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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Let The People Win: A Passionate Letter To President Goodluck Jonathan By Ogundana Michael Rotimi

Dear President Goodluck Jonathan,

My sincere commendation goes to you- The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, on the successes made so far by the military in flushing out the insurgents in the North Eastern part of the country. Achievements like this are commendable and the people would appreciate it if the exercise completely achieves total success such that the insurgents are completely wiped out of the region and the country at large.

Perhaps after the end of the ongoing 6 weeks of military operations, if the results achieved are enormous and tangible, the people might be glad that the postponement of the general elections was not in vain, so long it does not affect the elections again.

Your Excellency Sir, I have resulted to using this medium to write to you because it is the fastest and surest medium I can afford. Hence, pick no offence that it was made public and not personally delivered to you.

Four (4) years ago, you were elected by the people in good fate, full hopes and aspirations for a better Nigeria. Four years on, by and large majority of the people have been victims of broken promises. The same set of promises that were used as manifestoes four years ago remains the same four years after. And like so many experiences of the past, the people have been confronted with blasted hopes, and the dark shadow of a deep disappointment settled upon them. Hence, they are now forced to end up with the alternative- Change.

Though on several occasions, I have been saddened with some of your actions and inactions and with some of the policies under your watch. These include; the delay in using all it takes to fight the insurgents in the North Easter part of the country not until now and sometime on your silence on issues that are germane to national interests. This sadness sprang up annoyances in me that are not borne out of personal beef for you, but out of passion for the country.

Indeed, I understand a lot of things would be going through your mind and brain as regard the outcome of the upcoming presidential election. Sir, I know you might not stop thinking of what actually went wrong and how you finally got into this mess. However, I have these messages for you; whatever the outcome of the election is, please do not be forced to take decisions that would make you the last president of Nigeria.

There are no doubts that the polity is currently fragile and the political atmosphere is so tensed, but the truth is, Sir, the absolute power to make it calm is in your hands. Let the Military do their jobs professionally, let the Policemen do their jobs professionally, let the (wo)men of the State Security Service do their jobs professionally and let other security agencies do their jobs too professionally, without partisanship and undue interferences by politics and politicians.

The election will come and go, but whatsoever the outcome is, Dear Sir. kindly accepts it in good fate. God made you the President in the first place and not because you were the best at the time. And if it is in his interest that you remain in office for another four years nothing can stop it. But if otherwise it is still his` wish.

Additionally, do not be deceived by the selfish advice of those that surround you, majority of which are not in for the interests of the nation but for themselves. In the first place, they brought most of these woes on you. They sought to answer all criticisms that come your way in an attempt to prove absolute loyalty to you. Hence, have no time for constructive works that should have promoted your good jobs. They scare your supporters away and left you with few ones. Perhaps if you had worked with fewer men, you might have gained more friends than foes.

Your Excellency Sir, whoever the election favours, either you or any of your opponents, history will definitely remember you, either for good or for bad. Nevertheless, I personally wish that it absolves you and not condemn you, but the choice is yours. Therefore, do not allow the ongoing political crisis to deteriorate into violence. The country is under your watch, at least for now you have the last say.

Although, I understand when you feel you have done so much for the country and do not deserve what you passing through now. I do not intend to mention or bore you with how and where you got it wrongly but you must understand that human`s wants are insatiable, so you should have done more to deserve those praises you look forward to.

Meanwhile, as it stands now, please remember that you are the boss on the top, and no one can force you to do what you really don’t want to do. If things go wrong under your watch, none of the men in your cabinet would be held responsible but you.

Furthermore, I want you to remember that as a true believer, all powers belong to God and he gives it to whosoever he wishes. Hence, whatsoever the outcome of the presidential election is once again, do not force yourself on the people, let the people win. That’s the only way Nigeria will survive.

Yours sincerely,

 

Ogundana Michael Rotimi

I tweet @MickeySunny

 

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Nigerian Govt and the Extra Time Mentality By Joe Onwukeme

The reason why we are still lagging behind in the comity of nations is because our governments both past and present have failed to prioritize every given opportunity in ensuring that its citizen’s physiological and safety needs are met. They prefer to be lethargic in governance and waste their time on frivolities till the tail end of their administration before they begin to show seriousness.

Extra time, an additional time needed or given to accomplish a task or project has become a phenomenon in our polity. It has taken over our system and now cuts across every facets of our lives.

In football, it is a period of usually 30 minutes added to the end of the game if both teams have the same score. In extra time, the unexpected should be expected. Extra time could make or mar a team.

In politics, anything can happen in extra time, it is in extra time that our government pretends to get serious with governance. At every given task, most Nigerians especially in government prefer to handle such with levity till the dying minutes, when they run out of time, they put the blame on other people and after wards seek for “extra time”. There hardly seems to be a politician, institutions or profiteers of the government that are not guilty of extra time.

The recent postponement of the general elections scheduled for February 14th and 28th respectively to March 28 and April 11th 2015 is a good example of an extra time phenomenon.

After reassuring Nigerians repeatedly of its readiness for the general elections, it took the Chairman of INEC a week to the polls to tell the whole world in a press conference that the general elections has been postponed for 6 weeks. In explaining his reasons for the postponement, INEC boss Prof. Jega, absolved its commission of any blame and reiterated its readiness for the polls and insisted the postponement was because the Nigerian armed forces stated they could not guarantee Nigerians security on the scheduled February 14th date as they will be busy in the North East in the fight against insurgency and needed at least six weeks to rout out Boko Haram.

How else do one explain such an unmitigated effrontery of our armed forces in the fight against insurgency in the North East? After 6 years in this same battle without much improvement, the Nigerian armed forces has asked Nigerians for an “extra time” of six weeks to be able to rout the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East starting from the weekend of February 14th, (the initial scheduled date of the presidential election) and one is forced to ask why the seriousness in this “extra time” and what magic do our armed forces intend to perform in six weeks in dispelling those ragged tagged terrorists which they have not done in six years?

After failing to fulfill it’s core campaign promises and with less than 6 weeks to the general elections, the ruling government have suddenly realized they are in extra time and have started showing seriousness in all their unfinished projects all over the federation. How possible it will be for these unfinished projects to be completed in less than 3 months before the May 29th hand over date is what I am yet to know but in extra time, just as it is in football, anything can happen.

Before now, It has always been an easy ride by hook or by crook for the ruling government in the capture of the seat of power and for the first time in our democratic history, an opposition party is going neck in neck with the ruling party in the capture of the seat of power. This became possible after 16 years of democracy. Right now millions of dissenting Nigerians are considering the opposition as an alternative government at the centre.

Instead of asking themselves how they got entangled in this web by allowing the wind of change mantra catch up with them, the ruling party and it’s members have resorted to blame games, they have continued to blame the past rulers and opposition for the myriads of problems bedeviling our nation.

Just as it is done in football, after the normal regulation time without a winner, we have been caught in the web of extra time and March 28th, 2015, the most anticipated day of the year is the day this extra time will be played. It will be between the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and the main opposition party, All Progressive Congress, (APC).

Will the defending champions PDP be able to beat the rising opposition party, APC and win the trophy back to back or will APC the under dogs who many never believed will get to this final stage rise up to the occasion and beat the defending champions PDP to the title?

March 28, 2015 will tell.

 

Joe Onwukeme: writes from Enugu.

unjoeratedjoe@gmail.com

I tweet @unjoeratedjoe

 

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President Jonathan’s Fraudulent Re-Commissioning Of The Olorunsogo Power Plant Leaves A Sout Taste

Last Friday President Good luck Jonathan went on a campaign tour to the South West Region of Nigeria under the guise of a working visit to commission some projects embarked by his six years old Federal Government.

One of the projects, President Jonathan purportedly commissioned with pomp, colour and aplomb was the National Integrated Power Plant known as Olorunsogo power plant.

However incontrovertible facts have since emerged that the Power Plant commissioned by President Jonathan was commissioned by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007 shortly before his tenure expired.

The Olorunsogo Power Plant is among the many of such power plants the Obasanjo’s administration built across the country.

READ: Jonathan Re-Commissions Power Plant Commissioned By Obasanjo 8 Years Ago [Photos]

It is inconceivable and unbecoming of President Jonathan to be a party to such fraud well calculated to pull wood over the eyes of Nigerians in a desperate and frenetic bid to woo the electorate in that part of the country to vote for him in the forthcoming election.

This is another desecration and undermining of the Nigerian Presidency by President Jonathan.

The President cannot and should never be a party to such fraudulent act.

The Nigerian Presidency ought to be and should rightly be a paragon of morality, justice, truth and indeed a nidus of goodness.

What message is been sent out to Nigerians particularly young people; if the President of the country can be a party to such despicable and fraudulent act?

This is the same thing that happened when President Jonathan visited Cross River State in January 2015 to campaign.

When it dawned on Governor Imoke that President Jonathan’s administration has not executed a single project in the State; he impetuously lured President Jonathan to commission a half completed Express Bye Pass and overhead bridge in Calabar that was inappropriately named “Ebele Good luck Jonathan Express Bye Pass in a frantic bid to deceive voters in the State.

The people of Cross River State were surprised that President Jonathan can descend so low to commission a half completed project!

The commissioning of  the Olorunsogo Power Plant that  former President Obasanjo commissioned 8 years ago  again by President Jonathan is outrageous, condemnable, scandalous  and indeed an impeachable offence.

It surely leaves a bitter taste sour in my mouth on how low a government can go to deceive the people.

It must be investigated and those who are responsible for this blatant fraud must be punished.

OKOI OBONO-OBLA

 

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Nigeria’s Last Chance By Oluwole Alabi

What entrenches and solidifies democracy is the ability of an opposition party to win a national election. It also goes without saying that a too large majority in any parliament is an anathema to an enduring democracy. These two vital factors have been clogs in the search for a truly democratic governance. The closest we had was in the second republic when a coalition of other parties made a disconcerted efforts to forge a formidable opposition to the ruling National Party of Nigeria. All the efforts made then by the leadership of the then Progressive Party Alliance were prematurely aborted by the inordinate ambitions of the political gladiators of the alliance.

The issues in politics are dynamic and the way a political party handles those issues determines their electoral fate. In the recent past, two main issues have accounted for the change of government in the western world. The economic recession and the Iraqi war. In the light of these, the American sent George Bush and his party out of White House and brought in Barack Obama, the British forced Tony Blair to hand-over to Golden Brown who eventually led his Labour party to electoral defeat to David Cameron’s Conservative party, Sarkozy was replaced with Francois Hollande in France for similar reasons. Last week, a new party was elected to form the next government because of its anti-austerity stance. Close to our borders, the opposition party won a presidential election in Ghana because the incumbent was drifting away from their pride values. This can only be possible where a credible and formidable opposition exists. In contrast, and just like Nigeria; South Africa lacks a formidable opposition to the ruling African National Congress. Otherwise, Jacob Zuma ought to have been voted out because of the alleged use of state funds to upgrade his personal property. This portends a great danger to the South Africa’s democracy.

In 2011, conscious efforts were made by the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN), and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to have a formula to collaborate so as to upstage the ruling PDP in the presidential election. This again dramatically unravelled at the most crucial moment. Perhaps, the loose alliance would have snatched the presidency from PDP. But who knows what would have followed then as there were mutual mistrust amongst the players of the alliance.

Since the termination of that effort and particularly, immediately after the PDP retained the presidency, leaders in opposition parties saw reasons why they would never win a presidential election without one form of collaboration or the other. Especially, the voting pattern where most of the northern states went with Buhari and the Southern states overwhelmingly voted for Jonathan. It was a case of “had we known”. This realisation was the eye-opener they needed to go back to the drawing board and made them more transparent in their discussions toward a political marriage. Electoral collaboration, to them was too loose, too fragile and highly susceptible to manipulation. The only way forward is a proper consummated relationship amongst these opposition parties.

To their eternal credits, the journey to the marriage registry was completed after many political potholes were successfully navigated. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) eventually recognised the wedlock and registered the coalescing parties as All Progressives Congress (APC). From there on, the rank and file of the party have been consolidated by aggressive mobilisation of the party and in-fighting in the ruling political class. When five of the seven governors who broke away from PDP joined the APC, it was clear that the party has got a sound footing. Even the prediction of the Aso Rock soothsayer that the party would not last one year, did not come to pass. I am not sure whether anybody has called him a bastard as he requested. His crystal ball failed him spectacularly. Instead, what has come to pass, is the prediction of the late sage-Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who once opined: “A day will come when Nigerian masses from the North and South, Christians, Muslims and Animists will merge as a force for PROGRESS and UNITY, and kick against rigging, corruption and tyranny”.

Many of the political events and decisions that could have caused separation and eventual divorce of the constituent parties were carefully negotiated. Notably, the congresses to elect party officials at all levels, the presidential primaries and the selection of the presidential running mate were potentially destabilising and toxic moments the party encountered. But the Almighty God gave the party leadership the uncommon wisdom to toe the right path at each of these crucial moments.

As the national elections loom, Nigerians, perhaps for the first time; have been presented with a very credible alternative to the ruling political party. Every part of the country is buzzling in anticipation of the CHANGE that we all hope will bring back the nation’s lost glory. In fairness to the citizens of this country, we have all endured, for so long; the cluelessness and tardiness of the PDP government in proffering mitigating solutions to the multi-facet problems the country is grappling with. Nothing works again in this country. The national airline was sold, the refineries are grounded, the power supply is epileptic, the hospitals have gone from being mere clinics to mortuaries, roads are  in deplorable condition, insecurity pervades everywhere, corruption festers, infrastructural decay goes on unabated, unemployment rate skyrockets, education sector totally neglected, youth development stunted, ethnic jingoism keeps rearing its head. A myriad of problems!

I don’t think anyone is under any illusion that all these problems would be solved in one fell swoop. But we need a government that will provide the platform for economic growth, prevent corruption, provide security and rebuild infrastructure. People at the helms of affairs must be positively creative and map out ways that will take this great nation out of the wood. The PDP has shown in the last sixteen years, more so in the last six years; that it’s peopled by insensitive, clueless and retrogressive members.

In his short stint as the Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari demonstrated that he has capacity and ability to take tough decisions that will propel the country forward. In one of his creative decisions, he introduced the trade by batter policy that was loathed in the beginning by the western world but embraced later when they realised it was working and the likes of Brazil are becoming more important trade partners of Nigeria. He flatly rejected the conditions stipulated by the IMF for loans and instead looked inward for alternatives to secure more funds to run the government and implement developmental projects. In quick successions, he paid some of our outstanding loans. His decision to change the national currency, was a masterclass as this made useless, the enormous cash that had been stashed away by corrupt politicians. No one will forget in a hurry the war against indiscipline introduced by his administration, this encompassed the orderliness in everywhere and prompt resumption at one’s duty post. The students then knew lateness to school and truancy would be met with stiff penalty.

In contrast, Goodluck Jonathan has shown that he lacks what it takes to take tough decisions. He does not have the wherewithal to think creatively on how to solve the many problems confronting this nation. He is clearly disinterested in moving this nation forward. His actions and body language are eloquent testimonies to the fact that he just wants to stay in office without doing the jobs the office requires of him. Not only this, he’s surrounded by people who have little or no interest of the common man’s welfare.

So, fellow Nigerians. Let us all go out on election days to effect the CHANGE that will usher in a purposeful and progressive government. This is our golden chance and I am afraid to add; our LAST chance at getting it right.

 

Oluwole Alabi, an Obstetric and Gynaecological specialist, practices in the Republic of Ireland. oluentre@yahoo.com

 

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The Fraud Called Defence Budget By Muhammad Sageer

Over the years the federal government has wasted trillions of naira in the pretext of fighting insurgency in the north east. In spite of the huge amount of money budgeted for security, the insurgency took a worsening toll in terms of casualty this year. The trillions of naira allegedly spent on fighting insurgency do not reflect on our military that are directly involved on the war against the domestic terrorists called Boko Haram. Our military remain poorly equipped. It took the intervention of Chad republic to help save the North-Eastern states that are gradually sliding towards the apocalypse. For all this years, I have been naive and wondering what went wrong with our military that use to be the pride of Africa. Few days ago,I received an alarming message from a very respectable Nigerian in the security. The message reads like to this:

“The GEJ led government is facing serious embarrassment within the international community because of the Defense contract scandal perpetuated by the National Security Adviser; Col. Dasuki Sambo. There is a massive billion dollars corruption on defense contracts perpetuated by Col. Sambo Dasuki under the guise of purchasing military equipment for the armed forces.

1. He purchased a refurbished MI Helicopters as new for the Nigerian Airforce from Belarus at the cost of $84 million per one which the market value is $15 million two have already crashed and killed the pilots.

2.  He purchased a substandard UAV (Drones) from China at an exhorbitant price of  $260 million as against a brand new UAV which was offered to Nigeria by Elbit Systems of Israel who are the pioneers and leading UAV Manufacturers in the world at a lower cost of $16.5 million per one and the Chinese UAV crashed on its maiden flight at Mafa village in Borno State.

3.  He purchased and install a Command and Control Centre in his office from an Israeli company called NICE at an exhorbitant price of $80 million which the market value is put at $15 million. His office is not an Operational Agency by law as it serves only as an advisory role to the Presidency on security and intelligence matters so he doesn’t need a Command and Control Centre and since its installation it has never worked.

4. He has done a deal with the Chadian and Nigerian Governments to pay them cash to fight the Boko Haram on behalf of Nigeria which he collected huge amount of money and pay them peanuts.

5. The NSA is also involved in the South African money for arms scandal”
By now i know why the Boko haram insurgency lasted for years without our military being able to stop the domestic terrorists called Boko haram. The office or the NSA is just a mere department under the presidency. The office of the NSA is just surrogate of the presidency. This is why Col. Dasuki sambo is playing the psychopantic role he is playing right now. May God save Nigeria from her exploiters and oppressors.

@muhammadsageer is my twitter handle

 

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2015 Elections: An Opportunity Train For A Northern Utopia By Aamir Siddi Abdurahmane

My deepest and sincere heart-felt condolences goes out to the families and friends of the victims of the several abysmal slaughters that have been going on in our region especially the north eastern part which is sadly under a state of emergency since 2012. Much has been said and done more will still be said. The Federal Government of Nigeria spent over 18Billion US Dollars on security and Defence which has not yielded the much needed results. However, we have to reckon with 2 solid facts; that the government at all level is saddled with the sole responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of its citizen and anything short of that is a breach of democratic contracts, secondly; that politics and matters of national interest are like oil and water- they never mix! Most notably- in a modern representative democracy, in the face of perceived incessant losses, no conflict will be tolerated by an electorate without show of tangible gains. It is less than 4 weeks to the 2015 elections and I’m one of the many northerners who have been unwitting victims of this system of shambolic democracy and want ‘CHANGE’ but first of all, it is important that we stop living in self abnegation and ask ourselves the most important question. Shall we continue to discuss politics in Lagos and Abuja while we feign ignorance to the rots and debacle happening in our hometowns?

The chickens have come home to roost, we have for one too many times been turning blind eyes to the issues of unempowerment and poverty in the north and the threat it poses to the region’s ever growing population and the day of reckoning has come. For several years, we have lived in lies and one of the main reasons why the insurgency in the north cannot be quelled despite several efforts from both international and local agencies is because we have continued to tell ourselves lies and it is almost becoming our truth. This beleaguered government is continuously being slammed for letting Boko Haram fester in the north eastern part of Nigeria. Truly, the Federal Government holds huge chunk of the blame for what it failed to do right when the insurgency was benign but we have failed as northerners to accept our own ample faults in all this. We have failed to look at the fact that the Boko Haram issue today is a by-product of a deadly cocktail of negligence, poverty, inequality, unempowerment and unemployment in the north mixed with religious bigotry for decades. Most of our elites both religious and political in the past and present created an environment for this evil to feed fat. Of course, those that are aware of the history of the north know that this is not business as usual and the north east is on the brink of collapse if strategic actions are not taken.

The fact that northern politicians in the present administration sing the ‘almajiri’ education project as an achievement is laughable, appalling but fiendishly depressing. The term ‘almajiri’ is vague but if the term ‘almajiri’ is still what it means to every one of us; then the almajiri education is a slap on the face of the northern region that is home to the highest number of millionaires/billionaires, the so called northern elders forum, the over bloated Arewa Consultative Forum and our political elites? Oh! I forgot, our governors would rather spend billions of Naira subsidising pilgrimage to push their sham political agendas cloaked under religion while moribund infrastructures are left to gather more dusts and leave more people unempowered. Clearly, the almajiri school project is a mockery of the north that has produced more people as political office holders than any other region in Nigeria but still maintains the highest population of out of school children who walk the streets and highways begging. This is a shame to all of us and whatever we stand for.

Today, the northern region has been reduced to almost zilch in the political corridor of today due to the disharmony between its people created by the religious and political elites. The Arewa Consultative Forum that served as the mouth piece of the north and the Northern Elders Forum which by virtue of their individual age should be the ones chastising and correcting the younger generations have been reduced to partisans who trade in currencies of parochialism and greed neglecting their roles. It is important to note the demography of northern Nigeria is unique which makes it impossible for the north to be attacked and destroyed by an outsider without the help of insiders, we are special in that we are interrelated to each other; suffice to say some of our political and religious elites have actively played catalysts to the vices that are ravaging the region today and are amused by these depravity. What is more appalling is that, most of the northern political elites for years took advantage of the massive illiteracy coupled with religious shallowness for their political expediency. Several incontestable facts reveals that militant activities in the north is on the rise, partly because these idle youths have found an alternative to express their frustrations and more fundamentally, due to the misguidance from preachers who have engaged in using twisted exegesis to propagate hatred and fan the flames of religious bigotry.

My Dearest Northern Compatriots, we have in abundance the human and natural resources needed to transform the region into a dream land where old age and security is guaranteed for everyone, but, our leaders have abandoned their roles, they have failed in utilising these resources to our benefits and are engaging in profligacy and extravagance from the excess of oil money coming from Abuja. It is glaring that what our region is lacking at all level is LEADERSHIP. We need to kindly but urgently wake up and smell the coffee. The change we clamour for is not only at the centre, we need to start from the Councillors, Local Government Chairmen down to our state National Assemblies. Good leadership and governance characterised by justice, equity, transparency and confidence building is essential to transform the north and abate the insurgency. We need to start questioning our leaders and teaching them how we want to be governed. It is time to walk the talk on the tight, thin rope and revamp our lost glory. Anything contrary to this is tempting fate because with the current treacherous insecurity debacle we need to collectively draw up a new paradigm and act swiftly in order for the region to be brought back to the desired social equilibrium.

Much water has gone under the bridge but still much can be redeemed. They say that if there is a way in, then certainly there is a way out- we can meticulously find our way out of this mess that is gradually blowing our region to oblivion. The forthcoming elections is more important to us than any other region if you asked me, we have lost more in this 16 years of democratic nothingness than any other region in Nigeria. The coming elections is presenting us with the golden opportunity to punish ineptitude and failures of our northern leaders irrespective of party affiliations, religion or tribe who have designed a cycle to keep the north economically aback, politically marginalised and perpetually crippled.

Lastly, we must as a matter of humility recognise and commend the pragmatic leadership of Engr. Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso ‘the uncommon northern reformer’ who in the last 4 years have given the northern region a new face   with his relentless efforts to pursue education for the people of Kano State. Indeed, he has set a new standard of leadership in the northern part of Nigeria and we need to utilise this election opportunity to vote in leaders who will tow that line and even do better than the indefatigable and pragmatic governor of Kano State.

This is a critical time for us and for the future of our great nation, our region and our people; we should never allow our enemies to divide us down any line, be it political party, ethnic, religious or any other line. We are one people with a common destiny. We can never be divided ergo let us together paint the picture in black and white to our real and imaginary enemies that these challenges have done nothing but strengthen our social fabric than ever before. We are peace loving people and so shall it remain, together we can and will surmount this momentary challenge.

 

RAIKADADE AREWA!!!!

FORWARD NIGERIA!!!

 

Aamir Siddi Abdurahmane

@ameer_tsidi

Amir_abdrahmane@yahoo.com

 

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Failed Leadership; Cause of Nigeria’s Mayhem By Akorede Shakir

Since the dawn of life, leadership has been the heart of all aspects of human endeavours. Talk of politics, business, education… social responsibilities, the only mechanism in charge of controlling the whole system is –leadership. Leadership, when at the right track, retains the position of the driving force towards success. And when derailed, it becomes a driver to abrupt failure.

By a comprehensive assessment, Nigeria in its chain of history from the upswing to this terrible moment has been taken globally for a plunging nation from grace to grass. Although we apportion part of the blame to followers at times, but it’s not logical enough. It is nothing but a flimsy excuse. Followers trace the footprint of their leaders. They follow the laid-down rule of those at the helm of affairs. They are just like a mirror that reflects the posture of the leader. Be that as it may, the situation of our country, according to empirical facts, is as a result of the lapses in its leadership structure. No argument!

One would continue to wonder how everything has degenerated so drastically to this level as if it’s not the same Nigeria of the sixties – the giant of Africa. So disheartening that when you ponder too much on this, your mind gets tied back like the hands of a slave. You can’t just help but feel so sorry for this motherland.

The failure actually started with the emergence of leaders who have little or no interest of this country at heart. Leaders who only are hungry of their self-aggrandizement and nepotistic ambitions. Greedy people that convert masses wealth to theirs. And by these, they caused the impoverishment of the country by making everyone believe leadership is only a chance to enrich oneself and so everyone misbehaves.

When they embezzle, no law punishes them. When a poor man sneaks out on environmental day to hustle for his breakfast and that of his protégés, they punish him severely for violating their biased law.

Who’s the criminal?

The money launderer or the hungry man that steals yam? The politicians that rig election or the masses that revolts it?

Who should be jailed?

Where are human rights and justice?

Some fought slavery with their last drop of blood, for freedom; some made slavery their source of treasury. Some hungrily pay tax; some nonchalantly squander it. We are still subjected to neo-colonialism and draining parochial capitalism.

Where are humanity and equity?

From all these, where and how is followership to blame? Some people keep brainwashing the citizenry, seizing their mandate to offer nothing but to bully and persecute them in return. They oppress them even to their faces. Yet we don’t know whom to blame between the oppressors and the oppressed!

Meanwhile, all required by the people is effective governance that provides adequate security of life and food, infrastructures, social amenities, empowerment, all under a sustainable economy that doesn’t even make you bother to run after any politician. Instead of putting these in place, unfortunately, our leaders perpetually fight themselves over power to become the custodian in control of crude oil and its crazy money. They tear the people apart with their divide and rule tactics to kill their sense of revolution. They instigate enmity among them through all means, with no respect to religion as an exemption, in this case.

Obviously when you have a corrupt government in power that is performing below expectation, and all other opposing forces only struggle to usurp the power with little sense of support for the incumbent to unanimously tackle challenges, then there is serious anarchy emanating from dichotomy. You should have no other expectation than an adverse effect on the citizens, therefore. Because the common factor is already missing –interest of the people.

Whyte Abeeb writes: “the basic trademark of leadership in Nigeria as at now is tears, sorrow and blood. Mandela never left tears, sorrow and blood in the eye of the South Africans. If he has done that, the world would not mourn him at all.”

It’s apparent that our leaders realize this not at all. If not, what is workable in other countries won’t disagree to do here. And what brings solace over there won’t be here causing menace. And if my senses are still right, I think the heaven has not ceased raining water, and our crude oil still flows like Nile. Then our leadership system is in question. I must say, in fact, the system has really failed us by its failure to translate these affluent resources to maximum enjoyment for the citizens as the case is in other fortunate countries.

We’ve not given up nonetheless; we still have a forlorn hope. We still are dreaming for a better leadership that will salvage this country from its dispiriting challenges at all spheres. We still look forward to a proficient leadership that will make us great again, in terms of favourable economy, not mere size and population.

We want to live in a country where corruption has no place, where insurgencies blast nowhere, a country where religious houses retain their places of worship with no fear, quality education remains affordable for an average man, employment opportunities blow like air, public health care with adequate facilities accessible, political violence taken to point of no return, road network smoothly everywhere and in fact, gap between upper class and the lower class reduces to a reasonable level. We want a new Nigeria.

A better leadership is the only solution. We don’t need white men to come down to take us by hand again. We need committed leaders, quintessence at all levels of government. Nigeria needs to be revitalized by patriotic minds that will save her from being a perpetual laughing stock to the international community.

God bless the Giant of Africa.

Leadership Between Pragmatism And Dogmatism

 

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#NigeriaDecides: Letter from The Corrupt Power Monger By Olusegun Dada

Dear Citizen,

I have watched and listened to your rantings of late about how you intend to deal with me, and how you intend to change me with your votes. All I do is laugh, laugh and laugh. Beyond pouring out your frustrations on me and my friends and protégés is the real issue of what really you can do.

Now let me respond to you.

You cannot destroy me because I am not really a human; I am a system of control and accumulation. I am not like you, I am not an individual, I am not a needy creature, I am a powerful system of thought and emotional control.
You cannot destroy me because deep down inside of your rotten self, you love your oppressors and you identify with your masters. You cannot touch me, because I am above you, I am a god of capital, of history, of defiance. You try to revolt and you will feel the weight of my military machine fall right on your spine and my policemen and military will chase you and maim you.

You cannot crush me because I own the Army, I own the Navy, I own the Police force, I own the intelligentsia and the media. I am virtually invincible and indestructible, because I am a disease, a virus that lingers in your mind and thoughts. I am the dream that you pathetic creatures harbor of being rich and powerful. I am the prototype of everything that is rotten and beautiful about corrupt practices.

You cannot undermine me because I live in your hearts, and deep down your heart, you want to be like me. You admire the miracle that made me powerful. You eye my Porsche, eye my rambling buildings and die to belong to my circle. You cannot understand me because it would be like a lowly human understanding God. I am the lord of your existence and I determine your living. I am the history of money, impunity and control. I am the gorgeous feelings of gold being poured into your very being. I am not just one person; I am a system for hoarding your labor and the world’s resources. I am the sick protocol, to control, to usurp, to steal, to destroy all human creativity.

You cannot defeat me, you can protest all that you want against corruption, impunity or insecurity or social economic failures. But you cannot crush me until you understand me, and you never will. I am a machine, I love money so much that I have become money. I love power so much that I have become power, incarnated, incorporated, ready for the slaughter.

Be happy with your life, slave. Be happy with the niceties that I let you have. Do not start a fight that you cannot finish. Be happy, wage slave, with the cassava bread and a blubbery life of meaningless excess. Be happy with your position, with your caste, be happy with the fact that you’re alive and well entertained by the drama of the government your emotions birthed.

I do not doubt the force of your unity though, but I know it can never crystallize. My friends and I watch you irritate yourselves with the message of tribal hate. Your lack of trust for yourselves isn’t hidden. You still view your fellows from their ethnic origins.

Your religion will not even allow you fight me. I know how to explore that sentiment. Even if your religion allows you, your cowardice will not.
How about your greed? Your greed will be your own undoing. Yes, I am greedy. You call me a criminal in the cocoons of your Twitter and Facebook. I haven’t denied this. Yet I know that opportunity makes the thief. If you were in my shoes, would you do less?

I have the contacts. I have the money. I can break you, buy your louder voices and weaken your camp.
But make no mistakes about it, if you get so strong as to come after me, and if I see your chances of succeeding; certainly, I will run for my life. Even if the borders are closed, I can still buy the loyalty of its keepers. I can buy the protection of your police. I can buy my way through. I won’t sit and watch you kill me. I will run.

I don’t see much danger emanating from you. But if it does, well, I’ll see how to get over it. But before then, keep grumbling. Keep dreaming. #Don’tPanic

From the man you admire,

The Corrupt Power Monger.

 

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Nigerians Have the Exclusive Right to Elect their President – Gloria Adagbon

The recent postponed election have raised serious issues and the possible motives for doing so. INEC cited the decision of senior military service chiefs as the reason why the Commission could not hold the election as planned.

Firstly, the issue of insecurity. Bokoharam  insurgency did not start today. The insurgency started almost six years ago, a very significant length of time. During this period, the Nigerian government have not been able to curb the problem. As a result, thousands of Nigerians have lost their lives, become displaced and rendered refugees in neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Therefore, if the government cannot curb the insurgents for over such period of time, how can they tackle BokoHaram within six weeks? What is the guarantee that they can defeat Bokoharam in six weeks. Blackmailing INEC to postpone the polls only show the unwillingness of this administration to allow Nigerians judge their performance.

If one may ask, what is the business of the Army  in the conduct of elections?

Undoubtedly, the constitutional role of the Army is to protect the citizens and Nigeria’s territorial integrity. The Army has no role in the conduct of elections. Consequently, INEC does not require military presence to conduct elections. It is on this premise that we call on the President and the ruling party not drag the military into politics. Henceforth, the army should be left to focus on tackling Bokoharam insurgency and carry out their obligated role of protecting our country.

Importantly, it has now been reported  the Army cannot flush out Bokoharam within the six weeks period. They have also indicated that there army cannot eliminate out Bokoharam in six weeks as previously stated. This calls for alarm as the sole reason to shift the polls was borne out of the Service chiefs decision that they are embarking on a major onslaught to eliminate Bokoharam. From the foregoing, it is therefore incumbent on this government to ensure that INEC is properly supported and given free hand to conduct the elections on March 28th and 11th April 2015 respectively. INEC, the Police and adhoc staff should be left to conduct election that is free, fair and credible.

In a democracy, the People enjoy the full and exclusive right to choose a leader of choice. Nigeria is no exception. Embedded in this exclusive right to choose a leader of choice is the fundamental human right –  the freedom of association and expression. Nigerians are entitled to freely and openly exercise this right. They are at liberty to hold their views, political beliefs and convictions.  They are free to associate with whomsoever that they think is credible and have what it takes to solve their problems. No one, not even the Presidency can negate this exclusive right. Any attempt to circumvent this process poses portends great danger to our over heated polity.

Emphasis is drawn to Doyin Okupe statement during a Presidential media chat, in which he vomited some garbage that this administration will never handover to General Muhammadu Buhari. Any responsible President would have issued a statement distancing itself from this venomous comment, tender an unreserved apology and take steps to either caution or relieve  Okupe of his duties.   Of course, this administration is far from responsible and therefore Nigerians expects nothing from a mischievous administration that have brought Nigerians  immense pain, suffering and abject poverty to the nation.

Significantly,  it is not the responsibility of Okupe, PDP, or President Jonathan to dictate to Nigerians who shall emerge as their president or leader. It is the obligation of the people to elect a new president through the ballot box. Consequently, Nigerians have the exclusive right to elect any candidate deemed capable to lead them. Okupe, PDP and the Presidency should hands off the electoral process and allow Nigerians to choose without fear or favour.

It must be stated that Nigerians are highly intelligent and wise people. They can see beyond the pettiness of this Jonathan led administration. The choice to support a candidate who can deliver must never be tampered with. It is about who can best meet the needs of the people and provide an accountability leadership. As a result, overwhelming majority of Nigerians believe that change is necessary. They believe that the situation in our nation calls for drastic and shock measures. This exclusive right of freedom of choice must never be trampled upon.

The question on everyone’s lips are these: What were the real reasons for postponing the 2015 elections?  Why did this administration deny and / or refused INEC security to conduct the election? Do they want the election to hold at all?

Six weeks is a matter of time, and come March 28th and 11th April 2015, INEC must hold the election as rescheduled. It will a disaster if Nigerians are denied the opportunity to exercise their exclusive right to elect a new President. Those given the hatchet job to hinder our fragile democracy are reminded to check history and see how those who trampled on the wishes of the people are humiliated out of power. The result of this election is beyond anyone’s control, it is inescapable, it is inevitable. It is the exclusive rights for Nigerians to elect a president of their choice. No one ain’t stopping Nigerians from exercising this exclusive right.

 

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Let’s Carefully Examine Sam Hart’s Emotionally Laden Rejoinder on the Abia Elections, By Chinedu Ekeke

Sam Hart’s knee-jerk response to an essay I wrote last week was a bit surprising. I didn’t expect the rejoinder to come from him. But since he wrote, I’ll go straight to addressing the points he raised. I had published a piece wherein I challenged the rented public affairs commentators on the payroll of the Abia state government to show some regard for facts when running their ubiquitous commentaries this political season. That call was necessary, because if we project the society as the ultimate beneficiary of our politics, then conversations about political processes and the candidates they throw up during elections must be made to centre on the issues that really matter to the society.

READAbia 2015: Putting Governor T.A Orji on notice–By Chinedu Ekeke

READWhy Governor T.A Orji deserves our pity–By Sam Hart

In my essay, I sought to remind the Ochendo writers, many of whom go by pseudonyms, that Abians deserve to hear the truth about the process that led to the emergence of the candidate the incumbent governor is supporting in the coming governorship elections. That has become necessary, given that we have read loads of troubling articles that, first, claim that the governor had no hand in the emergence of Okezie Ikpeazu, the governorship candidate of the PDP; and secondly, that Okezie Ikpeazu won the party primaries fair and square. The lies were beginning to gain traction as truth and some of us considered it a disservice to the state if we endorse such falsehood with our silence. With the intent to put the records straight therefore, I wrote.

Then came Sam Hart; with speed and fury. He launched out with the excitement of an accuser, one with the conviction of a winnable case. I wasn’t in his mind as he scribbled that hasty, emotionally laden rejoinder, but I could sense, at the end of his piece, the satisfaction of one who believed he had done justice to the topic and by that expects that this whole matter will be laid to rest once and for all. He did not deny the sham Governor Theodore Orji christened party congresses in Abia state, brazenly executed to the chagrin of even the worst election riggers. The scale of that fraud was massive; and even by PDP standards, stands unparalleled.

At the point where Sam could not controvert my insistence that the governor rigged the party primaries and stole the mandate of party members at the grassroots, the debate effectively ended. Because my original point was to puncture the lies daily peddled by the governor’s writers, claiming the governor had no hand in the emergence of Ikpeazu. I wrote that the governor did not only mastermind Ikpeazu’s emergence, but even went as far as ensuring nobody in the party had the chance to make any input in the process that led to that emergence. That position hasn’t changed. Let me therefore repeat this for the sake of emphasis: The governor RIGGED the party congresses to ensure Okezie Ikpeazu got imposed on party members. End of!

The other part of Sam’s treatise, about aspirants lining up to endorse Okezie Ikpeazu, is immaterial. Why should it bother us that elites on the governor’s payroll were hushed into silence after a terribly flawed process? Why should we confer on a compromised elite group and ‘’elders’’ the altruistic task of calling evil by its name? The role of many ‘’elders’’ of Abia in the ruin of the state is common knowledge. Just last year, Arthur Eze, the Anambra born billionaire business man, chewed out the governor publicly and in the governor’s own presence. As he did that, he equally chastised the Abia elite on the shameful role they have been playing in wrecking the state. He, coming from a state where elders value dignity more than naira and kobo, wondered why the Abia ‘’elders’’ sat and watched Ochendo convert Abia state to Nigeria’s byword for bad governance. Of course, one million writers from Ochendo will not change history.

The writer also did not deny that Abians have been hurling pebbles and sachets of water on Okezie Ikpeazu and his PDP campaign trail. Actually, I forgot to mention that at least 5 villages in Ochendo’s own Ibeku kin also drove them away. I mean, even Ochendo’s people refused him entrance into where he hails from.  I await for this to be denied.

And that laughable point about Alex Otti asking to host Governor Theodore Orji in Arochukwu in 2011. I don’t know how it found its way into the conversation, except, again, that Sam lifted from the Ochendo principal book of campaign where the only issue that matters is where Alex Otti hails from. It’s not in my place to speak for Alex Otti. He is a first rate professional with the requisite acuity to answer for himself, but isn’t it curious that such is being pushed as a justification for brazenly stealing the right of party members to elect candidates of their choice in this election? Why are we even making light of a matter as serious as electoral fraud? Okay, let us concede that Alex Otti offered to host the governor in Arochukwu, when did it become a tool of blackmail for well-meaning, wealthy sons of a state to opt to host their political leaders? The answer is not far-fetched; it fits into the Ochendo narrative. All we hear from state media are petty details that exclude issues of development: Where’s Alex from? Why is Alex in APGA, is it because the governor refused to support him in PDP? Why did Alex not divert money from Diamond Bank to Abia state so we will know he loves Abia? Sometimes you wonder why these guys don’t consider these issues too jejune. But again, it’s Ochendo.

For a government that has been in office for eight years, it’s amazing that we don’t hear them name the roads they constructed or dualized in the period they have been in power, nor the water project they commissioned, nor how well they handled sanitation, nor how much they grew the state’s GDP per capita. A city as important – and old – as Aba has no single street light anywhere! Nobody in that government house is bothered. But all we hear is ‘’it is not their turn. It is our turn.’’ More irritating, you hear this from state owned media outlets.

Whatever ‘’turn by turn, chop-I-chop’’ arrangement PDP is operating – or wishes to operate – is not the business of the rest of us. PDP is just one political party, and it is doubtful if the population of its members adds up to as little as 5% of the total Abia population. An arrangement of convenience entered into by a group of friends can never be binding on the entirety of the state. Thankfully, history has shown us that when the people want change, they do not consider any other thing as more important. When Ndi Imo sacked Ikedi Ohakim in 2011, they did not consider where he, or the choice they were rooting for, came from. They simply threw out a man who had pissed on them without pity, and brought in an alternative they thought credible. This will be repeated in Abia state this year. This reality will hit the Ochendo team by 11thApril when the poll results start pouring in.

When this happens, I will not write Sam Hart waxing triumphalist; no, for brotherly love detests braggadocio. I will travel to Abia to visit him again, in his house, to share a glass of wine. That celebration won’t be just because a candidate I believe in won the election, it’ll be in recognition of the maturity with which my friend and brother, Sam and I handled our political differences. But that will only be necessary if Sam doesn’t join me in the Alex Otti movement before the election. You see, Sam and I share a lot in common, including the knowledge that in Abia, Alex Otti is that change whose time has come.

________________________________________

Chinedu writes from Lagos. He can be reached on Twitter as @Nedunaija

 

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Does Buhari Need Obasanjo’s Blessing? By Simon Kolawole

Surprise! Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is back in the news yet again. Last Monday’s show in Abeokuta was more spectacular than his previous performances. The card-tearing ceremony was part of activities lined up to dramatise and formalise his exit from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The previous week, he was in Kenya adoringly endorsing Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the opposition presidential candidate. Buhari’s supporters were over the moon — as if God had spoken. President Goodluck Jonathan’s supporters were jolted — but they went into denial. Two days later, Obasanjo was in London categorically denying endorsing Buhari. Obasanjo!!!

Dr. Reuben Abati, presidential spokesman, has propounded the theory that all Obasanjo wants is to orchestrate a political crisis to engineer an interim national government (ING) to be headed by himself — a backdoor strategy, he alleged, after Obasanjo’s failed attempt to amend the constitution to do a third term in 2007. Whatever the case is, caution should be the watchword in Buhari’s camp. An endorsement by Obasanjo is usually a poisoned chalice. Given what some of us know about Obasanjo, his sudden love for Buhari or the opposition should be taken with a pinch of salt. At 77, Obasanjo is not about to change his character.

Let’s admit it: Obasanjo is an extremely intelligent man. Hate him but admit that fact. In my opinion, he is one of the smartest leaders Africa has ever produced. He knows what he is doing at any point in time. A crack opportunist, he easily reads the direction of the wind. He knows very well that Buhari is the symbol of a movement against Jonathan’s government, a mass movement that is sweeping across many parts of Nigeria more than ever before. For once, we are going into a presidential election without any certainty, with the opposition gaining momentum, with the international community apparently in support of the opposition candidate.

A smart man with Obasanjo’s kind of record knows where to pitch his tent, especially as Buhari has consistently queried the $16 billion spent on power by the Obasanjo government without any results. The files on the Halliburton and Siemens scandals are still gathering dust in the attorney general’s office. Unlike Jonathan, Buhari has the will to go after anybody, no matter who their father is. And I dare say Buhari is about the only Nigerian leader I know today (there may be others that I don’t know) who can take on anybody at anytime. It is only logical for people with skeletons in their cupboard to jump on the Buhari train as a form of insurance policy.

Nevertheless, Buhari should proceed carefully. Obasanjo has a history. I used to be fooled by his “patriotic” interventions in national politics. The earliest I can recall was in the days of President Shehu Shagari. In 1979, Obasanjo conducted a transition to civil rule and handed over power to him at a time of oil boom. But oil prices began to take a tumble in 1982. As Nigerians began to experience the economic crunch, Obasanjo started attacking Shagari in the newspapers on a regular basis. The criticisms were timely, ahead of the 1983 elections, and the opposition parties were over the moon. Obasanjo knows the direction of the wind.

In his memoir, Beckoned to Serve, Shagari said of the coup that overthrew him: “Some public statements by General Obasanjo severely criticising the administration seemed to point to at least a tacit incitement of the military against the government.” He said he tried endlessly to invite Obasanjo for discussion on the situation, especially on the national economy about which he showed some concern, but the general avoided him. He later discovered why Obasanjo had become very hostile to him. “I understand from someone close to him, however, that he had expected me to be constantly consulting him on all matters of government since he had an obsession of being a super-administrator, super-diplomat and of course a military genius,” Shagari wrote.

In fairness, Obasanjo loves to savage his successors. He always packaged this obsession as patriotism. Ironically, he was quite quiet during the regime of Buhari from 1983-85. Why? Was it because, as Shagari insinuated, he knew about the coup? Or was it because Buhari ran a no-nonsense government that took no prisoners? We may never know. But Obasanjo was back in full swing when Gen. Ibrahim Babangida came to power and began to implement economic reforms that made life pretty difficult for Nigerians. It was a good opportunity for Obasanjo to jump on the stage for more theatrics. He reads the wind very well.

Obasanjo spoke eloquently about the need for the structural adjustment programme (SAP) to have a “human face”. He accused Babangida’s government of being “deficit” in everything: budget, finance, honour, credibility, honesty, truth. Obasanjo was at his best when June 12 election was annulled by Babangida in 1993. He read the wind and connected very well with popular sentiments. He lampooned Babangida for the annulment which plunged Nigeria into serious crisis. We all clapped for Obasanjo. But while he was giving the public a very good stage performance, we started hearing rumours that he was deeply involved in the establishment of an ING to effectively kill June 12.

A few weeks later, Obasanjo said, faraway in Zimbabwe, that the winner of the June 12 election, Bashorun MKO Abiola, was not the messiah. That was when I stopped clapping for him. I had seen enough drama. The ING was eventually installed, but it was a fictitious arrangement that allowed Gen. Sani Abacha to seize power in November 1993. Two years later, Abacha grabbed Obasanjo by the neck and dragged him to jail. To tame Obasanjo’s tongue, Abacha had to concoct a coup allegation. Obasanjo himself couldn’t believe that a “whole” him could be jailed in Nigeria. He would later become president in 1999 straight out of prison.

Obasanjo started his second outing by savaging his predecessor and benefactor, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, for “looting” the foreign reserves. Abubakar had, by the way, practically installed Obasanjo as president against the wishes of most pro-democracy campaigners. After spending eight years in government during which he hardly practised what he preaches, Obasanjo installed an apparently sick Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adau as president, and picked a virtually untested Jonathan as vice-president. All on Obasanjo’s mind was that he would be using remote control from Ota to perpetuate himself in government, since he is Nigeria’s messiah — unlike Abiola.

In his book, Accidental Public Servant, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai said Obasanjo told him and other members of his kitchen cabinet that they would be meeting regularly in Ota to define the policy direction of the Yar’Adau government. Having succeeded in amending the PDP constitution to make him the only person who could be chairman of the board of trustees (BoT), Obasanjo thought he had Yar’Adua in his pocket. The new position was designed to be superior to that of the president under the mantra of “party supremacy”. It was a “mentoring” system adopted by Julius Nyerere, the late Tanzanian president, after he left power in 1985.

Writing in THISDAY under the title, “Obasanjo Goes for Nyerere Option”, on December 17, 2006, I warned: “Something tells me that the whole thing about the ‘coronation’ of Yar’Adua is one contraption that may collapse on the heads of those who think they have found a weakling as the next president of Nigeria… anybody who thinks the man does not have a mind of his own may be making a big mistake.” Not surprisingly, Yar’Adua reportedly stopped picking Obasanjo’s calls barely two months after assuming power. Obasanjo hadn’t learnt from his Shagari experience.

As Yar’Adua fell ill and was no longer able to function as president, Obasanjo read the wind and jumped on the stage for more theatrics. He began to openly attack Yar’Adua, apparently to deflect criticism from himself for picking a terminally ill man as president. Obasanjo hit Yar’Adua hard on his sick bed. Some people clapped for him. I did not. Rather, I wrote on January 24, 2010: “Now that he knows that the public mood is against Yar’Adua’s failure to allow Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan act in his absence, Obasanjo has ‘aligned’ with the public again, preaching honour and morality.” The wind-reader is always at alert.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo worked day and night to install Jonathan as president. Obviously, he again thought he would be ruling Nigeria from Ota. But as Jonathan began to gain independence from him — even having the effrontery to revoke the PPP for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway — Obasanjo returned to drama. He has openly flirted with the opposition ahead of the 2015 elections, and those who don’t know him well or choose to ignore his antecedents are popping champagne. May I seize this opportunity to warn Buhari’s supporters. If Buhari becomes president and does not take instructions from Obasanjo or worship at his shrine, it may end in tears.

Is This the End of Boko Haram?

Our recent successes over Boko Haram are more than overdue. We have not only recaptured several towns from them, we have also repelled their attempts to seize more towns or even expand into Gombe. At the rate we are going, the insurgency may soon be curtailed, if not quashed. This is the good news I’ve been longing to hear for years. However, why are we suddenly making good progress? There are several theories. Many say President Jonathan is just beginning to take the insurgency seriously because of the elections. Some say it is because our neighbours are now co-operating with us. Military insiders say special forces have just returned from training and new weapons have been procured from other sources after the snub from the US.

I honestly cannot be bothered by what the theories are. All I know is that Nigerians deserve to live in peace wherever they may be. Too much blood has been shed. Too many people internally displaced. We deserve to breathe again. We deserve some comfort. Nigeria should be in the news for better things. But as we continue to pound Boko Haram, and as happy and hopeful as I am, I worry a lot about the Chibok schoolgirls. If the military raids Sambisa forest, how safe will these girls be? Won’t these deranged insurgents use them as human shield? Ever since these girls were kidnapped, this has been my biggest worry. I continue to wish the military more successes, but I’m so terrified about the likely fate of these girls if they are still in Sambisa forest. Collateral damage?

 

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