My Predictions For 2010

I was amused by a recent report in one of the national dailies purporting that over 70% of prophecies and predictions by prophets, pastors, overseers, and their like are inaccurate. The paper lamented what it called a bazaar of false predictions associated with these men of God. I wonder why the paper was just realizing that these men of God are also mere mortals and, therefore, can miscalculate and misfire. The Bible tells us that it is only God who is in heaven that is perfect.

Notwithstanding the prophetic inaccuracies and near-misses by these men of God, I believe there are still some genuine prophets among them, who have made predictions that have come to pass.

It is, however, not my intention in this article to list those prophesies that had either come to pass or not. Neither am I interested in calling the names of these prophets. What I try to do here is to look into my spiritual crystal-ball to see what 2010 holds in store for Nigerians and, by extension, the world. Some persons may ask if I am among the prophets. But I need not be a self-professed prophet to see tomorrow. All of us share in the priesthood, kingship and humanity of Christ. By his priesthood we can be called prophets. As prophets, we can predict the future and foretell events that affect our lives and nation. Have we forgotten that Christ said we could perform greater miracles than he did only shall we believe? What we lack is the moral strength to play this significant role.

Even though I am aware of the curiosity this article may generate, I do not intend to shy away from doing what the spirit of God has directed me to do. Nobody will contest it that God speaks to us individually in diverse ways. Probably the problem lies in our inability to perceive his voice and interpret the message connected to this voice. That is what is called the small, still voice.

As was the case in the days of Moses, Elijah and Elisha, etc., God still reveals himself to us. He has never failed to speak to us directly or through his prophets. That is why, at times, we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of some of the messages we receive – making us lose their essence easily.

We do not need any prophet to tell us that 2009 was a very tragic year. It was a year that brought many bad omens of horrid dimensions. Natural disasters, diseases, deaths and other calamities were recorded with recurring intensity across the world. It was this same year that the world faced its harshest economic recession in the last decade, leading to the closure of many companies. Those of them that managed to survive had no other choice than to lay off some of their staff. Nigeria faired very badly as the economic downturn took its toll on banks and the Stock Exchange. The bears, which had controlled trading on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the better part of the year, continued their poor run up to last week, making investors rethink their strategies. More deaths were recorded this year than in the previous year, while hunger and poverty pummeled the people mercilessly.

It is my intention at this point to switch off from 2009 and move straight to 2010. Like Amos, I am not a prophet of Doom. I am a prophet of Hope and a harbinger of Good News. I say this with every sense of responsibility and in the conviction that God in his infinite mercy will make 2010 a memorable one.

In politics, I foresee increased activities toward the 2011 elections. The Anambra State Governorship Election scheduled for February 6 will take the centre-stage. Contrary to the frightening predictions and permutations about that election, the God I serve has told me it is going to be one of the most peaceful elections in the annals of our dear nation. Let me state the umpteenth time, however, that PDP will lose that election. Anambra people have cried for change for a long time and God has hearkened to their cries. The biggest gift they will receive next year is the defeat of PDP and the emergence of a brand new government to take the state to new heights. But to make this message come true the people of Anambra State must take their destiny in their own hands by voting for Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA). PPA is the new party that put smiles in the faces of the people. Soludo may not find it easy to win Anambra State as the standard-bearer of PDP because the forces against his candidature are not relenting in their legal battle to ensure he does not participate in the election. Even some of those patting him on the back at present only pretend to support him when deep down in their hearts they would prefer somebody else.

President Musa Yar’Adua will recover dramatically from his present illness and become stronger to run the affairs of state. 2010 will bring greater healing for him if only he can continually trust God. He should beware of sycophants that are scheming to bring his administration into disrepute. They will intensify their evil plots in the New Year. ASUU and other related associations will plan another strike, but it will be nipped in the bud. Before this happens, the system will have been overheated to a boiling point. To avert this unfortunate situation the federal government should ensure that the agreement it reached with the association is diligently implemented. The President should try and mediate a settlement with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to forestall an impending national strike. But let me warn labour to weigh all options available to it before confronting the government over the deregulation impasse. Its threat of a strike may not work out as planned, because some of its members will oppose the move vehemently.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will register more political parties. Some existing parties will become comatose, which will ultimately lead to their extinction. The mega party is a very beautiful package on paper. Infighting and power tussle among its key members will stunt its growth and stall its effective take-off. It is this personal aggrandizement that accounted for the inability of past efforts in this direction to succeed. Opposition can only produce maximum results if members bury their selfish interests and promote the collective interests. It is the divisiveness in the opposition that PDP has continually taken undue advantage of. In truth, the opposition can muster enough support in the New Year to sweep PDP out of power in 2011, after all membership of the party is not up to 0.2% of the population of registered voters.

Many state governments will find it increasing difficult to meet their financial obligations and this will cause disaffection between them and their workers and people. The federal government will attempt to intervene but this will not yield any useful result. My worst fear is that this situation may have unexpected repercussions on the political and economic life of the nation.

There may be unsuccessful moves to remove two governors. They will fight back and this will leave their people worse off. To forestall these unfavourable developments, governors must ensure relative harmony between them and their legislative assemblies on one hand and the people that elected them on the other. Some of the governors work in total discordance with their state houses of assembly and carry on the business of governance with lack of cooperation and regard to other forces that dictate the tune of politicking in their states. Peace remains the best solution to every crisis. In peace we can achieve more.

The Independent Electoral Commission will face stiff financial difficulties. This development will have negative consequences on the forthcoming elections. I advise the federal government to take the issue of funding for INEC very seriously. Added to this is the need to carry out a thorough screening of the staff of the commission to smoke out those with questionable character. Some of the existing members of staff lack the moral strength to conduct free and fair elections in the country. It is these mules that give INEC bad name.

Even though the Niger Delta Region will remain the centre of global attention, hostilities will reduce drastically. There will be infrastructural boom in the region as opposed to the present beggarly federal presence. It is important, however, to advise the government to ensure steady implementation of the master plan for the place. This is the only thing that can generate permanent peace there.

There will be a cabinet reshuffle in some states, including the federal government. Some ministers will be shown the way out for non-performance and inability to wield sufficient political influence in their constituency. The ill-health of Mr. President, having exposed the weaknesses of some ministers and other political office holders, will lead to some adjustments. Nevertheless, the disquiet in the cabinet will come to the fore as those that will be affected by the oncoming political earthquake will fight back. A minister will voluntarily resign, thereby sending jitters into the nation’s political life. The resignation will trigger off an internal crisis in his party.

PDP will be engulfed by a serious crisis that will deplete its rank and file drastically. The impact of the crisis will resonate across the country and place the party in a precarious position before the 2011 elections.

The general security of the country will improve significantly in 2010 as there will be increased funding for the police and other security agencies. Kidnapping which has posed a serious social problem will be confronted vigorously by the federal and state governments. Many of those perpetrating this devilish act, including their sponsors, will be rounded up and prosecuted. The result will be a more peaceful and safer nation.

There will be a huge earthquake in one of the Asian countries that will shake the world and lead to loss of many lives. This earthquake will be of almost the same magnitude with the destructive Tsunami that hit Sumatra, Indonesia, on December 26, 2005. The catastrophic consequences of this earthquake can be reasonably reduced with adequate enlightenment and precaution.

In 2008, oil reached an all-time high of US140 dollars per barrel in the international market. Less than a week after it got to this supersonic height it began an uncontrollable slide, getting down to as low as 47 dollars before it started another round of leap. Today the price fluctuates between 71 and 73 dollars. I see another quantum leap to as high as 134 dollars next year. When this happens, I advise the various governments to rise up to the occasion by ensuring prudent management of the resources that will accrue. Emphasis should shift from the urban to the rural areas in terms of infrastructural development. The present condition of roads across the country is deplorable. The southeast zone presents a peculiar case as almost all the federal roads are at various stages of dilapidation. The Shagamu-Ore, Enugu-Onistha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, and Aba-Ikot-Ekpene Roads will receive special attention in 2010 to alleviate the sufferings of the people where the roads traverse.

Many serving political office holders will be rejected by the electorate. All their carrots and other inducements will be treated with repulsiveness by the people of Nigeria. These politicians will find it very difficult to convince the masses to support their re-election. There will be confusion in many of the states where the governors will be serving out their second terms. We call it succession war. If not properly handled it can overheat the polity and cause disaffection among their followings.

The banking sector will experience harder times, despite the efforts of the Central Bank to sanitize them. Some aggrieved shareholders of the banks will fight back to recover what they call “their investments”. But the CBN can do something to checkmate the negative consequences of some of the measures it has introduced to restore the public’s confidence in the sector.

One outfit that will suffer deeper recession next year is the Nigeria Stock Exchange. Investors in the stock market will experience greater losses as the All-share index will continue to plummet. But there is hope, however, that towards the end of next year share prices will experience sudden recovery. Investors should not lose hope, because perseverance pays.

The Bakassi imbroglio, even though it has been settled by the International Court at The Hague in favour of Cameroun, will resurrect. At the moment, the area covered by the court’s judgement, is experiencing relative peace. The federal government should take measures to forestall any breach of the existing peace in the region. We should stop dissipating energy on Bakassi, which we lost to the indiscretion and injudiciousness of our leaders, and face the reality of the sad loss.

New bishops and dioceses will emerge in the Catholic Church next year. I can also see the addition of one more cardinal to complement the effort of the only one available now Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie. Religious harmony will pervade the country throughout 2010. The usual skirmishes between Christians and Muslims will give way to unusual conviviality and camaraderie. The country needs this kind of cordiality to move forward. Religious bigotry and extremism have done the nation more harm than good over the years. The Jos religious upheaval has left a deep scare on the nation’s soul.

Nigeria’s participation in the African Nations Cup holding in Angola and the World Cup to be hosted by South Africa will receive a boost. Against all speculations and forecasts, Nigeria will perform impressively in both tournaments. What the players need are constant prayer and vociferous support by the Supporters’ Club.

Generally, 2010 will be a very congenial and peaceful year. It is the year that will usher the long-awaited wind of change in Nigeria. Those who have benefitted from the chaos that had been the lot of our national life over the years will be awfully disappointed by the new rein of love and peace that will pervade our land.

I wish to express profound gratitude to all our readers for their unrelenting patronage and love. We wish you all Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Nigeria To Generate 3,600 Megawatts From Coal By 2013

Nigeria’s burgeoning plan to launch a pilot project that will use the nation’s coal deposits of 2.7 billion tones to generate electricity is gathering more momentum even as Mining and Solid Minerals Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has revealed that the first stage of the project which would likely be located in Kogi state could supply 600 megawatts of electricity in about 13 months.

According to the minister, “it could be a substantial contribution, not just the pilot project but also the whole schedule of projects that would fall into place. The first project is hopeful that once they kick off, over a period of 72 months, they can ramp up output of up to 3,600 megawatts, although as minister, I am much more conservative.”

Currently, Nigeria’s generation capacity is put at about 4,500 megawatts while actual generation hovers around 2000 due to transmission and distribution bottlenecks.

Dr. Rilwan Babalola, minister of power, had in a chat with newsmen recently said that given the challenges encountered in getting natural gas from producers in the Niger Delta to fire thermal plants, the government was left with no other option than to exploit the coal deposits in the country for the purpose of electricity generation. “We are diversifying into coal and we are very serious about it this time because of the challenges in getting gas to fire the thermal plants”, Babalola said.

Power generation in Nigeria over the last 40 years has varied from gas-fired, oil-fired, hydro-electric power stations to coal-fired stations with hydroelectric power system and gas-fired system taking precedence.

Nigeria has significant coal resources that have been estimated at 2.7 billion metric tons of which 650 million tons are proven reserves. About 95 percent of the nation’s coal is consumed locally, mainly for railway transportation, electricity production and industrial heating in cement production.

Industry experts say the country’s coal deposits are best suited for coal-fired electric power plants because of its low sulphur and ash content, and low thermoplastic properties.

Nigeria, battling with power outages and low generation capacity plans to raise generation to 6,000 megawatts by end of 2009 and 10,000 megawatts by 2011.

Coal, the mineral that stoked the Industrial revolution back in the 19th century, remains the most globally abundant fossil fuel, with an estimated 250 years of reserves. Experts say coal could power china and India to global economic leadership, replace imported natural gas in the United States and slash Europe’s dependence on foreign oil. But used the old-fashioned way, experts warn, coal will shroud planet Earth in enough carbon dioxide to trigger polar meltdowns in this lifetime.

Today, all but a handful of the thousands of coal-fired power plants in operation worldwide are smog-belching dinosaurs. The largest generate as much smog a year as 2 million cars; for every ton of fuel they burn, two tons of carbon dioxide plume skyward out the smokestack, experts say. Today, coal accounts for as much as a third of all man-made greenhouse gases – the largest single contributor. Hundreds of additional coal-fired power plants are scheduled to be built by2030-most in China, India and United states.

Thankfully, a lot of progress has been made in developing coal-fired plants that do not belch out tons of green house gases.

Opec Kicks Against Carbon Taxes

OPEC members are not thrilled with carbon taxes that some developed countries impose or plan to impose on carbon emissions.

According to Algeria’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Chakib Khelil, the carbon taxes discriminate against energy producing countries. Khelil said that the cartel was united in opposing the taxes.

He said carbon taxes would cut into the revenues of energy producers and make energy imports more expensive for developing countries.

“There is a consensus that is very clear. The countries of OPEC have been working for a very long time on this issue,” he said on Algerian State radio. “The producers will be penalised.

“This tax is discriminatory with regard to gas and oil and is not in the interests of producing countries and is also not in the interest of developing countries,” said Khelil, a former OPEC president.

At the Copenhagen Climate Conference, many developed countries spoke out in favor of carbon taxes. The U.S. has a House bill that allows for the imposition of tariffs on goods from countries that do not constrain their carbon output. The E.U. has called for carbon taxes at its borders to protect industries and jobs with French president Nicolas Sarkozy saying he and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel are proceeding with plans for a “border adjustment tax” on imports from countries without targets and trading systems comparable to those in Europe.

Health Condition: Lamido To Be Flown Abroad For Treatment

As President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is being expected back to the country any moment, the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, may likely be flown overseas for medical treatment, after he was said to have collapsed on Wednesday evening. Investigations by our source in the state indicated that the governor collapsed shortly after he came back from Malam-madori Local Government Area of the state where he paid a visit to one of his cabinet members who lost his house in a fire accident last week. A competent source at the Government House told our source that a team of doctors was invited from Kano to treat the governor after he fainted. The source further revealed that the doctors recommended that he should relax at home for a week and boycott official activities.Though the nature of the illness was not specified, it was confirmed that the governor was taken to his personal residence in his hometown, Bamaina, where he is receiving medical attention.LEADERSHIP also gathered that most government top officials have visited the governor at Bamaina. There are speculations that he might be flown abroad for more medical treatment.When LEADERSHIP contacted the commissioner of information, he debunked the report, saying the governor is healthy and he is not suffering from any sickness.“As at yesterday evening we were together with him and if he has any health problems I would have known.” The Commissioner of Health, Dr. Nashabaru, said the governor is fine and is not suffering from any disease.Nashabaru further noted that the rumor about the governor’s health condition is not true, stressing that he will not be flown abroad for medical attention.