Monday, January 31, 2011

Nigeria: Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Warns Jonathan Against Military Action in Cote d' Ivoire

By Omoh Gabriel


Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has warned the Federal Government and other ECOWAS leaders against military action to resolve the political crisis in Cote d' Ivoire, saying ECOWAS leaders have enough lessons to learn from the military intervention in Liberia. The chamber said the Nigerian economy at the moment had enough challenges.

A statement signed by the President of the chamber, Otunba Femi Deru, said: "The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has followed with keen interest political developments in Cote d' Ivoire and the subsequent moves by the ECOWAS Heads of Government to resolve the crisis.

We welcome and commend the efforts and concern demonstrated by ECOWAS under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan to salvage and stabilise the situation in Cote d' Ivoire. It is a mark of commitment to peace and the promotion of democratic ideals in the sub region. This is a noble cause no doubt.

"However, we would like to caution that the options for the resolution of the crisis should be carefully and dispassionately weighed and the implications properly evaluated. ECOWAS and Nigeria in particular, should resist the temptation of rushing to judgment or taking actions, the full implications of which has not been properly assessed.

"Nigeria as well as ECOWAS have enough lessons to learn from the military intervention in Liberia and Sierra Leone under the banner of ECOMOG. There are also current lessons to learn from military interventions in other parts of the world.

The cost and consequences of such interventions are often difficult to predict. For Nigeria, the cost-benefit analysis of each options in the Cote d' Ivoire crisis should be painstakingly undertaken. We should not be in a hurry to justify our position as a regional power or be too eager to impress the international community.

"Nigeria spent billions of dollars to fund the military intervention (through ECOMOG) in Liberia. The opportunity cost to the Nigerian economy was colossal. We lost hundreds of troops. Two Nigeria journalists were killed. There was a major humanitarian and refugee crisis in Liberia, spilling over to neighbouring countries.The entire economic infrastructures were destroyed.

"In the light of this experience, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce Industry advises strongly against a military action in Cote d' Iviore by ECOWAS."

Naturally, Nigeria will be expected to take leadership in the event of such an action- providing financial, material and human resources for the military offensive. We daresay that the Nigeria economy cannot afford such a sacrifice at this time.

The economy has enough challenges at the moment. We are dealing with serious infrastructure crisis which is constraining economic diversification and private sector competitiveness. The excessive dependence on crude oil poses a major risk of sustainability for the Nigerian economy. Domestic value addition is low, resulting in the weak capacity of the economy to create jobs.

"We are dealing with a high debt burden where a disproportionate part of the country's resources is being used to service debt. We are dealing with increasing internal security challenges with inadequate funding for the police. Our excess crude account has been depleted.

We have a manufacturing sector which has stagnated, contributing less than 5% of our GDP, the unemployment problem in the country has assumed a crisis dimension. Poverty is prevalent in the country, with the incidence of poverty in some geopolitical zones in excess of 70%. We have the challenge of making a success of the current political transition programme.

"These are issues of overriding interest and concern to Nigerians which require substantial resource commitment to address. This is certainly not the time for Nigerian to be the champion of military action in any country. Military solution is not cheap.

We concede that it is good to be our brothers' keeper. But this should be situated within the context of the strategic interests of the country and our priorities as a people. The Lagos Chamber o Commerce advises against any form of military action in Cote D' Voire.

Rather, emphasis should be on diplomacy, dialogue, and economic and other sanctions. There should also be a neutral disposition by ECOWAS in the mediation process to earn the confidence of all parties in the crisis".

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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