A Parody Of Justice And Politics, By Jimi Bickersteth

A parody of justice and politics: I was at the chore of manicuring the lawn this chilly morning, the fuel in the mower was down, tried the Aston’s tank for some,that too, was empty. I have to do an Usain Bolt to the gas station, on getting there, no fuel!

With revelation after revelations detailing how the commonwealth was shared by cronies, and by proxies, burying loads and tons of cash in the sand.
The stench of the dishonesty, insincerity, forgery and mismanagement of the past refusing to go away, rather, daily oozing out like toast oozing with butter. The wound inflicted on a sorrowing nation oozing pus, and all of us in open ended discussions with neither all of us wrong nor right.

All the attempts at damage limitation, a process of trying to stop a political scandal from causing more damage than it has already, useless as bath water, and fueling more and more revelations as accomplices spill the beans, with damning evidence and some pretty damning things about politicians, their sense of duty,morality and diligence.

The nation’s politics have trumped up personalities who had very seemingly embraced politics but without passion. Distant,often appearing ill at ease,always going coldly by the book, calculating their next move, suddenly turned billionaires.

A Bhudda once said,” there are two mistakes one can eternally make along the road to truth, not going in the way, and not starting”. Staring at the bank of clouds overhead, I heaved a deep sigh ,as I realised that in our political experience,our politicians wear two faces,one – a political scoundrel, unscrupulous and cunning, and the other sagacious, prudent- a statesman.

This of course, is perhaps the most difficult phase in party politics and parliamentary democracy, because all politicians wear the two faces,it’s always difficult to classify them, as they are often bred along what is convenient ( not expedient) at any point in time.To politicians, its all a matter of political choice, what gives is what determine which side of the pendulum you stand.

One could feel moss sprouting out of one’s ears. This politicians have their self-image of shoelessness become tinctured with the dye of inadequacy and failure. They become lost,and ultimately a loser, and rather than keep a strong,confident concept of themselves, and do things that could enhance and strengthen their image, they become unrepentant.

In saner climes,most of the politicians,  certainly can’t ever get a foot in the door again, not a chance.  But no, here they are canonised by immunity. You wonder why our politicians who couldn’t get the chemistry on the first date bother on the second one, even as they scream continuity.

I know for sure, that,next to losing a child, the break-up of a marriage, losing your hold on power,its allures and influences is the hardest thing to go through- shell-shocked, depressed and angry.However, as the recent eclipse fades, all manner of things have been let loose, you may feel less constrained, the nation still have to deal with what’s coming out of the Pandora’s box.

The final year of that six years excursions and (mis)adventure was quite an exciting and interesting one, what,with the plot, the laid-back approach, the blank cheques, the feel of freedom, which always generate a mood of inertia, now the nation have only itself to blame.

Even as politicians are trying to come to grips with the changes in and around the country, what better way to do that than to cast aside the six year long amateurish dramatics and opt instead for a total repackaging and reorganising their cupboards. It may sound boring, but they’d be best off sipping echinacea now that they know nothing lasts forever, and that includes those trying to cling to power by all means, they too would be shocked that relying on chance or an uncontrolled element in the details of life breeds failure.

Hmmm! The eclipse business will take a while to assimilate, and with what’s come out of the Pandora’s box, it’s been a high-octane time. But would the affected politicians be able to settle back into a familiar rhythm and regain a sense of normality, is the question.

Meanwhile, the nation and its politicians can continue to engage themselves, keeping their hands occupied while their minds work out what’s really going on,till justice comes. There is still something mystifying about power and how it edifies or disgraced the holders.
It’s clear that some of the politicians have been able to pull in the reins when they have had to.Who says life gets dull when you get what you want.

Let them put their feet up and enjoy the soaps- soaps after all are supposedly a reflection of real life. Not too sure,with the EFCC and other anti graft agencies on their toes, that they will have appetite for their stylish mealtimes offer of huge tiger prawns, crocodile eggs and exotic fruits and deserts, Gourmet delight!

Our politicians testimonials would read like,”led with an uninspiring mien, lacking in political will and efforts that were not only condescending, compromised but also not daring enough”. A people with prospective wrong desires, and whenever wrong desire coincides with opportunity,the battle can be daunting and challenging and devastating.

I pray that the blessings of almighty God may rest on PMB’s counsels, the buck ends on your table. The deplorable conditions under which Nigerians live and die is enough an impetus for an awareness of danger that should make him interested in the weapons and strategy and the nature of the enemy-poverty, second only to religion, which has perpetrated some of the worst and most terrible atrocities that have scandalised history.

He must thus rid every sector of the economy of wastage; declare an emergency on the energy sector to grow the energy capacity, which will lead to a boom that ipso facto will generate employment. Prove to all that though a good education is invaluable,there are uneducated millionaires and that fortunes are found in everyday pains. Prove that a winner makes commitment; a loser makes promises.
PMB, your primary duty is to catch the fallen star and restore our mojo and fading glory with sheen and élan.

    Happy celebrations all.#
    Jimi Bickersteth

Jimi Bickersteth is a

blogger and a writer.
He can be reached on twitter
@alabaemanuel
@bickerstethjimi
@akannibickersteth

FG, Sokoto Govt’s Collaboration As Model In Healthcare Financing, By Imam Imam

Few days ago, the Federal Government, through the federal ministry of health, announced a collaborative effort with Sokoto government that will see to the deployment of overstaffed workers of Usmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH) to state-owned hospitals so as to expand access to quality healthcare delivery to generality of the citizenry.
UDUTH is a tertiary health facility owned by the Federal Government and located in Sokoto. Established in 1989, the hospital has more than 100 consultants, 400 resident doctors, 1000 nurses and other health professionals. The combined strength of workers at the teaching hospital is almost double the number obtained in primary and secondary health facilities owned by the state government.
So in order to fully utilise the expertise of the workers, the Sokoto state government proposed a working arrangement where the workers would be deployed to state hospitals and primary healthcare centres for a fee, while at the same time, they continue their primary assignment with the teaching hospital.
The arrangement is more like a fusion of the two health systems and has ten thematic areas which include medical services, seminar/clinical presentations, ward rounds and theatre services. Others include residency training, employment of consultants, outreach services, accident and emergency response, centralised ambulance service and deployment of nurses. The rest are rural posting of resident doctors and consultants, integrated referral system and establishment of state-owned medical school and teaching hospital.
Speaking on the significance of the collaboration, UDUTH’s Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Yakubu Ahmed, said the new agreement will see health workers at the Federal Teaching Hospital in Sokoto deployed to any other public hospital. He said the agreement comes amidst concern that health workers are over concentrated at the teaching hospital, the only one of its kind in Sokoto.
“If you compare us with the state, we have a large number concentrated staff in the hospital. So in this arrangement, involving six general hospitals— two from each senatorial district —are part of the deployment agreement. Resident doctors at the teaching hospital would be deployed to rural communities in the state, and they would be supervised by consultants from the hospital. At the moment, the teaching hospital sees many referrals because of its huge concentration of experts,” the CMD added.
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole called the agreement a “great feat” and one of the best things to happen to Nigeria’s health system. He said he had tried to achieve the feat when he was Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, but the effort was thwarted by “doctors on the state side.”
“It is not only peculiar to Sokoto State. I was in Zamfara. At the FMC in Zamfara, there are about 120 doctors, and the whole state has less than 40 doctors in the entire state, in fact 23 or so at the last count to manage 24 hospitals,” said Adewole.
“So, it is a matter of one doctor per hospital. And, yet, one hospital has about 120. To me, that is inequality, inequity and must not persist in our country. This is because those who are not benefiting are also Nigerians. It is our duty to address these things and also ensure we offer our people good care. What this agreement will do is to transfer quality services from the teaching hospital to the communities. Highly trained specialists will offer services that support the state and the local governments. And, it is something that other state governors should emulate,” Adewole said.
Sokoto Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his health commissioner, Dr. Balarabe Shehu Kakale, said so far, there’s scarcity of professionals in the state health sector. They said by bringing the two systems together, the FG and SOSG will be overcoming a challenge bedeviling their two governments.
In Nigeria, we’ve lately heard much about intergovernmental cooperation. Cooperation between Federal and State Governments, and among 36 states of the federation, has now taken many forms, ranging from simply reviewing and understanding ordinances to formal arrangements creating new authorities to provide specific services. While many state governments would benefit from a more cooperative spirit, actual cooperative ventures require each unit to carefully weigh the needs of their citizens, the responsibilities they have for operating their territory, and the benefits of the cooperative effort.
The arrangement between Federal and Sokoto state governments has now created a new vista of opportunity whose ultimate beneficiaries would be members of the public. This effort is a great example of how governments can work together to achieve common goals. Apart from making it easy for people to enjoy quality service from the FG-trained professionals, it allows Sokoto government to enjoy the service at a minimal cost, thereby saving funds and channeling the saved funds to other useful ventures.
Abuja and Sokoto have now created a model whose benefit will be felt by millions of citizens. By agreeing to pool resources, the two sides are now set to provide better quality, more effective services than they could by themselves. Other states can cue in for the overall benefit of their citizens, and the nation as a whole.
*Imam is the spokesman to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State

The Nigerian Sukuk: A Case For Our Continued Existence, By Tobi Sonubi

The Month of September saw Nigeria float a seven year bond based on the Islamic principles of “no riba” and ours’ is in the form of a ?100 billion Sukuk.

The Sukuk is a bond issued basically as a long term loan product and with intention of facilitating specific projects which are solely developmental and tangible proceeds of which is expected to repay with rental income which In this case are biennial at the fixed rate of about 16.47 %.

The fund generated from similar debt instruments in Nigeria has been used to construct notable project like express way in the FCT running all around the Capital city.  This sort of finance has been the source of emerging developing nations notable amongst whom is the UAE (Dubai).

The Islamic bond is not a conventional debt Instrument in that it allows for financing critical infrastructures which the lenders are also owners. This 100 billion debt instrument is expected to be deployed to notable projects like the Ibadan-Ilorin Rd, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Kano-Maiduguri Rd.

The Sukuk is first a source of alternative finance for critical Social projects especially on the African Continent. This is so, as frontier economies on the Sub-Saharan continent are already exploring this relatively new but totally benign funding avenue. Champion amongst such are South Africa and Kenya both of which are non-Islamic states.

The Sukuk is a relatively cheap finance source as both lender and borrowers are said to be stakeholders and are risk bearers are repayment of principal and rental income are dependent on the success of the ventures such funds are invested in.

It is no longer news that the 100 billion naira Islamic bond was oversubscribed and by as many divers element as the nation itself housed. From private individuals, who were drawn by the relative pragmatic nature of the loan instrument and the religious appeal contained in the Sukuk, to established institutions like pension administrators, finance institutions and investment bodies. People decided to invest in Nigeria and her unity even when many forces are trying to tear her apart.

I should state that many of this investors are institutions set up solely to invest and make meaningful returns, and for this institutions to have decided to back the entity called Nigeria in this manner means a lot. It shows a calculated venture on the continued existence of the country not just to repay the loan but to be a unified and peaceful entity at the end of the seven year expected life span of this loan.

For a country coming out of recession, with expected growth rate of about 3-5 % in the next half decade, to take the giant steps that will hasten her potential to earn and better business environment at rate relatively similar to current rates of same tenured bonds speaks volume. By the very nature of this financial instrument it appear riskier than other Government loan instruments as it bets on the profitability of the venture irrespective of the relatively uncertain and dicey Nigerian economy, the continued ability of the Nigerian State to meet Her financial obligations taking into cognizance her ability to earn and the responsiveness of the institution of state to honour Contracts and obligations.

For Nigeria to be able to raise this money significantly tells of her ability to assure critical stakeholders in the economy of her resolve to reposition herself and to be ready for the surge in her population and to kick start her manifest destiny  in as the leader I the comity of nations on the African Continent.

While we are torn by few divisive elements, some of which are legitimate, our chances of making it becomes larger if we dig in the many opportunities that are available to us citizens of a joint and Unified Nigeria.

The very challenges that Nigeria Face as a sovereign entity are duplicated in the many states that her disintegration intends to create

I strongly hold the opinion that while many constituents units in Nigeria can become autonomous the greatest gains for all concerned are attainable if and when we remain as one. The err of yesteryears are better corrected with a larger committed team of !70 million Nigerians than A 30 million Oduduwa Indegenes, 70 million Arewa  or 25 million Biafrans, needless to say the innumerable states that the demise of Nigeria will bring to existence.

FG, Sokoto Govt’s Collaboration As Model In Healthcare Financing By @imamdimam

Few days ago, the Federal Government, through the federal ministry of health, announced a collaborative effort with Sokoto government that will see to the deployment of overstaffed workers of Usmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH) to state-owned hospitals so as to expand access to quality healthcare delivery to generality of the citizenry.
UDUTH is a tertiary health facility owned by the Federal Government and located in Sokoto. Established in 1989, the hospital has more than 100 consultants, 400 resident doctors, 1000 nurses and other health professionals. The combined strength of workers at the teaching hospital is almost double the number obtained in primary and secondary health facilities owned by the state government.
So in order to fully utilise the expertise of the workers, the Sokoto state government proposed a working arrangement where the workers would be deployed to state hospitals and primary healthcare centres for a fee, while at the same time, they continue their primary assignment with the teaching hospital.
The arrangement is more like a fusion of the two health systems and has ten thematic areas which include medical services, seminar/clinical presentations, ward rounds and theatre services. Others include residency training, employment of consultants, outreach services, accident and emergency response, centralised ambulance service and deployment of nurses. The rest are rural posting of resident doctors and consultants, integrated referral system and establishment of state-owned medical school and teaching hospital.
Speaking on the significance of the collaboration, UDUTH’s Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Yakubu Ahmed, said the new agreement will see health workers at the Federal Teaching Hospital in Sokoto deployed to any other public hospital. He said the agreement comes amidst concern that health workers are over concentrated at the teaching hospital, the only one of its kind in Sokoto.
“If you compare us with the state, we have a large number concentrated staff in the hospital. So in this arrangement, involving six general hospitals— two from each senatorial district —are part of the deployment agreement. Resident doctors at the teaching hospital would be deployed to rural communities in the state, and they would be supervised by consultants from the hospital. At the moment, the teaching hospital sees many referrals because of its huge concentration of experts,” the CMD added.
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole called the agreement a “great feat” and one of the best things to happen to Nigeria’s health system. He said he had tried to achieve the feat when he was Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, but the effort was thwarted by “doctors on the state side.”
“It is not only peculiar to Sokoto State. I was in Zamfara. At the FMC in Zamfara, there are about 120 doctors, and the whole state has less than 40 doctors in the entire state, in fact 23 or so at the last count to manage 24 hospitals,” said Adewole.
“So, it is a matter of one doctor per hospital. And, yet, one hospital has about 120. To me, that is inequality, inequity and must not persist in our country. This is because those who are not benefiting are also Nigerians. It is our duty to address these things and also ensure we offer our people good care. What this agreement will do is to transfer quality services from the teaching hospital to the communities. Highly trained specialists will offer services that support the state and the local governments. And, it is something that other state governors should emulate,” Adewole said.
Sokoto Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his health commissioner, Dr. Balarabe Shehu Kakale, said so far, there’s scarcity of professionals in the state health sector. They said by bringing the two systems together, the FG and SOSG will be overcoming a challenge bedeviling their two governments.
In Nigeria, we’ve lately heard much about intergovernmental cooperation. Cooperation between Federal and State Governments, and among 36 states of the federation, has now taken many forms, ranging from simply reviewing and understanding ordinances to formal arrangements creating new authorities to provide specific services. While many state governments would benefit from a more cooperative spirit, actual cooperative ventures require each unit to carefully weigh the needs of their citizens, the responsibilities they have for operating their territory, and the benefits of the cooperative effort.
The arrangement between Federal and Sokoto state governments has now created a new vista of opportunity whose ultimate beneficiaries would be members of the public. This effort is a great example of how governments can work together to achieve common goals. Apart from making it easy for people to enjoy quality service from the FG-trained professionals, it allows Sokoto government to enjoy the service at a minimal cost, thereby saving funds and channeling the saved funds to other useful ventures.
Abuja and Sokoto have now created a model whose benefit will be felt by millions of citizens. By agreeing to pool resources, the two sides are now set to provide better quality, more effective services than they could by themselves. Other states can cue in for the overall benefit of their citizens, and the nation as a whole.
*Imam is the spokesman to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State

Right Of Self- Determination And The Biafran Question, By Okoi Obono-Obla

The principle of the right to self-determination gained currency during the of the World War II, when it was included in the Atlantic Charter, signed on 14th August, 1941, by President Franklin Dwight Roosevelt of the United States of America and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who pledged the Eight Principles of the Charter.

It was subsequently included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as one of the binding authoritative cardinal principles of international law regarded as jus cogens.

Accordingly, Article 15 (1) & (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) provide thus:

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

What is Self-Determination?

The Dictionary.Com defines the term “Self-Determination’’ thus:

“Self-Determination. noun. the power or ability to make a decision for oneself without influence from outside 2. The right of a nation or people to determine its own form of government without influence from outside”

The right to Self-Determination in international law is divided into two categories, namely:

  1. Internal Self-Determination;
  2. External Self-Determination

The right to ‘Internal Self-Determination’ has to do with agitating for rights that are being denied within the context of the State itself without necessarily breaking away from the parent state.

The right to ‘External Self-Determination’ on the other hand, has to do with exercising right of self-determination by way of secession that is, breaking away from the parent country. The right to External Self-Determination has the effects of disintegrating or distorting the territorial integrity of the State.

The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other groups such as MASSOB have premised their agitation for the breakaway of Biafra from the Nigerian Federation on the principles of Self-Determination.

 

CONDITIONS FOR SELF-DETERMINATION UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW

The right to self-determination in International Law can only be sustained, justified or exercised on the basis of the following:

  1. Whether the people affected or the people agitating for rights of self-determination are being disenfranchised in their parent State. That is, they are being denied the right to vote and be voted for?
  2. Whether the people affected or the people agitating for the right of self-determination cannot aspire to the highest level of government of the State?
  3. Whether the people affected or the people agitating for the right of self-determination cannot use their language or practice their culture? That is, their language and culture are being suppressed by the State;
  4. Whether the State has a consistent or sustained deliberate policy of grossly violating their fundamental human rights?
  5. That the State has a consistent or sustained policy of persecuting these people agitating for the rights of self-determination.

When the conditions listed in a – e above are being denied a group of people in a State, such people after having tried unsuccessfully to assert the rights within the domestic context of the State (Internal Self-Determination), may exercise it externally. In this context, if such group of people e.g. the IPOB should seek international assistance, they may get it.

It is clear that the principles enunciated above when juxtaposed with the demands of the proscribed IPOB and MASSOB, the Biafra question become otiose and baseless.

It goes without saying that none the conditions which international law has laid down for people seeking for self-determination avails those demanding for Biafra.

The Nigerian State has not disenfranchised the people of the South East Region. Presently, there are five elected States Governors in the South East; there are 5 State Assemblies in the South East; there are Senators and Members of the Houses of Representatives in the National Assembly. Indeed, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu is from the South-East.

The Federal Government has not denied the Igbo people the right to aspire to the highest level of Nigerian Government. No Nigerian of Igbo origin has been denied the right to contest for the Nigerian Presidency. Presently, we have 6 (Six) Ministers in the Council of Ministers of the Federation who are Igbo.

Neither the Federal Government of Nigeria nor any State Government in the country has denied the People of Igbo extraction the right to practice of their culture or tradition, or the use of their language.  In other words, the Federal Government has not suppressed the culture and language of Igbo People.

There is no consistent or sustained deliberate policy of grossly violating the fundamental human rights of Igbo People.

The Federal Government or Nigerian State has no consistent or sustained policy of persecuting people agitating for the rights of self-determination.

The Igbo Language is even one of the three Nigerian languages recognized by the Nigerian Constitution for the conduct of official business in the National Assembly.

In this context too, international law grants every sovereign State the right to use all means in defending and preventing the disintegration of its territorial integrity and political independence.

The principles of self-determination are well espoused in the case of Quebec Vs Canada determined by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Canadian Supreme Court addressed the three questions in order. First, they stated that under the Canadian Constitution (and with Quebec being a party to it since its inception), unilateral secession was not legal. However, should a referendum decide in favour of independence, the rest of Canada “would have no basis to deny the right of the government of Quebec to pursue secession” Negotiations would have to follow to define the terms under which Quebec would gain independence, should it maintain that goal. In this section of the judgment they stated that the Constitution is made up of written and unwritten principles (based on text, historical context, and previous constitutional jurisprudence) and that there are four fundamental tenets of the Canadian constitution. Those 4 interrelated and equally important principles or values are:

  1. Federalism – the principle that seeks to “reconcile diversity with unity” by giving federal authority over to only those issues of common interest amongst culturally diverse and politically independent provinces. The purpose of Canada’s federalism is not only to create a loose association amongst provinces, but a true National Unity.
  2. Democracy – the principle that seeks to promote participation in effective representative self-government, which respects and responds to all voices in a marketplace of ideas.
  3. Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law – the principles that protect citizens from state actions by forcing governments to act under the rule of law, the constitution of Canada being the supreme law. The constitution’s entrenched protections of minorities ensures that the country does not operate simply on majority rule, and enables a true democracy in which minority voices are fairly considered.
  4. Protection of Minorities – the principle that guides the other principles, but one which is also independent and fundamental because of its uniqueness to Canada relative to other federal, constitutional democracies.

They held that these pieces cannot be viewed independently but all interact as part of the Constitutional framework of Canada.

RIGHTS TO SECEDE UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW AND SELF-DETERMINATION:

The answer to the second question, which concerned Quebec’s right under International Law to secede, gave the opinion that the International Law on Secession was not applicable to the situation of Quebec. The Court pointed out that International Law “does not specifically grant component parts of sovereign states the legal right to secede unilaterally from their ‘parent’ state.”

The Supreme Court of Canada’s opinion stated that the right of a people to Self-Determination was expected to be exercised within the framework of existing states, by negotiation, for example. Such a right could only be exercised unilaterally under certain circumstances, under current International Law. The Court held that:

‘The various international documents that support the existence of a people’s right to self-determination also contain parallel statements supportive of the conclusion that the exercise of such a right must be sufficiently limited to prevent threats to an existing State’s territorial integrity or the stability of relations between Sovereign States. A State whose government represents the whole of the people or peoples resident within its territory, on a basis of equality and without discrimination, and respects the principles of self-determination in its own internal arrangements, is entitled to the protection under International Law of its territorial integrity.’

The Court stated in its opinion that under International Law, the right to secede was meant for peoples under a colonial rule or foreign occupation. Otherwise, so long as a person has the meaningful exercise of its right to self-determination within an existing nation state, there is no right to secede unilaterally.

For close to 40 of the last 50 years, the Prime Minister of Canada has been a Quebecer. During this period, Quebecers have held from time to time all the most important positions in the Federal Cabinet. During the 8 years prior to June 1997, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons were both Quebecers. At present, the Right Honourable Chief Justice and two other members of the Court, the Chief of Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, not to mention the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, are all Quebecers. The international achievements of Quebecers in most fields of human endeavour are too numerous to list. Since the dynamism of the Quebec People has been directed toward the business sector, it has been clearly successful in Quebec, the rest of Canada and abroad.

The Supreme Court further stated that: Quebec could not, despite a clear Referendum Result, purport to invoke a right of self-determination to dictate the terms of a proposed secession to the other parties to the Federation. The democratic vote, by however strong a majority, would have no legal effect on its own and could not push aside the principles of Federalism and the Rule of Law, the rights of individuals and minorities, or the operation of democracy in the other Provinces or in Canada as a whole.

It goes without saying that, in view of the principles or conditions  that international law has laid down ; juxtapose with the demands of the proscribed IPOB for the holding of a referendum on Biafra on the ground of a purported exercise of the right to self-determination, is spurious, untenable and there patently unmeritorious.

OKOI OBONO-OBLA

Buhari’s Food Self-Sufficiency Drive Is The Real Independence, By @GarShehu

President Muhammadu Buhari undertakes the political ritual of Independence Day broadcast to the nation this Sunday morning, in a speech that highlights major strides in the pet themes of the administration: anti corruption, war against terrorism, economic revival and infrastructure development.

The President comes before the nation with a better result than he had-shown the year before.

This is an important year for Nigeria, not only because the economy has just exited recession.  The fight against terrorism has turned the corner with Boko Haram pushed to the fringes of the Lake Chad, restricted to hit-and-run strikes.  In this fight, Nigeria is no longer standing alone.  We are being supported by our neighbours and the international community.

On the war against corruption, the President, in a story he told the cabinet illustrated  how far the war had come.

Fifteen years ago, he said, someone hinted to him that a day will come in Nigeria when they will show a man a house he owned and he will say “no, it is not mine,” denying thereby its ownership. Knowing Nigerians, the President himself did not apparently believe this will happen in his lifetime. But we are already there.

Nothing confirms this more than the eerie silence in the courtroom when the Lagos High Court  judge, Justice Chuka Obiazor asked the question: who owned that Diezani Allison-Madueke USD 37.5 million Banana Island property? No one stepped forward to claim it. It was thereafter forfeited to the federal government. In the same way and manner several others are being so forfeited.

With serious efforts being made to improve the ease of doing business, government just instituted a visa-on-arrival scheme at our major airports. We may not be clearing goods in 24 hours at the ports just yet, but things have changed so much, to the point that importers no longer wait for eternity to remove their goods from the Lagos Harbour.

Violence in the name of religion and ethnicity is being tackled as effectively as can be done.  The success against Boko Haram in the North-East is being matched with success in the North Central States, troubled by farmers-herdsmen. There is now a gradual return of calm and order, in turn paving the way to the return of workers to the farmlands and increasing food production.

In the South-East, the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB has removed tensions in much of the country, bringing with it relief that the nation is not up in flames as its promoters had planned.

The President comes before the nation against the backdrop of a bumper farm production that hit a new record high, impacting positively on the economy by hammering away at food price inflation.

In his speech while presenting the 2017 ‘Budget of Recovery and Growth,’ President Buhari restated his abiding belief in the adage that a nation that cannot feed herself is a slave nation. He described this period as one of great opportunity.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) defined this as thus: “If you had to sum up our vision for the Nigerian economy in a few words, these would suffice. Grow what we eat, produce what we consume.”

Speaking on the same issue, the Minister of State, Agriculture Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who frowned at the nation’s  $22 billion annual food import bill, said: “We are at a very critical time in our nation building. The cardinal objective of this administration is to see how we can feed ourselves in the shortest possible time because we can no longer afford the import bill of $22 billion on staple foods. So the objective of this government is to be able to produce enough food for ourselves and export.”

It will not amount to an overstatement to say on this day, October 1, the real independence we must be  celebrating is freedom from enslavement to foreign food sources and the arrival of that moment that has seen us are feeding ourselves as a nation.  Government just won a major victory against food importation and food price inflation.  It is a critical battle won with a direct bearing on the budget of all citizens. As a saying goes,the touchstone of a good administration of any government lies in the benefits that accrue to the last person.

The economic situation in 2015 when he took power was broken, characterized by mismanagement and corruption; a primitive type of corruption that weakened the ability of government to tackle poverty, at the same time holding the nation from the race towards development. At a time when oil earnings had dropped significantly, President Buhari inherited a country heavily dependent on food imports but he realized soon enough that for things to change, he needed to usher in an era of expansion in agricultural production.

Nature herself became more generous.  The rains were good this year and last year and this, combined with government policies on local fertilizer production that is about to deliver 10 million bags by the year’s end and delivering credit to farmers on low interest.  All these, coupled with the supply of improved seeds have together led to increases in crop and cereals production, fisheries, eggs, poultry and these are still getting better.

Local fertilizer production has led to annual foreign exchange saving of more than USD200 million and eliminated annual subsidies in the region of N60 billion.  The cost per bag of widely-used NPK brand dropped from N11,000 to the current price of N5,500. Growth in agriculture has in turn translated to good fortune not only for farmers but also for producers of consumer goods due to increase in purchasing power.  The National Hajj Commission said 80 percent of this year’s pilgrims were farmers. In many of our towns and villages, young men are abandoning the occupation of driving Okada and taking to the farms.

Following increased efforts by the security agencies particularly the Customs, this county’s agriculture is emerging from the strangulating competition of foreign food suppliers who have swamped our markets with foreign food at prices that are subsidized by foreign governments. When country neighboring you with a population of less that 1/20 to this country’s becomes the world’s second largest importer of parboiled rice, you that a new game  is in play.

As we celebrate the 57th year of our political independence, which many radicals had derisively called flag independence, it is apt that the nation steps forward to mark the freedom from the political and economic shortsightedness of the past that tied Nigerians to the consumption of imported food.

With everyday, month and year, government under President Muhammadu Buhari is unraveling problems that have absorbed the public mind for years without solutions in sight.

Government policy of economic diversification is leading to a multiplication of wealth and riches for those who have seized the moment.

As the President said in that budget speech, “Across the country, our farmers, traders and transporters are seeing a shift in their fortunes. Nigerians who preferred imported products are now consuming made in Nigeria products. From Argungu in Kebbi to Abakalaki in Ebonyi, rice farmers and millers are seeing their products move. We must replicate such success in other staples like wheat, sugar, soya, tomato and dairy products.”

Although Nigeria is not the only country to face the problem of food price inflation, the Buhari administration had in the past two years come under unprecedented attacks by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.  However, now that the administration has overcome that volley, this talking point has  suddenly disappeared from their lips. Month after month, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS has reported government as having put in place good policies and actions  that are taming the monster of inflation.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN correspondents recently visited markets in Plateau, Benue, Nassarawa, Kogi, Niger and Taraba States and found that food costs have gone down.

NAN found that nine tubers of yam, which used to cost an average of N3,000 were sold for between N1,300 to N1,500 depending on their sizes.

The price of Garri, Cassava flour, according to NAN had come down from N380 and N400 per measure to between N220 to N260.

A farmer in the region attributed this change of food prices to good rains, return to farming by the youths and the security situations (which) has improved, making it possible for farmers to go to their farms.

Elsewhere in the country, reports show that a 100 kg bag of Guinea corn, maize or millet which cost N16,000  a year ago now sell for as low as N8,000.  One hundred kilogram bag of home grown rice is down to N20,000 from N32,000. One hundred kilogram of of beans is down to N26,000 from more than N30,000 a year ago.

What all these tell you is that government is aware of the problems facing the citizens and is working day and night to solve them.

President Buhari has a vision of building a new nation which resents and fights corruption, free of terrorism and a nation in which the poor have food to eat and a roof over their heads; a country in which the youths are job creators, not job seekers.

What it means to achieve food self-sufficiency is that the scarce foreign exchange available to the country can be used to procure plant, equipment and industrial machinery to drive the industrialization of the country; that we will not be spending all the money we earn on food import but spare much of it to develop infrastructure as the administration is already doing with power, railway and roads.

The strive for the achievement of food self-sufficiency in two years of the Buhari administration is gradually ushering in the real independence for the people of Nigeria without any dramatic flair. In the coming years, government policy as manifested by the school feeding program will take us from food security to nutrition security and hopefully, to a country in which no one is hungry. A country in which the people grow what we eat, and eat what we grow.

The NGO Bill And Its Ramifications, By Umar Yakubu

We will fight for what’s right because one understands that more regulations are not the way to solve our country’s problems – Jeffrey Duncan

A lot of furore has been generated in the public space ever since it became known that the House of Representatives has passed through Second Reading, a bill sponsored by Honourable Umar Jubril, seeking the establishment of a Non-Governmental Organisations Regulatory Commission. As a result, the House of Representatives will be proceeding to the committee stage of the lawmaking process where they will be holding public hearings on the bill.

First of all, there is a significant difference between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations (NPOs). There is a general misconception about the principles of, and the differences between, NGO and not-for-profit organizations. Understanding the difference is important in explaining some details of the bill and what it intends to regulate, supervise or strangulate.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are created by legal persons who are not part of the government. However, though they maintain a non-governmental position, their funds are mainly raised by the government or governments as well as other bodies. There are various types of NGOs which include ‘International NGO, Technical Assistance NGO, Humanitarian NGOs, Environmental NGOs, Donor Organized NGO and several others.

For example, international NGOs such as the Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), receive substantial funding from governments to carry out humanitarian activities all over the world. Some NGOs are founded through private philanthropy such as the Gates and Ford Foundations. They also go through established governments and bureaucratic systems to reach areas and communities that they intend to deliver assistance.

The drafters and sponsors of the bill need to understand various categories of NGOs before putting pen to paper. The organizational structure, intensive bureaucracy, painstaking processes and due diligence encountered to access grants and funds from such bodies is wider and possibly more effective than what the bill intends to achieve. In fact, most are supervised by the United Nations.  Also note that these NGOs, due to their substantial funding, are coming to either directly execute their projects in identified areas in collaboration with Local, State or Federal Government.

For Nigeria, the point of entry is the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning. Though most NGOs accurately document their objectives with the Ministry, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) comes in with CAMA stick and demands for annual returns. Knowing fully well that they are exempted from tax, they must register their ‘exclusion’ with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Then they hop to the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML), under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) to register with the same CAC and FIRS documents to ensure they are not used for money laundering or terrorist financing activities.

From there, they would register at the State or Local government of concern even though they came through Abuja through a line Ministry. Then you have the Financial Reporting Council, whose mandate seems to be an amalgamation of ICAN and ANAN. The same set of documents, issued by government agencies, are used to register with other government agencies.  So much for cooperation.

So the current situation is a complicated and bureaucratic process which is entirely unnecessary for NGOs. These bodies, of which more than 95% are international, always go through such hassles because they want to render humanitarian assistance.

On the other hand, the non-profit organizations (NPOs) are service organizations or charities that are established for co-operative, trust or purely informal reasons. They offer services and programs by raising funds from individuals and endowments. So our associations, clubs, advocacy groups and religious bodies, the super-hypersensitive area, fall into this category.

Because of their informal nature, divergent objectives and complicated structures, it is presumed that this is the area that the bill wants to tackle. The fact is that in most responsible democracies, NPOs have legal responsibilities similar to other companies that are registered within a country. The significant difference is with regard to tax exemption.

Proponents of the bill have argued that there is the need for government to establish a mechanism which regulates the establishment, funding and activities of “NGOs” operating in the country. They further argued that NGOs are conduits for the laundering of funds in and out of the country. They express sentiments on how NGOs (pardon the continuous use) business is most ‘lucrative ‘ venture especially in the North East of Nigeria.

There are reports of them being used to soliciting and obtaining funds from International and National donors under the guise of providing relief materials and succour for internally displaced persons, but they end up diverting these funds for other purposes. The main argument of the proponents is for stopping misappropriation of funds by NGOs.

The opponents of the bill are enraged. Professor Odinkalu, a well respected and patriotic Nigerian is all over twitter. He opines that it will be used constrain the civic space and destroy dissent and hence, a danger to Nigeria’s democratic setting. The Catholic Church has said it is a selfish and disingenuous bill that would lead to persecution. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria says that the government its “poking its nose into the affairs of the church”, and should focus more on other more important issues.

The Chief Imam of Issa-Elele Central Mosque is requesting the government not to interfere in affairs of mosques because it’s poking its nose in the affairs of God. A similar stand was taken by the Chief Imam of Ansarudeen referring that financial affairs of the mosque should not be regulated. I think since there is no umbrella body for NGOs, so there is no harmonised response on the matter.

Apart from the drafting defects and other inconsistencies, the bill aims to promote and ensure accountability. But in trying to ensure transparency, there are elements of duplication of duties because there will need to register (after CAC, FIRS, SCUML, State government and whatnot) their activities with the new agency. It seems like registration exercises give government agencies some feeling of control and authority. Usually, after registration, no regulatory or supervisory activity ensues afterwards unless for revenue generation.

There are also duplications of penalties that are already existing in other laws. So there is a logical argument by the opponents that a new law is not necessary because the existing ones have not been adequately implemented. As usual, we like to quote US and UK when we what to justify an argument, such as citing the Charity Commission of the UK. What we fail to consider is that there is deep mistrust between the government and its citizens and hence the trepidation that it would turn out to be like other ineffective government agencies.

Curiously, none of the opponents have addressed the question about the level of misappropriation within NGOs. Several NGOs around the world have been used for drug trafficking, arms trade, human trafficking, financing of terrorism, terrorism, tax evasion, money laundering and so many other vices that affect the security of the nation.

If our houses are clean, why is there so much apprehension over regulation especially within our churches and mosques? Professor Odinkalu stated that “our churches will be out of business and the mosques will be endangered”. How? Religious bodies could be run like a business but should not be businesses. I would have expected the ‘houses of God’ to be the first in calling for accountability.

Our Governors wives also float NGOs, and billions have been syphoned through such means. Some use their position of power to ‘channel’ local and international NGOs to fund their programmes. Other coerce private organization to contribute to ‘Madams pet project’ before signing off on contracts. Evidence of terrorists being supported, transportation of hard drugs, movement of arms and cash, smuggling of illicit goods using NGOs have been well documented in Nigeria and other regions.

It’s possibly the lack of regulation that leads to lack of corporate governance in NGOs because most Trustees are members of the same family or friends. That’s probably the main crux of the resistance to targeted regulation. The culpable don’t want scrutiny and hence tend to exaggerate the potential for abuse by public officers and politicians.

In the interim, what may be done is to enforce existing legislation. Each registered entity submits its constitution to the CAC for approval and allows them to govern themselves through the constitution. If there are evidence of infractions through non-compliance, I want to assume that the CAC has an Enforcement Department with remunerated staff. The same goes for the other regulators and supervisors such that are meant to ensure conformity with statutory laws.Enforcement by FIRS, SCUML, FRC and plethora of others is essential.

The new agency may just come and join the fray of inadequate implementation of regulations. The agencies are supposed to report evidence of criminal activity on fraud, money laundering, financing of terrorism and other crimes to existing law enforcement agencies. If the current system is not working, I doubt if another law, with our current culture, would be the solution.

]Umar Yakubu

Executive Director – Center for Counter Fraud Awareness

www.ccfanigeria.org

 

 

Nigeria At 57: Restructure Education Curriculum To Fit The Present Day Challenges, By Eniola Opeyemi

In celebration of the Nigeria independence day which comes every October 1st, concerned stakeholders have voiced out on the challenges faced in the present day socio-economic realities, the institutional failures and proffered therapy to put an end to the incessant imbroglio.
In addressing the socio-economic problems of the country, the first point of call is the educational sector which is the difference between the infrastructural development and the human capital development, this are the words of Prince Shina Akinfulire, the National alumni president of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Oto-Ijanikin , Lagos state in a statement signed by the Eniola Opeyemi, the National Public Relations Officer of the association, made available to the press.
Akinfulire said the present situation in Nigeria calls for more concern, especially among the educationist as the failure in the country structures shows that our education is no longer viable to address the numerous challenges, its disheartening when we have to look up to our foreign counterparts for assistance that should ordinarily get local solutions.
“Our education sector needs immediate attention that will see all arms of government declare a state of emergency in the sector to address all challenges if we must compete with other nations considering our manpower. Our population should be an added advantage that will relinquish the dependent factors and turn other nations to look up to us for large scale productions in all sectors. The certificate syndrome should be eliminated so as to make the citizens more confident and boost the Small Medium Enterprise which contributes to over forty percent of our GDP.”
“If our aims to be a force in the black nation and the world at large must be accomplished, we must consider a restructure in our curriculum to affect the teachers education, with more funds according to the UNESCO recommendations and our present socio-economic challenges”, the alumni president added.
Similarly, In an interview with the Mr. Opeyemi Eniola, the alumni association National PRO,  he express dissatisfaction over the poor treatment of the teachers in the nation which makes the education system suffer more defeat in recent times, Opeyemi noted that the Ministers and the commissioners of education in the country despite their bogus salaries and allowances have less to contribute to the education sector compared to the teachers in the classrooms who received meagre salaries and almost no allowances despite contributing most of the needed commitment to the human development.
“We can’t get it right until we call for a new curriculum that will not be developed by few persons but all concerned, the restructure of the salary scales, allowances and purging the system of the unqualified teachers”
“Our local content law also have to be enforced, what we see today in our schools are foreign teachers, this is how bad we have gone”, The national PRO added.
Signed:
OPEYEMI ENIOLA,
NATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER,
ADENIRAN OGUNSANYA COLLEGE OF EDUCATION ALUMNI ASSOCIATION.

Nigeria At 57 And The Failure Of Her Educational System, By Oyesoji Aremu

By all intents, assumptions and human estimation, age 57  is said to be very advanced. An individual at 57 would therefore, be said to be approaching the Senior Citizens Class with full responsibilities amidst further expectations to savour the joy of toiling at a very advanced age when frailties set in. Failure for a 57 year old man, therefore, could by society standards, be seen to be a technical and permanent failure in life except a miracle happens.
Nigerians are religious no doubt. That could make many among us to say: ‘it is not yet uhuru for the country’. I share the same sentiment albeit with a defining view and perception. After all, the Bible says: ‘the prayers of the righteous, avail much’.
Thus, at age 57, whatever might be the shortcomings of the country could be said to still be remediable not minding her advanced age.
The index of measuring the country’s achievements in this intervention as Nigeria celebrates 57 years of an uninterrupted independence, is education. Education by all known theories and precepts, is the only yardstick through which other indices of advancement of a country rest. Failure in this sector, is therefore, failure in other known sectors like, economy, health, technology and telecommunications, politics, the list is inexhaustible. No wonder, our beloved country at 57 is perpetually ‘lamed’ and permanently ‘dwarfed’ in development. If properly harnessed, human and natural resources that are available in Nigeria could be utilised to put her education in a good stead; and same use to bring fortune to the country. Ask what brings fortune to the United Kingdom. It is her education industry.  Unfortunately, these resources have not been effectively used to meet the increasing needs of the country in terms of human capital development and others through qualitative and accessible education for all.
For Nigeria and with specific reference to the education industry, it is a story dotted in failure and permanently on the altar of policy somersault. For emphasis, the sector is the most neglected in the country. Forget about the cacophony of  noise from the North to the South, West to the East; and across geopolitical zones in terms of education governance, it is all about heaps of lies and mortgage of the future of this country.
Show me a country with a robust and well-funded education industry, I will point to you a country like Finland, South Africa, Ghana; just to mention three of the numerous countries that have become envy of others in all-round and complete development, and education haven to thousands of Nigerian youths. Our loss in terms of capital flights to education tourism to Europe, America, Asia and countries like South Africa and Ghana in Africa are better imagined than stating the obvious of our commonwealth of failure in education.
Putting the nation’s achievements in education on a scale of ten, and comparing her with her contemporaries who had independence about the same period, I will, conservatively grade her 3.
Mainly, the education industry has three major sub sectors: early childhood/primary, secondary and tertiary. Thus, the totality of the quality of education sector remains abysmally low and unimpressive even to those on the lower wrung of Social Status Ladder. From the primary to secondary and tertiary sub sectors, it has been a tale of woes in academic performance to history of decadence in facilities and unmotivated personnel.
Objective appraisal of the three sub sectors shows that all is not well.
Unfortunately, the primary and secondary sub sectors have totally collapsed and no longer enjoying serious patronage on the part of the government at all levels. *Those who are left to salvage from the knowledge crumbs in public primary and secondary schools are wards of those I earlier referred to belong to the lower wrung of the Social Status Ladder*. The running of the two sub sectors are now in the hand of the private sector who, latch at the poor policy of the government to take control of primary and secondary education due to the neglect of the government. One must thank the private sector in that it is through it, whatever remains of the glory of education in primary and secondary sub sectors is envied amidst what many could afford.
One may wonder then if the neglect of these sub sectors has any bearing with the constitutional provision which put education on the concurrent list? That provision did not make any intervention for private sector. It is the jackals in government that look elsewhere and allow the private sectors to hijack primary and secondary education in Nigeria. The same scenario is playing out in the tertiary sub sector of education industry with continuous  deregulation of university education. At independence, Nigeria had only three universities and four polytechnics. The number of secondary schools were also known because of their qualities and fame. Then, schools were actively supervised by ministries of education. While one welcomes the increase in number of higher institutions (especially universities), what remains disturbing is the alarming rate of their proliferation without a corresponding funding of the existing ones; and thereby, raises questions of quality assurance. The increasing number of candidates every year (they are about 1.7 million this year) seeking admission to higher institutions especially universities, makes it imperative to have more universities but not on the altar of sacrificing quality.
In other climes, government encourages open access to education by licensing public universities to run on a dual mode. Examples abound in South Africa, India, China, and UK.
I must stress it that government cannot be the sole funders of education. However, my take is that, the regulatory bodies have been compromised and thereby throwing the education sector in the hands of business men and women whose primary motive is to make profit, forgetting that education is a social sector.
Arguably, the fault is not theirs. Rather, governments at all levels should take the blame for compromising the future of the children of this country. Successive administrations with perhaps exception of the ones in the first republic have committed grievous infraction against education in Nigeria. None of the primary and secondary schools established prior to the first republic which  produced crop of many political leaders, captains of industries, celebrated academics, and a host of other notable Nigerians can be said to be a good reference now. Many of these schools except for those which have been handed over to missionaries, are caricatured, dilapidated and no longer fancied. For emphasis, the country has not fared well in the provision of qualitative education to its citizenry.
The sector also continues to witness industrial unrest especially at the tertiary level. This is happening due to poor incentives for teaching and non teaching personnel. This is one of the reasons why we do not get their best.
Often, the country witnesses poor academic performances as evident in secondary schools annual results by WAEC and NECO.
At 57, Nigeria should make her education to be prosperous and triumph over all known limitations. This feat cannot be achieved overnight. It would require a serious commitment through adequate funding and appropriate policies. It may not be out of place if the country should declare a state of emergency in the sector. Governments at the national and state levels would have to accept the obvious and apologize for their failure. Anything short of these would mean that our governments are not remorseful and introspective.
The expected triumph and prosperity of education is a serious business. If Nigeria wants to be at par with countries that celebrate prosperity in education, there must be a total overhauling of the sector. This can start now. The last line of the second stanza of the University of Ibadan Anthem reads: ‘For a mind that knows is a mind that’s free’. At 57, can we say Nigeria knows? As we reflect on this, I wish you all happy independence.
Prof. Aremu is of the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies and Director, Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan.

Relationship, Infidelity, And BreakUp, By Isa Mubarak

In the history of break ups, no one ever broke up because someone loves them “too much”, people often find silly excuses to cover their true motive, excuses such as “you’re too good for me i don’t deserve you” or “there was no breathing space” or “you made me block my family and lose true friends” and on and on and on. Really?
It takes a sensible person to read between lines when you hear excuses like this. At a point, you were begging to be loved, at some point you were begging for all of the said attention, at a point you willingly do these things, you now consider “useless”, If it has ever made you happy, it’ll be hyprocritical of you to now criticize it. What changed? Do you have such a short memory?
I wonder how relationships go from “I love you more than anything” then straight to “You are the worst thing that ever happened to me on earth” What changed? What happened?
Do you ever really forget your lovers’ birthdays, or all your first times, intimate? Do you forget their sacrifices for you? Are the things you did and promises you made ever really neutralized? Do they become void now that you’re broken up or do you decidedly ignore them? Or are you that conscienceless and heartless?
The emotional trauma they make you go through before they actually go to the point is beyond imagination, hearing things like “limit your love” “stop jealousy” “let’s give each other space” “just a friend” “If you keep on loving me you keep hurting yourself.” Imagine this coming from someone who once craved and begged you to give them all these things?
We can be with someone for years without knowing whether they truly love us or not, we can give them our body, mind, time, money and soul, our everything, and they’ll still cheat, ungratefully. Perhaps they were with us because they have no better option yet or it’s just in the blood to be a conniving backstabber or simply want to be “free” to explore the “labour market”. We’ll never know.
I want to believe that you either love someone, in some way, forever, or you never really loved them at all. There’s no in between. No silly excuses.
If you want to break up there are ways to it, mature and responsible ways, like normal humans do, not make the person feel as though they were not good enough, or make them doubt themselves or humiliate and make them a laughing stock in the public’s eye. All for loving you.
Infidelity to me is the only unforgivable sin in a union. You know what sucks more than being cheated on? Being cheated on twice, or three times. Or four. Ad infinitum, the more times a person cheats and subsequently lies about it, the less guilty they feel about it.
This are the type people that’ll say this and that broke up with me because of “small cheating”. Three to four times is “Small cheating”, or serial cheating? It’s beyond me.
Cheating is usually one of the moral crimes that is often hard to forgive, but sometimes we are blinded by our love for a person, fall for their lies and façade and give them a chance again.
Cheating is a product of not being satisfied from where you’re coming from, such people are ever hardly satisfied, so they wander about, never finding what they are looking for.
Love is as potent and volatile as hate, often there’s a thin line between the two. And infidelity often cleans that line as quickly as a wet towel cleans some beauties. Our unwavering love for a person suddenly turns to an unwavering hate for them. So within the blink of an eye, the “i love yous” turn to “i hate you”.
It’s interesting to think about how we make people who used to be everything to us into nothing again. How we learn to forget. How we force forgetting. Grief is a faster teacher than joy.
Like Lao Tzu rightly stated, if you wait by the river long enough, you will one day watch the bodies of your transgressors float by. Patience is all.
#iWriteWhatiLike
By: Isa Eneye Mubarak
isamubarak66@yahoo.com
Tweets @Isamubii

Senator Andrew Uchendu: Sovereign Lord, My Eyes Have Seen Your salvation, By Solomon Okocha

Yesterday, as Senator Andrew Uchendu, crossed the last hurdle on his way to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and was duly sworn in as the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, my mind took me on an emotional ride to an occurrence which happened during the time of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The coming of Christ our Lord was prophesied long before He was born. From the time when the Israelites were in bondage, suffering in the hands of cruel and numerous enemies, to the period when raging war, excruciating famine, and palpable drought, amongst other mortal ills, pervaded the length and breadth of their domain, the story of the coming Messiah who would save God’s children from the hands of their countless oppressors and traducers, flowed endlessly from the mouths of not a few Prophets.
For hundreds of years, God’s children waited patiently for the coming of the chosen One – He Who would bring to an end to oppression, hopelessness and despair. Such was the hope that kept the Israelites focused and strong during their long stay in captivity; in their journey through the wilderness; when they crossed the Red Sea, et al. The spark of hope that the thought of the coming Messiah ignited in their hearts, was enough to calm any raging storm.
The Bible records in the Book of Luke 2:25-27, that the Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon, a devout and righteous man, who was earnestly waiting for the consolation of Israel, that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. And so when finally Christ was born, Simeon’s joy knew no bound.
During the purification rites of Jesus Christ, Simeon, moved by the Spirit, went into the Temple courts and verbalised the emotions which scores and scores of years of hopeful waiting, had tucked under his belly: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel (Luke 2:28-30).”
Here in Rivers State, just like the Children of Israel, we have had our own fair share of oppression. We were forced under gunpoint to surrender our political system to men of the underworld. Before, during and after the 2015 general elections, our dear state was a ‘theatre of war’, as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Many were killed, many others were maimed and so many others were denied their rightful mandates.
In all these, it is worthy to note that the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, under the able leadership of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Honourable Minister of Transportation, kept hope alive and waited upon God. Amaechi was seen everywhere encouraging his flock, telling them to set their gaze upon the Almighty, Who never sleeps nor slumbers. Amaechi can be likened to one of those prophets that foretold the coming of Christ. He saw today.
Senator Uchendu was a part and parcel of this tortuous walk through the political wilderness of Rivers State. Two times his mandate was stolen on the pedestal of severe electoral malpractice, gross irregularities and extreme violence. But like a man whose hope is anchored on the Almighty, he did not faint, but persevered till the very end. Today, my Chief is now a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Sovereign Lord, my eyes have seen your salvation!
Solomon Okocha is the Media Aide to Senator Andrew Uchendu and he writes from Abuja

APC Leadership, Not Sagay, Is The Real ‘Rogue Elephant’ By Godwin Onyeacholem

I met Professor Itse Sagay for the first and only time thus far one evening in the early 1990s. It was at his office in the law firm he set up somewhere around Alaka area of Surulere in Lagos after being forced out of the University of Benin—where he was dean of law—by a dominant reactionary group which could no longer stand his principled position on issues of the day.

Then, one young lawyer, Ogaga Ifowodo, worked in the firm. It was those heady days of fervent pro-democracy activities, when the term “hidden agenda” was a popular refrain ascribed to the transition rigmarole of the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida. I was then a staff writer at TELL magazine and had walked into Sagay’s office for an interview on the state of the nation.

Recalling the encounter now, it is striking that the learned senior advocate still retains the penetrating intellect and clear-sighted forthrightness with which he dissected military rule and its destructive effects on the polity. Then, as now, one could feel a man oozing with genuine patriotism as he radiated an acute sense of equity and justice, and awareness of the imperatives of democratic accountability and good governance as preconditions for the survival of Nigeria as a corporate entity. In a country swarming with an army of incorrigibly dishonest, thieving, opportunistic, wicked and self-centred elites whose only passion is to relish the mind-numbing suffering of the vast majority of the people, a man like Sagay is often hard to come by.

Put him in the same league with contemporaries like Gani Fawehinmi, Alao Aka-Bashorun and a few other irrepressible senior citizens at the front of the unending struggle for the triumph of social justice and orderly society, and the categorization would just be apt. A distinguished academic, titan of the legal profession and accomplished rights activist imbued with an indomitable DNA for saying it as it is, Sagay is also a dyed-in-the-wool defender of the oppressed. There are very, very few Nigerians of his privileged status who are consistently putting their heads on the chopping blocks in advancing the cause of a better society.

From his effusions, there is no doubt that Sagay is extremely angry about how post-colonial Nigeria has been terribly mismanaged over the decades by successive leaders—rulers more appropriately. And justifiably so, because no one who lives in Nigeria or lives elsewhere but aware of the great potential of the country would not be thoroughly disgusted by the long years of abominable leadership served by politicians and the military. In fact, not to be angry about Nigeria’s development trajectory would amount to a criminal diminution of the essence of being a stakeholder in the viability of one’s country.

Therefore, only individuals and groups such as the APC party leadership who have so far shown clearly that they are beneficiaries of the prevailing dysfunctional system will be affronted by Sagay’s anger, deployed in intermittent but consistent critical takes on the country’s situation, especially under a party that promised wholesale change but is still busy, after more than two years, struggling to spell what it promised. The typical “rogue elephant” that it is, the leadership has displayed crass incompetence to the point of unwittingly serving as the agency for the gradual depletion of the goodwill that earned it victory at the 2015 polls.

Rather than attack one with a long-standing tradition of objective criticisms, the party should honestly search its soul to find out whether Sagay was not correct in his assessment of its leadership. Given the timid, cry-baby response often witnessed when issues demand firm and decisive action from the party, which honest observer will not vindicate Sagay by handing down a verdict of unforgivable weakness on the party leadership? For example, yes, it is supposed to be a democracy, but the routine open defiance of the party by members undermines party cohesion, and any leadership that allows that attitude to linger qualifies to be described as not only weak, but also incompetent and directionless.

When a man who is not a member of the party but works for a government formed by the party offers a dispassionate critique of the party, no matter how blistering, the party would do itself great favour by stepping back to take a holistic look at its modus operandi. To reflexively hit back at Sagay without any iota of shame, describing him as one who was retrieved from “oblivion” to serve this government, is not only wrong, but also insults the integrity of one of the authentic champions and enablers of the current democracy, in spite of its glaring distortions, that the APC leadership enjoys today. Sagay has never been in “oblivion”; instead, since the start of the 4th Republic he has always lent his courageous voice to issues concerning how to create a better Nigeria.

And the APC leadership must know this: Sagay is one of the very few people who confer credibility on this government and make the public view it with some respect. No one, other than President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, enjoys that status. Certainly, Sagay is not a man to trifle with. It is not for nothing that he was appointed Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC). And without his expert input, there is no way the anti-corruption war would make this much progress.

Therefore, instead of seeking to counter Sagay’s well-meaning criticisms, the APC leadership should first be full of thanks to Buhari for bringing such a man on board, and then shower praises on Sagay for his invaluable service to the APC and the country.

Godwin Onyeacholem is a journalist. He can be reached through email: gonyeacholem@gmail.com  

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