The Broken Woman: Perfection In Imperfections By Blossom Obi |@Blossomobi3

She was cold and her body began to grow stiff just like dad’s minutes before he passed on. I cried because I didn’t want to lose her because irrespective of her imperfection, she was still my mom and had gone through a lot for us.

My father ceased taking care of after having two children with his mistress. He turned his back on us, not even caring if we ate or not, but my mother was always there for and she did everything my father had run away from.

Mother had returned from church an hour ago, deciding to take a nap because of the day’s stress and I told everyone in the house not to disturb her. I was specifically referring to my older siblings Casey and Harry, since they have lost sight of important things and usually get into mishaps with one another.

I was in the room trying to shake off the feeling that life wasn’t a bed of roses, when I heard noises. As I tried to run towards the sound, my phone slipped off my hands and I didn’t even care, I wanted to be sure everyone was okay.

It was my siblings again. This time mother couldn’t bear it, so she tried to wriggle out Casey from Harry’s grip but he wouldn’t let go. It was like something else had taken over Harry and that was when mother yelled; “una wan kill me for this house?”.  As she continued in the struggle to separate them, her struggles made her fight for air and next thing, she was suffocating and then slumped.

All my screams to stop the madness earlier was falling on deaf ears, but the sound of my mother on the floor activated an ice-cold silence in the room. We all rushed towards her, touching and shaking her as much as we could, but she was growing cold. The warmth of life was leaving her body and her joints were gradually growing stiff.

My heart skipped and began racing into a realm of confusion. But “thank God”, I muttered out of my skipping breather, she was still breathing.  I yelled at my siblings to go away, to give her breathing space, at least she could be with people who cared about peaceful atmosphere. They moved but not completely away because Casey stayed a bit closer but still giving room for air. I started crying and beckoned on mother if she could say something as her eyes were still like that of a statues.

Casey joined me as we called on her, but she was just staring into the same empty space and would not move. My tears flowed harder, I wasn’t ready to become an orphan.

“This was how dad was few minutes before he passed on. You didn’t even know because you were not there and if mother goes because of your stupid attitude I would never forgive you”, I snapped at Harry.

Mother moved for the first time, making a gesture that meant she wanted water, relief flooded my whole body as I rushed to get water for her to drink. She sat up, drank and tried to speak but her voice was so low as if she did not speak at all.

“If husband dey misbehave, we go say make we dey the marriage because of children, if children come dey misbehave wetin person go do?’’, she muttered out when her voice became audible after a while.

A sharp pain tore through my heart as she was the one who single handedly completed my secondary school education with her petty trading and was training my older siblings in tertiary level.  She was in great pain which was evident in her tears, and  that was when we all knelt beside her, wiped her tears and began telling her how we would be the best children to her and siblings to each other.
“It will never happen again” I said and they all nodded.

Too many things fighting to bring us down and take away our hope and the very reason we are thankful for another day. Many times we feel the worst is upon us and it would never get any better, so we want to give up into despair, frustration or depression. Just hang on there a little, don’t give up just yet even though most times your whole body wants to take the easy way out and quit. Keep moving keep pushing, hope is knocking


Blossom Obi writes from Owerri, Imo State. For comments and responses, reach her via obiblossom8@gmail.com or Twitter/Instagram: @BlossomObi3

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After A Pyrrhic Victory! By Olalekan Adigun

It has become a pastime for me to write about political parties and movements since I submitted my first degree dissertation, Political Parties and Democratization: The Effects of Party Politics on Nigeria’s Democratic Experience (2003-2011) at the Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2012. My fascinations with political parties and elections started when I worked as a polling clerk, in a ward at Itire (in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos state) during the 2003 general elections which gave me insights into the drama of politicians (then in the old Alliance for Democracy, AD, and People’s Democratic Party, PDP) and elections. Writing about political parties and elections has become some sorts of hubby for me.

I gave this background against the request by someone who wondered why I am “always attacking the PDP” in all my write-ups. My response to him was that I never attack the PDP or any other political party for that matter unfairly at any time. I point out what they are not doing well for them to improve and commend when they are getting it right so that our democracy can thrive!

Before the “victory” (which I will call a Pyrrhic victory for obvious reasons) about a week ago, I was among the first commentators to warn PDP about making Ali Modu Sheriff its National Chairman. Understandably, blind party supporters who thought Governors Ayodele Fayose and Nyelsom Wike could do no wrong told me to mind my business which I did immediately after writing the article, PDP, WHO STOLE THY THINKING CAP? What happened later, as they say, is history!

After the “victory” I want to sound another warning. If the news making the rounds is anything to go by that Femi Fani-Kayode is interested in becoming the party Chair, I submit that things can only get worse, not better, for the crises-ridden party. Some people will ask or wonder why I made this point. Like Modu Sheriff, people like FFK, as he is fondly called by his supporters, are motivated by blind and unregulated ambition for power, money and in most cases, women. Femi does not hide the fact that a bowl of porridge is just enough to sell his birth right. Like Sheriff, he is a bad market for the already “brandless” PDP.

I am one of those who still maintain that one of the main reasons former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election is FFK.  GEJ’s appointment of someone like FFK to handle his media in a make or mar election like 2015 made things easier for the All Progressive Congress (APC) to unseat the PDP. It was goofing after goofing for the Ife man. He got nothing right and got everything wrong. The only thing he’s good at is insults, which has never won any arguments. Let me make this clear that the APC 2015 presidential campaign was not spectacular in any way but was made easier by poor agents like FFK.

Also, FFK as far as I know him has never headed any responsible party position successfully. He headed the 2015 GEJ media team which led to disaster. The Aviation ministry he headed is better not talked about. His profile in party management is nothing to write home about. Let me not bring in his father, Remi Fani-Kayode. That’s another story altogether!

Another candidate jostling for the position is Chief Bode George. I understand apart from his military career, he’s played active roles in PDP for several years. He’s also, from what I know, a loyal party man. Unlike FFK who can sell the party when its members are asleep if the price is right. George, was elected as PDP Deputy National Chairman (South) which makes him understand the internal workings of the party.

The greatest George’s undoing is his conviction for Corruption. Even though he was later pardoned by GEJ after being cleared disappointingly by the Supreme Court, many still see him as integrity-challenged. This was why I posted some days ago that the difference between George and FFK is like trying to look for the eldest among puppies.

While I think PDP will struggle hard to convince most Nigerians that it’s no longer the looting party it’s known to be should it elect Bode George, electing FFK will bury the party earlier than predicted!

Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN is a political analyst and an independent political strategist for a range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

His write-ups can be viewed on his website http://olalekanadigun.com/

Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080

Email: olalekan@olalekanadigun.com, adgorwell@gmail.com

 

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In Defence Of The Rule Of Law By Bashir Sharif

It is not for nothing that, in the best of democracies all over the world, what one finds as the most visible is the strict adherence to the rule of law and conscious internalization of democratic values that largely define relationships within institutions and between individuals. In such societies, justice, in its broad sense, is seen not just as a relative concept but the conscience of the society, so much that its equitable dispensation is more of an article of faith than an exigency. Public office is therefore all about trust reposed and solemnly kept by those it is entrusted to.

In spite of the intermittent Military incursions that we have had to contend with as a country over the years, Nigeria has been a democracy, blessed with resources, enormous enough to take it to a very higher level and ahead of its peers. However, due to weakling institutions, impunity, by and among the political elite, dominates, in large proportion, the conduct of public officers in our governments. Rule of law, for instance, that other countries take seriously, is daily abused to the detriment of development without appropriate or at best selective sanction. Consequently, endemic corruption and nepotism find the opportunity to gradually erode whatever consensus the nation was built on.

Determined to face the challenges that tended to undermine good governance, Nigerians, by decisive choice, decided to effect a change of leadership orientation for the country when the opportunity presented itself in 2015 Presidential election and elected President Muhammadu Buhari, with the expectations that he would turn things round with his three point agenda. Happily, against all odds, a little over two years now, the President has justified the confidence reposed in the administration. Impunity and nepotism, that found cover under rule of law abuse in the previous administration, are being curtailed substantially to the delight of not a few.

However, while good governance is now taking root, Nigerians are bewildered by what is best describe as the resonation of rule law abuse and impunity in the most unexpected organ of the government. One is here referring to the purported suspension of the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, Professor Usman Yusuf, by the Minister for Health, Professor Isaac Adewale, who construed public office as synonymous with personal power and authority, not anything to do with accountability and responsibility.

On learning about this paradox, I was seriously worried and felt unjustifiably put on the defensive. Here is an administration that we put our all with many that paid the ultimate price to install, somersaulting to the inglorious method of the previous administration, when the President is not only far away but recuperating from serious sickness in London. I then begin to roll back the memory of places and congregations assured of absolute respect for the rule of law in this administration. Well, after all the alls, my conclusion is that, there is more to this perfidy than that meets the eye.

Be that as it may, the Minister needs to be tutored that the Public service is driven by transparent guidelines that, with emphasis, outlines span of control and responsibility such that no one can suspend whom he has no power to appoint. To this extent, the purported suspension of the Executive Secretary is nullity as it contravenes and circumvents the law establishing the Scheme and the public service rules. Of course, given his condition, the President could not have delegated the power to suspend the Executive Secretary to anybody. Moreover, it is very doubtable for the authorization to come from the Acting President, given his refusal to swear in two Ministers confirmed by the Senate, on the ground that it was the President that nominated them. Besides, the Minister cannot claim ignorance of the futility of the move by Senate in respect to the Comptroller of Custom based on power to appoint or remove from office.

One is not suggesting the coadunation of any wrong done by anybody in the administration. The insistence here is that, the Minister cannot accuse, out of own volition, investigate, suspend and lurk somewhere close to remove whom he did not appoint or have power to appoint. To do that, would entail not only infraction on the appointing authority and persecution on the part of the victim but equally an abuse of the rule of law that he swore to depend.

It is worth to note that, sensing the inherent danger, the Federal House of Representatives has called the Minister to order. However, commendable as the call is, it came after Minister has succeeded in ridiculing the people and Government as well as embarrassing the President in many fronts. If the untoward action was intended to be a kite flown when the President is indisposed, it has to be sanctioned otherwise nepotism that we believe the country has parted ways with will resurface in the administration.

One cannot say the President is infallible. Far from that, it is believed that he can make wholesome, safe and unintended mistake like many people. It therefore appears, the appointment of Professor Isaac Adewole is, by inference, one of such mistakes. For this reason, it is a justified agitation for the President to restructure his cabinet before much more havoc is done to his credibility and selfless service profile. After all, we are all one in defense of the rule of law.

May the Almighty bring back to us the President, stronger and healthier, to continue leading this country so that it will be better for us and future generation.

BASHIR ABBA SHARIF

HOPE NETWORK OF NIGERIA

N0 C4, Marhaba Street, Farm Center, Kano.

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No Recall For Saraki, Sahara Reporters’ Story Baseless By Terfa Naswem

Sahara Reporters in its story written by Abdulrazaq Hamzat,  published on July 16, 2017 with the title: “Recall of Senate President Saraki will commence on August 1st Despite Threat of Violence, Group Insists” projected that the people of Kwara Central will begin the recall process of Senator President Bukola Saraki  on August 1st 2017. This story so far is baseless, false and has no bearing on Saraki.

The people of Kwara State, especially those in Kwara Central are in support of Saraki and the notion that he will be recalled has not even gathered momentum as it is clear that those who are against Saraki are doing everything they can to bring him down for their diabolical schemes.

Saraki has never at any time dolled huge sum of money to launch campaign of calumny against anyone or unwarranted threats against others as reported by Sahara Reporters.

Mr. Olaitan Obalowu, an aide to Saraki has never at any point been involved in any threat of violence against any reporter of Sahara Reporters or any group as reported.

Some of the inconsequential and irrelevant reporters of Sahara Reporters have delved into publishing fake and baseless stories which are indications of some forces behind the scene that want their interest protected at all cost.

The latest of such fake stories by Sahara Reporters was the story published against Senator Dino Melaye that he did not graduate from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. The University authority brought out documents that showed Dino actually graduated from ABU which proved Sahara Reporters wrong.

The Kwara State Publicity Secretary of All Progressive Congress (APC), Alhaji Sulyman Buhari has also criticised Sahara Reporters from deviating from the ethics of journalism by publishing falsehoods.

Only the ignoramuses and the gullible would believe such fake and baseless reports aimed at relegating Saraki to the back seat by some politicians who are against him.

Saraki has repudiated to make the Senate rubber stamp by the Executive, the Cabal or anyone in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities which has made some of them to wage both surface and subterranean battles against him while others call him a recalcitrant Senate President.

Sahara Reporters was highly respected as a very reliable and credible source of news, but is gradually losing its respect. It should not allow its media organization to be hijacked by haters of Saraki. It should also desist from publishing baseless and false stories against people because such stories can’t move mountains but would further undermine its professionalism.

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Dangers of Accidental Journalism By Mukhtar Jarmajo 

It is doubtful if Nigerians can endure dictatorship again. We are now so used to the constitutional clause that guarantees our freedom of expression. Democracy has taught us that on every matter,  we are free to have and express an opinion. In fact, in a true democracy, our opinions are essential tools of decision making within the power corridors.

And true to it,  we are learning faster than expected. Nigerians are now very fast at making opinions on issues in the polity. At offices, schools, homes and even food joints, what transpire are arguments, debates or discussions on burning issues. However, while this calls for excitement as it may facilitate the process of governance, it yet calls for worry as the opinions expressed during such debates or discussions are hardly informed.

What is obvious is Nigerians are not patient enough to ascertain the veracity of information before decoding it to make an opinion out of it and or reporting it to the next level in the information dissemination chain.

A pointer to this is what obtains on the social media. On Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp groups etc, rumours and fake news (apologies to POTUS Trump) are what mostly circulate.

And to make matters worse, there are as many gullible Nigerians as there are rumour mongers. This perhaps is the reason why Nigeria’s rumours industry thrives. It also may be the reason why it is very easy to cause conflict in Nigerian societies.

At this instance, there is no gainsaying the fact that apart the fault lines of ethnicity, region and religion, Nigeria as a nation also suffers from pains caused by bad information management. And information is too important a resources to be left to accidental journalists to handle.

Information is so delicate a resources which failure to effectively manage causes crisis. Thus by its nature, information must only be disseminated from the right source through the right medium to the right audience at the right time and or place.

Jarmajo is on Twitter: @mukhtarjarmajo

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Sorry, But PDP Never ‘Won’ Osun-West Senatorial Election By Festus Ogun

Let me begin this piece by congratulating Senator Ademola Adeleke on his victory. As the saying goes, the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. The emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke is infact worth more than the more criticized dance. It was a triumphant entry into the National Assembly.

The rookie Senator was the flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP). He contested under the political party which was about going into political relegation in Nigeria polity. As much as PDP was widely rejected in the 2015 polls, Adeleke still emerged in a state ruled — and not governed — by the APC. This sends in some serious signals to be discussed herein.

We were taught in Civics that in democratic settings, political parties are voted for and not the candidates. And this is the reason why only names of political parties appear on ballot papers.

However, the case in Osun is different. The PDP never won the election in Osun West but Adeleke did. As much as this appears very illogical, it is the reality we must accept if we want the enhancement of our democracy.

This need be stated in reaction to claims by many chieftains of PDP that  the emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke was the consequence of hard labour put in place by the party leaders and its acceptability amongst the people.

Both Ali Momodu Sheriff and Senator Markafi said “that the victory recorded by the party in the Osun West Senatorial election by Alhaji Nurudeen Adeleke was as a result of hard work.”

Many PDP leaders have persistently boasted that the victory is a prophecy of the party’s take over of power come 2019.

Unfortunately, all of these are quite far from the gospel truth. It was not PDP that made Senator Adeleke won. It was the ego and the “junta” tormenting spirit in Mr Rauf Aregbesola that made him won. It was the people’s will that made him won and not PDP strategies or hard labour.

PDP must resist from self deception — that same attitude that brought about the attempted suicide done to itself in 2015.

It was the expensive error the APC made at the primary that made Senator Adeleke became more acceptable amongst his people. One must not equally forget the “pity votes” casted by the electorates to compensate the deceased, Senator Isiaka Adeleke’s family.

The issue of internal democracy is a serious one in any given election. The lack of internal democracy in PDP was one of the reasons the party was swept away from power. The same reason APC was defeated in Osun too.

Infact, the bedrock of democracy is giving its true definition not just at general elections but also at the primaries.

Governor Aregbesola, who hasn’t done well to his people and has provoked anger in many by abysmal failure rocking his administration, ensured that his anointed candidate emerged as APC flag bearer at the expense of Senator Ademola Adeleke who was the people’s voice. He imposed Mr  Mudashiru Hussein on the people of Osun West. He never allowed democracy to prevail.

He never knew that the APC, with the 2015 elections enlightened many Nigerians, politically. That electorates are now wise and detest imposition. He never knew that our nation cannot move forwards if what obtain from within are not aligning with the tenets of democracy. He, therefore, used his hands to send and sell away the selling point of his party at the primary.

Senator Adeleke ran to PDP to contest. It was a day preceding the party’s primary that he got the ticket and he “won”. Many stepped down for him. But, why? It was, in my view, the fact that Aregbesola’s autocratic nature is now believed to be old fashion and evil.

Senator Adeleke contested and won under PDP, but PDP never won the election. It was the people’s will that did. It was not as a result of PDP’s hard work. It was not as if the party has been reformed. It was not as if the party is a preferable option. It was not as if the party is now better.

But, the people knew what they wanted.

Infact, the PDP leaders in the state never ascribed the victory to any hardwork or restructuring. They never ascribed it to its preparedness to take control of governmental machinery. The PDP chair in the state, interestingly, ascribed the victory to God. The chair, Mr Soji Adagunodo ascribed the victory to God saying the victory was beyond human calculation.

The party leaders in the state understand that PDP was merely a beneficiary of the sorry circumstances occasioned by Aregbe’s rigidity. The truth is: even if Senator Adeleke were to contest under APGA, UPN or any party whatsoever, he would have won!

And that is how politics in Nigeria ought to be. We ought not continue to dwell in blind politicking. We need to infact put on our glasses should we find it difficult to pick the right candidates in elections, regardless of parties.

In my humble submission, there are chief lessons to be learnt from the election. First, the mistake made by Aregbesola and acceded by other chieftains is too terrible for our growth. We cannot grow in midst of imposition. For the country to move forward, transparency must be observed in all political dealings. The era of manipulative imposition should be a bye gone in this present stage of our democracy.

But, would the Aregbesola annointed candidate have been defeated if he, Aregbe, had delivered the expected goods as governor? Aregbesola appears more of a disaster to his people and so no one will never support a candidate brought by “hardship” himself. Can you see why it’s good to be good? The PDP would have won Osun-West, but for Aregbesola.

The second is to the PDP. As much as the party is not prepared for being a viable opposition party, the time to come up together and set goals is still available for the party — before it becomes too late. The victory at Osun should not give the party any hope of acceptability. It shouldn’t give them any hope of it standing as a “threat” to the ruling party, APC.

As it stands, there is no opposition in Nigeria. The PDP needs critical reforms for it to stands as one. If the party isn’t a good opposition, the possibility of good governance should it get to power is slim like the road to heaven.

 

Festus Ogun is a Civil Rights activist, Law undergraduate and covener of Hi-Legal Initiative. Contact him via festusogunlaw@gmail.com .

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The Vinegar – A Look At The Biafra Agitation, By Mana Phar

It is quintessential to look briefly into the rich history of the Nigerian state which is viewed as the largest black nation in the world, with 250 ethnic groups. In geographical size and population, it is bigger than its creator –Great Britain-a 356669 square miles land mass, which is said to be the size of United Kingdom, France and Belgium combined.

Centuries prior to the advent of colonialism, the ethnic nationalities which today make up the Nigerian state existed as split and sovereign territories. They started out as migrating and splintering families, clans and villages but some ultimately became kingdoms and empires. Though independent of each other, they have depended on factors such as proximity, trade, wars, conquests, annexations and sometimes, intermarriage to interrelate and interact.

With a long historical background of interactions, the various ethno-linguistic structures established on distinct cultural backgrounds, the British authority in what became known as the 1914 Amalgamation merged those differences together to tailor what is today known as Nigeria.

With that scaffold in place, the period between 1914 and 1960 saw the growth of nationalism and agitations for independence.  Eventually, an independent Nigerian state emerged in 1960 upon winding through the web of regional curiosities and sectional proclivities. Since then, through political upheavals, coup d’états, pogroms, threats of secession, a civil war led by Lieutenant- Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu which sought to disintegrate the Eastern region of Nigeria union between the period of 1967- 1970, repressive military and neo-military dictatorships, inept civil administrations, nepotistic governmental institutions and a lingering inclination to ethnicity among the citizens, it has been for the tottering African giant a staggered quest for nationhood.

Having held supra, it is eminent that the Colonial creation ostensible to be a blessing has turned to be an Achilles heel to contend. The gap among the regions and ethnic compositions have continued to widen founded on crisis of colonial creation, nationalists’ vituperations and politicians’ imbroglio. Hence, the doldrums in various facets of development in the hundred years old Nigeria has remained endless.

Notable among many vices is ethnic chauvinism, religious biases, and prejudice against the Igbos. Attempts by representatives of all regions to come to a consensus as regards the roving resentment and intolerance were unsuccessful.

This predicament trailed it ugly head to May 30, 1967 when Lieutenant- Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu Head of the Eastern Region, with the authorization of a consultative assembly declared the region a sovereign and independent assembly (Biafra). The administration under General Yakubu Gowon discountenanced the secessionist move and fought relentlessly against the fighters, and succeeded by the final surrender of the secessionist on January 15th, 1970.

Despite the hardship and blood bath this ugly event had led us through, today it sticks its ugly head at us again. The secessionists have metamorphosis to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu.

The posers remain; should we really blame the Igbos who are clamoring for a better life and independence? What legal framework exists for the secession? What is the way forward?

According to Nnamdi Kanu “Nothing seems to be working in Nigeria. There is pain and hardship everywhere. What we are fighting for is not self- determination for the sake of it. It’s because Nigeria is not functioning and can never function”. The South Easterners feel that they have been politically marginalized in terms of appointments and infrastructural development. These among others are the bitter truths Nigerians and the present administration must face.

In the middle belt, the minority are being maimed and murdered daily in the most brutal fashion; their voices stolen as they are left to putrefy as forgotten prisoners of their own infirmities.

The import of these agitations is that we have an imperfect union (country) which is bereft of equity and fairness, the voices of the masses and their rights are threatened and stolen. As Prof. Sagay right asserted, Nigeria’s Coat of Arms bears the words, ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress’. One fundamental and indispensable word is missing from that coat of arms and this may be responsible for Nigeria’s plight as a failed State. That word is JUSTICE”

Nigerians dinner table is very large enough to carry everyone but greed, ethnic chauvinism, religious bigotry; exclusionism has risen to dent the inexorable efforts of our brave Nationalist’s and in fact threatening our very own existence and viability.

 Does IPOB have any legal frameworks to strengthen its aspirations?

Under Art 1, [ICCPR/ICESCR, Art 1(2), UN Charter; Art 20(1), ACHPR; Art 2, AL], it provides that:

  1. “All peoples have the right to self-determination…”
  1. “All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based on the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.”
  1. “The State Parties to the present Covenant, shall promote the realization of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The provisions of the United Nations Charter, international law proffers the right to self- because its recognition is imperative for the effective guarantee and observance of individual human rights and save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. However, even with the importance attached to the right to self-

Determination has sprung furious and ranging arguments in international law today. The accepted view of self-determination is that, it is a right exercised primarily by people living under colonial regimes. Fundamentally, it was taken as referring to the right of a group of people normally of one distinct territory to decide collectively, the manner in which they wish to be ruled or governed.

However, even though the right to self-determination for all people is an apparently albeit, inalienable human right, it must be noted that it is not necessarily an absolute right! Most notably, its application to ‘peoples’ living under non-colonial domination.

It is however crucial to state emphatically that, the 1999 constitution of Nigeria which is our ground norm does not make provision for referendum, self- determination, or secession by any state. It however states in its preamble that, “we the people of Nigeria resolve to remain indivisible and indissoluble”. Any attempt to divide the Nation under any guise would amount to a brazen attack on the Constitution. The preceding part of the preamble to the Constitution makes provision geared at engendering peaceful coexistence and unity of Nigeria. A simple way of “constitutionalising” this act is to amend the constitution as to accommodate the right to secession or self- determination.

In the words of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo “we are better together than apart” however for this letters to come to fruition, the country must be restructured so that the idiosyncrasies of each group will be accommodated and the vulnerable members of the State be adequately cared for, to ignite the spirit of oneness.

Finally, abrupt measures must be taken to de-concentrate power from the centre. Discriminatory practices in employment, appointments and disbursement of amenities should be disposed in abyss and the key thrown to a never- ending ocean. The cosmetic ethnic balancing measures must be given a total overhaul-to accommodate the yearnings and aspirations of the good people of Nigeria.

Nigeria will be great again!

MANA BARI PHAR

500 LEVEL

FACULTY OF LAW

UNIVERSITY OF JOS

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Of Battle For Legitimacy And Internal Rumpus Within The Aviary Of The Bar By Raymond Nkannebe ESQ

While the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Bar Association,( the foremost body of legal practitioners in Nigeria that boasts of over one hundred thousand members nationwide) led by Alhaji A. B. Mahmoud SAN, who rode to the cusp of leadership mid last year under the “brave new bar” mantra might continue to play the ostrich and carry on as though all is well with the elitist body; the ugly truth however, is that the reverse is the case, as the current National Executives of the octopian organization of professionals currently is mired in the web of a constitutional crisis that challenges the legitimacy of the present National Executives and even more portentous, the continuous corporate existence of the Bar.

Consequent upon the suit brought by a senior member of the association and former secretary of the constitution review committee of the NBA, one Mr. Olasupo Ojo vide an Originating Summons before the Federal High Court Abuja in suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/545/2016 between Mr. Ojo Olasupo and the Regd. Trustees of the N.B.A, and the judgment of the court delivered on the 30th of March, 2017 by Hon. Justice Tsoho. J. which granted all the prayers sought by the plaintiff to wit: declaring the 2015 constitution of the NBA upon which the current National Executives were elected null and void ; a declaration that all the actions taken under those constitutions are null and void and a restraining order against the association and all its members from further conducting its affairs by this voided constitution, the legitimacy of the current National Executives of the reputable body has been on a balance even though elements within the National body seem to be downplaying all of that in a classic case of living in denial.

 

While it is understood that the NBA has since appealed against this judgment at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, suffice it to say that the said appeal does not quarrel with the findings, nay orders of the court, but rather went on a tangential plane challenging the locus standi of the plaintiff, that is to say, challenging his competence to have brought the action and also a dissipation of legal energy over the non-joining of the 125 branches of the NBA to the suit by the plaintiff even when it is clear to anyone with the scantest understanding of the structure of the Nigerian Bar Association ,that the National organ of the NBA is distinct from its branches asthey both operate on a separate, though similar legal framework.And so an action instituted against the National body, need not co-opt the state branches as parties.

And in the unlikely event that this issues are resolved in favour of the NBA at the appeal, it still would not detract from the substantive issues in the appeal, i.e the legality and otherwise of the 2015 purportedly amended constitution that brought in the current National Executives at the helm of  affairs since the 1st of August, 2016 after what many critics dubbed one of the most controversial elections of the NBA in the odd years of its existence.

Trouble started late 2015, when the NBA under the leadership of Augustine Alegeh SAN in a bid to seek approval of the CAC for the amendment of its constitution pursuant to section 594 of CAMA, issued a public notice calling for objection to its application to the CAC from concerned members of the public.

In a Notice of Objection to the said proposed amendment, the plaintiff, Mr. Olasupo Ojo in a letter dated 14th September, 2015 with Ref. No: CAC/IT/MIA/NO 2365, filed on his behalf by his solicitors and addressed to the Registrar General of the CAC, objected to the proposed amendment on a number of grounds to wit:

That the 2015 amended constitution for which the endorsement of the CAC is being sought did not amend or alter the subsisting 2001 amended NBA constitution approved by the CAC. Further grounds of his objection were that the 2001 amended constitution of the NBA adopted at the Calabar Delegates’ Conference of August 31, 2001 as approved by the CAC in compliance with the provision of the CAMA is the extant and valid constitution of the NBA, same having being confirmed by the CAC through its issuance of a Certified True Copy to him.

In the same application, Mr. Olasupo Ojo further contended that the procedure for amendment of the NBA constitution in the approved 2001 constitution is as contained in section 26 thereof which section provides as follows: “this constitution shall not be amended except at an Annual General Conference(AGC) of the Association by a two-thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote, provided that two-third branches of the Association are represented and provided further that at least 60 days Notice of the proposed Amendment shall have been given to the Secretary-General who shall have circulated same to delegates at least 20 days before the proposed amendment is tabled for discussion at the AGC”.

Now, whereas section 21 of the amended 2015 constitution of the NBA which has been voided by the Federal High Court (FHC) provides as follows: “The NBA constitution amended and adopted at the Delegates’ Conference held in Lagos on the 20th of August, 2009 and further amended and adopted at the AGC held in Owerri on 28th August, 2014 is hereby repealed”, Mr. olasupo Ojo called the attention of the CAC in his Notice of Objection that both the 2009 and 2014 constitutions referred to in the above sections are deemed never to have existed; the leaders of the NBA at the time not having sought nor obtained the approval of the CAC in accordance with the provisions of section 598 of the CAMA, 2004 and are thus void under section 600 of the same Act to the degree or extent of their inconsistency with the valid 2001 constitution adopted at the Delegates’ Conference in Calarbar and which is yet to be validly repealed.

Other collateral ‘sins’ of the NBA, included Not revealing in the Public Notice, the particular constitution sought to be amended and for which it sought approval ; failure to expressly amend or repeal the approved 2001 constitution; failure to submit to the CAC a copy of the resolution of the Annual General Meeting where members voted to amend and repeal the invalid 2009 and 2014 constitutions; the surreptitious attempt to retrospectively seek approval for the 2015 Constitution having published, distributed and circulated the same Constitution without the prior approval of the CAC; conducting elections into the National and Branch offices of the NBA under the voided constitution; spending the funds of the organization pursuant to a constitution for which approval is being sought belatedly.

Others include, failure of the NBA to satisfy all the requirements listed in section 68 of the Companies Regulation, 2012 as made and published by the CAC pursuant to sections 16, 585 and 609 of the CAMA, LFN 2004.

All of the foregoing condition precedents having not been complied with by the Augustine Alegeh led NBA before the purported repeal of the valid 2001 constitution, the petitioner contended, robs the current National Executives of the NBA of any legality under the voided 2015 constitution—the law being  trite that no legality can proceed from an illegality.

In the wake of all these obviously avoidable developments, what has agitated the mind of critical watchers of the elitist organization, is why a body of professionals whose leadership over the years have been a cocktail of Senior Advocates and other distinguished citizens of the country and who thrive under the high sounding mantra of “Promoting the Rule of Law” would carry on its activities successively in a manner that makes a mockery of the due process of law.

Whereas the A.B Mahmood led NBA which now battles for legitimacy is currently in the middle of this crisis and who now suffers the misfortune of bearing the cross of the indiscretion of his predecessors, it is appropriate in all fairness to him, to point out that  his EXCOs are not, and were not directly involved in the constitutional breaches that has now set the NBA on edge, having not been active players when the manifest irregularities that gave birth to the current constitutional crisis took place in 2015. A vindication of this position could be found in the Press Statement volunteered by Mr. Olasupo Ojo to press men earlier this year to the effect that previous leadership of the NBA had failed to comply with the requirements of CAMA as provided in “PART C” of the Act such as filing of Annual Returns among other statutory obligations of an organization of Incorporated Trustees save for the Wole Olanipekun led NBA between 2002 and 2004. Little wonder then that the 2009 and 2014 purportedly amended constitution of the NBA were not ordained with the cloak of approval at the CAC pursuant to the mandatory requirements of the law.

 

Perhaps the reason(s) why the 2015 voided constitution of the NBA has degenerated into litigation and the public outcry that now greets it,  may not be unconnected with the radical improvements made therein, namely the introduction of electronic voting in the election of National Officers. Section 9(4) of the now voided constitution provides as follows: “elections into National Offices shall be by universal suffrage and electronic voting as set out in the second schedule”.

 

It was on the basis of this provision that the 2016 National Election that brought the A.B. Mahmoud led EXCO to the fore was conducted  and in which he polled 3,055 votes to defeat his closest rival, Joe Kyari-Gadzama SAN who vehemently challenged the result. Some purveyors of conspiracies have thus seen the action brought by Mr. Olasupo Ojo challenging the constitution that threw up Mahmoud as a proxy war of sort by elements within the ranks of the NBA who do not like his face or who believe the secret ballot system under which previous administrations of the NBA have emerged would have increased the chances of their preferred candidate,ala Gadzama.

 

But all of that readily flies in the face of the fact that Mr. Olasupo’s action in court predates the NBA elections that ushered in the Mahmoud Exco; same have been constituted on the 27th of July, 2016 during the pendency of the administration of the immediate past president, Augustine Alegeh, SAN. Mr. Olasupo Ojo on his part has reiterated that his action was brought in good faith with the intention of setting the bar on the path of rectitude.

In a statement made public mid-April, the senior lawyer declaimed, “if any NBA politician derive any benefit or suffer any injury consequent upon my suit and judgment delivered, that is their fate…for me, I have satisfied my conscience as a lawyer and active member of the NBA. No other member of the NBA loves the NBA more than I do. I watch over the legal health of the NBA while many of the NBA politicians merely seek office for power and to preside over resources and hold the NBA by the jugular”.

In the midst of all of these, the Lagos branch of the NBA has since joined the fray in compounding the woes of the current leadership of the NBA after having fallen out with its EXCO. On the 23rd of May, 2017 at an Extra-Ordinary meeting, the branch voted to return to the use of its 2003 Bye-Laws to conduct its affairs and further went on to conduct its branch elections held on the 29th of June, 2017 pursuant to the 2003 Bye-Laws as against the  Uniform Bye-Laws recommended by the now voided 2015 constitution. The decision was reached by a majority of 96 votes against 13 in spite of a strong delegation led by the general secretary of the NBA, Mr. Isiaka Abiola Olagunju with a mandate to lobby and persuade the branch to keep faith with the Uniform Bye-Laws contained in the 2015 constitution.

The decision, the Lagos branch said, was in reaction to the judgment of the Federal High Court judgment voiding the 2015 constitution.  While calling for the current excos to step down and hand over the affairs of NBA to the trustees in accordance with the provisions of CAMA and the Legal Practitioners Act, 2004, the branch said the Hon. Justice John Tsoho’s judgment leaves it with no other option but to comply with the court order by jettisoning the Uniform Bye-Laws for branches sanctioned by the voided constitution until such a time when the judgment is unlikely reversed on appeal.

In the meantime, the reaction of the embattled National Executives of the NBA has been one of call for calm among the distinguished members of the bar while the leadership confronts the seemingly constitutional hocus pocus angling to tear the NBA apart.

In his Democracy Day message on the 29th of May, 2017 to members of the Bar, the embattled president, A.B. Mahmoud, SAN informed members that the 2015 constitution—the main object that voided his executive has finally been registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. This, according to him, puts questions about the legitimacy of his administration to rest.

Said him, “I am happy to say at last that I have just been informed by the General secretary that the NBA 2015 constitution has been approved and registered by  the CAC. We hope this will put an end to all controversies and litigation on the NBA constitution. Regardless of that however, we have also been consulting with the trustees and other stakeholders including some of our colleagues with grievances to resolve all these matters in the interest of the country. The country needs a strong legal profession with a strong voice. This is not the time for us to consume the association with our internal bickering”.

Obviously angered by these ugly developments that shouldn’t be heard of, from a respectable body such as the NBA, senior members of the profession have  called on the Mahmoud led NBA not to dissipate energy and/or grandstand through the instrumentality of an unnecessary legal sophistry to prosecute an appeal over a declaratory judgment obviously aimed at buying more time for the administration until it serves out its two year tenure come 2018.

They have on the contrary, written to the Chief Justice of  Nigeria, (CJN), His Lordship, Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen in his capacity as the chairman of the Body of Benchers (BOB) to exercise his powers pursuant to the provisions of sections 10(2), 3(b) and 4, of the Legal Practitioners Act, 2004. And to as a matter of urgency, constitute a caretaker committee to take over the affairs of the A.B Mahmoud led NBA pending when elections are held in accordance with the 2001 valid constitution.

Prominent among these calls is that of Mr. Asiwaju Adegboyega Solomon Awomolo SAN who in a letter to the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami  SAN, in his capacity as the leader of the Bar, prevailed on the Minister of Justice to use his good office to call the leadership of the NBA to order warning that the issues that paralyzed the NBA between 1992 and 1998 started like a joke.  In another letter dated 5th of April, 2017 and addressed to the Incorporated Trustees of the NBA made up of Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, Chief Anthony Mogboh, Chief T.J.O. Okpoke, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN among others and copied to the CJN, the learned silk stressed that the implication of the judgment of the Federal High Court is so grave that it will appear as if we are drawn back to 1992 when the bar association went into crisis that nearly terminated its existence. “…it is very sad to note that the trustees inadvertently have left the association to the hands of successive elected leaders, some of whom by omission or commission lost sense of history and abdicated their responsibilities…” he said. He rounded off by calling for an emergency meeting of the trustees to put to rest the fractionalization encouraged by the immediate leadership of the association.

A letter has also been written by Mr. A.C. Ozioko Esq. on behalf of Mr. Olasupo Ojo and addressed to Access Bank, Nig. Plc, the official banker of the NBA requesting for a suspension of operation on NBA accounts pending the takeover of the administration and management of the affairs of the association by the caretaker committee to be set up by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

 

All of the foregoing forces a gloomy picture of an NBA mired in the shallow waters of a deep seethed internal crisis that appears to be in constant metamorphosis. It is akin to the monster which if not cut short at its development stages, risks growing larger than life to consume its tamer.

Yet in the middle of the whole confusion, the eyes of the legal community and other critical observers is fixatedly pointed in the direction of the NBA; an organization that prides itself as the assemblage of the best of gentlemen and who by the onions of their professional calling ought to be beyond reproach like the wife of Ceasar. They are obviously waiting to see whether its actions would be one that would vindicate the so much honour and respect the profession courts among the mass of Nigerian citizens and other global observers.

With this in mind, a more honorable path to thread would be for the Mahmoud Led NBA to abandon the unnecessary appeal which is a clear exercise in shifting the goal post; submit the reins of power to the trustees of the NBA in accordance with section 598 of the CAMA, LFN 2004 until such a time when a new EXCO would be formed in accordance with the valid constitution of the NBA. But being that honour, is a commodity so scarce in our clime, one wonders what steps the “brave new bar” of A.B. Mahmoud would take.

While the legal community in Nigeria prepares for the forthcoming Annual General Conference scheduled to hold in Lagos later this year, and while the decision of the Court of Appeal is also awaited, it is the expectation of this writer that the top echelons of the Bar would meet and mate in the overriding interest of the continuous existence of the NBA by devising realistic measures within the framework of the law to save arguably the most respected body of professionals in Nigeria from self destrcuct as has become the lot of the ‘opposition’ PDP.

May it not be heard that an organization which thrives under the motto of “Promoting the Rule of Law” is found wanting in the application of the rich ‘gospel’ and ethos of the Rule of Law as propounded and popularized by A.V. Dicey that earned it national and international acclaim. An association that has championed the Rule of Law and Democracy in Nigeria must therefore strive to consolidate and be seen to consolidate and complement the sustenance of democracy in its internal politics.

It is therefore meet that the NBA should take a cursory look at its past; make copious lessons therefrom in order not to repeat the blunders of its past, especially at a time when the Nation needs the unity of the bar the most. The NBA as a unit is bigger than any legal practitioner in Nigeria be him or her of whatever standing at the bar. A. B. Mahmoud and his co-travellers with the greatest respect must not make a mess of our pot of porridge.

Let not the cynosure of all eyes dab its face in charcoal over the gargantuan ambitions of one of its own.

Nkannebe Raymond— a Lawyer, Youth Corps Member and Public Interest Commentator wrote in this essay from Enugu. Comments and reactions to raymondnkannebe@gmail.com

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Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Its Provocative Bigotry By ASM Jimoh

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is supposedly a religious body which we think its objective is to spread the correct teaching of Christ and protect its members’ interest. In doing so, especially in the matter of its members’ interest, it is expected to be sincere in its purpose. However, over the years, CAN’s presence is seen more in the political space than it is on the pulpit, constantly beating the drum of disunity. It has often issued statements and carry out body languages that have the potential of precipitating religious crisis. It is so obsessed with the Nigerian Muslims that one begins to think whether CAN’s sole objective is to disparage everything that has to do with Muslim, Islam and Arabic language. However, its obsession is frequently so puerile that one cannot see any relation between Islam or Muslim and the matters over which CAN is protesting except needless bigotry. Currently, it is about the Arabic language in the Nigeria education curriculum that CAN is inviting the holy ghost fire. But before I go into the current issue over which CAN is beating the drum of war again, I will highlight events in recent past where CAN has mischievously objected to issues that have or have nothing to do with Islam and Muslims.

In the yore years, it had problem with ex-military ruler Ibrahim Babangida over his use of the word “In Sha Allah” when he speaks.  A phrase that simply mean “God Willing”. CAN saw that as an attempt to Islamize Nigeria! Arab Christians utter this same word when they submit to the power of the Lord as one with ultimate capability. This is just the prelude.

From the time of Lamido Sanusi’s banking reforms to the present administration, CAN has carried itself more like a political party than a religious body. Sanusi predecessor, Charles Soludo, had allowed an array of rogue bankers who lived in unexplained and immoral opulence. When Sanusi Lamido, being the chief banker, opened the account book of some of the banks of such bankers, what he found was putrid mess. Therefore, he asked the management to render account of the public trust kept with them. However, CAN saw Sanusi’s action as threat to their illegal cash inflow because some of the corrupt bankers are officiating pastors and ministers in the temple of CAN who were also making huge donations of illegal cash to churches from public savings. Disguisedly, CAN had to be up in arm against Lamido Sanusi, and it did not take time for the former to play its usual religious card, accusing the latter of an Islamization agenda.

CAN’s war against Sanusi knew no border in the peddling of falsehood. Its highest leadership openly lied that Sanusi had introduced the Arabic script back into the naira note in his attempt to Islamize Nigeria. The Arabic script in the naira was anything but Islam. Although, this issue has been explained several time, yet I would flog it again. It was an Arabic transliteration of naira denominations in the Hausa language to assist the Hausa-Fulani speaking population, who had long been literate in Arabic script for more than a century before the British amalgamation of the North and South. However, CAN’s relentless campaign had it removed through Charles Soludo as a measure to de-islamize the naira. The falsehood of re-introduction was only a disguised ground to escalate the war against Sanusi having stifled them of their source of corrupt enrichment and immoral life style.

Then came the issue of interest-free banking which is a different brand of financing to cater for customers who are not well at home with interest-based banking. CAN again jumped into the polity campaigning tireless for two things- stop the non-interest banking, which it christened sharia banking, and have Lamido Sanusi removed. Today, the so-called sharia bank has Christians as both shareholders and customers. Let us even agree for once that the non-interest banking was to cater for the Muslims alone. Is non-interest banking on (un)Christian? Let us peruse through some verses of the Holy Bible:

You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest.” Deuteronomy 23:19

If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.” Exodus 22:25

Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.” Leviticus 25:36-37.

All Emphasis are mine and all quotations directly lifted from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible. These holy bible verses are too lucid that they require no explanation. There are other inferential verses in the holy bible where interest is despised. The question is thus why would CAN be opposed to an implementation of holy bible’s verses. The answer was simple. Lamido Sanusi is a Muslim and a Hausa-Fulani-a tribe combination CAN as equated to Islam.

CAN’s hypocrisy and political identity became more open during the administration of ex-President Jonathan.  From current revelation so far, it would seems that regime is the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria. We expect true religious body to speak against the inequities of any corrupt regime or keep silent. Rather, CAN cozied well with that regime because it served its interest of divisive politics. CAN’s highest leadership, like the then ruling party politicians, were regular visitors at the Aso Rock seat of power. With time, it became difficult to differentiate politicians from CAN clerics or to make a distinction between statements issued by Sunday Oibe of CAN and Olisah Metuh of the then ruling party. It appeared that the then ruling party had a religious wing served dutifully by CAN. The then President Jonathan traversed the pulpits of different churches than he was seen at gatherings discussing socio-economic policies. There was no cry of Christianization from Muslims Organizations.

The then CAN’s president, Ayo Oritsejafor, uttered statements and carry out body languages that had the potential of setting the country on religious warpath. He had called for the arrest of the then opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari. He also asked its flock to bear arms to create a Christian army to defend itself purportedly against BokoHaram. However, as we later came to know, the funds that could have catered for security against the then rampaging army of the devious Bokoharam, were pocketed by individuals, majority of whom are members of the Church.

CAN romanticized the regime so intimately that it precipitated scandals in the church, so much so that men of honour, especially those of the Catholics faith had go on hiatus from CAN for some times. They seemed to realize that the body of Christ had since fled CAN. In one such scandal, CAN President’s private jet was caught laundering raw cashes of dollar in South Africa. When that happened, the then ruling party and CAN came out ferociously defending its own whose hands was caught in the cookies’ jar. CAN delivered strong-worded statement, in the tone of a political party, where it saw no wrong in using the jet that was purportedly donated for God’s work, to carry cash in Pablo Escobar’s style of moving illegal drug money.

Now, let us reverse the particular case in the preceding paragraph. Imagine a situation where the Sultan’s camel was found ferrying naira across the Nigeria-Niger desert (Muslim being poor, we might only be able to donate camel to Sultan for Islamization). The sort of alarm CAN would have raised would be loud enough to invite the US to bomb all the Nigeria Muslims. Because CAN would have tagged all the Nigerian Muslims as Boko Haram. Simple. Until today, the true status surrounding the money is yet unknown and it appears the wisdom of the current administration has allowed the matter to remain in the cooler.

While the CAN National secretariat was not short of delivering alarms and falsehood to cause mischief, the states’ wings do not spare states’ governors of their viciousness. Governor Aregbesola with all his sincerity for religious freedom, the day CAN came for his head, it was then he realized that an opposition party or politician could never be pleased. In one popular episode, CAN instructed her poor flock to start wearing religious garment to schools in protest of a competent court order allowing female students to wear hijab-the head cover for female Muslim-to school. When such order was made against Muslim in Lagos state, they rightly went on appeal as any responsible citizen or organization should do. However, CAN chapter in Osun state asked its mass to protest such an order in a way that breach public peace as it as well accused Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of trying to Islamize Osun state. CAN, Haba! If there was any governor one could accuse of religious bias, it would not be the secular man of the state of Osun who allow all religions, including traditionalists to practice their rituals unhindered. One cannot help but pity Raphael (Aregbesola’s Christian name for creating an atmosphere religious freedom) the day he was lamenting the attack he had to endure just because he wanted to be a better Muslim. It was like Saul, Saul, why thou persecute me.

Moreover, within the Hausa-Fulani Muslim North, as CAN would make us believe, the states’ chapters are not short of issuing inciting statements tending to portray it as being under an Islamic state while also always playing the victim in all crises. CAN unguarded statements have only helped to raise tensions in states like Kaduna, Nasarawa, Taraba, Gombe, Plateau, Bauchi and Borno. More often than not, crisis in these states that CAN or a section of it always tag religious war are in fact ethnical.

More so, CAN has not spared President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration of savage campaign. Prior to the inception of the current administration, CAN and the then ruling party had dressed the Muhammadu Buhari and his party in the garb of an Islamic candidate and Islamist party. Some influential members of the Church were seen and heard threatening their Church members with fire of Hell if they voted for the party and its candidates. When their blackmail failed, CAN ante its role in playing the opposition since the purportedly opposition party is enmeshed in crisis. That is why it is surprising that CAN has continued to keep a certificate of registration from Corporate Affairs of Nigeria (CAC), instead of asking for one from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), because it has all the attributes of a Nigeria political party, including allegations  of election rigging and imposition of candidates in the selection of its leadership.

In September 2016, a section of CAN falsely accused the government of transferring the power to declare public holiday to Sultan-head of the Nigerian Muslim population. In fact, no such thing ever happened. It was just the usual bigoted campaign against the President. What the Sultan did was just the usual tradition of informing his Muslim flock of the day for the Muslim festival. He had done that several times under Christian President.

Now to the current issue. CAN is all over the place again misleading its poor masses. It has been peddling falsehood that Christian Religious Studies (CRS) has been banned in Nigerian schools while Christian pupils/students are being forced to take Arabic language in an attempt to Islamize Nigeria. However, as we speak, CAN has not presented one single student who was barred from taking CRS while Arabic was imposed on him/her. Despite contrary evidence which abound, CAN has continue to grandstand, threatening fire and hell.

There is the need to give a summary of what is purportedly the reason for CAN’s current mischief. In 2012, during the administration of ex-president Jonathan, a Christian, the Nigeria education curriculum was reviewed, as it is the tradition. Both the Islamic Religious Studies (IRS) and Christian Religious Studies (CRS) were placed under a subject head called religious and national values. While the civil education subject is compulsory for all students, religious studies are taken according to the student’s religious belief. Nyeson Wike, a Christian, then education minister and current governor of Rivers state signed the forward to the redesigned curriculum.

Even if CAN does not feel comfortable with the content of the CRS, why does it have to wait for five years to raise the issue. Meanwhile, when the curriculum was being developed, Christians had representatives in the persons of Ray Chukwura of ECWA Goodnews and Dominick Oleagbe from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, according to a statement released by Mrs. Kate Nwufo, the acting Executive Secretary of Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC).

The claim by CAN that Arabic language has been made compulsory and is being enforced on Christian students is false in its entirety. Arabic language is and has ever been an optional subject even under the current Nigeria education curriculum from where CAN derives its false anger. It has never been a compulsory subject even for Muslims, let alone for Christians in a country where religion is a sensitive matter. The problem CAN has with Arabic is because the Muslim’s Holy Book is written with and preserved in it. However, if CAN wants to ban Arabic in Nigeria, it should do it in totality including refusing to count its Sunday’s tithe in the digits 0, 1, 2, 3-9 because these are indisputable Arabic numerals. Also, words like ‘Alafiya and akida’ which are used widely in churches across Northern Nigeria is an Arabic word. To further cleanse itself of its hypocrisy, CAN should excommunicate all Christian states down the south seeking Islamic Development Bank loan facilities.

Besides, CAN is yet to prove to us how learning Arabic language automatically convert someone to Islam. Within some of the Nigeria government-owned universities, there are many Arabic language Professors who are Christians. These highly qualified Professors of Arabic have remained Christians and many are respected members of the Church. Muslim students, some of whom who study Arabic for religious purpose, have for years studied and continue to study Arabic under these Professors whom the former also hold in high esteem as their teachers.

Besides, is Arabic equal Islam? The answer is obviously NO, except for mischief-makers. Yes, the Noble Qur’an was revealed, written and is preserved in Arabic, yet it does not mean that Arabic language equals Islam. The simplest clarification is that Arabic is a language while Islam is a religion. In Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and other Middle East and North African countries where Christians are in the minorities, the Bibles are written in the same Arabic that the Qur’an is written. Their word for God is written as ????-which in English transliteration is Allah- the same way it is written in the Holy Qur’an.

So, with such verbose grammars CAN’s clerics speak from the pulpits, it would be surprising to think that they are so ignorant to be unable to distinguish Arabic from Islam. Well, it is not that they are not aware, their aim is to heat the polity and cause deep-seated division.

If the Nigerian Muslims or their representative organizations want to be senselessly bigoted as CAN and view everything from the perspective CAN views it, they would not have accepted Sunday as work-free day while Friday remains a working day. They would equally have said that the Bible is written in English and as such, it should not be a compulsory subject in public schools. Moreover, it was in this so-called secular Nigeria that Sunday church service at the presidential villa was beamed live on National television for at least four years in a country where religion is alleged to be a personal affair. The Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affair never issue a statement let alone shout Christianization.

Indeed, some of the things CAN or a section of it does in this country would be labelled Islamization if it had emanated from the Muslim side. The only two bibles-King James Version and New Testament by Gideons International in my family’s house were given to my elder brothers in public schools. Many Muslim can recite the Lord’s Prayer which were taught them in public schools. Certainly, Armageddon would come earlier than was predicted, if any day a Christian pupil returns from public school with a pamphlet about good behavior written in Arabic.

Like Nigerian politicians, who have their children living abroad or in well-guarded compounds, but incite the poor masses to unrest, CAN clerics equally have their children in secured places but continuously provoke the children of the poor to crisis. In all the politico-religious crises we have seen in this country, there was never a report of where the family of any prominent member of CAN is hurt. It is the families of the poor who are usually pitted against one other from both sides.

The CAN politics of religion is dangerous and the earlier we are sincere in calling a spade a spade, the better for all. Often, CAN make up an issue and links it to a never-existing Islamization agenda. The danger of this is that the veiled drum of war that CAN has been beaten for years may one day syncs with the rhythm of war dancers who will make CAN’s life-long hidden agenda of setting the country on the path of religious war to be achieved.

A. S. M Jimoh. (This writer can be reached on twitter: @anehi2008 and through Gmail: anehi2008@gmail.com)

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Acting President Bukola Saraki By Peter Claver Oparah

Last week, the dented Senate President, Bukola Saraki, flew a kite, and it was a dangerous kite in every sense of it. If we were in a military government, Saraki and his hirelings would have been rounded up and subjected to sundry trial for that kite.

But we are in a democracy with its expansive tolerance of the many antics of the Sarakis and their cohorts, so he is a free man. This is not about ambition. This is not about a dream. It is not about a quest. It is a plot. It is an intrigue. It is a deliberately floated kite that has all the seriousness a cold-blooded schemer like Saraki can muster. It is not a joke. It is not pun. It is as serious as it comes and must be seen by the Buhari government as it is.

At the plenary of Saraki’s senate, which has been retching up tremendous notoriety for its antithetical challenge to the country’s quest to steer clear of the messy and sordid past, his two sidekicks, Kabiru Marafa and Enyinaya Abaribe, set sail that kite. They floated the idea of having Saraki as Acting President just because Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been holding forth for a convalescing President Buhari, just stepped out to attend an African Union function in Addis Ababa.

The duo, lapdogs to Saraki and his co-poetasters, went on the floor of the senate to demand that Saraki be made the Acting President since the Acting President was away. It was like canvassing for two Acting Presidents; one home and the other away and you can discern that it is all the scheming Saraki needed to execute a successful coup!

The constitution is clear on conditions that may precipitate the senate president being made Acting President, and this never covers the dangerous and cold plot by Saraki and his hatchets. As unserious as the duo sounded, they were dead serious. Of course Saraki’s senate has excelled as the theater of the unserious where flippancy and massaging of stunted ego have taken front seat. The two masking senators have a mission for their master. They are on a cold-blooded adventure to actualize the burning desire of Saraki for raw and undiluted power. They served notice that Saraki is determined to manipulate and plot his way to power. It is as real as it is scary.

Do we think Saraki longs to answer Acting President for just the one or two days Acting President Osinbajo stayed in Addis Ababa? Do we think that Saraki’s handmaidens, in desiring that their principal be made Acting President, would be content on a one-day flash in power?

Even if the intent was for Saraki to sit as Acting President for one day, have we imagined the incalculable damage he and his cohorts will inflict on the country in just few hours at the helm? What do we think would be the fate of the country’s treasury under Saraki’s corrosive control for just a few hours? It is certain that in just one hour of acting as President, Saraki would have pulled down all the barriers against corruption which this government had been erecting with zealous commitment; to the chagrin of Saraki and co.

It is certain that with Saraki as Acting President for just one hour, all the people and institutions that have been giving Saraki and his corrupt gang so many problems in this dispensation, would all be yanked off. With Saraki as Acting President for one hour, there would be so much irreversible harm done to governance in this country such that the country will not recover from that blitzkrieg.

One hour of Saraki as Acting President of Nigeria will exert an earthquake the country will never heal from.

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Three Things The Lekki-VI Flood Says About Nigeria By Abayomi Omotayo

My good thoughts are with all the victims of flooding in Nigeria over the weekend. Sadly, lives were lost in Suleja. I pray for comfort and succor for the families of those whose lives were cut short by that flood.

In Lagos, Nigeria’s own mega city and poster boy for urbanization, the rain decided to pay special attention to Lekki-Victoria Island area of the state. Streets quickly became rivers for kayaking. Properties were destroyed. One thing I can tell for certain is that auto mechanics will be smiling to the bank in the coming days due to the many cars damaged by the flood.

The rain has come and gone, at least for now, let’s hope that it won’t come back with renewed vigour in the course of the week and victims have started counting their losses. We can blame everything else for the flooding, even the village people but please Lagosians, do not pin this on global warming because that will be the lamest excuse to give for our inability as a society to evolve, to be better and to do better.

Here are three lessons to learn from that flood. Even though it happened in Lagos, this wonderful state is a microcosm of Nigeria therefore the lessons here is applicable nationwide.

  1. Our setup is largely a charade, an amalgamation full of sad ironies

Victoria Island (VI), Lekki, Victoria Garden City (VGC) and Banana Island arguably holds 80% of Lagos’ wealth. Arguably because this is my personal assumption based on intuition fuelled by Pareto principle and not empirical evidence. VI is the commercial nerve center of Lagos, although Ikeja may try to raise eyebrows on this. Lekki, VGC and Banana Island create an impression of wealth and luxury. Just two days of heavy rainfall and these places were overwhelmingly flooded. Drive through the streets of Lekki and one will be amazed how poorly the drainage system was designed.

So that is my point? Rich place, poor infrastructure. Nigeria comes to mind. Oil rich yet poor in all ramifications. Sad but true.

  1. We have a misconstrued idea of what being a ‘big man’ is

A big man or a group of big people should ideally be able to collectively pull their weight effectively. Going by the sheer number of men of means in the flooded area on Lekki-Epe axis, it is quite astonishing that they can’t form a formidable pressure or advocacy group that will pressure the government to taking more concrete steps in upgrading the drainage systems. I doff my hat for the people of Otodo Gbame, for @meganschapman and @justempower team who out of abject poverty, took their destinies in their hands and stopped the demolition of their houses and forced eviction. They are the real MVP, the real big men and women and not the ‘siddon’-look-until-flood-destroys-my-area people.

So what is my point? Rich people yet ineffectual. This reminds me of Nigeria. The giant of Africa but largely on paper. We even celebrated our economy overcoming that of South Africa momentarily as if that reduced the poverty level of Nigerians.

  1. ‘Siddon look’ (complacency) attitude has eaten deep into the fabric of our society. 

I stay on the mainland and socially in the middle class.  For now. About two years ago, the transformer serving my neighborhood would pack up every now and then. Reason? ‘the fuse has cut’. This was the incessant and annoying tune the PHCN official always sang. To make matters worse, some evil people decided to steal the cable from the transformer. Prior to this time, I would always go to PHCN office and bring the PHCN officials sometimes with my car and they will use theirs if available to come and fix the blown out fuse I’d developed some rapport with them. Eventually, I didn’t need to drive down to call them save for the sole purpose of officially logging the complaint in their books. A phone call would bring the officials.

We quickly galvanized ourselves in my neighborhood, I and some other folks became task collector going from house to house. In no time we had enough money to buy the cables and also secure the transformer with barb wires and padlocks. It is over two years now, no more ‘fuse has cut’ or ‘the cable has been stolen’. Imagine everyone waited for PHCN and the government, by now we probably would still be waiting.

So what is my point? Nigeria is a place you have to provide everything to make like better for yourself.

Even though the government has responsibilities and obligations towards the citizens, when the government fails in its responsibilities, the citizens should take matters into their hands in ensuring that they have a better society. It will do no one any harm if street by street, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, slowly and steadily, the residents in these posh neighbourhoods pull their resources together to mitigate against flooding. If they fail to do so they may wait forever. This flooding is a yearly phenomenon this means that they will continue to count their losses yearly. For how long?

The badoo gang in Ikorodu area of Lagos unleased terror and wiped out entire families in some cases for a year in Ikorodu. It was when the residents had enough and took the matter of their security in their hands that the Lagos state government realized that the badoo guys are not spirits and they must be flushed out. After about that fifteen incidents!

I blog at www.musingsamplified.com.ng and tweet @AbayomiGOmotayo and @musingamplified

 

 

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Our Petrol; We Go Sell Am Last Last For Traffic, By MikhaiL Adeniran

Nigeria and its people are so dependent on petroleum that the Biafra struggle is mainly dependent on the fact that they are been marginalized and more so, they believe we are the owner of the land where the petrol is found, how come you now use the money to develop other places and neglect our own land.

First of all, Nigeria and its oil belongs to everyone irrespective of the tribe and geographic location. The Niger Delta region where oil is found is a basin region, and has the highest accumulation of oil deposit. Let’s take a quick detour to basic understanding of oil formation, hydrocarbon or oil is formed from inorganic waste from decomposed matter. This accumulation of organic waste thereby turn to hydrocarbon. Taking a close look at the map of Nigeria, you will notice the basin like feature, the Niger Delta region sits at the bottom of the basin thereby having all the accumulation of the inorganic waste which turns to oil. Which means, organic waste from the North (top basin), Middle belt (mid basin) all gather at the south (Lower basin). It means that oil belongs to a northerner as much as it belongs to a southerner, if a southerner say it’s her land that the oil was found, was it not a northerner’s inorganic waste that made the accumulation?

The fight to control or sabotage the country because of this reason didn’t just start, it has been there doing “like this like that”, apologies to senator kauzare. The Niger Delta militants almost crippled the economy of the country by cutting production from 2 million barrels per day to 1 million barrels per day during the late Umar Musa Yaradua presidency. Their own was what the Yoruba people will describe as “ aka kiku am je sesin a fi sewadanu”. They felt rather than you pollute our land and destroy our sea we will equally bring down the economy and halt the means by which the government make money. They succeeded, the country lost millions of dollars every day due to shortage in supply of oil. The president appealed to them with the amnesty program which put them on the government payroll and allowed them surrender their arms.

If you ask me, the amnesty program failed, it failed because there will be more agitations from the Niger Delta militants. Recently, we saw some group that claim to be Niger Delta Avengers and also recently destroyed pipelines just to get their message to the government. The government showed it hands. They showed that if you want to get our quick and undivided attention, touch our pipeline or mess with our oil export flow.

Not developing other sectors of the economy has been fatal and will continue to be fatal to the development of this country. The agriculture, solid minerals, tourism sectors continue to be in sham after spending billions of dollars toward their development.

Nigeria has had more than it fair share of corruption over the last few decades, and the Jegudujeras have come from all tribe and ethic group of the country.

Anywhere the average Nigerian hears oil, his ear stands, we know that means money, big money. We all want to work in the oil companies, we want to be in the oil business, a friend once told me that every oil in this country is good business even palm oil. We have been made to understand that oil will never run out. Good news to Nigeria and Nigerians, your precious oil will continue to flow, there will always be oil, but what I can’t guarantee is if there will always be buyers.

It’s no longer news that developed countries around the world are focusing on alternative energy, clean energy. All the fossil fuel is damaging the earth, we are killing the environment and our future. There might not be a future for our children after all. Millions of dollars are put into resources in innovations and research in the development of clean and renewable energy.

It was reported in the news few days ago that there would no longer be production of cars running on diesel or petroleum by 2025. If my memory of the demand and supply is correct, I remember that if there is so much of a commodity is in low demand and large supply, there tends to be fall in price. Bad news for Nigeria.

The bad news isn’t that our oil might not mean much more to the economy in the nearest future, the bad news is that there isn’t any contingency plan to take care of the economy. We always like the now and present, no one give a damn about the future.

When it comes to renewable energy, the Nigeria government is nowhere near any hope for an alternative energy source. The technology is already there, what is left is for the people to be aware of the need for an alternative energy source. We can generate energy from the sunlight, in fact, Germany generates almost 60000KW from solar energy.

My piece in the matter is that, while we may be solely reliant on oil as the major driver of the economy, we should also remember that the world is moving past a source of energy that is harmful to the ecosystem. Our state and federal government should develop SMEs and corporate organization in renewable energy business to enable them get the resources to continue research and awareness to people on the need for an alternative clean energy source.

By the time we are all dependent on a renewable energy, nobody will give much focus on the oil, and the oil fanatics will finally carry their oil to motor parks and bus stops and hawk. By realizing a green energy environment, we are telling the oil dependent fanatics that they can go sell their oil in traffic.

MikhaiL Adeniran
adeniranmikhail@yahoo.com
twitter: MikhailAdeniran
IG: iamikhail

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