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

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

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

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

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

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

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