Governor Lalong And The Long Awaited NPFL Trophy, By Mpaka Numbere

The development of sport cannot be complete without an understanding of the role of youths in the total process. This is so because the potential of sport as a vehicle for national cohesion and development cannot be over emphasized.

In Plateau state, we are blessed with talented youths in the field of sport, however, these youths require a commitment from the government and other stakeholders within the sports sector to enable them develop their God-given potentials to the fullest.

For the government and people of Plateau State, September 9th 2017 is a day that will be registered in the sands of time as nothing can compare to the joy in Jos, Plateau State, after a fairy tale run over 38 matches culminated in their darling Plateau United being crowned 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League champions, a first in the club’s history.

An excited capacity crowd including the Executive Governor of the state, Simon Lalong (who is totally committed to the development of Youths and Sports as part of his Rescue campaign promise) converged at the Rwang Pam Stadium on Saturday to witness the scene that factually featured a baton exchange, considering that Plateau United’s opponents on the day were Rangers International (the outgoing champions). And the much anticipated day saw the Lalong Boys confirming their new status with a 2-0 win over their visitors.

Like the case of Leicester City in the Premier League two seasons ago, the odds were heavily against Plateau United at the start of this season, but the believe the Governor had in his boys was so strong that he dedicated his time and energy in motivating the team from the start of the season to the very last day despite the fact that Plateau United had only returned to the NPFL last season.

Really, who would have thought them contenders? Instead, they were outright underdogs such that even when they were on top of the table by the halfway stage, very few tipped them for the title. However, Plateau United proved their doubters wrong by maintaining their top spot for the whole of the second half of the season, having the best home and away record; scoring the most number of goals and conceding the least.

The government of Plateau state led by Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong did not lose sight of the potential of sport as a vehicle for addressing unemployment among Plateau youths, the Governor who knew that Sports when properly organized and managed, can serve as an economic catalyst for the state on assumption of office gave his total support for the development of youths and sports.

His commitment to see the state owned Plateau United succeed in the Nigerian Professional Football League was second to none and after 38 matches played across the nation, one can say that the long awaited trophy has finally come home. Next season, Plateau United will feature in the lucrative CAF Champions League for the first time.

Numbere is writing from the City of Jos

CAN, Loud Silence And Despicable Killings In Nigeria, By Louis Azige

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) popularly referred to as the “umbrella body for Christians” was established in 1976 to provide a forum for Church Leaders to meet regularly and take joint actions on vital issues, especially those that affect the Christian faith and welfare of the generality of Nigerians.

Church Leaders whether as individuals or as a group under the auspices of CAN have at various times contributed to the formulation of public policies for effective administration of Nigeria. They have at some points, played vital roles in peace, security and overall development of Nigeria.

However, events leading to the 2015 general elections in Nigeria brought a lot of criticisms to the Christian body. Even though politicians at all levels and divides in Nigeria manipulate religion for political success, the involvement of Church Leaders in the manipulation of religion for political success was obvious to the point that they were accused by Pastor Kallamu Musa Dikwa of being bribed by former President Goodluck Jonathan with N6 billion during the 2015 general election.

The open criticism of the then APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari by the then CAN Chairman, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the alleged involvement of his jet in a controversial ferrying of huge cash for arms in South Africa brought disrepute to the Christian body.

Many people had thought that the new leadership of the association under Dr. Supo Ayokunle will bring sanity to the association and redirect her to take her rightful position in the society and ensure that the welfare of all Nigerians is taken seriously at all levels and sections of the country. Sadly, comments from Church Leaders under the new leadership on various issues especially as they affect crimes in Nigeria were demeaning of individuals that should live like Christ.

For instance, CAN’s Secretary General, Rev. Musa Asake attributed the murder of a female Christian preacher, Mrs. Eunice Elisha in Kubwa, Abuja by suspected fanatics; the murder of Mrs. Bridget Agbaheme in in Kano; the murder of Rev. Zakariya of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Obi, Nasarawa State to “religious hatred.” He went further to say that all these were “discrimination against non-Muslims in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.”

Attacks on Nigerians across various states who profess the Christian faith are by far, more than those mentioned above. The killings have been painful, provoking and unwarranted. But the Christian body have reacted in a way that suggests that it is obsessed with Muslims while paying less attention on insisting that authorities responsible for the protection of lives and property should ensure that all citizens are protected and save to practice whatever religion they believe in while doing their businesses across all sections of the country.

Between July 14 and 20, 2017, a Catholic Priest, Fr. Raphael Pankyes was kidnapped and murdered in Pankshin, Plateau State with the police arresting three suspects (Alex Bala, David Bala and Dasen Bala). On August 6, 2017, at least 11 individuals were killed with more than 20 others sustaining various degrees of injury in a Catholic Church during a Sunday morning Mass. The police said preliminary investigations showed that the attack was as a result of a feud between two individuals from the same community who reside outside Nigeria.

In addition, on Friday September 1, 2017, a Catholic Priest, Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo was abducted at Banana junction in Orlu, Imo State and later murdered. A week later, a gang of assailants who also posed as worshippers and took part in the rituals of the Holy Mass shot and injured a Catholic Priest, Fr. Daniel Nwankwo after morning Mass at St. Thomas Catholic Church Ikeji, Lagos State.

In all of these, Church Leaders under the auspices of CAN are yet to come out publicly to condemn these murderous acts like they have done previously in some cases, and hold public institutions accountable for gruesome murder of Christians even in the presence of the Lord. This raises concern as to why CAN appear to be selective in reacting to killings of those who profess the Christian faith in different parts of Nigeria.

It suggests that CAN is quick to rush to the media and react when Christians in Northern Nigeria are killed or attacked and to disparage Islam and reawaken the propagandistic “Islamic Agenda” but look the other way in silence when such occurs, and is suspected to be masterminded by individuals believed to be “Christians.” Or should it be taken that Church Leaders are not pained by the killing of Christians by fellow “Christians” as much as they are when their members are killed by non-members?

It is worthy of note that there are evil men hovering all over the country looking for who to devour and take advantage of. It will therefore, be out of place to be more concerned about the religious, cultural or geographical identity of those who perpetuate evil above the need to ensure that the dignity of human life is respected irrespective of the religious believe of the attacked or attacker.

Azige, Louis Machue
azigelouis@gmail.com

Hawks On The Prowl Of El-Rufai Again, By Mukhtar Maigamo

In the past few days, the Nigerian space is abuzzed with commentaries about how Aisha Alhassan,  the minister of women affairs was caught fraternizing with Atiku Abubakar; an open-secret of how she’s two-timing Mr President. Unsurprisingly, as the commentaries fly, it became more frenzied when the governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir Elrufai added his voice on the matter.
It has since then opened a cannon of invectives, mudslinging and all sorts of ad hominem against the character and personality of Elrufai. It has taken this dimension only because some forces who are nursing the ambition of becoming president, which we shall see shortly, have considered Elrufai as their stumbling block; of course because of the fact that he is the foremost blue-eyed boy of president Buhari.
Also structuring the genealogy of their cohorts-who joined the fray of casting aspersions against Elrufai, there are PDPs, Jonathanians Shiites, crypto-Shiites who have axes to grind with the governor.
This particular minister’s incident has provided a leeway for these elements to latch Elrufai with crossbows-front, back, left, right and center with manufactured innuendoes and outright lies. The hawks have now bare their fangs with their hired social media goons to the extent of fabricating fake news about the  whereabouts of Chibok girls  in the name of the Minister as a response to El-rufai. (The minister has disassociated herself with the fake news though)
Even more despicable, the hired goons have gone to the extent of dusting off a statement once made by Elrufai against GMB and IBB then and are now masturbating over it as a revisionism of sort.
For the umpteenth times the governor provided an explanation as a counter to what revisionists are dancing on now. Thus “..this statement has been quoted by the Jonathan team repeatedly to established my position about Buhari as if I could not change my views based on new facts, information or emerging circumstance.
When circumstances led to Buhari and I having to work together, we discussed these instances of misunderstanding, appreciated that what we had in common was bigger than these incidents, and moved on in the interest of the country and never looked back” (The Accidental Public servant- page 450 )
  But one wonders as to why the hates on Elrufai? The reasons are not far-fetched
One, as I said earlier on, Elrufai today is no doubt one of the foremost faire-haired boys of president Buhari, a  fact never hide by the president himself. That’s expectedly not going down well with many elements who are lurking to get the lever of that presidential seat. They are seeing Elrufai as their roadblock hence that explains all the sustained campaign of calumny against him.
Two, there is a tendency that if you placed Elrufai on anything he will excel even to the chagrin of many. He is naturally good, a man of convulsive industry, with unrivalled capacity for work and mastery of schematic complexities of all the things that come his way. This fact is too obvious looking at his past accomplishments, for example how he met FCT and how he later on transformed it into an imposing edifice, and how he is transforming Kaduna state against all odds, especially against the bashings of Ultraconservatives.
As opined by Chief Joop Berkhout that  “Mallam Elrufai is a courageous, committed and daring man, a capable leader who made things happen even against all odds.” Also “In getting to know Nasir, I have gotten to know an exceedingly courageous, inherently honest, highly intelligent, extremely loyal and above all a God fearing man” says Pastor Tunde Bakare. A man of such stamp is bound to attract enemies and frenemies.
Elrufai has a congenital inability to be “politically correct”, he is known to be frank and never mince word about any topical issue and about what he believes in.  He is an incorruptible servant of truth.
One of the tragic tales of the Nigerian condition is the dearth of many Elrufais as key players in our politics and political systems who will take a thankless task of leadership as a means of serving the humanity. Demagogues, rabble-rousers and desperate moneybags have taken over the space.
They are out to enervate Elrufai with all their stockpiled arsenals. They are doing it through their hired goons; with propaganda and lies as part of a ploy to distract him on the good works he is doing. But he is unperturbed, he never respond to their rants, he is impervious to all the devilish campaign. He is more of the Oak than the Willow
Mukhtar Garba Maigamo is a Public Affairs Analyst from Kaduna State

Nigerian Unity, IPOB And The Use Of Military Force, By Inibehe Effiong

There is an ongoing judicial process against the self-acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu. Once a dispute has been submitted to a court of competent jurisdiction for determination, parties cannot go behind the court to settle the dispute, save for an out of court settlement between the disputing parties.

The Federal Government has the right to seek the revocation of the bail of Nnamdi Kanu as it has done. The trial Court is empowered by Sections 169 and 184 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 to reconsider and revoke his bail, and issue a bench warrant for his arrest if it is shown that he has breached the terms of his bail.

If Nnamdi Kanu has committed further offences during the pendency of the subsisting criminal charges against him at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the federal government as the prosecution is at liberty to either amend the existing information (charge) to incorporate the new offences by increasing the counts or to file a fresh charge against Kanu.

We should not foreclose dialogue as a panacea to resolving the Biafran agitation. This agitation is symptomatic of fundamental defects in the Nigerian state. We cannot solve our structural and existential problems by denying their existence.

Before you castigate and or deride me for advocating for dialogue as a panacea to resolving the Biafran agitation, keep sentiments first and reason objectively. Some of us cannot be bullied.

People have said that Nnamdi Kanu is not above the law. That is correct. Nobody is or should be above the law. However, I am appalled by our selective insistence on the application of the Rule of Law.

President Buhari has consistently disobeyed valid and subsisting court orders. You cannot use lawlessness and impunity as weapons for fighting criminal activities and insurrection.

Where is the Rule of Law in the case of the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA)? Why has the government refused to arrest and prosecute the Northern youths who issued quit notice to Igbos to leave the North?

The right to self-determination is recognised under the United Nations Charter and by the international community. Let’s stop deluding ourselves about an elusive unity of the Nigerian republic which only exists on paper.

It is primitive arrogance for any enlightened person to assert that the “unity” of Nigeria is non-negotiable. Which unity are we talking about? Is it the unity between the Northerners and the Southerners or between Christians and Muslims?

How many of the apostles of unity, including President Buhari, have by their actions and words, demonstrated love for Nigeria as one nation and their fellow citizens without bias and prejudice? Are we no longer loyal to our different ethnic, tribal and religious groups?

Hypocrisy is a serious problem in Nigeria.

Nigeria was created by the colonial masters for their self-fish economic interests. We need to sit down and discuss the best ways to live in peace and harmony with one another based on mutual respect, justice and equity.

I will never support the break-up of Nigeria. I see our diversity as our strength. Those who have followed my commentaries on social media closely will attest to the fact that I do not have any modicum of sympathy for Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB.

However, we cannot pretend that Nigeria as at today is united.

The United Kingdom that founded Nigeria recently held a referendum for the Scottish people of that country to determine whether they wished to remain in the union. In that same country, citizens recently voted in a referendum to quit the European Union (EU).

That is the country that gave birth to Nigeria. Yet, we are here attacking and insulting those who call for negotiation of the terms of our togetherness.

The Constitution is a document which can always be altered to reflect the needs of the people.

Before you advocate for the use of military force in the resolution of the Biafran agitation, remember Zaki Ibiam and Odi. Force never quelled the Niger Delta agitation. Our military have not been impressive in abiding by the rules of engagement.

If Kanu or any IPOB member is caught using firearms to fight for a Biafran nation, let the law take its course. But do not deploy armored tanks and soldiers to fight and kill peaceful protesters whose views we do not have to agree with.

Thank you.

Email: inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

The Broken Woman: Last resolve, By Blossom Obi |@BlossomObi3

“Nothing is certain so if you’re not sure always prepare for your day of reckoning”. Cynthia started, as she talked with her friend Jane.

‘’If you feel there’s nothing more left for you, you need to ask yourself if this is what you want to be known for. When your name springs up what follows it, you get to decide that, it might not seem so but trust me it’s the shit. The choice is yours nobody else’s’’.

Jane stared at her friend as if she was actually thinking on the words; it didn’t sink because to her there weren’t any choices, just one.

My mum was single handedly raising my siblings and I, since my dad passed owing to a sickness that couldn’t be traced while it ate his organs slowly, till he dried from inside out. It was the last wrap of the semester for me, I would be a graduate, facing the real world. My only dream was to support my mum in raising my younger ones.

As soon as my exams where done I began my hunt for a job, that would offer a reasonable fee, which will be used in saving up for my clearance and also little help at home.

“Azuchala m gi” (I’m done training you) mother yelled as she reluctantly gave me money for transport on another search.

I moved from one place to another submitting an application letter where required. It was late in the afternoon, a little boy who hawked water on the road was almost hit by a speeding vehicle while trying to make a sale with a passenger on another vehicle, causing a commotion which slowly died down as the mother of the boy retrieved him shouting; “Wale” and began yelling in their native tongue.

By this time my stomach began to remind me that nothing had been put inside of it. I brought out some money I had saved up by trekking some distance, I found a store that looked like a mini-mart, containing an individual’s most pressing need close to the one owned by wale’s mother. I bought a cold drink and a snack to go with it, as I sat on a plastic chair in the store.

A car pulled up in front of the store, a girl came down wanting to buy recharge card, her voice sounded familiar so I lifted my head to catch a glimpse of her.

“Cynthia” I yelled opening my arms in excitement, as she rushed into them. ‘’What are you doing here?”, She asked letting go of the embrace.

“You’re flexing na I can see”, Cynthia continued staring at the empty coke bottle. Life as a graduate.

“Abeg no dey whine person, see as I dey” I answered drawing Cynthia’s attention to my already visible stressed face.

“Omo babe see as you ‘frosh’” I continued.

“Which one be ‘frosh’ this girl’’ Cynthia said laughing.

“I just formulate am for you just now, your looks dey give me grammatical inspiration’’ I said.
As we both laughed heartily.

‘’Babe wait abeg’’ she said moving towards the car, picked her hand bag, said something to the driver and waved as he drove off.

“She was definitely showing me the ropes” I said to myself, as she rushed back to meet me.

“My siblings are in a good school, my mom owns a supermarket and we also own a flat thanks to my new job, at least that’s what my mum thinks”.

Cynthia took me to a party where I met Ifeoma and Prisca who were lesbians, they were so rich they didn’t know what to do with money. So it was spent on traveling, shoes, bags and anything or anyone who caught their fancy. Which I did, both of them wanted me but wouldn’t share, so I was a priced property going for the highest bidder.

‘’I didn’t have much choice, my family needed the money and these people didn’t know what to do with it’’ I consoled myself as Ifeoma drove me home.

Months had stretched into years, Cynthia was no longer with us she’s married with two kids. Although I was the only one amongst others she would allow to visit. Once in a while she would invite me for different summits, church and otherwise.

Ifeoma had left me for a billionaire white woman, no one knew exactly where Prisca was because anytime she called she was in one country or the other.

“I want to stop this” I told Cynthia in one of the visits. Her eyes beamed with joy as if she had won a lottery ticket.

“But I don’t know how to” I said staring at her. It didn’t even change her countenance, she was still very glad.

“It’s like an addiction’’, I continued ‘’I tried stopping and I thought I was going to go crazy’’.

“It’s simple”, she said.

“Get a new addiction, she said and I starred at her as if I was actually seeing the words she said.

“When you’re about to go crazy do something you love and also can’t do without”. I rolled my eyes, as I said ‘’she had no idea’’ in my mind. That was when I remembered she used to be me.

The Warrior in you
Having an addiction can be controversial and intense because you really don’t know how to go about it. You are very shy to talk about it or probably be denial.  Here’s the thing, you must come to terms with what you’re feeling and know that there’s a way out. Without darkness we won’t appreciate the beauty of light. Let the warrior in you rise to light the way through; the light shinned in darkness and the darkness could not comprehend it, because it was defeated.

Blossom Obi writes from Owerri, Imo State. For comments and responses, reach her via obiblossom8@gmail.com

Deconstruction: The Incestuous Relationship Of Adamawa And Aisha Alhassan, By Otunba Ilemobade

It is absurd to seek meaning, justification and clarification for political engagements outside the purview of supporting institutional framework if and when individuals seeking meaning are active participants who have played significant roles in institutionalization processes, this is because before institutionalization critical and fundamental questions should have be raised during the sketching of the architecture of significance and if genuine answers or resolutions coherent with those individuals concern were not provided they should have stopped forthwith rather than muddling along the rough path as a disservice to their inner convictions.

The above reflection is an ongoing process of questioning Abubakar Atiku and Aisha Alhassan impossibility constructed on the nebulous idea that come 2019 Muhammudu Buhari would not contest as a Presidential candidate of @APCNigeria or that Abubakar Atiku would be the preferred candidate for the Presidency in the event that the incumbent bow-out of the Presidential contestation.

It is common knowledge that aggreived agents and former supporters of institutionalization within a political party who have deconstructionist appetite and seeking a Pyrrhic victory would do anything to interrogate the nexus and relationship of their association within political engagements that are not serving their desired selfish economic and political interest. Therefore, nobody should be surprised by the political coup d’état machinated against Muhammudu Buhari by Aisha Alhassan.

In Yorubaland we have a proverb that says, “Ti owo eni oba ti te eku Ida a o le bere iku to pa baba eni.” (Until you are able to get the sword handle, you do not and cannot demand to know who is responsible for the death of your father.) Abubakar Atiku and Aisha Alhassan are jumping the gun of political engagements by interrogating incumbent authority with their unbridled disloyalty, mischief and treachery pre-2019 election.

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”- Marcus Tullius Cicero

We have a traitor within and some people said that she is courageous but I am of the opinion that she is courageously stupid. Aisha Alhassan is like Aldrich Hazen Ames a CIA agent who betrayed at least 12 of the best secret service agents working for the United States of America and the same scenario is playing out in the cabinet of President Muhammudu Buhari with Abubakar Atiku spy delivering an increasingly sensitive commentary on President Muhammudu Buhari in a deliberate attempt to murder the ambition of the President pre-2019 election.

It is meaningless and most dishonest to present misbehaviour, treachery as courageous and to be minimalistic about the “truth” by denying the externality of reference in respect of the grand plans by those corrupt elements outside government like Atiku Abubakar (THE ROBISON CRUSOE OF ADAMAWA) et al who are not happy that they cannot manipulate the system anymore for their self enrichment at the expense of the citizenry.

I have been sidelined cried Abubakar Atiku in a statement on the Hausa Service of the Voice of America and I wonder who is sidelining  (THE ROBISON CRUSOE OF ADAMAWA) this is an example of many indecorous and un-statemanlike statements from Abubakar Atiku misleading the populace at every opportunity he has to make political statements.

However, Atiku Abubakar and Aisha Alhassan incestous relationship in terms of the presentation of jaundiced commentary should not be used to silence their freedom of opinion rather BUHARISTS in government must close ranks to seek an endpoint to the traitors within nebulous construction.

A hunter with only one arrow does not shoot carelessly. The Buharists must shoot with accuracy because a close friend has become a close enemy.

OTUNBA ADE ILEMOBADE IS A PHILOSOPHER

TWITTER: @PEARL2PRINCE

Wanted: A Restructuring Of Minds, By Femi Adesina

Hearing some Nigerians speak (whether based at home or in the Diaspora) you discern that they are “in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” They spew out things that give them away as “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones.”

What happened to grace? Where did decency disappear to? Are words not to be seasoned with salt again? What has happened to us as a people? The more rotten, the better, it seems. The fouler and odoriferous the cesspit, the more attractive, followed by applause. That seems to be the philosophy of some people today, and it doesn’t matter who they are. High or low. But we cannot continue that way, if we want to be acceptable to God, and to our fellow human beings. National development does not come by a sudden flight. You work at it.

The sing-song in the country today is restructuring of the polity. We want more states. We want a return to regional structure. We want a revision of the revenue allocation formula. We want six vice presidents, one from each geo-political zone. We want those zones to be the federating units, rather than the states. And so on, and so forth.

In fact, so loud is the cacophony of voices over restructuring that if you ask 100 people what they mean, they give you 100 different explanations. But as a country, I believe we will get there someday. And soon.

However, is political restructuring the most urgent thing Nigeria needs now? I don’t think so. For me, what is more urgent is the restructuring of the Nigerian mind. A mind that sees the country as one, that believes that we have a future and a hope, that believes that we are one people under God. But what we see now is ruinous for any country. It is hemlock, bound to poison the entire polity, and send it to a premature perdition.

On Tuesday, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that we had exited from economic recession. It was cheery news for majority of Nigerians, save for those in the gall of bitterness. They spat in the sky, and collected the spittle with their faces. Who gave Nigeria the permission to exit recession? Who gave her the audacity of hope? How can the economy attempt to rebound, when it should sink deeper and deeper into the miry clay? They were in the doldrums, unhappy because good news came for the country. In their befuddled minds, Nigeria must never see a silver lining in the sky. The ravening clouds must ever remain victorious, must forever possess the sky, simply because of primordial reasons. The party in power is not my own, so why should Nigeria make progress under it? The President in office was not the one I voted for, so why should he succeed? He does not speak my language, he is not of my religion or ethnic stock, so why must Nigeria prosper under him? They, therefore, throw all sorts of tantrums, like a child whose lollipop is taken away, and attempt to rubbish the news on exit from recession. And those same people would canvass for a restructuring of the polity. Big mistake. Wrong priority. They need to have their minds restructured first, so that they have goodwill towards their own country, and towards all men. Left to them, they wish that when NBS releases results for the next quarter, Nigeria should have gone back into recession. Filthy dreamers! Awful imaginations! They need a restructuring of their minds, and quickly, too.

Some people spend their lifetime expecting thunderstorms and hurricanes, so they never enjoy showers of blessing. Their addled minds expect negative news, so they never enjoy good tidings. They are the type that swallow poison, and then begin to hope that it will kill the person next door.  Restructuring, restructuring, that is what such minds need.

Chase after him. If you catch up with him, kill him. If he outruns you, poison his footsteps. That is the chant in most parts of the country today. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Hate has become their natural language. When they speak hateful words, they speak their native language, their mother tongue. Don’t mid the elevated offices they occupy now, or which they have occupied in the past. They are in the throes, in the paroxysms of bitterness. Only a restructuring of the mind can save them. My dear senior friend, Ikemba Obosima, from Imo State, has good counsel for them, in a text message he sent to one of them recently, which he copied me:”Pain will follow him who speaks or acts with evil thoughts, as does the wheel of the foot of him who draws the cart. He is greater man who conquers self than he who kills a thousand men in war…Love will purify the heart of him who is beloved as truly as it purifies the heart of he who loves.” But will they listen? If they have not danced too far, and have not become like the dog fated to get lost, which refuses to hear the whistle of the hunter. Let them return home, to sanity.

The National Bureau of Statistics announced our descent into recession. They embraced the news, almost with sickening glee. Now, the same agency has announced exit, and they begin to question its impartiality. What kind of people are they? They want to hear only bad news? May their minds be restructured, lest bad news dog their footsteps. Malediction?  Am I cursing anybody? Not at all. Just a warning, and a call to new attitude, new thoughts, new conduct. The things we expect have a way of coming upon us. Ask the biblical Job. “What I feared has come upon me. What I dreaded has happened to me.”(Job 3:25).

One of the characteristics of a hateful mind is that it conjures a lot of mischief, and purveys same as truth. And the gullible laps it up. During the health challenge of our dear President, a thing common to any mortal, big or small, of high or low estate, they filled the land with evil tidings. Oh, he is on life support machine. No, he is dead and long buried. He will never return to that office, I swear. And then, God did what He knows how to do best. He showed the Deus ex machina, His Invisible Hands. Now, the reputation of those people is hanging on life support. If only men would restructure their minds!

President Buhari says exit from recession is cheery news, but until the life of the average Nigerian is positively touched by the economy, he doesn’t consider the job done. Very good. Even the NBS, which brought the good news, says the economy is still fragile, and the good work must continue, so that we don’t slide back. That is exactly what this government would do. That is the motive behind the ERGP (Economic Reconstruction and Growth Plan). So, let nobody be filled with diabolic thoughts. Government does not feel it is there yet. Action stations! All hands on deck.

A final word for haters, wailers, purveyors of fake news, or whatever you choose to call them. Evil minds wax worse and worse. A hater would envy others unnecessarily. He would conjure evil thoughts that would poison his system. He would manifest all sorts of negative tendencies that turn him into a proper child of the Devil. And at the end of it all, his master welcomes him home with open arms. “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” (Dante’s Inferno). And there will be plenty weeping, and gnashing of teeth.

Adesina is special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

Youth Unemployment: Triggers, Consequences And The Anti-Corruption Crusade, By Celestine Okeke

According to data from the Nigeria bureau of statistics, unemployment in Nigeria stood at its highest rate in 2017, rising from 10.4% in 2010 to 14.2% in last quarter of 2016 with 3.5-11.55m people unemployed within same period

According to an NBS survey, Nigerians aged 15-35 are worse hit by the unemployment challenge. Youth Unemployment is known to have the potential of posing security threats as youths readily become willing tools for a variety of criminal activities as is evident in the continuing rise in crime and criminality in Nigeria.

The Nigerian government has rolled out a couple of interventions in the last decade, these interventions ranging from economic policies to launch of funding initiatives targeting small business owners, while on the surface these policies and interventions promise so much, research has revealed that if anything, they have continued to add to the problem as the policies are either lacking in depth and ability to address the challenge and or have become conduit pipes for government officials.

The Central Bank of Nigeria in August 2013 launched the 220bn MSMEDF (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Fund), the fund was at its launch, thought out to help small business owners access capital for their enterprises at single digits and at some point, the bank went into what has now become an unholy alliance with state governments, with a view to using the state governments to on-lend to small business across Nigeria.

CBN made provisions for state governments’/ governors’ and the FCT to borrow a maximum of 2bn for on-lending to small businesses in their states and as expected, several state governments applied for the fund, such that by May 2015, a total of 24 states had gotten a total of over 39bn from the CBN, curiously, several of the benefiting states got their disbursements between 30-60 days from the end of their tenure of office in 2015, one of such states was Jigawa state, under the leadership of Sule Lamido.

Jigawa state government received 2bn on 19th March 2015 from CBN after initial refusal to access the fund with claims that the interest component of the fund was unacceptable to his faith, interestingly, upon receipt of the fund, there was no known disbursement to any small business neither was there any known statement from the state government to the effect that it has received the fund.

When the present administration came into office in May 2015, the governor raised an allegation to the effect that Sule Lamido’s administration diverted the fund made available to the state by the CBN and promised to investigate and get to the root of the matter, but as was the case in several other states, 2years after, nothing has been heard of the much talked about investigation(s).

Independent review of the disbursements from the fund to state governments’ by the CBN revealed that there is no record existing anywhere of the end beneficiaries’ of the funds disbursed to 24 state governments’, this is not only peculiar to the CBN 220bn MSMEDF, it has remained the practice with funding interventions from the Nigerian government.

We call on the Jigawa state government to make public, the findings of the investigation into what happened to the CBN MSMEDF fund it received in March 2015, we also call on Sule Lamido to in good faith, make public, how he disbursed the fund to small businesses in the state and the CBN to make public in line with the guideline of the fund, details of end beneficiaries of the over 39bn it disbursed to 24 state governments as at May 201.

Celestine Okeke

Lead Partner, MSME-ASI

Celestine@msme-asi.org

 

Benue Flood: Handy Tips For Nigerians To Motivate Flood Disasters, By Ali Faagba

Climate change is real — and it’s already taking its toll on our planet.
On August 29, 2017, an epic natural disaster hit some part of Houston in America, killing about 30 people, according to a report by New York Times. Experts say another troubling storm is underway to befall another region. While the US government and her people are still trying to figure out how best to deal with the damages left behind by the catastrophe, another swathe of land was ravaged by heavy flood in Nigeria, Markudi area of Benue state precisely.
Like many parts of the world, flooding is not a stranger to Nigeria. One of the deadliest flooding occurred in the year 2012. The flooding that occurred separately in Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau and Benue states affected 7 million people. According to NEMA, 363 died and more than two million were displaced. This year again, Nigerian government had warned of severe flooding which might affect 30 states.
In this article I look into what ordinary Nigerians should do before and after flooding:
Flood watch:  Nigerians should try to always watch out for flooding possibilities. This can be achieved by constantly keeping to Radio, TV and the Newspaper.
Taking warning very serious:  gladly, there is usually a warning from the experts ahead of flooding. Instead of considering the God factor which is usually the commonest denomination for avoidable accidents, it must be borne in mind that God has helped us with the emergence of technology. People living in area prone to flooding must be willing to evacuate that area for the time being. Don’t forget to pray though.
Preparing all mechanisms of emergency evacuation:  since we are in a country where emergency response is very poor, we must always be prepared ahead of troubles in case help doesn’t come on time. This can be done- in a case of flooding- by mastering an alternative route, by getting rides set, having basic medications around in case of any accidents and keeping contact with families and friends.
Get your mosquito net ready: this goes for any kind of anti-mosquito you can lay your fingers on.
After the flooding:
Avoid any contact with electricity: yes. And this includes any object that can contact electricity, like water or iron.
Don’t pick anything from the debris or pole until the area is dry and safe.
Steer clear of muddy roads: those roads can be deadlier than you think. In case there is an emergency and there is no other road, remember not to use your two legs to test a river’s depth.
Avoid rodents and insects: at a time of Lassa fever and Ebola, need I say more? Try and be at a safer side.
Don’t step into the water: that may be detrimental to your life due to possibility of many deadly animals and parasites in the water.
Prevent anything that can lead to fire outbreak: this is important at all time and even more important when you have no escape route and help won’t come easily.
Avoid getting exhausted: you obviously can’t afford to lose conscious at this time, can you?
Try to be safe always. Your life matters.
Ali Faagba

Stephen Odey: The GTBank Seed That Is Growing Into An Oak, By Adekunle Olushola

Every season, the Nigerian Professional football League (NPFL) pitches a new star. Stephen Odey of MFM FC is the man of the moment for the year 2017.

His striking form, which has left opposing teams in tears and sorrow, has placed MFM FC as a major contender among the possible league leaders and has earned them a continental ticket next year.

The sudden resurgence of the club appears to be tied to the magical boots of Stephen Odey whose goal count hits 18. This striker did not just drop from the moon, he is a product of the GTBank Principals Cup, a grass root football development programme of Guaranty Trust Bank.

Steven played in the second edition of GTBank-Lagos State Principals Cup where he was the captain of the winning Dairy Farm Senior Secondary School, Agege. He also topped the list of the GTBank 13-man All Star Team of the Year. It is therefore no surprise that the little mustard seed is fast growing into an oak.

In January 2017, Stephen received the NPFL Bloggers’ Award as the most valuable player of the month. Also, in the current season, he was the first player to score a hat trick among over 200 players in the league.

He scored five goals for the MFM FC in the 2015 season of the Nigeria National League, helping the club to gain promotion into the elite Nigeria Professional Football League. In the Season 2015/16, he scored 9 goals to become his club’s top scorer. In the current season, he has scored a total of 18 goals.

In some instances, 14 goals was what some players scored to emerge the top scorers for the entire season. In the days leading to the last friendly match the Super Eagles had in London, March this year, Odey’s name kept coming up as a domestic league player who should have been employed for the Super Eagles’ assignments. However, his exploit led to his invitation to the Super Eagles CHAN Team double header qualifiers against Benin Republic in August.

The former school boy sensation in the GTBank Principals Cup has a big burden on his neck. He will have to prove that unlike the ‘kings’ before him, he will not be a one season sensation.

Stephen’s impressive performance has now led him to signing a four year contract with Swiss club-FC Zurich, this may not be a big surprise considering the GTBank football tournaments growing profile of football future stars.

The 18-goal mark he set in 36 matches is even higher than what most of his predecessors scored in the entire 38-match seasons in the past.

Consider the goal-chart below:

Past Top Scorers of Nigerian League

 

  • 1990-Ishaya Jatau (Iwuanyanwu Nationale), 17 goals
  • 1991-Richard Ojomo (Bendel United), 12 goals
  • 1992-Arthur Moses (Super Stores), 10 goals
  • 1993-Tony Nwigwe (Iwuanyanwu Nationale), 13 goals
  • 1994-Olumide Harris (Shooting Stars), 14 goals
  • 1995-Ben Agadah (Gombe United), 12 goals
  • 1996-Peter Anyiolobi (Enyimba), 9 goals
  • 1997-Paul Kpoughoul (Jasper United/BCC Lions), 16 goals
  • 1998-Hassan Minda (Gombe United), 14goals
  • 1999-Emmanuel Agbo (Iwuanyanwu Nationale), 14 goals
  • 2000-Peter Ijeh (Julius Berger), 14 goals
  • 2001-Uche Okereke (Enugu Rangers), 13 goals
  • 2002-Joetex Frimpong (El-Kanemi), Victor Ezeji (Dolphins), 16 goals
  • 2003-Chibuzor Ozurumba (Iwuanyanwu), Endurance Idahor (Julius Berger) 12 goals each
  • 2004-Kabiru Alausa (Berger), 13 goals
  • 2005-Timothy Anjembe (Lobi Stars), Joseph Akpala (Insurance), Charles Omokaro (Sharks), 12 goals each
  • 2006 -Ibenebu Ikechukwu (El Kanemi), 10 goals
  • 2007 – Ameh Aruwa (Kaduna United), 10 goals
  • 2007/2008 – Abubakar Babale (Wikki Tourist/Sunshine Stars), 14 goals
  • 2008/2009 – Akarandut Orok (Akwa United), 17 goals
  • 2009/2010 – Ahmed Musa (Kano Pillars), 18 goals.
  • 2010/2011 – Jude Aneke (Kaduna United), 20 goals
  • 2011/2012 – Sibi Gwar (Niger United), 17 goals.
    2012/2013 – Victor Namo (Nasarawa United) 18 goals.
  • 2013/2014 – Mfoh Udoh ( Enyimba) 23 goals

 

Between Late Dora Akunyili And Jummai Alhassan, By Babayola Toungo

In the year of our lord 2010, while the late president Umaru ‘Yar Adu’a was fighting for his life, the late Dora Akunyili moved that he be declared permanently incapacitated and therefore not capable of continuing as the president of Nigeria.  And so was it moved.

This paved the way for the Senate to invoke what came to be known as the “doctrine of necessity” which in turn catapulted the then dovish Goodluck Jonathan to the office of president as acting president.  The late Akunyili was then a Minister in ‘Yar Adu’a’s cabinet.

History, in a different form is repeating itself right in front of our eyes.  Jonathan and his supporters played the ‘victim’ card and Nigerians fell for the scam and we are still paying the price.  Lest I be misunderstood, making Jonathan the acting president was the only legal thing to do.  What I wasn’t (and still isn’t) comfortable with is the ‘victim’ angle.

Going through the Daily Trust newspaper of September 7th, 2017 I came across a reincarnation of the ‘victim’ angle where former vice president Atiku Abubakar alleged in an interview with the Voice of America Hausa Service that he is sidelined in the APC.

The interview came at about the same time a video clip of one of Buhari’s cabinet members, the Minister of Women affairs, Hajiya Jummai Alhassan was seen telling Atiku “…our president 2019..”, went viral.  I wondered aloud to a friend, could it be coincidental or is it that we are seeing a remake of the Akunyili – Jonathan episode?  The storyline may just have been tweaked to change the characters but the goal appears to be the same.  Buhari is to be presented as a sick, old man who may not be in a position to lead anymore.  ‘

By this Buhari, will be presented as senile and if for any reason he may be entertaining the thought of contesting in 2019, he should perish the thought.  I am yet to know of Buhari’s plan beyond 2019 so why are people who are supposedly close to him jumping the gun?  To force his hands, of course.

With his ‘I have been sidelined’ interview, Atiku is trying to play on our collective intelligence.  If my memory serves me right, Atiku has never been “in-line” in the APC.  He hedged his bets and lost.  Their nocturnal meeting with Jonathan in the heat of the 2015 campaign is still fresh in our minds.  That was when his company, INTELS was given the exclusive rights on oil and gas cargo in all our seaports.  Now that the Nigeria Ports Authority is reviewing this patently lopsided concession, Atiku is sidelined.

Again if my memory serves me right, I cannot remember seeing Atiku throughout the campaign period and as a matter of fact he granted an interview to the BBC the morning after the Jonathan visit telling the world that no one invited him for a campaign.  Meanwhile, he forgot that as the campaign coordinator for the north, he was the one to have issued invitations.

At that time, he thought he could run with the hares and hunt with the dogs. Playing the victim paid off for Jonathan because he was the sitting vice president and constitutionally in line to take over from ‘Yar Adu’a.  Nigerians will not succumb to the same scam twice.  This promissory note has expired.

I am sure most people remember Tinubu’s ubiquitousness throughout the duration of the struggle.  Tinubu’s plane was the vehicle used by candidate Buhari to crisscross the country; whatever your views on Tinubu, you cannot take away the fact that he is the lord of the political manor.  Tinubu’s political machine in the west and Buhari’s unparalleled popularity in the north made it possible for the APC to dislodge Jonathan and his eastern block plus his sprinkling of supporters in the north like Jerry Gana, Atiku Abubakar, Ameh Ebute et al.

Which money and contacts is Atiku talking about when he claimed that his contacts and money was what made it possible for Buhari to win the elections.  I want to give two instances of the depth of Atiku’s contacts and money in today’s Nigeria.  Right in his political backyard – Adamawa – Atiku presented a candidate twice for gubernatorial primaries, and twice the candidate was rejected.  And lest you forget, Kwankwaso, former governor of provincial Kano state at the APC presidential primaries, trounced Atiku.

I say provincial Kano state just to emphasise how down the ladder Atiku is in terms of contacts.  Despite the large amount of money expended by the ex vice president, and despite his supposed exposure at the national level as vice president, Kwankwaso floored him.  So which contacts is he talking about?

My advice to the former vice president is to concentrate on his new traditional title of Waziri  Adamawa.  His political fortune went up in flames long ago since 2003; whatever value he thinks he still has in politics cannot be heavier than one ballot box.

As for Hajiya Alhassan, she will be well advised to resign her appointment and go be the campaign director general to Atiku.  There is no shame in that.  Just bear in mind how Akunyili was treated the moment Jonathan was effectively in charge – she was shoved aside for the likes of Diezeni. President Buhari is too much of a gentleman to sack you for such trivial outing.  It appears you are deliberately goading the hawks around the president to cause for her sack.  My appeal to them is to be mature enough to disregard her puerile  rant.  Please don’t make her a heroine.

Between Abubakar Malami And The Ohaneze Stand On Kanu By Aliyu Abdullahi

Nnamdi Kanu, the self acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is on trial for the offence of Treason and Treasonable Felony among other offences. He was granted bail with conditions attached which he has since flouted and continues to do on daily basis. The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) being the Chief Law officer of the Federation is responsible for the prosecution of Nnamdi Kanu. The AGF is within his Constitutional duties to request the Court to revoke the bail earlier given to Kanu, and this action will in no way be categorized as an attempt to violate Kanu’s fundamental rights as posited by the Ohaneze Leader, Chief Nwodo, when he granted a press interview recently. 

Fundamental Human Rights Guarantees as enshrined in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are not without qualifications. Section 45 is a derogatory provision which qualified all the Rights as subject to the overall interest of Public Peace & Order, Security & Health. In addition to that, where a person is facing a criminal trial, he cannot claim the guarantee of his Personal Liberty. The relevant security agencies can apprehend a person on suspicion of committing an offence as well as under the orders of a court of law whether for a fresh offence or in pursuit of a bench warrant for flouting bail conditions, all these will not be in violation of a Person’s Right.

In fact, the office of the AGF as the Prosecutor will be failing in its responsibilities if it were to leave Nnamdi Kanu to continue flouting his bail conditions without drawing the attention of the Court through a request for revocation of the bail. This will also set a bad precedence for any person on conditional bail, for there are no two sets of different laws for persons standing trial in Nigeria, and nobody should be above the law no matter how highly placed a person is or how much support he enjoys from the rest of the Country. To allow that will be tantamount to an invitation of anarchy in the Country.

There is also the allegation of bias and double standard on the part of the AGF by the Ohaneze Leader, Chief Nwodo for the inability of the Federal Government to arrest the “Coalition of Arewa Youth” that issued a quit notice for Igbos residing in the North to vacate the region before October 1st 2017. The Group has since rescinded its notice; nevertheless, I will offer a legal analysis on the action. 

First, it must be noted that the two cases are not the same either in magnitude or in procedural handling. Nnamdi Kanu was already on trial for clear offences of Treason, and the AGF was prosecuting him. The Arewa Youth on the other hand were not on trial. They also were smart in their action from the get go, treading a careful thin line between an overt action that can be termed as a crime to that of an advisory position to the Federal Government, I suspect this may not be unconnected to the reason why they were not arrested and prosecuted in the first place. 

For any person to be prosecuted for his actions or omission, the action must be clearly defined as an “offence” written as a law and its punishment prescribed thereto, hence the latin maxim “Nulla Poena Sina Lege”. This is not in any way an excuse for their actions, but some actions can be morally reprehensible yet not criminal. Perhaps, they could have been arrested and prosecuted for conduct likely to breach Public Peace or for an offence of incitement to cause violent and intimidation acts, all of which are charges that any defence lawyer could easily debunk. Definitely, A Civil Action for claim under the Enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights could have been brought against them, and what relief could have been sought? An Order of Mandamus compelling them to rescind the quit notice.

So, to posit that the AGF was biased and has exhibited double standards for not prosecuting the Arewa Youth Group as a reason why the AGF should not pursue the revocation of Kanu Nnamdi’s bail for flouting the attached conditions is to whip up sentiments and almost tantamount to obstruction of justice by the Ohaneze Leader.

 The writer, Aliyu Abdullahi, is a Lawyer writes from Abuja

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