Africa’s Lake Chad Disappearance: A Wake of Violence by Alabede Surajdeen

Lake Chad basin that happens to be an endorheic lake is bordered by four different countries including Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria on the edge of the Sahara Desert. The name Chad is a local parlance meaning ‘a lake’ or ‘large expanse of water’. The primary inflow of this lake is from Chari River and empties its water into the Soro and Bandele depression. The Kanuri people are one of the earliest settlers around this lake in far northern Nigeria with fishing and farming as their major occupation. According to historians, Lake Chad Basin was the remnant of former inland sea, named paleolake Mega-Chad.

It was, however, considered by the Europeans in 1823 as one of the largest lakes in the world. But, ironically this lake has continued to shrink over the years due to shifting climate patterns according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Lake Chad Basin Commission. More so, an alarming increase in population and unsustainable human water usage are some of the factors responsible for this disappearance over time.

Coe and Foley in their article titled, ‘Human and natural impacts on the water resources of the Chad Basin’, stated that “according to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, Lake Chad shrank as much as 95% (25, 000km2 to less than 1,500km2) from about 1963 to 1998”. It is no gain saying that this unprecedented change was caused largely by overgrazing, which resulted in desertification, and decline in vegetation affect millions of dwellers, all of whom depend on the lake as their main source of livelihood. They rely on the lake for drinking, irrigation and feeding. This unabated shrinking led to the extinction of hundreds of species of animals that rally this region and also attests to the reality of climate change.

We should know and hold this singular fact in mind that when people’s source of livelihood is being threatened, crime and other social vices will become cheap and rampant. This gives credence to the battle of ownership experienced in the Chad Basin region. The Fulani herdsmen need it to feed their wandering cattle’s, the local farmers are not left out in their own quest for irrigation and the fishermen want it to stay in shape for hunting prey. This amongst many other things resulted into violence as to right of ownership. As if that is not enough, poverty, hunger and hatred will continue to spread like pandemic in this volatile region if government fails to restore hope. Boko Haram festered in this region for years because most of the inhabitants have lost their livelihood and wants a means of survival by hook or by crook.

Mahatma Gandhi could not have said it better when he opined that, “poverty is the worst form of violence”. Therefore, in order to forestall future occurrences of terror in this volatile region the government must swift into action by funding many programmes. There should be a project centered on Lake Chad’s reversal underlining a germane aspect of the climate change. The indigenes should be sensitized in their local parlance through their leaders in gatherings, seminars, symposium etc. on climate actions in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action). Skill acquisition and empowerment programs should be flagged through vocational centers so as to reduce poverty and avert violence of all forms in the future.

 

AlabedeSurajdeen is an environmentalist and SDGs advocate.

E-mail: alabedekayode@gmail.com

Twitter handle: @BabsSuraj

 

 

 

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The Role Of  Nigerian Youth In Nation Building By Alabede Surajdeen

The term nationalisation refers to a process whereby private assets are being transferred into public ownership by a national government with the sole aim of achieving economic stability, productivity and efficiency. As we all know that it is the responsibility of all citizens to promote nationalisation. Thus, the participation and involvement of youth in nationalisation is mandatory. In fact, youth play a vital role in nation building. Youth and nationalisation seems to be a nexus that cannot be separated if we want to achieve economic development.

Youth are the engine room of every nation. The similitude of the importance of youth to nation building could be likened to a car engine, without which, vehicles can’t move, so also without youth, a nation cannot thrive. The role of the youth in nation building is too relevant to be jettisoned – they serve as the back-bone of a society. They can make or mar a nation based on what is programmed in them. They are a feedback system because if they are well equipped and garnished with the best available resources, they give a positive outcome, but, if otherwise, negative outcome should be expected.

Nigerian youth are surely among the most talented and creative youths in the world. They are fast learners; they have the ability to work under pressure and bring out desired result for any organisation or institution. The role of Nigerian youth cannot be underestimated in nation building. Nigerian youths from time immemorial have been contributing their quota towards national development. The likes of Sir Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and Herbert Macaulay fought tooth and nail in their youthful days to deliver the political independence we all enjoy today as a nation.

It is only an insane man that will say Nigerian youths are not productive because there is practically no aspect of nature, physical or anthropological, material or human, complex diversity or undefined homogeneity, regional, international, academic or sport, Nigeria cannot boast of, even in religion or ethnicity. Name any field of learning you would not see a Nigerian youth renowned locally or internationally. Mention any aspect of living, good or bad, a Nigerian youth will not be actively and not passively recognised. There is nowhere in the world one would not see a Nigerian youth with the buzzing I-can-do spirit; In fact they drive the wheel of several countries in the world.

In the same vein, it is paramount to state that most of the monuments we celebrate in this nation today were put in place by the then military regime led by young productive minds and they still remain ever green in our hearts. The present day youth are still trying their best in making sure that the effort of their heroes past is not in vain.

It is important to state clearly that the civic role of every Nigerian youth in promoting nationalisation should dwell on these five concepts; patriotism, reading culture, critical reasoning, skill acquisition and policy making.

Foremost, patriotism is the first trait lacking in Nigerian youths. For any nation to move forward, the people and most especially the youth must love their country unconditionally. Love makes the world go round, it cherishes, it adores, and it brings about all the good things of life. All the evil that befall this country, like corruption, terrorism, ethno religious crisis are as a result of lack of patriotism. If we truly love this nation, we will do anything to protect her interest and we will have in mind that Nigeria is bigger than any individual or institution. Patriotism should reflect in our everyday life as Nigerian youth. If we are patriotic, we won’t give room for corruption and we will not loot the country’s treasury if we are opportune to occupy any political office.

It is when youth love their country with passion that they will want to live there and helping it in all ramifications to meet world standard and this will help to maintain a balance between Nigerian population and resources. That is, resources will be shared based on equity and not equality. Patriotism will build sense of belonging in every Nigerian youth, it will make them more emotionally concerned about their country and it makes them use their strength, intelligence and skill in the development of such nation. Nationalisation would be promoted if the youths are ready to bear the hardships and sufferings being witnessed in their country because it brings about willingness to forgo some of their personal interest for public interest and temporal gains for future ones.

More so, every Nigerian youth should know that there is no alternative to reading. The popular maxim good for illustration is “a reading nation is a leading nation”. It is quite disheartening that most Nigerian youth are lazy when it comes to reading and the few ones that read are reading for pleasure sake. It is when we wake the reading spirit in us that we will be self acquainted with the country’s history and we will not be able to repeat the mistakes of the past. It is only when we turn to a  reader that we will know what it takes to be a citizen of a country, the civic responsibility, our roles as a youth and the government roles in nation building. It is through reading that we can contribute to national issues and bring about world changing ideas.

Youth that read are always abreast of latest information, they will be able to tackle any challenges and they will be fully groomed to depend on their own.  It is also very important to state clear that one should try to sieve what to read as a youth because the type of books you read influence who you are, that is why late Chief Obafemi Awolowo made it known that “he who reads books especially the good ones will suffer intellectual mal-nutrition and attrition“. Parents should take it as a challenge in making sure that their wards learn new things before going to bed. We can only be the partners of today and leaders of tomorrow if we devour good books and become hungry for knowing more in making a difference in our society.

Furthermore, critical reasoning is the only tool that can be used by Nigerian youths in bringing about innovation and invention. As we all know that innovation refers to a new idea and the creation of such ideas brings about invention. John F. Kennedy was of the notion that we should always “think not of what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country”. Youths around the world are coming up with new ideas based on the ability to think in a critical manner and come up with something that can benefit the whole world.

A good example of such a youth is Mark Zuckerberg and his friend Eduardo Saverin, when they invented a social networking service called ‘Facebook’ which was launched in February 2014, when they were between the ages of nineteen and twenty. The world will forever remember this young computer programmers and internet entrepreneurs for their world changing innovation. I have no doubt in my mind that there are many Nigerian youths that can come up with quintessential innovations better than the ones the world have witnessed, which will bring about positive change to Nigeria, but, we should not forget that it is when we read that we will be able to think, critical thinking brings about good ideas and good ideas helps a country to thrive.

In continuation, it is apparent that unemployment is one of the major problems bedevilling this nation. Nigerian youths should start to depend less on government and start to acquire skills that will help put food on their table rather than waiting for white collar jobs. Skill acquisition and entrepreneurship such as sewing of clothes, weaving of hair, bead making, bag and shoe making et cetera will help in the growth and development of Nigeria because less stress will be on the government in providing employment opportunities. As youths, we should not wait for large capital before starting a business, we can start with the little we have, from where we are and move to a greater height of becoming a business mogul of our dream. Creativity is all that is needed to package our product and make it the best among its pears. We should start to be creative as a youth and look at things in different dimensions so as to bring out the best in them. If we can be smart, agile and intelligent youth, unemployment will be a thing of past in our dear country. Doing all this will not make us think otherwise and we won’t be idle because it is only a busy man that has a few idle visitors, to the boiling pot the flies comes not.

As if that is not enough, youth should also be engaged in policy making to make Nigeria a country to reckon with and become one of the super powers of the world. It is only when youth are giving the opportunity to participate in decision making process that we will have a better policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. The youth are also obligated to contribute their quota, views and ideas irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, religion and background. The sole reason they must be carried along is because they are the leaders of tomorrow and the supporters of today. It is only the youths that know what they want; how they want it and what they are going through, but if they are not part of the policy making team, how do we know what they are going through, their pains and the best way to tackle their problems.

As we all know that Nigerian youths are full of vibrant ideas, when adequately guided and properly motivated, they will channel every good thing they have upstairs in formulating good policy. Nigerian youths should erase the feeling that only the leaders and the elderly ones can formulate good policy. If they take it as a challenge and work hand in hand with the government, they will surely come up with critical ideas that can be implemented even if not now but later in the future. If they are able to do this their names will be written in the book of life and generations unborn will continue to say good things about them.

If I have the chance to vote over and over again I will always choose Buhari to Jonathan, the journey may still be rough though, but I strongly believe the destination is smooth. We are glad that the change we have all been clamouring for is here at last, but this change will not be a positive one if the youths are not being catered for and carried along in developmental policies.Youths have the patience to learn from mistakes and the ability to try out new things if they are given the chance. It is no gain saying that if the government fails to put the strength, intelligence and resources of Nigerian youths into efficient and effective use economic prosperity cannot be achieved. In similar vein, Nigerian youths should also know that it is their responsibility to be a good ambassador of this great nation anywhere they found themselves and they should always contribute their quota in making sure that Nigeria becomes a home to all and sundry and a country to reckon with.

 

Alabede Surajdeen is an environmentalist, writer and speaker. He wrote this piece to celebrate Ogun State @40. He can be reached on:

Twitter: @babssuraj

Gmail: alabedekayode@gmqil.com

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Nigeria Will Be Great Again, By Alabede Surajdeen

Have you ever for once contemplated about the lifecycle of an Eagle? If no, let’s go on a voyage of learning and lessons that will change your perception about our predicament as a nation. The eagle has the longest life-span of its species. It can live up to 70 years, but, to reach this age, the eagle must make a hard decision in its early 40’s, because its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as a food and its long and sharp beak becomes bent. Its’ old-aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers become stuck to its chest and make it difficult to fly. Then, the eagle is left with only two options: die or go through a painful process of change which last a hundred and fifty days. The process requires that the eagle fly to a mountain top and sit on its nest, there the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out, after plucking it out, the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back and then it will pluck out its talons. When its new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its old-aged feathers and after five months, the eagle takes its famous flight of rebirth and lives for 30 more years.

If you have ever thought Nigeria will not be great again, it is better you have a rethink. Though, dreams have been chattered, hopes have been lost and desires have been melted in the face of adversity. We live like strangers and slaves in our fathers land, going through hell, rupture and torture, with the hope that things will get better one day. This is the spirit of an average Nigerian; a spirit of hope, tenacity, doggedness and endurance. I live with a heart full of sorrow and joy – sorrow of how we battle one challenge or the other since independence and joy of a new Nigeria borne out of the belief that Nigeria will be great again, the process of which has commenced under the new dispensation of President Muhhammadu Buhari.

Hardly will any great success be achieved without any form of challenge being faced during the process of achieving it. Challenges are bound to surface, but our strength lies in overcoming them. There is no problem in falling but the greatest problem lies in our inability to stand up each time we fall. I strongly believe Nigeria will be great again only if we believe and work towards achieving it.

Nigeria will be great again if we can be best students of history. It is said that he who forgets the history before his birth will remain a child forever. For us to grow out of our childish behaviour and start responding to political issues maturely we must go back and tread the rough road that leads to the political independence we enjoy today as a nation. It is only when we starve ourselves with past occurrences that we can sit down and eat to the fill the fruits of such starvation.

Nigeria will be great again only if a Yoruba man will tolerate an Igbo man in his land the way his fellow tribesmen will tolerate and welcome him. Nigeria will rise again only if we can eschew enmity, and nepotism, and embrace religious and ethnic tolerance. We Nigerians must learn to see ourselves as brothers and sisters irrespective of ethnic background or religion. There lies a greater strength in our diversity.

Nigeria will be great again, if the followers can see themselves as having a lot to do in engineering their great nation to reaching the pinnacle of her dream. Followers must see themselves as partners in progress, as our leaders cannot be left to do the work of nation building alone. Our criticism of the government must always be constructive and objective, and we must as well offer solutions to them in tackling the myriad of problems facing our beloved country. Let’s assist the government in actualizing the dream of a better Nigeria. Nation building must be seen as a collective work that cannot be left in the hands of few people.

Nigeria will be great again if we all can see corruption as a cankerworm that has destroyed and will continue to destroy our nation if not stopped in due time. We must all support the anti-graft war of the present administration because it is a way of securing our future and making Nigeria great again. We must encourage ourselves to eschew stealing and mismanagement of public funds, as this is one of the ways we can achieve the change we have always desired. As citizens, we must take it upon ourselves to identify looters and report them to the necessary authorities irrespective of the affiliation we share with such people. It is our duty as responsible citizens to expose corrupt individuals among us.

Nigeria will be great again if the legislative arm live up to its creed and perform its duties to the fullest. Our lawmakers must make laws that will protect the interest of the Nigerian masses. Individual rights must be guaranteed and no one irrespective of his or her social status should act above the laws of the land.

The list is endless if we continue to analyse, but we must not lose hope as a nation. We must continue to believe in the goodwill message of ‘CHANGE’ brought to us by the All Progressive Congress (APC). We should not forget the fact that the change we voted for will not come in a speed of light but rather through a gradual process, the shit and mess of 16 years cannot be clean in just 100 days. If we are to judge every administration by its 100 days in office then Goodluck Jonathan will still be our president. It is normal for wailers to wail after 16 years of failure, ours is to turn deaf ears knowing fully well that wrestling with the pig will get us dirty.

As a nation, we must learn the spirit of being patient in the face of adversity, if not for the doggedness, determination and focus of the eagle, it would not have the grace of living for another 30 years. We sometimes need to get rid of old memories, habits and other past traditions to be great again as a nation. If we can believe in the present administration and work towards achieving a better Nigeria then I must tell you that Nigeria will be great again.

ALABEDE Surajdeen is a political commentator, environmentalist and a serving corps member in Delta State.

Twitter handle: @BabsSuraj         Gmail: alabedekayode@gmail.com

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Environmental Protection: Pathway To Sustainable Development By Alabede Surajdeen

No nation will attain the pinnacle of her social, economic and political dream without taking cognisance of the environment her citizens live in. The environment is the habitat that sustains man and other living organisms from time immemorial, but, it’s quite unfortunate that the environment has suffered a great deterioration over the years owing to man’s activities that have led to the depletion of natural resources  such as air, water and soil.

Perhaps, people have failed to realise that we have a right and responsbility to protect the environment because it’s all we’ve got. Our survival on earth is greatly threatened by the increasing global warming which is caused by man’s attitude to his environment.  Indeed, the late Human rights activist and environmentalist, Ken Saro Wiwa once asserted that, “Environment is human’s first right. Without a safe environment, no one can exist to claim other rights be they social, economic or political.”

What prompted my curiosity of putting a pen to pad is the way Nigerian government turned deaf ears and blind eyes to environmental  istration led by President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent intervention on the Ogoni Bill of Rights of 1990. On Wednesday, August 5, 2015, Buhari ordered the fast-tracking of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) recommendations   in Ogoni Land, this progress many have described as one of the most significant decisions taken so far by the president since his inauguration into office on May 29, 2015. The oil-instigated ecological disaster experienced in this region did not only affect the well-being of the people, but also destroy their farmland, drinking water and aquatic animals.

The spirits of the late Saro Wiwa and the other Ogoni activitists who were killed on 10, November 1995 during the military government of Gen. Sani Abacha would be pleased with President Buhari for his directive on the cleaning up of the Ogoni land, which had long been abandoned by past administrations including that of Goodluck Jonathan, who is from the S/south region of the country. Be that as it may, we will not rest, shiver nor quiver in agitating for the right of the environment because there are still one thousand and one environmental challenges that the government is yet to attend to.

It is pertinent to note that for every tree being pulled down or burnt without replacement, man is directly exposed to ultra-violet rays of the sun and add to the green house effect of the atmosphere due to the release of carbon dioxide (Co2) which causes global warming. Little do we know that for every bush burning action, millions and thousands of species of plant and animal go extinct. There is every tendency that generations unborn will not live to see some animals. As if that is not enough, the exhaust gas such as methane (CH4), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS), carbon dioxide (Co2) from our industries exacerbate humans’ health. No wonder Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its recent research carried out on livelihood ranked Lagos state 4th worst city to live in the world.

More so, for each chemical discharge in water bodies by our industrialists, millions and thousands of aquatic animals are left to face the destiny of an untimely death. But, for how long will this continue? Human beings out of their ignorance have forgotten that the environment is a feedback system, in the sense that every negative interaction with the environment will give birth to negative effect on man’s health and vice versa. For the purpose of education, it is very important to cite that NEMA made it known that the 2012 flooding exercise witnessed in Nigeria cost federal government N2.6trn. Money that supposed to be channelled into other sector if necessary measures and precautions had been put in place  are now used to cater for flood victims in the  affected regions.

We should all know that it is not over until it is over, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. If the Nigeria government can take responsibility of working on environmental legislation, ethics and education as a tool towards achieving maximum environmental protection, then  our environment will be better for it and the coming generations will be pleased with us. As a matter of urgency, we must also take tree planting as important, because it has been identified as one of the easiest and cheapest ways to curb climate change.

The government should revisit all environmental laws as stipulated in the 1999 constitution, the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act (2007), Federal Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Regulations (1991), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act. Cap E12, LFN 2004 and many more. Through this laws environmental protection, planning, pollution, prevention and control would be achieved. Also, symposium, seminars and conferences should be organised for community people so as to change their perception, behaviour and attitude towards the environment.

The United Nations (UN) recognised the importance of environment protection when it included “Protecting the Planet” as part of the 17 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It wouldn’t be a bad idea for Nigeria’s policy makers to include environmental courses as part of our curriculum at both secondary and tertiary levels of institutions. I strongly believe if all this can be achieved, we will have a hazard-free environment, well informed citizen that will use available resources in meeting their present needs without jeopardising the future of the unborn and less amount of money will be used to mitigate future environmental challenges.

I will love to end this piece with the words of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, who charged Nigerian and Africa youth to always advocate for climate justice by playing their part in preserving the climate. “Youth should say this is our world, this is where we live and we should preserve it.  The sooner we engage in sustainable path, the better for our world.”

ALABEDE Surajdeen is a political commentator, environmentalist and a serving corps member in Delta State.

Twitter handle: @BabsSuraj         Gmail: alabedekayode@gmail.com

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Tomorrow When The War Begins By Alabede Surajdeen Kayode

The Missile Man of India Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was a career scientist turned reluctant politician. He was known in India for his ground breaking work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. Kalam was elected President of India in 2002 and served his country diligently for good five years. In one of Kalam great speeches he noted the tripod of achieving a corruption free society. He said-

“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds. I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”

This divinely inspired words of Kalam will not only find a lasting solution to the evil of corruption that turned itself to a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the country’s fabrics, but, will also bring back the lost glory of the land. Corruption has we all know is the bane of every society, it crippled the working system and lames the machination of an entire country if not attended to on time. Nigerians have endured years of tyranny, hunger, torture and slavery in the hands of fellow Nigerians called Overlords or better still Cabals. This set of people amasses stupendous wealth and eat the national cake to the point of vomiting when thousands and millions of Nigerians are living below $1 per day.

All thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari for his zero tolerance for corruption. A man that many Nigerians home and abroad believed will return the lost glory of the country at the point when the country is approaching its brim of somersaulting in the hands of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Nigerians came out en masse earlier this year to vote change, their future and the future of the unborn generation. The last Presidential election will forever remain ever green in the minds of Nigerians because it is the first time a sitting president in Nigeria was replaced with ballots and not bullets. It is the first election of its kind where youths participated actively and not passively in echoing one voice of CHANGE. Buhari has introduced War Against Corruption (WAC) to replace the popularly known War Against Indiscipline (WAI) of 1980s that was lunched by Buhari and Idiagbon to clean the country from all sorts of indiscipline and corruption.

It is germane to comb and make a comprehensive expansion of the three societal members (Father, Mother and Teacher) listed by Kalam as a tool to achieving a corruption free society, but the big question that will be looming in your heart is how did father and mother contribute to corruption free society? There is this Yoruba adage that says ile latin keso rode meaning charity begins at home. This adage is a direct answer to the question asked above. If all parents leave up to the responsibility of teaching their wards the beauty of fearing God, the strength of patriotism, the power of knowledge and the bitter price of indolence from childbirth, the country will witness an adult fully grown man that walk in the way of the lord, an adult that loves his country unconditionally, a society of gems and valiant that will sacrifice the last drop of their blood for the goodness of the country. It is also important to note that only parents that are found worthy in character and learning will nurture a patriotic citizen that will not loot the country’s treasury when trusted with power.

Teachers on the other hand as we all know is the fertilizer that brings out the best in every student. They are the rain that brings out the vegetation of brains, intellectuals, gems and genius of different species. But, it saddens heart that modern day teachers cannot in anyway be compared to their olden day’s counterpart. In the sense that the olden day’s teachers don’t lack any material things and their salary is intact and steady which makes them work selflessly in bringing out the best in every student, but the reverse is the case in modern day Nigeria. Corruption as disrupt every sectors of the country including the educational sector. We employ more teachers with less salary, we create more universities with less value, we celebrate an archaic system of teaching and curriculum and we expect the country to produce best brains, patriotic citizens and intellectuals that will compete with their counterparts in brother countries. It is evident that poor inputs cannot give a good output.

Mr President Sir, tomorrow when the war on corruption begins do not limit it to the top echelon in the society, the crusade of War Against Corruption (WAC) should be taking to our various homes, schools, religious places et cetera. I will want you to comb all the nooks and crannies of the country in bringing out those that are found culpable of corruption charges. Sir, i want you to be armed to the teeth and show no mercy to all that has been depriving Nigerians of their right, liberty and peace. Fellow Nigerians don’t be scared when the war begins because it is a winning battle that will bring smile to the face of an average Nigerians.

ALABEDE Surajdeen Kayode is a political commentator, environmentalist and a serving corp member in Delta State.   

 

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The Southwest Political Genius And The Power Transition Saga By Alabede Surajdeen

A retired Nigerian Army general who was Presidentr of the most populous black nation from 1999 to 2007 was born on the 5th of March 1938 in the ancient city of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The Balogun of Owu Lineage and the Ekerin Balogun of the Egba clan of Yorubaland was a career soldier before mounting the position of Nigeria’s head of state and as a military ruler he served twice from 13th February 1976 to 1st October 1979.

The south west political genius quest for power started as far back as 1958 when he enlisted in the Nigerian Army at the age of 21. Baba was fortunate to be trained in Aldershot, India (at the defence services staff college, wellington) and at the Indian Army school of Engineering. His quota cannot be underestimated during the civil war when he lead the Army’s 3 Marine Commando Division that took Owerri, operatively bringing an end to civil war. Obasanjo supported several military coup in Nigeria, including the one lead by Murtala Muhammed in July 1975. He narrowly escaped death in the military coup of 1976 led by Army Col. Dimka, but unfortunately, baba was incarcerated during the dictatorship of Sani Abacha (1993-1998), for speaking out against the human rights abuses of the regime. As fate will have it, Obasanjo was released from prison after the sudden death of Abacha on 8th June 1998 and became a democeatically elected president in 1999.

It is evident that Obasanjo is part of the process that gives birth to what we enjoy today as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Since he lost bid for third term in office, Baba Iyabo became one of the cabals that dictates who become president in Nigeria. He stood as high as a palm oil tree both in Southwest and Nigeria politicking at large.

It is no news that he stood as a pillar for President GEJ to lean on in the 2011 presidential election, which gave him an edge over other contestants. Though, the “I have no shoes” campaign of GEJ buys him votes to some extent, but, we all know that the formation of the soccer game played in 2011 presidential election by PDP was planned and drafted by no other person than the Ebora Owu. But, when God is ready to answer our prayer in Nigeria, GEJ fumbled and wobbled from one disgraced act to another which made reconciliation practically impossible and he declared war of words on Baba, calling him names. General Obasanjo was so traumatized by the GEJ behavior and governance that he had to denounce his membership of PDP by tearing his card.

Without wasting time, Baba joined the Change train and immediately buried his personal differences with Bola Tinubu, and chat a way forward with this fearless king maker. What many did not know is that Baba over the years had been ruminating and cogitating about who to hand over the staff of power to in Southwest because time is not on his side any longer and the Yoruba nation needs a leader as fearless, courageous, patriotic, strategic thinker and risk taker as Baba himself . Tinubu proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is feet to step into the shoes of Obasanjo before things fall apart and the centre will no longer hold.

Obasanjo again displayed his political genius by sensing and feeling the legendary act displayed by Jagaban. The only way to respond to these political stimuli is to compensate him by supporting the APC candidate in the 2015 presidential election. Baba worked hand in hand with Tinubu to bring an end to the blood sucking reign of President Jonathan and in the same vein stylishly starts the power transition.

On the 28th of March 2015 history was made in Nigeria as the people’s General became the President elect through ballot and not bullet. Baba also played a positive role in being a part of this process that gave birth to a new democracy which makes the people will come to pass.

I always say and will confirm it again that Obasanjo is the best leader, president and politician that this nation ever witnessed. It must be echoed to the whole nation that Baba did not only sacrifice his PDP membership to bring change to Nigeria but at the same time he is sending a message to those that have eyes and use it to see that he has finally hand over the staff of power to the fearless Bola TInubu to give the Yoruba tribe a safe landing in Nigerian politics.

It is very cogent to state clear at this juncture that Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo is an accident of nature and a gift to humanity+. If you are fortunate to meet him in a life time don’t hesitate to take a selfie with him because his kind is rare.

ALABEDE SURAJDEEN is a serving youth corps member.

President/Director of Public Health and Environmental Concerns Initiative (PHECI).

A one time President African Liberty Student Organisation, UNILORIN.

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