Fayose & the Buhari Health “Watch” By Babayola Toungo

The audio recording by one captain Sagir Koli of the Nigerian Army that went viral on how officials of the PDP and the government used the army to rig the 2014 Ekiti state gubernatorial election and the interview granted Sahara Reporters by the same Army officer, made clear to me the fixation of Ayodele Fayose with General Muhammadu Buhari. Fayose was the beneficiary of the rigging scheme which sent Kayode Fayemi out of the Ekiti government house and he is scared of what will happen to him in the event Buhari wins the rescheduled 2015 presidential election. He would rather General Buhari die before March 28th than see a Buhari presidency with him possibly ending in jail. This is because the revelations in the tape are tantamount to a military coup against Fayemi and the Ekiti people. The coup was carried out using the Army led by a Brigadier General and orchestrated by two Ministers of the Federal Republic.

General Muhammadu Buhari is in the UK right now engaged in a working visit, meeting with British politicians, policy makers and captains of industry with a view to selling himself and his programmes. He may also use the opportunity to show the English that he is not the ogre the PDP is making him out to be. Almost everybody who happened to be at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport saw the General queuing up to join the British Airways yet Fayose still insists that Buhari was flown out in an air ambulance. How morbid can some people be in their desperation? How can someone be so fixated with another’s state of health to the extent that one could be this reckless? What transgression have the people of Ekiti committed to deserve this monster as their governor?

Fayose have a history of rascality and that may be responsible for his impeachment during his first incarnation as the governor of Ekiti state. He also had a murder case hanging on his neck before the PDP exhumed him from his political Siberia and imposed him on the good people of the state just so that the PDP will have its way in the forthcoming elections. The confessions of the Army captain and the admission by some of the participants to the treasonable meeting that returned Fayose as governor means little to the president and his party because the people are of no concern to them. If the president really care about the people of Ekiti state in particular and Nigeria in general as he claimed, Fayose should be in jail by now, with Jelili Adesiyan, the Minister of Police Affairs and Musiliu Obanikoro, erstwhile Minister of State, Defence, keeping him company in the dungeons. But in the president’s usual ways of “not giving a damn” about you and me, he dismissed the recording with a wave of his magisterial hand. While Adesiyan remains a member of Jonathan’s cabinet, Obanikoro is nominated to the same cabinet in complete disregard to the outcry in respect to the roles they played in the Ekiti elections.

Fayose is a violent man and desperate man at that. This is a man who violated the sanctity of a courtroom by invading the court while in session with hoodlums and slapped a judge and nothing happened to him. If such a man has consistently being talking about death of the presidential candidate of the APC and the party kept quiet, then something must be wrong. In his desperation to see Buhari dead, it has been reported that he has followed the General to the UK for only God knows what. It was also earlier reported that Fayose hired some people in London to trail Buhari wherever he goes and it wasn’t denied. Yet the APC is taking all this lying low. Am I missing something? When a man of such violent tendencies threatens my chicken, I will make sure he will never sleep again. Has he been consulting babalawos who assured him Buhari will die of a sickness to be cast on him by them or what?

The consistency and stridency in the claims of Buhari’s illness should not be taken lightly by the APC. In the event any harm befalls him we know who to hold responsible. If the president is chicken to act on such nonsense, Nigerians have to be prepared to defend their integrity and safety when those in authority decides to play God over our affairs. We have seen how all those around the president have been threatening the corporate existence of the country without any of them being dragged to the office of the Department of Sleaze and Scoundrels (DSS). The difference between Asari Dokubo, Tompolo and Fayose is that where the Niger Delta oil thieves have been threatening the country in the event Jonathan lost the election, Fayose have been threatening Buhari’s personal safety and existence. Am wary of a man who still has a case of murder hanging over him making such statements and even made it a vocation to trail the man he believed should throw him in jail.

Fayose keeps repeating that the Buhari will never be the president of Nigeria and he says this with a certainty of someone on terra firma. What is giving Fayose this level of confidence that Buhari will never be the president of this country? Is it any fetish assurance he is relying on or is it going to be another snivelling Brigadier he will use to stop Buhari? I think Nigerians should ask him these questions and his fixation with Buhari’s health status. The media must put him on the spot to lay bare his sources of confidence on the APC candidate’s health condition and not just follow him around sheepishly lapping all the nonsense he dishes out to them. Last time I checked he wasn’t Buhari’s Doctor.

The likes of Fayose have gradually weakened the unity of the country because of their deliberate insensitiveness. The man and the characters that populate Jonathan’s administration and campaign team are jeopardising the unity of the country to the applause of the president and to the chagrin of patriots. If we allow them to continue tugging at our fault lines, then we deserve them.

 

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Street Begging: Unislamic and Condemnable in all Ramifications By Adnan Mukhtar

It is no gain saying that begging is an act of ind olent and laziness by this category of people that engage themselves in it, according to a facebook friend it is better for the beggers to develop their skills acquisition intellect and for those uneducated can still work in many places as gatemen, shoe maker’s, nail cutters etc, I am sure those people that engaged themselves in the aforementioned business are sustaining a life with it and even enjoying luxury a times why not doing it?

The Prophet saw in a Hadith urged us to be self reliant, He said ” it is better for a person to go an get a firewood on his back from the bush and sell it than to ask something from someone whether he gives you or not” this is how the Prophet is teaching us how to be self reliant, He always cautioned us against it as it will lead a person to hell fire, in another Hadith the Prophet said that a person who always beg will be raised on the day of judgement as a skeleton, He also prayed for poverty on anyone that makes begging a business, we know how acceptable the prayer of the Holy Prophet is. Islam does not support begging but support helping people more especially the needy.

Allah says ” Ya Ayyuhal Lazina Amanu Intasurullaha Yansurukum Wa Yuthabit Agdamakum” Allah swt is helpful to helpers………

However The Prophet saw has condemned begging in different AHadith therefore it should and need to be stopped by any responsible person.

Sheikh Ahmed Deedat once said ” The biggest enemy of islam is the ignorant muslim whose ignorace leads him to intolerance, whose actions destroys the true image of islam and when the people look at him they think that islam is what He is.”

According to this saying, a begger who is a muslim will be seen by known muslims as someone doing what his religion teaches him, this is spoiling the image of islam, however being a regular reader of online newspapers I have seen it some months back that the kano state governor sent a bill to the state house of assembly seeking a ban of street begging so that it can become a law, the kano state house of assembly has since passed the bill into law and that makes street begging illegal today in the city of kano, the kano state governor Engr Rabiu Kwankwaso need to be commended on this great work. The state Hisbah Board under Mallam Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa is the agency responsible for the arrest and prosecution of anybody found begging on the streets of kano.

It is sad and unfortunate for a leader who seems to be religious and sound islamically to support or encourage begging for the sake of making relevance and love from those he is ruling though I concur with what he said that the government should give those beggers skills acquisition training and capital as that will empower them to stop begging. The government should by all means address this as its a welcome and Development initiative, a very nice and wonderful suggestion from the brave religious and traditional leader of high esteem.

Let me use this medium to share an experience I had with you on a begger who died and his family were able to get more than a million feom where he used to keep his money and other valuables, he has no job other than begging, all what he gets like food, shelter and money were through begging, if he can be able to raise such an amount of money why not use it as a capital before his death unfortunately because of how begging makes him lazy he continued with it as a potential business. A lot of beggers in kano and the north at large are millionaires while some are about making a million but no good plan on the said money by them. No begger has the idea of using his begging money as a capital he rather be allowed to continue with his begging, they is no business they can do apart from begging, we call it in Hausa ” Zuciya ta mutu” what even bother me most is how beggers(Almajirai) are majority Northerners and that’s why some southerners are referring us as Almajiri whenever we hurt or provoked them, they used that as a means of hurting us

Begging is laziness, unislamic and is condemnable in all ramifications, I hope and pray that the government on its side will empower those beggers with skills acquisition training and capital that will help them in sustaining their lives. No one should dare bring it back again, No one should take us back to the 18th century, kano is progressing, we want to compete with other cities of the world, we want kano to become the number one city in the whole africa, Do you think we can make it with begging on our streets?

Adnan Mukhtar Adam TudunWada is a Youth Activist and is of the Department of Islamic studies Northwest University, Kano

 

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Nigeria Suffering Under Crippling Global Sanctions Because Of President Jonathan – Peregrino Brimah

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Jonathan On The Cliffhanger By Erasmus Ikhide

President Goodluck Jonathan’s suspenseful uncertain transitional government is gradually drawing to a close. His secret wish had been truncated. He expects Nigerians to simply reward his 6-year gutter government with another 4-year without election. It was a vain fancy gone awry! It was a sordid denuding piety of dreaming away one’s incompetence in governance. His rule has undoubtedly ended. But he has other tricks up on his sleeves.

In primitive societies, authoritarian governments survive because a coalition of political and military elites stands ready and willing to employ violence to execute Machiavellian vision of politics. The scenario described above mirrors Mr Jonathan’s government and his propensity to perpetuate himself in power beyond 2015. He has been throwing several variables around to reinforce his fable hold on the governance of the nation.

Corruption in his government has decimated the middle class, dampened the prospect of power generation, ruined production industries, brought education to the precipice and the nation to the edge. This version of on-your-face affront by Mr Jonathan’s disingenuous politics of self-sustaining gimmickry can not be disregarded. Beginning from 2014 in Ekiti  governorship election, Nigerian democracy became militarized with the overt intrusion of the security sector into the political arena, a process that reached its feverish peak before the August 9th Osun Goverorship election.

The electoral dimension of Mr Jonathan’s authoritarianism stems from the fact that his failed government fails to hold elections as constitutionally stipulated. He is searching for an avenue to legitimised his hold on power so as to manipulate the elections for his own ends. To become a ruled-based democracy the stated letter of the constitution must be followed. The reign of terror in Ekiti and Osun elections was possible because of the symbiosis between the PDP and the security sector, with Jonathan providing the glue that binds them together in pursuit of regime survival.

The Ekiti and Osun elections heists marked glooming sports on the nation’s map of liberal democracy as practised in saner society. It has come to the open after linked tape of how military were used to rig Ekiti election that Nigerians who were alarmed at the Ekiti and Osun elections invested with soldiers, police, DSS Civil Defence Corps, Niger Delta militant were not alarmists as claimed by the president and the PDP. Nigerian is a symptomatic of a militarised state that reflects a broader mindset on the part of the government.

International Communities, Civil Rights Groups, and media outlets have expressed concerned about the militarized role of the military in a democratic society, and even the Department of Justice has raised concerns about how to deal with the brutal force of the military toward unarmed citizens. Taking the long view, I can’t agree less that the militarised army is a reflection of the evolution of government toward a police state model.

Although, the nation has witnessed brutal repression of political opponents since the Fourth Republic, which was deeply rooted in former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, but this phenomenon evolved gradually after 2011 presidential election which led to the death of many. Militarised of the nation’s politics reflects the convergence of hostile and desperate political groupings and the policy of the government at the centre which has been striving to remain in power for a hundred years. Now,  its new found fang has been to eliminate “potential political enemies as terrorists”.

It’s interesting to know that in essence the justice system has indicted the military, police DSS and their bloodcurdling cousins in a lawsuit brought before it in Kano by a group of concerned Nigerians. It’s interesting because the judgement came at a time the entire justice system was stacked against political opponents or those perceived to be the enemies of the president or his political party. The drawbacks of the military naivety has been exposed which misconstrues faithful service to the nation and its institutional structures, as the actual service to the government at the centre.

The crises that attended both Ekiti and Osun Gubernatorial elections should provoke protests from Nigerians, thereby prompting altruistic reform in our electoral body, its independence, and of course, toward attainment of free and fair election; devoid of manipulation of any kind. Mr Jonathan’s heavy-handed government has consistently used the state apparatus to suppress dissenting  voices, break up protesting groups violently more than his predecessors.

The goring scene in Ekiti, where the police shot an opposition protesting youth to death, where the military threatened to shoot Rotimi Amaechi, Adams Oshiomhole, both governors of the opposition party and others sympathetic to their cause is still fresh in our minds. The incident of Ayo Fayose, as the Governor-in-waiting of Ekiiti ordering the merciless beating of judges handling his eligibility case in Ado-Ekiti High Court has not dissipated.

Mr Jonathan can resort to engaging military hostility, given the history of his failed government because under his watchful eye the state has crushed opposition elements or co-opted their followers in some manner that invariably includes superficial reforms. Nigerians didn’t hold much hope for institutional change under President Jonathan with the culture of militarised elections in Nigeria. The subtle mass protests that attended Ekiti Governorship election are not just about the frozen institutional structure steeped in military and police-state methods. It was obviously created by the PDP government.

The Civil Rights Groups actually came short of staving off the negative effects of military deployment in an election and the harm’s way such military engagement puts the nation and its toddling democracy. Such protests should have be vehemently design to address social issues, election manipulation and violence, among others, regarding social justice.

It is true that protests movements throughout Nigerian history have failed to change the status quo and there is no reason to be optimistic that the ones which led to the judgement in Kano court a few weeks ago will amount to anything. Nigerians are not in high spirit that their president will order the implementation of the court judgement. Neither do they expect a revolution if the Presidency used the military and other security apparatus to intimidate, manipulate and ultimately suppress Nigerians voices in the coming 2015 Presidential election.

The INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega has in the past faulted the deployment of soldiers, hooded security men during Ekiti and Osun elections, describing it as abhorrent in a democracy. Beside, he spoke of how an attempt to rig the Ogun State governorship failed. Describing the trend as “worrisome, he said masked men would not be allowed for next year’s general elections”, as he also accused the security men deployed in Osun State of being “overzealous”. Department of State Security (DSS) spokesperson Marylyn Ogar admitted that some of the DSS men deployed for the election wore hoods.

There may not be sporadic uprisings in urban areas in Nigeria that will dethrone President Goodluck Jonathan over night but there will be popular protests that will continue for different reasons, all of them revolving around the issue of absence of social justice and popular democracy. However, the cumulative effect of the protests that is to come, if the military lend itself to wrongful uses, as it were in 2011, will lead to mass demonstrations with very serious consequences on the unity of the country.

When the lives of the people are stagnated and the prospects of their children’s lives look very bleak, when they realize that society is becoming increasingly unjust for more and more people, and not just the very ordinary people and poor minorities, it is very likely that a segment of the more radical of them will take to the streets and others will follow. This is the danger militarised elections could bring, and had brought to many Third World Country.

Ikhide, a Public Affairs analyst writes in from Lagos, Nigeria.

Follow me twitter @ErasmusIkhide

 

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Communication Networks And The Plight Of A Nigerian By Aremu Toyib

This is but another cry of a Nigerian. I am on this side complaining today because there is no different story to tell. I wish I have been impressed by the services provided by these communication networks so that I can send some gratitude. But today is not a day to send gratitude; this is a day of bare criticism. As much as I understand that in every business, there is a need to make profit, at the same time every marketer should understand this simple phrase: consumer satisfaction.

I am making my thoughts known today because of what I experienced on my line some days ago. I received a message from a strange number (4100) on my MTN Simcard like this:

“Yello! Your callertunez will expire on 2015-02-21. To renew the service at N50 monthly, take no action. For information on how to stop the service, text help to 4100…”

Immediately I received this message, I was perplexed. I was wondering when I subscribed to such service. That was not the only question that rummaged my mind for answer. I thought: I did not register for this service and now it is going to expire soon. I am not interested in it let alone renewing. I have the literal capacity to stop the service but what about the many unlettered users of MTN who is faced with same problem? What about those who cannot read the message not to talk of following the instruction to deactivate it? Was there even a ‘deactivate’ instruction?

This is how people are subjected to pay for services they are not interested in. The worse part of this is that the service is made in a way that renewal is only by ‘not sending any directive.’ What this means is that automatically, a user who at that moment does not send ‘stop’ to 4100 will be charged afterwards. Is this fair to anyone at all?

The caller tune issue apart for now. Let us talk of the load of messages sent to customers daily. Every Nigerian with a phone should be able bear witness to this. Today, the number of time we receive unwanted messages on our lines is really alarming. One is sent about ten of this on average every day. The nauseating part is that when you try to delete them, another is on its way to the inbox again. Why? Has the network providers not considered that excessive messaging of customers about a service does not equate to customers’ positive response? Are they not aware that this is no more advertisement but spamming and disturbing the peace of users? The same is the case when in the morning one tries to check up (useful) updates on his Twitter or Facebook wall. The whole space is filled with useless, unsolicited messages. It is like everyone does not care again how they make their money; whether it makes others feel sad, inconvenient and cheated. It is high time the network providers understood that this is not a good marketing strategy.

People have their reasons for having a phone number; for some people, it is because of their business. They will expect some important messages or alerts some time. It will therefore be disturbing if all they get are unwanted messages sent by network providers. This is not a good way to thank a customer for actively recharging his cell and allow you make money. Do not make your customers regret choosing your service. The truth is, portability has become an affordable choice to make.

MTN, Globacom, Etisalat and others may argue that numbers like 33128, 30020, 5031, 5021 do not represent them. Well, whether or not they represent you, the messages they send are received on your customers’ lines. This should bother you if it bothers your customers.

I, as a customer, am interested in a service that will not give me nightmares. I look forward to a time when I will get mostly the messages that interest me and not some that I will delete immediately or have to leave in my box unread. It is really painful.

Aremu Toyib is a Freelance Writer, Blogger (aremutoyib.com) and Campus Journalist based in Ibadan. Contact him @omotoshoatob on Twitter or shoot him a mail aremutoyib@gmail.com

 

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#PAUSIBILITY: Solecism Of This Transformation By Adebayo Coker

Ordinarily, I do a weekly submission but my musing wouldn’t let me rest.

I am sure you will wonder the kind of paragraphs that will follow this opening. Some people will develop further defence when am done answering this question due to their embryonic stance on Americanism; they usually would say “ the fact that it worked in America doesn’t mean it is good for us”. To this set of people I will say I agree with them to the extent that until when we are ready to develop our own peculiar models to proffering solutions to our own peculiar problems, I will continue to use suitable examples from any part of the world.

Let me quickly draw a line of relationship between Hurricane Sandy and Boko Haram. Although they both proffered a saving grace scenario to the leaders of two wonderful countries in the world, whose popularity amongst their people was drowning, but like any survivalist would grapple for any thin line of hope that is likely to sustain their continued existence. The opportunity for redemption came. One of the leaders saw and acted accordingly as is expected of a leader who is in sync with his people but the other frittered away his chance.

Hurricane Sandy affected some parts of the United States Of America at about the peak of the decline of President Barrack Obama’s popularity. The Americans waited for him at the poll to send him out of the White House because so many of his promises were believed to be mere verbosity with little or no chance of reality. The election year came and the campaign started; movement from state to state, typical of political campaigns. True, it was another round of grandiosity from the first black man President of the most powerful nation in the world, but along the way came Hurricane Sandy; very disastrous ( not the first hurricane or disaster though) but was one of the (if not THE ONLY) saving grace of Obama in that election year. Barrack abandoned all campaigns and went to sympathise with the bereaved. He did it so genuinely that many yet-to-decide Americans at that time, even when they knew it will be another term of same and the same, gave their votes to him nonetheless. He won with a landslide victory.

Boko Haram is a menace that has been terrifying the entire Nigeria nation (whichever way we look at it we are all in this together), the most populous black nation in the world. The Shekau scourge became intense just few years ago. When the whole world was wondering what the FG was doing to address the issue and were ready to their give utmost support to the government to get this hydra- headed monster annihilated once and for all the government saw another rhythm to it that the rest of the world was not listening to. They claimed this is a guerilla war, not conventional and will require some level of expertise to address. Quite understandable. But for six years that the FG sought training of military personnel, chaos was let lose. Thousands of lives were lost. People were dehumanized and killed. Girls and boys were kidnapped, conscripted into the sect and used to cause further mayhem on Nigerian communities. Parts of the country were seized and flags hoisted establishing the sect’s territory within Nigeria, a sovereign nation!

In the reign of all this, the President saw nothing threatening as long as it was not anywhere near Aso Rock. He did not act as expected of a Commander-in-Chief. Rather, he partied and danced on the graves of so many lives that were lost. He enjoyed his campaigns of calumny till the last minute, sometime two weeks ago.

Just as election came and Sandy presented a saving grace for Obama, so also election came and what was considered inconsequential so long as it could be used as a factor in a political permutation, is now a curse for this President.

Had this administration acted rightly six years ago by decimating or working assiduously to decimate the insurgents, some Nigerians will, at least, see a path of moral recompense to the President by giving him their votes because of that act of bravery. The President lacks every moral right to ask for any reimbursement whatsoever. His prehensile associates and aides miscalculated on that.

The recent exploits being recorded by the Nigeria Armed Forces in routing the insurrection just after the six weeks solecism, is a pointer that truly and truly, this government knew what to do all the while to stem this menace but chose the path of wickedness as they had thought that by allowing the crisis to fester( I suspect complicity), a State of Emergency will be declared in the Northeast, then the PDP will have a rollercoaster ride back to power… the heart of man is desperately wicked

In the face of this deliberate delay to score a cheap political point which has led to loss of lives and properties, I hereby endorse CHANGE as the only panacea to this transformation that polarized us along sectional and sectarian lines. A transformation that underestimated the enemies of Nigeria bringing about a Rwandani-treat to our people. A transformation that makes me buy fuel to power my generator to watch the President on national TV, launching a power station purportedly generating some immeasurable megawatts of power. A transformation that has turned unyielding goons to sudden billionaires. A transformation being led by a President that wants to enjoy the full benefits and appurtenances of office but has shamelessly failed (on many occasions) to stand up to the functionality and responsibility of office. A re-commissioning transformation.

I laugh.

BTW

Is Marilyn on vacation?

 

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Scenarios For 2015 By Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim

Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it
– George Santayana

Democratic transition in Africa is historically more complex than in other parts of the world. The intersection of politics with geography, ethnicity, religion and other identity markers are major factors in this regard and nowhere is this so delicately and dramatically playing out than in Nigeria, particularly in the run up to the general election of 2015. The manipulation of identity for political ends under President Goodluck Jonathan has been elevated to an art form. The regime of selective patronage over which he presides and the consequences therefrom, aggravates the nation’s fragile unity, unsettles its uneasy peace and undermines its shaky stability. Being the product of the very divisive election of 2011, President Jonathan could have taken a more noble and conciliatory path. He however chose to play on those divisions further by taking public policy to the altar and playing up one identity against another.

At the centre of Nigeria’s transition crisis is the control of political power which, in real terms, equates to the control of power of economic patronage. In Nigeria, probably more than in most countries, political power confers so much economic advantage on individuals and groups, often to the exclusion of others such that the struggle for its control has become, literally speaking, a matter of life and death. Analysis of contracts awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) chaired by President Jonathan made by a Nigerian newspaper reveal, for example, that over half of Nigeria’s N1.387 trillion capital projects under the 2014 budget was earmarked for the president’s geo-political zone. The Niger Delta region got projects worth N639.306 billion, which is more than the total amount of money earmarked for projects in the rest of the five geo-political zones.

Zone by zone, data analysis of federal projects awarded by FEC in 2014 are as follows: South-south: N639.306 billion; South-west: N256 billion; FCT: N193 billion; South-east: N111.3 billion; North-central: N101 billion; North-west: N62.151 billion and North-east: N23.767 billion. It is not by coincidence that the three zones where President Jonathan is likely to get the least number of votes, North-east, North-west and North-central (minus FCT) in that order, account for only 34% or one third of the amount earmarked for the president’s Niger Delta zone and a paltry 13% of the total for the six geo-political zones. It should not surprise anyone if the percentage of votes the president will receive from each of the six geo-political zones averages the percentage of capital projects earmarked for it.
Thus, competition for political power during election cycles tends to be so ruthless and intense not only because the stakes are so high but also because the reward or punishment of losing out can be equally life-changing. It is this zero-sum nature of the competition which continues to threaten the stability and wellbeing of our nation. The fear of losing power and its consequences are currently driving the behaviour of President Jonathan (and the power block which he represents) towards the general election and its possible outcome.

The Nigerian political elite has developed different coping mechanisms to moderate contestation for political power and the tension it generates. The most successful of these, in relative terms, is the zoning and rotation of public offices among ethnic groups, wards, local government areas, senatorial districts, states and geo-political zones. This coping mechanism is, by definition, not what one might call ideal, but it has generally been operable, warts and all, until 2009 when the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and eventually President Jonathan’s infidelity with the arrangement led to its collapse at the presidential level, at least. By the general election of 2011, Nigeria had become so tension-soaked that some analysts began to predict its disintegration by 2015. If events of the last several weeks and months are anything to go by, this prediction may well be on its way to becoming true unless sanity and common sense are allowed to prevail.

Sanity will prevail if President Jonathan, the hawks in his party, the PDP, and the Nigerian military high command allow the 28th March and 11th April elections to hold. Common sense is to support INEC to conduct free, fair and credible election on the new dates and to hand over power to the winner of the election on May 29th. These, given current trends, will require increased vigilance by Nigerians to help INEC overcome its inertia and enhanced pressure from the international community to help the Jonathan administration overcome its fear of losing the presidential election and the consequences thereof. Anything short of this will put the precarious and fragile peace Nigeria currently enjoys at risk or tragically trigger a series of unfortunate events which may lead to a prolonged period of internal upheaval.

At the current state of play, the different scenarios staring Nigeria in the face are not pretty. This is not the kind of promise which democracy holds out in advanced countries. As it is, if the general election holds on schedule, one of the following will occur:
PDP Wins – There are very high expectations from Nigerians that 2015 is the year of “change”. Poll after poll, among which are those commissioned by members of President Jonathan’s team, had indicated PDP will lose the presidential election by a wide margin (and most of the states). If this expectation is not met, it may be because the elections are rigged. A PDP win could trigger street protests and massive public unrest. Already, there is a large movement of people from north to south and vice versa out of fear that the election results may precipitate violence. If this occurs, a prolonged period of instability, a military coup or worse, an attempt at secession by those who have already served notice to that effect may result.

APC Wins – If public expectations and opinion polls are anything to go by, APC is set to win the forthcoming presidential election (and most of the states). Ordinarily, if APC wins the election, it will be expected to take over the federal government on May 29, 2015. However, there are disturbing signs this may not be the case. Although the president has made a public commitment to hand over power to the winner if he loses in a free and fair election, senior PDP and federal government officials have been reported to insist power will not be handed over to a party dominated by Islamic fundamentalists (a euphemism for APC). Again, if the president is to take it upon himself to determine whether or not the election is free and fair, then his public commitment is probably not as reassuring as it seems. Similarly, Niger Delta militants in company with state and federal officials known to be close to the president, have been reported to threaten the country with war if the president loses the election. Many Nigerians believe they have the capability to carry out the threat.

Run off or Inconclusive Election – Unlikely as it may seem, the possibility of a presidential election without a clear winner cannot be ruled out, especially if PDP’s rigging machine is allowed to enjoy a free reign. An election without a clear winner will suggest PDP and APC are equally strong, a situation which may trigger a crisis-ridden run off and the possibility of a violently contested outcome. This may result in a stalemate and the possible inability of INEC to proceed with the 11th April poll as planned. If the general election collapses or if it becomes inconclusive, a period of prolonged instability and violence may result.

One of the Candidates is Disqualified – There are at least six cases in court, two seeking the disqualification of the PDP presidential candidate and four seeking the disqualification of the APC candidate. Speculations are rife that a particular judge has been procured to do the hatchet job of disqualifying one of the candidates. If this happens, it would not be the first time in Nigeria the courts would be used to stop an election from taking its natural course. Disqualification of any of the candidates, even at this late hour will not, theoretically speaking, prevent the election from taking place but the consequences for Nigeria’s democracy will be dire, to put it mildly. It is unlikely the “winner” of such an election will take office on May 29th.

On the other hand, one of the more disturbing possibilities is that the general election as scheduled may not be allowed to hold. Many Nigerians do not believe the reasons advanced for the postponement of the election and entertain the fear that the postponement is a prelude to a more sinister plot to extend the life of President Jonathan’s administration without going to the polls. Among the scenarios that could unfold are:

The resident Invokes Section 135 Of the 1999 Constitution – Section 135 of the 1999 Constitution provides as follows:
“If the Federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may by resolution extend the period of four years mentioned in sub-section (2) of this section from time to time; but no such extension shall exceed a period of six months at any time.”

The inexplicable failure of the Nigerian armed forces to contain the advances and atrocities of Boko Haram and the rapid seizure of territory by the sect, using weapons abandoned by our troops, had given rise to speculations that President Jonathan would rather extend his tenure by using insecurity as an excuse than hold election in 2015. This speculation gained greater momentum because Boko Haram’s successes were increasingly coinciding with the approach of the election. Then, in September 2014, Senate President David Mark, an influential member of President Jonathan’s kitchen cabinet, made a Freudian slip. Mark was reported to have said: “There is no question of election. It is not even on the table. We are in a state of war”. The statement had, naturally, attracted widespread condemnation. It is, therefore, not surprising that the rescheduling of the general election by INEC on grounds of insecurity had raised a red flag and reinforced the fear of tenure elongation.

It is reassuring that the Nigerian armed forces appear to be on the offensive in the last few weeks and reports of recapture of lost territory are now making the headlines. But war, being what it is, what if the six-week extension requested by the military to roll back Boko Haram does not achieve the desired results? What if Boko Haram regroups, launches a counteroffensive and forces our military to retreat? That would be very unlikely but not unusual or unheard of in a war situation. Will the election hold under these circumstances, considering the reasons given for the extension in the first place? Will this give President Jonathan the excuse to invoke Section 135 and extend his tenure by six months in the first instance as many Nigerians fear? If this happens, there is no doubt APC and most Nigerians will reject it. The crisis that will ensue may eventually have to be resolved on the streets.

Interim Government – Although President Jonathan had categorically ruled it out, powerful administration officials and vested interests outside of it are busy at work trying to abort the general election and put an interim government in place. By its nature and by precedent, an interim government in Nigeria will be short-lived and may be replaced by a military regime within a short time. This will definitely attract the interest of the international community, as military coups are no longer in fashion. It is also possible the international community could intervene before a coup takes place in the manner it did in Côte d’Ivoire. Howsoever this situation is resolved, the possibility of a downward spiral cannot be ruled out.

One of the Presidential Candidate Dies Unnaturally – There is a very slim, if improbable possibility one of the presidential candidates could die in an accident or in circumstances that could lead the public to suspect foul play. A PDP governor had raised a storm last month by suggesting General Muhammadu Buhari, the APC presidential candidate, could die if elected before the end of his term. Since then, this theme of death has remained a strain in the PDP campaign. Some fear this may be a preemptive alibi to “arrange” the death of the APC candidate before, not after, the election. If this happens, the election is not likely to hold and the nation may be plunged into chaos and a prolonged period of instability. This was how Rwanda’s slippery slope got out of control and how the actions of a few desperate politicians got the nation on its way to large-scale genocide.

None of these scenarios needs to crystallise. Nigeria had made a worthy investment in democracy in the last 16 years and is entitled to reap the fruits of its investment. However, the politics of the last six years have placed this investment in jeopardy. If Nigeria’s investment in democracy fails to bear fruit, it will not be the first time this has happened. Nigeria is still paying the price of the failed election of June 12, 1993. It will be more than tragic if we fail to learn from history and allow what happened two decades ago to repeat itself.

  • Mr. Ibrahim is the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM).

 

 

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Three Major Tasks Ahead for the Next President By Niyi Akinnaso

Perhaps, no election campaign in Nigerian history has been more dominated by sideshows than the ongoing presidential campaign. The preoccupations have ranged from age and illness to certificate forgery and the level of literacy. Not even the postponement of the election could wean the campaigns from sideshows. What percentage of voters have collected their Permanent Voter Cards? Are card readers reliable? Will the election (ever) hold? It is not the case that some of these issues are not important. For example, it is as important to prevent voter disenfranchisement as it is to ensure that voting does take place on the newly scheduled dates.

The problem, though, is that none of these issues is predictive of what the next president will do and how it will be done. None tells us how the winning candidate will turn around Nigeria’s fortunes from years of neglect and poor leadership. There is no sector that does not require urgent attention: Education is in decline. Health care facilities are inadequate. The roadways are hazardous. Power is like Abiku; both take delight in tormenting their clients by repeatedly coming and going.

To complicate matters, a portion of the country, about the size of Belgium, was taken over by terrorists, whose deadly activities have led to thousands of deaths and billions of naira in property damage. Above all, the funds that could have been deployed to tackle various problems have been embezzled or otherwise mismanaged.

In a situation where nothing works as it should, it is often very difficult to establish priorities. Nevertheless, three problems stand out, which the next President must address, namely, corruption, inadequate power supply, and insecurity. The three problems must be tackled headlong, simultaneously, and from the first day of the new administration.

There is an implicational relationship among the three problems. Corruption breeds poor power supply by institutionalising the practice by which the funds allocated to the generation of electricity were funnelled into private pockets. Corruption also creates the environment for mass poverty and disaffection by promoting visible lopsidedness in the distribution of resources and political goods, thus widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots. In other words, corruption breeds social injustice and wide disparities (rich vs. poor; literate vs. illiterate; high brow vs. low brow). Victims at the low end of these disparities are at risk for recruitment into fanatical causes for pittance. No wonder, the ongoing insurgency has been interpreted in these terms.

No nation is known to develop appreciably, where corruption has become a money-making industry for politicians, civil servants, contractors, and various political patrons. It was so in Singapore after its separation from Malaysia in 1965. It remained an underdeveloped colonial outpost for a few years until Lee Kuan Yew wiped out corruption and changed the nation’s fortunes for the better. Today, Singapore is a First World Asian Tiger, boasting more millionaires per capita than any other nation on earth.

With rich human and natural endowments, Nigeria has always been potentially wealthier than Singapore. Like Singapore, Nigeria should have been the African headquarters for leading industries and corporations around the globe. Regrettably, the country has been a victim of poor leadership and lack of political will. That’s why its millionaires are largely politicians, civil servants, and beneficiaries of political patronage, who often build mansions in locations which they could only access by riding there in their Sports Utility Vehicles.

Corruption is also at the root of brain drain and capital flight. It is estimated that at least a third of Nigeria’s well-trained professionals, particularly doctors, nurses, engineers, IT specialists, and university professors are in the Diaspora. What is worse, continuous capital flight results from reliance on foreign hospitals for medical care; foreign schools and universities for training; and foreign shopping malls for purchasing necessary and luxury goods. This is complemented by the exportation of corruptly acquired money to overseas bank accounts for private use.

I have dwelt on corruption this far for two reasons, namely, its pivotal role in the current situation of the country and the nation’s declining economic fortunes, particularly the dip in oil prices and the devaluation of the naira, which may worsen the negative effects of corruption. This dire economic situation calls for a stern manager of personnel and resources. It also calls for a three-pronged approach to curbing corruption.

First, there must be wide-scale sensitisation of the citizens against corruption in order to change the existing value orientation which promotes it. The present everyone-does-it attitude towards corruption needs to be changed through public enlightenment programmes, which highlight both its negative effects and what could be gained from its eradication.

Second, as indicated in a previous article on this column, “Corruption and the Fifth Estate” (The PUNCH, February 18, 2014), whistle-blowers must be encouraged and protected. Without them, we may never know about, or get to the roots, of some corrupt practices.

Third, existing laws for punishing corruption must be enforced. A large independent bureaucracy, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, may be unnecessary; but a corruption tsar is still needed, who would use the existing security and law enforcement agencies to prosecute corrupt cases. More importantly, corrupt officials in government, financial, and other institutions in the country must be properly prosecuted and punished; and the punishment must include the recovery of the looted funds and prevention from holding public office for a specified number of years, depending on the gravity of the offence.

One of the sectors which corruption has adversely affected is power supply. Not only have billions of naira allegedly committed to power sector reform since 1999 yielded no appreciable improvements, there appears to be no concerted effort to develop alternative sources of power, save for entrepreneurial upstarts, such as Dr. Tayo Dairo, who established Quintas Renewable Energy Solutions.

The inadequacy of electric power supply has put a great burden on individuals, small businesses, corporations, and government institutions to generate their own power. The cost of purchasing, maintaining, and fuelling generators is debilitating for individuals and businesses, let alone the hazards, including fatalities, caused by the fume and carbon monoxide emitted by the generators.

I do not subscribe to the view that generators should be banned outright. Individuals and businesses will suffer untold hardships. Rather, enough electric and renewable energy should be produced that would render generators superfluous and ultimately unnecessary.

The power problem is bad enough. The raging insurgency in the northeastern part of the country is even worse. It has devastated lives and property, while scaring away investors. Hopefully, the last-ditch efforts by President Goodluck Jonathan to bring it under control will yield appreciable results. At least already, according to the Army, some of the towns captured by the insurgents have been recaptured.

However, it will be naive to think that an insurgency that has raged for six years will go away completely in a few weeks. After all, the renewed effort has yielded no clue about the over 200 schoolgirls abducted from Chibok nearly a year ago. That’s why the next President must reinvigorate the fight against terrorism and bring it to a complete halt.

The Army must be equipped and adequately compensated to implement a no-tolerance terrorism policy. Nigeria’s borders must be secured and forest reserves guarded and patrolled. Moreover, the economic conditions favourable to terrorist inclinations must be addressed through education, youth employment, welfare packages, and equity in the distribution of political goods.

The focus on these three problems does not mean that others should be completely neglected.

Rather, they should be treated as preferred options. If President Jonathan had addressed these problems satisfactorily, his re-election would have been assured and his comparison with Lee Kuan Yew believable.

 

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Ayodele Fayose: Buhari’s First Casualty As President, By Eneh John

“Knowledge helps men to identify with conduct that is distant from sneering remarks.”-Eddie Asukwo

The Governor of Ekiti State, runs contrary to the above quote.

One will expect that for someone who holds such a revered office in the state, he should be of good example and a model worth emulating.

But all these are absent, when the name Fayose is mentioned.

He has left the governance of his state and dwelt on campaigns of calumny against the leading opposition presidential candidate.

Fayose, may I remind you that Ekiti State ranks top among the least developed states in Nigeria.

A state where riding Okada seems to be the viable business and the Fayose market mainly occupied by the igbos in doing their businesses and contributing to the growth of the state.

Can Fayose name one viable thing that is working in the state, or the developments in terms of infrastructures?

An impeached governor who was smuggled back into government house through a fraud electoral process which only the courts can decide his fate on the elections.

The much publicised rigging tape by Captain Sagir involving Fayose and his team of riggers still exposes the rot in our electoral system and the biased nature of our military institution.

The signs are getting clearer.

Goodluck Jonathan once said,”Even the blind can see.”

Fayose, undoubtedly, will become Buhari’s first casualty when he becomes president.

We have nothing in our minds to doubt that Fayose may go the way he went in his first missionary journey to government house.

He will be running and seeking for help just the way he did when he was desperately seeking a return to government house and even wrote an apology letter to Obasanjo.

The same Obasanjo he is castigating today.

The same Buhari he is running propaganda against.

Politics is a game of interest.

In one of my published articles entitled: AYODELE FAYOSE:THE MISTAKE GOVERNOR OF EKITI STATE.

I expected that this man must have learnt something.

But he proves to be a bad student who refuses to learn.

All the gimmicks displayed and his vociferous attacks on Buhari are mere  defence mechanisms to be seen to be working for Jonathan.

It is the likes of Fayose that has made Jonathan to grow unpopular everyday.

You don’t attack always.

But Fayose’s launch of massive attacks on Buhari and Obasanjo needs a reprisal response.

The day Buhari is announced as president, I bet you that Fayose will offer the first congratulatory message.

He loves his position as a governor, but he doesn’t know how to keep it.

He has become Buhari’s campaign aide.

Leaving his job as a governor and you think he is working for Jonathan?

The more propaganda he runs against Buhari, the more votes he convinces Nigerians for him.

If Buhari emerges, our earnest wish is that he forgives the many sins of Fayose against him.

But I cannot assure Fayose that Obasanjo will forgive him.

But will only wish his ouster as governor.

This write up is not a prediction because am not a seer, it is a reminder on Fayose to learn from history so that today’s joy will not be tomorrow’s regrets.

A REPUTATION FOUNDED ON INTEGRITY MUST BE NURTURED BY TRUTH.

Eneh John is a Journalist and Secretary,Coalition of Human Rights Defenders.(CORHD)
E-mail: enehjohn49@yahoo.com

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Political Thuggery And Nigeria’s Sleeping Policing Department By Peregrino Brimah

By Peregrino Brimah

We haven’t even gotten to the elections and the instances are so many: bombs blowing up at campaign grounds; people being stabbed and shot; political offices being burned and shot at; conveys being vandalized, the list goes on.

There will always be political thugs and vandals; since Abel, there have been bad human beings; the problem is: will Nigeria always have a sleeping policing department? Why must we as a people always guess who did what? Why must the APC accuse the PDP and the PDP accuse the APC with the violence continuing and the police and state security department never telling us actually who did what?

When will the Nigerian police under IGP Suleiman Abba and the state security department ever apprehend the perpetrators of these crimes and bring them and whatever party is involved to justice? Are we condemned to continue living as primitive people in Nigeria where mob action is permissible and perpetrators must be guessed?

The Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan, warned in December of last year that they, the police were ready for “anyone who instigates violence.” Are they really ready? Do they have the capacity to be ready and impartially so? With Alhaji Adesiyan being one of the implicated offenders at the Ekiti rigging meeting, one really may not have much to expect and hope for under the current dispensation.sleeping police

Frankly Nigerians are tired but we cannot despair. We will still summon our security department to divert their rapid response from subduing the brave hunters who turned the tide on Boko Haram in the glorious Mubi recapture battle; and discourage them from murdering our innocents in peaceful processions, as they did in Kaduna with the Islamic movement; and beg them to convert the professionalism they use to burn BRT busses and newspapers to apprehending political thugs and investigating into the cases of political vandalism and violent disturbance that is being conspicuously tolerated today in what appears to be a prepared avenue to obstructing fair elections and a true handover in May.

And if the police tell us they cannot secure us, many of us including the men and women of the Citizens United for Peace and Security, CUPS organization and other civil groups are more than ready to provide responsible security for the nation and this electoral process through Civilian Joint Task forces. Which one police? Are you up to the task?

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

 

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Where are the Pastor Bosuns? By Funso Akinlade

I was at work sometime last year, and just walked outside the office when I saw a fellow worker but from another department. He held his phone tenaciously to his ears and was listening to something with a very rapt attention. He had one of his colleagues with him and while he seemed to add some glee to his attention which showed he enjoyed what he was listening to, the other young man was only attentive.

We exchanged greetings and I moved on, albeit with some sluggish style which permitted me to hear some of what they were listening to, without betraying my intention.

I heard someone claiming to be a pastor, talking rather endlessly as he reeled out many reasons he felt and was convinced (probably by his personal holy spirit) that one major political party was an Islamic Party (just like the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt) and that they wanted to Islamise Nigeria. He alluded to a lot of the high positions in the party being held by Muslims as one major reason for his conclusion.

I was awed!

I walked away and just a day or so thereafter, I read and heard more about the infamous and ungodly submissions of the acclaimed pastor, Bosun Emmanuel.

Religion, the axiom goes, is the opium of the people, and from time immemorial, it has served as a weapon to used by politicians to gain undue favour or pull down their opponents. However, this opium seems not be very intoxicating and lethal in places where the people are well educated and enlightened, and it is therefore not a surprise that it is most widely used in the under-developed and developing countries.

This act by politicians should be condemned by every well-meaning human being, and in this case, Nigerians. If allowed to keep festering, especially alongside ethnicity, there is no way our leaders will take us serious because no matter how much they mess up, they fall back on this whenever the time for reckoning comes, and we who are at the receiving end of their misrule start fighting each other either overt or covertly, based on their religious affiliations.

As condemnable as this act is though, it leaves quite a bitter taste in the mouth when it comes from the pulpit. Everyone of us, including men of God from any religion, could have our bias or soft spot for some people, but when we take it to the level of the Pastor Bosuns, it becomes not only condemnable but very dangerous.

Now, it makes me wait for the day the Pastor will prove his sincerity of purpose, by coming to retract his statements and possibly ‘turn the table around’.

You ask why?

Weeks ago, while the campaigns were hot, the Vice President was at Kano and he called our attention to the fact the major office holders and contenders for juicy posts in the APC were predominantly Christians, while those in the PDP were Muslims. Thereafter, he reiterated same in Minna with some interesting style.

His message is enough for people in saner climes to tell him he is not fit to contest again, but maybe we should not go there for now. However, it behoves Pastor Bosun Emmanuel and his ilk to come out and retract their false statements and apologise to a party they have tried endlessly to demonise, and more so, the populace whom they have tried to mislead, albeit grossly unsuccessfully.

We still await them and implore anyone that knows them we are looking for them.

Personally, and I am sure for millions of Nigeria, religion is a private matter and should not be used to gain undue advantage or bring down one’s opponents. For me, I care not a hoot where my governor or president comes from or what religion he practices. I have come to understand good men exist in every religion and even among aethists. Spirituality is different from humanity and having a good conscience.

Funso Akinlade, a physiotherapist, writes from Abuja. He communicates via @funso_akinlade as well as funsoakinlade@yahoo.com.

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Child Abuse “The Nigerian Perspective” By Nemine, Funge-owei Michael

One could at times raise questions like, is the African child different from the European child? Is the African child right less?

According to UNICEF, a child is a person below the age of 18(eighteen), unless the laws of a particular country set the legal age for adulthood younger.

The child as an age grade has her rights and as such to be treated as one with rights. In coherence, onus is laid on parents to ensure that each child’s right is not hijacked.

This article could be influenced by her immediate environment. The African writer Camera Laye wrote a book titled “THE AFRICAN CHILD”. Wondered about his choice of title? The salient yet prominent truth is not farfetched. The African child is a child of Africa. Her rights are scribed and enforced by Africa, in the African way.

Child abuse rags and scrapes the street of Africa, perhaps, in oblivion. The UNICEF’s definition of child rights and child abuse is yet to be fully incorporated into the heart of the African progenitor.

The African parent’s notion of child upbringing have perhaps transcended from biblical inferences. The African parent probably, has adopted the biblical morale “spare the rod, spoil the child”. This is a perfect blue print to a good child upbringing, however, it has been extremised. It is obviously as a result of an extravagant understanding or rather a myopic vision of the intended truth by the writer from the biblical inference. I have not met to say the African has a lower intellectual capacity. Of course it is not true. However, it is of necessity to note that the brain understands issues based on time and terrain. This is an unrecognized fact anyway.

Child abuse is an issue ravaging the streets of Africa and as a result has put the future of the child at stake. Child abuse has ranged from violation and deprivation of the child’s immediate needs to its basic needs. Most prevalent of them includes; putting the child to tedious house chores which generates a negative impact on their academic performance, inability of parents/ guardians to provide the required daily allowance(RDA) for the child which affects the normal growth of the child, subjecting the child to adult labor on the streets and amongst others.

The African parent/guardian has more often than not subjected the child to labor or has violated the child’s right unconsciously. This is as a result of dematiad orientation that has maneuvered her way through the gone generations to the present. Prior to now, what the united nations and other human right organizations defined as a violation to the child’s right, is to the African parent/guardian a sin qua non to the passage of the African child to adolescence and adulthood.

Ignorance left unchecked endangers the ignorant. It will be of doom repercussion if the trend is left rolling. Curbing child abuse cannot be overemphasized. If need be, let every other issue be put on the hold, so that child abuse be tackled. The child has no voice because the abnormal has made itself the norm. the child is in comatose because its parent/guardian has forced her into undesired silence.

Child abuse looks not much of an issue in Nigeria, but it has tear triggering statistical values. A report by the US department of labor in 2010 claims Nigerian is witnessing the worst forms of child labor. In 2006, the number of child workers was estimated at about 15millions.

Now, to the average Nigerian, this figures are outrageous, overestimated and somewhat irrelevant. The truth is, the average Nigerian’s criterion of addressing child abuse is ill-equipped, relatively below standard and as such needs refurbishing.

Conclusively, there is a need for reconciliation of minds, standardizing of attitudes and reorientation of principles and believes. It is high time the child “the Nigerian child” started getting all that he deserves. Believes have so impeded the greatness of the average African child. There is a need for the African parent/guardian to program a new course for her child’s up bring.

 

Nemine, Funge-owei Michael, a poet and a freelance freelance copywriter, shuttles between Bayelsa and Lagos, Nigeria.

Contacts: +234 8161188518, funscod@gmail.com.

 

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