• Almost all Nigerians are Corrupt

    21/Jan/2016 // 0 Viewers

     

    When God wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham intervened and pleaded with God. The all-knowing God knew that the cup of Sodom and Gomorrah was full to the brim; but Abraham with his human flesh, and taking advantage of his closeness to God wished for a different scenario. Our father Abraham never knew the degree of the decay in Sodom and Gomorrah, so he reasoned that his plea would change the mind of God. Abraham opined that the father of creation should not destroy all the people in Sodom and Gomorrah because of the malfeasance of few and God agreed with Abraham.

    Abraham gave God a number that could be found in Sodom and Gomorrah that could prevent God from destroying the city, but our loving God chose a number fewer that what Abraham gave and promise to spare the city if found. Abraham kept running to God with lesser number and God even agreed with Abraham for least number and at last no one was found to be in God’s good book in Sodom and Gomorrah that the city was subjected to utter destruction. Before this mayhem, God allowed Lot and his family, relatives of Abraham to escape but instructed that they should leave Sodom and Gomorrah without turning back. But Lot’s wife, could not forget her kitchen pestle used in pounding “akpu”, so she turned back and she became a pillar of salt. Sodom was irredeemably immersed in sin that at a point, their peak of iniquities, the people of Sodom surrounded the house of Lot, urging him to bring the Angels that slept in his house, who came for a message, so that they would have carnal knowledge of those Angels.

    If God should turn His searchlight on Nigeria, nobody will remain when judged in terms of corruption, the love of money, greed, moral depravity and wickedness. Almost all Nigerians are corrupt and I don’t care what anybody says, removing his human imperfection, there may be nobody like Buhari in Nigeria today. None is free from criminal intents: politicians, judges, traders, market women, lawyers, teachers, civil servants, workers in private enterprises, corporate executives, the military, academics, students, parents, actors and actresses, youths and even children. The arms deal-the Dasukigate has opened the abysmal iniquities of Nigerians. The moral decay in Nigeria speaks to high heaven, though in a different degree of sins, but our nation is in an equal race with Sodom. Relatives kidnap those that fed them in times of need for money and sometimes murder them and still collect ransom money. One does not dare keep a house help nowadays and a moment that an eye is turned, he or she organizes armed robbers or other type of criminals to either steal a master’s child for ransom or burgle the house. How did we end up in this manner?

    Just hear this: when I was doing my research, I wanted to carry it out in Nigeria and that was a problem, in the sense that my school due to human subjects’ rights violations wanted me to do my research in USA. But I wanted to do my research in Nigeria as some Asian students usually do. For the fact that Buhari just took office with the mantra of change, I was a bit relieved that I thought I would not have much road block. I sent letters from my school requesting permissions from Federal Ministry of Education and another from the enterprise, where I would actually carry out my research. After back and forth, I did receive the permission letter from the corporation, but someone in Federal Ministry of Education Abuja demanded $2,000 from me to get the simple letter. When I discovered that I could even get the letter from state ministry of education, I veered my direction and got the letter with much anguish. I came to Nigeria and stayed for two weeks for my research work and went back to USA. This may seem little to the uninvolved, but I knew the sleepless night I passed through due to our corrupt way of doing things.

    I have consummated dealings with many people ranging from professors, civil servants, business men, students and folks from my village to artisans, none of the situations had a happy ending. I left Nigeria in 1994, it was not like that then and now everybody’s eye is red and they can kill for even a matter that involves one naira. Nigeria has decayed and there is no difference today when compared with Sodom and Gomorrah of thousands of years past.

    Some Nigerians abroad are even worse than those at home. Corruption is not seen as dirty practice any more. Out of 160 million Nigerians, it is hard to get 100 people with integrity and pure hearts. Before the collapse of Nigeria, the Ivory Towers used to be the custodian of ethics and morality, university teachers were living on a different world. But with the monetization of Nigeria, the university campuses became cesspool. No thanks to Babangida and, real academic work became forgotten alternatives; grades for money or a bout of sex with a willing lazy girl. I know Nigerians are smart people, but to me and to many, first class graduation may not be what it used to be. Our politicians destroyed the remnant of morality in Nigeria that even the wife of a local government chairman would not allow other ladies to breathe a fresh air.

    Before the arrival of Buhari, the monies that were meant for capital projects were converted to personal use by presidents, ministers, head of government institutions, civil servants, governors, commissioners, military personnel and by those that found themselves in the position of authority. How come in Nigeria, it is hard for one to find complete tarred kilometers of roads?  No pipe born water and ten minutes stead power supply all over the nation are mirage. From Babangida to Jonathan and those that served with them require jail terms, especially Babangida and Obasanjo.

    President Buhari needs to do lots of job and he should not relent in his dogged fight against corruption. The President should be ready for name calling and the 16 years rule by PDP brought Nigeria to her kneels, so he has to focus on those people that superintendented Nigeria for that that unholy years. The 16 years destruction spared nobody and truthfully, finding a clean Nigeria is just like searching for a virgin a maternity ward. Is it not a shame that Nigeria cannot power the kilowatts required by our industries, individuals, homes and offices? Is it not a shame that Nigeria cannot supply clean water to her citizens and why should our roads be places of carnages?

    The corruption of yesteryears are shown today by the stark helplessness starring at all of us at this time the price of crude oil has nose-dived. When we were swimming in the ocean of petro dollars; sensible technocrats could have advised our masters to diversify the economy that ran and still running on mono rail. Oil, oil that is not renewable, that can run out of tomorrow or rendered useless by the attraction of alternative source of energy as it is the case now; yet our pinhead politicians never paused one day and thought wisely.

    In absence of oil money, it has blown open that no state in Nigeria is viable. Ahmadu Bello University, Obafemi Awolowo University and University of Nigeria, Nsukka were not built with oil money. Ground nuts, cocoa fruits and palm nuts did the magic. An Igbo proverb has it that it is good for the breeze to blow, so that it will be shown that a reverend father is not wearing trousers. States were created just to appease certain politicians and not on viability; the creation of states had just enriched some rogues and left the people more impoverished.

    With what is happening in the world economic and industry landscapes, the price of oil may still come down to the 1982/83 era when a barrel was $7; we hope it will not go to that extent. Iran has come to international oil supply and the slow economic dynamics in China may compound our problems that Nigeria may find it difficult to finance some of our critical imports. In the good old days, instead of our governors to sit at home to plan, they rather hovered around for match making; their daughters and sons wedding this or that with state fund and come and see brainless politicians and contract seeking rogues ; only in Nigeria.

    Buhari, General and President, squeeze these rogues to vomit our national wealth they stole and do not have mercy on any of them. I maintain, no any other Nigeria can ever do this because most of them are rogues and you cannot throw a stone when you are living in a glass house. People in Diaspora are counting on you and the international communities are counting on you also, so press on, press on. The Almighty will give you the strength. The fight against corruption should be carried out with fairness. I didn’t like a situation in which Olisa Metuh was in handcuff to court while some of other accusers went to court without handcuffs; this was not good. Please, Mr. President, the fight should not be personal. Many will say that it was because Olisa is an Igbo man and you cannot blame them.

     

    Chukwuma Iwuanyanwu, a concerned Nigerian writes from Los Angeles.

     


    Read More
  • Saluting PMB's will to conquer terrorism

    21/Mar/2016 // 124 Viewers

    By Abdulmalik Suleiman


    One can never forget the second bombing incident in Nigeria when a terrorist attempted to bring down the Louis Edet building, the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in the nation’s capital city, Abuja. This was to be the first suicide mission in Nigeria and a new dimension in the activities of the terror group that now calls itself Wilāyat Gharb Ifrīqīyyah aka Boko Haram in its deadly operations in Nigeria.

    This incident opened the door for our country’s descent into despondency and a long running show of shame. It exposed Nigeria's numerous weaknesses to the world as the other security agencies were forced to build siege walls with artificial barriers like blocks, stones and other instruments to barricade their complexes. Each security outfit became wary and were willing to do the ridiculous if only to avoid any embarrassment from Boko Haram and their suicide bombers.

    If the siege mentality in the nation's capital was troubling, then the news from the war front in the north east, the Boko Haram heartland was dismal. There were countless number of stories of soldiers fleeing battles, widespread deserting, horrendous casualty and a band of terrorists that took on invincibility. The situation was bad enough that constitutionally scheduled general elections were placed on hold for six week under the guise of fighting a group that had grown the capacity to attack any part of the country at will.

    The coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, the product of the shifted elections, marked the beginning of the end of Boko Haram. The inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari and subsequent appointment of Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai remains that turning point in the war against the fanatical murderers. It marked the point when the commanders of the extremists, who decorated themselves without the sophistication and training of the Nigerian Army that was proudly rated as the best in Africa sequel to the evil ascendancy of Boko Haram being addressed as mere criminals.

    One can therefore not be blamed to have found the declaration by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, six months after the inception of the administration, that Boko Haram has been technically defeated. The Minister of Information who was hitherto known for his persistent outspokenness during his days as the All Progressives Congress, APC spokesman demonstrated what he meant with a visit to Maiduguri, which until the exit of the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan was the administrative headquarters of Boko Haram just like Washington DC is to the United States of America. Senior officials of the previous administration had technically declared the north-east a no go area, even for those who are originally from the place.

    It was adequately reported, quoting multiple intelligence sources and operational reports, that the terrorists were all coordinated from this town while Sambisa Forest served as their armoury and Bite as the spiritual headquarters from where all their Imams and Alfas coordinating prayers for their success against our Army. Ironically, mere prayer warriors can only win battles when there is no army like the renewed Nigerian Army under President Buhari and his able Chief, officers and soldiers have made us to understand today.

    Just as the Boko Haram black flag has been taken down and burnt in areas that were once their strongholds, making it possible for life to return to normal, the siege around military facilities and other national assets in Abujais being lifted. The barricades have disappeared from Agura Hotel and other barricades are disappearing from around other facilities. Institutions that still have barricades in place either have exceptionally cowardly disposition or they are not in tune with the mood of the times.

    Those days when we hear the then Minister of Information, Labara Maku of the Jonathan administration declare the defeat of Boko Haram, Nigerians run to Agura hotel to confirm if the double lane, which was sealed off to protect military offices in the vicinity, has been reopened to traffic or not.

    It is on this note that must appreciate President Buhari's right choice in appointing General Buratai as COAS. The events that followed showed that the General shared the same trait of decisiveness with the older General that appointed him. This explains why Buratai was able to bring on board leadership with a focus.

    As opposed to when Boko Haram was fought from the comfort of air-conditioned hotel suites and the lobby of expansive duplexes and well stocked ballrooms, President Buhar's directive as implemented by a Buratai, who demonstrated a clear understanding of guerrilla warfare yielded the quick turnaround that ensured that all the prophets of doom are put to shame as their prediction of doom for Nigeria amounted to nought. The introduction of motorbike battalion under his command, something that is comparatively cheaper but was never contemplated, soldiers are now able to move quickly to wherever the terrorists are before they can cause much havoc.

    That these feats were achieved can also be situated in the anti-corruption stance of President Buhari, which Buratai has implemented as he exhibited intolerance for corruption anywhere in the Army. It must be noted that this anti-corruption component goes beyond not diverting money meant for arms purchase and personnel welfare as it also included rebuilding values to engender germane qualities not seen in any military formations anywhere in Africa.

    With the benefit of hindsight, the current administration might not have made the required mark in other sectors in relation to citizens' expectations but the fact that we can now sleep with our eyes closed is commendable as an achievement that should make any objective assessor score President Muhammadu Buhari the required first class performance. We must salute his will and determination to return Nigeria to being a stable and peaceful country.

     


    Read More
  • The second coming of President Buhari, economy suffers, exchange rates hit roof tops - Dele Momodu

    21/May/2016 // 1204 Viewers

     

    Fellow Nigerians, let me start today’s epistle by saying time flies indeed. Over a year ago, the dream of Major General Muhammadu Buhari to return to power, after being toppled in a military coup by Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and company, was eventually realised after a record fourth attempt. History would record this monumental feat as one of the biggest miracles of our time. It was a testimony to the power of resilience and tenacity.

    Not many people would ever have a second chance in life. In fact, a second chance is usually a rare and divine opportunity to correct past mistakes, make amends, atone for sins of omission and commission; and move forward to greater glory. In recent time, only two former Generals have been so favoured. The first Nigerian to return to power in 1999 was General Olusegun Matthew Aremu Okikiolakan Obasanjo. Obasanjo had left power in 1979, in a most controversial manner, after handing over power hurriedly to the newly elected President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari. That election would remain one of the most controversial in Africa’s most populous nation but Obasanjo was determined to quit power and he got a standing ovation from the global community.

    Obasanjo remained vocal and relevant in retirement. He attained the enviable status of a statesman for his dexterous understanding of foreign affairs as well as his uncommon courage at fighting for Africa wherever his avuncular intervention was required. He was voluble in his acerbic criticism of his successors, especially President Babangida who had metamorphosed from military to civilian President and instantly acquired the sobriquet of “evil genius.” There were rumours that Babangida did not want to quit power as attested to by his endless transition deadlines which eventually culminated in the ill-fated June 12, 1993 election debacle and its resultant conundrum. The refusal to hand over to the presumptuous winner of that election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the Yoruba generalissimo, would cost Nigeria some expensive and extensive repercussions.

    President Babangida was left with no choice than to step aside after all his talismanic experiments failed. He handed over to a lame duck Interim National Government, headed by Chief Ernest Adegunle Shonekan, which crumbled in a jiffy when General Sani Abacha struck and sentenced Nigeria to years of servitude and excruciating dictatorship. Buhari was assigned a pivotal role under that dreaded government when he was asked to manage the Petroleum Trust Fund. Despite criticisms about his performance, many would attest to the fact that he applied the funds frugally and judiciously.

    Abacha was a different kind of military ruler. Despite his well-known taciturnity, his actions were reverberatingly loud. Many of us dispersed and scattered in different directions. No one needed to tell us before we scampered into safety. It was during this eerie period that Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, both retired army Generals simultaneously got into trouble when they were charged for treason. Abiola himself had been picked up from his home and kept in solitary confinement at God-knows-where. Abiola was a civilian warrior who fought ferociously for his inalienable right to be the President of Nigeria. Out of the three of them, only Obasanjo lived to tell the story. The other two died under mysterious circumstances yet to be unravelled till this day.

    Obasanjo came out of prison looking gaunt and almost gone but God is awesome. The Bible-wielding leader effortlessly migrated from prison to the presidential villa in Abuja. It was a matter of destiny which no tribulation could stop or annihilate. The resurgence of Obasanjo was a done deal by the Nigerian Mafia. Chief Oluyemisi Falae, banker and economist, fought a spirited battle but failed to stop Obasanjo’s second coming.

    Obasanjo, without doubt, knew Nigeria inside out and he had his game plan ready. He was able to hit the ground running from Day One. His style was blistering. He managed the economy well and was able to pay off Nigeria’s debts. He was fortunate that oil, Nigeria’s cash cow, sold at a premium. He reversed Nigeria’s pariah status in the comity of nations. He was personable and accommodating in his first term. But trouble came as he began to seek the second time. He wasted enough energy, time and resources fighting his Vice President and ancillary and imaginary enemies. His war against corruption became vengeful and ruthless. The crave for an unconstitutional third term was the height of it all. Whether he personally wanted it or was lured into it, this audacious move deemed and diminished the Obasanjo presidency. Despite the hoopla generated by the controversial plot, Obasanjo would be remembered as a leader who did so much for his country during his second coming.

    It was during Obasanjo’s re-election contest in 2003 that Buhari threw his hat in the ring. No one knew how long he had nursed the ambition of returning to power. Buhari failed and cried foul. He headed to the courts but got no joy in return. In the twilight days of the Obasanjo government, Buhari tried his luck again but lost to Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, his fellow citizen from Katsina State. Again, Buhari cried wolf. In 2011, Buhari joined the presidential race again and was taunted as a serial candidate. He was soundly beaten by the incumbent President Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, who had been catapulted to power after the death of his ailing boss, President Yar’Adua. Out of acute frustration, or something else, Buhari sang a nunc dimittis and literally said goodbye to presidential contests. It didn’t come as a surprise to many. At nearly 70 years old, the perennial campaigns must have taken its toll on the body if not the soul. Buhari had crisscrossed several political parties. He had been called unprintable names including religious bigot, ruthless dictator, certificate dodger and forger, terrorist, and so on. But man proposes and God disposes.
    Somehow, Buhari suddenly announced he would run again. When God is ready for you, you will find succour in your enemies. Those who would ordinarily not support Buhari all lined up for him. Buhari was repackaged and rebranded as a born again democrat. The recklessness of the PDP government and the war of attrition which ravaged the ruling party made Buhari’s journey a lot sleeker this time. What was thought impossible in the past ignited and exploded at home and abroad. Buhari was funky-fied and he became a brand we all identified with proudly.
    Thus the expectations were raised for a Buhari presidency and this would later put so much pressure on the fledgling government. Buhari won the election convincingly this time and President Goodluck Jonathan was magnificent in defeat. For the first time we saw an incumbent Nigerian President concede defeat and even calling his opponent to offer congratulations. What if Jonathan had refused to give up power and chose to set up the nation in flames? Innocent people would have been killed for the sake of political gladiators. The joy in the land was unlimited. It reverberated across the seas.

    Buhari was sworn in one year less eight days today. And it has been quite a tough and rough journey. The first challenge was how to assemble a good, competent and efficacious team to run the nation with the President we all knew to be incorruptible. That exercise alone took several months. There is no question, that sluggishness dampened the fire of change that had engulfed everywhere. The rumbling started from that moment when it seemed the momentum had waned substantially. The screening exercise also turned into another melodrama. It dragged on a bit before the cabinet was eventually constituted.

    The ruling party APC had started on a precarious note when it could not gently elect its national assembly leaders. Like a house divided against itself, APC leaders have been tearing at each other’s throats. The battle has taken a full year in germinating and no one knows when the harvest time would come and the yield it would bring to all parties concerned in the imbroglio.

    The economy has suffered miserably. Oil revenue has gone down drastically. Exchange rates have hit the rooftops beyond the ceiling. Imports have decreased. Government is not able to meet its commitments to the people. There have been flip-flops in terms of dashed or miscommunicated campaign promises. The social media is now agog with all manner of caricatures dissing the Buhari government. A battle is raging between the Buhari supporters and those who feel Buhari’s government is failing and falling apart. Some have already written off the second coming of Buhari as an anti-climax. Are they right or wrong? The answer is neither here nor there.

    President Buhari did not come back at the right time. The comatose economy caused by atrocious corruption and reckless years of profligacy has hit the country by the jugular. One area the government has shown total passion without compassion is in the area of fighting corruption. The battle has been fierce and relentless. There have been allegations that Buhari is on a witch-hunt to take his pound of flesh on his critics and perceived enemies. PDP has been under siege. The banks are not having it easy over campaign funds that were warehoused in their vaults. There is panic in the financial sector. The tension is red hot. Buhari and his team must have their strategy and many are praying and hoping everything is on course and we shall arrive our destination safe and sound.

    President Buhari has travelled far and wide within this first year in office. He’s been accorded the status of a Rock star globally. He is well respected. How this would translate to concrete achievements remain to be seen. On a personal note, I believe despite the humongous challenges, it is too early to write off Buhari. This government has three years to show Nigerians its capabilities. In my next piece, I plan to elaborate on what I think President Buhari can and should do to redeem his government from the spiralling attacks. He should ignore the paranoia of those who are likely to find enemies where there are none.

    It shall be well with our country…


    Read More
  • How terrorists recruit, radicalise youth, By Ishola Balogun

    21/Nov/2015 // 985 Viewers

    Young Ahmadu John had a mission. It was as simple as touching two wires together. He had been promised heaven on earth. As he was told, there would be a blast, meant to obliterate the infidels, but God would spare him. He would be saved from hell fire and would be admitted into eternal bliss, he would become a martyr while his parents would be free from their abject poverty.

    With all these promises, he was dressed and rigged with explosives beneath his shirt, the young boy, who was plucked from the streets of Borno, North East Nigeria a few months earlier was driven to his target area. Minutes before he was due to execute the attack, Ahmadu called his father and intimated him of all the promises including the meager money supposedly to lift his parent out of the overwhelming poverty. His father, declined, cried “No’ come back home!’, but it was too late.

    That was the last interaction between him and his father before he was turned into a human bomb killing himself and several other innocent people. Ahmadu’s story is not unusual. In Nigeria and of course all over the world, terrorists have used a wave of young men and women as bombers basically because they are vulnerable and can easily be indoctrinated and brainwashed.

    Remember the young Nigerian Umar Faruk AdulMutallab, who confessed to and was convicted of attempting to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day, 2009.

    But how are they recruited and indoctrinated? Why do they succumb to various fables and misrepresentations to kill and maim innocent people all over the world? If it is true that poverty leads to ignorance and a possible factor what with those well-to-do who join terrorists in their dastard acts? In view of the recent Paris attacks by ISIS and their undying Boko Harram collaborators in Nigeria, Saturday Vanguard spoke with experts on the issue.

    Brainwashing of weak minds

    Sheikh AbdulWaheed Ajagbe, an Islamic and Arabic teacher said: “You know that religion was created to control the minds of the people. Today, with the help of technology, those who are educated twist the Quran to get and control the weak minded people. When you have a few educated people and a mass of the uneducated people in a given society, then there is trouble because the educated ones will use the power of what they know to exploit and control the uneducated and weak minded people.

    “These weak minded and uneducated people are fed with one-sided propaganda or better still a wrong and misconceived notion by their leaders and the people they look up to. They will not question what they are being taught, neither will they use critical thinking. This leads to brainwashing. This is what the terrorists do irrespective of where they operate.

    Internet as a tool

    Religious extremists are increasingly turning to the internet to indoctrinate and radicalise young Muslims. One cannot underrate the power of the internet in corroding the minds of vulnerable youth. An Islamic scholar, disciplined and well behaved cleric told his story of how his only son absconded from home and a few weeks later, he sent a message home that he had gone to Syria and that his parents should not bother about him anymore. The cleric lamented that a few weeks before he absconded, he was found very busy with his computers so much that he had no time for his friends in the community.

    Many other young chaps through the internet have been indoctrinated and turned to the battlefield. So, without a doubt, the Internet is the single most important venue for the radicalization of Islamic youth. Internet is a market place where the supply of suicide warriors are in abundance.

    A security expert who craved anonymity said: “There are thousands of terrorism sites on the internet. You know them by their symbols. Some even hide their main objects, you get a link and with a single click, it will first take you to motivational sites to spur you. Another click and you’re at a site where you can download scripted talking points that could make one believe he has a justification for mass murder,” he explains.

    Recently, it was reported that the Boko Harram recruited no fewer than 200 Cameroonians youths in Kolofata, a small border town in the Far North of the country as as base.

    Not about religion

    “These misfits do not actually have a religion. Terrorists think about power, they use the power to create fear in people. They want people to fear them, nothing more. So, it is not about religion, it is about self acclamation in the pursuit of personal aggrandisement. You will see children from age 10 carrying weapons already trained to torture prisoners, wearing suicide belts and chanting anti-Western songs.

    For the same reason there are terrorists and bad people of every other faith. It is their choice and not a prescription of any religion. No religion permits suicide or killing of people unjustly. The body of any being is not even his property. It was given to him as a trust and it must be kept as such. He has no right to destroy it. Islam forbids all sorts of suicides, whether by bombing or silently killing oneself.

    “…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” (Qur’an 6:151). Islam considers the life of every being as sacred and it does not matter which religion one belongs in upholding the sanctity of life as ordered by Allah. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place.

    The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. The Glorious Qur’an further says: “…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” (Qur’an 5:32)

    Quest for personal notoriety

    In their quest for personal notoriety, some people become deviants furthering their delusions of being martyrs in the community. Others as we gathered, react negatively though, to abuses and injustice by the state. When Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a street thug, beheaded an American businessman, he became a rock star over night.

    Ustaz Ajagbe described this notion as tripe and rubbish. “The ultimate success of their mentor is to manipulate them and get them to do what he wants. Killing yourself and other innocent people is not in any way near the kind of martyr the Prophet described. Like I said earlier, they are being brainwashed.”

    People become misguided and act in such a way because they are lost in their belief. Some Muslim youth who have lost their identities and lost control of their minds fall victims. They become tools in the hands of these extremists and fundamentalists. They are taught a very radical and misrepresentation of the Qur’an and Hadith and most often than not, they are sent on mission of no return killing other innocent people.

     

     


    Read More
  • Biafra: A creation of northern elite

    22/Dec/2015 // 318 Viewers

     

    THE present much-ado about the so-called renewed movement to actualise the state of Biafra would be utterly unnecessary, if it is recalled that Biafra was not an original concept, but rather it was the Ndigbo’s collective reaction to an effective threat to their survival within the Nigerian state, following the January 1966 coup d’état.

    Objective historians would readily agree that the January 1966 coup d’état was provoked by the extreme undemocratic excesses of the then ruling Northern People’s Congress (NPC), and therefore justified in large part; pity the lives of Nigerians were needlessly lost thereof. Tragically too, an avalanche of truths and fabrications have beclouded the essentials of that first military intervention in Nigeria’s democratic journey.

    Apparently, the build-up to the January 1966 event started on the heels of the 1962 NPC supervised controversial national census. All the opposition parties rejected the results in unison, necessitating a recount in 1963, which was just as controversial; the three other regions, (Western, Eastern, and Mid-Western) implacably joined issue with the Northern region on the matter.

    The stability of the nation stood in the balance while the controversy lingered. The NPC Federal Government, rightly or wrongly, decided that some leading opposition politicians, prodded by the highly cerebral leader of the Action Group party (AG) Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Western Region, were exploiting the 1962 census disagreement to destabilise Nigeria, and threatened to clamp down on the opposition. Not long after, the Federal Government curiously set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the stewardship of Chief Awolowo as premier of the western region from 1954 to 1959: The Justice Coker Commission of Inquiry of 1962.

    Before the Commission wound up its sittings, the AG leader and some of his close political associates were charged with planning a coup d’état against the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They were soon convicted and sentenced to varying jail-terms. Chief Awolowo was sentenced to 10 years in prison, thus effectively barred from contesting the forthcoming general elections scheduled for the following year, 1964.

    The jailed ex-premier’s unequalled successes in the Western Region had stood him in good stead for the 1964 elections. Gross irregularities of that election rendered it “wholly unsatisfactory,” to borrow the phrase of the inimitable President Nnamdi Azikiwe. Notwithstanding, the NPC proceeded to form a Federal Government in 1964 and blatantly aided and abetted its alliance partner, the Chief Ladoke Akintola-led Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) in massively rigging the Western Region elections of 1965, amidst virtual breakdown of law and order. The situation in the region was aptly described as “wild, wild west.”

    It was under the aforesaid highly fragile national scenario that in August 1965, according to Kirk Greene’s “Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria,” a small group of young army officers, dissatisfied with political developments within the Federation began to plot, in collaboration with some civilians, the overthrow of what was then the Federal Government. The leadership of this group of young officers is generally believed to comprise five Majors, but in fact four Majors, and a Captain, namely: Major Ifeajuna; Major Nzeogwu; Major Okafor; Major Ademoyega; and Captain Nwobosi; (three easterners, one westerner, and one mid-westerner).

     

    From written accounts by some key participants in that coup d’état, the principal objectives of the January 1966 military intervention in Nigeria’s nascent democracy could be summed up thus: to remove from office the leading politicians and high-ranking military men who were threatening national stability; release Chief Obafemi Awolowo from prison; and install him as the legitimate winner of the 1964 prime ministerial election. The NPC leader and premier of the northern region, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello; the Western Region Premier, Chief Ladoke Akintola; the Finance Minister, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh; and few top army officers were consumed by the first hail of bullets in the January 1966 coup d’état. Soft-spoken Prime Minister Alhaji Tafawa Balewa was initially arrested, but belatedly killed when his abductors realised that their adventure had terribly miscarried.

    Juxtaposed against the stated principal objectives of the coup plotters, the list of victims could well be said to be purpose-specific rather than tribally biased. Reported immediate responses to the coup d’état attested to this. In the northern region where the coup plotters met with little or no challenge, the masses were reported to have cheered the army and jeered the politicians and their business associates. In the Western Region, particularly in Lagos where the coup had miscarried, the general atmosphere was thick with anxiety. Nothing out of the ordinary was reported in both the eastern and mid-western regions as the premiers thereof were apparently not among the primary targets of the coup plotters.

    Major-General Ironsi eventually assumed headship of Nigeria. But the general was so lacking in political sagacity that he tragically failed to discharge the first and most important duty of his office as Head of State: promptly release the jailed Action Group leader and his associates. Rather the new Head of State toured the country, preaching “unification of the country” through such untraditional ideas as rotary traditional leadership, etc; his preachings were capped with controversial decrees. And, most ill-advisedly, the general set up panels to probe the finances of the two “milk cows” of the northern region: Northern Nigeria Development Board and Northern Nigeria Marketing Board. As in the other regions, these Boards had been significant in creating and sustaining northern Nigeria’s first crop of rich and powerful class.

    The Ndigbo were sniffed out and butchered across the northern region, thus entered the pogrom. It reached the military barracks where few simple-minded officers ordered their men to join in the butchering; it was thus soon carried to the western region and Lagos in quick succession. Soon after, self-same army officers started to thirst for the blood of their Commander-in-Chief; they eventually caught up with him in the capital city of Ibadan. The towering C-in-C and his host, Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, a quintessential officer and a gentleman, were butchered in cold blood in July 1966.

    It was precisely under those harrowing circumstances that the then Governor of the Eastern Region, Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, declared the region a Republic of Biafra. Biafra was purely a child of necessity, devoid of profound underlying philosophy beyond the animal instinct to survive; it, therefore, had to necessarily wither with the elimination of the compelling circumstances, which it did at the end of the Civil War in January 1970.

    Results of the 2015 presidential election in the five Ndigbo states once again demonstrated that the Ndigbo electoral capacity is grossly underutilised, (voters turnout in relation to register was barely 40% in each state!) This is tantamount to self-marginalisation. Pause to ponder it for a moment; this whole talk of marginalisation of the Ndigbo may after all be largely self-inflicted.

    Therefore, rather than expend energy, time, space and money agitating for a long expired idea, the Ndigbo should reflect deeply, and strategise on how to fully resume its pre-January 1966 glorious position in the Nigerian State.


     Nkemdiche, an engineering consultant writes from Abuja, Nigeria.

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article remain the author's and do not either represent or reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch.


    Read More
  • PDP too corrupt & sick to lead the opposition

    22/Jan/2016 // 317 Viewers

    By SKC Ogbonnia

     

    It is a common knowledge that any government without credible opposition is open to dictatorship and abuse of power. Recently, there was an array of hope for Nigeria. For all intents and purposes, Nigerians had witnessed a formidable opposition activity by the time for the 2015 elections. But that is no longer the case. The current main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP), has turned out to be too corrupt and too sick to play a leading role.

    So far, President Muhammadu Buhari is doing a commendable job grabbing the corrupt PDP henchmen one after the other. Yet, the attitude of the culprits once they are granted bail is not funny at all. Instead of standing firm to defend themselves and the cause of the opposition, these PDP leaders are usually befallen with one form of acute sickness or another. To rub in the ploy, the sick looters typically opt for treatment abroad while the masses are saddled with poor medical facilities at home.

    Interestingly, the ardent supporters of the former ruling party still see hope. They believe the party will soon usher in some credible leaders in the crucible of a party convention, whenever that might be. But don’t hold your breath. Of course, PDP still boasts of fairly untainted figures like Ken Nnamani, Nuhu Ribadu, Donald Duke, Segun Mimiko, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Ibrahim Shekarau, and so on. Alas, the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria is not ready to entrust its future on any novice in primitive accumulation of wealth. The dilemma, therefore, is that virtually all its anointed leaders with deep pocket—from the north, east, and west—wear loud beads of corruption around their necks. Take a look at the lineup below.

    Namadi Sambo: In a normal clime, the mild-mannered former Vice President would be the shoe-in to the leadership vacuum. However, he is yet to recover from an overseas medical treatment resulting possibly from the new wave of sickness common with PDP chieftains being fingered for abuse of office. Moreover, Sambo cannot feign ignorance to the monumental corruption that rocked the National Economic Council while he was at the helm.

    Enter the man of the hour, son of a former Sultan, and the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki who has been in dire need of foreign medical treatment in midst of dizzying criminal charges. Dasuki had exhibited a measure of political shrewdness when he stormed the London Think-Tank Chatham House to make a case for the postponement of Nigeria’s 2015 elections. But it is clear that his was a fall before the rise. The Sokoto prince will forever be remembered for freebooting $2.1 billion defense funds budgeted to save human lives—now referred to as Dasukigate.

    The case of the recent PDP Chairmen does not exude hope. Haliru Mohammed Bello, for one, has become a permanent fixture in the contemporary discussion of corruption in Nigeria. Currently confined to a hospital bed but indicted in connection to the Dasukigate, Bellois the same character thrust into the position of Defense Minister during the Goodluck era despite being embroiled in the infamous £8.6 billion Siemens bribery scandal. Similarly, though he is been out of the public scene since stepping down after failing to account for N12 billion party funds, Nigerians will never forget how Adamu Mua’zu ascended the top party post in the face of pending allegations for stealing N19.8billion from Bauchi State coffers. Even more, not only is the former governor rumoured sick somewhere, Mua’zu remains an integral quotient in cracking the various Dasukigate equations.

    Sule Lamido is a well-nurtured party stalwart then widely seen as the heir apparent to 2019 PDP presidential ticket. Sadly, the ex-governor and son are now awaiting trial for plundering Jigawa Statetreasury. The plight of the past Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, is equally sad. Not long ago all roads pointed to Aliyu’s Minna residence, but that was then. Today, the erstwhile “Chief Servant” of Niger Stateis mired in N2.9 billion fraud charges at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

    The timbers of the 7th Legislature, particularly former Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, and former Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha are pondering what could have been. They were well groomed as the picture perfect babyface of the opposition with every resource in tow. However, not surprisingly, the trio has suddenly grown too old and too impotent due to a raging fear of imminent probes into the billions budgeted for Constitutional Review and Constituency Projects from the year 2007 to 2015. Ordinarily, PDP could have explored Senator Godswill Akpabio, the official opposition leader in the Legislature, but the former governor has become dumbstruck out of the blue after an encounter with the EFCC for allegedly carting away N108 billion from Akwa Ibom State treasury.

    That brings us to Olisa Metuh, a man of cerebral pedigree, then packaged as a fearless patriot in his role as the PDP National Publicity Secretary. Regrettably, the party has just found out the hard way: Promoting Metuh as its official mouthpiece is akin to bursting the Pandora’s Box in a public square. Lo and behold, the credibility of the Nnenwi High Chief is deep down the tubes at the spur of the moment after failing to make sense of how and why a portion of the Dasuki corrupt largesse landed in his individual business bank account.

    The most brazen is the spectacle of Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State grandstanding as a self-appointed “Leader of Nigeria’s Opposition”. A man of voluble tidings, Fayose is the shameless fugitive ex-governor previously impeached for corruption but drafted back by his party to recapture the seat by any means necessary. Ultimately, he is rattled by the anti-corruption war and has been roaming the political space inciting the public with all manners of innuendo against the ruling party as if PDP had shared the stolen billions among the poor masses. But Nigerians have become wiser. We are well aware that the commotion is nothing but the wailing of a highbinder awaiting serious time for his involvement in the N1.3 billion poultry scandal plus 2014 Ekiti election fraud.

    It will be a gross disservice to the reading audience if this exposé is to conclude without a special attention on Femi Fani-Kayode. Quite frankly, at the chagrin of friends, I was overjoyed when the former minister was acquitted of money laundering charges. Though always traducing, Fani-Kayode’s kind of verbal opposition is not totally bad for the polity. At least, his bombastic style has entertainment value—a radio station away from a poor man’s Rush Limbaugh. The issue with this one, though, is that new revelations from the Dasukigate have shown that the constant bravado is not only to blind the gullible masses but also to fan the embers of crises in anticipation of looming indictments over new graft allegations.

    This whole picture portends a troubling future for Nigeria. Although President Buhari has recorded a measurable success thus far, he is far from sainthood. Like in any human undertaking, excesses abound. Very unfortunately, however one views it; and no matter the line of argument; it is clear the PDP brand is hopelessly banal—too corrupt, too sick, and too witless to checkmate the party in power.

    Even if the PDP is to succeed in its dream of a makeover, the ensuing leadership will always be dismissed, and rightly so, as an appendage to an unrepentant corrupt cabal. The posterity beckons on patriotic minds within the different opposition camps, therefore, to unite towards the path to a true democratic culture. Instead of the maddening rush to the ruling party, it is time to explore a new opposition party that is steadily alert to expose the weakness of the APC central government and credible enough to offer alternative solutions.

     

     

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

     


    Read More
  • Owambe Diplomacy: Nigeria must change its steps on the foreign relations dance floor

    22/Nov/2015 // 205 Viewers

    Time Magazine, October 20, 1961, carried an opinion titled ‘The Pride of Africa.’ The piece chronicled the 1st Foreign Affairs Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the late Jaja Wachuku of the Ngwa royal dynasty. With all due respect, the Nigerian Foreign ministry has since groped for direction and – with a few exceptions – has been largely unimpressive.
     
    As my heart retains the last vestiges of Nigerian finesse on the diplomatic front, I write this groaningly – what a time to be born!
     
    The Foreign affairs Minister ought to be the 3rd most powerful cabinet member as Jaja Wachuku was in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa government. That’s also the case in countries after which we have modeled our democracy such as the United States of America, where the Secretary of State – their own foreign affairs minister – comes only after the VP in Executive relevance.
     
    Unfortunately, in Nigeria, Foreign Ministry or diplomatic representative assignments are being allotted as some form of political compensation for election losers, mediated step-downers or some high stake game of political demystification – a form of exile for heavyweights possessing capacity to wrestle and control incumbent power structures. We don’t want him here – Send him abroad Shikena!
     
    This is responsible for the number of unprepared and unserious diplomats this country has churned out in recent times. A story of a Nigerian Ambassador in an European Country was once told, and boy he was loved for the quality of parties or Owambes he threw hence the title of my piece as similar tales of Nigerian diplomats have been regaled likewise.
     
    I opine that our Foreign Affairs Ministry if properly leveraged is more important than the Nigerian Petroleum Ministry as it holds the capacity to drive the Economy in terms of Trade, Investment and Infrastructure, uphold Nigeria’s Sovereignty by maintaining Peace and Security both internally and regionally ensuring stability and prosperity, which is a must if Nigeria must succeed.
     
    What must we do?
    The most important thing for Geoffrey Onyeama, the new man in charge of Foreign affairs is to protect the dignity and rights of a Nigerian citizen on foreign soil; this includes the various embassies and visa processing centers in Nigeria where our citizens are being disrespected and dehumanized on a regular basis. I get upset reading and hearing stories of extrajudicial murders, wanton arrests based on suspicions and profiling, maltreatment and exploitation of Nigerian students and workers in the diaspora – all of these without intervention or corresponding action by our foreign representatives. This nonchalance is attributable to the widespread belief that ‘Nigerians are unruly’ and deserve to be treated so, except of course ‘you be big man pikin’. Nigeria will never attain any meaningful progress on the foreign front without recognizing and demanding respect for the least of its citizenry.
     
    The recognition of this observation was the beginning of the rise of the Philippines diplomacy. The story of Flor Contemplacion, a Filipina domestic helper in Singapore who was hanged on unproven suspicions of murder by the Singaporean government led to the enactment of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 which revolutionized their diplomacy forever, making it a worthy reference for any country in our context that is desirous of Change in approach to diplomacy and of respect.
     
     
    This must be backed by a strong statement of purpose and circulated to our citizens as well as missions of other States. The last time the Nigerian government proved worthy was unfortunately because the South African Immigrations seemingly harassed a Nigerian Senator. And I have heard a lot of reports of exploitation and disrespect to Nigerians by their consulate.
    Secondly, the Nigerian Foreign affairs ministry must engage the Nigerians in Diaspora more strategically. As currently structured, engaging the Nigerian Diaspora through a very politicized NIDO (Nigerians in Diaspora Organization) is not the best approach. An audit of Nigerian groups in the diaspora from Faith, to Scholastic fora and Student bodies, Ethnic Support unions, or Amala, Akpu and Suya food spots must be conducted and key contact data collected and mainstreamed. Nigeria cannot afford to overlook the Diaspora in National Development.
     
    According to a Word Bank report the Nigerian Diaspora in 2010 sent $20 billion back home. This remittance amount represents a greater GDP than over 30 African countries with a peerless 26% annual growth rate.
     
    There are 3 categories of our diaspora in my opinion; The Economically empowered settler, the settled but economically struggling, the unsettled either empowered or disempowered – they all in one form of the other contribute to the economy – efforts could be made to aid return and reintegration, urge economic assistance over non impactful handouts with business support initiatives, Skills transfer and inclusively managed diaspora fund raising initiatives (Bonds, Philanthropy) for infrastructural and socioeconomic development.
     
    Thirdly, Nigerian soft power must be leveraged. I grew up convinced by the falsehood that we are the giants of Africa. I am sorry we are not and we need to see ourselves more as Davids than the Goliaths on this continent. We don’t need spears; we have our stones and sticks. The Foreign affairs minister must be obsessed about the Nigerian Culture – I mean to say the Hip culture, which dominates Africa through Nollywood and the Nigerian Music Industry. He must be obsessed about the Nigerian Faith – not juju, our unique form of religion that is attracting adherents from all over the world – The Adeboyes, Oyedepos, Oyakhilomes of this world. He must work directly with these ones to leverage their influence and presence on the continent. I believe with such followership they can drive the adoption of Nigerian food, fashion and style, ideas and taste, writings and art etcetera. We all can imagine what potentials this holds for Nigerian businesses and our ‘imperialism’. You can start to imagine the Nigerianization of our Products.
     
    At an African store in the UK – I once saw packaged Ghanaian Jollof, imagine that! Me I no gree! Hides from Kano tanneries are labeled Moroccan Leather in the global commodities market. This has to stop before Togo claims our Ofada. Nigerianization must begin now.
     
    So much can be said about Economic soft power such as matching our aid, grants, loans and assistance to economically disadvantaged neighbours to our advantage but this is a topic to be discussed another day,
     
    Finally, our missions do not portray Nigeria rightly, not at all. This has to change. I can’t but agree with President Buhari on the need to close some Nigerian Missions especially if considered unviable. The few ones left must be effectively equipped, funded and rehabilitated aesthetically. We are not a war torn county. We want investments not aid. However, a proximal presence for our well-dispersed citizens must be guaranteed. Nigeria should explore designating proven foreigners as our honorary consuls in these regions where our missions are to be scrapped as well as parts of the world where Nigerians are present but our government is not.
     
    I wish our new foreign affairs minister a good time in office and if I may ask; will you rock native wears, will our missions use Innoson cars?
     
    · Follow this writer on Twitter: @eadewunmi
     
     
    Source: This post appeared first in The Nigerian Voice


    Read More
  • Is Enlightened France Facing Dark New Reality?

    22/Nov/2015 // 130 Viewers

    The attackers targeted a France that took pride in acceptance and tolerance. Is that France now tainted by a post-Paris reality?

    By Colin Brazier, Sky News Presenter, in Paris

    Paris has, without question, been changed by the mass murders carried out here last week.

    But what kind of change are we talking about, and how long will it persist?

    Barring further atrocities, the security blanket will eventually grow more threadbare. Police numbers will fall, tourists will return. The ban on marches, such a defining characteristic of French democracy, will be rescinded. The banners of protest will be unfurled again.

    There won't have been an exodus or flight from the city. Not as a mark of defiance particularly, nor because Parisians want to be part of some new resistance. The truth is more prosaic. Most Parisians are stuck with Paris. They have to pay mortgages and bills, just as Londoners did after 7/7 and New Yorkers post 9/11.

    If there are no more attacks, and it's a sizeable "if", Parisians are likely to reflect on how the birthplace of the Enlightenment coped with the provocation of a such a vile attack. In other parts of the world, they might muse, the response would have been bloody reprisals and inter-communal violence.

    In short, life in Paris will be little changed. Plus ca change.

    But if there are more attacks, what then?

    Because some argue the Bataclan actually changed everything.

    The people at that concert were the sort of Parisians who demonstrated against Israel's bombing of Gaza, or, for that matter, George W Bush's invasion of Iraq. They were unlikely to have been natural supporters of Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front party.

    But, after the Charlie Hebdo massacre and now the Friday the 13th attacks, there is evidence that Paris' fabled intelligentsia is having to grapple with some tortuous realities. For instance one of this year's best-selling novels here imagines a France run by an Islamist president, who sets about islamicising the country.

    In 2004, as Sky's Europe correspondent, I was in this city reporting on protests against the banning of the veil in some public buildings. Many non-Muslim Parisians marched in solidarity.

    But since then, it's been suggested that an accommodation between the secular and others is no longer so easy. France, increasingly, sees itself as the world's leading upholder of secularism, even as IS seeks to prove that the idea of a non-religious state is apostasy.

    And, by targeting young Parisians last week, it could be argued that IS is forcing the bien pensant, the right thinkers of this city, to make a choice. Has it now become intellectually difficult, commentators ask, to excuse terrorism under any circumstances.

    So has Paris changed? Will historians look back on the events of last week and say that was a decisive moment? Maybe we should consider the words of the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai. In the 1970s, 200 or so years after the event, he was asked about the impact of the French Revolution. His famous reply: Too early to tell

     

    Source: Sky News


    Read More
  • To Be Governor of Edo State, By Odia Ofeimun

    22/Nov/2015 // 327 Viewers

    I want to be Governor of Edo state in 2016. My purpose is to realise a collective sense of achievement for a people who have always taken pride in being heirs to a great heritage. Colonialism may have demolished that heritage and the incorporation into a larger Nigerian fold may not have assuaged it. But I am determined to prove that within the particularity of one nationality, Edo, and the fold of a multinational state, Nigeria, it is possible to achieve high feats of modernity, cultural civility and technological proficiency comparable to that of any other country in the world. And, this, within forty months. Not two terms of office.

    The programme underlying my quest is made up of seven platforms:

    1. Wipe out illiteracy for all citizens from age one to sixty and computerise education in order to position the state for competition with all-comers, including the Asian tigers and the Western world;
    2. Re-plan and rebuild every village, town and city, in a format that turns the whole state into one true economic community based on shared welfare and common morality;
    3. Build a Super Dome Underground Railway station, surrounded by replicas of the iconic buildings of the world, at Oba Square in Benin City, as the nucleus of an All-Nigeria Central Line linking the Ijaw towns and villages in Edo State to Kogi State and the Kaduna-Abuja line already in existence;
    4. Ensure that sixty percent of all goods consumed, or sold in shopping malls, are produced either by factories and processing plants in Edo state or in collaboration with neighbouring states;
    5. Create a health care system, free for majority of citizens, that removes foreign medical tourism from the agenda of Nigerians;
    6. Create money, investible and welfare funds, through aggressive solid minerals, gas and agro-allied industriesthat eliminate punitive taxation, waste, and improper expenditures;
    7. Turn Edo State into a proper House of Culture, attracting the rest of Nigeria and the world, with a Showpiece Cultural Programme covering communal theatres, special online and offline libraries, museums and galleries, a film emporium, with a translation centre that renders the best of world literature including Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Festus Iyayi, William Shakespeare, and Leo Tolstoy in Edo languages.

    My strategy is to bring together the best minds that Nigeria, at home and in Diaspora, can muster. It calls for a basic recourse to self-sufficiency while challenging the whole country, and the world at large, to participate in a new modality of nation-building based on respect for cultural diversity. I believe that this must begin with the complete elimination of illiteracy across all age grades. Put every child in school and nudge and humour and cajole every citizen and resident in Edo under 60 years of age, and above if they so wish, to go to school. Provide for everyone who does not have it, whether native or not, with the equivalent of a school certificate which the Nigerian Constitution, since 1979, has declared as the minima for full citizenship. Not to forget: the current Constitution requires that people may vote but cannot be voted for unless they acquire this equivalence or a diploma. This is not a responsible provision for a Constitution to have. Unless education is offered free at the requisite levels and made justiciable, it is a dampener of commitment to a healthy sense of nationality. A country that makes education a definer of citizenship but fails to have a coverall education policy is fit only for spoils. As things are, with millions uneducated to that level, the challenge is to press the supply of education into a driving emergency. The young will go to school in the morning and the elders would attend their classes later in the day. All age grades, as beneficiaries of a computer and internet age, would have access to special classes on dedicated communication and television channels. All schools must have computer savvy backed by a policy of one-child-one-computer. One-adult-learner-one-computer. The whole society must become a school as well as a buoyant industry of progress. And progress must be defined in no facile terms. In all walks of life, it must imply unyielding, community-enhancing attributes.

    Education, as a basic investment in the consumers and producers of the future, must be an inalienable priority. Essentially, this is about a tool that must become an end in itself. It is necessarily a function of cultural literacy, the capacity to locate our struggles as a people in the context of a general national and international competition for the use and enhancement of the world’s resources. We must not only learn to develop and deploy the resources, such as we are, as economic beings. We must take special interest in how and what we contribute to the way the world works and the heights towards which we propel our energies.

    Cultural literacy deserves to be emphasised as a basic factor in our definition of progress. Not only in Edo state but across the country. At a time when pre-modern school buildings are being torn down, and new ones erected all over the place, we must know that school buildings do not an educational system make. We must create a proper educational system, trustworthy enough to deliver world class competition in learning and character-building. A proper educational system must have a staffing that has priority in the allocation of resources. Teachers must be well-trained, well paid, and promptly, if we must insist on their dedication and commitment to duty. Only such teachers can give a general education of high quality for all to look to the future with a positive sense of mastery at handling the critical problems of our time.

    But, first, let me be upfront with it, that education is about linking indigenous knowledge and creativity to universal know-how. It must begin with saving our indigenous languages from the irresponsibility that goes with neglect. We must resuscitate them. Allow them to enter the conversation of world languages. Translate world classics – Shakespeare, Soyinka, Achebe, Tolstoy, Iyayi, Dickens, Ibsen, Faulkner and Mahfouz and the great philosophers and scientists of the world – into our indigenous languages. Watch the synergies go beyond mere theatre such as performing Shakespeare and Soyinka in Edo language in 2016. Let’s link the feats in language development to the great creativity that gave Benin bronze sculptures to a mesmerised world.

    We must not forget, and must teach the young, that the organisational complex that made such a great past possible was due to the savvy of one redoubtable fifteenth century monarch in Edo history, Ogun Ewuare, who burnt down and then rebuilt his capitol. He, it was who created the broad, well-paved and straight streets, crossing at right angles, still in contention, which the Portuguese adventurers admired so much. He, it was, who ensured that every coming of age implied being fitted into an occupational bracket. Every quarter in the capital city was an occupational zone into which he insinuated the best practitioners of trades and callings from the known world. In the manner that, today, the United States of America seduces and lures owners of special skills and intelligence to her domicile, Ogun Ewuare pulled off the transformation of society by literally barracking people according to areas of competence in order to domesticate the best that the human mind can produce. Think of industrial estates, industrial parks, emporiums of music, youth camps and the first standing army known to our part of the world! No hedging or shaking! It prescribes for us a way of turning agriculture into a grand pre-occupation by linking farms and factories. But not as a choice between one or the other.

    Unfortunately, the centuries of slave trade and rude western incursion, exploitation and rampart imperialism, have continued to deter our people from bold and grand entrepreneurship; halting progress, and truncating whatever trajectory was in the offing. Nigeria, as a country, has been shadow-boxing with history as a result. But we do need to return to the organisational suasion that our history vouchsafes. If we must progress, the purpose of education in our times must be to dredge the old heritage, refine it in relation to the knowledges with which our people were once conquered. We must craft a different future from the one that the ill-fortunes of our history have laid out.

    This is to say that we are not looking for a clue. We have found the key to a different way of looking at and using our past. Friend and foe describe the feats of Great Benin. We must grasp the key and insert it firmly to open the way to a much greater future. We need to celebrate the picture of that future into which me must move. And let’s recast the picture to make it ever good enough for our steps to be unwavering. The will to a greater livelihood for all, and freedom, that is, self-governance for individuals and society, must begin with having command of what is knowable. A fast-track educational advance is a necessary foundation, if anything, for full employment, control of contingencies, and futures.

    To be specific: gainful employment in every hand is a critical necessity. The deal is to prepare a special generation, within the shortest possible time, to fit into an industrial culture that can produce, at worst, sixty percent of the goods consumed in our society. What we are unable to produce on our own, we must go for in partnership with neighbours. On a non-exploitative basis. Why, for instance, build shopping malls for only foreign-made goods that will not only deprive petty traders and small holders of their usual clientele but rob the society of the benefits derivable from being producers of the goods that ought to be sold in the malls! Look at how faces glow across our cities when they encounter those malls! All fawning but hopelessly distraught! How may we all go to sleep feeling comfy, without genuinely accommodating the reality of streets that will soon unravel unless something was done. And done, quickly.

    What I wish, therefore, is to offer a comprehensive engagement with issues of development that would require all, whether natives or not, to be part of a self-uplifting that is also a communal enterprise. Heirs we may be to dramatic historical exemplars! but we need not burn down our towns and cities in order to rebuild them. Creatively, without occasioning more dislocation than the existing oddments of misdirected development, we must plan and design, re-plan and reconstruct our villages, towns and cities. I mean every village, town and city. It is a doable imperative. At its core is a scheme of transactional flow that would renew and modernise our rural areas, transform our cities into genuinely liveable spaces, without destroying the greenness that is the hallmark of a truly renewed world.

    Of course, one simple ambition is to draw the villages, towns and cities closer together by building railways. A passion all my life. Need I add that it cannot await but must be the vanguard of that necessary All-Nigeria Railway which we hope will link all of the South-South states, and challenge all other zones in the Federation to do the same, while creating a basis for an All-West African Railway from the Senegambia to the Indian ocean. This means that we cannot think of development and prosperity for one state without realising that it must depend on the development of other states in our part of the world.

    I must concede it: that to be so ambitious at a time when the national economy is in doldrums requires either foolhardiness or unusual brilliance. My fortune is that I have spent the last forty years of my life interacting with the best minds in this country. Great minds that are not burdened by cynical projecteering. From factory labourer to journalist, civil servant and worker in the cockpit of one of the best organised political movements in this country, I have learnt not to look for easy ways out of solving national problems. Living always as an ordinary Nigerian, going by public transportation as a matter of choice, and as a matter of never dodging the pains faced by my fellow countrymen and women, I have more than forty books to show where I stand in the confrontation with the poverty, corruption, insecurity and other hazards of our time. I have always believed in, and will work only for Nigeria the beautiful where there is no boring monotony and ethnic diversity is source of the creativity that makes us a unique people who will always rise higher with every fall.

    Let it be simply stated that dream-making and grand strategising in full solidarity with all segments of society is the antidote to the foolhardiness that flowers in the context of planlessness. A careful understanding of the lie of the ground and readiness to accommodate and benefit from the vast assurance of genuine knowledge in our midst, empowers me. This is why I have no fear of the obstacles that loom large in the face of grumpy money bags and godfathers who may be thinking that the 2016 election will be a cash-and-carry affair. This is one election that will not be such an affair. I trust in the three million and more citizens of this country each of whom will make a contribution of one thousand, two thousand and five thousand Naira, and even more, to my campaign funds. They know they can trust me because I have the good heart and the stubbornness and unfailing passion to deliver. They can sign in for a greater future than our past has given us reason to hope for. I dare to say that benefitting from their faith and trust, there is no mountain that cannot be moved on the way to realising our collective aspirations.

    I may well add that I have learnt how non-profit making organisations fail as much as why subsisting profit-making organisations have not reversed persisting social malaise. This is a qualification I hold with a peculiar personal history of commitment to the necessity to transform the public sector. Without a revamped public sector, we seek a buoyant private sector in vain. We must learn with the modern Chinese not to worry about the colour of the cat, but its capacity to catch the quarry. The resourcefulness of our people, so much traduced by poor planning, must be re-fixed. Its direction can and must be changed. It calls for young and old to subscribe to the ideals of social transformation with a clear map of how to get from merely wishing to actually doing it.

    It was time to let the actual physics of behaviour around us become a forthright engagement with a defined and realisable future. I give an unfailing assurance that, in forty months, we shall have laid the basis for a Singapore in our climes not by waiting for a cargo cult superintended over by godfathers from outer space, but truly putting our dreams to work. By ourselves. THE TIME TO DO IT HAS ARRIVED.

     

     


    Read More
  • Much ado about ministerial screening, By Akintokumbo Adejumo

    22/Oct/2015 // 147 Viewers

    We have placed a lot of premium on the ongoing Senate screening of the nominated Ministers of the Change government of Buhari, simply because it is a new and different party and federal government that has assumed office on the back of the cry and promises of CHANGE.

    But after the screening, what then?

    What has been the benefit or the effect of tens of previous screenings in the last 50 years?

    Check this out:
    Nnamdi Azikiwe 1960-1960 NCNC
    Dennis Osadebey 1960-1963 NCNC
    Nwafor Orizu 1963-1966 NCNC
    Joseph Wayas 1979-1983 NPN
    Iyocha Ayu 1992-1993 SDP
    Ameh Ebute 1993-1993 SDP
    Evan Enwerem 1999-1999 SDP
    Chuba Okadigbo 1999-2000 PDP
    Pius Anyim 2000-2003 PDP
    Adolphus Wabara 2003-2005 PDP
    Ken Nnamani 2005-2007 PDP
    David Mark 2007-2015 PDP
    Bukola Saraki 2015 -? APC

    (Nwafor Orizu was the only Senate President of Nigeria ever to ascend to the Nigerian presidency through the constitutional order of succession. He was later forced to handover power to Aguiyi-Ironsi military junta)

    Since 1999, really, it has been a rubber-stamp affair, embodied by bribery and corruption, hustling and lobbying, falsehood and insincerity.
    So after the screening, what do we have? Corrupt, ineffective, incompetent, un-knowledgeable, square pegs in round holes ministers to direct the affairs of government, hence the dire situation we find ourselves today.

    I think what we are hoping for this time is that we do not fall into the same chasm of mistakes. But with this particular 8th Senate, as they like to call themselves, (they have not changed in morals and political attitude and maturity, anyway, only some of the names there have changed), the screening has assumed important proportions to give themselves some measure of dignity and trying to assume some facade of respectability.

    To me, despite many supposedly potentially good ministers screened so far, their screening might well be an exercise in futility and deception.


    Read More












web counter