• The Many Troubles Of Budget 2016

    11/Feb/2016 // 176 Viewers

     

    By Azu Ishiekwene 
     
    PARIS, FEBRUARY 11, 2016: (DGW) - Weeks before the 2016 budget woes became public, a source confided to me a story that sounded like fiction. The source said that shortly before President Muhammadu Buhari formally presented the budget, some politicians in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party approached the Minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma.
     
    Buhari was racing against time and the group told Udoma that the government didn’t need to trip over itself in haste. The group then gave the minister a disingenuous idea: Stuff a box with plain white paper, seal it and dress it with a covering note for the President to present to the Senate. After the ceremonies are over, the government could then retrieve the empty sheets and send the “real” budget through the backdoor.
     
    The minister thanked them, but said nothing, giving the impression that he was open to the idea. Two days or so after he received the unsolicited advice and after the budget had been presented, the same group apparently went to a major TV station and tipped off journalists there that what Buhari presented on December 22, 2015, might be empty sheets of paper! They assumed that Udoma had accepted their advice and fallen in their trap.
     
    The journalists followed the lead and called everyone they could, including Udoma, but found out in the end that it was a wild goose chase.
     
    Unfortunately, as it was from the start, the path of the 2016 budget has been marred by a slew of drama and intrigues. Buhari has been hammered for purported errors of date in the covering note and the presidential aide Ita Enang who removed a copy of the budget in cahoots with administrative staff of the National Assembly has yet to tell the full story of his shameful adventure.
     
    The 2016 budget is getting more than its fair share of farce for good reasons. Buhari came to office with the promise of change. The budget is the first test of change; it tells us not just about the money but invites us to follow the money and see where it leads.
     
    According to a report by Premium Times, N4.9million was budgeted for books in the office of the Vice President. That sum is N2.6million less than the budget for books in that same office last year, but it is still over one million naira more than the budget for books in 11 out of the 22 federal polytechnics in the country.
     
    Nearly N1billion was set aside for vehicles and vehicle maintenance, with the office of the SGF getting N400million, even though the same office received N291million for new cars between 2014 and 2015. The State House clinic will get an upgrade of N3.87billion, about N500million more than what was budgeted for the 16 federal-government owned teaching hospitals, responsible for thousands of patients across the country.
     
    In an editorial on the budget, PUNCH asked, “how can a government of change justify spending N3.8billion on the State House Medical Centre over N1billion on the purchase of vehicles and N89.17million on canteen and kitchen equipment at a time of belt-tightening for the State House?”
     
    There are no easy answers. The muted official responses and the alarm by Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, that his ministry’s budget contained dodgy figures reveal the tardiness of the process so far and how embarrassed the government must be.
     
    But it’s a good thing. The budget would have been another pork barrel affair if Buhari didn’t promise change and citizens didn’t feel obliged to hold him to his promise.
     
    Not that we have never cared about budget, but government in the PDP years didn’t care about any standard of accountability above the waistline. As a result, public objections didn’t matter. Things got so bad that in 2012, government budgeted N22million for typewriters, when the Daily Mail of London reported that typewriters sold fewer than 800 pieces in 2010!
     
    The promise of change will not remove the demons overnight, but it is exposing them. I’m sure Buhari himself would have seen by now, that these demons are flesh and blood. They are mostly the same civil servants he had praised as saints when he described ministers as noisemakers. He obviously thought he was coming back to the same civil service he left 30 years ago and hoping to find the same work ethic.
     
    Now, he knows better.
     
    The dodgy figures did not insert themselves in the budget. Civil servants, who have mined the budget as their “oil block” for years, did it in cahoots with politicians who are desperate to recoup their election expenses. They defraud the country in at least three ways – one, by inflating the budget; two, by demanding items they don’t need; and three, by holding off expenses till year-end, when they can cream off unused funds.
     
    Of course the fall in oil prices has also forced us to inspect the budget more closely. And zero-budgeting is making sure that unlike in the past when estimates were based on sexed up historical records, ministries and government departments will now justify the cost and value of every line of expenses.
     
    That does not mean there won’t be problems, it only means that the process has become more open and transparent and it should be easier to catch and punish those who abuse it.
     
    It’s not enough, for example, for the health minister to reject the figures allocated to his ministry. Those who were responsible for the fraud should be traced and punished; it is not enough for the Senate to say that N10billion was “smuggled” into the budget of the Education ministry, it’s even more important to root out the culprits and make them face the law.
     
    The 2016 budget has obviously been hijacked by special interests. Corruption, which the President has invested considerable time and energy chasing, is now confronting him face-to-face in his first budget.
     
    Former President Goodluck Jonathan faced a similar problem. In December 2014, he complained that some persons who wanted to divert unused funds from the budget at year-end had sabotaged the electronic payment system, making it almost impossible to pay salaries.
     
    That was an understatement. We now know that the fraudsters captured both the budget and the budgeter. The only way Buhari can prevent that from happening to him is to find the culprits and punish them.
     
    *Azu Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Paris-based Global Editors Network
     
     


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  • NATO dispatches ships to combat migrant flow from Turkey

    11/Feb/2016 // 266 Viewers

     

    NATO launched Thursday an unprecedented naval mission in the Aegean Sea to tackle people smugglers taking migrants and refugees from the Turkish coast, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
     
    The move follows a request this week by alliance members Germany, Greece and Turkey for assistance in tackling Europe's biggest migrant crisis since World War II.
     
    Speaking after NATO defence ministers approved the mission, Stoltenberg said NATO is "now directing the standing maritime group to move into the Aegean without delay and start maritime surveillance activities".
     
    The group comprises three ships that are currently under German command.
     
    The NATO chief said the migrant crisis, driven by conflict and turmoil in Syria across the Middle East and North Africa, posed a major security threat to the 28-nation alliance.
     
    "This is not about stopping and pushing back (refugee boats)... but about critical surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks," he said.
     
    The move is a major step forward into humanitarian territory for NATO, an alliance formed during the depths of the Cold War and which normally reserves its assets for strictly military matters.
     
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Turkey on Monday, agreeing to make the request to NATO as thousands more refugees fled heavy fighting around the Syrian city of Aleppo.
     
    US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter earlier said that the NATO ministers had backed the plan.
     
    "NATO and all the parties at the table this morning indicated a willingness for NATO to support and be a part of that operation," Carter said.
     
    "All three of those countries emphasised the need for NATO to act quickly, with which the United States strongly agrees, because this are people's lives and destinies at stake here."
     
    Carter said military planners will now look at the issue and report back to NATO for final approval.
     
    EU welcome
     
    German Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen said that "several NATO members had pledged ships" for the mission.
     
    "There is a clear accord with Turkey that any refugees picked up will be sent back to Turkey," she told reporters.
     
    Sources said the force would likely comprise five to seven ships and that they would carry out a surveillance mission. The return provision is to cover cases where the ships would rescue refugees at sea as they are obliged to do under international law if lives are in danger.
     
    The European Commission welcomed the plan, but said it aimed to create its own border and coast guard system to fulfil the same function.
     
    "This is a decision we welcome. We hope that lives will be saved in the Aegean Sea," commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker's spokesman Margartis Schinas told a news briefing.
     
    "We regard this as very much a sort of a forerunner of the European coast guard, going back to proposals made in December," he said.
     
    Turkey -- the only Muslim-majority nation in NATO and with one of its largest armies -- was the main transit country for the more than one million migrants who reached Europe last year.
     
    Having reached Greece, most of them made their way north to Germany and other richer countries in the European Union.
     
    More than 70,000 made the dangerous crossing in January, with over 400 dying, according to the International Organization for Migration (OIM).
     
    The fear now is that hundreds of thousands more could follow this year with no prospect of a negotiated solution to the war in Syria which has killed more than 260,000 people and displaced half the population since March 2011.
     
    (AFP)


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  • Yunusa, rape and re-victimisation of Victim X

    11/Mar/2016 // 776 Viewers

     

    Modupe Ogunbayo

    It is worrisome on all levels. It is, that Yunusa Dahiru Bala undertook the long distance travel from Kano to Bayelsa just for satisfying his bacchanalistic instinct of getting a young Kaffir girl as bride, August 12, 2015. Beyond the obvious condemnation, I recoil at the more blood-curdling aftershocks of this surreal incident.

    Upon the liberation of Yunusa’s forced captive, the name and pictures of this innocent girl’s full frontal face were prominently blasted all across our print, electronic and social media. Now, I am a proud member of the Nigerian media and I often glory in its effort in bettering this society and holding wrongdoers accountable on the people’s behalf despite tough limitations and often under hazardous conditions.

    But, with this, we crossed the line. Publishing Victim X’s name and pictures is a breach of the craft’s ethics; I suspect the breaking nature of the story led to an unconscious obliviousness to its ills because ideally, this should not be. Otherwise, her names should have been withheld and print and new media should have redacted her face in photographs and television crews would have used moving images of her shadow or back of her head instead, according to best global Journalism practices employed in such situations.

    I said it years before when rape of increasing number of pre-school children were becoming alarming, that this is the best course of action for all victims of molestation and rape. Not doing this is re-victimisation of the victim.

    We just got the man hitherto called Yunusa Yellow’s full name. We do not know if this is his real identity. Regardless, with his recent arraignment, his face is revealed. Yunusa is the one that should be facing immense publicity for his hateful act and from his bent head at his pre-trial, he knows too. Splashing his image everywhere is not glorifying Yunusa Yellow, but serving his head on a plate as a deterrent to other minds with twisted twin passions.

    Doing this may provide some emotional closure for Victim X despite the unfortunate long future awaiting her of constant re-victimisation even without this robbery on her anonymity and innocence.Now 14, she was 13 when she was reportedly kidnapped from her mother’s shop in the Yenagoa Local Government area of Bayelsa State. I never knew her before her ordeal but as I mortifyingly beheld her stony, vacant eyes and pursed lips that stared back at the lens like someone told to empty a faeces-filled potty right after a meal, I am unsure of her elation at regaining her freedom. It belies bemusement at having her life of forced child-bridehood, to Yunusa, interrupted. I hope she is not suffering from Stockholm’s Syndrome.

    After viewing the self-righteous postulations of Yunusa’s father on the “lovers”, as he called Yunusa and Victim X on Africa Independent Television, it is clear her re-victimisation is worsening.The wheel of justice is stalling on her behalf. Yunusa’s father is spinning that she is a willing party to her own abduction and rape. Without any witnesses, Yunusa backed by her father now could claim she eloped with him. And without a medical report to back up rape charges, her case looks grim. Even if all those were done, the criminal justice system ominously re-victimises victims of rape worldwide. I once witnessed a case. The victim had to contend with intrusive medical examination of her genitalia. And answer degrading questions on whether there was actual penetration into her anatomy according to legal terms in a filled, public courthouse. She struggled to produce minimally, two credible witnesses who would place their hands on the Bible or Koran and swear that verily, verily, they were there, in the room with the couple, where they saw actual copulation. They must then gauge if the joining was consensual or forced. Did the victim shout for help? On further demeaning cross examination to the vulnerable victim, it is very easy for the accused’s lawyer to aver that the screams are in fact, ecstatic moans.

    In this case, Victim X has no medical report which should have been got immediately after her initial rape. That does not guarantee a positive verdict for rape victims but at least, it is a game changer. According to Tunji Abayomi , SAN, and a doctor of law, even in advanced societies like the United States, the ratio of rape convictions versus that of complaints or prosecution is very few and similarly horrendous.

    I hear Victim X is five months’ pregnant. More re-victimisation.I am pro-life but even if pro-choice arguments prevail here, she is beyond the threshold of terminating the pregnancy. Regardless of all odds, she is now irrevocably yoked with Yunusa forever. The prevailing culture of our country means families of rape victims, and the victims themselves, are ironically scorned more than the rapists’. The victims themselves are never candidates of choice for marriages because, once a suitor hears a whiff of such an incident, he is most likely to abandon that relationship. She cannot hide since her name is so immortalised.

    I hear mentions of her name 10 times more than her abuser’s who rightfully merit that humiliation. Henceforth, anywhere she has to give her name, she would hesitate. In forced remembrance, pain, shame and regret. In these days of social media, the interlinked web means her name is immortalised and so, an employability name check by a diligent HR department would find that about her life and even if she is employed, that fact remains stored in her personal file for possible abuse by any faultfinder later in life.

    This is starting at 14 for Victim X. At that age, one is just casting off the blind naiveté and toga of childhood to embrace the self-aware and assertive teenage years. At that stage, one needs assurance, lots of love and understanding. At this age, the illusions of Victim X are shattered by a brutal man.

    Most men do not understand rape. Many, including the so-called educated ones, firmly disbelieve its existence because their misogynistic logic interprets a woman’s objections to mean she actually wants it. Cynical and grandiose factors such as her dressing or body language or even, encouragement are listed as mitigating factors. Moot points considering women in hijab and veils also get raped. A rape occurs when a female says no against sex yet, the man forcefully has his way even if she is in bum shorts or her eyes are literally overflowing with lust just like when a residue of an over-poured eye-drop medication gushes out.

    For the female of the homo sapiens, her self-image, self-worth and total essence of who she represents lies at the juncture of her thighs. Minus some prostitutes or nymphomaniacs, that is how every sane woman feels. A broken psyche of that regular girl being picked up at night clubs or street corners leads her to hawk her feminity when she could sell sachet water or recharge cards. Any doubter reading this only needs call a prostitute, ashewo. Such a mindless word, abi? You would think a thunderstorm flashed across the skies as she slaps you or after waking up in a hospital with a stitched scalp after she cracked it open with a broken bottle. The glorified call girl or mistress would never admit it even to God in her private moments but she secretly battles inner demons at being sexually objectified despite possessing fat bank accounts or exotic cars.

    Those were consensual. Now, imagine that essence of self-worth and image forcibly taken from a woman as it is during a rape. Mental health experts say a schism occurs in the woman’s mind, soul, spirit and body, giving her a negative self-image of uselessness and filthiness. She needs constant re-assurances of self-worth. Her rage and pain at being overpowered and her self-worth rudely taken from her lead to a burning anger that fuels all manner of deviant behaviour like nymphomania, prostitution, wild-partying, drug abuse and so on. Some get frigid, are afraid of all men or to leave their homes. Therapy helps in lessening these effects but that intrinsic low self-esteem never totally leaves regardless of heights of successes they attain. In the end, they mostly battle depression all their life. It could be why Victim X pursed her lips.

    Her father said he would get her spiritual help at a popular church. Well. In the absence of help from hitherto loquacious women and children NGOs surprisingly now mute or visible assistance from the Bayelsa State Government, parents of Victim X, please approach the US Embassy and seek asylum for her based on humanitarian grounds. It is best she starts life afresh, possibly with a new name, in a developed land devoid of rape stigmatisation and which is well-equipped to treat her visible and inner trauma.

    It would lessen the re-victimisation of Victim X.

    Ms. Ogunbayo, a journalist, wrote in from Lagos.

    Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • GOOD GOVERNANCE IN THE ERA OF CHANGE; THE NIGERIAN PERSPECTIVE.

    11/May/2016 // 253 Viewers

     

    The need for good governance has never been so strongly felt as in the present day Nigeria. While developed countries have to deal with immigrants’ crisis, the overbearing influence of terrorists’ organizations and a battle of supremacy for nuclear power, developing countries like Nigeria are still struggling to ward off economic downturn, inflation, corruption, unemployment and herdsmen so as to meet the growing aspirations of a demanding populace. Only efficient and effective governance can meet these challenges. However, it has become evident that good governance is not tenable if transparency, probity and accountability are not sustained especially in this era of change in our nation’s democracy.
     
    Good governance is not the sole responsibility of government. It is a requirement in the corporate sector, civil societies, non‐governmental organizations and citizen's groups. However, since government collects moneys from the public and spends on behalf of the public, such spending does place an element of higher accountability on the government. Such accountability requires that the actions and decisions taken by public officials are transparent and capable of withstanding public scrutiny.
     
    Such accountability in government decisions and actions ensure that government policies meet their stated objectives and are indeed responsive to the needs of the people that they govern and this is the basic ingredient of a nascent democracy. If we look at our experience in the last five decades since independence, the need for greater probity, transparency and accountability in governance are needed to make our gains of democracy more significant. The present administration’s anti-corruption stance is quiet commendable although many see it as not being all inclusive but rather targeted at perceived political enemies of the ruling party.
     
    Administrations have come and gone yet we have not made landmark achievements in all the sectors of the economy. Therefore, it may not be completely irrational to say that the dreams of our founding fathers are yet to be actualized. The unending blame game between successive administrations and personalities has to stop. What Nigerians are interested in now is how the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration will deliver on her campaign promises to the electorate. No doubt, the rising cost of living in a retrogressive economy has been of great concern to the populace but like it is said, “there is always light at the end of the tunnel”. However, it is our wish that this saying will materialize in the Nigerian context sooner than later.
     
    The conventional wisdom of good governance is premised on the basic tenet that democratically elected governments will conduct public affairs with probity and accountability. However, recent actions of government as it relates to the “Budget of Change” indicate that elements of ethics and integrity seem to be lacking and this makes one ponder on what lies ahead for our beloved country. The situation has triggered the feeling among the vast majority of citizenry that it is time when the conventional architecture along which governments are expected to function, needs to be tempered such that there is an element of participation by the informed public.
     
    The supremacy of the elected political executive in a parliamentary democracy cannot be denied. The administrative bureaucracy is meant to advise and facilitate policy parameters enunciated by the political executive, which is commonly understood to be the Federal Executive Council. However, whilst the political executive is superior to civil and uniformed bureaucracy, they owe their allegiance to the ultimate stakeholder on whose behalf they act. Hence, my proposition is that public oversight of government policy is essential and if the benefits of economic growth are to be made inclusive and sustainable, the involvement and oversighting by the public to ensure transparency of decision making and accountability for actions will have to be ensured.
     
    Accountability is the obligation, of those holding power, to take responsibility for their behavior and actions. It becomes even more important an issue when management of public funds is involved. The government spends a huge amount of money in creating infrastructure, providing services and running various schemes for the welfare of its people. A large chunk of the government’s money comes from tax which is compulsorily collected from its citizens. The government is, therefore, obligated to work in the interest of its citizens and deliver the dividends of democracy to the masses. It is answerable to the public for its policies, decisions and performance. The action of the government has to be fair and equitable at all times.
     
    Let us acknowledge that the country is at the inflexion point. If the heightened outrage of the citizenry and the urban middle class is moulded in a positive manner, it would translate into a tremendous synergy between government and its people. The second arm of this inflexion point, which the country can ill afford, is an insensitive and polarized government which turns a deaf ear to the outpouring of public opinions. It is the responsibility of citizen to be leaders of public opinion and help modulate policy formulations such that they incorporate the felt needs of the public. We need to recognize that democracy is meant to empower the people and not emasculate them. Thus people should not feel a sense of betrayal. Empowerment will be felt only when the rule of law is allowed to prevail. Institutions have been created to protect the rule of law and these institutions must be given freedom and space to play their role.
     
    Finally, I would like to state that economic prosperity for Nigerians is not an option – it is a necessity. Economic empowerment and thereby emerging a superpower can be possible if growth is founded on good governance. Such growth is sustainable only if it is premised on an ethical code of governance. When the story of Nigeria is written, it should be written that governance was the solution and not the problem wherein the State was the facilitator and not the predator. These edicts in our governance structure have to be an essential ingredient as too much is at stake and for too many people.
     
    Comrade Omaga Elachi Daniel is the Executive Director, Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative. Email: omaga.daniel@gmail.com.

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect our editorial policy. DailyGlobeWatch shall, therefore , not be held responsible for any of its contents or any part thereof.


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  • Who Says Buhari Is Not Smart? By Dele Momodu

    11/Oct/2015 // 408 Viewers

    Fellow Nigerians, please take this piece as a rhetorical question that requires no answer. I’ve always said that an average Nigerian is an expert in conspiracy theories and there is never a limit or end to the thesis we conjure from time to time. Please, flash back to just some months ago, at the peak of the PDP gragra, General Muhammadu Buhari was completely ruled out of the race for reasons ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. He was supposed to be suffering from all sorts of terminal ailments and even described as brain dead by some uncharitable souls. The doomsday prophets did not appear to reckon with the great man’s personality, integrity and perseverance. They also seemingly dismissed out of hand, the yearning of most Nigerians for change from whatb they perceived to be a corrupt and inept regime. But it would seem a miracle has occurred so soon and a Lazarus has been raised from the dead.

    Since winning the election, we have moved from those old tales to new ones. Buhari is now said to be slow, even slower than the snail or tortoise because of our penchant for being in a hurry and rushing to nowhere. The same accusers would have accused him of being too dictatorial if he was too fast and decided to choose his team in a jiffy without making wide consultations and investigations about those to be chosen and those to be discarded. It should have been clear to all that there would be many deserving and worthy candidates for the post of cabinet ministers because Nigeria is indeed a country blessed with abundant gifted and talented human resources. Any selection process was bound to be complicated if not long drawn out because of this fact and not simply because of the President Buhari’s quest to find champions for his anti-corruption crusade who would not themselves be smeared or tainted by allegations or whiffs of the noxious odour of corruption. Besides there was also the fact that the President had to cater for the various vested interests and balance those interests in the overall interest of the nation. No mean feat when dealing with a rich coalition and amalgamation of strong political Parties and personalities.

    I have read all manner of comments since early this week when the initial ministerial list was publicly disclosed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. Some said President Buhari had wasted four months to pick his cabinet since all he done was to come up with the names of mostly people that had initially been touted as potential ministers after the President had been elected. The usual talebearers therefore saw nothing good in the selection. They claimed there were no youths and wrote off the much older nominees as being too geriatric to govern a nation that requires all the energy it can muster. There are cries from women’s groups that women have been marginalised and mistreated because only 3 of the 21 nominees are women.

    Those who championed the cause of technocrats believe that the President has failed them becasue there are no visible technocrats amongst those nominated. The truth is that this is only a partial list and some of these concerns, even if genuine, may be subsequently dealt with when the final line-up is published. Again what I can discern is that we are too hasty in arriving at unjust accusations and conclusions. We should exercise patience and restraint and wait for the President to put his team together and explain why he has chosen those people.

    Furthermore, some of the nominees were accused of unbridled corruption by fiat even if they’ve not been prosecuted, tried or convicted. The armchair critics lampooned President Buhari’s anti-corruption stance as fake or, at the very least, weak and ineffective. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if Buhari unilaterally arrest supposed criminals and flings them into jail or executes them without trial. I have followed the raging debates on the ministerial nominees with keen interest and my conclusion is that the arguments and furore demonstrates that we do not really know what we want most times as a people. It seems to me that we are myopic in outloook and can only see the short run, the smaller pictture.

    We seem to lack the vision of a people committed to a distant future of development and success in our collective national endeavours, a commitment to long term goals and aspirations that sees us cultivate and develop the present crop of talents so that we can birth greater giants in the future.

    I reached the simple conclusion that many of the commentators hardly knew or understood the issues at stake. They are super human beings who know everything but have forgotten the man on the hot seat is likely to know what most of us don’t. He has access to privileged and confidential information that would have informed the choices that he eventually made. I will continue to plead that we tarry awhile before we begin to write off this President.

    This is an unusual leadership at an unusual period of our national existence. There is no gainsaying the fact that there has been great rot and decay in our polity. Too many of our worn-out institutions had virtually collapsed and a reasonable, dedicated and meticulous leader would need to study the situation a bit more before arriving at critical decisions such as those that administer this country with him.

    This is not to say governance should take eternity to kick-start things but we have to wait a bit and see the direction this government is headed. I confess that I have previously had cause to call on the President to name his Ministers quickly so that the business of government can continue in earnest and the speculations and suspense engendered by the failure to do so would be laid to rest.

    More importantly the legal and constitutional implications of not governing with Ministers was becoming an issue which was an unnecessary distraction and was unfortunately detracting from the patently obvious good work that this adminstration has been doing and the remarkable progress made in such a short time. The President decided to take his time but thankfully we are now where we are and everything is now a matter of history.

    Now that President Buhari has picked about half of his men and women, I’m one of those looking forward to some blistering pace of action soon. I’m certain it will happen once the Senate confirms the Ministers and President Buhari is able to allocate and fill up key position.

    The hues and cries about the Ministerial appointments are diverse but I’m sure they would subside once we take time to study the great individuals saddled with the task of restoring hope, stamina and dignity to our nation. As I have said clearly on social media, I’m reasonably impressed with the list of Minsters released so far. Most of them are the people that I have previously suggested are worthy material for the noble assignment that the President seeks to entrust them with. They have already proven themselves in previous national asignemnts and in some cases stood firm and supportive of the President in his leadership of the change that Nigerians craved for. In essence, the nominees are distinguished men and women of substance and intellect. It is my hope and expectation that in alloting them portfolios President Buhari will put round pegs in round holes and not seek to assign them to positions where they are not best suited.

    I’m happy to see such big brands like Audu Ogbeh a former Minister of yesteryears who handled both the Communications and Steel Development portfolios at different times betwen 1982 and 1983. He became a farmer afterwards and was a great achiever and significant success in that field until he became Chairman of the PDP in 2001. He suspended his activities but returned to his first love when he resigned from the Party chairmanship in 2005. He still has a lot to contribute because his knowledge of the Agricultural sector in Nigeria is astonishing.

    I was privileged to watch him in action shortly before the inauguration and I marvelled at the extent of his knowledge as to what needed to be done to fix our agricultural sector and return Nigeria to its enviable status as a foremost agrarian nation and remove our dependency on the monoproduct known as crude oil. There is the quintet of five former governors led by Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the first Governor of Abia State from between 1992 and 1993. Other Governors who are the product of this current Republic are Dr Chris Ngige of Anambra State, Babatunde Fashola SAN of Lagos State, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.

    Dr Ogbonnaya Onu made a first class degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos and is an alumnus of the renowned University of Claifornia, Berkeley, where he obtained his Ph.D in Chemical Engineering. He lectured at the University of Port Harcourt and is a Fellow of several Enmgineering Societies in Nigeria. He is passionate about using technology as a tool for national development and during his tenure as a governor established a Technology Village in his State and introduced free computers into schools.

    Dr Chris Ngige is a medical doctor who rose to become a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Health before retiring to join politics. He distinguished himself as a medical doctor and as a governor and naturally had a predilection for medical projects during his tenure as governor.

    Babatunde Fashola SAN, needs no introduction to Nigerians. A distinguisghed Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he has a cult following because of the strides and advances he made whilst he was a two term Governor of Lagos State. He continued the work of his illustrious predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in changing the face of Lagos State into a cosmopolitan city that would rival any city in developing countries of the world whilst at the same time also continuing to increase the internally generated revenue of the State.

    The fire brand known as Rotimi Amaechi also needs no introduction to Nigerians. He was one of the prime arrowheads of the change movement and indeed it was his resolute courage at the Nigeria’s Governor’s Forum which was the major platforms for change. His reform agenda in Rivers State and the progress made by that State in the areas of infrastructural development and education cannot be overemphasised. Last Sunday, his name went viral on Twitter as Nigerians poured encomiums and paid special tribute to his rare courage in the face of raw intimidation. He remains the catalyst for change and a quintessential pride of APC who must be protected from the PDP apparatchik who may wish to take their pound of flesh when screening begins next week.

    Dr Kayode Fayemi is a graduate of History, Politics and International Relations from the Universities of Lagos and Ife respectively. He holds a Doctroate degree in war studies from the world acclaimed Kings College of the University of London. Dr Fayemi is a guru in foreign relations and international community and was a successful Governor of Ekiti State who brought much needed development to that State with his distinct style of refinement.

    Senator Hadi Sirika is a pilot who has a longstanding passion for aviation. He was a member of the Senate Committee on aviation and was known for his forthrightness in discussions about Nigeria’s almost comatose aviation sector and what is needed to resucitate and revamp the sector. A credible person he has long been a staunch supporter of President Buhari who he regards as his mentor.

    The three women nominated by President Buhari namely, Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, Amina Mohammed and Kemi Adeosun are all distinguished women of integrity in their own right.

    Senator Aisha Al-Hassan, a lawyer by profession, was a former Attorney – General of Taraba State and eventually retired as Chief Registrar of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory. She became a Senator in 2011 and contested for the post of Governor of taraba State in 2015 but lost.

    Amina Mohammed was until her nomination the United Nation’s Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning. She has been involved in the management of more than US$1 billion debt relief funds in Nigeria and has had the unique position of having served 3 Nigerian Presidents during the current political dispensation. She has worked in projects involving reduction in pocverty and gender and education in both Nigeria and at the United Nations. She has also been involved in a multi-disciplinary firm of engineers and quantity surveyors.

    Mrs Kemi Adeosun was previously commissioner for Finance in Ogun State under Governor Ibikunle amosun. Indeed she had been nominated to retain her position until she was nominated by President Buhari. Mrs Adeosun is an Accountant who has worked at senior managerial level in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. She has been routinely involved in finance and financial mattrers for more than a decade.

    Space and time won’t allow me to go on but there is always another chance in the future. Even at this juncture, President Buhari has shown the true stuff of a born again democrat with his deft moves especially his latest working relationship with the National Assembly. I’m sure he has more jokers in the pack!


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  • Celebrating The Nigerian Teacher, With Education In A Total Mess By Usama Dandare

    11/Oct/2015 // 151 Viewers

    Monday, the 5th of October 2015 was tagged “World Teachers Day” to celebrate the immense contributions of teachers toward shaping the world. In this part of the world, teachers have absolutely made lots of impacts in changing our lives and no doubt, albeit we have all had great teachers in the past who have in one way or the other shaped our lives, we can’t pretend to deny the fact that our educational system is presently in chapter-eleven, with teachers as the focal point. This article will examine from a critical point of view the contributions of Nigerian teachers in making a vibrant educational system, with the intend to answer this fundamental question: does Nigerian teachers deserves to be celebrated?

     

    If the Federal Government itself can agree that over 50% of primary and secondary school teachers in the country have no requisite skills and capacity to impact knowledge, then a deteriorating educational sector cannot be avoided. Thus a factor responsible for mass examination failures in recent times.
    The overwhelming majority of Nigerian students who sat for secondary and primary schools final examinations have failed to pass the required marks. Who, or what, is to blame? We may be right to some extent to say that the Nigerian government is giving little or no priority to education at all, but we cannot be fair to ourselves if we put all the blames on the government alone. While the government takes its own percentage from the blames, the teachers must also have their own share.

    In any given society, teachers are indeed the first point of call when talking about development being them the most important people in nation-building and therefore, when teachers are bad then the entirety of a nation is also bad. You cannot separate the two.
    In the past, we used to have teachers with passion and zeal for teaching. Most of whom were not even trained as teachers but the passion in them to pass knowledge on to others made them go extra mile to make sure the students are well taught and equip with all the basics as far as education is concerned, which was what made them outstanding to a point that today we are now celebrating them.

    In as much as we continue to criticize the government for not doing enough to revamp our ailing educational system, we must also blame the teachers for making the studying atmosphere unconducive for learning.   Apart from the menace of teacher absenteeism which costs Nigeria billions yearly, there’s also an institutionalized problem with student-teacher relationships in most of our schools especially the public institutions. Teachers are revered authorities whose job is to discipline and punish. The classroom atmosphere is authoritarian and students are encouraged to be afraid of teachers. This culture of fear in the classroom puts teachers on a pedestal as horrors instead of seeing them as mentors! This missing bond of affection between teachers and their students most often led to students loosing interest in a particular subject or the teacher himself.

    The more extreme forms of this classroom authoritarianism are corporal punishment and sexual abuse. Even more common than sexual abuse is corporal punishment. We have had instances where students were beaten to coma and some disabled as a result of injuries caused by punishment in school. There was this case also where a school teacher caned a student, resulting in an uproar where relatives of the student took revenge and beat up the teacher. We cannot be fair to generalize but Nigerian teachers all have one believe in common, “spare the cane, spoil the child.” One wonders how excited a Nigerian child will be about Teacher’s Day when he go to school everyday fearing that morning cane. What does Teacher’s Day mean to students who’ve silently suffered sexual abuses that may traumatized them for the rest of their lives?

    The caliber of teachers we are having today aren’t comparable to those we had in the past. Before, we had passionate teachers with the impetus and momentum to deliver, they were teachers whom were proud to be address with their name – teachers, they were teachers who regarded teaching as a profession not a part-time job to hold on to before getting a white-collar job. But today, things are no longer what they used to be, those saddled with the responsibilities of impacting knowledge lacks the knowledge themselves. All we now have are crooks charging money from parents to allow their children and wards to cheats during exams, and, of course provide them with answers where necessary. We saw instances where more than half of primary school teachers in Kaduna state failed an examination prepared for primary six pupils, and in Edo state where a secondary schools teacher failed to read what was written on her own certificate. Are these the kind of teachers we are celebrating today?

    Unlike in the past where students excelled with untrained teachers, 90% of what we have today are trained teachers having either the National Certificate of Education (NCE), or a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) but yet, there is still an unimaginable decrease in the quality and standard of teaching, which perhaps can be seen from the mass failure of senior secondary schools students. Yes, we may have trained and qualified teachers, but the passion and enthusiasm for teaching is no-more there in them. The fact that a teacher has an NCE or B.Ed certificate does not really portray into his ability to impact knowledge irrespective of their courses of study, the passion for teaching matters the most.

    Nigerian teachers today aren’t only unqualified but non-teachable commodities, most of whom are products of the same dilapidated educational system akin to what we are saying today. A vast majority of teachers nowadays bribed their lecturers either in cash or in mind to pass exams, thus graduating half baked. Some bought out the certificates they were employed to teach with while others didn’t possessed the minimum teaching requirements for employment, but found their way into the teaching profession through connection and bribe. I personally knew a guy who sat for WAEC in 1999, he got only one E8 out of nine subjects and failed all the remaining eight but today, believe me that guy is a primary school teacher today and to matters worst, he’s not only an ordinary teacher but head of a department. It is worrisome, are these the kind of teachers we are celebrating today?

    In a nutshell, an average Nigerian teacher is nothing to celebrate until we take a step in the right direction with a complete overhaul of the teaching profession, and to achieve this: authorities at all level of governments should convene as a matter of necessity a summit to strategize on how the educational system could be resuscitated and integrated. Akin to the practice of other developed nations elsewhere in the world, where constants and periodic review of schools’ curricula is done at regular intervals with the sole aim of updating the educational sector to meet up with the current challenges. Unlike in this part of the world where almost all sections of the schools’ curriculum used in the 80s and 90s is still being in use today.

    The fact that most Nigerian teachers are untrained should not be neglected, the government should take advantage of the information and communications technology (ICT) and upgrade the system through training and retraining of teachers in order to meet up with challenges and realities of modern teaching and learning. How could anyone expect Nigerian students to be educationally exceptional when we continue to teach them almost the same things their grandparents were taught?

    ALAS, only then we might have some reasons to engage in celebrating the ritual of October 5th.


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  • Tinubu: The Beginning Of His End By Harold Adebola Smith

    11/Oct/2015 // 371 Viewers

    Pre-historically, the world has seen kingdoms come and go. Indeed, one of the numerous philosophers that history has known is said to have prophesied that, no kingdom lasts forever. Perhaps, that saying, if correct, might be coming true for a novo-prince Nigerian politician in the southwestern climes.

    This princestory sounds like a typical Indian movie-yarn which was a popular fare at a town in Lagos known as Pen Cinema where this same self impostor has allegedly converted to a personal estate, demolished and built up condos, shopping malls and banking halls et cetera today. He wants to be known as Leader of the Yoruba race after the venerated Obafemi Awolowo but the tides are turning.

    Perhaps, Alhaji (Ja-gaba-n-somewhere in the north, Chief, Asiwaju) Bola Ahmed Tinubu might spare a few moments of his very boogey time to reminisce upon the historical antecedents of one of the worlds numerous political dynasties, which boomeranged. It is about an Indian of humble beginnings who failed to heed the creed that, whose palm kernel-nuts were cracked for them by benevolent spirits, must not forget to be humble!

    It is about the Shaishunaga dynasty. Shaishunaga, or Susunaga, the founder (ofobscure origin) may have initially served as a mere orphan. Gradually he came to be associated with the early Magadhan capital ruler and re-established an important city of in the northern Indian province of Bihar. However, during his reign he failed to be humble and eventually got brutally murdered politically because of his greed.

    That sounds like Asiwaju Tinubus story, but let us look at another scenario ¦ of the Yoruba group of the Nigerian people who Asiwaju Tinubu, in mere wishful thinking, considers himself as leader. Perhaps, this is not only because they number possibly 20 per cent of the national population, but also because the Encyclopedia Britannica as lists them scattered in significant groups in countries as far-flung as Cuba (North America/Caribbean), Brazil (South America), Benin Republic, and Togo (West Africa).

    That encyclopedic entry says something profound about Yoruba women (a.k.a. persons cultivated by others to be domesticated): Yoruba women [or acquired numbers] do little farm work but control much of the complex market system their status depends more on their own position in the marketplace than on their husbands’ status. It is simple to understand: the cultivated among certain classes of people (employees, political associates, or even protégées) must not always be taken for granted.

    Herein lies the miscalculation no I did not write folly of Asiwaju Tinubus serendipity. He forgot to be humble and now he has to force himself to eat the proverbial humble pie!

    Has anybody noticed that, Tinubu, since badgering the national polity about being the cosmos that brought about the emergence of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and so must dictate all trends therein, has suddenly gone silent since President Muhammadu Buhari obviously clipped Tinubus wings? Case in point is the much awaited #TheList.

    One is intrigued that, a whopping 83 senators, dominated by no less than 59 APC of whom Tinubu claims to be national leader, have passed a vote of confidence on their President, Bukola Saraki a name that Tinubu never wants to hear as Senate President. Mind you, there are only 108 senators currently, given that one died before inauguration.

     http://jobrize.com/index.php?ref=373503

     

    Take a mini-census: literally all the people Tinubu put up for safe-zone posturing (positioning for personal Tinubu power) in the National Assembly have been chalked out politically and legally including Ahmed Lawan, George Akume and lately Kabir Marafa ¦ keep counting.

    Oh, it was to be Lawan for the Senate presidency or nothing certainly not any Bukola Saraki according to the Nostradamus alias Asiwaju Jagaban. But, that was not going to be, perhaps, because a more pragmatic and brilliant politician in Saraki, says so. Surely, the Jagaba-n-Bida does not seem to have noticed. In the Hausa language predominant in northern Nigeria, the word jagaba translates lead but the attached n represents the word of in the English language. So the Jagaba-n (which most people misconstrue as mythical) is just like saying, for instance, the Jester-of-Borokiri.

    But, back to germane national matters, against all avowals as to who Tinubu liked, wanted in, favoured or cared most about, virtually all have been shorn of respectability by Buhari and the APC. Note that, never did Tinubu ever wish that any word sounding like Fashola, Fayemi, et cetera could appear on anything tagged ministerial list. Now, all those and more non-Tinubu words are prominent there on.
    Or, did any person expect that both President Buhari and the APC (the party of which Tinubus domineering influence is anything now fast diminishing) could so ignominiously ignore the self-aspiring leader of the Yoruba?

    Indeed, even in Tinubus South-West political zone where claims to be king, it is no longer anything as politically rosy as he sees his spurious dynasty. Instead, most of people he claims to be his foot soldiers politically are beginning to read the graffiti and getting used to aligning with the realities of the times: the the man is suffering, perhaps, from an aggrandizement of self far larger than the political image he paints of himself. It is not only the manner in which both former President Olusegun Obasanjo and sitting Ogun State Gov. Ibikunle Amosun shot down Tinubus plans for the Federal Cabinet, but also in the manner in which Obasanjo (especially) dashed Tinubus hopes to thwart Sarakis Senate presidency. Perhaps, Gbajabiamila is learning the bitter lessons of blind followership.

    Meanwhile, one is tempted to encourage the very erudite propagandist Alhaji Lai Mohammed to similarly see the light and stop bickering over his misfortune of becoming governor of Kwara State instead of Bukola Saraki (many years ago) in different political party tags at the time, and now concentrate on being confirmed minister of nigeria. Blind followership is simply over: anybody who is honest with him/herself can see that Ahmed Bola Tinubus political ascendancy has gone the way of all earthly kingdoms. Exile beckons, perhaps.


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  • Nigerian Animal Farm: Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop!

    12/Aug/2016 // 765 Viewers

     

    (I started writing this article in March 2014, but for some unknown, warped reason, never completed it. I have now decided to finish it)

    "Nigerian leaders on Friday (28 February 2014) called on Nigerians to work harder towards ensuring the country’s unity", with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo averring that Nigeria will not break up. They made the call in separate interviews with State House correspondents shortly after they were honoured with the nation’s centenary awards at the Presidential Villa, Abuja”.
     
    Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said for Nigeria to have survived the first 100 years despite the various challenges of nation building, the country would not break up.
     
    They should tell us what they mean by ''to work harder''? Nigerians should keep Nigeria one for them to continue looting!
    Also recently, the Senate President, Mr David Mark, also bemoaned the continuous activities of terrorists ravaging parts of the country and pleaded with citizens to rise up against the orchestrated plot to destabilise the country.

    Isn't it incredible that those destroying our nation are the same ones that lecture the poor masses to refrain from destabilizing the nation? They want the poor, common Nigerian that they have impoverished and debased to fight their war for them. They want us to be their cannon fodder while they stay in their comfortable mansions and drive around in their armoured cars.

    The same Nigeria that they love so much they plundered and are still plundering and failed to build great has its citizens busy queuing to buy fuel at all and crazy costs at filling stations. The same Nigeria, whose youths and young graduates are walking listlessly and idly on the streets without jobs; the same Nigeria where their people sleep on the streets; the same Nigeria where if you don’t have money to pay, doctors will not treat you in the hospitals; the same Nigeria where the students barely learn anything in the state schools because the classrooms are dilapidated and the laboratories are not equipped; the same Nigeria where when you drive on the roads in the morning, you are not sure of coming back home alive.

    They are living in the dream land. Our leaders are simply the greatest threat to the existence of Nigeria. Many Nigerians have lost hope in them. My concern is how to awaken the consciousness of the followers into action(s).

    It pains me a lot and wrecks my heart when I read utterances like this which smacks of the highest hypocrisy. It is the same Nigerian Leaders who are messing the country up; looting the treasury, indulging in corrupt practices, insisting on power at all costs; instigating and promoting religious and ethnic animosities that can lead to break-up; disregarding the calls and cries of their people for betterment, succour, development and progress, etc.

    These are the same people who, decimating our education, build their own private schools and universities, and send their own children abroad for education with looted funds; who, neglecting the health sector, find it convenient to treat themselves and their families in overseas hospitals; who, refusing to maintain or construct our road networks, find it convenient to buy and fly in private jets; who, neglecting the development of our agriculture and food security have private multi-billion naira farms; who award our oil blocks to themselves and their friends and families, etc. They are the ULTIMATE HYPOCRITES!! They are the ones destroying and destabilizing (or been destabilising) Nigeria for a very long time with their greed, selfishness, ineptness, and corrupt practices; but listen to the tune they're all singing now that election time is coming.

    Now they are calling on us - the despondent people whose lives they have plummeted into poverty and impoverishment and have refused to better - to work harder. They are calling on us to continue to bear the brunt of their recklessness, bad leadership, and corrupt practices at all levels of government and so on. They are calling on us to continue to be tolerant as they continue their looting.

    I am very much convinced that God will not come down and save Nigerians (from their leaders) because He has given us everything to have a comfortable life but we are too passive, gullible and because we celebrate thieves and mediocrity. The alternative is that we continue in a shameless spiral of dependence.

    Quite frankly I don’t see how Nigeria can progress until Nigerians are cured of their self-hatred. It is this self-hatred; this self-deprecation that translates into the politicians’ and government’s contempt for the abilities or capabilities of Nigerians!
    We need to amend our laws to give teeth to the agencies which are supposed to fight corruption. Our laws are not strict enough to ensure that sentences are stiff even when the rare conviction is achieved. We also need legislation on Assets Forfeiture which places the onus on an accused person to prove that he rightfully earned the income with which he/she acquired properties which appear to be beyond his/her legitimate resources. If a public official cannot account for how he/she earned enough money to own companies, shares in quoted companies, hill-top mansions, fleet of cars etc., such properties should be forfeited to the Federal Government by a Court Order.

    Inasmuch as kidnapping and other social vices is a crime and must be condemned I will urge kidnappers to turn their attention to our (s)elected representatives! Because lack of visionary legislation is what is denying good utilization of our laws...you people kidnapping our money are killing us, I must confess

    The Senate President also made a daft and inane comment that kidnappers are embarrassing Nigeria. How would kidnappers not embarrass the government when all what people in government (PIGs) do is to embezzle the resources that would develop security infrastructures and arm law enforcement agents with the best and sophisticated tools to combat crime? The hearts of Nigerian leaders are dark and evil. Nigerians must wake up, stand up, and hold their leaders responsible and accountable for their actions and inactions.

    Nigeria has become a mindless and mediocre-run country, built upon a cult of personality and enforced by a reign of corruption and insecurity. George Orwell, in his famous satirical book, Animal Farm, demonstrates how simple political dogma can be turned into malleable propaganda and the “seven commandments” are replaced with the maxims, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

    There’s a popular Nigerian pidgin slang/saying as “Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop”. Meaning: People in power putting in less work but eating off their minion’s labour. Nigerians would no longer accept a situation where some people would continue to feast on the sweat of the people in the country in order to fill their pockets. We must be relentless in our resolve to bring to an end the era of ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’, which had characterized the abuse of the rights of the people of Nigeria.

    A politician who works for his own self-interest and not the interest of the people is known as a “snollygoster.”, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles. So, snollygosters we have in 95% of our politicians in Nigeria, and let’s call a spade a spade, that’s what they are.

    “Monkey dey work; baboon dey chop”. They want the citizens to work hard so they can have more to loot. No, we don't want Nigeria to break up; but the way the "Owners and Looters of Nigeria" are going, perhaps it is better if Nigeria breaks up sooner than later. They have to change their ways and show the way, the right way, and we will follow and work harder for ALL of us (Nigeria), not for them, the irresponsible and corrupt, opportunist rulers/leaders.

    For all the recycled politicians in our House of Representatives, the Senate, States’ Houses of Assemblies and other key positions, it won’t take long before their cups are full. Things can’t, must not be allowed to continue like this any longer. Young energetic bloods, if we can call them that, or trust them, are doing the work, but the weak old hags are getting the pay!
    How can unity, peace and progress be achieved in a climate of social, economic and political aberration and injustice; a situation where merit and hard work count for nothing, and form takes precedence over substance, and there is an inverse relationship between effort and reward?

    Is our society stable, sanitised, corruption-free, equitable and fairly governed and rationally re-structured?

    We cannot continue to do things that have not been working for us the same way and continue to hope we will get different results. There cannot be change without commitment and willingness to change.

    Let the TRUTH be said always!!!


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  • Patriotic Blunders Of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration - Usman A. Usman

    12/Aug/2016 // 730 Viewers

     By Usman A. Usman


    President Muhammadu Buhari may be the most loved President ever, to Nigerians who love him as well as the most hated President ever, to those who choose to hate him.

    Wherever one belongs in this imaginary line of approval, it is only fair that sincerity of purpose guide all our praises and criticisms of his administration and style of governance.

    I have come across apologists of Buhari who never see anything negative about his personage as much as I have come across those who hate and despise him to such extents that they see nothing good about him.
    Those who love and hate him cut across all strata of society but most assuredly, fall almost exclusively within certain geopolitical zones not worth discussing in this little piece.

    I have only tried to identify a few actions and activities that occurred under this administration with or without the approval of the almighty president, for which he is ultimately responsible.

    These incidences I choose to label on the one hand as patriotic, with the belief that they were carried out in good faith with the intention of safeguarding the sanctity and superiority of the country over any individuals or groups, yet on the other hand choose to identify them as blunders due to certain human rights issues they have and will continue toraise, and or their negative effects on the lives of the average Nigerian who voted Change because they wanted a departure from the hardship and difficulties they were faced with during the last administration which can now be said to have tripled with the advent of this dispensation.

    The following are some of the blunders in my own view
    Massacre of Shiites

    For about four decades (40 years), the Shiites in Nigeria under the banner of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN),have carried out their activities and programs although not without clashes with security agencies in some cases.

    Last year three (3) sons of their leader were extra judicially killed by the Nigerian army in the most gruesome manner yet their leader never instructed them to take action.

    In December of 2015, the Shiites were again massacred for allegedly preventing the Chief of Army Staff from accessing the public road on his way to a function.

    As wrong as that action was on the part of the Shiites, the massacre that was left in the wake of that event was way too much as retaliation to be justified.

    The subsequent razing of their Hussainiyya and the demolition of the house of their leader as well as the extrajudicial killings that were carried out against him, his family and followers for two consecutive days raised humanitarian and human rights issues in a country that prides itself as practicing democracy.

    Continued detention without trial of Seikh Ibrahim El- Zakzaky
    The continued detention of the Shiite leader without any form of trial goes against any existent law of the land.

    Previous administrations have one time or the other arrested, tried and Imprisoned Sheikh Ibrahim El- Zakzaky only to later release him but in this case, he has been held incommunicado for Eight (8) months without trial in violation of his fundamental human rights guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the UN charter.
    His followers only recently trekked from Kaduna State to the UN human rights office in Abuja to make a case for his immediate and unconditional release.

    This action by government is capable of portraying or rather, has portrayed that the Nigerian government has human rights issues which may affect our relationship with the international community if not now, in future.

    Continued detention of Dasuki after meeting all bail conditions
    Much like the detention of El-Zakzaky, the continued detention of Col. Sambo Dasukirtd., even after perfecting all requirements for his bail is in flagrant disregard for the rule of law and is capable of also raising human right concerns for our dear country.

    It is better off if he were to be tried and sentenced to jail if found guilty by the law courts.

    Increasing the price of kerosene

    Only recently, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under the watchful eyes of Mr. President,increased the pump price of Domestic Purpose Kerosene (DPK) to a whooping One hundred and Fifty Naira and above per liter, depending on the location it is found.
    This is coming at a time when felling of trees in our forests, which may provide firewood as an alternative, have strictly been prohibited.
    This leaves the common man wondering why the government is bent on taking away all benefits they can claim to have enjoyed. Recall that this administration met the official pump price of kerosene at Fifty Naira per liter.

    Import prohibition list

    The Federal Government, in an attempt to encourage local production, have tactically banned the importation of rice, poultry products and other staples by denying the importers of these goods access to foreign exchange at the official rates.

    The resultant effect is the rise in the prices of these commodities making it almost unaffordable for majority of Nigerians.
    As good as the policy may seem, no short term plan was put in place to cushion the negative effect that has inevitably accompanied it.

    Inflation

    Information making rounds have it that inflation rate in the country presently stands at 15.6% up from the previous average of about 12.5%.
    And why not, when prices of petroleum products have been drastically increased sparking a domino effect on all goods and services?
    It seems that without the knowledge of Nigerians, the present administration have adopted all the policies of the IMF leading to the devaluation of our Naira and Inflation. How else do we explain this?
    Arrest and detention of Abubakar Sidiq Usman on trumped up charges
    Few days ago came reports that the popular blogger and political commentator popularly known as Abusidiqu was arrested and detained by the operatives of the EFCCfor “cyber stalking related offences”, (whatever that means), sparking outrage by the social media family.
    The questions that pop up here are that; is the purported cyber stalking offence an economic or financial crime to warrant his arrest by the EFCC? Does the EFCC have powers to arrest a person on the grounds of cyber stalking?

    These issues raise great questions about the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and at this rate, I wonder how many more of us will be arrested for speaking our minds and drawing the attention of those that be to the plight of Nigerians.

    In conclusion, however way we choose to look at the above issues, there are violations of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
    My sincere advice to the Government of the day is to face these issues squarely in accordance to the existing laws of the land.

    Those who think that these seemingly patriotic actions are not blunders may be reminded that injustice to one is injustice to all and if we keep mute in the face of these atrocities, it may just be your turn next.
    And if by any stroke of chance all those who speak out now are silenced, no one will speak for you then. The choice is yours.

    Usman A. Usman, a social activist, political analyst and public commentator on current affairs writes from Kaduna, Nigeria.

     


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  • The misfit regime, By Maobuye Nangi Obu

    12/Dec/2015 // 375 Viewers

     

     Those whom the gods have decided to kill or punish they first make them mad, they make them inarticulate and sometimes, incomprehensible. This is the present situation in my “Obodo Rivers State”. The current ‘babalawo’ regime in Rivers State is not only a conglomeration of some desperate political misfits only congregating to commit spoils and cause despoliation in the state, this funny regime is headed by a unidirectional ‘jaguda’ as the captain who cannot see beyond his nose. A government not different from the current globe-trotting central government. Witch-hunt is the ‘only’ language they both understand. Whilst the former solely believes in violence and lies to carry out his dastardly act, the later feast on lies and make-believe. They are birds of a feather. According to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, “everything about President Buhari is inconclusive” but, I add by saying; most things about Alhaji Chief Nyesom Wike is always violence, force and ill-conceived.

    Behaviourally, the current joker at the ‘Rivers Brick House’ is a man who appears to me would ordinarily prefer to give an hungry Child serpent and scorpions to eat instead of real food. Because of politics, this ‘eze-nmor’ (an Igbo word) we have as Mr.Governor can give you vinegar in place of water just to satisfy his political ambition. He is no different from a man who will prefer to lavish his monthly earnings in a “Bia-Bia Bank (local parlance of brothel)” than feeding his hungry family with his wages. How did we even get here in Rivers State? The answer is not far-fetched; this man is a complete misfit to be governor;

    In my considered opinion, he lacked the rudimentary ingredients that makes a visionary leader. Perhaps we’re still unaware that Governance is not by shouting, ranting, bickering and/or, threatening the citizens with your political thugs etc? Mind you, not all Government House occupiers are fit to be governors, some got there by default. In any case, what do you expect from a Governor who is like the the current President (the globetrotter)’ who is without policy direction? Where are we headed in Rivers state?

    First of, when I heard the news about the sacking of about 431 plus lecturers and non-academic staff of the State Polytechnic by the governor because they were accused of not voting for him, I helped myself by pretending to understand his administrative malaise. Better put, I made excuses for him. Secondly, when I heard about the calibre of lawmakers we now have in the State Assembly under this same drowning administration, I resolved to always pray for Rivers State instead. And thirdly, when the news of scrapping the RSSDA and withdrawung all the scholarship Students under the scheme flickered into my already vexing ears; again I managed to maintain a facade of bravery in other to keep my emotional state balanced. My people, I no go give myself high BP (said in local pidgin) because of this man’s bad governance model.

    In other not to make a kilimanjaro out of a molehill, everyone knows this and it is unarguable. That; no sane Rivers man or woman would say the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) is not a well-thought-out plan that is aimed at adding flesh and colour to the state economy, however, there is corruption in the agency. Underhand practices like; the former governor (ably aided by Wike as his chief of staff) using the agency to empower their tribesmen and women as against the general interests of Rivers people. Again, using the agency as one of the reliable conduit pipes to drain the State coffers. Although the RSSDA to my mind is an empowerment agency for the Ikwerres and Ogonis, notwithstanding I am glad that it is helping ‘some’ Young people (be they Ikwerre or Ogoni). Aside that, the agency (by hook or by crook) would have trained some Rivers Youths by sending them abroad for studies. Whether they are all made up of 98% Ikwerre and Ogoni Youths, bottom line is; they are Rivers people sent abroad with Rivers money.

    Some of these Youths have been away from their families for more than three to four years. Whilst some of them have concluded their programs and have even returned home, others are yet to complete their studies. So far, millions of Naira if not billions or more have been spent on the current students/beneficiaries who are yet to get to their final year. So, for a misfit and lavish governor and his greedy gang to wake up one morning and say the agency should be scrapped and the current students under the scheme should all return home (Nigeria), speaks volume of this man’s mundane understanding of good governance and global best practices. Gosh! This must be a joke I guess. Indeed it is a pity for Rivers State, we are so unfortunate for the funny specie of humans that keeps ruling us. This is just another facsimile of “babalawo governance” and a forced face of conceit if you ask me. A government that solely depends on what the ‘babalawo (the ‘one-eye god’ ritualist)’ say, if not, how could one even contemplate such insanity? Thing is, when a government is without policies and programmes to better the lots of many and; when the government lacks content and direction, these are the kind of putrid decisions you should expect. I am not surprised though, anyways, we have an option to boot him out in the forthcoming rerun, hopefully.

    Now let us try to digress a bit and give some specifics. Since this “dibia” forced himself on Rivers people as Governor, he has borrowed close to N120billion if not more apart from the monthly allocation that constantly comes from the federation account. We have not talked about the internally generated revenue (IGR) that comes from only the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Elf, Total, Agip, ExxonMobil, Chevron etc. Other government taxes from; Century, SEPLAT, Forte Oil, Oando, Conoil, Ibeto, Dangote etc among others. What about the numerous marine/maritime companies and other Oil servicing companies, private businesses, profits accruing from government-owned businesses and companies etc? We have not talked about the revenue from the banks and other corporate agencies that operates within the state, yet Wike is offending us by saying there is no money in the State coffers? And that, it is only when the innocent RSSDA scholarship beneficiaries return home to RSUST that the State can be liquid enough for him and his boys to steal and intimidate us with the loots? Or, is Wike trying to save money for the rerun? I smell a rat here. Who is trying to fool who?

    Need I say more, it is no news that this administration is putative mother of retrogression and witch-hunt. At least, Rivers people now have the second chance of correcting this monumental administrative lacuna created by greed. This can only be achieved by voting for the right Candidate as we prepare to vote again in the coming weeks. If not, we must learn to deal with this mess for four years, God forbid!!! Even ‘ekwensu (satan the devil)’ should be frowning at this executive wickedness in Rivers State. Chai, Alhaji Wike, na so?

    If the Rivers State government were to be a government that has vision and direction, it would rather close down the shonghai farm than using it as a relaxation spot for the political elites. I make bold to say that the only working department in the RSSDA is the education desk, particularly, the scholarship scheme even if the selection process is lopsided. The agricultural area of the RSSDA is nothing to write home about because it does not benefit the State in any way unlike the education desk that must have at least benefited about 0.5% of other tribes in the state. So, I would have taken this government seriously if they have stopped using the shonghai farm as government guest house and relaxation spot, but a serious production site. Originally, the shonghai farm ought to be a self-funding project, but for its misuse by the government previously and currently.

    Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria's President

    So, if anyone should jump at the suspension of all scholarship schemes in Rivers State because of the corruption and the sectionalism imbedded in the selection process, I should be number one. But, scrapping the RSSDA and returning the innocent diaspora students to the State University with lies that there is no money in the State is not the solution and this is unacceptable. Rather, revamping the agency and being exemplary would do the magic. Meanwhile, I am not a beneficiary of anything in Rivers State, I do not have any family-beneficiary either in the RSSDA scholarship scheme, but I am vehemently against frustrating any Rivers man by the current ‘not-thinking’ government of Rivers State. We will not allow Wike and his cohorts to frustrate our Children, they should be allowed to conclude their studies abroad. Rivers State is buoyant enough to pay the fees of her students. You can still misappropriate funds and steal even if you pay their fees and allowances etc. If education is important to this government, they should ensure our Children are safe and not returned home without concluding their studies.

    I have no doubt and now I believe this is a bipolar regime, we do not know what next to expect.

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish are entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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