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 The ban on marches, such a defining characteristic of French democracy, will be rescinded.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
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.
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.
The nation is currently facing an economic crisis due to a plethora of issues. From the fall in oil prices, to the decline in the value of the country's currency; the Naira, to the shame of the 'padded' budget (the first of its kind), and to the prolonged debacle in the passage of the 2016 budget. One needs no soothsayer to know that the present administration has no clue on how to revamp the nation's economy as it has shown time and time again that it is bereft of ideas and policies to turn the tide.
Nigeria has never had it this bad. Fuel queues are all around the place, darkness pervades the light and lack is evident as your walk around the streets.
In the Goodluck Jonathan administration, things were not this bad because he had a world proven technocrat at the helm of affairs managing the nation's economy in the person of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is still the only individual to serve in the capacity of minister of finance twice. This she did under two administrations (Obasanjo and Jonathan). It was under her watch that on June 29, 2005, the Paris Club and Nigeria agreed on an US$18 billion debt relief package. Under no other minister has the nation cleared such a huge debt.
The present minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun seems to be doing her best, but her best is not good enough as the nation is presently on a standstill; no movement, no motion. We are yet to see one policy that has been carried out to see her understanding of the nation's economy.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala aside being a technocrat and a two-time minister has been in this situation before. In 2008, oil prices fell but because she had foresight the nation was able to weather the storm without having to cry or borrow from anyone. The citizens didn't feel the heat because she saved for the rainy day.
In the Jonathan administration when the oil prices went up above the $100 per barrel, she urged and advised the government, including the governors that there was need to save. But no, the governors were more interested in sharing the nation's national cake, and share they did, as they took her and the federal government to court.
APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu speaking on the issue in the Nigerian Tribune on Friday March 8, 2013 said there was no need to save for any rainy day, as citizens were drenched.
“For example, the accumulation of money by the Federal Government is a misplaced objective for these times. Our driving purpose must be to channel idle human and material capacity into productive streams that furnish jobs and manufacture tangible goods bettering the living conditions of every citizen. To say we are saving money for a rainy day while everyone is already drenched and wading through flood waters makes little sense to me.”_ — Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The only way to save this nation is to bring Dr. Okonjo-Iweala back as the finance minister because she has the technical know how to fix the economy having moved it to number in Africa during her second stint as
I, therefore , call on President Muhammadu Buhari to make Dr. Okonjo-Iweala the finance minister and save the nation from crashing
Femi Hassan is a creative writer and a social commentator.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect our editorial policy. DailyGlobeWatch shall, therefore, not be held responsible for its contents or any part thereof.
There's an evil in our land, And a foe we must withstand, Let us be strong to fight the wrong………..” Jennie Evelyn Hussey.
Nigeria has been given over to an evil debased mind and culture. Evil now rules us and the wickedness that has been sown is reaping a whirlwind of horrifying judgment that is shocking and debilitating the nation.
Sadly, we deserve what is coming by our individual and collective sins as a people who have abandoned God for self.
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed (Luke 8:17), and we are now seeing revealed the depths of viciousness and evil of the Corruption that have assailed the land and eaten deep into our moral fabric. We’re also seeing the insane lengths to which selfish and greedy politicians and civil servants, and their sycophantic, hypocritical followers will go to sabotage and deride the change that is going on. We have not seen anything yet; this nation is going to pay dearly for its sins.
Such is the case of the trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the crisis the Nigerian Senate wants to plunge the whole country into, all predicated on their own selfish, invidious and insidious interests, and with a gross disregard for the sentiments of the people who elected them to make laws and uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is only mischievous, evil-meaning and unpatriotic Nigerians who will see what is going on in the nation’s Senate and the case of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, as a political problem (And you don't have to agree with me on this)
I contend that this is not about party politics. This is not about APC or PDP or whatever party. This is not about the office of the Senate President; it is about Saraki as an individual Nigerian, who MUST not be, or regard himself, above the laws of the land. It is about a very small but powerful, selfish, greedy, insensitive and corrupt section of the political class perpetrating disrespect to the people, Constitution and government of Nigeria. It is about perpetrating corruption and protecting their own, and their selfish interest. It is about insisting on having their way at the expense of the political and democratic progress of the country. It is about turning democracy on its head and manipulating it.
Mr Saraki has been on the corruption, fraud and deception carpet for a very long time, but in fairness to him, he’s just like most of our ruling elites for the past 50 years- Corruption begat them! The whiff of corruption and oppression has followed him, undoubtedly from birth. The Societe Generale Bank fraud and collapse with its resulting misery for thousands of depositors; the family stranglehold on Kwara State politics; the alleged looting of the state’s treasury; the Zimbabwean farmers’ fraud and hypocrisy; the betrayal of his father, and his nifty manipulation to become Senate President. It is only in our dear corruption-ridden and ignorant country that such impunity and lawlessness can happen with the authorities, themselves corrupt, not batting an eyelid and coming to the rescue of their own people from such unscrupulous politicians. In saner countries, he would have ended being banned from holding any political office, and to boot, be spending some time in jail.
Olukayode Nathan further wrote: "What has been barbaric is the attempt by senators to obstruct and prevent the trial of Bukola Saraki; the Senate President is facing very serious allegations before a tribunal set up through an act of the NA to prosecute certain crimes. What is really barbaric is an attempt by a section of the Senate to usurp the powers of the law enforcement bodies to investigate and prosecute crimes. The power of the Senate is vested through the Constitution, to which they are sworn to uphold and never to breach. They are there to make laws and not empowered to investigate or adjudicate. When senators behave like criminals, they must be treated like criminals. The people of Nigeria are the ultimate powers and reserve the rights to use all means available to them to prevent criminal assault on them by criminal legislators. If that means self-help, so be it! The advanced democracies of the world including Britain and the USA have had occasions where the members of the public were made to behead political office holders. To prevent this happening in Nigeria, legislators must respect the laws of the land and respect the people of Nigeria. Buying overpriced expensive vehicles for themselves at this austere time when most Nigerians face horror of hunger is an invitation to anger and chaos”.
Rotimi Jacobs, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, involved in Saraki’s trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal has this observation in responding to the request by Kanu Agabi, the lead Counsel to the Defence (Saraki), for a long adjournment because "the defendant cannot always come to court everyday" on the excuse that the Senate would sit.
He said. "The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not the one on trial, the senators are not the ones on trial, the idea of saying the Senate President is on trial is abnormal, the Senate Presidency is not on trial, the only person on trial here is Bukola Saraki, a Senator, the Senate can sit without him; the Senators following him here don't have business here, they should not be here, it is a disgrace that they leave their constitutional duties to follow the defendant here, I think we should never hear anybody saying that the Senate can't sit because an individual is on trial"
What was said above made a lot of sense. But trust us, we refuse to accept the truth of the matter, and decide to play hide and seek with the Truth, as we always wont to do.
Unfortunately, the 160+ million people in this country are too timid, too complacent, not ready to leave their comfort (?) zone; divided amongst themselves along ethnic and religious lines, too prone to corruption and other illegal inducement, ignorant, primitive, befuddled, completely disoriented and mis-oriented and are really not ready to fight their own corner, unless God comes down and fight it for them. The whole country seem to have gone INSANE.....money has turned everyone's head upside down, and you have some people defending this evil, in fact promoting it.
Our concerns remain with the ignorant few amongst us, who will always see this as an ethnic, religious, sectional or political assault on their right to belong to one camp or another. The essence of correcting this political absurdity is to see the Senators' manoeuvre for what it is - sheer display of greed and disrespect to the Constitution and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Nigerian society is not different from societies elsewhere. Perhaps our tolerance limit is more elastic. And that is because of poor perception and low self-esteem, caused by ignorance, illiteracy and poverty.
In the past, labour unions, vibrant and mature students and academic bodies, commodity moguls, insightful musicians and artistes etc., represented the largely complacent populace and acted as the motivation to galvanise the people.
Poverty has a tendency of keeping people grinding at individual personal solutions than turning to collective initiatives. Our unscrupulous politicians use this peculiarity to exploit us.
The appeal now is to mobilise the people through the press, social media and platforms to refuse the insult and poor treatment from the rulers. And in doing this, we must be helped to recognize our friends, lest we throw away the baby with the bathwater!
I have always wanted to tag with this knowledge, believing time would bring the much needed and desired CHANGE, only when we are "mobilized" and have matured politically to the point of "being mobilized". But this change in the mind-set of both the rulers and followers seems to be taking forever; sometimes, it seems to be not taking place at all, or regressing. From this view, our mess is almost drowning us; we would need more than human hands for our "salvation"!
There is a point that cannot be easily over looked. The man from Maiduguri is affected by the same problems that afflict the man from Lagos or Benin. So are the man from Sokoto and the man from Makurdi, or Ikot Ekpene. These basic problems are poverty, illiteracy, diseases, hunger and generally poor standard of living in a country rich in natural resources but whose wealth has been squandered for decades by visionless, greedy and selfish rulers and their hangers-on.
Primordial considerations do not allow us to see things in their proper perspective. See the people who benefited from the money shared by the Office of the National Security Adviser, and by other scandals – they shared the money without regards to religion or ethnicity. It is all there for us to see and ruminate on. Corruption is the problem in Nigeria, not where you are from or your religion. Not even the political party you belong to or favour.
Ephesians 6:12 King James Version (KJV): “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”
Telling the Truth always has set me free!!!
Akintokunbo Adejumo wrote from London, the United Kingdom.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect our editorial policy. DailyGlobeWatch shall, therefore, not be held responsible for any of its conects or any part thereof.
IT is not a plus for his democratic credentials, that President Muhammadu Buhari has not thought it fit to comment on the issue, weeks after personnel of the Nigeria Police were reported to have killed several members of the so-called Indigenous Peoples of Biafra and scores more were mauled down of followers of the misguided Shiite cleric, Ibrahim El Zakzaky, by soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
As the Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces, he is the supreme head of our armed forces and as such cannot look away when members of the forces are accused of serious crime bordering on mass killings of allegedly harmless Nigerians.
His comments don’t necessarily have to be condemnatory of the action of the concerned soldiers if he does not think they are at fault. But, if otherwise, he thinks the soldiers went beyond the bounds of what can be considered acceptable conduct, his denunciatory comments would go a long way to reassure Nigerians that they are not at the mercy of a lawless military that can act totally with impunity.
We ought to have moved beyond the level of the ‘unknown soldiers’ such as those involved in the destruction of Fela’s Kalakuta Republic in 1977. Our soldiers are individuals with verifiable names and addresses traceable to whatever military formations they are attached to. In fact, some of the soldiers involved in the encounter with the Shiite were in the escort of Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, who was allegedly pencilled down for assassination for yet undisclosed reasons by members of the religious sect.
It was in their bid to ensure a safe passage for him after the Shiite allegedly blocked his way to an official engagement, that the soldiers opened fire. This account has, of course, been disputed by the Shiite who claimed the COAS had left well before a detachment of soldiers returned to wreak havoc.
Whatever were the actual circumstances that led to the bloody showdown, the identities of the soldiers involved are not and cannot be unknown. They could be summoned to account for their action. Which is to say that as far as the IPOB or Shiite killings go, the president’s comments, whether laudatory or condemnatory, would have been better than his present silence. His opponents, rightly or wrongly, would be quick to cite cases such as these as evidence that he still needs to be fully weaned of his military propensities.
The right of Nigerians to freely express themselves either by being part of demonstrations to assert their right to self determination as IPOB proclaims, or to congregate for religious reasons as with the Shiite, should not be compromised. Yet, Nigerians who must assert their rights in the foregoing manner must also be ready to accord such rights to others and conduct themselves in ways that would not hurt public peace. But this is far more than one can say for either the followers of Nnamdi Kanu or El Zakzaky. Commentaries on the recent encounters of these two groups with the security agencies have not emphasised this point at all.
The overwhelming impression that is conveyed by many of these commentators is that the unnecessarily provocative and sometimes violent actions of members of the respective ethnic or religious group are just all right and should continue without consequences. Yet both groups have functioned many times outside the bounds of propriety. If IPOB members have confined themselves to peaceful street protests without blockading the Niger Bridge in Onitsha, perhaps their run-in with the police would have ended more happily.
Forced closure of business places or major highways like the Niger Bridge cannot at all be considered peaceful. When this is coupled with the possibility of miscreant activities among genuine members of this group, there is no way to guarantee a peaceful outcome 100%.
As for the Shiites, available footage of their encounter with the soldiers shows they might have been asking for what came their way. Parts of this footage show senior military men in close discussions with the Shiites, apparently pleading with them to leave even when some of them could be seen openly brandishing machetes and other types of cudgels. What point were they trying to make confronting these soldiers with such arms?
Our security and military personnel have not been too famous for their cordiality. They are too full of their own sense of self-importance and engage in unnecessary show of power. They are often a trigger-happy lot, would sooner bawl orders at people and speak with their weapons and horse whips rather than behave civilly. For such unprofessional acts of reckless irresponsibility, we must continue to condemn them and insist that they change. But what we must never allow is to create a situation where our collective security is endangered by our readiness to tolerate the outlaw behaviour of extremist ethnic or religious groups in the misguided belief of championing their rights even when they would not submit to the rules that bind us all.
The excesses of the El Zakzaky Shiites like such other religious or ethnic groups need to be curtailed for our collective security. A group that seems eager to foment trouble even without provocation and pays no regards to the common rules that binds society is not one that should be allowed free reign. Just over a year ago, El Zakzaky lost a number of his family members in what looked like a case of mindless self-assertion by members of his group.
This group is known for its disruptive actions- spewing hate language, blocking roads for their activities or sending their members on long pilgrimage-like treks on major highways, and thereby obstructing the smooth flow of traffic.
They are belligerent and appear permanently poised for violent encounters or the enforcement of their peculiar doctrines. We continue to scream that Nigeria is a secular state but here we are saddled with Boko-haram-like groups springing up around us, determined to impose their strange doctrines on everybody, and we talk glibly about their rights as if the assertion of such rights must imply the denial of the rights of others to choose a different way of life.
We’ve seen how monies meant for arms purchase were criminally channelled into private pockets; how soldiers were hobbled and sent into battles without arms. We’ve seen Boko haram overrun towns and states after states, and declaring a caliphate even as our military, our only means of protection, were comprehensively trounced. Just eight months ago, we were all helpless wimps at the mercy of religious terrorists. Are we going to look on as similar outcast groups grow into Frankenstein monsters that will later threaten our collective security or insist that they too, like our military, should be subject to collective authority?
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
The recent Soldiers/Shiites’ clash in Zaria is a worrisome development. It has come at a time when Nigerians are almost heaving a sigh of relief over the deadly Boko Haram attacks that seem to be abating. In fact, these Soldiers/Shiites’ clashes have become a recurring episode in our national life. And whenever they rear their ugly head, it is with some catastrophic consequences, leaving a tale of sorrow, tears and blood in its wake.
The Shiite group known as the Islamic Movements of Nigeria, IMNL, is led by its fiery leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. The group came into prominence after the 1979 Iranian Revolution which was led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. That 1979 revolution sent the then American puppet leader of Iran, Shah Reza Palavi, who had ruled the country with iron fist for decades, into oblivion. An Islamic regime was then put in place and Ayatollah Khomeini became the spiritual leader of the country. Since then, the Ayatollah, as the spiritual leader, has become the supreme authority of Iran.
This spiritual-cum-political arrangement must have been very attractive to the Shiite group in Nigeria who are equally thought to be pursuing the establishment of an Islamic state. Though the Shiite group holds sway in the northern parts of the country, little is known about them in the southern parts of the country. Nevertheless, security agents particularly the Police and operatives of the Department of State Security, DSS, have always focused their binoculars on the group especially its leader, El-Zakzaky. This has inevitably made the sect and the security agencies bitter enemies.
In July 2014, while on a pro-Palestinian solidarity march in Zaria, Kaduna State, the group clashed with soldiers. The unfortunate encounter led to the death of about 34 members of the sect including three sons of El-Zakzaky. The army later came up with the explanation that the clash occurred when members of the sect attacked some soldiers who were trying to prevent the procession in view of the prevailing delicate security situation occasioned by the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists who had put the North-east of the country under armed insurrection. It took some time for frayed nerves to be calmed but that incident drew the line between the sect and the army. It was like a ticking bomb waiting to explode.
However, the ticking bomb finally exploded on Friday, December 11. That day, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, was on his way to the Zaria depot of the Nigerian Army to review a parade of the 74 Regular Recruits and also later, to pay a courtesy call on the Emir of Zazzau, when his convoy ran into members of the sect who were on a procession. Attempts by the COAS’ armed convoy to disperse the crowd were said to have been rebuffed. Not even the entreaties of some officers in the convoy who disembarked from their vehicles and approached the sect members would sway the crowd who by then had blocked the road. The COAS convoy was said to have come under attack possibly engineered by some misguided and unruly elements within the crowd. The soldiers in the convoy allegedly responded by firing some shots which led to the death of some people. The crowd was then forced to disperse.
Since then, the social media and other media of communication have been awash with comments and repudiations from both sides to the conflict. But if the comment of a spokesman for the sect which has been well advertised in the media is anything to go by, then there is actually no love lost between the army and the sect. While the army could be accused of possibly being high-handed, the sect too appears to hold the establishment -the government and security agencies, particularly the army- in utter contempt. When the spokesman was asked whether they believe in the government or whether they defer to government, he simply said that the sect obeys orders especially when the orders are not in conflict with “Allah’s injunctions”. If I may ask: How do you determine between Allah’s injunctions and government’s authority? The interpretation of what the sect spokesman simply said was that even if the government issues an order that there must not be any procession at a particular time, for security reasons, chances are that the sect might flout that order if it (the sect) believes it is embarking on a procession in line with Allah’s wish. To say the least, this is nothing but a recipe for confrontation.
When asked whether it was true that the sect members attacked the soldiers, the spokesman said: “If you are in your house and you see an armed person within the precinct of your house, what will you do?” What this man needs to understand is that if you have no skeleton in the cupboard and you suddenly woke up and see security agents around your premises, the most reasonable thing to do is either wait and see what they are up to, or to politely ask questions. Confrontation cannot and must not be the first option. There cannot be a republic within a republic. Otherwise, what is the difference between what this sect is trying to do and what Boko Haram is doing? Nobody can pronounce himself or herself an untouchable. We must all be answerable to the laws of the land and not attempt to carve out any utopian empire just because we feel we are superior to the law or that our religion is superior to the laws of the land.
At any rate, what has happened and has continued to repeat itself is quite unfortunate and uncalled for. Just as religion has a role to play in the country, the government, through its laws and agencies, also has a duty to create the enabling environment for citizens to go about their normal duties without fear of molestation and attack. Without an enabling environment, no religion, government or business can thrive. The first casualty is peace. We must get that clear. Therefore, rather than preach hatred, our religious leaders must preach peace at all times. If we are today saying that successive governments in Nigeria have failed the people, so also are our so-called religious leaders. They have also failed us since they appear to be more engrossed in how to line their pockets with filthy lucre and acquire political powers through the back door. They merely use their spiritual positions as subterfuge to acquire undue influence and power.
If anything at all, we need peace in this country more than any other thing as the absence of peace will certainly impinge on the much needed development we all crave for. Our religious leaders whether Christians, Muslims or any other religion for that matter, should strive at all times to subjugate themselves and their followers to the dictates of the law. The laws are there to guarantee peace and uphold the fundamental human rights of individuals. You don’t undermine the law and then turn round to say that your human rights have been abused or trampled on.
With more than 700,000 innocent citizens dead, countless others maimed, many houses raised and economic lives ruined, pseudo-religionists as represented by Boko Haram, have done incalculable damage to this country. We cannot afford another dangerous group toying with the destiny of this country. The security agents too must exercise restraint in the way they go about their duties without creating unnecessary tension and acrimony in the polity. This country belongs to everybody – Christians, Muslims, traditionalists, pagans, soldiers, other law enforcement agents, ordinary citizens and what have you. It is not the exclusive property of any individual or group of people no matter how highly or well placed they might be.
By Dele Agekameh
Views expressed in any article we published remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
By Iredia Osakue
President Fidel Castro of Cuba once said that , " in a state of lawlessness it is illegal to be law abiding." In part, I want to agree with the author of this quote as it can be treated in manifold, but taking into cognizance the present disharmony between the government of Edo state and citizens, let me narrow my point to the present unbearable situation experienced by people who go about their daily businesses with heavy hearts. The people are bereft of hope and desire to confront life with vigour owing to the government's lack of implementations designed to affect the majority.
In a society that is near extinction as a result of misrule and totalitarian agenda, citizens are forced to act otherwise and sometimes unruly all in an attempt to secure their space and livelihood. Unfortunately, citizens act in autonomy in a state blessed with abundance in providing electricity, security, water and other basic amenities as a result of government's inability to adequately harness the state's resources and channel it positively. This anomaly exposes the inadequacies of a leader who has lost grip on governance and sanity.
The responsibility of a genuine leader is to see to the welfare of citizens and sincerely protect their rights and encourage them to obey and carry out their duties in line with the laws of the land. This norm in the proper sense of it should be respected and applicable to all, but in this present system, reverse is the case - as some are highly favoured and others subjected to serious inhuman treatment from those perceived by many as the government's "machinery of vengeance and enforcers of falsehood."
Sadly, what is happening in Edo state is an antithesis of the rights and duties of citizens. Paying lip service to the worrisome situation of the common man has cast an ugly shadow over the government's healthiness.
Nowadays, law abiding citizens are vilified while brigands and marauders are praised to high heavens - and with the provision of the law in their favour, they act with impunity. It is no news that motorists around the metropolis and hinterland of the state are daily subjected to intimidation, extortion and harassment by the government's apparatus that is charged to control traffic and bring sanity to our roads.
Just recently, it was rumored that the government hurriedly disbanded one of this apparatuses apparently because of the forthcoming election or to save face from continuous condemnation. This did not come out of good work or intention, but as a result of complaints by road users on the menace of these "untrained" traffic controllers.
Worse still, the roads plied by these oppressed motorists are in sorry states without hope for brighter days.
If the Governor can openly declare a body that has been operational for months or years as unconstitutional, then something must be wrong.
Similarly, market women are flogged, beaten, maltreated and their wares destroyed or seized in an attempt to clear the walk ways, but ironically, they are never spared the payment of levies on the spaces that are considered "no go area." As a result, these women suffer tremendously as they are further plunged into debt occasioned by interest paid on their borrowed money from Microfinance establishments.
It is on this score that traders are not yielding to government's regulation on walk way trading. If you ask me, I will say it is good to keep the environment clean, but the approach involved in carrying out this exercise flies in the face of genuine sense of purpose or intention.
These enforcers have become law unto themselves and because of the backing of the government they act aberrantly with flagrant disregard to the rights of people. This I dare say is a slap on the face of the government for allowing some empowered few to cause pain on the free citizens of the state.
In the same vein, duly elected chairmen of some local governments were sacked on unsubstantiated allegations thereby subverting the mandate of the electorate. In an attempt to favour "godsons," some were recalled and others perceived to be obstinate were treated with disdain and reckless abandon. This brings to mind the principle of Nicoló Machiavelli that " a ruler should engage in vices which would preserve his power than engage in virtues which will destroy it."
Painfully, teachers and workers in some parastatals are owed salaries running into several months and hitherto, these faithful workers still go about their duties irrespective of the untold hardship. Unfortunately, the government remains adamant to their plight.
Consequently, it is unequivocal to say that the state is in a serious precipitation to oblivion and this latent bombshell can only be averted if the people, this time, work with their minds in bringing about a positive and qualitative leadership change in the state. This can be achieved by throwing spanner in the wheel designed to propel the imposition of a stooge on the people.
Only on this note can the citizens of Edo state call the heartbeat of the country " El dorado."
*Iredia Osakue is a political analyst and public commentator on current affairs.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch.
PARIS, JANUARY 23, 2016: (DGW) Some people are surprised that I support IPOB. I support the Igbo cause100%. I hate injustice and no one can seriously deny that Igbo people are not being mistreated in this country. Through ties of geography and culture the Igbo are my natural allies in Nigeria.
Any Niger Deltan thinking otherwise is delusional. Given their size, the scale of mistreatment of the Igbo is almost equal to what we (Niger Deltans) are facing. Nigeria cannot eat her cake and have it; it’s either the Igbo are given their due or they leave and we will join them this time.
The Igbo constitute the most productive and creative core of Nigeria. There’s a direct correlation between the conspiracy to sideline them and Nigeria’s failure as a country. It’s akin to thinking you can walk without your legs. It’s sheer madness.
*By Barrister Solomon Bob