Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Celebrate

China today is celebrating the founding of its current regime in 1949 and Nigeria is celebrating its independence in 1960. Do you know the national holidays of the other countries you're studying?

National Day
The word National Day, appeared in Chinese language as early as in the Western Jin Dynasty… In ancient China, it usually fell on the day when the emperor ascended the throne or was born. Nowadays, it is celebrated on October 1st every year to commemorate the founding of People’s Republic of China. On that day, lots of large-scaled activities are held nationwide. Besides, the seven-day holiday from Oct. 1st to 7th is the so-called "Golden Week”, during which more and more Chinese people go traveling around the country…

FG Declares Oct 1 Public Holiday
The Federal Government of Nigeria has declared Wednesday, October 1 as Public Holiday to mark Nigeria's 54th Independence Anniversary

Minister of Interior, Abba Moro… enjoined all Nigerians to use the period of the Public Holiday to reflect on the giant strides made by government in the development of the country towards building a more formidable Nigeria.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Political novel or Nigerian reality?

This story does not bode well for President Jonathan's anti-corruption camgaign. It does seem to be as incredible as fiction.

It's complicated and Jonathan's party in Congress has blocked debate because it's a "national security" issue, so details are hard to find.

South African police photo
Let's see: two Nigerians (unidentified so far) and an Israeli citizen (also unidentified) fly to South Africa on a jet owned by the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria. South African customs discovers $9.3 million ($100 bills) packed into 3 suitcases. The money wasn't declared and it and the plane were seized by customs.

Nigerian officials quickly claim that the money belongs to the Nigerian government and was intended to purchase military hardware. The officials also quickly claim that having private citizens carry cash for such purposes is globally accepted standard operating procedure.

Just imagine a couple cousins of U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel carrying a trunk full of cash to Prague on a plane owned by Texas Pastor Joel Osteen claiming to be on a Defense Department mission to buy Czech CZ700 sniper rifles.

Standard operating procedure? Rule of law? Transparency? Corruption? Plot for a Tom Clancy novel?

Uproar in House of Reps Over Seized U.S.$9.3 Million
The atmosphere was tense in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, as All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers staged a walkout following a perceived attempt by Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, to kill a motion on the alleged smuggled $9.3 million cash into South Africa…

The protesting lawmakers staged a walkout from the chambers when the Deputy Speaker moved to stall debate on the controversial $9.3 million said to have been seized last week by the South African government.

A private jet, with two Nigerians on board together with an Israeli, reportedly conveyed the huge sum said to have been intended for procurement of arms and ammunition into South Africa…


FG Evasive on Seized U.S.$9.3 Million - JNI
The Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI) Monday described the explanation given on the $9.3 million seized in South African as unclear.

The money was smuggled into South Africa aboard a jet belonging to CAN President Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

Government was said to have claimed that the money was meant to procure arms for the military…

A JNI statement… said: "What is more shocking is government's full knowledge of it despite its illegality and the attempt to intervene in such a scandalous matter which attracts the full weight of the law to address. There is more to the explanation given by the government on the matter. Government should tell Nigerians the real fact on the issue."

JNI said due process was not followed in the arms deal and there were a lot of unanswered questions on the part of government.

It said the money ought to have been transferred electronically and an official aircraft should have been used…


And perhaps the issue spills over into identity politics.

The Cash-for-Arm Scandal And Security Of Nigeria's Muslims
The cash-for-arms scandal in the airplane owned by the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor, should not be allowed to be swept under the carpet just like other issues before it.

Rev. Oritsejafor's jet
This is because the man whose plane is at the center of the questionable arms purchase is an avowed enemy of Nigeria’s Muslim…

He has openly asked the Nigeria government, headed by his spiritual son, GoodLuck Jonathan, to allow the Christian community to bear arms. It appears when the government was not audacious enough to openly acquiesce to that request, they decided to bear the arm through the back door.

Is this the other side of the Boko-Haram war? Is this the manifestation of [the] claim that Boko haram is being funded from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)?…

The search for the truth must start from within. Muslims head the Nigeria Security Agency and Defense Ministry in the person of Ibrahim Dasuki and Aliyu Gusau, respectively.

They must account to us how such a huge cash for arms was found in a private airplane belonging to a sworn-enemy of the Muslim…
Nigeria, South Africa At War Over Seized $9.3 Million Cash
Detectives in South Africa have rejected Nigerian government’s explanations of the purpose of the $9.3 million cash seized from two Nigerians and an Israeli as “flawed and riddled with discrepancies”...

Nigerian security officials also said that it was normal practice to procure arms with cash.

“The Federal Government has submitted relevant data and documents on the transaction to South Africa and insisted that the transaction was legitimate. It also clarified that the funds were not laundered or smuggled for any covert manoeuvres...

Investigators also cast serious doubt on the Nigerian government’s explanation that the money was meant for the procurement of arms and that it has provided documents and receipt to back its legitimacy, raising serious concern that suspects might have been in the process of laundering the money before it was intercepted.

The NPA said its investigation shows that Tier One Services Group, the firm Nigerian government claimed it wanted to procure the arms from, is not authorised to sell or rent military hardware...

The NPA added that the transaction did not follow normal procedure in the procurement of the kind of equipment it was alleged to have been meant for.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Conservative Party Annual Conference

The Tories started their annual conference yesterday. Search Google News for details.

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Labour Annual Conference

The conference may be history already, but here are some sources about it.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Chairman Xi

President Xi in China seems to doing what Putin is doing in Russia. He's just not going so far back in his nation's history.

The power of Xi Jinping
[I]n China Xi Jinping’s common touch and courting of public opinion are a striking departure. Since Deng Xiaoping came to power in the late 1970s, the party has been extolling the virtues of “collective leadership”… Mr Xi is not only jettisoning long-established convention; he is dismantling the very system of collective rule.

Since becoming military chief and general secretary of the Communist Party in November 2012 and president in March 2013, Mr Xi has been sending a clear message that the country is not just ruled by a faceless party—it is ruled by a man…

These changes in style hint at a profound shift in the nature of Chinese politics. Even as he plays to the public gallery, Mr Xi is tightening his grip on power among the elite. He has added a new layer of authority at the top, taken command of numerous committees, and now personally supervises overall government reform, finance, the overhaul of the armed forces and cyber-security. Always small, the number of decision-makers is shrinking further…

He does not want anyone to threaten his power in the way his predecessor, Hu Jintao, was overshadowed by Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee who was in charge of the entire law-enforcement apparatus, from the police and secret police to the judiciary. Mr Xi is trying to eliminate all vestiges of Mr Zhou’s influence. Mr Zhou, who retired when Mr Xi took over, is now being investigated for corruption…

Beijing souvenir
At 61, Mr Xi is the first leader to be born after Mao seized power. He is a “princeling”, the privileged child of a revolutionary figure. But in common with many Chinese, he suffered during Mao’s Cultural Revolution…

These are nothing like the days of fanatical Red Guards waving Mao’s “Little Red Book”, but party-backed adulation for Mr Xi has reached levels rarely experienced since the 1970s. In the first 18 months of Mr Xi’s leadership, his name appeared in the People’s Daily, the party’s mouthpiece, more often than in the comparable period of any other leader’s reign since Mao…

Mr Xi’s bid for popular acclaim, however, does not involve any attempt to shed the secrecy that surrounds the doings of the party elite…. He has tightened controls on online social networks and launched a sustained campaign against political dissent, including the rounding up of dozens of activists. Even those calling for officials to be more open about their wealth are being targeted…

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Don't even say devolution or accommodation

In China, there will be no talk of devolution or even accommodation. There will only be obedience.

China jails prominent Uighur academic Ilham Tohti for life
A court in China has found a prominent Uighur scholar guilty of separatism and jailed him for life, his lawyer says.

Ilham Tohti
Ilham Tohti had spoken out on China's policies towards the Muslim Uighur minority in the restive Xinjiang region, but had denied being a separatist.

Correspondents say China is taking a tougher line amid rising Xinjiang-linked violence…

Calling for independence is illegal and always punished severely when the offender belongs to China's minority Uighur community. But what is so extraordinary about the sentence is that Ilham Tohti was not an independence activist, far less a terrorist, but an outspoken advocate of building bridges between the two communities.

Until his arrest in January he was an academic at a university in [Beijing] and a member of the Communist Party. In his academic essays and on the website he ran, he insisted that Xinjiang should remain part of China and frequently expressed revulsion against growing violence employed by Uighurs against the state.

But he likewise criticised the mounting police crackdown in Xinjiang, complaining that punitive policies were radicalising young Uighurs and convincing them that the battle was not between China and terrorists, but between China and Islam.

Today's life sentence is a message that amid the battle to contain Xinjiang's surging violence, there is no longer room in China for an outspoken moderate…

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's good for Scotland is good for England, isn't it?

Many people in England note that while Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have legislatures to consider local issues, English issues are decided by the UK parliament. They ask, "Shouldn't England have a legislature for local issues?"

Because an MP from West Lothian (in Scotland) raised the issue during a debate in Commons, the topic has become known as The West Lothian Question.

West Lothian question continues to puzzle
Lingering in the margins of Labour's conference on Sunday has been a simple question with a complicated answer: is the promise of further devolution to Scotland conditional on England getting the same?

Let us examine the evidence.

Early on Friday morning, a man relieved still to be prime minister of the United Kingdom stood in Downing Street and categorically linked the two issues together.

David Cameron said: "The question of English votes for English laws - the so-called West Lothian question - requires a decisive answer.

"So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland."

But what do "in tandem with" and "at the same pace as" actually mean?…

Chief Whip Michael Gove
Chief Whip Michael Gove… said: "It would be impossible to move forward without making sure you have changes both in Scotland and in England.

"This means that a system of English-only votes for English-only laws must be brought in before Scotland can get the devolution it wants."

From that, you might think Scottish devolution was actually conditional on progress towards English votes for English laws…

But after accusations from some that the prime minister was putting Scottish devolution at risk by linking it to change for English, Downing Street today acted to try to clear up the confusion… They said the chief whip had been misinterpreted by the paper.

They said it was always clear there were two separate processes.

The PM, they said, will keep his vow to the people of Scotland - no ifs, no buts…

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ruling party in Nigeria sets primary election dates

PDP Fixes Dec. 6 for Presidential Primaries
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday fixed Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 for its Governorship and Presidential Primaries respectively, ahead of the 2015 general elections…

The party spokesman also said that the primaries for the National Assembly would hold on Nov. 22, adding that the dates were proposed by the party's National Working Committee (NWC)…

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