December 5, 2023

From the publisher


The principle of loyal opposition which exists as an integral aspect of liberal democracy is often misconstrued in Africa to mean that all development endeavours embarked upon by a ruling administration should be regarded as improper initiatives by its rivals. As a result, some very positive
endeavours are often discredited and abandoned by political groups who happen to succeed in taking power from their rivals. Our belief is that this conduct is wrong and inimical to the development process and the progress of society in its entirety. While the Buhari led government installed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2015 in Nigeria might be blamed for many economic and procedural mishaps its record in developing the railway services, which it inherited from the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at a very rudimentary stage of implementation, is an exemplary

The work undertaken by the controversial political figure the Rt. Hon, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi in carrying
out this vital development initiative is the subject of our lead story as we feel that this is one sector in which the Buhari government took impressive strides. Our lead feature is a result of comprehensive and objective scrutiny and exhaustive research and while it examines both the benefits and the disadvantages that surround the initiative it also situates the endeavour in a uniquely well considered historic context.
The development of rail services in Nigeria could be said to be symbolic of how the organic development of services evolve throughout Africa without being effectively recorded or conceptualized as an integral factor in human development. Many of those who should welcome the extension of the transportation facilities in Nigeria, which the development of the railway services represents, have surprisingly
expressed disenchantment with the initiative for selfish political reasons.

We are hopeful that careful reading of our report will help to reverse this tendency. We believe that the critical assessment of governance should not include the rejection of necessary development and in spite of the need for the public to be vigilant over the prudence of government it is also imperative that the
relevance of government’s development goals should be acknowledged. As the Buhari era winds up we are hopeful that Nigeria’s new administration will hold this view and will follow the example of its predecessor in building a railway system for the future. The practice of successor governments discarding the initiatives of their predecessors can sometimes lead to the abandonment of genuinely transformative policies.

The Buhari government did not succumb to this temptation when it confronted one of the most radical and transformational initiatives of the previous government, the Presidential Amnesty Programme that was established for the militant youth of the Niger Delta, Instead the APC government has worked hard to ensure that the programme survives and delivers a legacy of genuine benefits for the young participants by enabling them to obtain skills and knowledge that will make them employable in the future. The
establishment of a series of vocational centres where the participants will be prepared for actual work-related professions will be one of the lasting legacies of the programme. In spite of many attacks against the programme the managers remain determined to make it work.

The return of the remarkable examples of ancient bronze artworks from the Benin Kingdom to their
ancestral base in Benin City is a monumental achievement. The recovery of stolen treasures which this
decision symbolises is an indication of the possibility of the development of new relationships between the exploiter and the exploited in the global community. The seizure of artifacts that represented the cultural legacy of several centuries of autonomy and imaginative expression was among the most dishonest and importunate acts of the dehumanization of the African historic reality carried out during the era of colonization. By returning these stolen treasures those who inherited them from the thieves are indicating their acceptance of the fact that a crime was committed by their ancestors and that the time has arrived for reparations.

This is the wider implication of the movement for the return of cultural treasures which has gained momentum in recent times and an important issue arising from the consequence will be what the recipients of these returned treasures decide to do with them and how they preserve or display them. In
this case the return of the treasures to the possession of the Benin royal family with stewardship being granted to the ancient dynasty makes a profound point about the cultural values that reside in the story of Nigeria’s origins. We hope that this profound reality will be enhanced by the outcome of the act of
return. Leaving Nigeria’s borders behind we take a look at affairs in our close relative nation Sierra Leone where there will be an important election following Nigeria’s own later in the year.

Our interest in this country’s leadership profile is occasioned by the fact that Nigeria’s role in helping it to overcome its own national crisis in the past and restore representative government although controversial was highly effective. The result of this exemplary but critical experiment in regional collaboration is well worth close examination by anyone who is truly interested in understanding the deepest complexities of African Development. As we pay attention to the steps taken by the New Direction Government of Maada Bio and SLPP in Freetown the relationship between generational change and public responsibility should
become clear.

Our chief editorial consultant has also taken a close look at the agenda and objectives of the African Development Bank and concluded that it is about to change the trajectory of development in the continent. The development of the new city of Yenagoa in Nigeria’s Niger Delta will be the consequence of socio-political and socio-economic factors that have emerged as a result of the growth of the national entity since independence.

This is especially so because of the importance that the exploitation of the hydro-carbon resources of the Niger Delta attained in the economic existence of the nation. The establishment of Bayelsa State which was created in 1996 by the Abacha regime, of which the small hamlet of Yenagoa was named the capital, is widely regarded as having been implemented in response to the perception that the peoples of
the core delta were marginalised in developmental terms even though the wealth of the nation was being
extracted from their territories. In recent years the incidence of flooding and other environmental mishaps in the new city have attracted international attention because of the increased importance of the location.

Our report is meant to define and describe the parameters of development that are being undertaken as the town grows. The business area where major Federal Government presence is being located for the first time is our focus as we try to explain this element of urban development in a formerly neglected