Joe Igbokwe, Nnamdi Kanu And The Emperor’s New Clothes By Olalekan Adigun

The story is told of an Emperor whose obsession with clothes is second to none. His love for clothes was so much that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared less about state functions like warfare, people’s welfare, recreation, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He reportedly had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in a meeting,” here they always said. “The Emperor’s in his dressing room.”

The interesting this about this story, writes Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, in his The Emperor’s New Clothes, is that, unknown to the Emperor, the King’s council members an equivalent of today’s cabinet, for fear of being seen as unfit for their positions, have perfected the art of making the King believe he’s always on new clothes. The members of the Council and his weavers who cannot get quality fabric, the Emperor thought he “…could tell the wise men from the fools.”

Incidentally, we have a new Emperor in town in Nigeria today. He has been referred to in different names by his most fanatical supporters. Some have described him as John the Baptist, laying the foundation for the coming of the Lord. Some ridiculous ones have even put him in the place or on equal footing with the Lord Himself. He is regarded by others as the “Supreme Leader” of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or the Igbos. He can do no wrong. His word is Law. If he issues any “command”, such “must be obeyed” without question. This new Emperor’s name is Nnamdi Kanu who dreams of leading a nation he calls Biafra!

Kanu, like his supporters, are deluded. His supporters are the most unfortunate. They echo whatever the Emperor says like a chorus. Like Boxer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm who’s never tired of saying, “If comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right”. Boxer is about the strongest of the animals in the farm, even stronger than Napoleon himself, yet he’s one of the least intelligent. It is on the army of this mass that the Emperor derives his power. Their ignorance is his is his wisdom; their poverty, his wealth; and their death, his life; their misery, his happiness; and their loss, his gain!

Few days ago, Joe Igbokwe, one of the few Igbos that refuses to see new clothes on the Emperor published his story in obvious response to Kanu who called him a “slave”. Joe published his “rags to riches” story of how he came from his village in Nnewi to Lagos in search of better life and economic prosperity. He explains why he owed everything to Lagos and why he always appreciates the state.  He served three different Governors (Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode) in high capacities even though he is Igbo, a feat even “indigenous” Lagosians cannot boast of.

Rather than his supporters to tell the Emperor he is walking naked and urge him to publish his own story, if he has any, many of them went on to tell Joe to keep quiet. Some of us fell the Emperor should simply have told us how better he is than Igbokwe. He should have told us how he graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He should have told us the businesses the Emperor engaged in while he was in London. We waited patiently to hear the jobs he did before he was appointed as director of Radio Biafra. It appears we will have to wait longer to hear all these. Some things are better kept secret!

Understandably, our Emperor’s won’t give up without a fight. On Friday 4 August 2017, I read an article under the title THE GAPS IN JOE IGBOKWE’S STORY by one Onyebuchi Ememanka published online by Scan News.

When I saw the captivating title “THE GAPS…” I felt it was time to demystify Joe Igbokwe. I thought it was time to see the lies, or exaggerations made by the APC  Lagos image maker. I became more excited I read the writer’s claim when he said, “For starters, I know Engr. Joe Igbokwe personally and I must say that he is a man I respect a lot.”

He went further to write, “For the seven years I spent in Lagos, I attended the same church with Igbokwe – St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church Aguda Surulere, one of the most powerful Anglican churches in Lagos and indeed Nigeria, both in terms of the quality of membership and evangelical depth. A full time Igbo church in Lagos, St. Barth’s is in a class of its own with one of the most fiery and charismatic Pastors, The Venerable Ben Nwanekwu.”

My excitements depreciated as I went on reading Onyebuchi’s article. There were no real “Gaps in Joe Igbokwe’s Story” as the title claimed. There were no exaggerations in Joe’s story either. The writer also made no attempt(s) to introduce irrelevances into his own story when he brought in a time when Lagos PDP Gubernatorial candidate visited their Church which saw the “entire church erupted in applause when he arrived.” The question I asked myself was, What “gaps” in Joe’s story does this fill?

If Joe’s offence was that he served in APC’s government under three different political administration or that he doesn’t make much noise about “going home” like most people do, in my opinion, he committed no offence and the writer goofed. Is Joe not supposed to be an adult that has the right to freedom of association under the 1999 Constitution? Joe is the spokesman of the party in Lagos. He is the manager of a large government agency in Lagos. He lives, like many of us in Lagos. He has a job to do in Lagos, what do you want him to always say? These are no easy jobs!

For the records, I am Igbomina from Kwara state. My father moved to Lagos before Independence with nothing. By sheer efforts, he built nine houses in Lagos. His only house in Ajase-Ipo was built for his aunt. I was born in Lagos. Apart from my two-year National Diploma (ND) in Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin in 2006, I have not visited the state. Does that make me less “Igbomina”?

If the Emperor’s supporters are sincere, they should be able to tell he is naked rather than saying he has new clothes!

Olalekan Waheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns based in Lagos, Nigeria. Email: olalekan@olalekanadigun.comadgorwell@gmail.com.  Follow me on Twitter: @adgorwell.

He is the author of the new book, Witnessing The Change.

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Is Paying Tithe Still Legal? By Victor Terhemba

The only time I’ve ever agreed with FEMI ARIBISALA was when he said Tithing in church is not compulsory. Accurately said!

Your pastor is either a scam or ignorant of the law of tithing if he makes paying tithe a law; if he says it’s Compulsory.

Don’t be blackmailed by the saying that you are robbing GOD when you don’t pay tithe. How can you possibly rob God? Isn’t that ridiculous? The God that is the author of whatever you have and what you may be expecting?

Tithes were meant to be paid to Levites and your pastor is not a Levite. So what does he need the tithe for? To live large and while you continue to wallow in poverty?

The law of tithe is that you must give 10% of everything that you acquire. I.e if you buy a shirt, u must give 10% of that shirt, etc.

How many of you can keep up with the law of tithe. In the new testament, Jesus abolished so many things including the law of tithe.

Paying tithe should be your personal commitment with GOD, not because you feel compelled to because your pastor says it’s a sin not to tithe. Giving to God should be out of love, i.e, you can give to God whatever you can afford as long out is out of love.

The Levites were the workers in d temple who assisted the priests. The tithes collected were to take care of the Levites. Here’s another scam:

If the tithes were to take care of the Levites (workers in church), how many of you church workers are being paid? The ushers, security, organists, etc. Just curious to know.

I remember as an alter server in St. Leo’s Catholic Church, we weren’t paid but we were taken care of every Sunday. It was a nice experience.

Tithes are not meant for your pastors’ pockets. Remember what Paul did in the new testament? That’s how it should be done.

The commandment Jesus gave in the new testament was that of Love. So when we want to give, we give out of love.

In the new testament we are not compelled to give a certain percentage of our earnings. We are free to give a part, a half or a whole of it.

While the pastors will tell us to emulate the humility of Jesus Christ, they don’t practice what they preach… they are bigger than life.

Jesus Christ lived a modest life, our priests today live a glamorous lifestyle. Some drawn in by the fame. Some live like celebrities.

In those days the things of Luxury were Ships, donkeys, gold and money. There’s no record in the Bible that Jesus owned any of these as opposed to our pastors today who own mansions, private jets, Rolls Royce, designer suits, etc. Where is the modesty they preach about?

In Mattew 21:12 Jesus sent out all those selling and doing business in the temple. What’s the situation in today’s churches?

Not only is buying and selling openly done in our churches today, our so called men of God own some of these businesses (that is topic for another day?).

Jesus as a Shepherd lived for his sheep (followers), he laid down his life for the sheep. But today we live for the pastors, we lay down our lives for the pastors, we sheepishly do and believe whatever they say.

You tool hard only to come to church and contribute for the pastor’s birthday, his wife’s birthday, his children birthdays and graduation, etc.

Instead of developing a true relationship with God, some of us even believe our pastors more than God and the Bible. What a tragedy!

Your so called ‘man of God’ may not be of God of after all. Don’t totally rely on what your pastor says, what does the Bible say?

For any reservations reach me via my email or twitter handle. And for contributions just comment below.

 

Victor Terhemba Is a talent manager, political analyst and social commentator from Lagos.

Follow me on Twitter: @inkrediblesmog

Victor.terhemba6@gmail.com

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

The Milestone Of Constitution Review By Bamikole Omishore

Nigeria became an internationally recognised independent nation in 1960 and  has since then had series of constitutions in the past which include the Colonial era constitutions (1914-1960), Independence Constitution (1960), Republican Constitution (1963), Second Republic constitution  Constitution (1979- 1983), aborted Third Republic Constitution (1992-1993) and the Fourth Republic Constitution (1999 to date). The current constitution was enacted on May 29, 1999, when the Nigerian Fourth Republic was inaugurated.

When the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki was elected President of the Senate on June 9, 2015, he promised that he will rigorously work with his colleagues in the 8th Senate for the betterment of all Nigerians. His promise reflects Thomas Jefferson’s (the third President of the United States of America from 1801 to 1809) political philosophy. The American hero had articulated “the best government to be that which governs least”, he was equally convinced that “the welfare of the whole is the proper purpose of the state”.

Saraki had always strived to ensure that every promise he made as leader of the Senate were kept  and one of the memorable and citizen-driven steps the Senate had taken is the timely and successful completion of the constitution review process.

The constitution review is very significant in a rapidly changing Nigeria. Nigeria has reached a stage where the need for constitution review became imperative. For any amendment of the constitution to take place, the sections proposed for amendment must first be presented and adopted by two-thirds of all members of both the Senate and House of Representatives. Then, two-third of the 36 States House of Assembly. This means the endorsement by 24 state houses of Assembly. states obefore the final stage of signing it into law by executive.

The importance of the constitution amendment reflects in the various bills that have been adopted by 2/3 members of the Senate and House of Representatives. The bills if they finally become law will have a far-reaching impact on Nigeria and will foster enormous progress and development.

The Nigerian Senate reviewed and considered 33 BILLS from the report of the Committee on Constitution Review led by deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. Out of the 33 Bills that were presented, 29 Bills were adopted. The Bills presented include:

Bill 1: Members of the Council of State.

Bill 2: Authorization of Expenditure.

Bill 3: Devolution of Power.

Bill 4: Financial Autonomy of State Legislature.

Bill 5: Distributable account for Local Governments to have their own special   account.

Bill 6: Democratic Existence funding and tenure of Local Government Council

Bill 7: State creation and boundary adjustment.

Bill 8: Immunity for Legislators in Acts in course of duty.

Bill 9: Political parties and Electoral matters: Time to conduct Bye Elections     and power to deregister parties.

Bill 10: Presidential Assent.

Bill 11: The time frame for the submission of Ministerial Nominees with their   portfolios.

Bill 11b: Submission of Ministerial Nominees with their portfolios.

Bill 11c: Thirty-Five percent (35%) affirmative action for women as ministers.

Bill 11d: Submission of Commissioners Nominees with their portfolios.

Bill 11e: Submission of names of office of commissioners shall be attached with           portfolios.

Bill11f: Thirty-Five (35%) affirmative action for women as State    Commissioners.

Bill 12: Appointment of Minister from the FCT.

Bill 13: Change of names of some Local Government Councils.

Bill 14: Independent Candidacy.

Bill 15: The Nigeria Police Force to become the Nigerian Police.

Bill 16: Restriction of the tenure of the President and Governor.

Bill 17: Establishment of Accountant General of the Federal Government          different from Accountant General of the Federation.

Bill 18: Separation of Office of the Attorney General from the        Minster/Commissioner of Justice.

Bill 19: Separation of the Office of Attorney General from the Minster/Commissioner of Justice.

Bill 20: Submissions from judiciary.

Bill 21: Determination of pre-election matters.

Bill 22: Consequential Amendment on Civil Defence.

Bill 23: Citizenship and Indigeneship.

Bill 24: Procedure for overriding Presidential Veto in Constitution Alteration.

Bill 25: Removal of Law making powers from the Executive Arms.

Bill 26: Investment and Securities Tribunal.

Bill 27: Reduction of Age for Election.

Bill 28: Authorization of expenditure time frame for laying Appropriation bill,           passage, etc.

Bill 29: Deletion of the National Youth Service Corps decree from the     Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Bill 30: Deletion of Public Complaint Acts.

Bill 31: Deletion of the National Security Agencies from the Constitution of the          Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Bill 32: Deletion of Land Use Act from the Constitution of the Federal Republic         of Nigeria.

Bill 33: Deletion of State Independent National Electoral Commission (SIEC)   from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Senate voted to retain the Land Use Act in the constitution. The Devolution of Power to States bill, the state creation and boundary adjustment bill and the 35% affirmative action for women as ministers and state commissioners bill were all rejected.

The constitution review has opened a new chapter in the history of Nigeria and in a democratic government where the welfare of the whole is the proper purpose of the National Assembly, the Federal, State and Local Governments.

The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was drawn up by the military without the involvement and participation of the citizenry and so many problems have arisen in its implementation because of the fundamental flaws including agitations for secession.

Saraki promised that the 8th Senate under his leadership will review the constitution and make necessary amendments. That promise has been kept! The Senate made history with the constitution review exercise with the timing or content of the exercise that was carried out with a view to making a far-reaching reform of our political, economic and social development.

Saraki said that through the amendments, the budget process of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been redefined. The issues that have held Nigeria down for many years have been addressed. The Senate addressed the issue of saving money earned by the Federation which has been an issue in Nigeria for many years. The fact that as a nation, Nigeria now has a constitution that makes it paramount for the country to save for the rainy days is a major step taken through this just concluded amendment process. The National Assembly also by the constitution amendment showed members’ commitment to the fight against corruption by providing for separation and financial autonomy for the offices of the Accountant General, Auditor-General and particularly, the Attorney General.

According to Saraki, more importantly, the Senate has introduced constitutional provisions that would help the judiciary to achieve timely dispensation of Justice. With the passage of the 29 Bills, the Senate has laid a new foundation for a new Nigeria that will be more committed, create opportunities for young people and place Nigeria firmly among the nations of the world that are really prepared for the next age.

Saraki, just like Thomas Jefferson, believes that morality, compassion, generosity, are innate elements of the human constitution that there exists a right independence of force; that a right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings; that no one has a right to obstruct another; that justice is the fundamental Law of society; that the majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundation of society; that a government by representation is capable of extension over a greater surface of the country than one of any other form.

This is a major step to give Nigerians a workable constitution. Once the proposed amendment bill is signed into law, Nigeria will be reborn. It will reignite the patriotic spirit of citizens and make leaders to develop and maintain strategic focus on their leadership trajectories for Nigeria to become one of the most adorable countries in the world and by completing this task well ahead of 2019 elections,  Saraki and his colleagues have written their names in the good side of the history books.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Succession Politics And The Limit Of Ignorance By Abiodun Komolafe

Osun West Senatorial bye-election has come and gone, not unexpectedly, with its twists and turns; sounds and bites. Victors have since July 8, 2017 been counting their blessings while losers have also been unrelenting in licking their wounds with threatening affection! On the whole, June 21, 2014 has again happened to the progressive camp in the State of Osun and one can only pray that appropriate lessons from whatever remains of its wacky outcome would not be wasted on the altar of ego and sycophancy.

It is also believed that ingrates and renegades who have turned the misfortune brought upon the state by Isiaka Adeleke’s sudden death into a ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’ personality clash will ‘sheathe’ their swords for the good of the party and country.

Except we want to be economical with the truth, what played out on July 8 was the opposition’s way of telling Nigerians that, given the opportunity, it can still use the weapons of rice, money and other instruments of ‘stomach infrastructure’ to spring surprises on soft targets. Unfortunately, the ruling party’s inability to keep its house in order nationally, plus economic reforms that have, for want of a better expression, been struggling to put food on the table of the common man are rubbing off on the states and may affect the party’s fortunes in future elections if concrete steps are not taken to address the situation.

All Progressives Congress (APC) needs to wake up from its slumber, cut off the pretence and carry out clearance operations before it is too late.

Nigeria is in tough times and all eyes can see it. The political turf is heating up as we gradually approach another election year and it is as if those who never wished Muhammadu Buhari and his government well have now had their prayers answered.

The economy is bleeding and it seems as if the national government is satisfied with snoring on a mattress overstuffed with excuses as a way out of the socio-economic logjam. In politics, little things count. Taking refuge in short-term measures, even when they are energy-sapping or funds-demanding, go a long way in addressing the nasty tragedies, extant confusions and conceptual impressions that have been threatening the fragility of the egg called Nigeria. Behaving as if 2018 is 1000 years away, or as if 2019 will never come, will not help a ruling party that is already being derided as ‘can do better as an opposition party.’

At a time like this, Osun comes to mind. APC must do all it takes, lawfully, to remain in power so as to prevent a reversal of the gains of the last seven years. Osun cannot withstand a repeat of the disaster of the years eaten by the locust, when our common patrimony was used to cater to the needs of some selfish few. It is common knowledge that all the gratuitous attacks, barefaced lies and harebrained fabrications against the Rauf Aregbesola-led government are mere samples of what to expect in next year’s governorship election. To be honest with ourselves, APC’s defeat in the last bye-election was facilitated from within by the Judas Iscariot who embraced coded languages to give performance a new meaning. The challenge of change, salary quagmire, even pensioners’ palaver played secondary roles.

With regard to 2018, all I see for the progressive in Osun is victory; and Aregbesola’s outstanding performance in office is an indication that the battle has already been won! But this is not to say that there won’t be challenges on the road to this assured victory. In any case, that’s the beauty of democracy! Anything short of that is a recipe for chaos! For instance, while no government has ever done a quarter of what this administration has done for Osun since its creation, it is rather unfortunate that Aregbesola is seen out there more as a ‘salary unpaying’ government than one that has turned the state into ‘construction site’. Sadly, too, while issues surrounding the salary challenge point in the direction of a national crisis, that some ‘food-for-the-stomach’, false democrats are insisting that Osun’s should be treated as a case in isolation is a mystery for students of political history to unravel.

So much has been said about democracy described by Abraham Lincoln as “the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But if this system of government thrives in a society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges, why do Nigerians continue to suffer, irresistibly, from what Pius Adesanmi once referred to as “acute malaria”? When, for instance, Kunle Ologundudu accused Kayode Fayemi of using state funds to build mansions as well as run a private university, why did the electorate gullibly subscribe to the untruth without raising a finger? Similarly, why has Osun suddenly become the rumour capital of Nigeria and what’s being done to present issues as they are? When has it become a crime to democratically avoid the resurrection of a deadly Wike/Amaechi crisis or the replication of a ‘Tarka-me-I-Daboh-you’ Kwankwanso/Ganduje face-off in Osun? Apart from other laudable programmes undertaken by this administration, have we forgotten its noble contributions to the triumph of no fewer than 50 of our medical students in Ukraine?

More importantly, why have some quarters not appreciated Osun’s innovative means of alleviating the plight of its workers through its salary apportionment approach? With this regime in place, only a section of workers on grade level 12 and above (that is, about 20% of the state’s total workforce) have been receiving 50% of their gross salaries based on an agreement between the government and the labour union. “Outside that, officers on levels 8-10 receive 75 percent of their salaries while officers on levels 7 and below who constitute about 65% of the workforce receive their full pay.” Good to note also that “all workers in the state have received their salaries up to” July 2017 “in line with the agreement the government has with workers.” The fulfillment of its promise to pay the outstanding as soon as the financial fortunes of the state improve can be seen in the judicious disbursement of the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds.

Let’s come to the issue of “the same uniform”,  a policy which, in more than a manner of speaking, elicits interesting ideas that should naturally tempt one into scrutinizing some important assumptions. Ignorantly or mischievously, Aregbesola’s traducers have not only forgotten the advantages that attended its implementation, they have also gone a step further to describe it as an ‘it can only happen in Osun’ affair. For the avoidance of doubt, “the same uniform” policy has long been in existence in countries like Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

If the aforementioned countries are examples too far to cite, what of  Ghana and Benin Republic, our next-door neighbours?

May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, scatter!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

020, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

#RwandaDecides: The Lessons Therein For Nigeria’s INEC By Adeeko Ademola @OmoGbajaBiamila

I am pretty much amazed at the conduct of the just concluded Presidential Elections in Rwanda and I must confess that saying; “I’m impressed”, is really an understatement.

From the campaigns, to the electioneering and the declaration of the winner, the Rwandan electoral body seem to have put in place a highly functional mechanism that aided the almost seamless transition and general conduction of the biggest election in the country.

Rwanda is a landlocked East African country with a green, mountainous landscape. It’s capital, Kigali is a beautiful city roughly located in the center of the country. It sprawls across numerous hills, ridges and valleys, and has a vibrant nightlife scene.

In all the amazing features of the beautiful African country called Rwanda, the conduct of it’s last presidential election is indeed one that has captured my attention especially when it comes to mind that a proclaimed third world country like Rwanda, torn apart by one of the world’s biggest and deadliest genocides in 1994, found it’s way to conduct an election so perfect, of which other African countries with more resources and better histories have considered a myth.

Apart from the fact that the election turned out peaceful overall, the inclusiveness of all Rwandans in the process is a phenomenon African countries like Nigeria and others need to research.

The Rwandan electoral body had obviously done extensive work in ensuring that all Rwandans across the globe have their hands registered in the decision-making.

Voters from all parts of the world took to social media to show their support for the country by putting up images of the voting process in their domiciled residence. Rwandans living in Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Tanzania and even as far as Sweden, South Korea, China, Switzerland, Germany all turned up at their respective polling units to cast their votes.

Herein, lies the big lesson for Nigeria. The Independent National Electoral Commission – INEC definitely has a lot of catching up to do if Nigeria will ever attain the ‘Giant of Africa’ tag for real.

In Nigeria, it is impossible for voters to cast their votes in polling units of their choice unless it is at the polling unit at which they’re registered. This is a huge problem especially for citizens who have changed residence or even locations within their local governments let alone states.

For example, I voted in the 2015 elections in Lagos because that was where I was domiciled at the point in time. In 2016, I relocated to Abuja where I’m currently. Come 2019, I’m not eligible to vote in Abuja unless I go back to Lagos which unfortunately is about 764KM away from Abuja.

This will definitely be the situation of thousands of Nigerians who have either relocated or might not be at their home location during the elections thereby leading to mass disenfranchisement.

Rwanda has been able to find and utilize a workable solution to the disenfranchisement problem even beyond it’s own borders and I believe that INEC can benefit immensely from what has been achieved so far in Rwanda.

Another observation of mine, is the fact that, on the ballot papers which is meant for voters to thumbprint, carried actual photographs of the candidates contesting for the seat of President closely placed beside the logo of their respective political parties. In brevity, I believe the reason for this might be for the sole purpose of clarity beyond doubts.

In Nigeria, there are lots of cases of people with low or no literacy voting for the wrong candidates as a result of lack of clarity on the ballot papers. Rwanda has ensured that the names, political parties and ultimately the pictures of each contesting candidate is clearly printed on the ballot papers to avoid mistakes and errors that may come up as a result of so many factors including electoral fraud or human error.

The Ballot Paper as seen, clearly carrying the name, political parties and pictures of the contestants.

INEC may also adopt this measure in the forthcoming 2019 elections. Recall that during the 2015 elections, contesting candidates especially those who ran for the National Assembly elections did not have any form of identification on the ballot papers except their political parties. And, in a country like Nigeria with very low voters’ education, this loophole has been exploited by politicians over the recent times. Challenging and changing this status quo should be at the forefront of electoral reforms in Nigeria.

One other observation however, is the internal inclusiveness of Rwandans in this historic exercise of their civic obligation. The Rwandan electoral body made provisions for visually impaired citizens to vote for candidates of their choice by introducing the use of Braille.

Braille is a form of written language for blind people, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with fingertips. This is an outstanding feat by the Rwandan government in ensuring that no one above the voting age limit was left out of the democratic process.

A Braille Ballot Paper which was used during the elections to enable Visually Impaired Citizens to partake in the process.

There’s a lot that can be changed to work better in the Nigerian electoral process. However, observations noted as lessons from #RwandaDecides cannot be overemphasized as I personally hold in high regard, credible and all-inclusive elections.

A lot of loopholes post-2015 have been left open intentionally by politicians who have benefited and still intend to benefit from the anomaly. It is our duty as the people of Nigeria to demand and enshrine a befitting procedure for electing our leaders not the other way round.

Rwanda has been able to come from being a war torn third world country to championing the major rudiment of Democracy in Africa. This is a huge feat that is the first of it’s kind in the continent.

On the task of upholding one of the major tenets of democracy, Rwanda has shown the rest of Africa the way to conduct a smooth, all inclusive and credible elections devoid of violence and manipulation of any sort and I personally believe that Nigeria, in fact, INEC precisely can benefit from this show of competence by the Rwandan Electoral Commission.

Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Anything less of an all inclusive and credible election is not acceptable. The greatest crime that can be committed against a group of people is denying them participation in decision-making especially when it comes to choosing their leader(s) or other decisions that will shape their lives.

From the registration of voters, to the campaign window and down to the elections itself, there was an unexpected and impressive seamless transition aided by a competent electoral institution. Rwanda has made it’s mark in the history of Africa in terms of it’s development which is overtly visible in it’s conduct of one of it’s most important elections.

Nigeria has a lot to learn from Rwanda and I hope that the ‘Giant of Africa’ will eat the humble pie and learn how to uphold one of the most important tenets of Democracy; Credible Elections.

 

Adeeko Ademola Abayomi @OmoGbajaBiamila is a Fiery Writer • Online Publicist • Content Creator • Entrepreneur • Patriotic Nigerian

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Of Deizani, Saraki And The War Against Corruption By Bamitale Adedeji

There is a quotation I love to think about because it accurately captures the whole truth about how men choose the things to put in the front burner of their conscience about others. The quotation is a profound statement credited to renowned poet and playwright, Williams Shakespeare. He says in one of his famous plays, Henry VII that “men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water”.

 This probably describes how citizens in most climes consider those among them who have the fortune, or is it misfortune, of leadership at moments of social and economic uncertainties.
In truth, the evil manners that live in brass, to borrow Shakespeare’s words, stare us all in the face. They occur almost second and minute that it becomes almost impossible to see any good. Yet, those ‘evils’ we acknowledge are only discernable because we all have a notion of what constitutes ‘virtues’ which we ironically underplay. Such is the reality today with the Nigerian legislature headed by Dr Bukola Saraki, and I wish to illustrate this with the most recent happenings with Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison Madueke.
The story of Madam Diezani is not entirely new to many watchers of Nigeria’s political and economic history. She is a woman whose name rings a bell for so many reasons connected with the huge roles she played especially in the Jonathan Presidency. One of her most well-known stories revolve round an allegation made in a letter written by former Central Bank Governor, now his eminence, Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to former President Goodluck Jonathan to the effect that a humongous sum of 40 billion dollars was unaccounted for by the NNPC which was under Diezani’s supervision.
 The dateline was 2014 and the whole of the Federation as well as the international community waited in suspended breath for some measures of assurances that the Nigerian economy was not heading to the rocks as alleged by the CBN governor. Part of the responsibilities for unraveling the truth fell on the Senate committee on Finance headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, a former Governor and member of the then ruling party.

The committee, in furtherance of its investigative powers, held a few public hearings attended by principal officers of the Petroleum Ministry, the Ministry of Finance and of course the NNPC. The committee, after about two weeks was at a point of turning in a ‘not guilty’ verdict on Diezani, in spite of the unavailability of critical records required, when a member  stood up to be counted out of an apparent conspiracy to cover up fraud.

 Of the 11 member Senate committee which probed the case of the missing money, it was only Bukola Saraki who refused to sign the report which exonerated Diezani and claimed that what happened in the Petroleum Industry was only lack of proper reconciliation of accounting records.  Today, the avalanche of revelations coming from the EFCC and international anti-graft agencies about the scale of looting of public funds through the Petroleum Ministry headed by Diezani seem to lay credence to Mallam Sanusi Lamido’s letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
 In a society where integrity of convictions is often in display, this may not be a big deal. However, situated against the backdrop of our notorious knack for ruling class complicity, that act of Dr Saraki is noteworthy at the time in question and more significantly now that the war against corruption is themed as a major plank of the Buhari administration.
 The question again will be how far the Senate under Saraki has worked to give the corruption war its much needed fillip in his present work as the head of the Nigerian legislature. For those of us who have stood firmly resolute in demanding openness in the finances of the National Assembly, the recent publishing of detailed budgetary allocation to the Senate and the House of Representatives is no mean attainment. This same Senate has passed three major anti-corruption bills in a record time.

When you add this to the accelerated work on the passage of the Establishment Act for the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Act, it will be clear to discerning minds that this Senate and its President have firmly demonstrated clear commitments to the war against corruption in Nigeria.

These and other proactive measures by the Saraki-led senate to kill corruption entrench good governance and promote fiscal accountability, must be on record as a necessary measure to deepen public discourse on our losses and gains as Africa’s largest  democracy.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Of Deizani, Saraki and The War Against Corruption, By Bamitale Adedeji

There is a quotation I love to think about because it accurately captures the whole truth about how men choose the things to put in the front burner of their conscience about others. The quotation is a profound statement credited to renowned poet and playwright, Williams Shakespeare. He says in one of his famous plays, Henry VII that “men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water”.

 This probably describes how citizens in most climes consider those among them who have the fortune, or is it misfortune, of leadership at moments of social and economic uncertainties.
 In truth, the evil manners that live in brass, to borrow Shakespeare’s words, stare us all in the face. They occur almost second and minute that it becomes almost impossible to see any good. Yet, those ‘evils’ we acknowledge are only discernable because we all have a notion of what constitutes ‘virtues’ which we ironically underplay. Such is the reality today with the Nigerian legislature headed by Dr Bukola Saraki, and I wish to illustrate this with the most recent happenings with Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison Madueke.
 The story of Madam Diezani is not entirely new to many watchers of Nigeria’s political and economic history. She is a woman whose name rings a bell for so many reasons connected with the huge roles she played especially in the Jonathan Presidency. One of her most well-known stories revolve round an allegation made in a letter written by former Central Bank Governor, now his eminence, Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to former President Goodluck Jonathan to the effect that a humongous sum of 40 billion dollars was unaccounted for by the NNPC which was under Diezani’s supervision.
 The dateline was 2014 and the whole of the Federation as well as the international community waited in suspended breath for some measures of assurances that the Nigerian economy was not heading to the rocks as alleged by the CBN governor. Part of the responsibilities for unraveling the truth fell on the Senate committee on Finance headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, a former Governor and member of the then ruling party.
 The committee, in furtherance of its investigative powers, held a few public hearings attended by principal officers of the Petroleum Ministry, the Ministry of Finance and of course the NNPC. The committee, after about two weeks was at a point of turning in a ‘not guilty’ verdict on Diezani, in spite of the unavailability of critical records required, when a member  stood up to be counted out of an apparent conspiracy to cover up fraud.
 Of the 11 member Senate committee which probed the case of the missing money, it was only Bukola Saraki who refused to sign the report which exonerated Diezani and claimed that what happened in the Petroleum Industry was only lack of proper reconciliation of accounting records.  Today, the avalanche of revelations coming from the EFCC and international anti-graft agencies about the scale of looting of public funds through the Petroleum Ministry headed by Diezani seem to lay credence to Mallam Sanusi Lamido’s letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
 In a society where integrity of convictions is often in display, this may not be a big deal. However, situated against the backdrop of our notorious knack for ruling class complicity, that act of Dr Saraki is noteworthy at the time in question and more significantly now that the war against corruption is themed as a major plank of the Buhari administration.
 The question again will be how far the Senate under Saraki has worked to give the corruption war its much needed fillip in his present work as the head of the Nigerian legislature. For those of us who have stood firmly resolute in demanding openness in the finances of the National Assembly, the recent publishing of detailed budgetary allocation to the Senate and the House of Representatives is no mean attainment. This same Senate has passed three major anti-corruption bills in a record time.
 When you add this to the accelerated work on the passage of the Establishment Act for the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Act, it will be clear to discerning minds that this Senate and its President have firmly demonstrated clear commitments to the war against corruption in Nigeria.
 These and other proactive measures by the Saraki-led senate to kill corruption entrench good governance and promote fiscal accountability, must be on record as a necessary measure to deepen public discourse on our losses and gains as Africa’s largest  democracy.

Bamitale Adedeji is a Lagos-based attorney.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Understanding Farmers-Herdsmen Conflict And The Way Forward By Abdulrahman Leme

Nigeria has experienced a considerable increase in natural resource conflicts since the early 1990s. The increasing clashes between farmers and pastoralists have recently become worrisome, especially in wetland areas of the Middle Belt, North Central Nigeria. As expected, most media outlets both local and international have cashed in on the stories around the unfortunate conflict with highly exaggerated accounts motivated by ethnic and religious undertones.  This has led to increased misunderstanding and level of distrust among Nigerians.

Centuries back, many of the low-lying areas next to rivers in Nigeria was hardly used by farmers because of some wide-range of reasons. One of such was the exposure to diseases like river blindness and malaria. Another is the problem of erosion peculiar to these riverine areas. These areas instead were mainly used for grazing by nomadic herders and fishermen.

However, the increase in Nigeria’s population led to a need for much greater use of these lands, especially for food production. During Nigeria’s colonial era, large irrigation schemes to ensure freshly planted food crops became popular. These schemes however became unsustainable forcing successive governments to find alternatives. The need to have substitutes necessitated the introduction of the Fadama projects in the early 90s to support traditional small-scale farmers. Fadama is a term denoting irrigable low-lying plains. The idea was to promote low cost technology for irrigation under the World Bank financing. The Fadama cultivation was promoted throughout the northern region.

The expansion of the project coincided with large-scale urbanization and a growing demand for horticultural products in all regions. This spread various types of dry season cultivation in many states and ultimately set the stage for the recurring farmers and herders’ clashes. The farmers, usually desperate to meet the growing demand for food items in growing urban centers and to feed their families took up more of the riverbanks to farm. Doing this meant they encountered struggles with the other users, especially the herders and even the marginal fishermen. The herders’ frustration and hostility came mostly from finding the grazing routes and access to watering points covered by tomatoes, cucumbers, vegetables and other crops planted by the farmers. This led to misunderstanding and clashes leading to loss of lives and property.

At what point did it become a full-blown war?

Prior to 1999, security was considerably firmer than it is now. One of the weaknesses of civilian rule from 1999 till date is the poor and inadequate response to the security of lives and property. Internal crises were containable under pre- democracy era. Now, the police and/or security outfits are required to contain what initially used to be settled by village heads. The advent of democratic rule seems to have opened the gate of ethno-religious conflicts which manifested around the Farmer-Herder conflicts. Some politicians have cashed on the land use conflicts to feather their nest.  For example, in Mambilla Plateau of Taraba state, herders and farmers have lived peacefully together for centuries. There was never a history of any clash between the neighbours until around the years 2001 and 2002, and both crises are believed to have been politically motivated.

Smarting from the latest round of the clash, which started on June 18, 2017 after ethnic Mambilla militias descended on Fulani communities, people are still counting their massive losses due to unprovoked attacks on their lives and property. A number of people for example, are still missing Again these attacks were alleged to have been carried out at the behest of some political elements.

In the early years of return to democratic rule in Nigeria, Plateau State also witnessed ethno religious crisis. Many of the settled and transhumant pastoralists were caught up in the crisis between the urban Hausa-Fulani Muslim and the Christian tribes; which set the stage for subsequent conflicts that lasted many years. The situation has not been different in other states like Nassarawa, Benue and Kaduna. Again, just about the same period, we had the infamous Sharia crisis in 2000 which contributed to the already growing distrust among the urban Hausa-Fulani Muslims and their largely Christian tribe neighbors in Southern Kaduna. This of course has negatively affected the relationship between the transhumant pastoralists and the locals in Southern Kaduna.

Part of why these crises linger on is because both the people and successive state governments failed to commit to peace. We have seen recently in Plateau State, for example, that peace can be restored when both parties are committed to lasting peace. Efforts made by the state Government, NGOs, development partners, community and religious leaders and the warring parties to ensure peace has proved to be effective; so far Plateau state has been at its most nonviolent for the longest time since 1999.

We also cannot ignore the acts of criminality and banditry being perpetrated under the guise of the “herdsmen attacks”; and our obsession with one-sided narratives. A good example is that of the Zaki Biam killing that took place on 20th March in Benue State. The initial report was that “herdsmen” perpetuated the mass killing of the people of the town. The police however later reported after investigation that armed gangs led by the wanted militia leader, Terwase Agwaza, carried out the act.

Moving forward

Over the years, the Federal government created commissions to investigate and find comprehensive solutions for the crisis in the Middle Belt states. There was the presidential peace initiative committee in 2002, the Federal Administrative Panel of Inquiry in 2008, the Federal Advisory Committee in 2010, post advisory committees on security challenges in 2012 and so many others. Failure of successive Governments to implement any of the recommendations by the panels of inquiry set up to investigate previous crises is one reason it still lingers. Some months ago for example, the Kaduna State Government made an effort to implement one of such recommendations and it was widely sensationalized as “paying the herdsmen for killing people”; which ushers in the role of media in these crises.

If the media can do away with this culture of exaggerating every crisis and do more of developmental and investigative journalism, crises would be averted. For instance, the pre-dawn attacks in some parts of Plateau, Benue, Kaduna, Nassarawa and Taraba States was widely reported to be perpetuated by “unknown gunmen” between 2010 and 2012. ‘Unknown Gunmen’ easily became a lazy way to report the news as opposed to actually investigating the attacks or the people behind it.

The label was later switched to tagging every clash as a ‘reprisal attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen’ without reporting the original attacks that prompted these reprisals. The media keeps reporting the crisis with political and ethno-religious undertone, giving room for ethnic profiling of the entire Fulani race, accusing them of undertaking an ethnic cleansing agenda against the ‘Northern Minorities’. This narrative became even more popular when Muhammadu Buhari came into power as President of Nigeria and Nasir El-Rufai as Governor of Kaduna, both Fulani men, despite their resolve and continued efforts towards ending the crisis.

Today we see how this profiling of the Fulani people has misled some into to believing that every Fulani man is violent and one who does not deserve to live. Many have used this sentiment to justify the latest killings of the Fulani in Mambilla.

It is important for the reader to know that the term ‘Fulani’ doesn’t necessarily describe a particular tribe. It is an umbrella of different clans with distinct dialects in Nigeria and more than 17 African countries. So, if the media continues to give unverified blanket reports of this “herdsmen” crisis, it will only sow seeds of bad blood among Nigerians for crimes committed by criminals.

The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency review our border patrol system, thereby providing more security personnel, deployment of new technological facilities that will aid the immigration and other security agents to verify and admit any foreign herders entering the country. The officers must be trained to be able identify and stop illegal intruders from entering Nigeria. All herds must have the International Transhumance Certificate as provided by the ECOWAS Protocol on Transhumance.

The ECOWAS Transhumance Protocol of 1998 and the ECOWAS Protocol of Free Movement of Goods and Persons in West Africa also needs to be reviewed.  Both acts allow herders access to designated stock routes and grazing lands/reserves through the West African countries. The review should be put in place to ensure efficiency and to identify new routes and away from the routes have already been turned farmlands.

Another viable way of keeping the crisis minimal is creating and revitalizing grazing reserves, especially within states in the North that have already indicated interest in doing so. Over the years, the victims of these clashes have been shoved aside, with no form of compensation for the lives and properties lost. It is therefore imperative to create special tribunals to investigate, prosecute offenders and compensate victims. The media also has a part to play in this in form of undercover journalism; the bar has to be set high for reporters.

Conclusion

It is clear that internal security has continued to be a major challenge for the civilian rulers and there is an urgent need for review of our national security policy and strategy to accommodate these new dimensions of security challenges arising from the Famer/herder clashes.

 

*Leme (@Lemeveteran), wrote from Lagos

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

What Exactly Is Wrong With Our President By Umar Hasssan

The rumour mill has been agog with stories that President Buhari could be returning back to the country any time soon.This is coming shortly after photos of him with some visiting governors were greeted with wild excitement by his supporters.On the other hand,there couldn’t be a more rueful time for the patriotic nigerian who places the nation first.
That nigerian is more concerned with the unanswered question-What exactly is President Buhari suffering from?.Over the last week,that nigerian has had to contend with imbecilic comments about how Buhari is overcoming death and how those who have dared to ask questions will die in his place.
We already know his medical costs are expensive enough to be tagged a ‘matter of national security’ by Lai Mohammed,the minister of information.The same Lai Mohammed who demanded daily updates on the late President Yar’adua’s health from the ministry of information when he was receiving treatment abroad.
The country reportedly pays as much as £4,000 daily for the presidential plane parked in London while £1,000 per day is been bandied around as the official sum and even at that rate,we have spent over N43M on just having a plane ready for him alone.
While the nature of the President’s ailment is serious enough to be kept secret,it bothers the true nigerian with the best interests of his nation at heart whether he is coming back to stay indoors,sit out FEC meetings and take pictures with files in his office in an attempt to hoodwink us before heading back to his doctors or if he is coming back to face the rigorous job we voted him to do.
His performance while on seat has been lacklustre at best and it baffles me why anyone would overlook the extra burden we have had to contend with.The man simply isn’t fit to be in office.
I still can’t seem to get my head around how a man would plunge his people into hunger,run the country to the brink of disintegration,have them cover his medical expenses and yet return home to a thunderous ovation.
Our number one priority when and If he does get back is to have him disclose to us what he is suffering from.If he conveniently justified his incessant trips abroad in the early days of his administration with claims that he was courting foreign aid and investments,then it is important to know not only if he is going to be around, but also strong enough to do things as ‘important’ as that.
If the Federal government thinks medical costs are ‘matters of national security’, then it would be sheer madness to classify the nature of Buhari’s ailment as such.We need to know in emphatic terms, not only if he is capable of carrying out his duties but also exactly what we are spending our money on.No one expects him to resign any more like he once said he would if he fell very ill because of the luxury of having to treat himself with taxpayers money.
A medical report surfaced online before the 2015 presidential election indicating President Buhari was battling prostrate cancer and some of his photos, especially ones taken since his last return have shown vivid signs of a man undergoing chemotherapy.But all these have stayed in the realm of speculation,we need to be told unequivocally exactly what our ailing president is suffering from.
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

The Conversion Of MAPOLY To MAUTECH: A Need To Revisit Yabani Report By Olugbode Hammed

Recommendations on the upliftment of polytechnic to degree awarding institution featured in so many reports submitted to federal government of Nigeria by several committees setup in the time past where its majorly agreed that products of polytechnics have out grown the “middle level” adjective use in judging the mental capacities of their graduates. However the stage of implementation is where all the report finds difficult to scale through due to high politics of superiority among universities and polytechnics regulatory bodies couple with the insincerity of purpose displayed by government officials assigned to the job.
The 1999 report submitted by the federal government committee on the review of polytechnic education headed by Adamu Yabani popularly referred to as yabani report best proffer solutions to the problem of polytechnic education in Nigeria with a clearly mapped out chart that addresses the superiority of degree and diploma regulatory bodies.  As contained in the report polytechnics should award National Diploma ND at first stage, Bachelor in Technology B.Tech at second stage and higher degrees as offers in the universities. Learning can be terminated at ND level or proceeds to B.Tech level on a stretch, as desired by students. ND graduates are to be referred to as middle level man power.
The recent conversion of Mashood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) to Mashood Abiola University of Technology (MAUTECH) calls for the need to revisit Yabani report to safe guard the educational future of students currently in the system, students holding the institution’s ND certificate and as well serve as a model to the upgrade of other polytechnics in the country. The transformation of the institutions is a litmus test that will go a long way in describing the future of polytechnic education in Nigeria, the decision to keep or wipe out the awards of National Diploma in the institutions is a win or a loss to Nigeria polytechnic education.
Yabani report recommends that National Diploma should be the prerequisite into B.Tech programs in polytechnic, ND programs will be two years while B.Tech is a three year program culminating into five years academic year for students who desires to posses the B.Tech degree. With the recommendations in the report the Award of HND in polytechnic will be phase out as its no more the practice of advanced nation. Notwithstanding B.Tech and HND will be accepted to be equal for further academic pursuits in the system.
 The failure to adhere with recommendations of Yabani report in the transformation of MAPOLY to MAUTECH will be tantamount to the systematic killing of polytechnic education in Nigeria, the fate of polytechnic education hangs in the balance as so many states will follow suit if all went well with the MAPOLY conversion. The good intention of the Ogun State government will be best appreciated if carefully and diligently implemented, what is expected is an upgrade of the institution not a total conversion into a conventional university.
MAUTECH is a hope brought to realization only if the recommendations outlined for the creation of universities of technology are followed to the later beyond what we have now in the country, universities of technology are expected to be an institution for the  advancement of polytechnic education perhaps they run similar mandate but in the reality of it they still discriminate against the polytechnics though its just a name and recognition difference they offer same quality of education to students.
Nigeria is a step closer to polytechnic education reform if we get it right from the upgrade of MAPOLY to an institution where  the base as polytechnic is firmly rooted by the continuous award of National Diploma and the abolishment of dichotomy by awarding B.Tech in place of HND. With this, the dichotomy of HND and BSC will be a forgone issue yet we will still have the middle level man power graduates for relative assignment as described in the polytechnic establishment act.
Comrade Olugbode Damola Hammed
NAPS National PRO
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Hate Speech: Wrong Narrative For National Discourse, Integration, By Ayobami Akanji

The recent potential threat on national unity posed by hate speeches emanating from various parts of the country has created anxiety and doubts on whether or not Nigeria will still remain a sovereign entity.

 

An undiscerning mind can easily draw the conclusion that these threats posed real and potential danger, especially when viewed against the backdrop that those who expected to speak against such threats in order to douse the tension it generated are either keeping quiet or reacting a bit too late.

 

Such situation gives an incline and suspicion that the elite, who are expected to immediately condemn the hate speeches, are either in support of the utterances or are sponsoring such activities because of incompatible group interests. Another obvious temptation is the possibility to conclude that most Nigerian elite are pursuing sectional interests rather than national interest.

 

As Nigerians and foreigners alike pondered on what will become the fate of Nigeria when the hate speeches were taking its toll on the country, a glimmer of hope that it was not bad after all manifested when leaders and stakeholders from the south-east met with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

At the meeting the south-east leaders insisted that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable and this signified that all hope is not lost and that the situation is still redeemable. Apart from the meeting with the south-east leaders, Osinbajo’s engagement with leaders of Northern extraction and their counterparts from other geo-political zones produced similar results. The engagements and the unifying words showed the power of persuasion and responsiveness of the Federal Government and the roles in could play in dousing tension in the country.

 

The outcome of all the engagements showed that the Nigerian state has come to stay. However, the only observed challenge is how the different ethnic, religious and cultural entities that make up Nigeria will be accommodated in such a way that no group will feel alienated or marginalized in resource allocation, welfare, security of lives and property.

 

Over the years, successive administrations in Nigeria made efforts to foster national unity. A look at various universities and unity schools in the country showed that students from respective parts of the country studied under the same academic environment. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) also stands out as one scheme that has ensured national integration for several decades. The NYSC policy came to existence in pursuance of national consciousness and patriotism.

 

Based on recent developments, it behooves that the propagation of the negative sides of the nation’s history should not be the point of focus in national discourse rather, the collective efforts of its past and present efforts should be upheld and propagated in the spirit of oneness and collective development.

 

A poignant question to ask is why must Nigeria remain one? The nation is the only African nation that possesses immense human and natural resources that attract most attention from the international community especially the super powers. Nigerians must also be mindful of the clandestine agenda of those nations that are envious of the dividends of our diversity.

 

Ghana, Togo, Cote d’ Ivoire and Senegal overcame secession threats at different points in their history and this should be a lesson for Nigeria since it is the mouth piece of the African continent. For the nation to continue enjoying such status, political stability, peace, security and development are key qualities.

 

It is important to underscore the fact that no African nation, split through referendum or by civil war has really achieved high level of security and development. Most of the countries that experienced wars or civil strife still spend scarce resources to processes and purchase arms to fight against insurgencies. Nigeria should avoid such situation considering that fact that the nation survived a civil war that lasted three years.

 

Inferences could be drawn from Libya and South-Sudan. Both countries depict the gloomy picture of divided nations torn apart by strife.

 

The implementation of a dynamic policy of unity of purpose which the current leadership is leaning towards will ensure that all Nigerians have a better understanding of the collective interest. The full implementation of the strategy will halt permanently agitations for secession and consolidate the much desired unity of the nation.

 

Any move to cause war or civil strife in Nigeria should be avoided because of its negative impact on the growth and development of the nation. George Kennan, an American diplomat and strategist who captures the frightful impact of hate speech purveyors said: “War has a momentum of its own, you know where you begin. You never know where you are going to end.’’

 

Akanji, a political strategist, wrote from Abuja

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Buhari’s Health: Falsehood Elevated To An Art, By Chukwudi Enekwechi

With the recent visit of some governors and All Progressives Congress leaders to President Muhammadu Buhari in London, Nigerians now have incontrovertible evidence against the liars and alarmists who have ceaselessly peddled falsehood about our recuperating president.

As it is commonly known, pictures don’t tell lies, and the pictures that dotted the front pages of most national dailies where the president had lunch with some APC leaders has put to rest any doubts as to the status of President Muhammadu Buhari’s health.

From the picture of the meeting, it was easy to see and feel the radiance of his face and body. His concentration and focus on his visitors and the discussion going on equally debunked several lies and propaganda about the state of his health. Previously, Nigerians have been inundated with scary stories of a man on life support, and whose speeches are inaudible. But now, we know better.

The sense we can make in all of these is to take the critics to task by challenging them to desist from misinforming the public. The attempt to sensationalize President Buhari’s ill health, and create panic in the country is needless and will not serve the interest of anyone including the peddlers of lies and misinformation.

Nigerians can now rely on the news that filtered out from the wife of the president Aisha Buhari and the acting president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo that the president will be “returning soon”. For any ailing person it is incumbent on the medical doctors handling him or her to determine the discharge date.

To be sick is human and President Buhari cannot be an exception. Granted that the high office he occupies demands certain responsibilities, yet disclosing his ailment to the public is his prerogative, and this has not violated any law of the land.

In a situation as this, Nigerians ought to be in unison to pray for the quick recovery and return of Mr. President. For the avoidance of doubt, it is in the enlightened interest of all Nigerians that Buhari recuperates fully and returns to his duty as he remains a stabilizing factor in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

It is also consoling that President Buhari’s absence has not created a vacuum in leadership, and this is partly because he adhered to due process and transparency by transferring power to his deputy. On his part, the acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has also given a good account of himself by running the affairs of government smoothly in the absence of President Buhari.

Buhari’s emergence as president has become an eye opener for Nigerians on the level of sleaze in the various administrative organs of the country. Today, humungous amounts of money have been recovered and returned to the national coffers. One can only hazard a guess as to the grave implications the uncontrolled sleaze would have had on the nation’s economy.

Similarly, it is to his credit that the nefarious activities of the menacing Boko Haram have been curtailed and the country now enjoys relative peace. Understandably, there are still isolated incidents of bombing, yet the war has been substantially won by the Nigerian military over a period of two years. Territories being previously occupied by the sect have been recovered, and the terrorists are on the run and in disarray.

Under President Buhari, Nigeria has witnessed accelerated growth in various sectors, especially in the area of economy, agriculture, infrastructural development and a reorientation on our attitude to public office. It is therefore worrisome that despite his determination to refocus the country on the path of value re-orientation and accelerated economic development, that some unpatriotic elements have been peddling falsehood and rumors against his person. Obviously, the intention is to create ill will and unnecessary tension in the land. But this is uncalled for.

Nigeria is at cross – roads presently on account of the various ethno-religious agitations in the country, and no peace-loving group or individuals will stoke the embers of division and conflict as it is capable of igniting a conflagration of unimaginable dimensions.

The visit of APC governors and leaders to President Buhari in London has indeed raised our hopes of his imminent return to Nigeria. Therefore as we await his return we fervently pray and hope that it will usher in a new era of hope and peaceful coexistence for Nigerians.

His return will also restore the confidence of local and foreign investors in Nigeria, as well as boost the economy and fast-track infrastructural development. It is expected that by 2019 the threshold of his administration’s achievements will doubtlessly spur Nigerians to clamour once again for his re-election.

It is also gratifying that President Buhari hosted a delegation of the Nigerian governors’ forum which included some People’s Democratic Party governors. Such bipartisan approach to leadership will greatly douse the tension in the polity and reassure Nigerians on the good intentions of President Muhammadu Buhari.

By now, the issue of the President Buhari being on life support or not must have been put to rest as even PDP governors like Engr. David Umahi of Ebonyi and Mr. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom states were on the recent delegation that visited him in London. The visit has also somehow restored calm and peace to the country as many politicians jostling for relevance have realised that they cannot change the plan of God for Nigeria through President Buhari.

As Nigerians are desirous of change, President Buhari remains an important factor towards the realisation of the objective and it behooves all well-meaning Nigerians to lend their support in seeing to the realisation of the anticipated ‘change’. As it is said, Rome was not built in a day and with the several policies being put in place by the Buhari administration Nigeria has all it takes to realise its potentials. However, these expectations will remain an illusion where corruption thrives.

Written by Chukwudi Enekwechi , Journalist and Politician.

kwechis19@yahoo.com

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]