intends to pursue a career in [...] More

ALA - LITA/LSSI Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
The LITA/LSSI Minority Scholarship, established in 1994, is awarded annually by the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of the American Library Association, and Library Systems and Services, Inc., in the amount of $2,500. The scholarship is designed to encourage the entry of qualified persons into the library and automation field who plan to follow a career in that field; [...] More

LITA/OCLC Minority Scholarship in Library and Information Technology
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
The LITA/OCLC Minority Scholarship, established in 1991, is awarded jointly annually by the Online Computer Library Center and the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of the American Library Association, in the amount of $3,000. The scholarship is designed to encourage the entry of qualified persons into the library and automation field who plan to follow a career in that [...] More

MSU Moorhead Marjorie Sanders Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Marjorie Sanders Scholarship is awarded to students from Africa who will be returning to Africa after completing their degree. Eligibility is determined by grades and information received from the required documentation. Scholarship is for $2,000 per year, renewable for four years based on GPA at the end of each spring semester. Applications are reviewed as funds become available. For [...] More

Minority Access Internship Program
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Minority Access Internship Program is designed to allow talented undergraduate and graduate students to experience the diversity and scope of career opportunities available in the federal government and other participating entities. The program provides students with the opportunity to merge academic theory with practical application in the workplace. This is a internship program and [...] More

Minority Teacher Education Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Minority Teacher Education Scholarship is designed to attract and retain students that are interested in becoming a teacher in the state of Florida. The scholarship is administered at 33 participating colleges and universities throughout the state. Special consideration is given to community college students. ELIGIBILITY Individuals who are selected for the MTES must: * Be a resident of [...] More

Indiana Minority Teacher/Special Education Services Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Minority Teacher Scholarship was created by the 1988 Indiana General Assembly to address the critical shortage of Black and Hispanic teachers in Indiana. In 1990 the Indiana General Assembly amended the Minority program to include the field of Special Education, and in 1991 the fields of Occupational and Physical Therapy were added. To be eligible you must be: 1. A minority student [...] More

Tennessee Minority Teaching Fellows Program
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Minority Teaching Fellows Program is intended to encourage talented minority Tennesseans to enter the teaching field in Tennessee. The award is $5,000 per year to pursue a teacher certification at an eligible Tennessee institution. Those who receive the award incur an obligation to teach K-12 level in a Tennessee public school one year for each year the award is received. If recipients do [...] More

INROADS Internship Opportunities
Application Deadlines: Varies
The mission of INROADS is to develop and place talented minority youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. INROADS seeks high performing Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American Indian students for internship opportunities with some of the nation's largest companies. Our rigorous career development training process will challenge you to commit to [...] More

Page Education Foundation Grants
Application Deadlines: May 01, Annually
The mission of the Page Education Foundation is to increase participation of Minnesota’s young people of color in post-secondary education. Candidates must be Minnesota students of color, demonstrate a financial need, a positive attitude toward education and community service, and attend a post-secondary institution within the state of Minnesota. Awards consist of grants that range in value [...] More

SIT Study Abroad HBCU Scholarships
Application Deadlines: Varies
The mission of the School for International Training (SIT) is to prepare students to be interculturally effective leaders, professionals, and citizens. In so doing, SIT fosters a worldwide network of individuals and organizations committed to responsible engagement in a changing world. SIT offers HBCU scholarships are offered to students enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities [...] More

MSU Moorhead James & Yvonne Condell Endowed Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The MSUM James & Yvonne Condell Endowed Scholarship is available to African American students who are either entering freshmen at MSUM or transfer students who rank high in academic standing and accomplishments. Scholarship is $2,000 per year, renewable for four years based on maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0 at the end of each spring semester. Applications are reviewed as funds become [...] More

NBNA Scholarships
Application Deadlines: April 15, Annually
The National Black Nurses Association, Inc. offers various scholarships each year ranging from $500 to $2,000. Scholarship Requirements - Candidate must be currently enrolled in a nursing program (B.S.N., A.D., Diploma or L.P.N. / L.V.N. and in good scholastic standing at the time of application - Must be a member of NBNA and a member of a local chapter (if one exists in your area) - [...] More

NCCE National Co-op Scholarship Program
Application Deadlines: February 15, Annually
The National Commission for Cooperative Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing high quality, college-level cooperative education, offers 175 merit co-op scholarships of $5,000 each, for a total renewable value of $4,500,000. These merit co-op scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors and community college transfer students who plan to participate in college [...] More

National Press Club Scholarship for Journalism Diversity
Application Deadlines: March 01, Annually
The National Press Club, the leading professional organization for journalists, wants to recruit promising future journalists who will bring diversity to American journalism. The scholarship consists of a $2,000 one-year scholarship, which can be renewed for up to three years at $2,500 per year. The first-year scholarship includes an additional $500 book stipend, the Ellen Masin Persina [...] More

University of Chicago--Office of Minority Student Affairs
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) supports the academic success of students of color at the University of Chicago and works to build an inclusive campus community. OMSA's programs focus on enriching students' experiences and encouraging cross-cultural dialogue on campus. OMSA serves and advocates for all African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American students who attend [...] More

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships For New Americans
Application Deadlines: November 09, Annually
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans are for up to two years graduate study in the professions and academic disciplines at any institution of higher learning in the United States. The Fellowships are funded by a trust established by Paul and Daisy Soros and were created in recognition of the contributions of New Americans to American life and in gratitude for the opportunities [...] More

The Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship
Application Deadlines: May 15, Annually
The Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship is granted through The LPGA Foundation and the Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship Fund. Established in 2006, the objective of the Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship is to provide a need-based scholarship to a female high school senior from a recognized minority background, who will be pursuing a full-time course of study and playing collegiate golf at an accredited [...] More

Presbyterian Church-U.S.A. Student Opportunity Scholarships
Application Deadlines: June 01, Annually
The Presbyterian Church-U.S.A. Student Opportunity Scholarships serves Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) college students in select majors (Education, Health Service/Science, Religious Studies, Sacred Music, Social Service/Science) by providing aid for the expenses of their third and fourth years of an undergraduate program. Preference in this program is extended to racial ethnic students in order to [...] More

THC Preservation Fellows Program
Application Deadlines: February 15, Annually
The Preservation Fellows is a new internship program created by the THC Commissioners to build interest in and awareness of historic preservation among young adults from diverse cultural backgrounds. The program's goal is to provide financial aid, employment and professional role models for a new generation of leaders in historic preservation who will represent the changing face of Texas. For [...] More

AICPA Fellowships for Minority Doctoral Students
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
The primary objective of the AICPA Fellowships for Minority Doctoral Students is to enable more minorities to enter and move ahead in the accounting profession and academe. Recognizing the fact that professors serve as role models, a second objective is to increase the number of CPA role models who can positively influence the career decisions of a college student. These competitive fellowships [...] More

Chips Quinn Scholars Program
Application Deadlines: Varies
The program, sponsored by the Freedom Forum, provides internships, training and $1,000 scholarships to college students of color who are pursuing careers in print journalism. Internships are offered in Spring and Summer. College juniors, seniors or recent graduates with majors in journalism or career goals in newspapers are eligible. Nominees must be enrolled in an historically black college or [...] More

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Scholarship aims to provide a sustainable tribute to Rashawn Brazell, a 19-year-old Brooklyn native who was brutally murdered in February 2005. With each year the award is offered, we encourage a new wave of New York City high school students to reflect upon Brazell’s legacy of selfless service and to think critically about the impact of intolerance and violence on [...] More

Robert Toigo Foundation Fellowship
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Robert Toigo Foundation supports the ongoing advancement of exceptional minority business degree students and alumni within the finance industry through scholarships, mentoring, internships and job placement. Sourcing talent from the nation's leading academic and financial institutions, the foundation's goal is to increase diversity in business and deepen business leadership skills by [...] More

Ron Brown Scholar Program
Application Deadlines: January 09, Annually
The Ron Brown Scholar Program seeks to identify African-American high school seniors who will make significant contributions to society. Applicants must excel academically, exhibit exceptional leadership potential, participate in community service activities and demonstrate financial need. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent resident visa card. Current college students are [...] More

Wisconsin Talent Incentive Program TIP Grants
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant provides grant assistance to the most financially needy and educationally disadvantaged Wisconsin resident students attending colleges and universities in the State of Wisconsin. First-time freshmen students are nominated for the TIP Grant by the school financial aid offices or by counselors of the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Programs (WEOP). To [...] More

UNCF•MERCK Science Research Scholarships and Fellowships
Application Deadlines: Varies
The UNCF•Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Awards are intended to help African American undergraduate students who are interested in science to further their science education and potentially pursue science careers. The UNCF•Merck awards provide tuition support and opportunities for research experience in a state-of-the-art research facility. Each award provides up to $35,000, [...] More

IIE UPS Scholarship for Minority Students
Application Deadlines: November 15, Annually
The UPS Scholarship for Minority Students is available to undergraduate students enrolled in any school in the United States and its territories, Canada and Mexico, provided the school's engineering program or equivalent is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by IIE and the student is pursuing a course of study in industrial engineering. Students may not apply directly for any [...] More

Urban League of Nebraska, Inc. Multicultural Association Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 04, Annually
The Urban League of Nebraska, Inc. Multicultural Association Scholarship is an award to assist graduating high school seniors and/or currently enrolled college students. The criteria to be eligible for this award include the following: - Applicant must reside in Nebraska - Submission of your transcripts from your high school, college, and/or a notarized copy of your G.E.D. - For previously [...] More

Wisconsin Higher Education Grant
Application Deadlines: Varies
The Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG) Program provides grant assistance to undergraduate, Wisconsin residents enrolled at least half-time in degree or certificate programs at University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Technical College, and Tribal institutions. Awards are based on financial need. Eligibility cannot exceed 10 semesters. A student must apply for a Wisconsin Higher Education Grant [...] More

Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship
Application Deadlines: September 30, Annually
The Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship provides awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for undergraduate and graduate minority students in technical disciplines that include: - Chemistry - Information Management - Computing & Software Systems - Material Science - Printing Management Science - Laser Optics - Physics - Material Science - Engineering (Chemical, Computer, Electrical, [...] More

Rocky Mountain Biological Lab REU Program
Application Deadlines: February 15, Annually
This 10-week scholarship field research program is funded by the National Science Foundation. REU students will work with RMBL Scientists to create a research project. Students will develop a testable hypothesis, gather data, analyze the data, and produce a written and oral report by the end of the program. The award provides $600 toward travel costs, a $4,750 stipend, room, board, and tuition [...] More

Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Award
Application Deadlines: June 01, Annually
This award is presented in memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to commemorate his belief that progress is best achieved through cooperation rather than conflict, participation rather than partisanship, and compassion and understanding rather than hatred and prejudice. The scholarship is awarded to minority nominees who have demonstrated a need and a willingness to continue an [...] More

Lett Scholarship Fund
Application Deadlines: Varies
This is a scholarship for african/american ministerial and missionary students of seminary or college Jr/Sr status. Applicants must be a resident (permanent) of Ohio and a member of a church affiliated with the American Baptist Churches of [...] More

Allison E. Fisher Scholarship
Application Deadlines: Varies
This scholarship is open to any African American student who is currently attending an accredited four-year University. Students must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student and exhibit the following: -Majors in Broadcast journalism -Maintains a minimum grade point average of 3.0 -Demonstrates community service Additional Criteria: -Previous NABJ scholarship winners are not [...] More

AIA - AAF Minority/Disadvantaged Scholarship
Application Deadlines: December 07, Annually
This scholarship is open to high school seniors and college freshmen who plan to study architecture in an NAAB-accredited program. The scholarship was established in 1970 by a grant from the Ford Foundation to aid students who would not otherwise have an opportunity to enter a professional degree program. Twenty awards per year are made and may be renewed for two additional years, ideally [...] More

Herman J. Neal Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 02, Annually
This scholarship program supports African-American students in their pursuit of an accounting education and the CPA designation. This year, the Herman J. Neal Scholarship program will provide up to 3 scholarships of up to $4,000 each to African-American accounting students who show significant potential to become CPAs and demonstrate achievement as well as financial need. These scholarships [...] More

SAE Engineering Scholarships
Application Deadlines: January 15, Annually
Through generous contributions from various individuals, corporations and universities, SAE International is proud to award scholarship money to both undergraduate and graduate engineering students. SAE scholarships assist in developing the future engineering workforce by helping students achieve their dreams of becoming an engineer. Funded through the SAE Foundation, these scholarships [...] More

Cornerstone Scholarship Charitable Trust
Application Deadlines: June 30, Annually
To be considered for a Cornerstone Scholarship Charitable Trust you must: 1. Be African-American and disadvantaged 2. Have a high school education 3. Plan to attend a major college or vocational school 4. Have a letter of admission 5. Have roots in the State of Arkansas and/or Parents/Grandparents were plaintiffs in the Mauldin vs. AR. State Hospital Lawsuit 6. Be a citizen of the U.S. 7. Be [...] More

GRCF Black Men Building Resources Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
To be eligible for the Black Men Building Resources Scholarship, students must be African American males or females with financial need residing in Kent County who graduated or received a GED from a Grand Rapids area high school. For additional information on our scholarships, please refer to the Grand Rapids Community Foundation [...] More

Sphinx Competition
Application Deadlines: Varies
To be eligible for the Sphinx Musical Assistance Fund, one must apply to compete in the Sphinx Competition for Young Black and Latino String Players. Each year, all 18 semi-finalists in the competition (applicants that are chosen to advance to the Semi-Finals Round upon the review of preliminary audition tapes) will be entitled to receive Sphinx assistance Fund Scholarships. You are [...] More

WMMIA Engineering Consortium Grants
Application Deadlines: Varies
West Michigan Minorities In Architecture and Engineering Consortium (WMMIAEC) is pleased to offer four educational assistance grants each academic year in the amount of $1,000 each. Grant applications are reviewed quarterly, and we are always accepting applications for the next academic year! To qualify for this grant you must be a minority or a female. WMMIAEC is dedicated to increasing the [...] More

APA Judith McManus Price Scholarship
Application Deadlines: April 30, Annually
Women and minority (African American, Hispanic American, or Native American) students enrolled in an approved Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) planning program who are citizens of the United States, intend to pursue careers as practicing planners in the public sector, and are able to demonstrate a genuine financial need are eligible to apply for this scholarship which will range between $2,000 [...] More

ACHE Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship
Application Deadlines: March 31, Annually
You are eligible to apply for an Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship if you meet all of the following criteria: -You are a Student Associate of the American College of Healthcare Executives and are in good standing. -You are a minority student who is enrolled for full-time study for the upcoming fall term, which is your final year (of classroom work) in a healthcare management graduate [...] More

GRCF Warner Norcross & Judd LLP Legal Studies Scholarship for Minorities
Application Deadlines: April 01, Annually
You may apply for a Warner, Norcross, & Judd LLP Legal Studies Scholarship for Minorities if you are a student of racial and ethnic minority heritage pursuing studies in law (one law school, one paralegal and one legal secretarial scholarship awarded each year.) You must either have a permanent residence in Michigan or be attending a Michigan law school and demonstrate financial [...] More
African American Scholarships

UNCF•MERCK Science Research Scholarships and Fellowships
AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship
ABA Diversity Scholarship
ACHE Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship
ACS Scholars Program
Actuarial Diversity Scholarship
AIA - AAF Minority/Disadvantaged Scholarship
AICPA Fellowships for Minority Doctoral Students
AICPA Minority Accounting Students Scholarships
ALA - LITA/LSSI Scholarship

More
Minority Scholarships

African American Scholarships
American Indian (Native American) Scholarships
Asian Scholarships
Black History Month Scholarships
Hispanic Scholarships

Scholarships by Type

Academic Scholarships and Merit Scholarships
Acting Scholarships
Agnostic/Atheist Scholarships
Athletic Scholarships
Aviation Scholarships
Bible Scholarships
Cancer Scholarships
Celebrity Scholarships
College Scholarships and Grants for Single Mothers
Community Service Scholarships
Corporate Scholarships
Dance Scholarships
Disability Scholarships
Distance Learning Scholarships
Easy Scholarships
Essay Scholarships
Federal Scholarships
Full Tuition Scholarships
Green Scholarships
International Student/Study Abroad Scholarships
Largest Dollar Amount Scholarships
Last Dollar Scholarship
Legacy Scholarships
Local Scholarships
Military Scholarships
Minority Scholarships
Non-Academic College Scholarships: Scholarships Aren't Just for "A Students" Anymore
Online Scholarships
Prestigious Scholarships
Religious Scholarships
Scholarship Contests & Sweepstakes
Scholarship Essay Contests
Scholarship Poetry Contests
Scholarships for Adult Students
Scholarships for Average Students
Scholarships for Returning Students
Scholarships for Summer
Scholarships for Women
September 11th Scholarships
Study Abroad Scholarships
Technology Scholarships
Transfer Scholarships
University Scholarships
Unusual Scholarships
Video Contest Scholarships
Weird Scholarships
Women's College Scholarships, Grants & Fellowships
Writing Scholarships

College Scholarships

Featured Scholarships
Scholarship Application Strategies
Scholarship Information
Scholarships by Grade Level
Scholarships by Major
Scholarships by State
Scholarships by Type
Scholarships Trending Now
Scholarships.com Scholarships
Sports Scholarships
Success Stories

Financial Aid

Calculators
College Funding
College Savings Accounts
College Scholarships
Federal Aid
Financial Aid & College Timeline
Financial Aid Information
Financial Aid Tips
Find Money for College
Funding Your Education
Grants
Student Loans

More

About Us
College Search
Educators
Financial Aid
Help
Resources
Scholarship Providers' Resources
Site Map
Take a Tour

Compare Student Loans
Amount of Loan
Loan is For
NCSA Sports Recruiting
Latest College & Financial Aid News
Your Group Project Survival Guide

March 11, 2013

by Samuel Favela, Scholarships.com Virtual Intern So you're in a group for a class project and not liking it one bit? Welcome to college. The key to group projects is not about only about dividing the work - a successful group project has its members communicate well, often and without hassle...but what if you get unlucky and end up with a group member you can't deal with? When dealing [...]
Get Rewarded for Being Thrifty in this SOTW

March 11, 2013

Brad's Deals is pleased to announce the Shop Smart Scholarship Competition to recognize, encourage and reward students whose college experience is enabled by remarkable frugality, ingenuity, effort and thrift. Five finalists will receive $2,000 scholarships for the upcoming academic year. To be eligible for this award, students must do the following: Write a 500-word essay explaining how [...]
Easy Ways to Get Involved on Campus

March 8, 2013

by Katlyn Clark, Scholarships.com Virtual Intern Regardless of your school’s size or location, there are many ways to get involved on campus. If you put yourself out there, you’ll meet students and faculty, discover new interests and find enjoyable ways to spend your time when you’re not in class or studying. When I was looking at colleges, it was very important to me to explore the clubs [...]
Follow Us:
facebook twitter rss feed

Home
Scholarship Search
Financial Aid
College Search
College Scholarships
List Your Scholarship
Educators
Scholarship Application Strategies
Scholarship Information
Scholarship Contests & Sweepstakes

Scholarships Trending Now
Scholarships By Grade Level
Scholarships By Major
Scholarships By State
Scholarships By Type
Scholarships.com Scholarships
Scholarships for Women
Sports Scholarships
Minority Scholarships
Unusual Scholarships

Federal Aid
Financial Aid Information
Financial Aid Tips
Find Money for College
Funding Your Education
Grants
Student Loans
Resources
Campus Life
College Prep
Success Stories
Study Skills

About Us
Contact Us
Privacy Policy
Press
Account Settings
Terms of Use
Linking
FAQ
Blog
Site Map
Take a Tour
Help

Copyright © 1998 - 2013 Scholarships.com, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy
Copyright © 1998 - 2013 Scholarships.com, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy


I need to hire a part time assistant to help me with simple data entry, web research and sending emails. If you or anyone you know is looking for part time work please private msg me. This is part time work but could definitely have some room for growth


Virtual Machine then RDP into an overloaded server = exercise in patience.


Thinking I might go back to a non-smart phone {gasp!} I'm tired of replacing a phone that stops working less than a year into our new relationship! I can't even text now without force closing messaging like 3 times. Might even find that I like actually calling people, not being so plugged in all the time and focusing on my kids instead of every little notification. ;)


(Deeeeeeeep thought. Do it!)

Chapter Three

Well, do we exist?

"Stupid question" is the average response to that query. I suppose you're going to start on about the table disappearing from in front of you and stuff like that now. Er... not exactly. Lets take a trip.

You are on a sandy beach blissfully sunning yourself. (Or, if you're like some of us wary types, you're hiding in the shade somewhere having become paranoid about skin cancer.) You can hear the gentle crashing of the waves on the nearby shore. You can smell the salt. You feel the heat. Shade or sun, its warm enough for you to be wearing a swim suit just within the bounds of early 21st conventions on decency. Beneath your beach blanket you are aware of the accommodating contour hugging of the fine sand.

Suddenly the idyllic afternoon is shattered. The beach wally turns up. Nowadays, of course, this usually means the antisocial nerd with a ghetto-blaster who parks himself 30 feet upwind and shares his love of obscure imported reggae or mind numbing heavy metal with the rest of the known universe. However, this is 50 years hence; things have moved on. His latest toy is a "Virtual Reality Sensory Transmitter" capable of transmitting apparently authentic signals direct to the optic nerves bypassing the retina of your eye. He tunes it with the usual gay abandon, and you suddenly realise that instead of a sandy beach, you can now see snow as far as the eye can see. You know what's going on, of course, you've had this trouble before. In any case, all other senses confirm the status quo. You can still feel the warmth of the sun, hear and smell the sea nearby and feel the warm sand under the blanket. So you merely fume awhile till the pillock focuses the toy on some other victim. You know that the best way to escape his attention is to fane complete indifference - as though you can't even perceive the machine's effects.

On your next visit to the beach (obviously having failed to find a convenient "members only" private stretch where nerds are barred) you find yourself hit by a much more advanced version now capable of transmitting appropriate signals direct to all five sensory nerve pathways. This time, without warning, you find yourself lifted up and flown at incredible speed to the Arctic tundra and dumped down on an ice floe with a polar bear. And you're still only wearing the swim suit! Its bloody freezing. The wind chill factor takes the temperature down to minus 40, The ice under your feet is excruciatingly cold and rather slippery. The bear is hungry and advancing towards you. What do you do?

Well, if you're as cool as you now feel, you just sit there and persuade yourself its another damned illusion; you're not going to let it get to you. Eventually the wazzock will get bored and pick on some other target.

But let us suppose that you've never heard of such a machine and have no reason whatsoever to suspect that such a device exists (like today - 2003 - in fact) What would you do in those circumstances? Well, if you don't faint with fear, you get up and run like hell! (or dive into the icy waters and try to swim out of danger).

Believing what you had just experienced to be real, however bizarre, you would have no choice but to act in accordance with what your senses were telling you. You wouldn't know that the sense data was entirely artificial because you would have no way - outside the senses - of confirming whether what you are perceiving actually corresponds to "reality".

Any more than you have now.

How do you know that such a device isn't controlling your sense data right now?

Of course you are psychologically certain that it isn't. But if it was any good... well, you would be wouldn't you?

Of course, if you've seen "The Matrix", this kind of illusion will be familiar territory. If you haven't seen the movie and this is a novel concept, it is not our intention to persuade you that such a machine exists, or that your current sense data is generated by it. The Universe is difficult enough to explain as things seem to be; the existence of machines like that really would be gilding the lily. Nor do we want thousands of readers wandering around doubting their own existence - it can spoil your whole day! All we want to do is get you to accept that we do not - indeed CAN not - know that it or something similar does not exist. As a consequence, we have to accept that merely perceiving something with our senses is never absolute proof of its existence. All it proves is that the perception exists.

You may be familiar with Rene Descartes journey down this road. Having rejected all sense data as unprovable he went on to conclude that the only valid starting point was "Cogito Ergo Sum" (I think therefore I am). Even this, however, is invalid. "I think therefore something is" is really as far as we can go. We can not know that the thinker is "I", even if the perception is of self. That perception, like all others, is unprovable.

So the answer to the question ("Do we Exist?") is "We don't know". However, it is important to emphasise other results of that chain of logic. We referred, for example, to the polar bear situation and what you would do about it; particularly if you had never heard of a sensory transmitter. We pointed out that in such a situation, you would have no choice but to trust your senses and act accordingly. This is valid - whether or not the sense data is artificial. We are programmed to respond to and to make judgements based on sensory stimuli. It is quite irrelevant to that programming whether the sensory data reflects reality or a fantasy world. That is why there is no intention on our part to persuade you not to respond to what you see - or even to doubt it. You don't have alternative "safer" data sources; you're stuck with it.

The vital point is to distinguish between what you believe (that what you see is real) and what you know (nothing!).

This is such an important point that, if you don't mind, we're going to repeat it.

The vital point is to distinguish between what you believe (that what you see is real) and what you know (nothing!).

The significance of the distinction is fundamental when we come to answer the second and third questions. As much as anything, this book is an attack on "authority" - by which we mean, for example, any individual or organisation which declares that it "knows" the "truth" (especially "what is best for you").

Now if we can't even state with logical (as opposed to psychological) certainty that we or anything else exists (other than a woolly "something") then it follows that we can say Absolutely Nothing Else with "certainty" either; not even that the best tested scientific theories accurately describe "reality".

Nevertheless, there are those who assert that their particular Political theory or Moral Code, (all examples of which are somewhat less rigorously tested than any scientific hypothesis) does indeed represent some fundamental Reality or Truth. Such assertions amount simultaneously to the ultimate in both intellectual arrogance and ignorance.

Unlike political theories and moral codes, Scientific Theories are generally based on large numbers of (more or less) carefully monitored observations each of which is open to the same logical challenge as all other perceptions. The best we can ever manage, therefore, is to say that the cumulative "evidence" (i.e. the data gathered and perceived by our senses) either supports or undermines the analysis of our perception of reality. And, frankly, that is perfectly adequate in our day to day affairs. Until or unless the world stops behaving in accordance with the rules we seem to have divined, then there is little point in worrying about whether those theories are, in fact, completely accurate descriptions of the world or mere imaginative constructions. All that matters is that we've done our best to explain what is going on and the explanations "work".

We believe, for example, that an electrical potential applied across a resistance will cause a current to flow in the resistor. (Don't worry, we're not about to start getting "technical") It doesn't matter too much if our understanding of this process is 100% accurate or only, say, 50%. What matters is whether or not the light comes on when we throw the switch.

What matters, much more, in our daily lives, is that, given that we have to live with this fundamental uncertainty about even the most basic questions we can ask - questions we can answer with our sight, smell, touch or whatever - we really ought to be asking how can anyone get away with making authoritative declarations about matters of mere human judgement (like the concepts of "Right and Wrong") in answering those questions relating to "how we should behave".

And if we were to ask that question, the obvious answer ought to be, simply, that "they can't" (get away with it). And the relevance of that answer is that, as we all know, the world is in fact run by people who either ignore or remain unaware of this obvious conclusion and blithely make such declarations not just once or twice in their illustrious careers but as a matter of course on a day to day basis throughout their reign. And to a greater or lesser extent, we let them.

The real damage, of course, arises from the support and encouragement they get from us lesser folk who, either more ignorant or more apathetic than our leaders, believe or accept that what we hear has some validity. This is seldom the case, as we will demonstrate from time to time. Politicians are, to a greater or lesser extent, nearly all "manipulators of the truth". That won't surprise the cynics. It may interest you, though, to see just how easily political statements fall apart under any rigorous analysis. Most are not just false, they are often literally "meaningless". However, we digress. These matters are appropriate to the Third Question, which we'll begin to deal with them more fully in chapters Six & Seven. Meanwhile, back at the First Question...

The Limitations of Perception

Lets try another angle. Everybody (well all the people we've encountered to date anyway) believes they exist and will confidently assert it. Does that help? Does it become more "probable" that we exist just because so many of us appear to believe it?

Unfortunately Not.

None of us as individuals can get past the logical barrier that all of "you" might be part of a set of artificial data. So whilst our perceptions of others like ourselves who appear to have their own set of beliefs, together with an apparent ability to behave in ways beyond our control, all combine to reassure us psychologically (and make it even more difficult for us to believe that all this is illusion) it doesn't actually eliminate the possibility of illusion. Unless we can find or offer some kind of "guarantee" that at least one or more of our perceptions COULD NEVER BE mere illusion, then it is meaningless to discuss the probability of the rest of the picture being "real". And whether we care to admit it or not, we're ALL in exactly the same position with respect to what we believe to be the rest of the world. We all appear to share the same basic beliefs about our existance and none of us know of any logical proof that our belief is correct.

So - all it means when we say "we exist" is that we have an overwhelming conviction that we are not merely imagining everything. So overwhelming that is unlikely that anything could persuade us otherwise. Yet despite this, we are compelled to admit the logical possibility that it is all one or more dreams.

This is the limit of perception.

It is also the limit of language. We can not formulate statements about the world which can crack this logical barrier - primarily, perhaps, because language has evolved to explain and deal with our perceptions; not to challenge them.

This is the essence of philosophical scepticism, taken to its limits by the school of philosophy which called itself the logical positivists. Fortunately, you'll be relieved to hear, we needn't stop there. Providing we accept this concept of the absolute lack of logical certainty and agree that it is only, in fact, possible to experience psychological certainty, we can go on about our normal business. In other words, we can believe many things but know none about the true nature of the universe. (except possibly that!)

It follows that our exploration of reality is governed by our psychology (what we Believe) rather than our ability to detect absolute "truth".

A trivial example: What we really mean, for instance, when we say that we "know" that "ice melts when it warms up" is as follows:

First, we believe there is a substance we call water. Second, we believe that it is liquid at "room" temperatures. Third, we believe it becomes a solid we call "ice" if the temperature of the liquid is permitted to drop below a certain point. And fourth, we believe that this solid once again becomes liquid when its temperature rises again.

All these phenomena can be witnessed through our senses and repeated at will. Hence, we have no choice but to trust those senses. We cannot conceivably design a test which could prove to us - entirely independent of our senses - that such observations were either valid or invalid. Why not? (for example using a machine which measures whether something is liquid or not) Because, even if the machine is somehow capable of making a judgement, we still have to perceive that judgement using these pitifully limited senses!

"But surely there are some well accepted absolute laws without which all science would be meaningless; take the second law of thermodynamics for instance - the Energy in a system must remain constant - (which tells us that matter and energy can not be created or destroyed, only converted). If this law was invalid, then most science would be equally invalid." - we hear you say.

First off, we are not saying that it is invalid. We are merely pointing out that it can only be said to be a successful explanation - to date at least - of what we perceive in the universe. IF that perception could ever be proved unambiguously accurate then that certainly would help the theory. But we can not have logical certainty about the perception.

Second, in fact, no physicist worth his or her salt would dare claim this or any other law as absolute. It is merely, as we said, the most successful explanation to date. As was the Ptolemy's theory that the Earth was the centre of the Universe until Copernicus appeared. As was Newtonian mechanics before Einstein came along and so on. As it happens, there are already causes to doubt the validity of the second law which arise from some of the stranger consequences of quantum mechanics, particularly concepts such as "virtual" particles which are possibly inhabiting the vacuum of deep space. If you're into stuff like that, go read anything written by the Cambridge Physicist, Stephen Hawking, who has the gift of making the most esoteric scientific concepts comprehensible even to the layman.

Mind you, - assuming, of course, that our perceptions do bear some resemblance to reality - it has often seemed to some of us that the most obvious contradiction of the second law is that an amazing amount of matter and energy - the Universe - does exist, and may well have been, at some stage, "created". If it was, then even if that law does appear to be valid now, perhaps it hasn't always been and, by the same token, it may not always remain valid in the future. (And physicists may finally be able even to answer this fundamental question. See this story - added Feb 2007)(cached)

"OK, what about a medical example; if, for instance, doctors crack the AIDS problem and produce a cure, isn't that pretty tangible evidence of the Truth of their beliefs?"

Nope. The same proviso applies. If their initial perceptions are accurate then their deductions are probably also accurate. But we still don't know about those initial perceptions. However, what we can reemphasise, is that it doesn't matter, especially to the victims. Their perceptions are that a) they had AIDS and b) they are cured. They don't give a damn whether that is grand illusion or reality, the effect on their lives is identical. What we can also say is that the evidence (the perceived effectiveness of the cure) is tangible support for the rationality of their beliefs (as opposed to truth).

Rationality Defined

Now this word "Rational" is very important. Essentially, all our belief structures can be sustained provided they are Rational. i.e. We can go on "usefully" believing something as long as it continues to "work"; and whether it meets this criterion can, in turn, be determined by establishing whether the belief has been arrived at by following certain rules.

What do we mean by "Rational" in this context? And what are these "rules" which govern whether or not such a belief is rational? Well, you'll be relieved to hear that "Common Sense" is the answer in more ways than one. "Rationality" describes your behaviour when your beliefs or actions accord with the confirmed observations of your senses.

The "rules" are very simple. Before drawing a conclusion about what you observe, (particularly if its a new observation)

* try to figure out as many potential causes as you can, of the event being observed; and then

* try to eliminate each one of those hypothetical causes by further experiment, observation or argument from agreed principles. If, at the end of the day, you have eliminated all but one cause and are able to repeat the observation or experiment by invoking this cause (or watching it invoked) at will

* then it is reasonable - Rational - for you to believe that your explanation of what you see is a good one.

As Sherlock Holmes famously, and almost appropriately, put it: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

This, loosely speaking, is the principle of verifiability, - the basis of "Empiricism" - which is what we will take a look at next.



(Last Updated 20 Feb 2002)

This work is licensed by Harry Stottle (2002-5) under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.


Hahahaha:-icc judges tell prosecution their announcement on dropping of muthaura case will have consequences on the Kenyatta case.....Glory to God......surely this is a jubilee year.


THIS IS HOW THE BRITISH INTELLIGENCE SERVICE MI6 HACKED THE DIGITAL TALLYING SYSTEM AND INTRODUCED RED OCTOBER VIRUS TO RIG IN CORD PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:

Kenya Decided as West Intelligence Deploy Red- October Virus to Sabotage

March 7 | Posted by David Goldman | Geopolitik, Intelligence News, Military Intelligence

Events that have followed the successful Monday election signal a trend intended to create a negative public policy on the election and IEBC credibility.
The Safaricom Virtual Private Network that runs on Oracle and a 3-tier Cisco Network was supposed to be tamper proof when supporting IEBC servers.
Safaricom, which is owned by Vodafone, a British giant telecoms company data and VPN servers supporting the IEBC VPN came
under Intelligence Service scrutiny.
The IEBC Servers and the IEBC vote tallying computer system disc-space completely malfunctioned and collapsed failing to respond in correct downtime.
In the same week, over 3500 British troops landed in Kenya and headed for the Laikipia training grounds where they undergo final
training before deployment.
Laikipia is Kenya Defense Forces most heavily guarded and highly equipped airbase and military facility in Kenya since the Kenya Airforce has its main airpower
stationed here.
The British High Commissioner to Kenya, Christian Turner through proxies particularly Maina Kiai began lobbying the inclusion of
spoilt votes in final tally besides attempting to delay the presidential total tally announcement.
The National Security Service quickly intervened and stopped the IEBC from making more use of the Electronic vote tallying system.
Kenya’s National Security Service stopped this system for a number of factors including scenarios such as the Safaricom VPN being attacked using a virus to
compromise the network capacity.
Strategic Intelligence Service reported that the Red-October virus was used to attack
Government of Kenya computer systems by Western spy-agents to mine crucial data.
Was that a test attack in preparation for the main attack on IEBC?
Was the virus deployed through Safaricom VPN for IEBC?
Was the attacker operating from Safaricom Server/Data Center from abroad(germany)?

Foreign players particularly the West, to crash the IEBC computer system deployed this same strategy by deploying the virus
through the VPN infrastructure by Safaricom from abroad.
Analysis
The number of rejected votes when the IEBC was using the electronic tallying system was
nearly 300,000 at the 5million total votes cast mark, a very significant number that
makes a case in the total vote cast.
When IEBC took up the manual tallying system the total number of rejected votes was 39000 at the 4.6million total votes cast
mark, this is a disturbing significant decline in the electronic figures compared to the manual figures.
Final tally of rejected votes compared to the electronic reports will quantify if the virus was indeed manipulating the rejected votes tally.
Deployment of viruses from secure computers to network servers was reported by Strategic Intelligence where Western spy
agents deployed Red-October to mine vital data from government computer systems and data bases.
Viruses/computer bugs are used to mine and manipulate data from computer networks, servers, and computer memory facilities including data-centers, hence can
mine crucial data including emails,
conversations, and files.
The virus Red-October may have been deployed alongside another virus to slow down the IEBC servers with the intent of
creating scenarios that may create public mistrust.
The objective of such spy involvement is to procure a bias of a public policy of anti-IEBC
sentiments wherein, psychologically, the bottled up emotions, erupt after frustrations
get to breaking point.

Kenya National Intelligence Service moved in to effectively neutralizing this threat by outdoing Western spy agents by directing the immediate use of the manual tallying system, which has demystified the controversial election.
Kenya has also struggled to ensure peace prevails and unity remains at all time high,
mocking the West attempts.
Kenya Acquires Deterrent Capability Kenya is emerging as a secure developed country with effective security institutions
particularly the intelligence and military both who have worked tirelessly to preempt
neutralize threats on Kenya’s national Security.
Social order/civility has also become a principal in the Kenyan social life whereby, influencing social-discord is impossible
hence the relatively calm and peaceful nation.
If this trend goes on, Kenya will eventually reach its bubble and burst to beat countries
like South Africa social-economically.
This constant deterrent capability whereby no type of external and internal pressure to divide the multi-ethnic Kenyan society finally
secures the Republic of Kenya to one of the most peaceful and rapidly developing
economy in Africa, besides becoming a superpower in the region.


There was a certain woman who always
noticed a strange mark on her chest each
day she wakes up from bed, & each time
she notice this particular mark. She always
assume it is an ORDINARY MARK, &
since the day she noticed this strange/evil
mark on her chest, things began to turn
into negatives for this woman. Her
booming business began to run dry
suddenly till the time she had no money to
sustain and promote her business again. &
also she had been experiencing problems
with her fiance. Anything this woman will
lay her hand on, it began to translate into
failure. Everything went really bad for this
woman and her beautiful relationship. Her
morning was full of crying and her night
was full of sorrow. She moan and moan
and yet nothing good was able to come out
from her tears. So one day, when a pastor
met her in this
condition, the pastor told her that the root
of her problems is because of the mark the
enemy had placed on her chest. The
pastor reminded her about a dream she
had. The shot of a spear by a stranger on
her chest in her dream. That is the mark
hunting her. When the woman recall about
that dream,
she immediately told the pastor it is true,
&
that she had also noticed it. Now, after the
pastor had finished praying for this woman,
the evil mark turn into blessings for this
woman. Good things began to take a new
shape in her life, relationship and
business. I prophesy:
Every evil marks the enemy had placed on
your life,
business,
marriage,
academics etc that is affecting you day and
night,
I command that spiritual mark to Catch
Fire & Go Back To The Sender In JESUS
NAME.
Click "Like" & Type "Amen" to Claim This
Prayer. ♥ ..♥ ☑ Like ♥ ☐ Comment ♥ ☎.
Share ♥


Chapter 3
COMMITMENT AND
CONSISTENCY
Hobgoblins of the Mind
It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.
—LEONARDO DAVINCI
A STUDY DONE BY A PAIR OF CANADIAN PSYCHOLOGISTS UNCOVERED
something fascinating about people at the racetrack: Just after
placing a bet, they are much more confident of their horse’s chances of
winning than they are immediately before laying down that bet.

Of course, nothing about the horse’s chances actually shifts; it’s the same
horse, on the same track, in the same field; but in the minds of those
bettors, its prospects improve significantly once that ticket is purchased.
Although a bit puzzling at first glance, the reason for the dramatic
change has to do with a common weapon of social influence. Like the
other weapons of influence, this one lies deep within us, directing our
actions with quiet power. It is, quite simply, our nearly obsessive desire
to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. Once
we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal
and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commit-
ment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our
earlier decision.
Take the bettors in the racetrack experiment. Thirty seconds before
putting down their money, they had been tentative and uncertain; thirty
seconds after the deed, they were significantly more optimistic and self-
assured. The act of making a final decision—in this case, of buying a ticket—had been the critical factor. Once a stand had been taken, the
need for consistency pressured these people to bring what they felt and
believed into line with what they had already done. They simply con-
vinced themselves that they had made the right choice and, no doubt,
felt better about it all.
Before we see such self-delusion as unique to racetrack habitués, we
should examine the story of my neighbor Sara and her live-in boyfriend,
Tim. They met at a hospital where he worked as an X-ray technician
and she as a nutritionist. They dated for a while, even after Tim lost his
job, and eventually they moved in together. Things were never perfect
for Sara: She wanted Tim to marry her and to stop his heavy drinking;
Tim resisted both ideas. After an especially difficult period of conflict,
Sara broke off the relationship, and Tim moved out. At the same time,
an old boyfriend of Sara’s returned to town after years away and called
her. They started seeing each other socially and quickly became serious
enough to plan a wedding. They had gone so far as to set a date and
issue invitations when Tim called. He had repented and wanted to
move back in. When Sara told him her marriage plans, he begged her
to change her mind; he wanted to be together with her as before. But
Sara refused, saying she didn’t want to live like that again. Tim even
offered to marry her, but she still said she preferred the other boyfriend.
Finally, Tim volunteered to quit drinking if she would only relent.
Feeling that under those conditions Tim had the edge, Sara decided to
break her engagement, cancel the wedding, retract the invitations, and
let Tim move back in with her.
Within a month, Tim informed Sara that he didn’t think he needed
to stop his drinking after all; a month later, he had decided that they
should “wait and see” before getting married. Two years have since
passed; Tim and Sara continue to live together exactly as before. He
still drinks, there are still no marriage plans, yet Sara is more devoted
to Tim than she ever was. She says that being forced to choose taught
her that Tim really is number one in her heart. So, after choosing Tim
over her other boyfriend, Sara became happier with him, even though
the conditions under which she had made her choice have never been
fulfilled. Obviously, horse-race bettors are not alone in their willingness
to believe in the correctness of a difficult choice, once made. Indeed,
we all fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts
and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or decided.
Psychologists have long understood the power of the consistency
principle to direct human action. Prominent theorists such as Leon
Festinger, Fritz Hieder, and Theodore Newcomb have viewed the desire
for consistency as a central motivator of our behavior. But is this tend-ency to be consistent really strong enough to compel us to do what we
ordinarily would not want to do? There is no question about it. The
drive to be (and look) consistent constitutes a highly potent weapon of
social influence, often causing us to act in ways that are clearly contrary
to our own best interests.
Take, as proof, what happened when psychologist Thomas Moriarty
staged thefts on a New York City beach to see if onlookers would risk
personal harm to halt the crime. In the study, a research accomplice
would put a beach blanket down five feet from the blanket of a ran-domly chosen individual—the experimental subject. After a couple of
minutes on the blanket spent relaxing and listening to music from a
portable radio, the accomplice would stand up and leave the blanket
to stroll down the beach. A few minutes later, a second researcher,
pretending to be a thief, would approach, grab the radio, and try to
hurry away with it. As you might guess, under normal conditions,
subjects were very reluctant to put themselves in harm’s way by chal-lenging the thief—only four people did so in the twenty times, that the
theft was staged. But when the same procedure was tried another twenty
times, with a slight twist, the results were drastically different. In these
incidents, before taking his stroll, the accomplice would simply ask the
subject to please “watch my things,” which each of them agreed to do.
Now, propelled by the rule for consistency, nineteen of the twenty
subjects became virtual vigilantes, running after and stopping the thief,
demanding an explanation, and often restraining the thief physically
or snatching the radio away.
To understand why consistency is so powerful a motive, it is import-ant to recognize that in most circumstances consistency is valued and
adaptive. Inconsistency is commonly thought to be an undesirable
personality trait. The person whose beliefs, words, and deeds don’t
match may be seen as indecisive, confused, two-faced, or even mentally
ill. On the other side, a high degree of consistency is normally associated
with personal and intellectual strength. It is at the heart of logic, ration-ality, stability, and honesty. A quote attributed to the great British
chemist Michael Faraday suggests the extent to which being consistent
is approved—sometimes more than being right. When asked after a
lecture if he meant to imply that a hated academic rival was always
wrong, Faraday glowered at the questioner and replied, “He’s not that
consistent.”
Certainly, then, good personal consistency is highly valued in our
culture. And well it should be. It provides us with a reasonable and
gainful orientation to the world. Most of the time we will be better off
if our approach to things is well laced with consistency. Without it our
lives would be difficult, erratic, and disjointed.
But because it is so typically in our best interests to be consistent, we
easily fall into the habit of being automatically so, even in situations
where it is not the sensible way to be. When it occurs unthinkingly,
consistency can be disastrous. Nonetheless, even blind consistency has
its attractions.
First, like most other forms of automatic responding, it offers a
shortcut through the density of modern life. Once we have made up
our minds about an issue, stubborn consistency allows us a very appeal-ing luxury: We really don’t have to think hard about the issue anymore.
We don’t have to sift through the blizzard of information we encounter
every day to identify relevant facts; we don’t have to expend the mental
energy to weigh the pros and cons; we don’t have to make any further
tough decisions. Instead, all we have to do when confronted with the
issue is to turn on our consistency tape, whirr, and we know just what
to believe, say, or do. We need only believe, say, or do whatever is
consistent with our earlier decision.
The allure of such a luxury is not to be minimized. It allows us a
convenient, relatively effortless, and efficient method for dealing with
complex daily environments that make severe demands on our mental
energies and capacities. It is not hard to understand, then, why automat-ic consistency is a difficult reaction to curb. It offers us a way to evade
the rigors of continuing thought. And as Sir Joshua Reynolds noted,
“There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real
labor of thinking.” With our consistency tapes operating, then, we can
go about our business happily excused from the toil of having to think
too much.
There is a second, more perverse attraction of mechanical consistency
as well. Sometimes it is not the effort of hard, cognitive work that makes
us shirk thoughtful activity, but the harsh consequences of that activity.
Sometimes it is the cursedly clear and unwelcome set of answers
provided by straight thinking that makes us mental slackers. There are
certain disturbing things we simply would rather not realize. Because
it is a preprogrammed and mindless method of responding, automatic
consistency can supply a safe hiding place from those troubling realiz-ations. Sealed within the fortress walls of rigid consistency, we can be
impervious to the sieges of reason.
One night at an introductory lecture given by the transcendental
meditation (TM) program, I witnessed a nice illustration of how people
will hide inside the walls of consistency to protect themselves from the
troublesome consequences of thought. The lecture itself was presided
over by two earnest young men and was designed to recruit new
46 / Influence
members into the program. The program claimed it could teach a unique
brand of meditation that would allow us to achieve all manner of desir-able things, ranging from simple inner peace to the more spectacular
abilities to fly and pass through walls at the program’s advanced (and
more expensive) stages.
I had decided to attend the meeting to observe the kind of compliance
tactics used in recruitment lectures of this sort and had brought along
an interested friend, a university professor whose areas of specialization
were statistics and symbolic logic. As the meeting progressed and the
lecturers explained the theory behind TM, I noticed my logician friend
becoming increasingly restless. Looking more and more pained and
shifting about constantly in his seat, he was finally unable to resist.
When the leaders called for questions at the completion of the lecture,
he raised his hand and gently but surely demolished the presentation
we had just heard. In less than two minutes, he pointed out precisely
where and why the lecturers’ complex argument was contradictory, il-logical, and unsupportable. The effect on the discussion leaders was
devastating. After a confused silence, each attempted a weak reply only
to halt midway to confer with his partner and finally to admit that my
colleague’s points were good ones “requiring further study.”
More interesting to me, though, was the effect upon the rest of the
audience. At the end of the question period, the two recruiters were
faced with a crush of audience members submitting their seventy-five-dollar down payments for admission to the TM program. Nudging,
shrugging, and chuckling to one another as they took in the payments,
the recruiters betrayed signs of giddy bewilderment. After what ap-peared to have been an embarrassingly clear collapse of their presenta-tion, the meeting had somehow turned into a great success, generating
mystifyingly high levels of compliance from the audience. Although
more than a bit puzzled, I chalked up the audience response to a failure
to understand the logic of my colleague’s arguments. As it turned out,
however, just the reversewas the case.
Outside the lecture room after the meeting, we were approached by
three members of the audience, each of whom had given a down pay-ment immediately after the lecture. They wanted to know why we had
come to the session. We explained, and we asked the same question of
them. One was an aspiring actor who wanted desperately to succeed
at his craft and had come to the meeting to learn if TM would allow
him to achieve the necessary self-control to master the art; the recruiters
had assured him that it would. The second described herself as a severe
insomniac who had hopes that TM would provide her with a way to
relax and fall asleep easily at night. The third served as unofficial
spokesman. He also had a sleep-related problem. He was failing college
because there didn’t seem to be enough time to study. He had come to
the meeting to find out if TM could help by training him to need fewer
hours of sleep each night; the additional time could then be used for
study. It is interesting to note that the recruiters informed him as well
as the insomniac that Transcendental Meditation techniques could solve
their respective, though opposite, problems.
Still thinking that the three must have signed up because they hadn’t
understood the points made by my logician friend, I began to question
them about aspects of his argument. To my surprise, I found that they
had understood his comments quite well; in fact, all too well. It was
precisely the cogency of his argument that drove them to sign up for
the program on the spot. The spokesman put it best: “Well, I wasn’t
going to put down any money tonight because I’m really quite broke
right now; I was going to wait until the next meeting. But when your
buddy started talking, I knew I’d better give them my money now, or
I’d go home and start thinking about what he said and neversign up.”
All at once, things began to make sense. These were people with real
problems; and they were somewhat desperately searching for a way to
solve those problems. They were seekers who, if our discussion leaders
were to be believed, had found a potential solution in TM. Driven by
their needs, they very much wanted to believe that TM was their answer.
Now, in the form of my colleague, intrudes the voice of reason,
showing the theory underlying their newfound solution to be unsound.
Panic! Something must be done at once before logic takes its toll and
leaves them without hope again. Quickly, quickly, walls against reason
are needed; and it doesn’t matter that the fortress to be erected is a
foolish one. “Quick, a hiding place from thought! Here, take this money.
Whew, safe in the nick of time. No need to think about the issues any
longer. The decision has been made, and from now on the consistency
tape can be played whenever necessary: ‘TM? Certainly I think it will
help me; certainly I expect to continue; certainly I believe in TM. I
already put my money down for it, didn’t I?’ Ah, the comforts of
mindless consistency. I’ll just rest right here for a while. It’s so much
nicer than the worry and strain of that hard, hard search.”
If, as it appears, automatic consistency functions as a shield against
thought, it should not be surprising that such consistency can also be
exploited by those who would prefer that we not think too much in
response to their requests for our compliance. For the exploiters, whose
interest will be served by an unthinking, mechanical reaction to their
requests, our tendency for automatic consistency is a gold mine. So
clever are they at arranging to have us play our consistency tapes when
it profits them that we seldom realize we have been taken. In fine jujitsu fashion, they structure their interactions with us so that our ownneed
to be consistent will lead directly to their benefit.
Certain large toy manufacturers use just such an approach to reduce
a problem caused by seasonal buying patterns. Of course, the boom
time for toy sales occurs before and during the Christmas holiday sea-son. The toy companies make fat profits during this period. Their
problem is that toy sales then go into a terrible slump for the next couple
of months. Their customers have already spent the full amount in their
toy budgets and are stiffly resistant to their children’s pleas for more.
Even those children whose birthdays fall soon after the holidays receive
fewer toys because of the recent Christmas spree.
So the toy manufacturers are faced with a dilemma: how to keep sales
high during the peak season and, at the same time, retain a healthy
demand for toys in the immediately following months. Their difficulty
certainly doesn’t lie in convincing our naturally insatiable offspring to
want a continuous flow of new amusements. A series of flashy television
commercials placed among the Saturday morning cartoon shows will
produce the usual amounts of begging, whining, and wheedling no
matter when it appears during the year. No, the problem is not in mo-tivating kids to want more toys after Christmas.
The problem is in motivating postholiday spent-out parents to reach
down for the price of yet another plaything for their already toy-glutted
children. What could the toy companies possibly do to produce that
unlikely behavior? Some have tried a greatly increased advertising
campaign, others have reduced prices during the slack period, but
neither of those standard sales devices has proved successful. Not only
are both tactics costly, but both have also been ineffective in increasing
sales to desired levels. Parents are simply not in a toy-buying mood,
and the influences of advertising or reduced expense are not enough
to shake that stony resistance.
Certain large toy manufacturers, however, think they have found a
solution. It’s an ingenious one, involving no more than a normal advert-ising expense and an understanding of the powerful pull of the need
for consistency. My first hint of how the toy companies’ strategy worked
came after I fell for it and then, in true patsy form, fell for it again.
It was January, and I was in the town’s largest toy store. After pur-chasing all too many gifts there for my son a month before, I had sworn
not to enter that place or any like it for a long, long time. Yet there I
was, not only in the diabolic place but also in the process of buying my
son another expensive toy—a big, electric road-race set. In front of the
road-race display, I happened to meet a former neighbor who was
buying his son the same toy. The odd thing was that we almost never
saw each other anymore. In fact, the last time was a year earlier in that
same store where we were both buying our sons an expensive post-Christmas gift—that time a robot that walked, talked, and laid waste.
We laughed about our strange pattern of seeing each other only once
a year at the same time, in the same place, while doing the same thing.
Later that day, I mentioned the coincidence to a friend who, it turned
out, had once worked in the toy business.
“No coincidence,” he said knowingly.
“What do you mean, ‘No coincidence’?”
“Look,” he said, “let me ask you a couple of questions about the road-race set you bought this year. First, did you promise your son that he’d
get one for Christmas?”
“Well, yes, I did. Christopher had seen a bunch of ads for them on
the Saturday morning cartoon shows and said that was what he wanted
for Christmas. I saw a couple of the ads myself and it looked like fun,
so I said okay.”
“Strike one,” he announced. “Now for my second question. When
you went to buy one, did you find all the stores sold out?”
“That’s right, I did! The stores said they’d ordered some but didn’t
know when they’d get any more in. So I had to buy Christopher some
other toys to make up for the road-race set. But how did you know?”
“Strike two,” he said. “Just let me ask one more question. Didn’t this
same sort of thing happen the year before with the robot toy?”
“Wait a minute…you’re right. That’s just what happened. This is in-credible. How did you know?”
“No psychic powers; I just happen to know how several of the big
toy companies jack up their January and February sales. They start
prior to Christmas with attractive TV ads for certain special toys. The
kids, naturally, want what they see and extract Christmas promises for
these items from their parents. Now here’s where the genius of the
companies’ plan comes in: They undersupplythe stores with the toys
they’ve gotten the parents to promise. Most parents find those things
sold out and are forced to substitute other toys of equal value. The toy
manufacturers, of course, make a point of supplying the stores with
plenty of these substitutes. Then, after Christmas, the companies start
running the ads again for the other, special toys. That juices up the kids
to want those toys more than ever. They go running to their parents
whining, ‘You promised, you promised,’ and the adults go trudging
off to the store to live up dutifully to their words.”
“Where,” I said, beginning to seethe now, “they meet other parents
they haven’t seen for a year, falling for the same trick, right?”
“Right. Uh, where are you going?”
“I’m going to take that road-race set right back to the store.” I was
so angry I was nearly shouting.
“Wait. Think for a minute first. Why did you buy it this morning?”
“Because I didn’t want to let Christopher down and because I wanted
to teach him that promises are to be lived up to.”
“Well, has any of that changed? Look, if you take his toy away now,
he won’t understand why. He’ll just know that his father broke a
promise to him. Is that what you want?”
“No,” I said, sighing, “I guess not. So, you’re telling me that they
doubled their profit on me for the past two years, and I never even
knew it; and now that I do, I’m still trapped—by my own words. So,
what you’re really telling me is, ‘Strike three.’”
He nodded, “And you’re out.”
COMMITMENT IS THE KEY
Once we realize that the power of consistency is formidable in directing
human action, an important practical question immediately arises: How
is that force engaged? What produces the clickthat activates the whirr
of the powerful consistency tape? Social psychologists think they know
the answer: commitment. If I can get you to make a commitment (that
is, to take a stand, to go on record), I will have set the stage for your
automatic and ill-considered consistency with that earlier commitment.
Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways
that are stubbornly consistent with the stand.
As we’ve already seen, social psychologists are not the only ones who
understand the connection between commitment and consistency.
Commitment strategies are aimed at us by compliance professionals of
nearly every sort. Each of the strategies is intended to get us to take
some action or make some statement that will trap us into later compli-ance through consistency pressures. Procedures designed to create
commitment take various forms. Some are fairly straightforward; others
are among the most subtle compliance tactics we will encounter.
For instance, suppose you wanted to increase the number of people
in your area who would agree to go door-to-door collecting donations
for your favorite charity. You would be wise to study the approach
taken by social psychologist Steven J. Sherman. He simply called a
sample of Bloomington, Indiana, residents as part of a survey he was
taking and asked them to predict what they would say if asked to spend
three hours collecting money for the American Cancer Society. Of
course, not wanting to seem uncharitable to the survey taker or to
themselves, many of these people said that they would volunteer. The
consequence of this sly commitment procedure was a 700 percent in-crease in volunteers when, a few days later, a representative of the
American Cancer Society did call and ask for neighborhood canvassers.
Using the same strategy, but this time asking Columbus, Ohio, residents
to predict whether they would vote on Election Day, a team of research-ers led by Anthony Greenwald were able to increase significantly the
turnout in a U.S. presidential election among those called.
Perhaps an even more crafty commitment technique has been de-veloped recently by telephone solicitors for charity. Have you noticed
that callers asking you to contribute to some cause or another these
days seem to begin things by inquiring about your current health and
well-being? “Hello Mr./Ms. Targetperson,” they say. “How are you
feeling this evening?” Or, “How are you doing today?” The caller’s in-tent with this sort of introduction is not merely to seem friendly and
caring. It is to get you to respond—as you normally do to such polite,
superficial inquiries—with a polite, superficial comment of your own:
“Just fine” or “Real good” or “I’m doing great, thanks.” Once you have
publicly stated that all is well, it becomes much easier for the solicitor
to corner you into aiding those for whom all is not well: “I’m glad to
hear that, because I’m calling to ask if you’d be willing to make a
donation to help out the unfortunate victims of…”
The theory behind this tactic is that people who have just asserted
that they are doing/feeling fine—even as a routine part of a sociable
exchange—will consequently find it awkward to appear stingy in the
context of their own admittedly favored circumstances. If all this sounds
a bit farfetched, consider the findings of consumer researcher Daniel
Howard, who put the theory to test. Dallas, Texas, residents were called
on the phone and asked if they would agree to allow a representative
of the Hunger Relief Committee to come to their homes to sell them
cookies, the proceeds from which would be used to supply meals for
the needy. When tried alone, that request (labeled the “standard solicit-ation approach”) produced only 18 percent agreement. However, if the
caller initially asked, “How are you feeling this evening?” and waited
for a reply before proceeding to the standard approach, several note-worthy things happened. First, of the 120 individuals called, most (108)
gave the customary favorable reply (“Good,” “Fine,” “Real well,” etc.).
Second, 32 percent of the people who got the “How are you feeling to-night” question agreed to receive the cookie seller at their homes, nearly
twice the success rate of the standard solicitation approach. Third, true
to the consistency principle, almost everyone who agreed to such a
visit did, in fact, make a cookie purchase when contacted at home (89
percent).
To make sure that this tactic doesn’t generate its successes simply
because a solicitor who uses it seems more concerned and courteous
than one who doesn’t use it, Howard conducted another study. This
time callers began either with the question “How are you feeling this evening?” (and waited for a response before proceeding) or with the
statement “I hope you are feeling well this evening” and then proceeded
to the standard solicitation approach. Despite the fact that the caller
started each type of interaction with a warm and friendly comment,
the “How are you feeling” technique was, by far, superior to its rival
(33 percent vs. 15 percent compliance), because it alone drew an exploit-able public commitment from its targets. Note that the commitment
was able to get twice as much compliance from those targets even
though at the time it occurred it must have seemed to them an altogether
inconsequential reply to an altogether superficial question—yet another
fine example of social jujitsu at work.
The question of what makes a commitment effective has a number
of answers. A variety of factors affect the ability of a commitment to
constrain our future behavior. One large-scale program designed to
produce compliance illustrates nicely how several of the factors work.
The remarkable thing about this program is that it was systematically
employing these factors decades ago, well before scientific research had
identified them.
During the Korean War, many captured American soldiers found
themselves in prisoner-of-war (POW) camps run by the Chinese Com-munists. It became clear early in the conflict that the Chinese treated
captives quite differently than did their allies, the North Koreans, who
favored savagery and harsh punishment to gain compliance. Specifically
avoiding the appearance of brutality, the Red Chinese engaged in what
they termed their “lenient policy,” which was in reality a concerted and
sophisticated psychological assault on their captives. After the war,
American psychologists questioned the returning prisoners intensively
to determine what had occurred. The intensive psychological investig-ation took place, in part, because of the unsettling success of some as-pects of the Chinese program. For example, the Chinese were very ef-fective in getting Americans to inform on one another, in striking con-trast to the behavior of American POWs in World War II. For this
reason, among others, escape plans were quickly uncovered and the
escape attempts themselves almost always unsuccessful. “When an es-cape did occur,” wrote Dr. Edgar Schein, a principal American invest-igator of the Chinese indoctrination program in Korea, “the Chinese
usually recovered the man easily by offering a bag of rice to anyone
turning him in.” In fact, nearly all American prisoners in the Chinese
camps are said to have collaborated with the enemy in one form or an-other.
An examination of the Chinese prison-camp program shows that its
personnel relied heavily on commitment and consistency pressures to gain the desired compliance from prisoners. Of course, the first problem
facing the Chinese was how to get any collaboration at all from the
Americans. These were men who were trained to provide nothing but
name, rank, and serial number. Short of physical brutalization, how
could the captors hope to get such men to give military information,
turn in fellow prisoners, or publicly denounce their country? The
Chinese answer was elementary: Start small and build.
For instance, prisoners were frequently asked to make statements so
mildly anti-American or pro-Communist as to seem inconsequential
(“The United States is not perfect.” “In a Communist country, unem-ployment is not a problem.”). But once these minor requests were
complied with, the men found themselves pushed to submit to related
yet more substantive requests. A man who had just agreed with his
Chinese interrogator that the United States is not perfect might then be
asked to indicate some of the ways in which he thought this was the
case. Once he had so explained himself, he might be asked to make a
list of these “problems with America” and to sign his name to it. Later
he might be asked to read his list in a discussion group with other
prisoners. “After all, it’s what you really believe, isn’t it?” Still later he
might be asked to write an essay expanding on his list and discussing
these problems in greater detail.
The Chinese might then use his name and his essay in an anti-American radio broadcast beamed not only to the entire camp, but to
other POW camps in North Korea, as well as to American forces in
South Korea. Suddenly he would find himself a “collaborator,” having
given aid to the enemy. Aware that he had written the essay without
any strong threats or coercion, many times a man would change his
image of himself to be consistent with the deed and with the new “col-laborator” label, often resulting in even more extensive acts of collabor-ation. Thus, while “only a few men were able to avoid collaboration
altogether,” according to Dr. Schein, “the majority collaborated at one
time or another by doing things which seemed to them trivial but which
the Chinese were able to turn to their own advantage…. This was par-ticularly effective in eliciting confessions, self-criticism, and information
during interrogation.”
If the Chinese know about the subtle power of this approach, it should
not be surprising that another group of people interested in compliance
is also aware of its usefulness. Many business organizations employ it
regularly.
For the salesperson, the strategy is to obtain a large purchase by
starting with a small one. Almost any small sale will do, because the
purpose of that small transaction is not profit. It is commitment. Further
purchases, even much larger ones, are expected to flow naturally from
the commitment. An article in the trade magazine American Salesman
put it succinctly:
The general idea is to pave the way for full-line distribution by
starting with a small order…. Look at it this way—when a person
has signed an order for your merchandise, even though the profit
is so small it hardly compensates for the time and effort of making
the call, he is no longer a prospect—he is a customer.
The tactic of starting with a little request in order to gain eventual
compliance with related larger requests has a name: the foot-in-the-door technique. Social scientists first became aware of its effectiveness
in the mid-1960s when psychologists Jonathan Freedman and Scott
Fraser published an astonishing set of data.
They reported the results
of an experiment in which a researcher, posing as a volunteer worker,
had gone door to door in a residential California neighborhood making
a preposterous request of homeowners. The homeowners were asked
to allow a public-service billboard to be installed on their front lawns.
To get an idea of just how the sign would look, they were shown a
photograph depicting an attractive house, the view of which was almost
completely obscured by a very large, poorly lettered sign reading DRIVE
CAREFULLY. Although the request was normally and understandably
refused by the great majority (83 percent) of the other residents in the
area, this particular group of people reacted quite favorably. A full 76
percent of them offered the use of their front yards.
The prime reason for their startling compliance has to do with
something that had happened to them about two weeks earlier: They
had made a small commitment to driver safety. A different volunteer
worker had come to their doors and asked them to accept and display
a little three-inch-square sign that read BE A SAFE DRIVER. It was such a
trifling request that nearly all of them had agreed to it. But the effects
of that request were enormous. Because they had innocently complied
with a trivial safe-driving request a couple of weeks before, these
homeowners became remarkably willing to comply with another such
request that was massive in size.
Freedman and Fraser didn’t stop there. They tried a slightly different
procedure on another sample of homeowners. These people first re-ceived a request to sign a petition that favored “keeping California
beautiful.” Of course, nearly everyone signed, since state beauty, like
efficiency in government or sound prenatal care, is one of those issues
almost no one is against. After waiting about two weeks, Freedman
and Fraser sent a new “volunteer worker” to these same homes to ask
the residents to allow the big DRIVE CAREFULLYsign to be erected on
their lawns. In some ways, their response was the most astounding of
any of the homeowners in the study. Approximately half of these people
consented to the installation of the DRIVE CAREFULLYbillboard, even
though the small commitment they had made weeks earlier was not to
driver safety but to an entirely different public-service topic, state
beautification.
At first, even Freedman and Fraser were bewildered by their findings.
Why should the little act of signing a petition supporting state beauti-fication cause people to be so willing to perform a different and much
larger favor? After considering and discarding other explanations,
Freedman and Fraser came upon one that offered a solution to the
puzzle: Signing the beautification petition changed the view these people
had of themselves. They saw themselves as public-spirited citizens who
acted on their civic principles. When, two weeks later, they were asked
to perform another public service by displaying the DRIVE CAREFULLY
sign, they complied in order to be consistent with their newly formed
self-images. According to Freedman and Fraser,
What may occur is a change in the person’s feelings about getting
involved or taking action. Once he has agreed to a request, his at-titude may change, he may become, in his own eyes, the kind of
person who does this sort of thing, who agrees to requests made
by strangers, who takes action on things he believes in, who co-operates with good causes.
What the Freedman and Fraser findings tell us, then, is to be very
careful about agreeing to trivial requests. Such an agreement can not
only increase our compliance with very similar, much larger re-quests,
it can also make us more willing to perform a variety of larger favors
that are only remotely connected to the little one we did earlier. It’s this
second, general kind of influence concealed within small commitments
that scares me.
It scares me enough that I am rarely willing to sign a petition any-more, even for a position I support. Such an action has the potential to
influence not only my future behavior but also my self-image in ways
I may not want. And once a person’s self-image is altered, all sorts of
subtle advantages become available to someone who wants to exploit
that new image.
Who among Freedman and Fraser’s homeowners would have thought
that the “volunteer worker” who asked them to sign a state beautifica-tion petition was really interested in having them display a safe-driving
billboard two weeks later? And who among them could have suspected
that their decision to display the billboard was largely due to the act of
signing the petition? No one, I’d guess. If there were any regrets after
the billboard went up, who could they conceivably hold responsible
but themselvesand their own damnably strong civic spirit? They probably
never even considered the guy with the “keeping California beautiful”
petition and all that knowledge of jujitsu.
Notice that all of the foot-in-the-door experts seem to be excited about
the same thing: You can use small commitments to manipulate a per-son’s self-image; you can use them to turn citizens into “public ser-vants,” prospects into “customers,” prisoners into “collaborators.” And
once you’ve got a man’s self-image where you want it, he should comply
naturallywith a whole range of your requests that are consistent with
this view of himself.
Not all commitments affect self-image, however. There are certain
conditions that should be present for a commitment to be effective in
this way. To discover what they are, we can once again look to the
American experience in the Chinese prison camps of Korea. It is import-ant to understand that the major intent of the Chinese was not simply
to extract information from their prisoners. It was to indoctrinate them,
to change their attitudes and percep-tions of themselves, of their polit-ical system, of their country’s role in the war, and of communism. And
there is evidence that the program often worked alarmingly well.
Dr. Henry Segal, chief of the neuropsychiatric evaluation team that
examined returning POWs at the war’s end, reported that war-related
beliefs had been substantially shifted. The majority of the men believed
the Chinese story that the United States had used germ warfare, and
many felt that their own forces had been the initial aggressors in starting
the war. Similar inroads had been made in the political attitudes of the
men:
Many expressed antipathy toward the Chinese Communists but
at the same time praised them for “the fine job they have done in
China.” Others stated that “although communism won’t work in
America, I think it’s a good thing for Asia.”
7
It appears that the real goal of the Chinese was to modify, at least for
a time, the hearts and minds of their captives. If we measure their
achievement in terms of “defection, disloyalty, changed attitudes and
beliefs, poor discipline, poor morale, poor esprit, and doubts as to
America’s role,” Dr. Segal concluded that “their efforts were highly
successful.” Because commitment tactics were so much a part of the
effective Chinese assault on hearts and minds, it is quite informative
to examine the specific features of the tactics they used.
The Magic Act
Our best evidence of what people truly feel and believe comes less from
their words than from their deeds. Observers trying to decide what a
man is like look closely at his actions. What the Chinese have discovered
is that the man himself uses this same evidence to decide what he is
like. His behavior tells him about himself; it is a primary source of in-formation about his beliefs and values and attitudes. Understanding
fully this important principle of self-perception, the Chinese set about
arranging the prison-camp experience so that their captives would
consistently actin desired ways. Before long, the Chinese knew, these
actions would begin to take their toll, causing the men to change their
views of themselves to align with what they had done.
Writing was one sort of confirming action that the Chinese urged
incessantly upon the men. It was never enough for the prisoners to
listen quietly or even to agree verbally with the Chinese line; they were
always pushed to write it down as well. So intent were the Chinese on
securing a written statement that if a prisoner was not willing to write
a desired response freely, he was prevailed upon to copy it. The
American psychologist Edgar Schein describes a standard indoctrination
session tactic of the Chinese in these terms:
A further technique was to have the man write out the question
and then the [pro-Communist] answer. If he refused to write it
voluntarily, he was asked to copy it from the notebooks, which
must have seemed like a harmless enough concession.
But, oh, those “harmless” concessions. We’ve already seen how ap-parently trifling commitments can lead to extraordinary further beha-vior. And the Chinese knew that, as a commitment device, a written
declaration has some great advantages. First, it provides physical
evidence that the act occurred. Once a man wrote what the Chinese
wanted, it was very difficult for him to believe that he had not done so.
The opportunities to forget or to deny to himself what he had done
were not available, as they are for purely verbal statements. No; there
it was in his own handwriting, an irrevocably documented act driving
him to make his beliefs and his self-image consistent with what he had
undeniably done.
A second advantage of a written testament is that it can be shown to
other people. Of course, that means it can be used to persuade those
people. It can persuade them to change their own attitudes in the direc-tion of the statement. But more important for the purpose of commit-ment, it can persuade them that the author genuinely believes what
58 / Influence
was written. People have a natural tendency to think that a statement
reflects the true attitude of the person who made it. What is surprising
is that they continue to think so even when they know that the person
did not freely choose to make the statement.
Some scientific evidence that this is the case comes from a study by
psychologists Edward Jones and James Harris, who showed people an
essay that was favorable to Fidel Castro and asked them to guess the
true feelings of its author.
8
Jones and Harris told some of these people
that the author had chosen to write a pro-Castro essay; and they told
the other people that the author had been required to write in favor of
Castro. The strange thing was that even those people who knew that
the author had been assigned to do a pro-Castro essay guessed that he
liked Castro. It seems that a statement of belief produces a click, whirr
response in those who view it. Unless there is strong evidence to the
contrary, observers automatically assume that someone who makes
such a statement means it.
Think of the double-barreled effects on the self-image of a prisoner
who wrote a pro-Chinese or anti-American statement. Not only was it
a lasting personal reminder of his action, it was also likely to persuade
those around him that the statement reflected his actual beliefs. And,
as we will see in Chapter 4, what those around us think is true of us is
enormously important in determining what we ourselves think is true.
For example, one study found that after hearing that they were con-sidered charitable people, New Haven, Connecticut, housewives gave
much more money to a canvasser from the Multiple Sclerosis Associ-ation.
9
Apparently the mere knowledge that someone viewed them as
charitable caused these women to make their actions consistent with
another’s perception of them.
Once an active commitment is made, then, self-image is squeezed
from both sides by consistency pressures. From the inside, there is a
pressure to bring self-image into line with action. From the outside,
there is a sneakier pressure—a tendency to adjust this image according
to the way others perceive us. And because others see us as believing
what we have written (even when we’ve had little choice in the matter),
we will once again experience a pull to bring self-image into line with
the written statement.
In Korea, several subtle devices were used to get the prisoners to
write, without direct coercion, what the Chinese wanted. For example,
the Chinese knew that many prisoners were eager to let their families
know that they were alive. At the same time, the men knew that their
captors were censoring the mails and that only some letters were being
allowed out of camp. To ensure that their own letters would be released,
some prisoners began including in their messages peace appeals, claims
Robert B. Cialdini Ph.D / 59
of kind treatment, and statements sympathetic to communism. The
hope was that the Chinese would want such letters to surface and
would, therefore, allow their delivery. Of course, the Chinese were
happy to cooperate because those letters served their interests mar-velously. First, their worldwide propaganda effort benefited greatly
from the appearance of pro-Communist statements by American ser-vicemen. Second, in the service of prisoner indoctrination, they had,
without raising a finger of physical force, gotten many men to go on
record as supporting the Chinese cause.
A similar technique involved political essay contests that were regu-larly held in camp. The prizes for winning were invariably small—a
few cigarettes or a bit of fruit—but were sufficiently scarce that they
generated a lot of interest from the men. Usually the winning essay was
one that took a solidly pro-Communist stand…but not always. The
Chinese were wise enough to realize that most of the prisoners would
not enter a contest that they could win only by writing a Communist
tract. And the Chinese were clever enough to know how to plant small
commitments to communism in the men that could be nurtured into
later bloom. So the prize was occasionally given to an essay that gener-ally supported the United States but that bowed once or twice to the
Chinese view. The effects of this strategy were exactly what the Chinese
wanted. The men continued to participate voluntarily in the contests
because they saw that they could win with an essay highly favorable
to their own country. But perhaps without realizing it, they began to
shade their essays a bit toward communism in order to have a better
chance of winning. The Chinese were ready to pounce on any concession
to Communist dogma and to bring consistency pressures to bear upon
it. In the case of a written declaration within a voluntary essay, they
had a perfect commitment from which to build toward collaboration
and conversion.
Other compliance professionals also know about the committing
power of written statements. The enormously successful Amway Cor-poration, for instance, has hit upon a way to spur their sales personnel
to greater and greater accomplishments. Members of the staff are asked
to set individual sales goals and commit themselves to those goals by
personally recording them on paper:
One final tip before you get started: Set a goal and write it down.
Whatever the goal, the important thing is that you set it, so you’ve
got something for which to aim—and that you write it down. There
is something magical about writing things down. So set a goal and
60 / Influence
write it down. When you reach that goal, set another and write
that down. You’ll be off and running.
10
If the Amway people have found “something magical about writing
things down,” so have other business organizations. Some door-to-door
sales companies use the magic of written commitments to battle the
“cooling-off” laws recently passed in many states. The laws are designed
to allow customers a few days after purchasing an item to cancel the
sale and receive a full refund. At first this legislation hurt the hard-sell
companies deeply. Because they emphasize high-pressure tactics, their
customers often buy, not because they want the product but because
they are duped or intimidated into the sale. When the new laws went
into effect, these customers began canceling in droves.
The companies have since learned a beautifully simple trick that cuts
the number of such cancellations drastically. They merely have the
customer, rather than the salesman, fill out the sales agreement. Accord-ing to the sales-training program of a prominent encyclopedia company,
that personal commitment alone has proved to be “a very important
psychological aid in preventing customers from backing out of their
contracts.” Like the Amway Corporation, then, these organizations
have found that something special happens when people personally
put their commitments on paper: They live up to what they have written
down.
Another common way for businesses to cash in on the “magic” of
written declarations occurs through the use of an innocent-looking
promotional device. Before I began to study weapons of social influence,
I used to wonder why big companies such as Procter & Gamble and
General Foods are always running those “25-, 50-, or 100 words or less”
testimonial contests. They all seem to be alike. The contestant is to
compose a short personal statement that begins with the words, “Why
I like…” and goes on to laud the features of whatever cake mix or floor
wax happens to be at issue. The company judges the entries and awards
some stunningly large prizes to the winners. What had puzzled me was
what the companies got out of the deal. Often the contest requires no
purchase; anyone submitting an entry is eligible. Yet, the companies
appear to be strangely willing to incur the huge costs of contest after
contest.
I am no longer puzzled. The purpose behind the testimonial contests
is the same as the purpose behind the political essay contests of the
Chinese Communists. In both instances, the aim is to get as many people
as possible to go on record as liking the product. In Korea, the product
was a brand of Chinese communism; in the United States, it might be
a brand of cuticle remover. The type of product doesn’t matter; the
Robert B. Cialdini Ph.D / 61
process is the same. Participants voluntarily write essays for attractive
prizes that they have only a small chance to win. But they know that
for an essay to have any chance of winning at all, it must include praise
for the product. So they find praiseworthy features of the product and
describe them in their essays. The result is hundreds of men in Korea
or hundreds of thousands of people in America who testify in writing
to the product’s appeal and who, consequently, experience that “magic-al” pull to believe what they have written.
The Public Eye
One reason that written testaments are effective in bringing about
genuine personal change is that they can so easily be made public. The
prisoner experience in Korea showed the Chinese to be quite aware of
an important psychological principle: Public commitments tend to be
lasting commitments. The Chinese constantly arranged to have the pro-Communist statements of their captives seen by others. A man who
had written a political essay the Chinese liked, for example, might find
copies of it posted around camp, or might be asked to read it to a pris-oner discussion group, or even to read it on the camp radio broadcast.
As far as the Chinese were concerned, the more public the better. Why?
Whenever one takes a stand that is visible to others, there arises a
drive to maintain that stand in order to looklike a consistent person.
Remember that earlier in this chapter we described how desirable good
personal consistency is as a trait; how someone without it could be
judged as fickle, uncertain, pliant, scatterbrained, or unstable; how
someone with it is viewed as rational, assured, trustworthy, and sound.
Given this context, it is hardly surprising that people try to avoid the
look of inconsistency. For appearances’ sake, then, the more public a
stand, the more reluctant we will be to change it.
An illustration of how public commitments can lead to doggedly
consistent further action is provided in a famous experiment performed
by a pair of prominent social psychologists, Morton Deutsch and Harold
Gerard. The basic procedure was to have college students first estimate
in their own minds the length of lines they were shown. At this point,
one sample of the students had to commit themselves publicly to their
initial judgments by writing them down, signing their names to them,
and turning them in to the experimenter. A second sample of students
also committed themselves to their first estimates, but they did so
privately by putting them on a Magic Writing Pad and then erasing
them by lifting the Magic Pad’s plastic cover before anyone could see
what they had written. A third set of students did not commit them-62 / Influence
selves to their initial estimates at all; they just kept the estimates in mind
privately.
In these ways, Deutsch and Gerard had cleverly arranged for some
students to commit themselves publicly, some privately, and some not
at all to their initial decisions. What Deutsch and Gerard wanted to find
out was which of the three types of students would be most inclined
to stick with their first judgments after receiving information that those
judgments were incorrect. So all of the students were given new evid-ence suggesting that their initial estimates were wrong, and they were
then given the chance to change their estimates.
The results were quite clear. The students who had never written
down their first choices were the least loyal to those choices. When new
evidence was presented that questioned the wisdom of decisions that
had never left their heads, these students were the most influenced by
the new information to change what they had viewed as the “correct”
decision. Compared to these uncommitted students, those who had
merely written their decisions for a moment on a Magic Pad were sig-nificantly less willing to change their minds when given the chance.
Even though they had committed themselves under the most anonym-ous of circumstances, the act of writing down their first judgments
caused them to resist the influence of contradictory new data and to
remain consistent with the preliminary choices. But Deutsch and Gerard
found that, by far, it was the students who had publicly recorded their
initial positions who most resolutely refused to shift from those positions
later. Public commitment had hardened them into the most stubborn
of all.
This sort of stubbornness can occur even in situations where accuracy
should be more important than consistency. In one study, when six- or
twelve-person experimental juries were deciding a close case, hung
juries were significantly more frequent if the jurors had to express their
opinions with a visible show of hands rather than by secret ballot. Once
jurors had stated their initial views publicly, they were reluctant to allow
themselves to change publicly, either. Should you ever find yourself as
the foreperson of a jury under these conditions, then, you could reduce
the risk of a hung jury by choosing a secret rather than public balloting
technique.
11
The Deutsch and Gerard finding that we are truest to our decisions
if we have bound ourselves to them publicly can be put to good use.
Consider the organizations dedicated to helping people rid themselves
of bad habits. Many weight-reduction clinics, for instance, understand
that often a person’s private decision to lose weight will be too weak
to withstand the blandishments of bakery windows, wafting cooking
scents, and late-night Sara Lee commercials. So they see to it that the
Robert B. Cialdini Ph.D / 63
decision is buttressed by the pillars of public commitment. They require
their clients to write down an immediate weight-loss goal and showthat
goal to as many friends, relatives, and neighbors as possible. Clinic
operators report that frequently this simple technique works where all
else has failed.
Of course, there’s no need to pay a special clinic in order to engage
a visible commitment as an ally. One San Diego woman described to
me how she employed a public promise to help herself finally stop
smoking:
I remember it was after I heard about another scientific study
showing that smoking causes cancer. Every time one of those
things came out, I used to get determined to quit, but I never could.
This time, though, I decided I had to do something. I’m a proud
person. It matters to me if other people see me in a bad light. So I
thought, “Maybe I can use that pride to help me dump this damn
habit.” So I made a list of all the people who I really wanted to
respect me. Then I went out and got some blank business cards
and I wrote on the back of each card, “I promise you that I will
never smoke another cigarette.”
Within a week, I had given or sent a signed card to everybody on the
list—my dad, my brother back East, my boss, my best girlfriend, my
ex-husband, everybody but one—the guy I was dating then. I was just
crazy about him, and I really wanted him to value me as a person. Be-lieve me, I thought twice about giving him a card because I knew that
if I couldn’t keep my promise to him I’d die. But one day at the of-fice—he worked in the same building as I did—I just walked up to him,
handed him the card, and walked away without saying anything.
Quitting “cold turkey” was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There
must have been a thousand times when I thought I hadto have a smoke.
But whenever that happened, I’d just picture how all of the people on
my list, especially this one guy, would think less of me if I couldn’t stick
to my guns. And that’s all it took. I’ve never taken another puff.
You know, the interesting thing is the guy turned out to be a real
schmuck. I can’t figure out what I saw in him back then. But at the time,
without knowing it, he helped me get through the toughest part of the
toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. I don’t even like him anymore. Still,
I do feel grateful in a way because I think he saved my life.


The title of the page could come across as a threat and in order to save the group from a ban does anyone have any suggestions to rename it ?


Don't expect the next Xbox to be called Xbox 3 or Xbox 720. Apple has changed the rules on branding, so when the next generation arrives it'll almost certainly just be 'Xbox'. That part is speculation, but everything else you're about to read has come from industry experts and from Microsoft's own leaky boat.

The next Xbox will hit shelves in November 2013 and the best developers in the world are already working on it. Rare has Kinect Sports 3, Bungie has Destiny, Lionhead has the long-rumoured Fable MMO, 343 has Halo 5, DICE has Battlefield 4, and Turn 10 has Forza 5, and you won't have to wait long to see them.

Unless something really dramatic changes, everything you see here will be revealed long before June's E3 conference, at Microsoft's annual 'X' showcase in February or March next year. The next-generation countdown starts now...
Quote:
1)MASSIVE POWER

image

(Mockup of what Xbox World expects the next gen Xbox to look like)

Microsoft's 'Durango' development kits are already in developers' hands, and the CPU at the heart of the machine is a monster. Where 360 has a three-core CPU from 2005, Durango promises four hardware cores, each divided into four logical cores - a spec greater than anything even the most hardcore PC gamer has on his desktop.

"On paper the 360's specs are still fairly respectable," says Matt Ployhar, senior product planner on Nvidia's Consumer Applications Product Team. "It has three cores clocked roughly at 3.2Ghz each, and the newer 360s have a 45nm chip using less power. However, it's not until you really start digging that the bigger advancements that have been made in CPU architectures start becoming more apparent.

"Today, a 'next-gen' console would likely want to use the latest and greatest architecture it could in order to sustain itself over another five to ten year time frame.

"Specifications-wise, we'd end up with a 22-28nm chip, another processing core at roughly the same clock speeds, a cache that is not only faster but four times bigger, six times the number of transistors; all while keeping in the same ballpark or better for power constraints. That's not too shabby, and it doesn't even begin to cover the fact graphics can occupy space on that same physical die and easily match current-generation graphics performance."

Quote:
2)PUTTING THE POWER TO WORK

So you've got all this extra power... what can you do with it? "We can simulate more things and simulate those things better," says Simon Mack, chief tech man at Naturalmotion - the Cambridge-based studio behind GTAIV's physics.

"You get more physics, you get better fidelity. We can expect to see more simulated characters and richer worlds. We can start to look at having more complex characters under simulation with more complex interactions, and can add more things - hair and cloth and that sort of thing. This all helps to increase believability.

"Right now, game environments are generally restricted to straightforward simulated objects. Having a greater level of physical simulation means you can have more detailed interaction with it. At its most basic, how about destruction? Destruction of objects, of cloth, and soon... That means your character can affect the world in a more detailed and interesting way, as well as have the world affect the character.

"As you up the number of possible interactions in the game, it becomes harder to manage the gameplay. That's the challenge many developers will face, but we think that will benefit gameplay in coming years."

Quote:
3)KINECT 2.0

Kinect 2.0 tracks up to four players and can read even the smallest movements of your fingers thanks to advancements in the camera technology and the additional processing grunt, rumours suggest, but there are other Microsoft technologies which will feed into the next generation of Microsoft's often dubious motion sensor.

"For the last couple of years we have explored how to use depth-sensing cameras to enable interactions on surfaces in the environment," says Microsoft researcher Hrvoje Benko.

His device, Omnitouch, turns any surface into an interactive touch screen using a projector or - potentially - augmented reality specs. "Coupled with a pico projector, one can turn anything into an interactive surface. It's possible to track fingers in mid-air and reason about their collisions with other objects, thus simulating the multi-touch interactions from smartphones and slates."

Coupled with a miniature projector and Benko's tech, the next Xbox could project a board game right onto your coffee table or give you a virtual keyboard at any time. But even that's thinking small compared to what Microsoft has in mind...

Quote:
4)AUGMENTED REALITY

Microsoft's leaked planning document detailed plans to turn the next Xbox into a full augmented reality system with a new peripheral planned for 2014. The new AR specs would work alongside Kinect or Omnitouch to turn your living room into a virtual reality environment in which game characters could appear, and even interact with objects in the real world.

"Most of the time, we don't directly pursue the productisation and miniaturisation steps, but on demonstrating the capabilities of the technology," says Omnitouch researcher Hrvoje Benko. "But I see no reason Omnitouch couldn't eventually end up in a pair of glasses. I'm very hopeful that within a few years we'll see more augmented reality technologies in widespread use.

"I see many opportunities, ranging from simply translating the existing games to make them work on many other non-digital surfaces, to completely new games that leverage your personal view, location, body or environment to create more compelling games. In our Beamatron project, we have already demonstrated driving virtual RC cars around a living room, making jumps off a couch, and behaving just like a real car."

The next Xbox could do something as small as place Master Chief's HUD right in front of your eyes, or even bring the action off the screen right into your living room.

Quote:
5)3D SOUND

Augmented reality is powerful, but to build a real virtual world you'll want characters who appear to speak to you with location-specific audio. Impossible? Nope; the technology already exists for specialists.

"The effect of 3D sound is astonishing," says Tuyen Pham, CEO of A-Volute: 3D Sound Projects. "You're in the axis of the speaker and you hear sound; you move your head a little bit and the sound disappears. The hardware components in our technology are still too expensive to be used in consumer products, though with mass production having a device on top of or under your TV set can be something accessible for a major brand."

Microsoft are that major brand, and Microsoft Research has already demonstrated its own directional sound prototype - a rack of 16 speakers all working together to 'project' sound into a small area. Coupled with Kinect head-tracking, the speakers could project audio only you can hear, making headphones a thing of the past. Might the tech be intended for the next Xbox? We put the idea to Pham, who has some ideas about how it could work.

"The consumer device looks like a 10x20cm panel with a thickness of one centimetre. It could be placed anywhere, and I think the application of such technology for game consoles is clear. However, after checking with our legal department I can't disclose that. We're working with a gaming company but the information I could give is under NDA..."

Quote:
6)BLU-RAY AND BEYOND

The next Xbox should ship with a Blu-ray drive as standard, allowing for games up to 50Gb on a single disc without PS3's current problems with the tech - namely slow seek times and increased loading times in game. Modern Blu-ray drives are faster than their 2006 equivalents, and Microsoft will use the latest tech it can source at a sensible price.

One rumour is that the first 'slim' version of the next Xbox will drop the optical drive altogether in favour of a download-only platform scheduled for 2015. The 'slim' Xbox, if it comes to pass, would be scheduled for a post-disc world where broadband speeds and network caps have advanced to the point that a 20-30Gb download would be manageable on even an average home connection.

For now, the UK's broadband isn't up to the job and it's not alone; online video provider Netflix recently deemed Canada a third world country when it comes to broadband. There are only a few PC and console games which go over 25Gb - the bigger PS3 games tend to duplicate data on the disc to reduce seek times - but expect games to grow big enough to fill Blu-rays as the next generation matures.

Quote:
7)DIRECTX 11

"It's a safe bet that the next Xbox is going to be DirectX 11 capable," says Nvidia's Matt Ployhar. DX11 is Microsoft's own programming interface which unlocks impressive next-generation effects in modern PC games. "We're all in store for some amazing treats graphically when the next round of games start ramping up to really exploit DirectX 11 by default in both the console and PC versions."

"We're only seeing the tip of the iceberg on PC right now, but already I think most console gamers will be amazed by what they're actually missing out on. Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, Colin McRae: Dirt 3 and Stalker: Call of Pripyat are just a taste of what's to come, and in order to see most of that eye candy you really have to dial things up beyond what the current consoles are capable of.

"That means higher resolutions, sharper textures, more anti-aliasing, tessellation etc. It's hard to describe, but check out Epic's Samaritan demo and this year's Unreal 4 demo. A good part of these game engine technologies will trickle down into the next console generation."

Quote:
8)A NEW MICROSOFT

Microsoft needs to respond to Xbox Live's biggest problems: the ones that hit developers first then gamers second. Indie dev Phil Fish decided against patching Fez because patching on Xbox is a $10,000 job - too much for most small developers.

Live's big problems come from Microsoft's side, and the next-generation Xbox will require a friendlier Microsoft if it's to become home to games like Valve's ever-evolving shooter Team Fortress 2 or multiplayer battle arena League of Legends - the biggest game in the world, and one which grows with its player base.

"For a competitive multiplayer title like ours, it's important to react fast to the player base and address exploits," says Monday Night Combat's Chandana Ekanayake. "But our first patch took 35 days and our first DLC took 34 days before it went live after we sent it to Microsoft. For our PC beta of Monday Night Combat, we did 30 updates on a weekly basis, and sometimes even twice a week."

"On 360, Ubisoft and all the other publishers out there have to choose whether it's worth the costs associated with putting out a title update," says Ubisoft's Stuart White, producer on Ghost Recon. "It's an easy decision if a new feature will take a week to make and generate an extra 30,000 sales, but it's more difficult when it's going to take three months. Then you start getting into a cost/benefit analysis situation."

Cheaper and easier patching will open games up to better downloadable content and more creative ideas from developers. "And cutting down on all that red tape? Yeah, of course I'd like that," says White. "There's a lot of forms you have to fill out... you need to get a specific identification number before you can submit your DLC, and sometimes you don't even know where to go to find that number."

Quote:
9)NEXT GENERATION CONTROLS

Rumours suggest Microsoft's next controller is still in the prototype stages with some models featuring touch screens and others featuring programmable buttons. Controller technology has changed enough in the last seven years to make the next Xbox controller a radically different device says Min-Liang Tan, CEO of gaming peripheral firm Razer.

"In 2005 the 360 controller was a big improvement from the original Xbox controller in terms of ergonomics and durability, and Microsoft made huge improvements with their morphing D-pad. I think the next development will be adding buttons gamers can map freely for individual customisation," he says.

That means your friend who insists on playing Halo with Greenthumb and an inverted stick won't have to mess around in the menus when you pass the pad.

"We haven't looked into how much it would cost to build a touch screen controller at Razer, but I imagine it would be quite expensive. Anywhere upwards of $99-$150 would be my best bet," similar to Nintendo's price tag for its Wii U controller, then. "There are a lot of things you can imagine doing with a secondary screen, though when playing on a console the gamer's eyes are focused on the TV and the distance to the controller is quite large, so that's a problem.

"Controller technology has advanced so far, Microsoft could take it anywhere. Maybe it could withstand rage-quitting throws because it's made of Kevlar fibres, or have flexible material that morphs to gamers' hand shapes, like a built-in stress ball for when you lose a round online."

Quote:
10)CLOUD GAMING

In the same leaked document which set out the five-year roadmap for the next generation of Xbox, Microsoft listed cloud gaming provider Onlive as an acquisition target. Onlive's service let players stream games over the internet for a monthly fee with minimal lag, but the company went bankrupt in August and Microsoft didn't opt to buy. Instead, it hosted a mixer for Onlive's staff on August 27, with the aim of 'adding key players who want to make a real impact in creating groundbreaking new products and services'.

Sony already has its own cloud gaming provider, having dropped $380 million (£237m) on Gaikai, with the intention of bringing Gaikai's cloud streaming tech to PlayStation.

Microsoft usually prefers to build from scratch whenever it can, so expect Microsoft's home-grown effort to appear on the next-gen Xbox and every other device you own, effectively turning your phone, TV, PC and tablet into an extension of your console. Any device could become a host for your games and your saves, played locally on the next Xbox or streamed straight from Microsoft's cloud.

Quote:
11)LIVE 3.0: NEW USER FEATURES

The next Xbox should introduce a new version of Live, with better support for social networking and free-to-play or subscripton-based games. Those are essentials, but online developers have ideas too.

"Microsoft has the best digital distribution network on a console with Xbox Live, but it's not very flexible in the rapidly changing environment," says Chandana Ekanayake, executive producer on Monday Night Combat at Uber Entertainment.

"I'd like to see better discoverability for games on the Dashboard, as well as faster methods of updating a game with more control given to the developer. Removing the 100-friend limit is a must, and Microsoft have to better integrate Xbox Live features across multiple platforms, whether it be console, mobile, tablet or desktop PC."

"I think that increasing the size of the Friends List only helps," says Ubisoft's Stuart White, PvP producer on Ghost Recon Future Soldier. "If you raise that cap, then more people can share what they're playing. And I would love to see a hard drive for all models of the next generation of Xbox so we can do what we can do on the PS3. We're currently limited at times when it comes to the amount of information we can push in a title update or DLC."

Quote:
12)TOTAL MULTIMEDIA

With the latest version of the 360's Dashboard, Microsoft has already taken steps to turn the Xbox into a complete hub for their own music and TV services. "I think with the next-generation Xbox we'll see a shift towards Microsoft tightly integrating the software and services that power Windows Phone and Windows 8," says The Verge's senior editor, Tom Warren.

"The end result will likely be a greater focus on presenting Skype and Kinect as a competitor to Apple's FaceTime, and Xbox Music to take on Amazon and Apple's iTunes."

Microsoft's leaked doc hints at an 'always on' console. Taken to its logical extreme, imagine your next Xbox taking the place of your Sky+ box, with a TV input and output. What if saying "Xbox BBC 2" or tapping a button on your mobile phone's SmartGlass app let you change channels or record video straight through your console?

"Microsoft has a strong footing in the living room right now, primarily from Xbox 360 and Kinect, and SmartGlass is a clear play by Microsoft to control the living room with its content partners," says Warren. "The cross-platform support will aid it in the short and long term."

Quote:
13)THE USER INTERFACE

Metro is far from a perfect user interface, as this feature points out, but Metro is here to stay and will be the way you interact with Windows 8, Windows Phone and the next-generation Xbox.

"Microsoft's Andy Lees commented during the 2011 Worldwide Partner Conference that the company wants to provide a consistent experience across all of its products, including Xbox," says Tom Warren, tech expert and senior editor on The Verge.

"It's clearly an important piece of Microsoft's future, and the company is even using it across their new Outlook mail system and the next version of Microsoft Office. I think you'll have to keep an eye on Windows 8 to see how that influences Xbox."

A more precise Kinect means smaller tiles and more content available on each 'page' of the dash, but Windows 8's Metro interface is already proving unpopular, so Microsoft will have to take a year of feedback into account when the latest version of Metro hits the next Xbox.

Quote:
14)ALWAYS-ON GAMING

However, Microsoft's most powerful feature for next-generation Xbox might be... no switching off. The next Xbox should be an always-on console where key games will be ready to go at a moment's notice.

Throughout the leaked planning document Microsoft constantly references "multiple experiences at once or on their own", be that via Cloud streaming to multiple devices, games with rich online content, or actually using your Xbox to switch between media.

Microsoft wants the kind of speed you get from a mobile device but on the big screen - breaking down the barriers between players and the games, switching between Kinect Sports 3 and Halo 5 as easily as you'd change channels on your TV.

You can't remove loading times altogether so long as games need to load in new assets, but by keeping certain games pre-loaded you can have your favourite titles ready to go at a moment's notice. That takes a lot of power and a lot of RAM - 8Gb of it, rumours suggest. There's no reason a high-end game can't flush the memory to squeeze in huge textures and big worlds, but other games will use memory for always-on gaming.

Apple's iOS has changed things for Sony and Microsoft, and the next gen might be defined as much by immediacy and accessibility as it is by huge worlds, high end graphics and revolutionary online play.
image


Good morning.

The Federal Government will announce reforms today aimed at improving teacher performance. Trainee teachers will have to pass some tough new tests before being allowed into classrooms as well as emotional intelligence and aptitude tests.

Do you think this is a step in the right direction? Or simply a deterrent for people wanting to join education?

Join the debate.


WAREZ DEFINITION

0-Day - Latest software releases.

0-Sec - Same as above, although the period of time between ripping a game or application and it appearing on a warez site is even shorter.

Ace File - The first file in a series of compressed archives (the one you double click on to decompress all the files at once).

Active List - Similar to a mailing list, but uses ICQ to send instant messages to subscribers.

Alpha - Software receives this label when it is in the very early stages of development. Usually full of bugs, so don't touch it with a barge pole.

Anti-Leech - A system which uses cgi scripts to prevent people stealing links and then taking the credit for uploading the files.

Appz - Short for applications. For example Flash 5 or GoLie 5.5.

ASF File - The worst quality movie file format (still pretty good though), much smaller in size than dat or mpg.

Banner Site - Password and username restricted FTP site. To get the correct login details you must click on several banners.

Beta - Refers to an almost finished piece of software that is released to the public for bug testing.

BSA - An acronym for Business Software Alliance, an organisation who are responsible for enforcing anti-piracy litigation. Similar groups in charge of controlling software "theft" include the SIIA, SPA and ELSPA.

BSOD - Many people read about BSODs on bulletin boards and think that they're being insulted, but there is no need to get paranoid. It is actually an acronym for "Blue Screen Of Death". These can occur for a multitude of reasons (old Bill likes to keep us guessing!) and are the bane of PC user's lives.

Bulletin Board - A virtual meeting place on the web similar to a chat room except that it isn't in real time. One person leaves a message then others come along, read it and add a reply. Each new discussion is called a new topic or thread and has it's own link. Whenever a new topic is created the older topics are pushed one place downwards in the list. When someone replies to an older topic it is brought back to the top of the list.

C?? File - File extension that indicates that a file is part of an .ace or .rar series of compressed files.

Cgi Scripts - These are referrers which are used in url’s. When you click on a link with a ?cgi reference you are directed to a sponsor’s website or an anti-leech protected file.

Cookie - A tiny text file (usually less than 1kb), which is stored on your hard drive when you visit a web site. These are used to remember who you are so that you can access members only areas on the site without having to type in a password every time or to retain your personalised settings so that they are available the next time you visit.

Courier - Someone who is involved in the logistics of delivering new releases directly from the release groups themselves to FTP sites.

Crack - A tiny executable file that is used to transform a shareware program into the full version. Also used to remove any copy protection from the main executable of games (this will already have been done in "ripped" warez games).

CRC Error - These can occur when you try to decompress a file that has become corrupt during the downloading process, usually as a result of too much resuming.

Credits - The amount of data you are permitted to download from a ratio site. The more credits you have the more software you are allowed to download.

DAP - A quick way of referring to "Download Accelerator Plus", a free download manager that claims to speed up file transfers by up to three hundred per cent. It works by making multiple connections to the same file and is paid for by revolving advertising banners.Also supports resume.

DAT File - File format used for movies, identical in quality and size to mpg as far as I can tell.

DC - The lazy way of referring to the Dreamcast, Sega's latest console incarnation.

Decompression - Unpacking many files that have been stored in a single archive.

Distro - A concise means of referring to a distribution FTP site. These are huge storage areas which act as a springboard for the transfer of new releases. Their whereabouts are never public disclosed to aid their survival rate. You can think of them as the initial source from which warez emanates.

Direct Downloads - Links to actual files rather than other warez sites or pages. These are usually gathered together from many different sites and put on one page for your convenience.

DivX - Movies ripped from a DVD using the DivX video codecs. Can be played back using Media Player.

DIZ File - Short for description. Very brief text file found in warez archives stating the title of the software, the number of files that makes up the set and the group who released it.

Download (or DL) - Copying files from a web server or FTP site to your computer using a modem.

Emulator - An application that simulates another computer system or console using your PC.

FAQ - Stands for Frequently Asked Questions.

FAW - Abbreviation for "Files Anywhere", a popular, free web storage service.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) - The method used to transfer files from one computer to another using a modem.

Filler - Refers to a person who uploads stuff to pub for others to download.

Flaming - A general net term for "verbally" attacking someone. This can be done via email, bulletin board, chat room or any medium which involves communication across the web.

Freedrive - Virtual hard drive storage area on the web. Free to join and anything and everything can be uploaded or downloaded.

Freeware - Unrestricted software that is downloaded from the net and is completely free to use. Often paid for using advertising.

FTP Client / Browser - A program used to access, upload and download data from FTP sites.

FXP - File eXchange Protocol - This refers to server to server transfer. You can transfer files from one pub to another using very little of your own bandwidth. This is by far the best means for distributing large files, only problem is that a very limited number of FXP capable pubs exist.

Gamez - Pretty self-explanatory this one.

Getright - One of the best download managers available.

Gold - A piece of software is said to have gone gold when the final version is complete and it is ready to ship to the public.

Gozilla - Another excellent download manager.

Hacking - Gaining access to a remote computer without the authorisation to do so. Usually for the purposes of stealing confidential information or the malicious destruction of data.

Hammering - Repeatedly trying to access an FTP site using an FTP client or download manager.

HTTP - Stands for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol". The method you use to view a web page. Always comes before the address of a website in your Url bar.

ICQ - Derives from the term "I Seek You" and is used for real time chat and transferring files over the internet.

IP - 32 bit binary number identifying the position of a computer on the Internet - similar to the URL. The URL is usually easier to remember as it is alpha based rather than numerical.

IP Range - usually referred to when talking about scanning a particular range of ip addresses. They can be broken down into A, B, and C ranges - AAA.BBB.CCC.xxx. Usually an entire B range will be scanned at a time.

IRC - Stands for "Instant Relay Chat". Used for real time chat and transferring files over the Internet.

ISO - An exact copy of an original CD, all the multimedia bits and pieces are uncut and therefore they are extremely large and awkward to download.

Java - Html scripts used to add functionality to or bring web pages alive. These include animation (such as the title graphic on my main page), menus, chat rooms, buttons, pop ups and so on.

KBps - Kilobytes per second - This is what most transfer speed are referring to. One Byte is comprised of 8 Bits.

Kbps - Kilobits per second - This is what most modem speeds are referring to. Why? Probably to make them look faster. Divide by 8 to get KBps.

Key Generator - A tiny executable program that is capable of creating a serial number from a specified username. These are specific to particular applications or utilities, so a serial number created with one key generator will only work for the program for which the key generator was developed.

Lamer - An annoying and overused general derogatory term used to insult/put down anyone and everything.

Leeching - Downloading files without giving anything back in return or copying other people’s links.

Mirror - An exact copy of a web site that is stored on a different server. Using multiple locations for warez sites allows the site to be accessed using a different address if the main site is deleted.

Modchip - Very common website sponsor found on warez sites. They don’t mind their banners being used on illegal software sites because their products are one of the “grey areas” of the law. Modchips are small pieces of electronic circuitry which allow copied games to be played on your Playstation. If a Playstation has been fitted with a Modchip it is said to have been "chipped".

MP3 File - Compressed music file format. Average track size is between 3 and 4 meg compared to 40-ish meg in wav format.

MPG File - The best quality and largest movie file format.

Multi Web Space Faker - A tool used to create lots of free web space accounts simultaneously.

Name Zero - An organisation that offers free website domain names. The main drawbacks are that you have to put up with a very bulky banner residing at the bottom of your page and the fact that you never actually own your chosen address.

NFO File - Short for info or information. Basic text file containing all the important details relating to a particular release, such as number of files, release date, copy protection system, installation instructions etc.

Nuked - A release is said to be nuked if it is completely unplayable. Usually when this happens another group re-releases the particular game, although fixes do sometimes follow on to rescue the game from trash can.

OEM - An acronym for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM software products are repackaged versions of the full retail product. They are often re-branded to suit the needs of the particular vender and are much more reasonable priced because they lack excessive packaging and a hard copy of the manual.

OST - Not strictly a warez term this one, but one that you are likely to come across while searching for MP3 music. It stands for original soundtrack (movie music).

Patch - We all know games and applications aren't perfect. When they are released we would hope that they have been thoroughly tested for bugs and incompatibility problems, but you can guarantee that many of these will still slip through the quality control net. Once the program is released to the general public, the bug reports start to flood in. A patch is a downloadable executive file which takes these reports into account and attempts to incorporate all the fixes for these known problems. A patch can resolve incompatibility problems, prevent crashes or improve the performance of a piece of software.

Piracy - The replication and distribution of videos or computer software.

Pop-ups - Irritating browser windows that open automatically when you visit a warez site. Usually contain voting portals or Salman Khan sites.

Port - A port is a term used when referring to FTP sites and is an essential extension of the address used to access them. If the port number of an FTP site isn't specified the default setting of 21 will automatically be used.

Pron - A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away someone posted a request for Salman Khan on a bulletin board, only, because of a typing error what he ended up asking for was "pron". Since then this has become a bit of a running joke and so it is now deliberately misspelt.

Proxy - A third party server which acts as an anonymous go between whenever you request a web page or contact a remote server. The message from your computer is first sent through the proxy server before being relayed to the final destination so that it appears as though the request has come from the IP address of the proxy server rather than you. Used when you wish to maintain your privacy on the net or speed up your connection (much more detailed info on this subject in the "more tips" section).

Psx - A quick way of referring to the Sony Playstation.

Pub - A free for all FTP site where anonymous access is permitted. They are usually used for transferring large files to many people because of their high speeds.

Pub Scanner - Someone who scours the net for anonymous access FTP sites which permit the creation and deletion of files. These are then exploited by uploading software for others to share.

Pub Stealer - Someone who posts the IP address of a public FTP site which they themselves have not built. Some pub stealers justify this by claiming that the elitism of private FXP groups discriminates against those people who do not have access, yet others simply post other people's work to try to claim the credit for themselves. Either way though, pub stealers are despised by the FXP groups and praised by those who would otherwise not have access to them.

Rar File - The first file in a series of compressed archives (the one you double click on to decompress all the files at once). Usually decompressed using a program called Winrar.

Release Groups - A group of people who are involved in cracking and / or ripping software and then repackaging it into easily downloadable segments.

Ratio - Two numbers separated by a semi-colon. Indicates how much data you must upload to an FTP site before you are permitted to download anything.

Reg File - Tiny file that adds essential configuration details into the registry.

Resume - The ability to stop and start downloading / uploading a file whenever you choose without having to start from the beginning again.

Rip - Software that has had all the non-essential gubbins removed to reduce its size. Videos and music are always the first casualties.

Raped - A release is branded with this term if it has been damaged beyond repair during the ripping process.

RM File - Shorthand for Real Media, a file format used to encode video sequences, which can only be played back using the "Real Player". Video clips produced using this format are not of the highest quality, but do have the advantage of a small file size.

ROM - Games which are designed for other platforms, but are played on the PC using an emulator.

Serial - A valid username and password that is saved as a basic text file and is used to register a shareware program and therefore remove all the restrictions.

Shareware - Try before you buy software downloaded from the net.

Spam - Unsolicited junk e-mail. Supposedly stands for "Stupid Person's Annoying Message".

Sponsor - To make some money webmasters can place adverts on their sites. Each time you click on these adverts or banners they get paid a few cents for bringing potential customers to the sponsors website.

Surfer Friendly (SF) - Surfer friendly sites supposedly have no blind links, pop-ups or Salman Khan banners. Don't be fooled by this label though as some sites will tell you fibs to get you to visit them.

Sys Op - The person who has the responsibility for running the computer from which an FTP site has been established. When warez is uploaded to public FTP sites and then suddenly goes "Missing In Action" you can often lay the blame at the door of the Sys Op who has an obligation to make sure his/her server stays within the boundaries of the law (i.e. warez free).

Tag / Tagged - This generally refers to the tagging of a pub. A FXP group uses a directory structure to claim it as their own. A general rule is that if a tag is 2 weeks old and not in use it has been abandoned.

Top List - Chart which lists in rank order the best warez sites. Worked out on the basis of votes.

Trading - Swapping warez, file for file via FTP, ICQ etc. Not usually approved of by the real warez community who believe that warez should be freely distributed. To put it simply, it is not the "warez way".

Trainer - A small, executable program which sits in your taskbar while you play a game. Hotkeys are associated with cheat commands so that when they are pressed you are given extra ammo, weapons, lives or the ability to toggle between invincible/mortal modes etc etc.

Trojans - Nasty virus like attachments which can be merged with executable files. These are tiny so are unlikely to arouse suspicion. When run they allow a hacker to access your computer and wreak havoc. Can occasionally be found in warez files.

UBB - Shorthand for Ultimate Bulletin Board, currently the most popular script used for creating warez bulletin boards.

UBB Hacks - This term falsely gives the impression that something destructive or malicious is involved, but when you hear people talking about a hack in the context of bulletin boards they are simply referring to code which helps to improve the functionality of a board. For example a "thread hack" would effect the way in which individual threads look and operate.

Undeletable Pub - An anonymous access, public FTP site where the permission attributes are set to allow uploads and downloads, but do not permit deletion.

Unzip - Unpacking or decompressing many files that have been stored in a single archive. Technically only used when talking about zip files.

Upload - Copying files from your computer to a web server or FTP site using a modem.

URL - Stands for "Uniform Resource Locator". The web site address you type into your browser.

VCD - Stands for Video Compact Disc. Basically these are huge movie files which can be viewed with the latest version of Media Player.

Voting - Members of the warez scene are very keen to reach the number one slot of top lists such as Voodoo, Top 60 etc. and will therefore encourage you to vote for their site to improve their position and get the credit they deserve (or not as the case may be!).

Warez - "Pirated" Full version software that is uploaded to the internet and is available for free download.

Warez Board - Bulletin board used by the warez community to share links and discuss anything related to warez.

Winace - Another utility used for decompressing all the common archive formats. Not great in my opinion. See below for a better one.

Wingate - Similar to a proxy in that they are used to hide your identity, except all information actually passes through the Wingate, if you have a slow Wingate you get slow download/upload speeds. Wingates are also used to force FXP transfer on pubs that do not normally accept FXP, again all data passes through the Wingate so you need one that is fast for it to be useful.

Winrar - Utility used for decompressing .rar files and much more.

Winzip - An essential tool used to decompress warez files.

Zip - A common compression format used to store warez.


Warez Definations

Warez Definations

ISO:
A file that is created from an image of a CD. You can make an iso yourself with a program such as Adaptec Easy CD Creator, or you can burn an ISO file to a CD-R to create a copy of a CD.

Bin/cue files:
These are also used to create an image of a CD. Most people burn these with CdrWin or Fireburner. The .bin file contains all the data for the cd, the .cue file is just a small file in text format telling the software exactly how to burn the data onto the CD.

MP3:
Don't know what these are? What cave have you been you living in? This is a format used to compress music files. You can create your own by encoding .wav files ripped from audio CDs. There are many free players that will play mp3s for you (see the Winamp tutorial)

Ace files:
These are used to compress/archive data. Use WinAce to decompress them, or to make your own. The normal format for ace files is to have .ace, .c01, .c01, etc.

Rar files:
Another compression/archive format. This is most commonly used on iso or bin files in order to split them up into smaller files (15 MB is the norm). Winrar and many other utilities can decompress these. Rar files are usually in the format .rar, .r01, .r02, etc. But don't be surprised if you don't see a .rar file. Just open up winrar and point it to .r01. You also may see them packed as .001, .002, etc. (maybe with a .rar, maybe not)

Pub:
This is an FTP that has left on anonymous access. Many are owned by large companies, so they have a lot of bandwidth. This makes it possible for one person to send files there and many people can download them at once =) These are found by scanning ranges of ips (see the FTP tutorial). Just remember, like the name says, these are public. Just because you upload something there or make directories with your name does not make it 'your pub'. At the same time, realize that if you come across a pub with another person/groups stuff on it that it may be in use to build other pubs from - so don't ruin it for many people by deleting stuff you find there. For more on this, go read some posts on our Bulletin Board.

Proxy:
A system that is set up to forward packets... There are many different kinds, check out the proxy tutorial for more info. Basically, a proxy server helps cover up your tracks because you connect to remote computers through the proxy. Think of it as the condom of the Internet

SFV Files/ CRC Checks:
SFV files contain information about files that they accompany. You can preform a CRC check on the files using a program such as WinSFV. This compares the information in the SFV file to the file itself. If the information doesn't match, then the file was probably messed up in transfer somehow.. try downloading it again, from a different source if possible.

0-Day:
Latest software releases.

0-Sec:
Same as above, although the period of time between ripping a game or application and it appearing on a warez site is even shorter.

Ace File:
The first file in a series of compressed archives (the one you double click on to decompress all the files at once).

Active List:
Similar to a mailing list, but uses ICQ to send instant messages to subscribers.

Alpha:
Software receives this label when it is in the very early stages of development. Usually full of bugs, so don't touch it with a barge pole.

Anti-Leech:
A system which uses cgi scripts to prevent people stealing links and then taking the credit for uploading the files.

Appz:
Short for applications. For example Flash 5 or GoLie 5.5.

ASF File:
The worst quality movie file format (still pretty good though), much smaller in size than dat or mpg.

Banner Site:
Password and username restricted FTP site. To get the correct login details you must click on several banners.

Beta:
An acronym for Business Software Alliance, an organisation who are responsible for enforcing anti-piracy litigation. Similar groups in charge of controlling software "theft" include the SIIA, SPA and ELSPA.

BSOD:
Many people read about BSODs on bulletin boards and think that they're being insulted, but there is no need to get paranoid. It is actually an acronym for "Blue Screen Of Death". These can occur for a multitude of reasons (old Bill likes to keep us guessing!) and are the bane of PC user's lives.

Bulletin Board:
A virtual meeting place on the web similar to a chat room except that it isn't in real time. One person leaves a message then others come along, read it and add a reply. Each new discussion is called a new topic or thread and has it's own link. Whenever a new topic is created the older topics are pushed one place downwards in the list. When someone replies to an older topic it is brought back to the top of the list.

C?? File:
File extension that indicates that a file is part of an .ace or .rar series of compressed files.

Cgi Scripts:
These are referrers which are used in url’s. When you click on a link with a ?cgi reference you are directed to a sponsor’s website or an anti-leech protected file.

Cookie:
A tiny text file (usually less than 1kb), which is stored on your hard drive when you visit a web site. These are used to remember who you are so that you can access members only areas on the site without having to type in a password every time or to retain your personalised settings so that they are available the next time you visit.

Courier:
Someone who is involved in the logistics of delivering new releases directly from the release groups themselves to FTP sites.

Crack:
A tiny executable file that is used to transform a shareware program into the full version. Also used to remove any copy protection from the main executable of games (this will already have been done in "ripped" warez games).

CRC Error:
These can occur when you try to decompress a file that has become corrupt during the downloading process, usually as a result of too much resuming.

Credits:
The amount of data you are permitted to download from a ratio site. The more credits you have the more software you are allowed to download.

DAP:
A quick way of referring to "Download Accelerator Plus", a free download manager that claims to speed up file transfers by up to three hundred per cent. It works by making multiple connections to the same file and is paid for by revolving advertising banners.Also supports resume. **EDITOR'S PICK**

DAT File:
File format used for movies, identical in quality and size to mpg as far as I can tell.

DC:
The lazy way of referring to the Dreamcast, Sega's latest console incarnation.

Decompression:
Unpacking many files that have been stored in a single archive.

Distro:
A concise means of referring to a distribution FTP site. These are huge storage areas which act as a springboard for the transfer of new releases. Their whereabouts are never public disclosed to aid their survival rate. You can think of them as the initial source from which warez emanates.

Direct Downloads
Links to actual files rather than other warez sites or pages. These are usually gathered together from many different sites and put on one page for your convenience.

DivX:
Movies ripped from a DVD using the DivX video codecs. Can be played back using Media Player.

DIZ File:
Short for description. Very brief text file found in warez archives stating the title of the software, the number of files that makes up the set and the group who released it.

Download (or DL):
Copying files from a web server or FTP site to your computer using a modem.

Emulator:
An application that simulates another computer system or console using your PC.

FAQ:
Stands for Frequently Asked Questions.

FAW:
Abbreviation for "Files Anywhere", a popular, free web storage service.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP):
The method used to transfer files from one computer to another using a modem.

Flaming:
A general net term for "verbally" attacking someone. This can be done via email, bulletin board, chat room or any medium which involves communication across the web.

Freedrive:
Virtual hard drive storage area on the web. Free to join and anything and everything can be uploaded or downloaded.

Freeware:
Unrestricted software that is downloaded from the net and is completely free to use. Often paid for using advertising.

FTP Client / Browser:
A program used to access, upload and download data from FTP sites.

Fxp:
The art of transferring data from one Ftp site to another using the connection speed of the slower of the two computers.

Gamez:
Pretty self-explanatory this one.

Getright:
One of the best download managers available.

Gold:
A piece of software is said to have gone gold when the final version is complete and it is ready to ship to the public.

Gozilla:
Another excellent download manager.

Hacking:
Gaining access to a remote computer without the authorisation to do so. Usually for the purposes of stealing confidential information or the malicious destruction of data.

Hammering:
Repeatedly trying to access an FTP site using an FTP client or download manager.

HTTP:
Stands for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol". The method you use to view a web page. Always comes before the address of a website in your Url bar.

ICQ:
Derives from the term "I Seek You" and is used for real time chat and transferring files over the internet.

IP Address:
A series of numbers separated by dots used to identify your computer on the Internet.

IRC:
Stands for "Instant Relay Chat". Used for real time chat and transferring files over the Internet.

ISO:
An exact copy of an original CD, all the multimedia bits and pieces are uncut and therefore they are extremely large and awkward to download.

Java:
Html scripts used to add functionality to or bring web pages alive. These include animation (such as the title graphic on my main page), menus, chat rooms, buttons, pop ups and so on.

Key Generator:
A tiny executable program that is capable of creating a serial number from a specified username. These are specific to particular applications or utilities, so a serial number created with one key generator will only work for the program for which the key generator was developed.

Lamer:
An annoying and overused general derogatory term used to insult/put down anyone and everything.

Leeching:
Downloading files without giving anything back in return or copying other people’s links.

Mirror:
An exact copy of a web site that is stored on a different server. Using multiple locations for warez sites allows the site to be accessed using a different address if the main site is deleted.

Modchip:
Very common website sponsor found on warez sites. They don’t mind their banners being used on illegal software sites because their products are one of the “grey areas” of the law. Modchips are small pieces of electronic circuitry which allow copied games to be played on your Playstation. If a Playstation has been fitted with a Modchip it is said to have been "chipped".

MP3 File:
Compressed music file format. Average track size is between 3 and 4 meg compared to 40-ish meg in wav format.

MPG File:
The best quality and largest movie file format.

Multi Web Space Faker:
A tool used to create lots of free web space accounts simultaneously.

Name Zero:
An organisation that offers free website domain names. The main drawbacks are that you have to put up with a very bulky banner residing at the bottom of your page and the fact that you never actually own your chosen address.

NFO File:
Short for info or information. Basic text file containing all the important details relating to a particular release, such as number of files, release date, copy protection system, installation instructions etc.

Nuked:
A release is said to be nuked if it is completely unplayable. Usually when this happens another group re-releases the particular game, although fixes do sometimes follow on to rescue the game from trash can.

OEM:
An acronym for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM software products are repackaged versions of the full retail product. They are often re-branded to suit the needs of the particular vender and are much more reasonable priced because they lack excessive packaging and a hard copy of the manual.

OST:
Not strictly a warez term this one, but one that you are likely to come across while searching for MP3 music. It stands for original soundtrack (movie music).

Patch:
We all know games and applications aren't perfect. When they are released we would hope that they have been thoroughly tested for bugs and incompatibility problems, but you can guarantee that many of these will still slip through the quality control net. Once the program is released to the general public, the bug reports start to flood in. A patch is a downloadable executive file which takes these reports into account and attempts to incorporate all the fixes for these known problems. A patch can resolve incompatibility problems, prevent crashes or improve the performance of a piece of software.

Piracy:
The replication and distribution of videos or computer software.

Pop-ups:
Irritating browser windows that open automatically when you visit a warez site. Usually contain voting portals or Salman Khan sites.

Port:
A port is a term used when referring to FTP sites and is an essential extension of the address used to access them. If the port number of an FTP site isn't specified the default setting of 21 will automatically be used.

Pron:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away someone posted a request for Salman Khan on a bulletin board, only, because of a typing error what he ended up asking for was "pron". Since then this has become a bit of a running joke and so it is now deliberately misspelled.

Proxy:
A third party server which acts as an anonymous go between whenever you request a web page or contact a remote server. The message from your computer is first sent through the proxy server before being relayed to the final destination so that it appears as though the request has come from the IP address of the proxy server rather than you. Used when you wish to maintain your privacy on the net or speed up your connection (much more detailed info on this subject in the "more tips" section).

Psx:
A quick way of referring to the Sony Playstation.

Pub:
A free for all FTP site where anonymous access is permitted.

Pub Scanner:
Someone who scours the net for anonymous access FTP sites which permit the creation and deletion of files. These are then exploited by uploading software for others to share.

Pub Stealer:
Someone who posts the IP address of a public FTP site which they themselves have not built. Some pub stealers justify this by claiming that the elitism of private FXP groups discriminates against those people who do not have access, yet others simply post other people's work to try to claim the credit for themselves. Either way though, pub stealers are despised by the FXP groups and praised by those who would otherwise not have access to them.

Rar File:
The first file in a series of compressed archives (the one you double click on to decompress all the files at once). Usually decompressed using a program called Winrar.

Release Groups:
A group of people who are involved in cracking and / or ripping software and then repackaging it into easily downloadable segments.

Ratio:
Two numbers separated by a semi-colon. Indicates how much data you must upload to an FTP site before you are permitted to download anything.

Reg File:
Tiny file that adds essential configuration details into the registry.

Resume:
The ability to stop and start downloading / uploading a file whenever you choose without having to start from the beginning again.

Rip:
Software that has had all the non-essential gubbins removed to reduce its size. Videos and music are always the first casualties.

Raped:
A release is branded with this term if it has been damaged beyond repair during the ripping process.

RM File:
Shorthand for Real Media, a file format used to encode video sequences, which can only be played back using the "Real Player". Video clips produced using this format are not of the highest quality, but do have the advantage of a small file size.

ROM:
Games which are designed for other platforms, but are played on the PC using an emulator.

Serial:
A valid username and password that is saved as a basic text file and is used to register a shareware program and therefore remove all the restrictions.

Shareware:
Try before you buy software downloaded from the net.

Spam:
Unsolicited junk e-mail. Supposedly stands for "Stupid Person's Annoying Message".

Sponsor:
To make some money webmasters can place adverts on their sites. Each time you click on these adverts or banners they get paid a few cents for bringing potential customers to the sponsors website.

Surfer Friendly (SF):
Surfer friendly sites supposedly have no blind links, pop-ups or Salman Khan banners. Don't be fooled by this label though as some sites will tell you fibs to get you to visit them.

Sys Op:
The person who has the responsibility for running the computer from which an FTP site has been established. When warez is uploaded to public FTP sites and then suddenly goes "Missing In Action" you can often lay the blame at the door of the Sys Op who has an obligation to make sure his/her server stays within the boundaries of the law (i.e. warez free).

Top List:
Chart which lists in rank order the best warez sites. Worked out on the basis of votes.

Trading:
Swapping warez, file for file via FTP, ICQ etc. Not usually approved of by the real warez community who believe that warez should be freely distributed. To put it simply, it is not the "warez way".

Trainer:
A small, executable program which sits in your taskbar while you play a game. Hotkeys are associated with cheat commands so that when they are pressed you are given extra ammo, weapons, lives or the ability to toggle between invincible/mortal modes etc etc.

Trojans:
Nasty virus like attachments which can be merged with executable files. These are tiny so are unlikely to arouse suspicion. When run they allow a hacker to access your computer and wreak havoc. Can occasionally be found in warez files.

UBB:
Shorthand for Ultimate Bulletin Board, currently the most popular script used for creating warez bulletin boards.

UBB Hacks:
This term falsely gives the impression that something destructive or malicious is involved, but when you hear people talking about a hack in the context of bulletin boards they are simply referring to code which helps to improve the functionality of a board. For example a "thread hack" would effect the way in which individual threads look and operate.

Undeletable Pub:
An anonymous access, public FTP site where the permission attributes are set to allow uploads and downloads, but do not permit deletion.

Unzip:
Unpacking or decompressing many files that have been stored in a single archive. Technically only used when talking about zip files.

Upload:
Copying files from your computer to a web server or FTP site using a modem.

URL:
Stands for "Uniform Resource Locator". The web site address you type into your browser.

Voting:
Members of the warez scene are very keen to reach the number one slot of top lists such as Voodoo, Top 60 etc. and will therefore encourage you to vote for their site to improve their position and get the credit they deserve (or not as the case may be!).
Warez:
Full version software that is uploaded to the internet and is available for free download.

Warez Board:
Bulletin board used by the warez community to share links and discuss anything related to warez.

Winace:
Another utility used for decompressing all the common archive formats. Not great in my opinion. See below for a better one.

Winrar:
Utility used for decompressing .rar files and much more.

Winzip:
An essential tool used to decompress warez files.

Zip:
A common compression format used to store warez .


If I have any friends or friends of friends who are Logic savvy (as in the recording platform), I put out this question. Is there any way to easily convert the MIDI instruments, which record in stereo, to mono? I'm new to this but have so far found no real solutions in the online forums I've visited, etc. THANKS!


SPEECH BY GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI GCFR AT THE AFRICA DIASPORA CONFERENCE, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, 5TH MARCH 2013 Protocols 1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expec...tations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems. 2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country Nigeria. By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today. Furthermore, it would be counter- productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility. DEMOCRACY 3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary. 4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities. 5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely. As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”. 6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy. 7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist. 8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay. 9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government. 10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% - 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures. 11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003. 12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections. 13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay. 14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections. 15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment. 16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement. 17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop- keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper. No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day. CONCLUSION 18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported. 19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion. INDUSTRIES 20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption.Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria. 21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure. 22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South- South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria. 23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime. 24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015? 25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections. 26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only way I and many more experienced politicians than myself expect the 2015...See More


It’s Middle Name Appreciation Day!

Go ahead, give yours a shout out to celebrate.


I've been quiet for a while taking a lot in, I've heard a lot of what people have to say! Some of it kind words, some of it words of advice, some asking about the way forward! Some people though not all have been asking me to tell the old man to concede, to be honest I feel that raila odinga has given a lot for his country as a man he's put everything behind and concentrated on what's right! We've straggled a lot as a family most people only see the head of the family but as a whole sacrifices are made throughout, I'm proud of my dad and the fact that millions of Kenyans believe in him when he tells them everything will be alright and to push on, he's not only my rock but the rock of a nation, he' s come a long way and of that I say thank you baba. Looking forward through the insults and abuse, we've come a long way. And your still my hero, your not the leader some Kenyans want but your the leader all Kenyans deserve! And for that I'm behind you 100 percent, it's within your democratic right to go to court, and I for 1 am stating I'm one of the millions of cordashians behind you, tuko Tayari baba


Accommodating influential millennial travelers

If there is a silver lining to the sustained economic downturn that now appears to be receding, it is the degree to which hotel owners and operators have learned the importance of paying close attention to the evolving preferences of travelers. The economic pressures of the recession reinforced that no demographic can be ignored, and that old, flawed assumptions must be cast aside in the harsh light of new professional realities.

One of the most interesting ways in which this dynamic has played out in recent years is in the newfound respect and attention being paid to the millennial generation. As tech-savvy, social-media-using spenders in their 20s and 30s, millennials have been exerting their demographic influence on an industry that not too long ago was spending far more time and energy catering to baby boomers. The story of how the hotel industry has come to appreciate and better understand the millennial generation provides an interesting look at the ways in which hotel owners and operators have changed, and will continue to change, the service and structure of their hotels to meet the needs of this new demographic force.

The degree to which the hotel industry misunderstood millennials can be seen in the first iteration of hotels designed to appeal to their supposed sensibilities. Misconceptions of a generation led to a number of concept hotels designed to be lean on luxury and high on style. These hotels had scaled back somewhat on service in favor of introducing high-tech elements, including private spaces designed for guests to “commune” with technology at their leisure. The result was, in retrospect, predictably poor. However, this first generation of purpose-built millennial hotels helped initiate an industry evolution into the next chapter of customized hotel experiences.

The reality is millennials are far more social and far less socially inept than some might think. Millennials value social engagement more than some generations. Like most, they appreciate great service and quality. The millennial generation does have a personality, however—and some distinctive traits that are all its own.

Millennial spending habits
When it comes to luxury fashion, the younger demographic is spending at a rate of 33% in 2012 over 2011, according to American Express Business Insights data. This shows their appreciation for luxury items is ingrained in the generational consciousness. At the same time, however, this is also the “Groupon Generation,” where luxury at a discount is not just appreciated but sought out. Hotels have learned flash sales and daily deals play well with the millennial crowd. Millennials also love social causes and want to do business with responsible businesses. Green hotels are in, and socially conscious brands are likely to gain millennial traction.

Millennials love the latest and greatest gadgets, and facilitating the integration of technology into the hotel experience is important for hotels looking to boost their appeal. Free high-speed Internet access and Wi-Fi service are no longer perks, but necessities. A number of small-but-important conveniences for gadget owners—such as in-room power consoles and accessible power strips in public areas to make for easy device charging—are a testament to which this technology generation expects to access and utilize that technology on their own terms.

When it comes to service, millennials still place a great emphasis on human interaction and connections. The immediacy of technology to augment that service is still appreciated and expected, but this is a consumer group with little patience for delays or poor service.

Millennial intolerance of unacceptable service has begun to erode traditional notions of brand loyalty, and even one bad service experience can have lasting and wide-ranging repercussions. A number of popular consumer websites provide a readily accessible forum for aggrieved guests. Critical consumers will not complain to the manager, they will post their feelings online—an event that can be far more damaging. The flip side is quality service can be recognized and rewarded almost instantaneously. A great service experience that a guest posts to Facebook is an extraordinary piece of positive publicity for a hotel. Unsurprisingly, marketing and communicating to guests through social networks has also become more important. Some of the biggest hotel brands in the world have established sophisticated social media operations, with employees tracking and listening to online sentiment and responding immediately to virtual commentary.

Millennials also respond positively to individualized service. Some forward-thinking brands have begun to track detailed data on individual customer preferences with the goal of making each service experience customized to the consumer. And “experience” is definitely the right word when it comes to this generation, because hotels are increasingly viewed by these young consumers as opportunities to engage in something new and different—as a form of culture and entertainment. Innovative and interesting are qualities that are beginning to overtake comfort and familiarity as top millennial priorities, and hotels are increasingly being marketed with that in mind.

Entertainment value and the appeal of social engagement has led to a number of renovations and newly built hotels, with stylish and comfortable lobbies and welcoming and convivial public gathering spaces. Millennials are less likely to stay in their rooms and more likely to head down to the hotel bar with their smartphones. To capture this audience, some hotel owners and operators are introducing special social events and programming into their day-to-day operation.

One thing is clear: These distinctive generational characteristics and priorities are already manifesting themselves in today’s (and tomorrow’s) hotels, and hoteliers who do not tailor their approach to meet the needs of this increasingly influential generation will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

First Hospitality Group, Inc. has been involved in the development, ownership and management of hotels since 1985. Currently, the First Hospitality Group, Inc. portfolio consists primarily of Hilton and Marriott affiliated assets. In addition, First Hospitality Group, Inc. has ownership interests and manages hotels affiliated with InterContinental, Hyatt and Carlson. For further information, visit www.fhginc.com or call Robert Habeeb at 847-299-9040.

The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HotelNewsNow.com or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Columnists published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.


DEMOCRACY ON TRIAL:

Fellow Kenyans;
A very good evening to all of you.
We again stand at a very pivotal moment in our history.

We have created a new Kenya out of the ashes of the one that was nearly destroyed by the terrible violence which followed the tainted election of 2007.

It took five long years to rebuild this beautiful country, and foster reconciliation among those divided and traumatized by the events of 2007-2008.

Our people have passionately embraced an unprecedented new order of reforms and economic vibrancy that will deliver a more prosperous and equitable society, contained in a new Constitution that is the envy of the world.

And so last Monday, on 4th March, we all watched with utter gratitude the massive turnout as Kenyans waited patiently amidst hours-long delays to fulfill their desire to vote for the people they want to lead them.

Despite the hiccups the IEBC experienced in implementing a smooth and transparent run-up to Election Day, Kenyans were convinced that the IEBC would translate their faith in democracy into a completely credible election which would unite the country.

What Kenyans witnessed instead was the failure of virtually every instrument the IEBC had deployed for the election: The poll books, the servers, the telephonic transmission, the BVR – they all failed despite the billions spent on acquiring them.

Two days after the vote, the electronic tallying was discarded and counting begun afresh, manually.

That too turned out to be a flawed exercise in which, among other things, there was massive tampering with the IEBC Final Register of Voters.

Voter registration numbers were reduced in our strongholds and added to Jubilee strongholds!
To give just one example, Ndhiwa constituency had 61,339 voters listed in the IEBC Final Register.

But in the votes and election results that IEBC announced, it indicated Ndhiwa had only 48,535 voters!

At the same time, other constituencies saw the numbers of registered voters rise.

On Friday, the IEBC announced the results of the Presidential vote for Laikipia North constituency.
In the Friday announcement, I had 11,908, and the Jubilee candidate had 11,361.

But the Laikipia North results had already been announced by the IEBC the day before!

The result then was different – I had 11,596 votes while my opponent had 9,707. Where did these extra votes come from?

This is not the time to point to other examples of rampant illegality. That time will come.

There had been a massive public investment in the IEBC to ensure that this first post-2007 election would firmly entrench democracy and the rule of law.

The commissioners criss-crossed the world to study how best Kenyans would have a credible election, which would allow them to support their new President, whether they voted for him or not.

Now, it is clear that the constitutionally sanctioned process of electing a new set of leaders to take us to the next level has been thwarted by another tainted election.

This is not the IEBC that Kenyans and Judge Kriegler envisioned.

This crisis is not just about the IEBC. It is a crisis in the very workings of the faith that Kenyans have placed in their institutions to respect their democratic rights and the rule of law.
It is democracy that is on trial.

As we said repeatedly during the campaign, we would have readily conceded if IEBC had attempted to deliver a reasonably honest election.

Or even if it had addressed the serious concerns the CORD team led by the Vice President formally presented to the commission three days. We only want to lead if Kenyans want us to. We have no other vested interest.

Both Judge Kriegler and ECK chairman, the late Samuel Kivuitu acknowledged that it was not possible to know who won the 2007 election.

We thought this would never happen again. It most regrettably has.

But this time, we have a new independent judiciary in which we in CORD and most Kenyans have faith. It will uphold the rule of law, and we will abide by its decisions.

We will therefore shortly move to court to challenge the outcome that the IEBC announced a few hours ago.

We want to appeal to all Kenyans to respect the rule of law and the Constitution of which they are so proud.

Let the Supreme Court determine whether the result announced by IEBC is a lawful one. We are confident the court will restore the faith of Kenyans in the democratic rule of law.

Any violence now could destroy this nation forever. That would not serve anyone’s interest. Please therefore look upon each other as brothers and sisters whose national bond should not be broken.

Thank You and God Bless Kenya.


How to fix Nigeria –

by Muhammadu Buhari
(Text of speech delivered at The
Africa Diaspora
Conference, House Of
Commons, London, United
Kingdom, on Tuesday, 5th
March 2013)

March 7th, 2013 by zebbook

Protocols

1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and
my associates to this conference which, if I may
say so, is growing in influence by the day. The
presence of many Nigerians and distinguished
Britons on these historic premises testifies to
the importance and to the high expectations of
this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings
many of us hope to have a better understanding
of our problems and perhaps identify more
effective solutions to those problems.

2. My contribution today is based on reflection
and practical observation rather than on
studious research or scholarly presentation. It is
a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on
democracy and economic development in my
country, Nigeria.
By convention one usually would like to talk
about his country outside its shores in glowing
terms extolling its virtues and defending its
values and interests. But the situation in our
country is so bad and no one knows this better
than the international community, that it would
be futile to take this line today.
Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to
efforts we are all making to understand and
accept our shortcomings with a view to taking
steps towards a general improvement. If you
continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government
and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all
credibility.

DEMOCRACY

3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-
book theories of democracy to this august
gathering. But in practical terms there are, I
think, certain conditions without which true
democracy cannot survive. These conditions
include, but are not limited to, the level of
literacy; level of economic attainment;
reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech
and free association; a level playing field; free
and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law
and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives
are not applicable to all countries and all climes.
India for example, suffers from great poverty
and diversity but its efforts at running a
democracy are exemplary.

4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain
level of educational attainment or literacy exists
in the society. The vast majority of the voters
must be in a position to read and write and
consequently distinguish which is which on the
voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In
recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be
guided – like blind men and women – as to which
name and logo represent their preferred choices
or candidates to vote for. When one does not
know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to
arrive at a free choice. It will be even more
difficult to hold elected office holders to account
and throw them out for non-performance at the
next election. Under these circumstances,
democracy has a long way to go. Our collective
expectations on a democratic system of
government in less advanced countries must,
therefore, be tempered by these realities.

5. Nor must we discount the role of economic
development on the democratic process. An even
more compelling determinant to human
behavior than education is, I think, economic
condition. I will return to this topic when
discussing elections, but suffice to remark here
that if, for example, on election day, a voter
wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his
family and representatives of a candidate offer
him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice:
whether to starve for the day or abandon his
right to vote freely.

As the celebrated American economist, late
Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing
circumscribes freedom more completely than
total absence of money”.

6. For democracy to function perfectly, a
reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural
homogeneity must exist in a country and this
applies to all countries whether more developed
or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is
a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two
senators each to Washington as do California and
New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a
population of less than two million elects three
senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal
to Lagos State with a population of over ten
million. Nassarawa State with about two million
people and Kano State with over five times the
population also send 3 senators each to Abuja.
Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit
of democracy.

7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence
to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual,
institution, not even government itself can act
outside the confines of law without facing
sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be
checked where there is respect for the law. Other
desirable conditions of democracy such as
freedom of speech and association can only
flourish in an atmosphere where the law is
supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a
level playing field. In the absence of the rule of
law, free and fair elections and an independent
judiciary cannot exist.

8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of
law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been
free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this
audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007
and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of
candidates have similar experiences in State,
Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections.
Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed
by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and
the Independent National Electoral Commission
(INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an
election is an occasion when contestants will join
the electorate in celebration of freedom, because
the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners
and losers alike come together to work in the
interest of their country. But this happens only if
the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003,
INEC, the body charged with the conduct of
elections in our country tabled results in court
which were plainly dishonest. We challenged
them to produce evidence for the figures. They
refused. The judges supported them by saying, in
effect, failure to produce the result does not
negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented
dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President
of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures
(which they refused to come to court to prove or
defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The
Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said
this was okay.

9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were
so numerous that most lawyers connected with
the case firmly believed that the elections would
be nullified. I will refer to just two such
violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated
that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered
and voters result sheets must also be tallied on
serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot
papers with NO serial numbers and also used
blank sheets thereby making it well nigh
impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at
the final collation centre the chief electoral
officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were
tallied excused himself from the room –
apparently on a toilet break – and announced the
“final results” to waiting journalists. He had the
“results” in his pocket. At the time, several states
had not completed transmission of their tallies.
As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross
transgression of the rules. Some election returns
confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April,
two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day
before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a
date which does not exist on the calendar,
illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The
Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the
Government.

10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety
were cast aside. In the South-South and South-
Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded
by INEC at between 85% – 95% even though in
the morning of the election the media reported
sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of
the country where opposition parties were able
to guard and monitor the conduct of the
Presidential election turn-out averaged about
46%. In many constituencies in the South-South
and South-East, votes cast far exceeded
registered figures.

11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial
Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm
of the government, properly speaking, should be
the interpreter and arbiter of executive and
legislative actions but the Nigerian government
since 1999 has successfully emasculated the
judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An
independent and impartial judiciary would have
overturned all the Presidential elections since
2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial
misconduct have marred elections to Local
Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The
Judiciary has run its reputation down completely
since 2003.

12. Here, I would like to say a few words about
the international observers. In 1999 the greatly
revered former US President, Jimmy Carter
walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s
Presidential election. But compared to what took
place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model
of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me
feel gratitude to the international community,
notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed
over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National
Democratic Institute in Washington for their
work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the
international observer teams, along with
domestic observers concluded that those two
elections fell far short of acceptable standards.
The Nigerian government, along with the
international community ignored those critical
reports. Some members of this audience may
recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US
governments on the Zimbabwean elections held
about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the
Zimbabwean elections were very much better
conducted than the Nigerian elections as the
opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was
declared to have won the parliamentary
elections.

13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye
to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on
Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No
better illustration of double-standards can be
cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international
observers, having seen their painstaking work in
earlier years completely ignored, took the line of
least resistance and concluded after cursory
examinations that the elections were okay.

14. So it is quite clear from these brief
recollections that many preliminary elements of
a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria
namely: level of educational development, level
of economic development, homogeneity, level
playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and
free and fair elections.

15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot
function optimally without a certain level of
economic attainment.

16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential
powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by
the last official estimate, arable land, more than
300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square
kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the
country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests,
fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism
and hosting of international sporting events. It is
a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of
leadership and policy continuity has resulted in
great under-achievement.

17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will
relate to the situation of our countrymen and
women. More than 100 million of our people live
below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of
Statistics and many internationally recognized
estimates. We lack security, are short of food,
water, live in poor shelters with hardly any
medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers,
foresters, micro businesses such as market
women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street
corner shop-keepers and the like lack both
power and meaningful access to small scale credit
to ply their trade and prosper.
No wonder, the publication, “The African
Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of
the United Nations lamented that poverty and
underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact,
GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little
about the spread of wealth, employment levels,
infrastructural development and the effect of
socio-economic programmes such as schooling,
health care, and security on the generality of the
population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of
high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast
about it. But there is nothing to boast about
when 100 million of your people are in poverty
and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily
challenge. It is under these circumstances that
many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card
for a pittance on Election Day.

CONCLUSION

18. We now come to crux of the matter by
attempting some answers to the very pertinent
questions which the organizers of this
conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s
economy? The short answer is that it very much
depends on the international oil market. The
failure over the years to diversify and strengthen
the economy or to invest in the global economy
has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global
oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess
crude account which in other countries goes by
the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop
major domestic infrastructure such as Power,
Railways, Road development, the account has
been frittered down and applied to current
consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to
economic development. We must start from first
principles – by developing agriculture and
industries. Sixty years ago, we exported
considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton,
groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There
were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in
two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953,
Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts.
Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa,
hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are
exported.

19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention
is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural
population will remain on subsistence basis and
will eventually wither away by migration to the
cities and increasing the stress on urban life.
What is required is applying today’s technology,
primarily improved seeds and seedlings,
irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and
above all, substantial subsidies and access to
cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for
agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin
Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986
under the disastrous Structural Adjustment
Programme. They are the best vehicle for our
country’s agricultural revival and expansion.

INDUSTRIES

20. Next to agriculture, government and railways
industries are the country’s biggest employers of
labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban
workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial
growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the
Structural Adjustment Programme which
massively devalued the naira under IMF
harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s
capacity by now would have been able to
produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor
cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery
and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down;
tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and
Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and
sugar industries are down; cable industries all
but down: all in the wake of the Structural
Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have
added to the misery due to red tape, high interest
rates, power shortages and competition from
developed economies under World Trade
Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all
these problems is the old and ever-present devil:
corruption.
Corruption has shot through all facets of
government and economic life in our country.
Until serious efforts are made to tackle
corruption which is beyond the capacity of this
government, economic growth and stability will
elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word
for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged
with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria,
Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices
and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC)
was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th
February, 2013 as saying that there was no
political will to fight corruption in Nigeria.

21. A second fundamental question asked by the
organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured
administratively and politically emerge an
economically competitive nation? I believe it can.
There is a lively debate going on in our country
about the need to re-structure the country. What
shape this reform is going to take is uncertain.
Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring
the country, although long on rhetoric seem
short and vague on details. We have tried
regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap
to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now
thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for
more. I firmly believe that state creation has now
become dysfunctional, as disproportionate
amounts of our meager resources go to over-
heads at the expense of basic social services and
infrastructural development. Moreover, I also
believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the
structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe
a careful and civil conversation should be held to
look closely at the structure.

22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the
Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable;
except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try
the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating
units? I believe there will be so much unrest and
strife in South-South and North-Central; this is
not to say that there will be no pockets of
resistance in the North West and North East as
well – the consequence of all these will unsettle
the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state
structure? Here too, entrenched personal or
group interests will make collapsing and merging
states impossible to operate in a democratic set-
up. It is only when you come face to face with the
problem you will appreciate the complications
inherent in re-structuring Nigeria.

23. However, once a national consensus is
reached, however defective, the environment
will facilitate political and economic stability. At
long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding
its place among the BRIC nations and instead of
BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC
nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I
sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime.

24. The third question put to me by the
organizers is: Can the present electoral body in
Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections
that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in
2015?

25. All the present indications are that INEC as it
is presently constituted would be unable to
deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have
gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to
describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The
Electoral Body has developed a very cozy
relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of
government that its impartiality is totally lost. In
the run-up to the last elections INEC requested
(and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80
billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any
standards, so that it could conduct the elections
including organizing bio-metric voters data
specifically for the 2011 elections.

26. But when opposition parties challenged the
patently dishonest figures it announced and
subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC
refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse
of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is
immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale
changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise.
What is required is a group of independent
minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with
the capacity to handle such a strenuous
assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It
is not difficult to find such people but whether
the Government and the National Assembly have
the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only
way I and many more experienced politicians
than myself expect the 2015 elections to be
remotely free and fair is for the opposition to be
so strong that they can effectively prevent INEC
from rigging. I would like, here, Mr. Chairman to
repeat what I have said time and time again at
home in Nigeria with regards to the election
aftermath. Some commentators and public
figures have wrongly pointed accusing fingers at
me for inciting post-election violence. Nothing
could be further from the truth. I have been a
public servant all my adult life: a soldier, a
federal minister, a state governor and the head of
state. My duty is to Nigeria first and foremost.
Post-election violence was triggered by the
grossest injustice of election rigging and
accompanying state high-handedness.

27. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I will attempt to
address the two very important questions you
put to me namely: How can the poverty level in
Nigeria be reduced? And How can the masses
generally benefit from the nation’s vast wealth?
As remarked earlier, there is no short cut to
poverty eradication than to get people to work
and earn money. Poverty means lack of income.
If serious efforts are made to support agriculture
through states and local government apparatus
in the shape of inputs, i.e fertilizers and
pesticides, extension services and provision of
small-scale credits, agriculture will boom within 5
– 7 years. Farmers will generate more income to
enable them to grow the food the country needs
and to look after our environment. In addition,
the drift to urban centres will be greatly reduced.
Equal attention should be paid to the revival of
employment-generating activities such as
Railways, Industries, notably textiles and other
land and forest resource based industries to
absorb urban labour to tackle poverty, reduce
urban stress and crime and at the same time
boost the economy. However, these two major
policy initiatives can only succeed if there is
substantial improvement in power generation.
As remarked earlier, adequate provision of
power will help small scale business to thrive and
link-up with the general economy. Power is the
site of the legion, in other words, it is central to
all economic activity.

28. May I, Mr. Chairman, conclude this
presentation by referring to the distribution of
income in Nigeria today? No better illustration of
the huge income disparity can be quoted than the
statement of Malam Adamu Fika, Chairman of
the Committee set up by Government to review
the Nigerian public service. In the course of
presentation of his Report, the Chairman pointed
out that 18,000 public officers consume in the
form of salaries, allowances and other
perquisites N1.126 trillion naira (£4billion) of
public funds. The total Nigerian budget for 2013
is N4.9 trillion (£20 billion). This is the worst
form of corruption and oppression. A wholesale
look at public expenses vis-à-vis the real need of
the country has become urgent.

29. Mr. Chairman, the Honourable Members,
Distinguished Guests, I thank you for your
patience and attention.

Mr. Buhari delivered this speech at The Africa
Diaspora Conference, House Of
Commons, London, United Kingdom, on
Tuesday, 5th March 2013

via PremiumTimes
Shared by omojuwa dot com


What freedoms and rights are important to YOU?


RAILA ODINGA: IEBC has failed to deliver a credible election and we will shortly move to court; Kenyans should keep peace and trust judiciary.


The tech industry doesn’t have a HR department, so this shit is everybody’s problem, and I want you to care about it 365 days a year.

It’s not International Women’s Day anymore. I’m sorry, fellow feminists, that I think these days of banners and hashtags and pithy quotes are little more than toothless lip service to generalities and anonymized women’s experiences. I want to care about them, and I feel like a failure as a feminist that I can’t and don’t and won’t.

We talk a lot about women’s achievements and celebrate and make passionate declarations of purpose. Aren’t we all so goddamn retweetable?

We court for facebook likes, and then we—men and women—throw women under the bus. Or, you know, we try to beat them to death in their own bedrooms. Did you know you have to clean up your own crime scene? Thank god for pathologist friends with tough gag reflexes. You can tell your friends that on the internet and they will think it is just disgraceful. And they will tell their friends, and everyone will feel connected to a great tragedy that has nothing to do with them, and gloss right over the problem that has everything to do with all of us.

Because of the living, breathing organism that is the iterate-and-fail startup world, we rely even more on interpersonal relationships than in a lot of other industries. We don’t get to pick and choose when those relationships matter, and when they don’t.

To those of you who’ve benefited from our casual professional friendship in the past, if I call you and ask you to ensure that my attendance at a tech event doesn’t get back to the person who nearly killed me with his bare hands (which, to be pedantic, is your responsibility under data protection legislation anyway), you might consider that a reasonable request.

If you have even a single woman who, at a tech event, is keeping an eye on her convicted abuser’s friend, running through scenarios in her brain, you are selling the whole industry short of talent like mine (even if I am fairly peripheral to it and I’m not that technical and not that talented).

Will he find out I was here? Is his friend going to say I was talking with another man? Is he going to take down my website and hide it from me again? Do I need to set up that wireless network trap I came up with, to monitor my house like a paranoid fucking weirdo? Should I have put in that CCTV camera? Is his family going to send someone more dangerous than the cheap PI they sent the day after the sentencing? Am I going to fucking die?

Imagine trying to talk about your work, about ideas, about exciting things, when even 10% of your brain is dedicated to assessing a genuine and credible risk to your safety, or maybe your life. A risk that some of your colleagues have treated as frivolous, or like it goes away in the workplace just because they want it to. We work in a virtual industry, so our workplace is also kind of everywhere.

Don’t accuse me of “having daggers out”. Or worse, describe a convicted criminal as my “boyfriend” and the crime he committed and its aftermath as “a spat”. (Oh yes, actual quotes.) When you do that, it gets more dangerous for me.

The other night, I was out with a visiting out-of-town friend. It was the kind of bone-soaking kitchen sponge of a night that makes you want to jump into an open fire. Like everyone else in Dublin, we headed for the warmest pub we could think of.

When we walked into the place, the first person I saw was Mark’s brother, whom I hadn’t seen since the sentencing last year. He looked up and I wish I could tell you I could read the expression on his face when he saw me. That would make my narrative all nice and neat, wouldn’t it?

I froze. Said we had to go, now.

My friend walked me out and I stood in the lobby and had to rip my coat off and sit down so I didn’t faint.

The thought of having panic attack in front of another person is enough to give me a panic attack in its own right. I really don’t like that I have a massive vulnerable blind spot. It’s bad enough that it was in the papers and everyone knows. It’s bad enough that I am caught between worrying that people think I’m the real aggressor, and people finding out how easy it was for some asshole to take me down, and then have people think less of me for it.

It’s bad enough that I have to spend 2013 on my own personal SEO campaign, so that I can reclaim P1 of my SERP for my achievements and not for something someone did to my face, my life, and my sense of self.

I am not an angel. You wouldn’t like me if I were.

Our poor risk assessment as human beings is part of what lets us get through our lives without freaking out constantly. If we truly processed the number of potentially dead-making things we encounter every day, we’d never get past breakfast.

But I have a real risk to my life every day that has nearly been carried out (more than once), and I carry that with me everywhere I go, and sometimes it’s a little bit of work to put that out of my conscious mind.

I want you to do something about it because I don’t want anyone to be defined by violence, except for the people who do it.

I’m not some mealy-mouthed survivor-type, and I don’t want to share my pain. I need you to talk about it so that I can fucking stop bleating on and get on with things that are much more fun.

It’s not discomfort I want you to protect me from, it’s actual, real-world damage to my life and body. I’m an awkward nerd who lives in a country I wasn’t born in and responds to nerves by talking so much I sometimes border on glossolalia. I’m used to discomfort. I’m used to people finding me annoying or a bit hard to take or a bit too opinionated.

The real problem is that as long as this is just my problem, it’s not going to get better. Not for me, and not for any of the women and men who have contacted me privately since the sentencing. These are the ones who don’t have a conviction, the ones whose names and stories I can’t even hint at.

I can tell you that some of them are women whose voices benefit our industry, and are now muted.

It’s one thing to walk out of your favourite pub and have a panic attack in the lobby of a mid-range hotel (you’re welcome, Dubliners).

It’s entirely another to avoid a significant segment of your own industry because you aren’t physically safe. I don’t mean that someone might be mean to me. I don’t mean that someone might look at me funny. I have a pretty thick skin (and I know where to go to cry and get the fuck over myself if I need to).

I don’t think anyone cares that I have a scar and clump of cartilage under my eye except me. I get it. I’m still kinda “hot for a 37-year-old”. I’m sorry, face, that I ever complained that you were mannish and plain and boring.

But stop telling me that I still look the same to you. Be angry instead.

Be angry on behalf of every woman who has ever had to sit through two family court hearings and then get up in a criminal court and read out her gutted victim impact statement while the person she was supposed to have babies with sits behind glass in the dock, and she can feel his look of persecution without looking. Because that’s how well she knows the person sitting in behind glass in the dock. And she’s fighting her own natural response to him, which is what? It’s fucking empathy, is what.

Be angry on behalf of every woman who has found herself grateful that she can take a conference call and no one knows she has a face full of stitches and a body so bruised she can’t find a position that doesn’t hurt to sleep in. Be angry because there are dedicated, fun, caring, fucking hilarious women like me who are using their energy for things they shouldn’t have to. Who are grateful for remote working for reasons that probably never crossed your mind.

Let’s call people out on their shit. I can say “Mark Jordan, graphic designer” (search the terms and share the links!) all I like because he was convicted. He’s not in jail, where he fucking should be, but the law says he’s guilty. So call people out on their shit when it comes to Mark and his friends and family because when you call them out, it sends a message to the people who rely on that secrecy that it really isn’t OK to beat up women. Make it not a secret anymore.

Call people out on it because I (and probably you) know the names and stories of people who can’t talk about the credible risks to their lives because of an even more credible risk of a defamation suit. Imagine. There are people around you who might die, but because of our collective silence, they have to be more afraid that they might end up in the only kind of lawsuit where the burden of proof is on the accused.

I only have to be afraid that I might die.

We live in a world where there isn’t a whole lot of incentive to not beat your partner so violently that you shatter your own hand. Why do we insist we want to make the world a better place, yet still refuse to stigmatize woman-beaters and their apologists?

I grew up in a pretty male-dominated and, frankly, pretty violent music scene. I climb around old abandoned buildings very happily. I am not afraid of the woods, of nighttime in a city (stop shoving me into fucking taxis if I don’t want them, OK?), of looking stupid in front of boys. I will start a conversation with just about anyone. I’m not afraid of my neighbours. I’m not afraid of speaking in public. I’m not afraid of failing.

I’d love if there were more women around, and I’d like to do more to make that happen, but I’m also used to having the ladies’ room to myself.

What I am afraid of is that people I consider to be my colleagues use accusations that I am a hysterical drama queen to avoid dealing with what they consider to be interpersonal issues that are not their problem.

But I get it. You need a business case. You should care about my safety, not because it’s me, but because it’s something that affects your industry. If I’m not comfortable in a situation, I can’t give you my best. And that’s what I want to do. You should want that, too.

Did you know that even some of the casual mentions some of you have made to him have turned into, say, 60 emails in a day threatening me in every way possible? That the day after his sentencing, my neighbours caught someone stalking my house with a camera?

Have you seen me in action? At my best, I am an idea-and-action-spewing machine. At my half-best I’m still OK at what I do, and the more people who ask me to do it, the better I get.

I want to give my whole goddamn self to the passionate, dedicated, sincere people I meet in my personal and professional life. I want to be fucking great at what I do, and I want to think I can be.

But that’s something I can only do when I feel safe.

When I don’t, a significant quantity of the energy that helps me find an opportunity for myself, to make you laugh, to join a conversation about something new, to listen to your problems, to get excited about your project, or to put exciting people in a room together to see what happens—that energy gets used up keeping me from fainting in public. That gets used up wondering if I need to risk another call to a police force who consider the whole case done-and-dusted because they hate “domestics”.

There are still times when I just curl into a ball on the couch for three hours because holy shit.

I don’t know what I’m asking you to do. As a content writer, I want this to contain a specific call to action that helps the user complete a task. I want this to be shorter and more concise. But as a fucking human being who is a member of a community, an industry, a society, I don’t want fixing this to be my job.

I don’t care if you share this or retweet this or tell anyone you ever read it. I don’t want to court for facebook likes. I don’t care if you all explode into a frenzy of whataboutery. What about the men? What about other industries? Fuck that. We’re talking about this, now.

I’m not going to try to manage the conversation or push it out through channels or track engagements or hold some toothless awareness-raising event.

I don’t just want awareness. I want fucking conversions, dammit.

I want you to call out on their shit the women and men who protect violent pieces of shit. I want you to put the violent pieces of shit and their apologists where they belong, which is far away from the rest of us until there is no such thing as a violent piece of shit and we no longer have the language to make excuses for their shitty violence.

And the only metric for that is zero.

TL;DR: Just go back and read it.


SPEECH BY
GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR
AT THE AFRICA DIASPORA CONFERENCE,
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM,
TUESDAY, 5TH MARCH 2013
...
Protocols

1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expectations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems.
2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country, Nigeria.

By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today.

Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility.

DEMOCRACY

3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary.
4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities.

5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely.
As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”.

6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy.

7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist.

8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay.

9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government.

10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% - 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures.

11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003.

12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections.

13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay.

14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections.

15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment.

16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement.

17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop-keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper.

No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day.

CONCLUSION

18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported.

19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion.

INDUSTRIES
20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption.
Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria.

21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure.

22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South-South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria.

23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime.

24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015?

25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections.

26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only way I and many more experienced politicians than myself expect the 2015 elections to be remotely free and fair is for the opposition to be so strong that they can effectively prevent INEC from rigging. I would like, here, Mr. Chairman to repeat what I have said time and time again at home in Nigeria with regards to the election aftermath. Some commentators and public figures have wrongly pointed accusing fingers at me for inciting post-election violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a public servant all my adult life: a soldier, a federal minister, a state governor and the head of state. My duty is to Nigeria first and foremost. Post-election violence was triggered by the grossest injustice of election rigging and accompanying state high-handedness.

27. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I will attempt to address the two very important questions you put to me namely: How can the poverty level in Nigeria be reduced? And How can the masses generally benefit from the nation’s vast wealth? As remarked earlier, there is no short cut to poverty eradication than to get people to work and earn money. Poverty means lack of income. If serious efforts are made to support agriculture through states and local government apparatus in the shape of inputs, i.e fertilizers and pesticides, extension services and provision of small-scale credits, agriculture will boom within 5 – 7 years. Farmers will generate more income to enable them to grow the food the country needs and to look after our environment. In addition, the drift to urban centres will be greatly reduced. Equal attention should be paid to the revival of employment-generating activities such as Railways, Industries, notably textiles and other land and forest resource based industries to absorb urban labour to tackle poverty, reduce urban stress and crime and at the same time boost the economy. However, these two major policy initiatives can only succeed if there is substantial improvement in power generation. As remarked earlier, adequate provision of power will help small scale business to thrive and link-up with the general economy. Power is the site of the legion, in other words, it is central to all economic activity.

28. May I, Mr. Chairman, conclude this presentation by referring to the distribution of income in Nigeria today? No better illustration of the huge income disparity can be quoted than the statement of Malam Adamu Fika, Chairman of the Committee set up by Government to review the Nigerian public service. In the course of presentation of his Report, the Chairman pointed out that 18,000 public officers consume in the form of salaries, allowances and other perquisites N1.126 trillion naira (£4billion) of public funds. The total Nigerian budget for 2013 is N4.9 trillion (£20 billion). This is the worst form of corruption and oppression. A wholesale look at public expenses vis-à-vis the real need of the country has become urgent.

29. Mr. Chairman, the Honourable Members, Distinguished Guests, I thank you for your patience and attention.

General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
London – United Kingdom
Tuesday, March 5th 2013.


SPEECH BY GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR AT THE AFRICA DIASPORA CONFERENCE, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, DATE:TUESDAY, 5TH MARCH 2013 ... Protocols 1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expectations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems. 2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country, Nigeria. By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today. Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility. DEMOCRACY 3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary. 4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities. 5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely. As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”. 6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy. 7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist. 8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay. 9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government. 10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% - 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures. 11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003. 12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections. 13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay. 14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections. 15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment. 16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement. 17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop-keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper. No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day. CONCLUSION 18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported. 19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion. INDUSTRIES 20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption. Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria. 21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure. 22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South-South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria. 23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime. 24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015? 25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections. 26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only way I and many more experienced politicians...
Next Page


SPEECH BY
GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR
AT THE AFRICA DIASPORA CONFERENCE,
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM,
DATE:TUESDAY, 5TH MARCH 2013

... Protocols

1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expectations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems.
2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country, Nigeria.

By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today.

Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility.

DEMOCRACY

3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary.
4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities.

5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely.
As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”.

6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy.

7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist.

8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay.

9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government.

10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% - 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures.

11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003.

12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections.

13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay.

14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections.

15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment.

16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement.

17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop-keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper.

No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day.

CONCLUSION

18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported.

19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion.

INDUSTRIES
20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption.
Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria.

21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure.

22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South-South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria.

23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime.

24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015?

25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections.

26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only way I and many more experienced politicians than myself expect the 2015 elections to be remotely free and fair is for the opposition to be so strong that they can effectively prevent INEC from rigging. I would like, here, Mr. Chairman to repeat what I have said time and time again at home in Nigeria with regards to the election aftermath. Some commentators and public figures have wrongly pointed accusing fingers at me for inciting post-election violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a public servant all my adult life: a soldier, a federal minister, a state governor and the head of state. My duty is to Nigeria first and foremost. Post-election violence was triggered by the grossest injustice of election rigging and accompanying state high-handedness.

27. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I will attempt to address the two very important questions you put to me namely: How can the poverty level in Nigeria be reduced? And How can the masses generally benefit from the nation’s vast wealth? As remarked earlier, there is no short cut to poverty eradication than to get people to work and earn money. Poverty means lack of income. If serious efforts are made to support agriculture through states and local government apparatus in the shape of inputs, i.e fertilizers and pesticides, extension services and provision of small-scale credits, agriculture will boom within 5 – 7 years. Farmers will generate more income to enable them to grow the food the country needs and to look after our environment. In addition, the drift to urban centres will be greatly reduced. Equal attention should be paid to the revival of employment-generating activities such as Railways, Industries, notably textiles and other land and forest resource based industries to absorb urban labour to tackle poverty, reduce urban stress and crime and at the same time boost the economy. However, these two major policy initiatives can only succeed if there is substantial improvement in power generation. As remarked earlier, adequate provision of power will help small scale business to thrive and link-up with the general economy. Power is the site of the legion, in other words, it is central to all economic activity.

28. May I, Mr. Chairman, conclude this presentation by referring to the distribution of income in Nigeria today? No better illustration of the huge income disparity can be quoted than the statement of Malam Adamu Fika, Chairman of the Committee set up by Government to review the Nigerian public service. In the course of presentation of his Report, the Chairman pointed out that 18,000 public officers consume in the form of salaries, allowances and other perquisites N1.126 trillion naira (£4billion) of public funds. The total Nigerian budget for 2013 is N4.9 trillion (£20 billion). This is the worst form of corruption and oppression. A wholesale look at public expenses vis-à-vis the real need of the country has become urgent.

29. Mr. Chairman, the Honourable Members, Distinguished Guests, I thank you for your patience and attention.

General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
London – United Kingdom
Tuesday, March 5th 2013.


SPEECH BY GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR AT THE AFRICA DIASPORA CONFERENCE, HOUSE OF COMMONS, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, TUESDAY, 5TH MARCH 2013 Protocols 1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expectations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems. 2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country, Nigeria. By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today. Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility. DEMOCRACY 3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary. 4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities. 5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely. As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”. 6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy. 7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist. 8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay. 9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government. 10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% - 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures. 11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003. 12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections. 13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay. 14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections. 15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment. 16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement. 17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop-keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper. No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day. CONCLUSION 18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported. 19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion. INDUSTRIES 20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption. Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria. 21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure. 22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South-South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria. 23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime. 24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015? 25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections. 26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure.


How to fix Nigeria – by Muhammadu Buhari (Text of speech delivered at The Africa Diaspora Conference, House Of Commons, London, United Kingdom, on Tuesday, 5th March 2013)

1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expectations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems.

2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country, Nigeria.



By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today.



Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility.

DEMOCRACY

3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary.

4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities.



5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely.
As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”.



6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy.

7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist.



8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay.



9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government.



10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% – 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures.

11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003.



12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections.



13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay.



14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections.



15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment.

16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement.



17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop-keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper.



No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day.

CONCLUSION

18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported.



19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion.

INDUSTRIES
20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption.
Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria.



21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure.



22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South-South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria.

23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime.



24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015?



25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections.

26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only way I and many more experienced politicians than myself expect the 2015 elections to be remotely free and fair is for the opposition to be so strong that they can effectively prevent INEC from rigging. I would like, here, Mr. Chairman to repeat what I have said time and time again at home in Nigeria with regards to the election aftermath. Some commentators and public figures have wrongly pointed accusing fingers at me for inciting post-election violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a public servant all my adult life: a soldier, a federal minister, a state governor and the head of state. My duty is to Nigeria first and foremost. Post-election violence was triggered by the grossest injustice of election rigging and accompanying state high-handedness.



27. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I will attempt to address the two very important questions you put to me namely: How can the poverty level in Nigeria be reduced? And How can the masses generally benefit from the nation’s vast wealth? As remarked earlier, there is no short cut to poverty eradication than to get people to work and earn money. Poverty means lack of income. If serious efforts are made to support agriculture through states and local government apparatus in the shape of inputs, i.e fertilizers and pesticides, extension services and provision of small-scale credits, agriculture will boom within 5 – 7 years. Farmers will generate more income to enable them to grow the food the country needs and to look after our environment. In addition, the drift to urban centres will be greatly reduced. Equal attention should be paid to the revival of employment-generating activities such as Railways, Industries, notably textiles and other land and forest resource based industries to absorb urban labour to tackle poverty, reduce urban stress and crime and at the same time boost the economy. However, these two major policy initiatives can only succeed if there is substantial improvement in power generation. As remarked earlier, adequate provision of power will help small scale business to thrive and link-up with the general economy. Power is the site of the legion, in other words, it is central to all economic activity.

28. May I, Mr. Chairman, conclude this presentation by referring to the distribution of income in Nigeria today? No better illustration of the huge income disparity can be quoted than the statement of Malam Adamu Fika, Chairman of the Committee set up by Government to review the Nigerian public service. In the course of presentation of his Report, the Chairman pointed out that 18,000 public officers consume in the form of salaries, allowances and other perquisites N1.126 trillion naira (£4billion) of public funds. The total Nigerian budget for 2013 is N4.9 trillion (£20 billion). This is the worst form of corruption and oppression. A wholesale look at public expenses vis-à-vis the real need of the country has become urgent.



29. Mr. Chairman, the Honourable Members, Distinguished Guests, I thank you for your patience and attention.

Gen. Buhari delivered this speech at The Africa Diaspora Conference, House Of Commons, London, United Kingdom, on Tuesday, 5th March 2013


We have four (5) great ways for you to find out information and to request assistance with your account. FAQ's... fb.me/EMetaFze


Uhuru has taken the lead in the elections tally, and some supporters have begun to celebrate. How are things in your locale? Send your photos to online@standardmedia.co.ke and we will share them with the world


SPEECH BY GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR AT THE AFRICA DIASPORA CONFERENCE, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

Protocols
1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expectations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems.

2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country, Nigeria.

By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today.

Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility.

DEMOCRACY
3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary.4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities.

5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely. As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”.

6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy.

7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist.

8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay.

9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government.

10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% – 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures.

11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003.

12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections.

13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay.

14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections.

15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment.

16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement.

17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop-keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper.

No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day.

CONCLUSION
18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported.

Continue here:

19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion.

INDUSTRIES

20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption. Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria.
21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure.

22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South-South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria.

23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime.

24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015?

25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections.

26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only way I and many more experienced politicians than myself expect the 2015 elections to be remotely free and fair is for the opposition to be so strong that they can effectively prevent INEC from rigging. I would like, here, Mr. Chairman to repeat what I have said time and time again at home in Nigeria with regards to the election aftermath. Some commentators and public figures have wrongly pointed accusing fingers at me for inciting post-election violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a public servant all my adult life: a soldier, a federal minister, a state governor and the head of state. My duty is to Nigeria first and foremost. Post-election violence was triggered by the grossest injustice of election rigging and accompanying state high-handedness.

27. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I will attempt to address the two very important questions you put to me namely: How can the poverty level in Nigeria be reduced? And How can the masses generally benefit from the nation’s vast wealth? As remarked earlier, there is no short cut to poverty eradication than to get people to work and earn money. Poverty means lack of income. If serious efforts are made to support agriculture through states and local government apparatus in the shape of inputs, i.e fertilizers and pesticides, extension services and provision of small-scale credits, agriculture will boom within 5 – 7 years. Farmers will generate more income to enable them to grow the food the country needs and to look after our environment. In addition, the drift to urban centres will be greatly reduced. Equal attention should be paid to the revival of employment-generating activities such as Railways, Industries, notably textiles and other land and forest resource based industries to absorb urban labour to tackle poverty, reduce urban stress and crime and at the same time boost the economy. However, these two major policy initiatives can only succeed if there is substantial improvement in power generation. As remarked earlier, adequate provision of power will help small scale business to thrive and link-up with the general economy. Power is the site of the legion, in other words, it is central to all economic activity.

28. May I, Mr. Chairman, conclude this presentation by referring to the distribution of income in Nigeria today? No better illustration of the huge income disparity can be quoted than the statement of Malam Adamu Fika, Chairman of the Committee set up by Government to review the Nigerian public service. In the course of presentation of his Report, the Chairman pointed out that 18,000 public officers consume in the form of salaries, allowances and other perquisites N1.126 trillion naira (£4billion) of public funds. The total Nigerian budget for 2013 is N4.9 trillion (£20 billion). This is the worst form of corruption and oppression. A wholesale look at public expenses vis-à-vis the real need of the country has become urgent.

29. Mr. Chairman, the Honourable Members, Distinguished Guests, I thank you for your patience and attention.

General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, London, United KingdomTuesday, March 5th 2013.
30 Likes


No phone no Internet at work here in Boston


Please be patient and read to understand


We are continuing to experience extremely high server volume. The good news is that we are continuing to add servers and get more people into the game. For the full story, read senior producer Kip Katsarelis post on our forums: http://bit.ly/ZjNI1U

Thank you for your continued patience.


SPEECH BY GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR AT THE AFRICA DIASPORA CONFERENCE, HOUSE OF COMMONS, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, TUESDAY, 5TH MARCH 2013 Protocols 1. May I thank the organizers for inviting me and my associates to this conference which, if I may say so, is growing in influence by the day. The presence of many Nigerians and distinguished Britons on these historic premises testifies to the importance and to the high expectations of this occasion. At the end of today’s proceedings many of us hope to have a better understanding of our problems and perhaps identify more effective solutions to those problems. 2. My contribution today is based on reflection and practical observation rather than on studious research or scholarly presentation. It is a soldier’s and politician’s broad observations on democracy and economic development in my country, Nigeria. By convention one usually would like to talk about his country outside its shores in glowing terms extolling its virtues and defending its values and interests. But the situation in our country is so bad and no one knows this better than the international community, that it would be futile to take this line today. Furthermore, it would be counter-productive to efforts we are all making to understand and accept our shortcomings with a view to taking steps towards a general improvement. If you continue to be in denial, as Nigeria’s government and its apologists are wont to do, you will lose all credibility. DEMOCRACY 3. There is no point in rehearsing all the text-book theories of democracy to this august gathering. But in practical terms there are, I think, certain conditions without which true democracy cannot survive. These conditions include, but are not limited to, the level of literacy; level of economic attainment; reasonable homogeneity; rights of free speech and free association; a level playing field; free and fair elections; adherence to the rule of law and an impartial judiciary. But these imperatives are not applicable to all countries and all climes. India for example, suffers from great poverty and diversity but its efforts at running a democracy are exemplary. 4. Democracy can best flourish when a certain level of educational attainment or literacy exists in the society. The vast majority of the voters must be in a position to read and write and consequently distinguish which is which on the voters card to make their choices truly theirs. In recent elections in Nigeria, many voters had to be guided – like blind men and women – as to which name and logo represent their preferred choices or candidates to vote for. When one does not know what the thing is all about, it is difficult to arrive at a free choice. It will be even more difficult to hold elected office holders to account and throw them out for non-performance at the next election. Under these circumstances, democracy has a long way to go. Our collective expectations on a democratic system of government in less advanced countries must, therefore, be tempered by these realities. 5. Nor must we discount the role of economic development on the democratic process. An even more compelling determinant to human behavior than education is, I think, economic condition. I will return to this topic when discussing elections, but suffice to remark here that if, for example, on election day, a voter wakes up with nothing to eat for himself and his family and representatives of a candidate offer him, say N500 (£2) he faces a hard choice: whether to starve for the day or abandon his right to vote freely. As the celebrated American economist, late Professor J.K. Galbraith said: “Nothing circumscribes freedom more completely than total absence of money”. 6. For democracy to function perfectly, a reasonable level of ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity must exist in a country and this applies to all countries whether more developed or less developed. In the US, which like Nigeria is a federation, Hawaii and Alaska send two senators each to Washington as do California and New York. In our own country, Bayelsa with a population of less than two million elects three senators to the National Assembly in Abuja equal to Lagos State with a population of over ten million. Nassarawa State with about two million people and Kano State with over five times the population also send 3 senators each to Abuja. Such dilution clearly negates the intent and spirit of democracy. 7. Central and critical to democracy is adherence to the rule of law. That is to say, no individual, institution, not even government itself can act outside the confines of law without facing sanctions. Executive arbitrariness can only be checked where there is respect for the law. Other desirable conditions of democracy such as freedom of speech and association can only flourish in an atmosphere where the law is supreme. Law does not guarantee but allows a level playing field. In the absence of the rule of law, free and fair elections and an independent judiciary cannot exist. 8. As a result of the virtual absence of the rule of law, elections in Nigeria since 2003 have not been free and fair. As a participant, I can relate to this audience my experiences during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Presidential elections. Hundreds of candidates have similar experiences in State, Federal legislature and Gubernatorial elections. Under Nigerian law, these elections are governed by the 1999 constitution, the Electoral Law and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ordinarily, an election is an occasion when contestants will join the electorate in celebration of freedom, because the will of the majority has prevailed. Winners and losers alike come together to work in the interest of their country. But this happens only if the elections were deemed free and fair. In 2003, INEC, the body charged with the conduct of elections in our country tabled results in court which were plainly dishonest. We challenged them to produce evidence for the figures. They refused. The judges supported them by saying, in effect, failure to produce the result does not negate the elections! In a show of unprecedented dishonesty and unprofessionalism, the President of the Court of Appeal read out INEC’s figures (which they refused to come to court to prove or defend) as the result accepted by the Court. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said this was okay. 9. In 2007, the violations of electoral rules were so numerous that most lawyers connected with the case firmly believed that the elections would be nullified. I will refer to just two such violations. The Electoral Act of 2006 stipulated that ballot papers SHALL be serially numbered and voters result sheets must also be tallied on serially numbered papers. INEC produced ballot papers with NO serial numbers and also used blank sheets thereby making it well nigh impossible to have an audit trail. At all events, at the final collation centre the chief electoral officer, after 11 (eleven) states (out of 36) were tallied excused himself from the room – apparently on a toilet break – and announced the “final results” to waiting journalists. He had the “results” in his pocket. At the time, several states had not completed transmission of their tallies. As in 2003 the courts rubber-stamped this gross transgression of the rules. Some election returns confirmed by INEC stamps included, 28th April, two (2) days before the election, 29th April, a day before the election and astonishingly, 31st April a date which does not exist on the calendar, illustrating the farcical nature of the election. The Supreme Court split 4-3 in favour of the Government. 10. In 2011 all pretences at legality and propriety were cast aside. In the South-South and South-Eastern States, turn-out of voters was recorded by INEC at between 85% - 95% even though in the morning of the election the media reported sparse attendance at polling booths. The rest of the country where opposition parties were able to guard and monitor the conduct of the Presidential election turn-out averaged about 46%. In many constituencies in the South-South and South-East, votes cast far exceeded registered figures. 11. Which brings us to the need for an impartial Judiciary in a democratic setting. The judicial arm of the government, properly speaking, should be the interpreter and arbiter of executive and legislative actions but the Nigerian government since 1999 has successfully emasculated the judiciary and turned it into a yes-man. An independent and impartial judiciary would have overturned all the Presidential elections since 2003. In addition, hundreds of cases of judicial misconduct have marred elections to Local Government, State and Federal Legislatures. The Judiciary has run its reputation down completely since 2003. 12. Here, I would like to say a few words about the international observers. In 1999 the greatly revered former US President, Jimmy Carter walked off in a huff at the conduct of that year’s Presidential election. But compared to what took place afterwards, the 1999 election was a model of propriety. I am sure many Nigerians like me feel gratitude to the international community, notably the Catholic Secretariat who deployed over 1,000 observers in 2003 and the National Democratic Institute in Washington for their work in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, all the international observer teams, along with domestic observers concluded that those two elections fell far short of acceptable standards. The Nigerian government, along with the international community ignored those critical reports. Some members of this audience may recall the trenchant criticisms by the UK and US governments on the Zimbabwean elections held about the same time as Nigeria’s. Now the Zimbabwean elections were very much better conducted than the Nigerian elections as the opposition party in Zimbabwe actually was declared to have won the parliamentary elections. 13. Yet Western Governments turned a blind eye to Nigerian elections and an eagle eye on Zimbabwe’s and its supposed shortcomings. No better illustration of double-standards can be cited. Accordingly, in 2011, the international observers, having seen their painstaking work in earlier years completely ignored, took the line of least resistance and concluded after cursory examinations that the elections were okay. 14. So it is quite clear from these brief recollections that many preliminary elements of a democratic set-up are missing in Nigeria namely: level of educational development, level of economic development, homogeneity, level playing field, rule of law, impartial judiciary and free and fair elections. 15. As observed earlier, democracy cannot function optimally without a certain level of economic attainment. 16. Economically, Nigeria is a potential powerhouse, a large population, 167 million by the last official estimate, arable land, more than 300, 000 square kilometers, 13,000 square kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the country has gas, oil, solid minerals, forests, fisheries, wind power and potentials for tourism and hosting of international sporting events. It is a miracle waiting to happen. The lack of leadership and policy continuity has resulted in great under-achievement. 17. Many Nigerians in the audience today will relate to the situation of our countrymen and women. More than 100 million of our people live below $2 a day according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics and many internationally recognized estimates. We lack security, are short of food, water, live in poor shelters with hardly any medicare to speak of. Small scale farmers, foresters, micro businesses such as market women, washermen, vulcanizers, tailors, street corner shop-keepers and the like lack both power and meaningful access to small scale credit to ply their trade and prosper. No wonder, the publication, “The African Economic Outlook 2012” under the auspices of the United Nations lamented that poverty and underdevelopment were on the increase. In fact, GDP figures in the raw or in outline tell little about the spread of wealth, employment levels, infrastructural development and the effect of socio-economic programmes such as schooling, health care, and security on the generality of the population. You may sell a lot of oil in an era of high oil prices and boost your GDP and boast about it. But there is nothing to boast about when 100 million of your people are in poverty and misery. Life is a daily hassle; a daily challenge. It is under these circumstances that many a voter is tempted to sell off his voting card for a pittance on Election Day. CONCLUSION 18. We now come to crux of the matter by attempting some answers to the very pertinent questions which the organizers of this conference put to me. How stable is Nigeria’s economy? The short answer is that it very much depends on the international oil market. The failure over the years to diversify and strengthen the economy or to invest in the global economy has left Nigeria perilously at the mercy of global oil prices. Instead of using the so-called excess crude account which in other countries goes by the name of Sovereign Wealth Fund to develop major domestic infrastructure such as Power, Railways, Road development, the account has been frittered down and applied to current consumption. There is no magic, no short-cut to economic development. We must start from first principles – by developing agriculture and industries. Sixty years ago, we exported considerable quantities of cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, rubber and palm kernels. There were sizeable incomes to the farmers. Indeed in two years, if I recall correctly, 1951 and 1953, Nigeria produced a million tons of groundnuts. Today, other than a few thousand tons of cocoa, hardly any cotton, rubber or palm products are exported. 19. Until and unless serious budgetary attention is paid to agriculture, the vast majority of rural population will remain on subsistence basis and will eventually wither away by migration to the cities and increasing the stress on urban life. What is required is applying today’s technology, primarily improved seeds and seedlings, irrigation systems, use of weather forecasts, and above all, substantial subsidies and access to cheap credit. In Nigeria, the basic tools for agricultural take-off, the Six River Basin Authorities were wantonly scrapped in 1986 under the disastrous Structural Adjustment Programme. They are the best vehicle for our country’s agricultural revival and expansion. INDUSTRIES 20. Next to agriculture, government and railways industries are the country’s biggest employers of labour. Industries are vital in absorbing urban workforce. Nigeria’s burgeoning industrial growth was brought to an abrupt halt by the Structural Adjustment Programme which massively devalued the naira under IMF harassment and bullying. Uninterrupted Nigeria’s capacity by now would have been able to produce basic machine tools, bicycles, motor cycles, car parts, parts for industrial machinery and the likes. But alas, the car industry is down; tyre manufacturing is down, both Michelin and Dunlop have closed; battery manufacturing and sugar industries are down; cable industries all but down: all in the wake of the Structural Adjustment Programme. The last 14 years have added to the misery due to red tape, high interest rates, power shortages and competition from developed economies under World Trade Organization (WTO) imperatives. Subsuming all these problems is the old and ever-present devil: corruption. Corruption has shot through all facets of government and economic life in our country. Until serious efforts are made to tackle corruption which is beyond the capacity of this government, economic growth and stability will elude us. On corruption, don’t just take my word for it. The Chairman of one of the bodies charged with the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ekpo Nta of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offensive Commission (ICPC) was quoted by the Daily Trust newspaper of 14th February, 2013 as saying that there was no political will to fight corruption in Nigeria. 21. A second fundamental question asked by the organizers is: Can Nigeria as presently structured administratively and politically emerge an economically competitive nation? I believe it can. There is a lively debate going on in our country about the need to re-structure the country. What shape this reform is going to take is uncertain. Even the most vocal advocates of re-structuring the country, although long on rhetoric seem short and vague on details. We have tried regions and this was deemed lopsided and a trap to minorities. We tried twelve, nineteen and now thirty six (36) states and there is clamour for more. I firmly believe that state creation has now become dysfunctional, as disproportionate amounts of our meager resources go to over-heads at the expense of basic social services and infrastructural development. Moreover, I also believe that Nigeria’s problem is not so much the structure but the process. Nevertheless, I believe a careful and civil conversation should be held to look closely at the structure. 22. But how do we go about it? Go back to the Regions? I do not think this would be acceptable; except perhaps in the old Western Region. Try the present Six Geo-political Zones as federating units? I believe there will be so much unrest and strife in South-South and North-Central; this is not to say that there will be no pockets of resistance in the North West and North East as well – the consequence of all these will unsettle the country. Go back to General Gowon’s 12 state structure? Here too, entrenched personal or group interests will make collapsing and merging states impossible to operate in a democratic set-up. It is only when you come face to face with the problem you will appreciate the complications inherent in re-structuring Nigeria. 23. However, once a national consensus is reached, however defective, the environment will facilitate political and economic stability. At long last we can look forward to Nigeria finding its place among the BRIC nations and instead of BRIC, the media would be talking of BRINC nations: Brazil, Russia, India, Nigeria and China. I sincerely hope this happens in my lifetime. 24. The third question put to me by the organizers is: Can the present electoral body in Nigeria guarantee and deliver credible elections that will strengthen the nation’s democracy in 2015? 25. All the present indications are that INEC as it is presently constituted would be unable to deliver any meaningful elections in 2015. I have gone to some lengths earlier in my talk to describe INEC’s conduct in the last decade. The Electoral Body has developed a very cozy relationship with Executive and Judicial arms of government that its impartiality is totally lost. In the run-up to the last elections INEC requested (and received with indecent haste) in excess of 80 billion naira (about £340m.) a hefty sum by any standards, so that it could conduct the elections including organizing bio-metric voters data specifically for the 2011 elections. 26. But when opposition parties challenged the patently dishonest figures it announced and subpoenaed the bio-metric data in court, INEC refused to divulge them on the laughable excuse of “National Security”. INEC’s top echelon is immersed deep in corruption and only wholesale changes at the top could begin to cure its malaise. What is required is a group of independent minded people, patriotic, incorruptible but with the capacity to handle such a strenuous assignment of conducting elections in Nigeria. It is not difficult to find such people but whether the Government and the National Assembly have the inclination to do so I am not so sure. The only way I and many more experienced politicians than myself expect the 2015 elections to be remotely free and fair is for the opposition to be so strong that they can effectively prevent INEC from rigging. I would like, here, Mr. Chairman to repeat what I have said time and time again at home in Nigeria with regards to the election aftermath. Some commentators and public figures have wrongly pointed accusing fingers at me for inciting post-election violence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a public servant all my adult life: a soldier, a federal minister, a state governor and the head of state. My duty is to Nigeria first and foremost. Post-election violence was triggered by the grossest injustice of election rigging and accompanying state high-handedness. 27. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I will attempt to address the two very important questions you put to me namely: How can the poverty level in Nigeria be reduced? And How can the masses generally benefit from the nation’s vast wealth? As remarked earlier, there is no short cut to poverty eradication than to get people to work and earn money. Poverty means lack of income. If serious efforts are made to support agriculture through states and local government apparatus in the shape of inputs, i.e fertilizers and pesticides, extension services and provision of small-scale credits, agriculture will boom within 5 – 7 years. Farmers will generate more income to enable them to grow the food the country needs and to look after our environment. In addition, the drift to urban centres will be greatly reduced. Equal attention should be paid to the revival of employment-generating activities such as Railways, Industries, notably textiles and other land and forest resource based industries to absorb urban labour to tackle poverty, reduce urban stress and crime and at the same time boost the economy. However, these two major policy initiatives can only succeed if there is substantial improvement in power generation. As remarked earlier, adequate provision of power will help small scale business to thrive and link-up with the general economy. Power is the site of the legion, in other words, it is central to all economic activity. 28. May I, Mr. Chairman, conclude this presentation by referring to the distribution of income in Nigeria today? No better illustration of the huge income disparity can be quoted than the statement of Malam Adamu Fika, Chairman of the Committee set up by Government to review the Nigerian public service. In the course of presentation of his Report, the Chairman pointed out that 18,000 public officers consume in the form of salaries, allowances and other perquisites N1.126 trillion naira (£4billion) of public funds. The total Nigerian budget for 2013 is N4.9 trillion (£20 billion). This is the worst form of corruption and oppression. A wholesale look at public expenses vis-à-vis the real need of the country has become urgent. 29. Mr. Chairman, the Honourable Members, Distinguished Guests, I thank you for your patience and attention. General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR London – United Kingdom Tuesday, March 5th 2013.


Jodi Arias is back on the stand and will continue to answer defense attorney Kirk Nurmi's questions about her responses to the juror questions.


Shake your shamrocks! Springfield has a taste of Ireland with a new storyline, characters and buildings to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.