By Olawole Olakunle Moronfoluwa
By Olawole Olakunle Moronfoluwa
By Akintokunbo A. Adejumo
"We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it." Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
It is appalling to know that Nigerians are now polarised into two main caucuses, which is not even anywhere near political, but rather individualism, and most times bordering on ethnic lines and religious affiliation - the Buharists and the Jonathanians - as if these are the most important situation and life-changing experience we need now.
The Buharists, if I may try to define it, are those who the supporters of ex-President Jonathan derogatorily refer to, as those who insist that President Muhammadu Buhari is a god, or at least, a demi-god, and can do no wrong in his singular pursuit of a corruption free and better life for his fellow Nigerians. Buharists are those who believe in the singularity and sincerity of purpose of President Buhari to set Nigeria on a different course from what the country has been subjected to during sixteen years of ignoble and disastrous PDP rule.
The Jonathanians, again if I may hazard a definition, are those willing to swear by God that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was the best president Nigerians ever had, and should never have been voted out to allow a Northern ex-dictator into power to continue to perpetrate witch-hunting and lies against sixteen years of PDP rule in Nigeria. They do not believe Buhari has a moral claim in trying to clean the country of the pathogenic and endemic corruption that has ravaged the country. They further believe that Buhari is a fraud and is only fighting a Northern cause
The two terms are simply an exhibition and proof of our political immaturity as a people.
For sixteen years of PDP rule since 1999, who has ever heard of such inanity being spewed on the streets? Were there ever Obasanjonists, or Yar ‘Aduanians? Even during the six year reign of Mr Jonathan himself, there was never anything so hearable - I never heard anybody being called a Jonathanian between 2010 and 2015. This was probably as a result of the fact that the ruling party then were the absolute rulers, and never for once thought they would be removed from power. In fact, they were so entrenched and invincible that they themselves were reminding their fellow Nigerians that they were going to rule for sixty years; nine hundred and forty years short of Hitler’s one thousand year Third Reich.
During that short-lived sixteen years, the opposition in all the elections that took place in Nigeria, except 2015, were at best, noise-makers, and at worst, as clueless as the ruling party, PDP. They had no plans, no vision, and no focus, except to grab power, and then continue to do like the incumbent party was doing. Of course, they failed. The current president never had a chance, despite appearing thrice in two different political parties. There was no Buharist then of note, or wait a minute, I know a very few supporters of Buhari then – the current Ogun State governor, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, who was in the same ANPP with Buhari; a couple of my Igbo (yes, Igbo from South East Nigeria) friends in the UK who have been die-hard Buhari supporters since 2007; and ah, of course, the current Minister for Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, who was the Oyo State flagbearer for Buhari’s CPC at the 2011 Elections; and now I remember one of my first cousins who lives in Abuja and has always been what you can call a Buharist – and that’s about it, at least as far as I know. Even me, I was not convinced of Mr Buhari’s possible success in winning an election in Nigeria, though I have always held him in the highest esteem mainly because of his anti-corruption antecedents, honesty, sincerity, patriotic and stoic stand.
Was there ever a Ribaduist, that is, a person who followed Nuhu Ribadu of the ACN in the 2011 Elections? None that I can think of, or can you? Who else again from all the other charlatans and clowns who call themselves political parties? The AD, Labour, ANPP, SDP, etc. some of who never even had Presidential candidates in those elections and prefer to mortgage their conscience and ideals with the bigger parties?
So here we are in 2016, and the social media of Nigerians are full of Jonathanians and Buharists, and to most of them, that is what politics and democracy in Nigeria is all about. The so-called Jonathanians are bitter and vicious because their “hero” lost an election, the first time such has ever occurred in Nigeria – for an incumbent, who planned an election to concede defeat. It is unheard of, and a lot of them cannot only bear it, but they also refuse to come to terms with that political disaster. To them, they refuse to accept that Mr Jonathan has had his chance, blew it, and can never ever come back to rule Nigeria again. My advice to them is to start looking for a more credible hero who will be able to uproot Mr Buhari from Aso Rock in 2019. 2015 is gone, together with Mr Jonathan. There is a lot of work to be done to really move Nigeria forward, if that has ever been their real intention, and not what they had perpetrated on the good people of Nigeria in the last sixteen years of their grip on the treasury and political terrain of the country.
And now to the so-called Buharists (some people even think I am one), life in the fast lane of Aso Rock in Abuja is very short. They must be mindful of the fact that Mr Buhari is surrounded by some men of questionable characters and integrity, much like Mr Jonathan indeed was, but the only saving grace or hope, is that Mr Buhari is a man of his own, a man of integrity and a man known to be devoid of greed and selfishness. There must not be hero-worshipping of Mr Buhari. A recent example is the botched budget; a very bad publicity, show of shame and incompetence, if not outright irresponsibility and corruption, and it must be vigorously criticised by all, not minding which side of the fence you are, for the sake of Nigeria. They also need to keep reminding Mr Buhari that he does not have a lot of time on his hands. Four years will soon be over, in fact, less than two years now, before the hounds of the opposition parties will soon be barking and besieging him and hurling missiles from every corner of the world. It ain’t gonna be a pretty sight.
To those of us who erroneously pride ourselves in being politically-savvy, we have been made to look like charlatans. In the 2011 Elections, we made so much issue of voting for the individual and not the party. Why? Another political immaturity, guided by a lack of defined and delineated political ideology imposed on us by crude, vicious and uneducated politicians who were there to take advantage of the ignorant masses, and then loot the common wealth. I was a guilty, ignorant villain then; I voted for Jonathan and not the PDP, I liked to assure myself then, all to my mortification and cost. In the 2015 Election, some people said the same: we voted for Buhari and not the APC. I hope we will not again be disappointed.
Even when we deviate a little from the stupidity, we resort to calling each other “APC apologists” or “PDP die-hards”, phrases which should not even be heard in sane political and democratic environments, because in such environments, people have the right of association and affiliation to a political party or the other, and should therefore be respected, not killed or pilloried for that. That is what politics and democracy are all about. But trust my people; there is no room or tolerance for opposition politics or diverse opinion or ideas. Hence, once again, a confirmation of our political immaturity, even after sixteen years.
So what lessons do we learn from this? The lesson a man learns from any issue is dependent on his experience or mistake. Nigerians have neither learnt from experience or their mistakes, and so perhaps, adaptation or aspiration to a more politically-beneficial environment and a fair and just society may be of a tall order. As Charles Darwin said, “False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.”
Nigeria is not about Jonathan or Buhari. It is about Nigeria. It is our responsibility, and would be beneficial to all of us to get the right people into power, and the wrong people out of power. We have gotten rid of Mr Jonathan in 2015; we can get rid of Mr Buhari in 2019 if he failed us. We have all the power in the universe to do this, but only if we are sincere with ourselves, devoid of ethnic, religious and personal bigotry. I do not believe in Buharists or Jonathanians and I personally take umbrage when I am referred to as a Buharist or APC apologist.
Whichever of these two camps you belong to, why isn’t there anything like "Nigerianians"? For me, it is about Nigeria, and I have the right to swing to the camp I think is better or best for my survival as a Nigerian and for Nigeria in general.
Whoever those political “experts” who came up with these two labels are – Buharist and Jonathanian – into our political lexicon should have their heads examined.
Let the Truth be told always and those who want to hear it hear it and accept it.
Akintokunbo A Adejumo writes from London, United Kingdom.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
By Ochereome Nnanna
EVERY administration enjoys its share of honeymoon after assuming power. The allure of newness and expectations are high during this period, and the people are willing to overlook and excuse little blunders here and there. But months down the line, one or two major things happen, and the honeymoon is over. When former President Goodluck Jonathan took over in 2011, his trajectory from Deputy Governor to Governor and from Vice President to President was a major talking point during his honeymoon. His being the first ethnic Minority Nigerian to recieve the overwhelming vote of the electorate, even when ranged against powerful Northern opponents was something people found inspiring. But the moment he attempted to remove the petroleum subsidy starting from January 1, 2012, the romance quickly vanished.
Unfortunately, Jonathan backed off from completely removing the subsidy, with the resultant effect that Nigeria went on to spend over two more trillion Naira on fuel subsidies; an amount that could have turned around the massive infrastructure deficit of the country if properly invested.
President Muhammadu Buhari came on the crest of what some romantically termed: “Change Revolution”. It was the first time a sitting president seeking a second term was voted out in Nigeria and he left without making any fuss. In Africa, it was the second time it ever happned, following the noble example of former Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, who conceded victory to his former Minister, Macky Sall, on Monday 26th March 2012. Even if the election that brought Buhari in was not that copasetic (what with millions of under-age voters and non-use of the card reader in the Muslim North, his main political base), the transitional process was second to none. This was obviously why many newspapers awarded both the former and incumbent presidents their joint Man-of-the Year 2015.
On assumption of power, Buhari’s media magicians, notably Femi Adesina (alias Kulikuli) and Garba Shehu, stoked his mystique with fairytale characterisations: “the New Sheriff in Town”, who accomplished great feats of change through his “Body Language”, feats which were fondly attributed to “The Buhari Effect”. You will recall that as soon as Buhari was announced winner of the presidential election, the Naira, which was going for 228 against the US Dollar, appreciated by seven percent to 211. His supporters boasted that if he could achieve this without lifting a finger, then his campaign promise to make the Naira equal to the Dollar would be accomplished before long. But today, the story is different. At the last check, the Naira exchanged for the Dollar at 313: 1, with many proffering the bleak prognosis that we might be headed eventually for 500:1 or an outright devaluation (which Buhari’s Western backers have asked him to do).
In June 2015 the comatose refineries suddenly restarted refining petroleum products without the regime spending a kobo. Today, Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineris remain shut and will not resume production till end of this month.
While “the Buhari Effect” held sway, there was a noticeable improvement in power supply, even when the new leader had not made a policy pronouncement on which way his cat was going to jump. Some even claimed they now had between 18 to 24 hours of power supply a day. They forgot that this was the cool and rainy season when, traditionally, the hydrothermal plants were full with water which results to more available megawatts for the national grid. What do we have now? The power supply has nosedived, though the administration has reported that we have crossed the 5,000 megawatts threshold “for the first time”. The Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) which bought over the assets of erstwhile state monopoly, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), on February 1, 2016, made good their threat to raise electricity tariff by 46 percent. Nigeria’s Organised Labour, which had been in hibernation since Comrade Adams Oshiomhole stepped down as Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, also made good their threat to picket their offices nationwide.
That is the most poignant sure sign that the honeymoon is over. This honeymoon usually stops when concrete governance starts. However, the power tariff hike is a small thing compared to the great damage to the Buhari administration’s image which the 2016 budget saga is beginning to turn up. The insanity of the 2016 budget is twofold. On the one hand is the massive amount of corruption (paddings, duplications) which are being unearthed at the House of Representatives and the Senate. The second is Federal Government’s inability to discover these crooked intents to steal our public funds right under the nose of an anti-corruption president, which reeks of gross incompetence from the Budget Office and the Federal Ministry of Finance to the Presidency.
Not only that, an aide of the President, Senator Etta Enang, has been accused of being behind the tampering with the budget which President Buhari presented before the National Assembly. The confusion and corruption surrounding the budget is so much that one of the Ministers, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who is in charge of the Health Ministry, openly disowned his ministry’s budget when he was supposed to defend it before the Legislature. He said “rats” (which are also known as “budget mafia”) had doctored it. Frustrated, the Chairmen of the Appropriation Committees of the House and Senate, announced that the February 25 date for the passage of the budget had been postponed indefinitely.
The President has promised to punish the civil servants who were responsible for sabotaging the budget and using it to paint his administration in corrupt colours. We wait to see.Buhari’s Budgetgate exposes an irony. Remember, during the four-month delay in naming his cabinet, Buhari betrayed his confidence on bureaucrats and disdain for ministers. He told France 24, a television station and I quote:
“No. It is what we know – and which we learned from the Western system. The civil service provides the continuity, the technocrat. And in any case, they are those that do most of the work. The ministers are there, I think, to make a lot of noise…. But the work is being done by the technocrats. They are there; they have to provide continuity, dig into the records and then guide us who are just coming in”.
Buhari was heavily criticised (I lent my voice to it here) for making it seem like ministers are unimportant. Is it not an irony that the same civil servants on whom Buhari depends for “guidance” are now the ones corrupting his first budget with a view to stealing public funds? Buhari’s trusted civil servants who orchestrated the disgrace of former Health Minister, Professor Adenike Grange (she has since cleared her name in court) are the ones who want to scam us once again through this Budgetgate.
Nine months into his regime, our President, who is permanently on foreign tours, no longer possesses the body language to deter civil trusted servants from attempting to loot the treasury. They are no longer deterred by the exploits of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which is grabbing people, detaining them, arraigning them and sealing up their properties.
In fact, it has come to a point where Buhari will criticise the Judiciary and the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association will answer back. Boko Haram, which had been ‘“technically defeated” resumes invasions of communities and a rash of suicide bombings. It has become obvious, even to Buhari’s ardent supporters that governance is not a fairytale; it is not a daydream. You must do the work and do it well. In this our democracy, whatever you sow, you will reap.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we published remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
By Akintokunbo A Adejumo
I have been musing over the conundrum above for a very long time, even before this new dispensation of the sincere and stern President Buhari, and I can’t get it off my mind, the possibility, that is.
Corruption is defined nowadays simply as “The abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not a subscriber to puritanism or absolute inviolability. Corruption is part of humankind and can never be completely eradicated from the face of the earth as longs as human beings inhabit this planet. In individuals, there is always a whiff of one kind of corruption or the other around us. Nobody is truly and totally immune. What I always hope and strive for is reduction of corruption in our society to a manageable level and then a zero-tolerance attitude to it so that it does not rear its hydra-headed ugly aspect again to reduce us to the immobilised state we are right now, and so enable us to develop and progress as a people and as a united nation. We need a holistic and altruistic approach to fighting corruption and reducing it to a manageable level, which will not hinder our development as a people, a nation or a country as it has evidently been doing for the past 5 decades.
Corruption is something you cannot just wake up and eradicate so long as the world still exists. In many countries including the zero-tolerant China, the mighty United States, and most developed Western countries that we see today with bubbling, well-conceived, well-planned, well-implemented and vibrant economies with high standards of living, corruption has not been crushed; it is only being checked and well-managed. We must be reminded that if these countries had not recognised, sorted out and applied effective and efficient corruption management policies and laws, their standards of living and economic powers and vibrancy would have been much devalued.
Nigeria’s new President, Muhammadu Buhari, vowed to fight corruption, but it’s too soon to tell if his efforts will be enough. Some Nigerians, mostly from the opposition camp, even doubt the man’s sincerity. Some also cast aspersion on his government’s sincerity because of the ilk of (allegedly corrupt) party bigwigs and political appointees he has found himself surrounded with and appointed into office, ranging from ministers to backroom staff.
According to Alexis Okeowo, in her article of 14 October 2015, “Can Nigeria’s New Government Overcome Its Old Corruption?”, “Buhari chose party loyalists—like the spokesman of his All Progressives Congress, Lai Muhammed—as well as politicians such as former Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola, who has been accused of misusing state funds. (He denies all of the accusations.)……. And Buhari himself was partly elected on the strength of an alliance with veteran kingmaker and southwestern politician Bola Tinubu, who was charged with the illegal operation of sixteen foreign bank accounts while he was the governor of Lagos but never convicted”.
“This is a reminder that, although Nigerians elected Buhari on a platform of change, Buhari’s victory was planned by many people who used to be part of the previous government,” said Max Siollun, a Nigerian military historian and political analyst, and concluded that. “To some extent, the ‘change’ was a rebranding exercise.”
If (theoretically) the majority of the people in government are corrupt, officials will surely be able to keep themselves safe legally. How can a nation or a disciplined and sincere, honest person (e.g. our new elected President) fight it and succeed? Or is it a Sisyphean task – an unceasingly recurring and fruitless labour? Can a country actually save itself without a coup d'état or a bloody revolution? Has this happened before?
I believe corruption is not a problem that can be fought by "a country" or by a government (alone), but rather by "a people". All that the “country” can do is to provide people with reasonably good and basic standard of living (water, food, electricity and good roads) and good, efficient healthcare, fairness, equality and justice (or a just and fair society where nobody is above the law), decent housing, employment and job creation, even, standardised, universal and free education. That will give everyone a common ground to build upon, and common goals, common worldviews, all that makes people feel that they are all part of the same community. That's what erases the social borders, pulls down caste systems and brings up "civism" (the feeling that everyone is a citizen from a same "city", in the Greek sense).
All these might seem insurmountable to achieve, especially now that there is a considerable downturn in the economy of the country; however, based on the profligacy and corruption that had pervaded Nigeria for decades, and the resulting illegal flight of our commonwealth to private, selfish, materialistic pockets and foreign banks, one will see that we have unforgivably erred in this country, as from the day oil was discovered in Nigeria, again, several decades ago, all the above could have been achieved in the first two decades after Independence, and continuing on from Great Britain in 1960, if not for poor, visionless, corrupt, unsympathetic leadership and selfish, ignorant, hypocritical and complacent followers, who believed everything about their own welfare and progress should and could be left in the hands of these politician and military riffraff.
The least corrupt countries are those in which riches is better, evenly distributed and everyone can get a good education and good healthcare if wanted. When education and healthcare become a privilege and the rich are very few while the poor are too many, corruption grows like weed, breaking up social structures as it goes up and spreads around. The same applies to availability and access to good health care, employment, housing and many other social benefits that are expected of a decent society or a responsible and decent government to provide its people.
Corruption can only be fought when everyone is actually equal before the law. When the son of a rich man kills a poor worker while driving at 110 km/h in an inner city road like in Lagos and Abuja and the justice system lets him go, without even the police arresting him, society sees the message: the rich are above the law. When a poor man is held in prison for years without formal accusation, just for being on the wrong place at the wrong time there is another one: you must get rich before you are given any rights. These two messages short-circuit into one: you must get rich as quick as you can, and no matter what. Since most people can't get rich, they'll try the next best thing: cut corners at every opportunity, as in precisely what is going on in Nigeria, where the justice system has a notorious abjection for jailing the rich, while it easily puts the ordinary poor citizens behind bars.
It is impossible to fight fire with fire; that's only a saying. You can't fight flooding with water and you can't fight corruption with corruption. Perhaps you can tolerate a little corruption while you fight bigger corruption (I am not convinced though) but you can't actively use corruption as that.
"Corruption" is not something material that can be isolated and controlled that easily. In that respect, it is harder to control than either fire or water. In theory, large ice blocks could be used to divert a flood or to dam it; it is impractical, but it is at least physically possible (the ice would melt eventually, but you would be able to buy time). In theory, controlled fire could be used to clear a boundary around a larger area that is under firestorm, and then cool the ashes with water and hope that no sparks fly over and spread the fire further. It is however impractical, unsafe and for the most part ineffective, but at least it is a conceivable strategy. But how could you corrupt people and institutions with the intention of fighting corruption? Sounds like spreading diseases with the goal of increasing public health.
I suppose that all countries face this problem eventually. Assuming that the government wants people’s cooperation with the change:
⦁ Make the new regime fair to ALL people; no scared cows, no vindictiveness or revenge or witch-hunting.
⦁ Explain the new regime to ALL the people; educate them, let there be full truthful information dissemination, no propaganda.
⦁ Change the rules – change the way things are done, get rid of civil servants and other public officials resistant to change.
⦁ Forgive all past sins with the understanding that they are not to be repeated (this is very tough on my sentiments, because I believe, like the Bible says, sinners must not go unpunished)
If taking bribes has traditionally, as it has now become in Nigeria, been a large part of income, expect to increase pay, or introduce generous allowances, to compensate for the loss of bribes and kickbacks. The government should also be prepared to clearly explain the ways in which corruption damages society. People react with less hostility to changes they can plan for and they struggle less against regime change that doesn't destroy them.
Oh ... and the government should put its foot down to crush any resistance immediately. It is far easier to ease up on compliant people than it will ever be to put your foot down a little at a time.
But there are some views that you can fight corruption with corruption, but only as a means to an end. But it won't work long run. Other people will see the hypocrisy. A responsible and sincere government requires all citizens to be ethical and willing to eliminate, or at least combat and reduce, corruption. It is a sort of consensus morality. It cannot tolerate exceptions.
If you think the income inequality comparisons are toxic, wait until people get a whiff of corruption. The comparisons and envy will be off the scale.
But generally, fighting corruption with corruption doesn't work. One may temporarily get some good results but it winds up undermining whatever ideals one believes one is fighting for. Then the negative consequences begin to multiply.
In theory, it doesn't make sense, but there could be a way. If you think that corruption is where you use money to make things happen that shouldn't, it could be argued that you could carry on accepting corruption payments, but not actually fulfilling your part of the deal. That way you are using corruption against corruption to get the right outcome.
Nigeria is a country where things are only done when people pay an extra cost for things to be done faster. Maybe they want their goods cleared for export or import in less than a few weeks, or maybe they want a planning permission arranged against the local interest. In this corrupt society, people are forced to pay these extra costs, and the cycle carries on. Using corruption to kill corruption, the charges would continue, but the officials would not speed up the process or make decisions against the local interest.
The people who made the payments would get upset, but in time they would learn that there is no advantage to paying a bribe, and the level of service would remain the same. The problem is that you can't stop corruption from the official side, only from the supply side. If people stop believing that corruption works, they will stop using it as a tool. Education and Re-orientation of our people is needed here, but will take decades. Or maybe not!
Guess it depends on if you believe the end justify the means.
But please, dear reader, what do you think - can we use corruption to fight corruption?
Akintokunbo A Adejumo writes from London, the United Kingdom
Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
By Iredia Osakue JP
PARIS, MARCH 15, 2016: (DGW) - When Eedris Abdulkarem sang "Nigeria Jagajaga..." the erstwhile President of Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo rejected the song and never danced to it. He loathed the song because it portrayed the country in a bad light. As a leader, he saw it as a misrepresentation of the country he was governing. This could mean more to a leader than the people who dance to the melodious song. Be that as it may, "Jagajaga " can be loosely translated in English to mean; something that is in disorder, ruins or scattered. Synonyms of the above words can go on and on and the sad thing is that none of the words is palatable to the ears - it evokes pity and sorrow.
A country that is depicted in this manner simply means that the governmental structure is weak and gone adrift. Also, citizens who form the nucleus of the country's structure are left to flounder in the ocean of despondency. Many never knew that Eedris saw tomorrow like the legendary Nostradamus. He spoke the truth then and the truth still remains to this day. Today, Nigerians are confronted with plethora of obstacles and unending problems occasioned by lack of preparedness to govern. The ruling party took charge of governance haphazardly apparently because they were not sure of victory. It took time and time before the government was formed and in the circumstance, the country was stagnated politically and eventually metamorphosed into economic catastrophe. The scar of maladministration and maladroit implementation of programs is evident on the faces of Nigerians as they go about their daily activities with apprehension, fear of the unknown and suspense.
This sheer omission or commission has adversely affected the country and nothing seems to be going the proper direction as expected. Worse still, the head is indifferent to the plight of the citizens as they are left to wane day after day in strength, spirit and motivation. The salient question is, when will the people enjoy the promises made before the APC government assumed office or was it a mere political jargon calculated to hoodwink the electorate?
The emergence of APC government has derailed the future of the country into dark abyss and if this is the change the people clamoured for, then it is better to seek help from hell.
Taking Edo state as a case study because of the economic woes and untold hardship which fits the present political lapse and socio-economic situation in the country is abundantly clear that the government of the day in Edo state borrowed from the apron of a man whose intention is to bring Nigeria to a standstill or more like a runner on the treadmill.
To this end, there must be a change and not just a mere change, but a change that truly defines positive change and Edo state must be the trail-blazer as the gubernatorial election is just around the corner.
Arise Edo state and take your place!
Iredia Osakue JP is a Turin-based scholar, political analyst and a public commentator on current affairs.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
In what appears to be a bout of confused insanity, an Abuja federal court received an application for the “arrest” of Zeenat Zakzaky for alleged “incitement.” Zeenat Zakzaky, the wife of Islamic movement leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, has however like her husband been kidnapped by the Nigerian security service since December 13th 2015 during the Zaria massacre and held without charge at an unknown location. Zeenat had been shot twice and beaten while she watched her three sons being killed in cold blood and her husband receiving 6 shots, before being abducted, according to her daughter, Suhaila, an eye witness, and has been held incommunicado since then by the Nigerian State. Vanguard published on march 13th that the court received suit number FHC/ABJ/CJ/189/2016, dated March 10, 2016, by a certain plaintiff, Danbaba Gyang, who is also the Secretary General of Lawyers Alliance for the Defence of Democracy in Nigeria and who in the suit is also asking the court to declare the Iranian Ambassador in Nigeria, Saeed Koozechi, a security threat to the country and persona non grata. NewsRescue published a viral article on the situation of Zakzaky’s wife on March 8th, “CONFINEMENT: Nigerian Mother Completing Third Month In Detention Without Charge.” This article ruffled the Chief of Army Staff who it is believed sponsored Danbaba Gyang to file the insane and meaningless suit on March 10th. It is a shock that the federal court can receive a suit that requests the arrest of a citizen already in custody. Major General Adeniyi Oyebade told reporters Monday that Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife have been taken into custody after raids on at least three locations. VOA, December 15, 2015 Where Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami is in all this is also in question as Mrs Zeenat Zakzaky remains held for a full three months without charge, and denied her constitutional right to bail and legal, medical and family access. Danbaba Gyang must also be arrested and interrogated on how he ‘heard’ the alleged ‘inciting’ statements purported to have been made by Mrs Zakzaky while she was being shot by the Nigerian army and being abducted to her current unknown detainment location. Is he a member of the Secret service or army that was a witness to this and he is acting undercover filing a civil suit? A pro rights activist, Elbinawi writes: Re: Court asked to order the arrest of El-Zakzaky’s wife My attention was drawn to a news item in the Vanguard Newspaper of 13/03/2016with the above heading. The report stated:”A federal high court sitting in Abuja has been asked to order the immediate arrest and prosecution of Mrs. Zeenat El-Zakzaky, wife of the leader Shi’ite movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakyzaky. In suit number FHC/ABJ/CJ/189/2016, dated March 10, 2016, Mrs. El-Zakzaky was said to have made inciting statement after the killing of the members of the Movement and the arrest of her husband.” The plaintiff in the suit which is also the front of the Nigerian government here is one Danbaba Gyang is also asking the court to declare the Iranian Ambassador in Nigeria, Saeed Koozechi, a security threat to the country. Another sponsored agenda by the Nigerian government to give legitimacy to the brutal slaughter of 1000+ defenseless & unarmed #Shia_Muslims in Zaria, the destruction of the iconic Zaria #Husseiniyya and the destruction of the residence of the Nigerian Islamic scholar His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem #Zakzaky. The recent #UN panel season that was held in Geneva, Switzerland, on the #Zaria_Massacre and the gross violations of the fundamental human rights of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife has drawn world’s attention to the brutal Zaria massacre and this has forced the masterminds and perpetrators of the massacre to open another front in a court of law to seek legitimacy. The suit claimed that “Mrs. El-Zakzaky was said to have made inciting statement after the killing of the members of the Movement and the arrest of her husband.” The question to ask here is that when did she made that statement after the arrest of her husband since they were brutally abducted on the same time? She has since then being held incommunicado with her husband by the Nigerian government, then how can she make inciting statement while in detention? It is important to note that the Nigerian government has so far used three (3) fronts in its campaign against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria ( #IMN ) and #Iran since the return of the Nigerian President Buhari from his foreign trips to #Saudi_Arabia and #Qatar. The first was by a faceless group led by a “Christian cleric” to the Iranian Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. The second was in Lagos by another faceless group that tried to equate the peaceful IMN with the most deadliest terrorist group in the whole world (#BokoHaram). And this law suit is the third front. It is also important to note that all the leaders of this sponsored groups are Nigerian Christians, that was not by accident but by design to give their campaign which is sectarian in nature a “national outlook”. The IMN is the only Islamic organization in Nigeria that invites Christians to its programs and activities, and this move to make Nigerians believe that Nigerian Christians are in the forefront of opposition and hostility towards IMN will definitely fail as IMN considered all Christians as our brothers and sisters in humanity. It is also important to note that during the brutal Zaria massacre, the Nigerian Army killed three (3) sons of Mrs. Zeenat El-Zakzaky infront of her, shot her husband six (6) times and shot her twice. So which “inciting statement” will such a mother make that witnessed the brutal killings of her three (3) sons in the most inhuman manner? If we can remember in 2014, three (3) other sons of Mr. Zeenat El-Zakzaky were tortured to death by the Nigerian Army. And the call by the suit to “declare the Iranian Ambassador in Nigeria, Saeed Koozechi, a security threat to the country” is part of the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi agenda that the present Nigerian government is busy executing. A hunting dog of the House of Saud should be seen active by unfoundedly accusing Iran to please the Saudi savages who are his masters. Finally, those who brutally killed 1000+ defenseless Nigerians in Zaria and buried them in mass graves should understand that history has never been on the side of wicked and brutal oppressors. No matter how long it takes, one day the full revelation of the Zaria massacre will be made to the world and the whole world will condemn what is undoubtedly a war crime. #FreeZakzaky #GodProtectZakzaky Harun Elbinawi
November 13, 2015, goes down in history when a deadly attack, in fact, the deadliest of its kind was unleashed on France that left no fewer than 129 people dead, 300 injured and 90 mortally wounded, reported TG5 an Italian satellite television station monitored in Turin.
It was a scene of sorrow and blood. Soon after the coordinated attacks in six different locations in the ever busy French capital, TG5 further reported that the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for felling unsuspecting and unarmed civilians with terrorist's bullets and other powerful explosives. This, I dare day, is heart-rending!
France, though a Christian country governed by canon laws is known for its hospitality, a country that is non-discriminatory in religious affairs which speak volumes for the large numbers of Muslim immigrants in the country, many of whom have been given citizenship status. France has a long and honourable history of a civilized world treating all classes of migrants qualitatively different from some countries in the euro-zone which look upon immigrants as the ruck from an extinct barbarian tribe.
While the world today sympathizes with France, Assad the president of Syria appears contented with the terror unleashed on France by a statement being credited to him which has made news headlines across the world. Assad, reports say, blamed the attack on France's foreign policy. It takes a coward and barbarian to employ explosives and Al Bashar Assad has seemingly justified this act of terror on unarmed civilians. From where did these attackers emerge? Is it not from Assad's Syria? I have my reservations here.
Does Assad have value for human life? Has he not been implicated in the use of poison gas to kill the opponents of the Damascus regime; do some of his victims still not suffer neurological disorders, convulsions, comas and digestive shutdown till today? Where has France erred for joining forces with other well-meaning allies to dethrone Assad and return peace to the country considering the number of Syrians that have died and migrants that are still fleeing the country in droves to Europe?
Be that as it may, the Paris attacks remain an eye-opener to the government and people of France. France must as a matter of urgency review its immigration policy. The foul nature of the deaths means that suicide vests and other explosives hold a particular terror in the public imagination by cruel men that are recognized to be outside the bounds of civilization.
In the not too distant past, the writer has it on good authority that some migrant-turned French citizens went to Syria, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, got radicalized and returned to France in droves. The French returnees from Syria fired their first salvo calling to mind the Paris-bound train Moroccan gunman that was swooped on, overpowered, beaten unconscious and disarmed by American servicemen.
France and other EU countries have much work to do to combat terror by strict controls and checks on cross-border movements. Governments across the EU have condemned extremism, given active support to values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.
None of these values should, therefore, be taken too literally because when we talk of ‘the rule of law’ we include a law that has few limits and which requires public officials to restrict individual liberties, such as free speech and free assembly, untroubled by the notion that a person may do anything that is not expressly outlawed. These tips might be useful for France and other countries Nigeria, for instance, which have been caught in a similar agonizing web.
There is an urgent need for France to start a campaign bordering on terrorism awareness. The media has a pivotal role to play in this regard. In every civil division, this will help, in no small measure, to enable us know or identify individuals who are most likely to be drawn into terrorism. This awareness could guard against the rational but undesirable view.
Secondly, this might be considered as an affront to religious freedom but it is actually not. Employing the number one tip above will, therefore, be easy to identify a potential terrorist whose free speech must be curtailed before he begins to promote extremist views. This constitutes nothing but a grave danger all things considered.
In a similar vein, if he is a person that commands or has followers, he must be kept tabs on and his freedom of movement curtailed if need be and kept away from people before his followers are indoctrinated or begin to imbibe his extremist views.
While the world expresses sincere condolences to the families, friends and relatives slain in the November 13 attacks and voicing solidarity with France in its fight against terror, the government is hereby adjured to quickly review its immigration policy, keep some immigrant-turned citizens of questionable character under constant surveillance and strict observation no matter whose ox is gored. This has become absolutely necessary because it is sometimes desirable to have rights curtailed or infringed on in the national interest.
Iyoha John Darlington, a scholar, an opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy
AFP/File / by Thomas Watkins | A rebel fighter stands in a building overlooking the damage from fighting in the city of Aleppo on December 16, 2013