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Idriss Déby: Hereditary Succession In Africa’s Modern-day Autocracy

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Idriss Déby: Hereditary Succession In Africa's Modern-day Autocracy

Yesterday (Tuesday, April 20, 2021) was a sad day for Chadians, and not only for them but Africans at large. It was the day Idriss Déby, who served the country as a sitting president for no less than 31 years.  He died from the bullet wounds he suffered while leading Chadian troops in a fight against terror sect, Boko Haram.

A few hours after Déby’s death was disclosed, his son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, 37, was named as a transitional leader of the country. And in what appeared to be a demonstration of the country’s succession-designed plan, he eventually became the successor of his late father. “Itno will occupy the functions of the president of the republic, and also serve as head of the armed forces”, a statement from the presidency read.

How Déby planned to stay in power for at least, 4 decades

It would be recalled that a national conference, in what appeared to be a move to design monarchy, approved of Déby to be in power till 2033. The conference also sought the granting of greater powers to the deceased under constitutional changes. Newsrand understands that the development came after Déby had spent 31 years in power.

The two-week forum of about 800 politicians, business leaders, and traditional chiefs, also recommended the elimination of the post of prime minister, as they kicked against the idea of running a fully presidential system.

It, however, proposed re-instating presidential term limits that were scrapped by a 2005 referendum, but the reforms would still let President Idriss Deby, who came to power in a rebellion in 1990, stay on well into old age.

It recommended six-year presidential terms, limited to a maximum of two terms, effective from 2021, which was when the much-awaited presidential election was expected to hold. This development means Déby would stay in power until 2033 when he will be 81.

Even though he’s dead, Déby somehow managed to remain in power through an heir.

The leadership succession at play

Leadership succession is a truly ubiquitous phenomenon with manifold and wide-ranging implications, which explains the major attention that issues of succession have received in the international community.

While most contributions to the topic focus on political succession in either democratic or non-democratic regimes, it is pertinent to note that succession is an inevitability of political life, and as it has been seen in the past, there are several ways it has been accomplished. From dynastic inheritance to assassination, to competition for votes, Africa as a whole has experienced leadership through successions. Although, some do it better than others.

In view of the many successions that have been experienced in different African countries, it is however fair to say that the continent has had more than its share of disorderly successions. Even where succession does not lead directly to violence or state breakdown, uncertainty surrounding the process can impede economic development, increase insecurity, amongst other factors that might ignite call for revolution.

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Ending Unending Depreciation Of Naira Via Local Production

Kadiri Abdulrahman

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Ending Unending Depreciation Of Naira Via Local Production

Nigerians are bothered by the unending depreciation of their legal tender, the Naira. The currency exchanged at N197 to a dollar in June 2015, but now exchanges at above N400.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), recently devalued the Naira by seven percent against the dollar, in a bid to migrate towards a single exchange rate system for the local currency.

The apex bank replaced the fixed rate of 379 Naira to a dollar used for official transactions with the investors and exporters (I&E) exchange rate, also known as the  Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) rate of 410.25 Naira per dollar.

READ ALSO: What’s The Big Deal About Cryptocurrency?

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said that the move was informed by the apex bank’s quest for sanity in the forex market.

“We found out that we were no longer dealing in this so-called CBN official rate for transactions, we are still running a managed-float.

“We are monitoring the market and seeing what is happening for us to ensure that the right things are happening for the good of the Nigerian economy,” he said.

Findings revealed that Bureau De Change (BDC) operators got the dollar from the CBN at N393 but sold it for N494.

Experts blame preference for unnecessary importation of goods and services by Nigerians and the deficit in local production and manufacturing of essential goods and services as reasons for the weak currency.

Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) advised the government to encourage consumption of locally manufactured goods and services in order to reduce pressure on the Naira.

“The reason we all care about the value of the Naira to the dollar is that we need to import.

“If we can access good medical facilities at home, good education, and we do not import petrol, we will not care about the value of the dollar.

“If we produce what we consume and consume what we produce, the value of the Naira will stabilize,” he said.

The Federal Government in 2015 took steps to ease pressure on the Naira by restricting items that could be imported into the country, and for which foreign exchange could be officially accessed.

The CBN also banned importers of 41 products from accessing the foreign exchange market.

Under the policy, the CBN would not grant foreign exchange to import the 41 products, mostly consumer or intermediate products.

Though the policy resulted in plummeting exchange rate of the Naira, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, insisted that the objective of the policy was to tackle the problem of import dependency and to diversify the economy.

According to him, the intervention would help to resuscitate local manufacturing and change the structure of the economy.

In spite of this and other similar policies, the Naira continued to depreciate.

Stakeholders have identified several factors militating against the stability and strengthening of the Naira at the foreign exchange market.

They explained that whenever the authorities introduced a dual exchange rate regime, some people would take advantage of the usually wide gap between the two rates to round-trip by buying from the official market at a lower rate and then sell at the autonomous market at a higher rate.

According to them, having the right exchange rate was the only way of keeping the nation out of debt burden. They also stressed the need for Nigerians to import what cannot be produced in the country.

A former Deputy Governor of the CBN, Mr. Ernest Ebi, explained that exchange rate management in the country was determined within the framework of the overall macro-economic policy objectives.

“The exchange rate of the domestic currency was deliberately over-valued to make imports cheaper,” he said.

He explained that this policy regime was sustained by the huge foreign exchange inflow arising from the oil boom in the mid-1970s up to the 1980s.

Former Minister of Finance, Chief Olu Falae, who spoke on the issue, blamed the depreciation of the Naira against other international currencies on the weak economic base of the country.

Falae said for the Naira to appreciate, there was the need to expand the productive capacity in order to produce more goods and even generate more jobs.

He stressed the need for a reduction in imports so that the country would spend fewer dollars on importation.

Falae also said that it had become imperative for the nation to rekindle interest in agriculture and industrial production.

“We are not producing at home. That is the point. Because we are not producing, we have to import a lot of things and this will put pressure on the Naira,” he said.

As the nation’s currency continues to depreciate, Nigerians continue to express worry that the Naira, which some years ago, was at par with the dollar had become so weak and vulnerable.

They see the value of the Naira against the dollar and other foreign currencies as indicative of the shape of the Nigerian economy.

According to Nigerian veteran musician and social commentator, Femi Kuti, the unending depreciation of the Nigerian currency is an indication of how the country’s economic problems have multiplied over the years.

“Some years ago, one dollar was exchanged for one Naira.  But now it is about N400 to one dollar, this means that Nigeria’s problems have multiplied by over 400 times,” he said.

Unarguably, for the Naira to gain some value and become stable, the government must put policies in place to accelerate economic diversification, be stricter in cutting consumption of imported goods and services and invest heavily in the real sector of the economy.

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Buhari Suspends Twitter Operations In Nigeria

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Buhari Suspends Twitter Operations In Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.

More details later…

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Difference between FDA and EUA Vaccine Approval

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Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has seen the rollout of a different vaccines to help curtail the spread of the deadly virus, however a lot of people aren’t aware of the hurdles that the vaccine making companies have to pass through to get an approval. In Nigeria, thousands of people have started taking shots of the vaccine in hopes that they can be immune from the virus.

This article explains how the use of a vaccine comes about in the first place.

Meaning of USA FDA Vaccine Approval

Firstly, let us understand what the FDA is responsible for. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safetytobacco products, dietary supplementsprescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccinesbiopharmaceuticalsblood transfusionsmedical deviceselectromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics, animal foods & feed[4] and veterinary products.

Before the FDA approves any company’s vaccine, it must determine that the clinical data and other information show that the vaccine is safe and effective for its intended use (i.e to prevent or treat certain diseases) and that the product can be made according to federal quality standards.

Meaning of an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Approval

An EUA approval is one of the tools the FDA uses to help make certain medical products available quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In certain emergency situations, the FDA can issue an EUA to provide access to medical products that may be potentially used when there are no adequate, approved, and available options.

The EUA process is quite different from an FDA approval or clearance. Under an EUA, in an emergency, the FDA makes a product available to the public based on the available evidence, without waiting for all the evidence that would be needed for FDA approval or clearance.

More importantly, the risks and benefits of the emergency approval is weighed based on available current data.

By Segun Olarinmoye

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