Inspirational and Socio-Political Blog.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Save The Horn Of Africa

The horn of Africa is going through the worst humanitarian disaster ever recorded in history.  The immense lack of rain is causing severe water and pasture shortages, death of livestock and poor livelihood, food insecurity, poor harvest and lack of money.  The drought is currently affecting over 12 million people in the region, comprising of Djibouti, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Many people have died, yet many more will die except something is done urgently.

Drought in the Horn of Africa has lasted several years, but the last 2 years have been the worst on record, forcing the price of food and cost of living beyond the reach of most families, a lot of families have moved to refugee camps.  The Dadaab Refugee Camps, based in Kenya welcomes over 1000 people on a daily basis, most of the refugees are Somalians fleeing the drought and the war that have lasted a few years.  The Camps already have almost 400,000 refugees, stretching its capacity beyond limit. The same is the case in the Kobe and Hilaweyn Camps in Ethiopia with many malnourished refugees.

A recent report released by the US government showed that 29,000 children under five years old died between May to July 2011 in the region.  Department for International Developments (DfID) also suggest that between 50,000 and 100,000 people died in 2011, more than half of this people are children under five years old.

The figure is projected to double in 2012 if immediate measure is not put in place to address the looming disaster already ravaging the horn of Africa. Emergency responses need to be improved to avoid more deaths as the chronic food shortages in the region have gone beyond expectation since the rain stopped in October 2010 and 10 million people needs help as soon as possible. 

Several Aid Agencies have been involved in various projects, raising money, food, temporary shelters and many more to provide support for the people of the region.  Help have equally been coming from all over the world and I must say they are all commendable, but more still needs to be done. There is need for Africa to rise to its own aid; there is need for its people to help itself, rather than being enmeshed in wars, crimes, corruption and wickedness to itself. 

There is urgent need for millions of dollars if we stand to stop this crisis. Just last year the UN appealed for $500m for Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. This appeal has only yielded half of the desired result.  A similar appeal of $30 for Djibouti has only yielded 30% of the target.  Charities say there has been very slow response to the situation from donors, international community and aid agencies leading to loss of many lives.  NGOs such as Oxfam and Save the Children have confirmed that the early warning system has forecasted an emergency situation since August 2010, but a full scale response to the situation did not start until July 2011, leading to the death of many people and animal.

The African Union met last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to raise funds through a fund raising conference.  The leaders and institutions made pledges totalling $380m, with $300m of that coming from Africa Development Bank  and projected to be spent over the next 4 years.  Africa countries promised to donate £51m with Algeria, Angola and Egypt leading the way, however not all the countries have fulfilled their pledge so far. There is urgent need for the 54 AU member states to contribute as pledged and do a lot more.

The governments of Africa are not doing much to stop the crisis; they are not doing a lot to protect the lives of the poor and dying refugees.  They are only enmeshed in their corruption and selfish interests.   There is daily war, killing of innocent citizens, all sponsored by the rich, creating more instability and violence. 

A few greedy Africans seem to benefit from the disaster and are happy for more people to die.  They sponsor rebels in arms and ammunitions to the regions rather than humanitarian aids. There is no single value for life, people are killed with ease and many more are left to die, while the leaders stash away money and resources they don’t have need for. 

The humanitarian situation is already spreading to other parts of Africa; there is gross insecurity, diseases, acute poverty, high cost of living, corrupt leaders, weak economy, religions violence and lack of power supply.

The drought is returning to the arid, western shoulder of Africa referred to as the Sahel region.  Aids Agencies are warning that if immediate action is not taken, the region could slip into crisis and a potential famine is looming in West Africa.  Niger government is the first country to issue an alert last year. The other countries in the region with potential crisis are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, northern Nigeria, Cameroun and Southern Chad.

Poor and innocent Africans are suffering and dying, but not many seem to be helping.

It is not too late to support the horn of Africa.  Let’s all donate to stop the untimely death and acute famine. Every African deserves a life and any amount of money you donate will go a long way to save a life.  Several charities are doing a great job in the region; you can donate to any of the following organisations.

-          Oxfam International
-          WaterAid
-          World Food Programme
-          High Commission for Refugees
-          Save The Children
-          Doctors Without Borders
-          MercyCorps

Abiola Olaifa writes 

Monday 9 January 2012

Petroleum Subsidy Removal: Time for The Omolankes, Bicycles, Camels, Et cetera.

At the beginning of the 20th century a remarkable breakthrough took place, when the carriage gave up the horse and new power system emerged with the carriage and freed the horse from the burden.  After this revolution, there has been tremendous improvement to the way we transport ourselves and goods all around our planet and the world at large.  Little did the world envision the rapid transformation at the time and that the changes to the mode of transportation will be immensely circumspect.

The world is constantly moving and we tend to move faster now than we have always done.  Our lives tend to depend on our ability to transport from one part of the world to the other as quickly and efficient as we can.  How fast, efficient and economical our mode of transportation is, clearly have direct impact on the way we live, feed and communicate.

The 20th century ushered in a giant leap in the world’s automotive technology, making it more convenient, safer and cheaper to transport.  However these new modes of transportations have their problems, ranging from political, economical and environmental. The greatest of this problem is the petroleum fuel used to power the vehicles.  Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is now very expensive and also nearing its extinction.  

On the 1st of January 2011, President Jonathan of Nigeria totally removed the petroleum subsidy, which is about the only way, so far that the Government of Nigeria has shown any support for the ordinary citizens of Nigeria to get cheaper PMS.  This act has generated many evaluations, some in support and many more against the subsidy removal.  Irrespective of everyone’s opinion of the subsidy removal, it is important that we all started making up our minds about how we transport ourselves around and try alternative modes of transportation that will cut down on our over-dependence on petroleum products as our means of transportation.

As we all know that majority of the cars in Nigeria and Africa of today are totally dependent on Petroleum fuels.  We are doing the planet no good if we continue to use the car at the current rate.  We all need to start looking at alternative modes of transportation, which is not overly reliant on Petroleum as we presently do. 

We need to cut down on the use of petroleum based cars as our only means of transportation.

We need to use more buses, trains and start leaving our cars at home.

Let us start car sharing to work.

We need to use our bicycles more now. 

Let’s go back to the Omolankes, Camels, Donkeys and Horses, especially in our rural communities.

Our companies and the governments need to introduce parking quotas and restrictions in our business and commercial areas, so as to encourage car sharing.

Let’s walk more now when we can, it’s the best form of transportation and also very healthy.

The cost of petroleum in the world over has gone up astronomically and until we started embracing ways of cutting down on our dependence on Petroleum fuels, we may not start to enjoy our already congested transportation lifestyles.

The united nation has announced that the world’s population has reached 7 Billion people at the tail end of 2011 and expects it to eventually stabilize at around 10 billion people.  If the numbers do reach 10 billion people and the world’s economy keeps improving to the point that everyone owns cars, there would be around 6 billion cars or about 8 billion motor vehicles in the world.  If everyone drove cars like the Americans that would drain the entire Middle East Oil supplies in just about 5 years. 

New technological trends are emerging on a daily basis to cut down on the problems.   The world is gradually moving away from Petroleum based mode of transportation and gradually embracing electric based cars, hybrid cars, sky tram, super bus, Autoway, superconducting MAGnetic LEVitation (MAGLEV) mode of transports and many more that are still emerging.  These modes of transportation also tend to reduce the production of green house gases partly caused by petroleum motor fuel gas emissions.

It is estimated that there will be over 1.1 Billion motor vehicles in the world by 2020. If all these vehicles are lined up and drove past you at the rate of one vehicle per second, it will take £35 years for 1.1 billion vehicles to drive by. If they line up bumper-to-bumper (Acknowledging Wande Coal) for the drive-by, the line would extend 130 times around the world.  That is how many vehicles we’ll have to supply with motor fuel by 2020 and that is how much atmospheric pollutant we will be having by the same year

Until we started to embrace alternative mode of transportations, not dependent on petroleum fuel, we may not achieve our drive to lead a cheaper and sustainable life we all dream of.  Let’s bring out the bicycles, omolankes, camels and horses; this may just be the way forward.

As written by: Abiola Olaifa (, )