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To Defeat a Powerful Enemy Requires Strategy Not Tactics

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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Ahmed Yahaya -Joe

So, “never give an order that can’t be obeyed.” – Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)

Didn’t a major brewery company in Nigeria recently make, “a donation to complement the effort of the Kano State government in reducing traffic congestion in the Kano metropolis”?

Lest we forget, “In September, Kano State’s gross statutory Allocation from FAAC was N5.34 billion. Of that figure, N2.69 billion was gross VAT allocation. From a revenue perspective, the Breweries, Bottling, and Beverages industry contributed N40.6 billion in Value Added Tax (VAT) to the economy within the last nine months, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).”

See details in The Guardian newspaper edition of November 11, 2020

Power is about who actually is in control of the dynamics.

Therefore, “he who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.” – Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)

Guess why a lot of people are moving into the Irish town of Ringaskiddy?

The residents there claim “there is something in the air” that even domestic pets have been reacting to from a nearby plant.

But the owners claim otherwise insisting, “Pfizer manufacturing facilities operate to the highest environmental standards and are regulated and licensed by health authorities and environmental agencies which have strict protocols to ensure that emissions from manufacturing sites have no effect on human health or the environment.”

In case you are wondering it is a Viagra factory.

It is against that background that the sobriety of the good officers and men that intercept banned beverages in Kano is important. So here is a piece of friendly advice before they embark on the destruction of the recently seized 18,000 bottles of assortment beer at Gwarzo – it is on the use of protective gear lest they become involuntarily “infected” like the good people of Ringaskiddy!

The debate between the ban and regulation of alcohol is not new. The ongoing World Cup finals in Qatar indeed other parts of the Arabian peninsula all posit very interesting case studies on different modes of regulation.

Prohibition was a law that required a constitutional amendment to ban the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages throughout the United States of America in 1919. Despite being vetoed by President Woodrow Wilson he was overridden and the law was ratified on January 19, 1919, by 70% of the House of Representatives and 75% of the Senate. It became operational in 1920. But by 1933 it was repealed by President Franklin Roosevelt which kickstarted the era of regulation to date.

Why did Prohibition fail in only 13 years?

It is because alcohol abuse and its negative consequences spiked with its related ailments and quantum of deaths. Prohibition ironically became the oxygen of all manners of criminality. An estimated 1000 Americans died daily from tainted cheap alternatives with the use of other toxicants and opioids increasing astronomically.

The number of violations of Prohibition rose from 4000 to 26,000, an increase of over 566% while the budget for law enforcement increased only by 11% for the period under review. Even the most honest law enforcement agents, judges, and public officials were enticed by the Mafia. And if they refused to “cooperate” they get shot or their family members threatened or even injured. Black marketeering, bootlegging and smuggling of alcohol started to replace legitimate business activity. 

The chief business of any government is control. Prohibition sustained an alternative – the Mafia. A powerful rival.

Roosevelt saw the big picture of what was really at stake and met with religious leaders and members of the American Temperance Society that had been pushing for Prohibition since 1826. They all agreed a different approach was needed. That of regulation lest the members of organized crime take over the country.

Since then the FBI stepped up and the Mafia is no longer a threat to the American way of life.

Roosevelt applied the political equivalent of “Jujutsu” the Japanese martial art developed in the 17th century, “meaning yielding art. Its core philosophy is to manipulate the opponent’s force against themself rather than confronting it with one’s own force.”

The oil sheiks in Qatar, UAE, and even Saudi Arabia are therefore very good students of history.

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