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Taking Human Rights Seriously

By William Ikhinosimhe Orbih.

 

Fellow Nigerians, there is an urgent issue we need to address as a nation. We need to address this issue, lest we perish for failure to. Amid so much violence and incessant killings, poverty and unnecessary suffering of the overwhelming majority, oppression, and marginalization of minorities, it is high time we talked about the state of human rights in Nigeria before we degenerate fully into a lawless society.

The time has come for us to come together and discuss the way forward as a nation, as far as respect for human rights is concerned. The time has come for us to tackle head-on the prevalence of human rights abuses in Nigeria. The time has come for us to stand up for the human rights of every human being in Nigeria, irrespective of tribe, tongue, sex, age, religion, socio-cultural and economic background.

We cannot go on like this. We cannot continue to pretend that everything is okay. We cannot continue to have government officials who steal our common patrimony and go scot-free, with the audacity to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth.

We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the awful reality of the prevalence of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity in Nigeria. We cannot continue to ignore the oppression and marginalization of women in Nigeria.

As citizens, we have fundamental human rights guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The question, however, is, how aware is the average Nigerian of these human rights? How committed are we as a nation to ensuring that the basic rights of every Nigerian are respected? And most importantly, what changes do we need to make to guarantee the protection of the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society?

Usually, there are two starting points for a discussion on human rights. The first is ascertaining which among the many human rights should be considered fundamental. While the right to life is unanimously considered the most basic right, often, the rights to liberty and economic sustenance are also considered fundamental.

The rights to life, liberty, and sustenance, taking as a collective, means that no one has to live without life’s basic amenities. It means that citizens do not have to live with perpetual fear for the safety of their lives and properties. It means that people can travel without the fear of being kidnapped.

It means that workers work without the fear of suddenly losing their employment and being immediately reduced to penury. Sadly, none of the above is the case in Nigeria today. The rights of most Nigerians to life, liberty, and sustenance are simply constantly ignored by the government at all levels.

In its yearly “Freedom in the World” survey, Freedom House ranks Nigeria as being only “partially free.” On a scale of 1 (most free) to 7 (least free), Nigeria scored 4 in Political Rights and 5 in Civil Liberties, for the 2020 report. Most people will argue that Nigeria is far worse than this statistic indicates.

The second starting point to the discussion on human rights pertains to finding the ground for human rights. Are human rights self-evident and grounded in human beings’ inherent nature, or are they conferred by an external authority such as the state? What makes us so certain of the universality and inviolability of human rights? By extension, can a human being ever cease to have rights?

For us Christians, we believe that human rights are grounded in the inherent human dignity of every human being. One fundamental doctrine in the Judeo-Christian tradition is that we are created in God’s image and likeness.

Genesis 1: 27 speaks of the creation of the human being in the imago dei. According to this scriptural passage, the human being is the crown of creation and has the responsibility of care over the rest of creation. This is the starting point of Christian anthropology and ethics. This is the reason why human life is inviolable and sacred. This is the reason abortion is an abomination.

Christian anthropology does not, however, stop at this doctrine of the imago dei but goes ahead to assert the incarnation and redemptive work of Christ. By his incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, Christ has revealed, restored human dignity, and most importantly, elevated human nature to eternal glory.

One of the four constitutions of the Second Vatican Council; Gadium et Spes, speaks of the sublime dignity of human persons, and thus, the universality and inviolability of human rights. According to the document, based on their sublime dignity, human beings “ought, therefore to have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely human life:

for example, food, clothing, housing, the right freely to choose their state of life and set up a family, the right to education, work, to their good name, to respect, to proper knowledge, the right to act according to the dictates of conscience and to safeguard their privacy, and rightful freedom, including freedom of religion” (paragraph 26).

In this very elaborate paragraph, Vatican II seemingly lists many of the different human rights. A more elaborate listing of human rights is perhaps that which is contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which Pope John Paul II famously praised as “one of the highest expressions of the human conscience of our time.”

The highly acclaimed UDHR document, which the UN General Assembly adopted on 10 December 1948, contains 30 articles in which the different basic rights and fundamental freedom of all human beings are enumerated and expounded.

The document affirmed the universal right to life and to liberty and the fundamental equality of every human being. As the first article puts it, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It is based on this fundamental equality that it prohibits the demonic institution of slavery in whatever form or manifestation. It also asserted the freedom of speech, movement, and association, whether political or religious. It also affirmed the right to economic sustenance, basic healthcare, education, and the means of self-actualization in general.

One Lacuna in this otherwise breakthrough document is its inability to specify the ground for their asserting that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Is the fundamental equality of human beings evident in nature?  Are human beings not gifted with different levels of skills and ability? Are there not physically and mentally challenged people in our world?

To this complex issue, Christian philosophy answers that it is the possession of human nature that makes all human beings fundamentally equal. As Jacque Maritain, Catholic philosopher and one of the experts who drafted the UDHR, explains, the belief in the fundamental equality of human beings is based on natural law.

Natural law is thus the philosophical basis of human rights, and it is based on the understanding that all human beings possess human nature. As Aquinas asserts, “all human beings are equally made in the image and likeness of God.”

In other words, Aquinas locates the imago Dei in human nature itself. This resounds the teaching of St. Augustine, who believed that human beings reflect the nature of God, precisely, the triune nature and that they do this by the threefold faculties of the soul: memoria, intellectus, amor.

In Nigeria today, it has become crucial to emphasize that the inherent dignity and fundamental equality of all human beings are the basis for human rights. Individuals do not have rights because they belong to the majority race, tribe, or religion.

They have rights because they belong to the universal human family. Religious and ethnic minorities have rights which must be respected. A Christian in majority Muslim society has rights that must be respected, so does a Muslim in a predominantly Christian society.

Similarly, individuals do not have rights because they possess physical strength, intellectual acumen, immense wealth and riches, or social status. Contrary to what Thrasymachus famously asserted, might is not right, whatever that “might” may consist of. Human beings have rights simply because they are human beings who have been created in the image and likeness of God.

Human rights are not conferred on citizens by a benevolent government or even by international agencies such as the UN. Rather, it is the duty of government and all agencies, local and international, to ensure that God-given and nature-endowed human rights are respected and protected everywhere. As Fela, the musician, masterfully puts it, “human rights na my property; so therefore, you can’t dash me my property.”

Finally, human dignity, which confers on humans fundamental rights, is never lost, not even when individuals commit heinous crimes. Cain retained his right to life, even after he murdered his brother Abel. Criminals have rights. Right now, it does not seem as if the Nigerian Prison system recognizes this.

*First Published in The Good Shepherd Newspaper


Pause Or Perish: A Desperate Appeal To Nigerians (2)

By William Ikhianosimhe Orbih.

 

Pause Or Perish: A Desperate Appeal To Nigerians (2)
Wlliam Ikhianosimhe Orbih

Pause or Perish! Fellow Nigerians, our country is in chaos. We are perishing. We need to pause to see that our dear country Nigeria is no longer working. This is certainly not saying that Nigeria is a failed state. Instead, it is asserting the fact that Nigeria is presently not working for most Nigerians.

It is no longer working for the ordinary Nigerian man or woman. It is not working for the young almajiri, armed with a begging bowl, while his mates across the globe are armed with pens and notebooks as they learn how to make the world a better place.

Nigeria is not working for the young graduate who cannot find employment or at least the means for a decent livelihood. Nigeria is not working for the sick Nigerian who lacks access to healthcare. We need to pause to see that while Nigeria might be working for a very few privileged Nigerians, this is not the case for the majority.

We need to pause and see that while there might have been a country in the past, right now, there is hardly something we can call a country. We need to pause to consider what it means to be the world’s poverty capital—that is, the country with the highest number of people living in abject poverty.

The world capital of the world used to be India—understandably so. India is the second-most populous country in the world. With over 1 billion people, 70 million people living in abject poverty is saddening and sickening, but not altogether surprising. By the way, 70 million people is just slightly over five percent of India’s population.

In 2017, however, Nigeria overtook India as the poverty capital of the world. 94.4 million is nearly half of Nigeria’s population. According to the 2017 statistics, this is the number of Nigerians who live in abject poverty. For these Nigerians and because of these Nigerians, we can assert that Nigeria is not working without mincing words.

Obafemi Awolowo once famously said that “Nigeria is not a nation; it is a mere geographical expression.” His argument is the fact that “there are no “Nigerians” in the same sense as there are “English” or “Welsh” or “French.” The word Nigeria is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not.”

He was also talking about the lack of unity and social cohesion among the diverse groups of people, languages, tribes, and tongues that were forced together by Lugard’s 1914 amalgamation. He was talking about the fact that in place of patriotism or even commitment to the Nigerian project, what one often finds is tribal sentiment and the dedication to sectarian interest. He was, however, not talking about what this article is talking about, that is, the fact that Nigeria is no longer working because Nigeria is no longer working for most Nigerians.

The Nigeria of Obafemi’s time might have lacked social cohesion. It at least worked for the majority of Nigerians. Graduates could find jobs. Awolowo’s Western region had free education. Today’s Nigeria is not working for the overwhelming majority of Nigerians.

Of course, that Nigeria is still working for a few privileged Nigerians needs no reiteration or emphasis. These are Nigerians who can boast of three-square meals every day and do not have to worry about where their next meal will come from.

These are Nigerians who live in very decent accommodations in choice neighborhoods, owning the homes in which they live in. These are Nigerians who can afford decent education, abroad if necessary, and even the luxury of traveling the world on tourism or business.

These are Nigerians who have electricity and enough money to power generator sets to complement their county’s insufficient power supply. These are Nigerians who have the means to sink personal boreholes and the means to employ security personnel to secure their lives and properties.

For these few privileged Nigerians, there is always a way to get around the moribund system. For instance, there is a way to get a driver’s license without having to go to the Federal Road Safety Corp’s office in Zone 6, Wuse, Abuja.

However, for the majority of Nigerians, Nigeria has since stopped working. For the majority of Nigerians, three square meals a day is a luxury. The price of foodstuff is going up, while their income has remained static if not dwindling. Their take-home pay can barely take them home, talk less of seeing them through the month.

The minimum wage remains a slave’s wage—simply unrealistic. The giant of Africa no longer grows enough food crops to feed its teeming population. The days of the intimidating groundnut pyramids are long gone.

The discovery of oil in the late 60s and its pursuit led to the neglect of the Agricultural sector. Other previously thriving sectors were equally abandoned. Nigeria soon became a single sector economy, and its prosperity became totally dependent on the price of crude oil.

One of the major solutions of the government of the day to Nigeria’s hunger problem has been to ban the importation of many food crops to encourage local farmers. While this might prove a reasonable long-term policy, the problem is that it is mostly only a policy on paper, backed by incompetent and corrupt enforcers.

This is equally true of Nigeria’s housing sector and all other welfare sectors. Lack of planning and inadequate supervision has led to the collapse of virtually every facet of Nigeria’s welfare system. For many Nigerians, housing means finding very indecent accommodations in slums where they await the doomsday when government caterpillars will come and demolish the illegal structures.

Transportation means struggling to find a seat in a taxi and get to work on time. Going to school means crowding in poorly equipped universities or public secondary schools and being taught by poorly enumerated teachers.

The call to pause and reflect is to both the privileged few and the suffering majority. The privileged few must realize that it is not well until it becomes well for all others as well. It is not okay until it becomes okay for at least the overwhelming majority.

From a Christian point of view, it is not fine to have a fleet of cars when most of your neighbors must trek to work every day. It is not okay to have many gigantic houses when most Nigerians live in the slums and homes with leaking roofs. It is not normal to have an uncountable number of dresses and shoes while your neighbor has nothing to put on.

As Jesus tells us in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, it is immoral to feast sumptuously without care for the man at the gate contending with the dogs for scraps. On judgment day, Jesus would want to know how much we cared for the poor and needy, the sick and homeless, the naked and prisoners. This is what the parable of the final judgment in Matthew 25 teaches us.

Finally, as it is often said, “one day the poor will have nothing else to eat but the rich.” We saw a glimpse of this in the brief episode of the sudden discovery of palliatives in warehouses. Poor people pillaged these warehouses not just with hunger but with anger as well. The call on the majority of Nigeria, for whom the country no longer works, is to rise and take back their country from the few who have stolen it.

This is not a call to arms but a call on Nigerians to learn to demand accountability from their leaders. It is a call on all Nigerians to commit wholeheartedly to the Nigerian project by putting in the work necessary to have the country work again.

This Lent provides us with yet another opportunity to reexamine ourselves, and if necessary, start afresh. It offers us the glorious opportunity to pause or perish!

*First published in the Good Shepherd Newspaper

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  William Ikhianosimhe Orbih and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


Gumi’s Advocacy Of Terrorism

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

Gumi’s Advocacy Of Terrorism
Emmanuel Onwubiko

“What, then, does it take to be a corporate leader in the 2020s? Every firm is different, but those hiring a CEO, or aspiring to be one, should prize a few qualities. Mastering the tricky, creative and more collaborative game of allocating intangible capital is essential. A CEO must be able to marshal the data flowing between companies and their counterparties, redistributing who earns profits and bear risk” (The Economist,  February 8th-14th 2020). 

That was the position of the World’s largest news journal when it treated the all-important thematic topic of leadership in the corporate World. I think these qualities stated out are also in demand whenever a nation looks forward to a General election to pick out persons seeking for public offices because the strategies for running successful companies are about the same if a nation State is to be governed well in line with the global best practices.

However, these qualities are lacking in the kind of political leaders that bestride the political spaces in Nigeria. This apparent leadership vacuum had thrown up all kinds of tribal and religious warlords INCLUDING those species that have started advocating soft landing for terrorists and have called journalists criminals for addressing kidnappers of school children in the North as terrorists. Here, I’m referring to the person of Ahmad GUMI better identified as an Islamic Cleric.

Mr. Ahmed Gumi who is an Islamic teacher in Kaduna has made a lot of irresponsible and irrational statements that are all geared towards stocking up ethno-religious wars in Nigeria in his wild goose chase to negotiate soft landing for terrorists who are famously called armed bandits by the government and the Nigerian Media.

This advocate of terrorism is busy selling his comics of defending terrorists and telling everyone to accept that terrorists in the North West are waging a just war and that they were exposed to existential threat during the President Goodluck Jonathan era, which goes to show that perhaps, the war on terrorists in the North West coordinated by the armed security forces of Nigeria is what this preacher of hate is classifying as a war targeting Northern Moslems.

Gumi has accused military operatives of Christian Origin as the operatives that have killed the armed terrorists in the North West stylishly rebaptized by the Muhammadu Buhari- led administration as armed bandits.

The Kaduna based cleric is reported too to have made some wild claims which are only calculated to inflame passions and to instigate ethno-religious disharmony including the incoherent and irrational views which reportedly compared the activities of terrorists in the North today to the declaration of the intent by the then Eastern regional government headed by the then Colonel Chukwuemeka Odunlegwu  Ojukwu to secede out of Nigeria of the 1967 because the then General Yakubu Gowon – led Junta failed to stop the pogroms and genocidal killings of Igbo civilians living in the Northern region.

A war ensued between the then Federal Nigerian Armed Forces and the then declared but since defunct Biafra Republic and lasted for 30 months after which there was a truce which brought the war to an end and the Federal Republic of Nigeria declared that there was no Victor, no vanquished.  So one Ahmad GUMI is still bitter about how that civil war ended and that Nigeria has since progressed?

Gumi’s attempt at revisionism and turning logic on its head must be challenged frontally before he continues to spew out hate filled sentiments all in his warped imagination of presuming the pure terrorism of mass kidnappings of students as same as other political developments that shaped the evolution of the current Nigeria’s Nation State.

I must state emphatically that Ahmed Gumi’s advocacy of terrorism amounts to support for terrorism.

The advocacy for tolerated terrorism of kidnapping of school children as is being made by the Kaduna based Cleric is a crime against humanity which must be confronted in a law based way so Nigeria does not become a Country whereby those in open sympathy with terrorists are allowed to stoke up ethno- religious sentiments capable of instigating civil war.

What then is the essence of the relevant sections of the TERRORISM PREVENTION ACT OF 2011 especially from sections 4 up to 6? We will give the citations before we wrap up. President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to enforce the Counter terror law thereby emboldened Ahmad GUMI and his likes to continue to insult our collective intelligence.

Gumi reportedly said kidnapping school children was a lesser evil when compared to the ransacking of towns and killing of its residents. The Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, had reportedly described the kidnapping of schoolchildren by bandits as a lesser evil.

The cleric who has been visiting bandits in the forest in an attempt to negotiate a peace deal with them disclosed this while featuring on BBC Pidgin. Gumi said kidnapping school children was a lesser evil when compared to the ransacking of towns and killing of its residents.

The cleric also stated that his meetings were yielding positive results, saying bandits are now careful about human lives.

“Kidnapping children from school is a lesser evil because, in the end, you can negotiate and now bandits are very careful about human lives,” he said.

“Before, the mission of bandits was to go into a town, ransack it and kill people. By this, I can say our preaching is working and hopefully, we are coming to an end of banditry in Zamfara and other states.

“Bandits are more careful about lives now and just want to do sensational attacks which would bring attention to themselves.”

On Friday morning, over 300 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the Talata Mafara Local Government area of the state were abducted. The gunmen were said to have arrived at the school around 1am and loaded the girls in buses.

A resident in Kawaye village identified as Seidu Muhammadu, who confirmed the development to Sahara Reporters said his daughters, Mansura and Sakina, were among those abducted.

As learnt, the bandits arrived around 1 am with buses and motorcycles, which were used to take the pupils away.

The incident comes a week after gunmen struck the Government Secondary School in Kagara, Niger State, abducting school pupils, teachers, and workers.

On December 11, 2020, 344 secondary schoolboys were also abducted from Kankara in Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, while he was there.

How is it that the Federal government has so far only issued faint verbal reprimand through the National Security Adviser; Major General Monguno but has failed to arrest Ahmed Gumi?

Recalled that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari banned mining and imposed a no-flight zone in the northwestern state of Zamfara on Tuesday, vowing to crack down on lawlessness in the area in response to the abduction last week of 279 schoolgirls, since freed.

Buhari ordered a “massive” deployment of military and intelligence assets to restore normalcy to Nigeria’s northwest, National Security Adviser; Babagana Monguno told journalists in Abuja after a security council meeting.

The government “will not allow this country to drift into state failure,” he said in response to the abductions. “We are not going to be blackmailed.”

A series of school abductions in recent months has led many Nigerians to worry that regional authorities are making the situation worse by letting kidnappers go unpunished or paying them off.

Buhari said earlier on Tuesday that the practice of paying ransoms had encouraged kidnappers. The state government in Zamfara has denied paying a ransom but said it offered the kidnappers amnesty and help settling.

Zamfara is home to large gold deposits, with a legal mining industry operating alongside illegal mines that the authorities say have fuelled violence. The impact of a no-fly zone was difficult to assess as the state has no major airport.

Armed groups have plagued the state and its neighbours in recent years, kidnapping for ransom, looting and destroying communities and murdering civilians. Security forces’ attempts to halt their rampage have met with little success, so reports REUTERS.

I think all these are taking place because of absence of leadership in the mould of the qualities of an effective Chief executive officer of a corporate body that we cited from The Economist.

Also, the Justice minister; Abubakar Malami has abandoned his duty of prosecution of terrorists but is doing nothing or say nothing even when the likes of Ahmad GUMI openly CANVASSES Amnesty for mass killers, kidnappers and terrorists.

This writer believes in the use of the relevant laws in the land to effectively prosecute terrorists and get them to pay heavy penalty by way of punishment of the severed forms for their criminal acts of terror.

A justice of the bation’s Court of Appeal, Calabar division stated rightly why the nation should jail terrorists and in my view the Nigerian State should execute by firing squads all terrorists caught kidnapping school children and passengers and unleashing violence.

Justice M.A. Owoade stayed thus and I endorse these position: “To appreciate the problem of sentencing and society, one has to bear in mind that the ultimate aim of the criminal law itself is the protection of the society and the citizens. “The general purposes of the provisions governing the definition of offences” in the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code might be taken as a statement of the proper objectives of the substantive law of crime in a modern legal system. The purposes are:

(a) To forbid and prevent conduct that unjustifiably and inexcusably inflicts or threatens substantial harm to individual or public interests.

(b) To subject to public control persons whose conduct indicates that they are disposed to commit crimes,

c) To safeguard conduct that is without fault from condemnation as criminal

d) To give fair warning of the nature of the conduct declared to be an offence

(e) To differentiate on reasonable grounds between serious and minor Offences.”

Relatedly, the main purpose of punishment is that of expressing censure and denunciation. Society’s rejection of the offender’s wrong doing must be publicly expressed.

Sentencing is the most highly visible decision making stage in the Criminal Justice process. It is carried out in open court, and in public. It thus contrasts with earlier stages of the decision- making process either by the Police or the Attorney- General as prosecutors or by the trial court itself, so submits the jurist.

“The Judge seeks to do justice by imposing the sentence the criminal deserves. But he also strives to be just in another and sometimes conflicting way-that is, by treating the criminal before him equally with others who have an equal degree of moral guilt.

“Equality of treatment is commonly and rightly seen as fundamental to justice. And the Judges are anxious to avoid the strong sense of grievance which arises from inequality.”

He then states that “Sentencing without conformity is a social injustice” and said: “The Judge may impose a sentence greater or less than he thinks the criminal deserves in order to comply with the norm  – and this is the more reason why we have to discuss and explain the theories of punishment.” He list them as; The Penological theories:-There are four main theories of punishment. (i) Deterrence (ii) incapacitation (iii) rehabilitation and (iv) retribution.

He said the boundaries between these theories are far from clear with several of them containing sub- categories, many of which are perceived quite differently by different writers. Importantly, the judge made a strong position on what functions judicial sentencing plays and the first factor that goes with justice system to my conviction is what scholars call the value of  (a)  Deterrent-: Deterrent theories unlike the retributive theories of punishment which we shall examine later are forward looking in that they are concerned with the Consequences of punishment: their aim is to reduce further crime by the threat or example of punishment”.

This writer adopts the position that TERROR suspects must never be forgiven but must go through the full weight of the law. To underscore the reality of the fact that if you do not punish offenders, you will promote impunity, we have just been told that those suspected terrorists freed as repentant TERRORISTS simply went bavk to doing what they definitely know how to do best which is TERRORISM AND MASS KILLINGS.

Meanwhile, today’s Daily Trust disclosed that many so called deradicalised Boko Haram members have reportedly re-joined the group and picked up arms against the state, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State said.

Zulum, who is the Chairman of the North East Governors Forum (NEGF), said this on Wednesday in Bauchi during the meeting of the six governors.

He lamented that the Boko Haram terrorists have changed tactics and were becoming more vicious, saying the federal government should halt the deradicalisation exercise and prosecute all terrorists in order to end the over 11-year insurgency.

“It has been confirmed that the concept of deradicalisation or Safe Corridor is not working as expected. Quite often those who have passed through the Safe Corridor initiative or have been deradicalised, usually go back and re-join the terror group, after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process,” he said.

Zulum also said most communities were not amenable to accepting the so-called deradicalised terrorists.

“The host communities where the reintegration process is going on usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been deradicalised, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past. Here is why GUMI MUST BE ARRESTED AND PROSECUTED-:ACCORDING TO TERRORISM (PREVENTION) ACT, 2011 Section 4(1) A person who knowingly, in any manner, solicits or renders support for. – (a) an act of terrorism; or

(b) A proscribed organisation or an internationally suspected terrorist group. An offence under this Act and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 20 years.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (2) of this section, where death results from any terrorist act the penalty shall he death sentence:

(3) For the purposes of subsection (I) of this section, “support” includes.

(a) Incitement to commit a terrorist act;

(b) Offer of material assistance, weapons, including biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, explosives, training. Transportation, false documentation or identification;

(c) Offer or provision of moral assistance, including invitation to adhere to a proscribed organization; and

(d) The provision of, or making available, such financial or other related services as may be prescribed in this act.”

Specifically, Section 5 says: “A person whether or not in the armed services who harbours, conceals or causes to be harboured or concealed, a person whom he knew to have committed, or to have been convicted of an act of terrorism or against whom he knew that a warrant of arrest or imprisonment for such an act had been issued commits an offence under that Act and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 10 years. Section 6 states thus: “Any person who, knowingly agrees to provide training or instruction –

(a) in the making or use of an)’ explosive or other lethal device; or

(b) In carrying out [l terrorist act:

to a member of a terrorist group or a person engaging in, or preparing 10 engage in the commission of a terrorist act, commits an offence and shall on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 10 years.”

Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari,  tell us why you are not arresting Sheikh Ahmad GUMI and all who support terrorism including the Bauchi State governor who supports the criminality of Fulani nomads wielding Ak-47? Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari,  please read your oath of office.  

*Emmanuel Onwubiko Is Head Of The Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.comwww.huriwanigeria.com.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko, and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.” 

 


 

Up North, Hype North!

By William Ikhianosimhe Orbih.

 Up North was released in 2018; how come I am only hearing about it in 2021? Well, I have been so engrossed in books, pursuing endless degrees. I am yet to find them. Recently, I took some days off from my vanity. I went to the city of the angels, known in Spanish simply as Los Angeles, to a house with fully subscribed Netflix. One of the thousand movies I watched is the one above, with Banky W as the lead star.

Yes, Banky W; the musician, has stamped his feet firmly on the Nigerian music industry. We will never forget the vibes of Strong Thing and Lagos Party. We will never forget his Etisalat jingle; 080naija for life. And we will certainly never forget that it was he who brought the likes of Skales and Wizkid to the limelight.

But can anything good come out of Banky W, the actor? This was what I thought until I watched him star in the movie ‘Up North’. Bear with me, Up North and not Wedding Party was the first Banky W movie that I watched.

Up North convinced me enough that I immediately reached for Wedding Party 1 and 2. It was beautiful to watch these record-setting movies, especially with the hindsight of Banky’s marriage to Adesua Etomi that eventually also took place in real life about a year after the Wedding Party 1 was released.

Back to Up North and to a brief recap of the movie, in case there are otondos out there yet to watch it. Chief Otuekong, portrayed by Kanayo O Kanayo, is a rich businessman. For once, he is not into money ritual. Thank God! But he is, as usual, the rich and domineering figure, before whom every human being is nothing but a means to an end.

Bassey, his son, acted by Banky, is interested in the privileges that come with being the son of a rich man, but not in his father’s company that makes the privileges possible. Even more so, he detests his father’s highhandedness and overbearing control over him and everyone else.

The time came for NYSC, and Bassey found himself posted to Bauchi. It would have been very easy for him to get redeployment to Lagos, given his father’s money and influence, but his father wanted him to go to Bauchi. He intended, by it, to teach Bassey to be more appreciative of his privilege and learn never to defy his influential dad.

Although reluctant to go, it was not long, once he arrived, before Bassey found in Bauchi the needed get away from his father’s shadow. While in Bauchi, a lot of things happened to him. He found himself and found the love of his life. He found toughening and a sense of purpose in the opportunity he had to inspire four secondary school girls to state success in the tracks. Above all, he fell in love with Bauchi and with Northern Nigeria. He never left.

The significance of Up North goes beyond Bassey’s adventure. It even goes beyond presenting a glimpse of the North to people of (or at least, who live in) the South, which I think was the movie’s major purpose.

Up North is a movie that hypes Bauchi state in a way I think Africans must learn to hype Africa and anything that is African. In this, the movie does a most excellent job. I have been to Bauchi a couple of times.

I have friends in Bauchi, among whom are two of my classmates from Seminary; Agbata Chukwuka Raphael and Yohanna Irmiya. But watching Up North has further opened my eyes to the deep beauty of Bauchi state. It is not for nothing that Bauchi State is nicknamed the pearl of tourism. It will remain a pearl of tourism even if we are to take away Yankari Game Reserve.

It is even more significant that I watched the movie while in California State in the US. 40,000 feet above sea level, the lyrics of one of Notorious BIG’s song dominated my mind. ‘I’m going going, back back, to Cali Cali…’ the chorus runs. While ruminating what is arguably California’s unofficial anthem, I could not help thinking of Tupac’s California Love, the closest contender to Biggie’s jingle.

For all the profanities in the lyrics of these songs, they will always be classics. California owes these two hip-hop legends, who unfortunately died too young, eternal royalties. Their song hyped California more than Silicon Valley and Hollywood Boulevard has been able to do.

While listening to BIG and thinking of Tupac who both died at 25 years (one of them on my birthday), it almost immediately dawned on me that singing the praise of cities is not completely new to Nigerian music.

T Y Bello’s The Land is Green is a classic example. Where is that woman? Wherever she is right now, I just want her to know that her song is forever green. Recently, we can talk about Don Jazy’s Surulere, Olamide’s I Love Lagos, Don Jazzy’s Ojuelegba, and Wizkid’s recent album, Made in Lagos.

Although these songs (with the exception of Bello’s The Land is Green and Olamide’s I Love Lagos) were more about struggling and surviving against all odds than they were about glamourizing these places, they nevertheless put these names on the map in a way courses on Nigerian geography and history can never achieve. Singing about cities is one way to present them to the world and show the world that part of them that is often hidden.

This is what Up North achieves for Bauchi. It shows us many beautiful sides of Bauchi state. The scene where Maryam insists on showing Bassey the town before he departs was purposely included for this reason.

Remarkably, Up North does not glamorize Bauchi without also addressing some of the social-cultural issues in Bauchi society. It does not fail to highlight some of the cultural obstacles to girl child education and some of the obstacles to “northern” girls reaching their full potentials.

Very remarkable, is how in doing all these, it stayed very respectful to the dominant culture of the North and the many ways it has been influenced by the dominant religion, Islam.

At the end of the day, Up North helps me define what I mean by “hyping” as it relates to Africa. It means telling the African story, reclaiming it from caricatures. It means showing the other sides of Africa often ignored. It means being brutally honest as a prelude to putting in the work to put right the wrongs. It means being proud of one’s heritage and being patriotic.

A final word on Banky. I hope one day I will get to write on Banky the politician too. I can bet a million naira that he was rigged out when he ran for Lagos’ Eti-Osa Federal Constituency seat in Nigeria’s House of Representatives in 2019. I hope he wins in his next attempt, and I also hope that when he does, he does not turn out like one man called Desmond (if you add Idiot, na you sabi ooo).

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of William Ikhianosimhe Orbih, and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


Missing Billions: Why Blame Ibb?

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

Missing Billions: Why Blame Ibb?
Emmanuel Onwuibiko

One general characteristic that marks out Nigeria’s current government is the inability of all the relevant arms of government to be up and doing in the critical area of maintaining global best practices in terms of accountability, probity and transparency in public finance. These qualities are the democratic benchmarks that mark a Country out as a responsible constitutional democracy.

Closely following the above, is the illogicality and fallacies being bandied about, and promoted in the media by propagandists allied with Federal government as means of confusing everyone so as to justify the clear lack of accountability.

Unfortunately, the Nigerian media have completely abandoned her sole role and responsibility as the most credible agenda setting institution and have decided to offer news pages to all kinds of characters masquerading about as key government officials.

One of such attempts which appears so ludicrous and laughable is the claim made by the Director General of Voice of Nigeria- Mr. Osita Okechukwu who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to use subterfuge and deception to try to hoodwink the reading public to continue to see a messiah in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari who has been President for six Years but has failed to manifest any atom of his messianic tendencies.

And so it was that we woke up today to find out that the media has once more indulged Osita Okechukwu of his regular pastime of beating about the Bush in a bid to confuse Nigerian reading public and to maintain his obsession with the person of the President.

The Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu had blamed the increasing rate of insecurity in the country on the extreme poverty imposed in 1986 by the military administration of President Ibrahim Babangida through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sponsored Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).

He maintained the insecurity challenge being faced was the manifestation of the inhuman seed sown by the military through SAP.

Okechukwu, who is a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), cautioned instead of the anger and blame game on the governing party, “we should come to the reality that the insecurity challenge we face today is the outcome of Extreme-Poverty planted in 1986 by the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).”

The VON boss, in a statement in Abuja on titled, “Insecurity in Nigeria: Challenging crisis of extreme poverty”, observed the development calls for introspection and deep reflection on how we became the World Poverty Capital and how best to exit fast.

“Yes we of the APC pledged to fix security in our dear country in every particular matter. That’s our pledge, and to be honest we are deploying billions and every material and human resources to contain it.

“However, we are confronted with Extreme-Poverty planted in 1986 by the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). The day SAP was born was the day the gross economic inequality and insecurity in Nigeria was born. It has badly mutated since 1986.

“Economic inequality breeds extreme-poverty, hate, division and hostile insecurity, in countries wherever it is allowed to thrive throughout history.

“To be exact no matter how much trillions of Naira we spend on military hardware or how many times we change Security Chiefs, with Extreme-Poverty security will remain a mirage.”

My reading of this laughable excuse and the continuous blame game, which to all intents and purposes are diversionary and spurious is the underlying plots by these actors in government to conceal the incredible amounts of public funds that many of the central government’s revenue yielding institutions are yet to account for.

How on earth will someone who has been in the corridors of power begin to spread the toxic illogicality that the policy framework put in place about 30 years back is the reason the government he serves cannot as much as guarantee the security of boarding schools around the Country?

This is standing logic on its head and he will get away with it and come up with another ridiculous proposition because they all think that Nigerians are fools. Duncan Clarke who wrote a book on the corruption that afflicts the crude oil industry in Africa has perfectly situated this kind of delusional approach to governance as manifested in high quantities by some key officials of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration including the DG of Voice of Nigeria.

“Is it then just bad politics and serial conflict that have led to Africa’s repeated difficulties? I think not. Recently, economists have sought to come to grips with the economic failures found in Africa. Some have hard lessons to impart.

“It is no secret that Africa’s downward drift inspired western aid and debt relief initiatives, remedies that were intended to plug the savings gap, infuse capital, allow for growth and cut extreme poverty. Around $500 billion has been poured into Africa in this manner over the past 30 years. Little appears to have resulted from this western largesse.

The author then said: “Now some advocates want to magnify this flow of funds, with corporate oil doing its own bit in the form of social investment. Robert Calderisi offers a damning critique of this failed strategy in The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn’t Working.”

He then asserted that Politicians and corporate oil should pay attention because according to him, with a 30-year career in development economics, Calderisi dismisses conventional excuses for contemporary African economic failures: the delayed economic impacts of slavery, legacies of settler colonialism, insufficient foreign aid, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (15RD) led structural adjustment, negative impacts from globalization, indebtedness, geographical determinism, harsh environments and biased inter-national economic forces.

“The Cold War did leave deleterious marks- but thereafter Africa did little to rid itself of its residues in flawed economic regimes. None of these excuses adequately explain why the sub-Saharan world went backwards for 30 years”.

The breakdown of many agrarian societies in Africa can be traced to mismanaged central power, with the peasantry (the majority of the population in most states) left to fend for them-Selves, argues the author and I dare say correctly.

“In fact, the social matrix is often the one protection that acts as the bedrock against increasing immiserisation in Africa’s peasant societies. Many have crumbled as structural transformations took place while the modern economies expanded.”

He then argued further that more at issue to my mind is the congenital history and current record of under achievement that all this implies.

“If, say, 2-3% per year in GDP growth is lost (equal to the growth deficit vis-a-vis competitors), the cumulative effect is considerable.”

“Catch-up can be a very long game, even impossible. Crucial here are the opportunities for structural transformation that Africa has forgone but that its competitors have grasped Aid alone is unlikely to repair the damage.”

Other cogent and critical views emerge in the Shackled Continent by Robert Guest, as Africa editor at The Economist, Duncan Clarke says.

“This text, with the ambitious subtitle Africa’s Past, Present and Future, ranges perceptively across parts of some sub-Saharan states, finding that leadership (“crooked and incompetent”) and predatory governments lie at the root of African poverty.

“This is largely valid. However need additional exposure to discern the deeper structures that have moulded Africa’s economic world. There is more complexity in Africa’s underdevelopment than flawed leadership allied to predation and political deficiencies”. (Crude Continent the Struggle for Africa’s Oil Prize by Duncan Clarke). Therein lies the fundamentals of the state of insecurity in Nigeria and not in any way related to the IBB YEARS as alluded to by Osita Okechukwu.

The critical questions waiting for clear cut responses from the relevant supervisory institutions especially in the law enforcement and the legislative bodies are to task them to locate exactly where all the missing billions are with the aim of bringing all the public thieves before the court of Law so as to retrieve every kobo stolen, diverted or misappropriated by government functionaries.

We will in a short while remind Nigerians about some of these missing billions. But first, can we state that it is disingenuous for any official of government to seek to divert our focus away from the critical issues of a total lack of transparency, accountability and probity in the deployment of public fund by some of Federal Government Institutions.

Also, we state emphatically that the fundamental cause of insecurity is the corruption and economic crimes that are going on in the different government offices and should definitely not be linked to the economic policy of structural adjustment programme that took place over 30 years back as Osita Okechukwu disingenuously wants gullible Nigerians to be believe.

Nigerians should ask the following questions.

Where are the missing billions in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation with specific reference to the report release by a foreign non-governmental organization around August 2015 of a damaging report which reportedly led to reorganisation within the NNPC?

President Muhammadu Buhari had replaced the head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on the day an NGO released a detailed investigation into poor management, inefficiency and corruption at the state oil company.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to the Minister of Water Resources Engr. Suleiman Adamu, urging him to “clarify the action that his Ministry has taken to address and find the alleged billions missing from the Ministry and its agencies.”

SERAP also sought to know “if there is relevant admissible evidence of corruption and mismanagement, to refer the allegations to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for investigation and prosecution.”

The organisation urged the Minister to “ensure the full recovery of any missing public funds, revealed in the 2017 annual audited report by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.”

In the FoI request dated 27 February 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said:

“Allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the Ministry and its agencies can cause serious harm to the socially and economically vulnerable.

Satisfactorily addressing these allegations and recovering any missing public funds is a critical matter of public health, human rights, transparency and accountability. Now here is the reason for the insecurity.

Closely related is the manner of enforcement of the law on the subject; enforcement must be within the ambit of general sense of legality. This implies that government should be conducted within the framework of recognized rules and principles which restrict discretionary power as opposed to the uncertain and crooked cord of discretion as held by the Court in the cases of Miscellaneous Offences Tribunals v. Okoroafor (2001) 10 NWLR (Pt. 745) P. 310 and All Nigerian Peoples Party v. Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (2006) 11 NWLR (Pt. 992) p. 597.

In the English case of Arthur Yates & Co. Pty. Ltd. v. Vegetable Seeds Committee9, Herring C.J held thus in this regard:“It is not the English view of the law that whatever is officially done is law … On the contrary, the principle of English law is that what is done officially must be done in accordance with the law.”

Nations that have achieved stability and national security are those which have elevated law above political, religious, ethnic sentiments. The present federal government advocates national security on the basis of sacrifice of not only individual rights but also the rule of law.

It is important to note that by section 1 (3) of the Terrorism Prevention Act (as amended) strikes and demonstrations are excluded from the definition of terrorist acts, provided they are not intended to result in any harm referred to in subsection (2) (b) (i) (ii) or (iv) such as seriously intimidating a population, influencing a government or international organization by coercion or intimidation.

The demands of citizens, whether individually or collectively, which accord with law is not terrorism and cannot be proscribed. Section 14(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice with security and welfare of the people as the primary purpose of government.

In the same vein Section 17(1) and (2) provides that the State shall be founded on ideals of freedom, equality and justice and that government action shall be humane and the independence and integrity of the courts shall be secured and maintained.

Also, on the question of probity,  there is a probe by the Nigerian Senate into whether state oil firm NNPC improperly withdrew money has expanded with the amount under investigation doubling to over $2.2 billion, a committee said on Wednesday.

The Senate recently  voted to probe withdrawals of $1.05 billion by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), from NLNG, a venture owned by the state oil firm and foreign energy companies, without approval.

The committee led by Senator Bassey Akpan, chairman of Senate committee on gas, said on Wednesday it had found more withdrawals in excess of what it set out to investigate. Akpan asked NNPC and central bank officials to provide documents to back up the withdrawals, carried out at various periods between 2016 to 2018.

NNPC officials said documents were being assembled ahead of next hearing due on Nov 22 and declined to comment further.

Nigeria’s Premium Times newspaper reported that NNPC had used the portion of NLNG earnings that should have been passed to local and federal state authorities to fund the state oil firm’s fuel purchases and subsidies during a shortage in late 2017 and early 2018.

The shortages left people queuing for hours at filling stations and saw NNPC spend at least $5.8 billion on fuel imports.

NLNG, which produces liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export, is a joint venture company owned by NNPC and foreign energy firms Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and ENI. These are what should worry Nigerians and not to allow themselves to be hoodwinked into transferring the cause of the current misgovernance and corruption to a government that ended over three decades ago.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwanigeria.com.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko, and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

CROSS RIVER 2023: The Unfolding Political Equation

By Kennedy Onyegbado.

Governor Ben Ayade in more ways than one, has taken a bold step in defining the developmental roadmap for Cross River state as the ‘Nation’s paradise’. His succession calls for a prudent manager of resources, an administrator of proven track record and a level headed politician.

Perceptibly, the state has had more than its fair share of political controversies and litigations that should not continue in the future. There is indeed a big and urgent task to be accomplished for a greater Cross River state.

Therefore, the focus at this critical juncture should be on how the 2023 electoral process can throw up the best kind of leader for the task of putting the people first in the resource mobilization and allocation for enhanced development of the state.

The unfolding political equation in Cross River is as fascinating as it is worrying. This is because of the waiting game the APC and other parties in opposition are playing. The APC is waiting and watching with keen interest to see if there can be any miscalculation on the part of the PDP with respect to the emergence of a gubernatorial flag bearer. Any miscalculation on the part of any political party can turn out to be more expensive for it than ever imagined.

The crucial question at this stage is what will constitute a miscalculation on the part of any political party in the state? Without being evasive, the most striking will be to pick a candidate outside the Southern Senatorial District of the state.

Detectably, Governor Donald Duke was from the Southern Senatorial District, Governor Liyel Imoke was from the Central Senatorial District and the incumbent Governor Ben Ayade is from the Northern Senatorial District. According to the prevaling zoning arrangements, it is expected that power will return to the Southern Senatorial District come 2023.

Again, Cross Riverians want a grassroot governor who is at home with the people and the environment and is readily accessible to the people. The political parties will also do well to watch out for politicians with baggage of liabilities, litigations and EFCC invitations as unlikely election winners.

CROSS RIVER 2023: The Unfolding Political Equation
Gov. Donald Duke was from Southern Senatorial District (1999 – 2007)

Miscalculation on the part of any party can also be the investment of its ticket on a politician who has been known to serially abuse the public trust and collective confidence bestowed on him/her. Cross Riverians, as democrats will have several ways of kicking against any form of imposition of unpopular leadership that will owe its legitimacy to any other power source outside the people.

2023 would be the time for Cross River state to make a resounding statement to the rest of the country on a democratic process of leadership emergence. Imposition is out of it while character and content of aspiration are critical for public evaluation.

This is where Engr. Ben Etim Akak comes in with a progressive ideology and agenda. It will only take a bridge builder like him to navigate through our experience to offer a viable promise. It is here experience counts – A blend of the public, cum private matrix is enough experiment to provide the proper and fit dose for our ailment.

Engr. Ben Etim Akak is a Nigerian Philanthropist, entrepreneur, politician and administrator; a Prince of the Eburutu axis of the Efik Efik Eburutu Kingdom, precisely from Ukwa Eburutu in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Born in the early 80s, he is a young man who has tasted the pains of maybe, not eating three times in a day like every other and most Nigerian child who was born and bred with no golden spoon. He has also tasted wealth out of hard work, the undying and unconquering spirit of the Nigerian child and above all, through the unmerited Grace and unlimited Favor of God.

Currently, Engr. Ben Etim Akak is the Chairman/CEO Bengies Group of Companies that has interest in Real Estate, Construction, Oil/Gas and the entertainment industries. He has built businesses from scratch to stardom most of which are located in Cross River State, such as, Bengies Bakeries and others, having over 700 Cross Riverians on payroll as workers.

Two years after his graduation from the University, 2004 to be precise, he and others formed the Margaret Ekpo Foundation where he was made the Executive Secretary, and his duties included amongst others; the coordination of the other arms of the Foundation, Board of Trustees and day to day running of the Foundation to deliver on the mandate of meeting the needs of the needy, protecting the rights of women, the girl-child and other vulnerable children within our society.

CROSS RIVER 2023: The Unfolding Political Equation
Gov. Liyel Imoke was from Central Senatorial District (2007 – 2015)

Engr. Akak has also worked and headed different companies and groups such as, Czer Continental Services Limited where he was the Executive Chairman from 2009 to 2015; M.O.E Resource Enterprise where he was incharge of General Adminstration/Bussiness Development and later Consultant Oil Palm Development and Marketing.

Engr. Ben Etim Akak’s desire and quest to see a developed Cross River State in particular, and Nigeria in general, has seen him in most times volunteer his knowledge, wealth and everything in him for the betterment of the society. He is versatile with huge coverage, exposure and experience in corporate governance.

As have been noticed about him in several fora, he believes that until Cross River State is administered like a business where the CEO of the business understands the pains in loosing and the gains in winning, Cross River State may not survive the next 10 years.

To him, having known the current level of debt, both external and internal that Cross River State is into now, there is need to search for Cross Riverians with technical minds wherever they may be to see how together they can divest the state’s interest from borrowing and concentrate more on utilizing waste water resources through the state’s bodies of water and take advantage of the fact that it is a border State.

Also, he is worried that while other border States like Lagos, Ogun and some others are having thriving economies that have created Jobs for the unemployed in those states, the Mfum border is dormant.

Again, Engr. Ben Akak has faith in collaborative development of Cross River State where everyone one and idea matters. He trusts that job employment, sound education through the provision of basic and improved teaching tools in schools, a systematic shift to mechanized Agriculture for improved food production and urgent basic infrastructural development is what Cross River needs to reduce crime and insecurity in the State.

At the heart of his strategy for development is wealth creation. He contemplates that government if handled with the right attitude and purposeful leadership will perform optimally. Thus, his development narratives is premised on the tenets that an efficient government is possible and can provide an industrialized economy with full employment, price stability, high output and net export.

CROSS RIVER 2023: The Unfolding Political Equation
Governor Ben Ayade; Incumbent Governor is from is from Northern Senatorial District.

It cannot be gainsaid nor overemphasized that Industrialization is fundamental to the quest of devising a means to supporting small scale businesses in Cross River State owned by natives  and the thrive to reduce youths dependability on white Collar jobs alone, which has created the impression that Cross River State is a civil service State.

This approach, according to Akak, will enable the setting up of Cottage Industries in all the L.G.As in the State, leading to job creations for the youths and woman via skills acquisition and empowerment, thereby making them self-reliant and employers of labour. This could be captured with a greater framework that is inclusive and comprehensive.

More so, Engr. Akak relies on the deployment of agricultural revolution, the creation and merger of an industrial base to serve as catalyst for an African economic hub in Cross River State and takeoff point for the Nigerian project.

His vision is to see how Cross River State can encourage natives to go into large scale fishing business on the water ways with fishing trolls that will create multiple chain of businesses and create employment for our youths.

He cited the situation where China is currently controlling the water ways with returns in billions to their own country with no positive impact on Cross River State. He decries the situation where all business in Calabar and other cities in Cross River State are owned by outsiders.

Hence, Akak’s inclusive economic development model is a platform that seeks to reinvent government as critical site and realm in production, distribution, exchange and consumption in the economic sphere.

Undoubtedly, his governance developmentalism strategy is positioned to make government as fountain of mobilizing resource towards effective competition and building of a comparative advantage economy.

CROSS RIVER 2023: The Unfolding Political Equation
Egnr. Ben Etim Akak; 2023 Cross River State Guber hopeful is from Southern Senatorial District

Broadly, the thrust of his developmental and infrastructural model is anchored on the principle of Public – Private Partnership (PPP), with a vision to create a deliberate distribution and redistribution of projects that is inclusive, comprehensive and entrenches its core foundation on mass participation, grass-root involvement and passionate commitment.

On the one hand, his economic model is built as a bottom-up approach from the grass-root to get communities economically viable to increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and stimulate the economy.

This is a hybrid cluster of home grown community economic model that will mobilize equal opportunity for all to create an import substitution framework in conserving and generating wealth.

In doing this, as he pointed out, the community will own the process and gains of the model with the State acting as facilitator. This brand of development will only focus on developing and articulating all sectors of the economy, in order to harmonize and promote circular flow of income to significantly multiply within the economy, leaving little or no opportunity for wastages.

Technology incubation centres will be created along each sector of the economy to allow for the growth and development of the human capability to contribute enormously to their wellbeing. The financial and stabilizing fund for each sector development will be created to provide for a robust and unhindered participation of all. Mentorship programme shall be created for all incubation centres and follow up with entrepreneur build-up agenda.

2023 therefore will be another defining historical moment of political realism, of realignments and bridge building to secure a greater Cross River State for the coming generation. Today’s decisions have got far reaching implications for the future both as a people and as a state.

*Kennedy Onyegbado is a Media and Research Expert, he writes from Abuja-Nigeria (gbadoka@yahoo.com)

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Kennedy Onyegbado, and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

Bonnie And Clyde And Compensated Criminals

By William Ikhianosimhe Orbih.

 

Bonnie And Clyde And Compensated CriminalsIf you are yet to watch Bonnie and Clyde, watch it! It is a 1967 movie, so prepare to not enjoy it. The 111 minutes you will spend watching it, you will never get back. I dare you to finish it. You can’t. I couldn’t either, especially because I watched it on a very boring 4 hours flight.

Coronavirus has made flying a not so joyous experience, even if your destination is the city of the angels, known in Spanish as Los Angeles. I can’t wait to see the end of coronavirus, just as I couldn’t wait to see the end of the shooting and killings in the nearly two-hour-long movie.

Skip the first five minutes of Bonnie and Clyde; it begins with a naked Bonnie. Afterward, it is a tale of love at first sight, a love story of the most humorous order. It is not like the biblical love tale of Jacob and Rebecca, the lady Jacob worked 14 years just to marry. It is not like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, whom even death could not do apart.

It is not even like the love story of Sango and Oya, arguably the most “powerful” couple humankind has ever seen. It is the story of two individuals who lived out their love life robbing banks. Crime turns Bonnie on—the only thing that does, and crime was the only thing that filled Clyde’s mind and perhaps the reason he could never get on.

If you still don’t want to watch it despite this hype, you can simply listen to Jay-Z and Beyonce’s 2008 track 03’ Bonnie and Clyde. I am not saying that the music track summarizes the movie. At least, it accurately captures the attitude of Bonnie towards Clyde and vice versa. The last three lines of the second stanza of rap aptly summarize it:

She [Bonnie] do anything necessary for him

And I [Clyde] do anything necessary for her

So don’t let the necessary occur, yep!

The “anything necessary” Jay Z is talking about includes putting bullets in people’s chest, taking people’s money by force—aka crime. Now, the song does not accurately depict the movie because it does not pass the movie’s most important message: Crime does not pay. Criminals never get away with their crimes.

Often, they die violently in the hands of law enforcement; most times, they are apprehended and tucked away for good. As Lucky Dube sang in his evergreen song “Prisoner,” “crime does not pay.” Crime never pays! It did not pay for Bonnie and Clyde. For all their romance, they died terrible deaths in the hands of law enforcement.

Bonnie And Clyde And Compensated Criminals
Wlliam Ikhianosimhe Orbih at the exact spot Bonnie and Clyde were apprehended by Jackie Chan

There are some special crops of criminals that, however, often get away with their crimes. Powerful people, in general, often get away with their misdemeanors. Armed with a wad of cash, that is the purchasing power to buy even the law to their favor, they hardly ever get to pay for their crimes.

This is the major reason it is difficult to convince many people that the term “lawyer” is not synonymous with the term “liar” or that the learned profession cares about justice at all. Chrisvic Peters, my learned sweetheart has been trying unsuccessfully to convince me otherwise. Try harder babe!

The real thieves in Nigeria (in America and everywhere else in the world) never get the burning necklace. It is the petty thieves in Oshodi and Aba market. I am talking about politicians and top-level civil servants, and other people in charge of public funds. Recently, another category of criminals has joined the list.

This special crop of criminals do not just escape death and imprisonment; they come away with compensation. I am talking about criminals recently compensated with taxpayers’ money to the tune of 800 million naira.

I am talking about terrorists being begged to come to the negotiation table of the Federal Government of Nigeria. I am talking about killer headsmen having government officials plead their cause and justify their evil.

I am talking about kidnappers being urged to repent with the promise of forgiveness, rehabilitation, and compensation. I am talking about repented Boko Haram terrorists given juicy scholarships by the same Nigerian government that cannot keep public universities open all year round.

Compensating is not always a bad thing, given the reality of structural injustice and the fact that most criminals are perpetrators of crime only because they were first victims of crimes themselves. The problem is how the Nigerian government is going about it.

So far, the government has not been able to prove that they are sincere and not nepotic. The way the government is treating this special crop of criminals in Nigeria is disheartening. Many young people are beginning to wonder if crime pays after all.

There is enough hardship to turn virtually every young man and woman in Nigeria into Bonnies and Clydes. Many are held back by the conviction that Dube is right when he said crime does not pay. Only God can tell what will become of our polity when more and more young people begin to think that perhaps Dube was wrong and crime pays after all!

May God help us all.


 

Inter-Agency Partnership Delivers Jobs

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

I was awoken by 2 am today by continuous calls that were totally unexpected. I struggled to pick it up and the caller on the other end turned out to be one of my Cousins. Well, the short and tall of all of the calls was for a message to be passed on to me that he has only just graduated and finished his service year and now in a mad search for employment in the formal sector of the economy.

I expressed my solidarity with him and informed him that I will put my ears to the ground to know and communicate to him whenever  any of the agencies of government is doing recruitment of staff.

But deep down inside of me, knowing how Abuja works in the last two decades whereby employments are shrouded in secrecy and often characterized by the disturbing phenomenon of fake job sellers who dupe unsuspecting members of the public, I warned my Cousin not to pay anybody for any employment slot.

Well, I went back to bed but could not sleep throughout the night as my mind wandered from one point to the other on how best Nigeria can confront the monstrous development challenge of Youth unemployment which is a grave threat to National Security.

From my introspection and reflection, I came up with the conclusion that Nigeria is not lacking in the institutional  platforms that are mandated to revolutionize, capacitate and rescue  our Youths from despondency and joblessness to gainful employments.

Nigeria’s Institutional Platforms such as the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), the National Youths Service Corp (NYSC), the National Directorate of employment and the different state’s Ministries of Youth and sports development are amongst some of the well packaged agencies as well as the youths and sports ministry at the centre.

What is lacking however in some of them, not all, is the will power, the energy to do what they are set up to do as to reduce the menace of youths joblessness. NDE particularly has failed to deliver.

Right away, I can give a high marks to the Sir Joe Ari- led Industrial Training Fund and the Brigadier General Ibrahim Shuiabu- led NYSC for bringing about innovative ideas on how best to give skills of a life time to Young stars.

Additionally, the NYSC has also started doing what I think is practicable panacea to youths unemployment by going from one relevant agency to the other to brainstorm, synergize and to work out partnerships on how they can cross breed and deliver innovative ideas on jobs for the benefits of young Nigerians.

So, I believe that the NYSC, the ITF and the Ministry of Sports should broaden the scope of consultations and partnerships and practicalize the deployment of skills and sports and avenues and means/ways and strategies to economically empower millions of Nigerian Youths.

I read a good piece written by Kevin Johnston on the importance of skills acquisition and I think I have three take aways from the points he articulated. I will list them out before proceeding.

He said as follows: “You will find that you often do not have all the information you would like in order to make decisions. It is important to acquire the skill of being decisive even when you are taking a risk you cannot fully evaluate.

“Sometimes making any decision is better than making no decision. You can learn to embrace the skill of making decisions in uncertain situations and greatly improve your ability to lead; being a successful entrepreneur involves having a creative passion to establish the business that is right for you.

“Using creative thinking and implementing novel ideas can help you embark on a successful business venture; and having the knack for entrepreneurship involves possessing the determination and commitment to run your own business.

“An entrepreneur has organizational, marketing, sales and finance skills as well. Although some business owners have a natural talent for entrepreneurship, completing business courses can help you develop these skills”. I think these are profound statements of facts loaded with beneficial ideas.

Now let us examine how working together, these agencies I mentioned can achieve more for our young people. It is true as told by some experts that some research suggests that being involved in sport can equip young people with specific ‘core’ and ‘soft’ skills that may raise their level of employability.

‘Core’ skills include those that are directly associated with coaching and sport management. ‘Soft’ skills include the skills and values that are learned through sport, such as: cooperation, leadership, respect for others, knowing how to win and lose, knowing how to manage competition, etc.

“However, it is advised to exercise caution when taking this view of sport’s contribution to economic development through job skills development because employment opportunities must exist for these skills to be relevant and of practical use.

“Research shows that there is a need to identify new jobs associated with sport and to conduct an inventory of all job categories in developing countries that can use sports skills or those derived from sport.”

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has highlighted the position of sports institutions as lying outside the tripartite structure of actors with whom the ILO usually works (governments, employers and workers) and therefore calls for the creation and development of joint projects and partnerships.

 

“For skills-building in sport for employment, the ILO has suggested that classifications of sport and sport-related economic activities opportunities be carried out in African countries, considering that so few of them have been documented in this region.

“This would allow for a better understanding of the present situation of the sport sector and to uncover any potential employment opportunities and skills that young people may find useful in the sport sector in Africa”. (sportandev.org).

On their own, the NYSC has introduced the best practical approach to create jobs for young people through its skill acquisition initiative. The Guardian reported the aforementioned recently.

As a fact, UNEMPLOYMENT remains one of the most critical problems bedeviling Nigeria today, despite being endowed with abundance human and material resources.

Indeed, years of unbridled corruption, mismanagement and sheer waste have hindered economic growth in the country.

Consequently, the nation’s resources have been left under-utilised leading to unemployment and abject poverty, the twin evils, which experts believe may scuttle the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in the country.

According to a recent World Bank statistics, youth unemployment rate is 38 percent, but realistically, 80 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed, with secondary school graduates mostly found among unemployed rural population accounting for about half of this figure, while university and polytechnic graduates make up the rest.

More worrisome is the fact that the nation’s tertiary institutions continue to churn out more than 150,000 graduates yearly, while available jobs remain inadequate to keep pace with the growing numbers of jobseekers.

Successive governments had introduced different developmental initiative to address the problem of youth unemployment in the country. However, these efforts have made little or no impact considering the enormity of the problem. Most of the initiatives fall short in terms of scope and scale.

Today, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is probably the only government institution that has presence (infrastructure and personnel) in all the 774 local government Areas (LGAs) of the country, putting it in a position to be reckoned with, in ensuring youth empowerment, so reports The Guardian.

Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier-General Ibrahim Shuaibu in a reaction to the growing number of unemployed youths in the country has called for more practical solutions to address the situation.

The Guardian recalled that in March 2012, the NYSC leadership introduced skill acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes into the orientation course content, in order to raise an army of entrepreneurs that will drive the economy and not job seekers that will trudge the streets in search of scarcely available jobs.

To institutionalize this, the Federal Government raised the number of departments in the NYSC from seven to eleven with Department of Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) as one of the new departments.

Inter-Agency Partnership Delivers Jobs
Emmanuel Onwuibiko

The introduction of SAED into the NYSC scheme had helped many fresh graduates to be self-reliant, creating employment opportunities instead of searching for non-existent jobs.

The NYSC Director of SAED, Mrs. Mary Dan-Abia, in an interview with The Guardian in Abuja recently, disclosed that over 500,000 corps members had been trained under the reinvigorated Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme since its inception in 2012.

“As at the end of 2013, we have been able to train over 410, 000 corps members on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, if I add the 2015 batch A, we will be looking at over 500,000 corps members who have been exposed to the message of acquiring skills and becoming entrepreneurs.

She said out of the total number of trained entrepreneurs, over 1,600 had become full-time entrepreneurs, managing businesses with varying degrees of success across the country.

“The figure we have given is for those who have established. The others may be doing their things quietly. For instance, we know a corps member who started making buns snack with six thousand naira, but today he has a shop, registered business, he has employed about 10 people and his business is growing.

“We also have one in Ogun state who started with juice making, today he has trucks. If one has a programme, you have to give him enough time else, he will tell you he cannot come. These are established ones. Many of them would have gotten established businesses if these bottle necks were not there. It is difficult to get the CAC registration because of the cost and it is also not easy to get the NAFDAC license.

Dan-Abia said more youths would have been trained by the scheme, if it were fully supported by the Federal Government, particularly in the training of manpower and establishment of skills centres.

According to her, the Federal Government’s support is vital, as it would also help the youths roaming the streets in search of job placements to acquire skills for self-employment.

She dismissed the insinuation that many graduates were not resourceful, stressing that some of them had displayed great entrepreneurial skills but lacked the financial support to establish themselves.

Dan-Abia noted that the management of the scheme was worried by the statistics of unemployment among graduate youths in the country.

She said the NYSC SAED programme was unique as it emphasised on imparting skills and knowledge that would make beneficiaries self-reliant and resourceful.

Dan-Abia identified lack of resource persons, poor funding and other economic factors like accessibility to loan facilities as some of the challenges facing the programme.

The director said the corps remained committed to supporting the Federal Government’s policy aimed at addressing the problem of youth unemployment.

“The NYSC, through the programme and engagement of more stakeholders, hoped to assist graduates to depend less on non-existent government employments.

“NYSC supports corps members to develop good business proposal that could be supported by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria,” she said.

The director said the NYSC was not specific about the kinds of training to give to the participants, stressing that the different areas of the economy were covered in the programme.

Dan-Abia said the NYSC would continue to contribute its quota towards building a team of vibrant and resourceful graduates that would be ready to support the task of nation building.

Speaking on the projections of the NYSC SAED in the future, she stated, “I want to see the NYSC in a position where when we finish we are not sourcing for people to come and sponsor them. I want a situation where people will be waiting for the entrepreneurs.

We had planned to have an entrepreneurship festival where we wanted to showcase those ones. The idea was that people would see them and take them on. We want to produce entrepreneurs that people will see and take.

There are some of them, when people see the products they come out with; they have people who want to sponsor them. We want to see a situation where their produce will be collected from them and exported.

“We want to see a situation where we will have skills acquisition centers where we post our corps members to go and do their training and they come out refined. We also want a situation where we have to rely on people who own skills acquisition centers and then we go there to negotiate begging them to collect five thousand naira installment from corps members instead of fifty thousand full fee as long as we will send many to them for training and they will balance up the rest of the money in installments because they only earn 19, 800 therefore they won’t be able to bring out the full fifty thousand naira fee.

But if we have a skill acquisition center developed all over the country then we will know that anywhere they go to they can be assured they will be given training. In fact some of them are saying that if Federal Government wants to give them skills why do they have to pay, so a situation where they do not have to pay to acquire the skills is what we look out for.

More so, Sources at the NYSC headquarters hinted to The Guardian reporter that as part of steps towards consolidating on the achievements so far recorded, the NYSC management recently held a meeting with stakeholders with a view to fashioning out areas of support in terms of curriculum development, training, monitoring, policy advocacy and influencing, as well as funding. The stakeholders, drawn from both the public and private sectors, indicated interest in assisting the NYSC to maximise the benefits of the programme, especially through technical support.

Addressing participants at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on the NYSC skill acquisition and entrepreneurship development programme in Lagos recently, the NYSC DG, stated that a considerable reduction in youth unemployment would reduce the high rate of insecurity.

Apparently not too pleased with stampede and undue exploitation that usually characterizes job interviews, the DG assured that the crop of corps members undergoing orientation and their colleagues in service will not be job seekers, but job creators.

Lastly and by no means  the least, the Sir Joe Ari- led ITF has in the last five years, carried out diverse skills acquisition trainings for young persons to an admirable dimension. The Director General performed so excellently that he won the heart of President Muhammadu Buhari who has just reappointed him for a second term.

As captured in a news report, for the tide of insecurity to be stemmed and youths in Nigeria gainfully employment, institutions of government have to rise to the occasion and ensure the mandates of their establishments are fully actualised.

This was the view of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Richard Adebayo who spoke at the weekend in Jos, Plateau State at the commissioning of some projects at the headquarter of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF.

He said that federal government would continue to put in place policies that would support organizations whose activities have direct impact on the lives of Nigerians and make such organizations thrive.

The Minister said the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), with its mandate to train Nigerian youths on various skills acquisition, will eliminate the growing trends of unemployment in the country. According to him, “It is no longer news that a huge number of Nigerians are unemployed and in poverty, as a consequence, the country has witnessed a rise in insecurity and other social vices. In the face of the absence of white collar jobs, the only feasible alternative is for organizations like the ITF to ensure that their mandates are fully actualised.

“I want to assure that the federal government will continue to put in place policies that will ensure that organisations like the ITF whose activities have direct impact on the life of Nigerians thrives to its fullest.”

Also, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who acknowledged that the ITF has contributed in no small measure in raising the living conditions of Nigerians especially in the skills acquisition and the educational sectors, through its training and Corporate Social Responsibility, assured of his support for more citizens of the State to be empowered. Earlier, the Director General of ITF, Joseph Ari, listed the projects to be commissioned to include, a modern library complex, a central store and a block of classrooms at the ITF Staff School.

He stressed, “The modern library complex will accommodate e-learning facilities for Engineering, Arts and Humanities Social Sciences, among others. It would also house a 250 computer based test CBT capacity, as well as office accommodation for staff.

“It is our firm believe that the library will enhance the capacity of staff to perform their duties. It must be noted that for any organisation to flourish, it requires the services of a vibrant and well-furnished line, taking into cognizance our position as a learning and development agency.

“The staff of the Fund are expected to be knowledgeable and that can only be achieved through constant research which is possible with a rich modern library. In order to ensure continuous efficient and effective mandate delivery, there are several other projects in the pipeline which include the construction of a skills center in Enugu and an industrial skills training center in Gombe, construction and refurbishment of area complex in Awka, Jos, Enugu, Kaduna amongst others.”

The goal of this article is to advocate a greater synergy and partnerships between and amongst the above listed agencies of government. The group I coordinate nationally- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) will be approaching these agencies with research papers on how to deepen their conversations on partnership for employment creation for the millions of Nigerian Youths.

Also, the National Assembly needs to pragmatically improve the funding capacities of these agencies so that the goal of creating Jobs for the Youths can become realistic in a short time. This is the way out of the nation’s security nightmares.

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwanigeria.com.


 

Baba Fela And The Hyping Africa Desperately Needs

By Wlliam Ikhianosimhe Orbih.

 

Baba Fela just won—or is on the route to winning some insignificant music bs. Pardon my not wanting to have anything to do with the details. I would just say it is an induction to some Rock and Roll hall of fame, in case you don’t already know. You can google for details, that is, if you care.

I don’t. Even though I don’t honestly give a damn about what the stuff is all about, I voted. I voted for Fela—twice. By the way, I stumbled on the bs because many Nigerian celebrities tweeted about it as they canvassed for votes for Baba Fela. I voted for Baba Fela because I want him to win at all costs. Whatever it is, I want Fela to win.

Why?

I voted for him because he is African. I always want Africa to win. I wanted #Ngoziokonjoiweala Okonji Iweala to become DG, WTO. No one can question her competence. But for me, I don’t even care. I just wanted her to win the seat because she is African.

I was excited that she has. Like my esteemed senior brother and colleague,  Emmanuel O Onuma , it will be difficult to forgive those Nigerians who petitioned against her in 2015. I know many of them will run in 2023. We are waiting for them. This is not a threat.

What am I?

I am Africa’s hype-man. Check the bio in all my social media handles, this is the way I describe myself, and I am proud of it. For me, it is always Africa first, and if you like, it is Make Africa Great Again. Of course, if it has to do with music, then the Fela is most deserving.

He is one of the most influential of the past century and one of the most sampled musicians ever! So, if the criterion is music for music’s sake, Fela is top-notch. And even if it is about music for social transformation, Fela still has a bargaining chip.

His music was a mosaic of many voices. He was everything a musician can be and more. He bashed and yab. He gyrated and entertained. He was instrumentally excellent and lyrically profound. Yet, as far as my biased African self is concerned, I voted for him regardless of whether he deserves it or not. He should win it. I don’t give a damn what you all think.

Yes, Fela sang about shit, prick, and nyash. He even chauvinistically called out women who refused the convenient place society carved for them below stupid, timid men. I am no radical feminist, but I cringe whenever I listen to his track Lady.

But he also devoted adequate music time to fearlessly call out corrupt Africa leaders, especially a certain one he called ITT, and another one with a big stomach and another one with his neck as long as Ostrich. Remove the TT and replace it with BlackBerry. Think of Nigeria’s president with the biggest stomach ever and his vice, then you might have a vague clue as to the Nigerian leaders that Fela was bashing in that song.

He did not even spare religion and religious leaders. Of course, for the most part, he saw religion exactly the way Marx and Nietzsche saw it—an opium that can often keep people senselessly grounded. The Latin of the Catholic Church was a joke to Fela, especially when Nigerians mouth it; so also, the Arabic of Islam. The fact that Christians and Muslims in Nigeria go on pilgrimage and pay allegiance to some external authority in a faraway foreign land greatly nauseated Fela.

I spent the month of January listening to Fela whenever I am driving—it was a blessing of unimaginable proportion. This insignificant music bs that surfaced on Twitter trends has just afforded me the to opportunity to briefly reflect on the Fela legacy.

It is a shame that we cannot “canonize” Fela. Larger than life itself, he lacks the humility that will enable him to join any sanctimonious list without upturning and exploding it. We certainly can’t fit him in among the Catholic saints. He is not solemn enough. He married 27 women all at once. Neither can we fit him among Muslim saints. He is not sophisticated enough. Besides, he bashed both religions repeatedly in his songs.

But perhaps, we can fit him in with the biblical prophets.

Yes, we can, and we must declare him a prophet. Like Balaam, the non-Hebrew prophet in the Old Testament, Fela was a man with far-seeing eyes. He saw us suffering and smiling. He saw 49 sitting and 99 standing in our molues. He saw animals in human skin; sad, he could not see humans in animal—cow’s skins, the imperialism of cows as his Fela’s first cousin, Wole Soyinka, recently describes it.

However, what is most special about Fela, in my opinion, is the fact that he was one of Africa’s greatest hype man ever! (Sorry, it took so long to get here). He challenged European hegemony and encouraged Africa’s renaissance. He called for Africa true political independence from European neocolonialism.

He celebrated Africa’s culture and mourned Africa’s lost heritage. While I do not subscribe to a blind glorification and uncritical romanticization of Africa’s past, and while I do not agree with everything in the gospel according to Fela Anikulapo Kuti, I agree that Africa needs to be hyped more by Africans.

I would argue that this is the fastest path to Africa’s emergence. This is what makes America thick. This is why Americans would rather watch their boring NFL, even as the rest of the world is drunk on soccer. Just in case you don’t already know, in America it is hype first before substance. In any case substance abounds! America is truly great

Hyping Africa means a commitment to the project called Africa. It means celebrating Africa with every given opportunity. It means always putting Africa first—she is our spiritual mother. It means patriotism. It means not saying bad things about Mother Africa, except propelled by the zeal to right them.

Above all, it means a sincere love for Africa in spite of her many scars and blemishes. As Foluke Ifejola Adebisi puts it in her blog, “If there were no Africa, I would dream of her!” Let’s be passionate about Africa.

We must bring back the heydays of negritude, the days when Africa’s beauty was the subject of innumerable love poems and songs. There is perhaps no single poem that captures this golden age like David Diop’s “Africa my Africa.”

This poem is a literary masterpiece, a poem that has got everything. I first heard in Secondary School. It was then that I memorized it. May the Lord bless the teacher who assigned it and may the soul of David Diop rest in peace. He was 33 years old when he died in a plane crash.

But his poems, this one in particular, like well rooted tree, lives on. It is both a vision of Africa blossoming glory as well as a war song calling Africans to arms. It is a song of praise. It is also a dirge. It is everything.

Africa’s beautiful women. The strong warriors of the savannah. Glorious plains, diverse flora and fauna. Mystical past. Inglorious dents. Hopeful future. All singled out for honorable mention in a one stanza poem of 23 magical lines.

If there ever would be an official hype anthem for Africa, I am nominating this poem. And I am nominating Fela posthumously as one of Africa’s brand ambassadors. Fela should be taught in schools and pointed out as an example of what Africa men and women must become. However, when teaching him, care must be taken not to “gentlemanize” him in any way. I don’t want him turning in his grave. Him no be gentleman at all…😀

*I am writing about Baba Fela; so excuse my rawness and brutalness…even though me na gentleman 🤣

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  William Ikhianosimhe Orbih and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

Ibezim Francis Chukwuma & Ibezim Chukwuma Frank: Two Identities of One Individual

By Dan Ugwu.

 

Mr Ibezim is the fair, tall and handsome looking middle aged man from Imo North Senatorial zone who was disqualified by the Appeal Court as Senator on the basis of identity crisis. It is even difficult to call the embattled politician any name at the moment pending when he decides on the one to go with.

Mr. Ibezim was accused of making false declaration regarding his WAEC, University and NYSC certificates. The names contained in the said certificates are a mixture of FRANCIS & FRANK. The WAEC result entries even though they bear same year and registration number have different entries.

The affidavit form showing that he lost his certificate ten years ago neither has the signature of the deponent nor any police extract to show loss of document. Also, he submitted a declaration of age form purportedly declared by his elder brother Mr. Emmanuel, which was not signed.

Now, in the document attached to his affidavit before INEC, the said affidavit was now signed but this time by himself and not his senior brother. Hence, apart from suspicion of age falsification, these exhibits show that Mr Ibezim bears different names at his whims and caprices.

Ibezim was simply careless with a serious material. He may actually be the same person as his sympathisers are positing, but there is no presumption in law. While the name Francis has no notable short form, Frank is famously a shortened form for the name Frankline.

Ibezim’s carelessness in his documents exemplifies the carelessness of many of us today still. Most the new age and digital parents today doctor their children’s names and fluctuate their identities carelessly.

Some even remove their native surnames and forenames and replace them with forefound in literature works that sound sweet. A friend of mine has his name as Fabian, but he is famously known as ADON.

Any day he starts imputing that in his basic name columns, then he will be preparing himself for future affidavit. Let Ibezim be disqualified to sound a note of warning to those of us who are careless with their documents.

 


 

NED NWOKO: The Phenomenal Rise

By Emmanuel Onwubiko

 

NED NWOKO: The Phenomenal Rise
Ned Nwoko

Socrates is undeniably the father founder of ancient philosophy which was pivotal to our contemporary study of philosophy.

He was basically the phenomenal foundation of modern day philosophy and one of the earliest original thinkers that formulated the scholarly foundation for the clamour for democracy and freedom of expression.

Loved by most downtrodden Athenians desirous of lifting themselves away from the strangled hold of ignorance and poverty of ideas. But he was hated by the elites who feared that he was setting the stage for their overthrow from political power by the downtrodden most of whom has begun to lust after knowledge and philosophy.

As it were in most struggles, the ruling class usually puts to use their overwhelming control over the military might and the power of coercion to seek the decimation of their perceived enemies. And so, the elite of his time and epoch found a contrived charge to put him on trial and eventually got him executed.

The trial and execution of Socrates in the assessment of all leading scholars, shaped the trajectories that most modern societies witnessed and experience evolution. This is how Joshua Hehe on March 4th 2020 reported the events leading up to the execution of Socrates.

He wrote thus: “More than 2,400 years ago, in the birthplace of democracy, there was no such thing as freedom of speech, but one man believed there should be. He even died standing up for his rights, including that of freedom of religion, which means both the freedom to get to believe in anything and the freedom from having to believe in anything at the same time. Unfortunately for Socrates, his fellow Athenians were highly conservative, and they despised his progressive rabble-rousing”.

He wrote as well that: “At the beginning of the 4th century BCE, Socrates went on trial for moral corruption and impiety, so five hundred male-citizen jurors chosen by lot voted to convict him of the two charges. Then, consistent with common legal practice, they voted to determine his punishment and agreed to a sentence of death.

“Socrates was found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth and of not believing in the official pantheon of Athens. Granted, Socrates didn’t believe in Athena the patron deity of Athens, but rather in his own personal spirit guide. The problem was that the people were not well informed about Socrates, so they thought he may have been a sorcerer”.

Several centuries after, we are here reflecting on the rise and rise of a Nigerian Socrates who loves the youth, the down trodden and is working tirelessly to deliver quality and affordable education through the erection of first of a kind sports and science university in Idumuje Ugoboko.

Ironically, unlike Socrates of the ancient philosophy, Prince Ned Nwoko has become a social celebrity whose words of wisdom and opinion are in very high demand. His recent marriage to a highly popular and successful actress Regina shot him to greater heights publicity-wise just as millions of young female graduates are beginning to believe that one day they may as well get married to a billionaire who will love them like Ned Nwoko loves Regina Daniels.

Rather than being tried for his revolutionary ideas, Prince Ned Nwoko is loved, beloved and has become one of the most searched item of research on the World Wide Web. Although as a very prosperous philanthropist he has had one or two incidents of attempts made on his life by enemies of progress not comfortable with his phenomenal rise.

Born in December 1960, into the Nwoko royal family, Idumuje Ugboko kingdom in Aniocha North local government area, Prince Ned Nwoko received primary and secondary school education in Nigeria.

He moved on the United Kingdom got his first degree in law and history at the prestigious University of Keele, Staffordshire UK. He also attended Kings College, university of London, culminating in a post graduate class with an LLM in maritime and commercial law. Prince Ned Nwoko was subsequently called to the English bar, at Lincoln’s inn.

Prince Ned Nwoko has always had interest in aviation as one of the key sectors of the economy. Several years ago he owned a Boeing air craft for a business engagement with the British Airways. He currently owns a Private Jet Charter Company known as AirLinas Limited.

Airlinas operates daily flights within Nigeria, West Africa, Southern Africa and Europe providing affordable and quality aircraft charters to business professionals and private individuals to maximise their time efficiently.

Prince Ned ensures that Airlinas guarantees a quality service unmatched in the aviation industry. Airlinas owns a bombardier Challenger 604, 5599 and intends to add more to its fleet. Ned believes that if every sector of the economy is well functional, Nigeria will achieve a sustainable growth.

Prince Ned has placed his Idumuje ugboko homestead in the world map of tourism with the building of Mount Ned Resort in Anioma land, a wonderous tourism destination with amazing exotic architecture and rarest collection of wild life. Mount Delta is one of 21 tourist sites approved by Delta State Government for the State.

He is the founder of STARS UNIVERSITY, located at Idumuje ugboko, the first sports University in Sub Saharan Africa. The proposed University, offering courses in sports and other disciplines is expected to resume full academic activities in 2021.

Two key contributions of Ned Nwoko should interest my readers and these are his passion to sponsor the scientific researches that will lead to the emergence of the medical breakthrough towards the eradication of Malaria which remains the highest cause of deaths in Africa.

The Second passion of Prince Ned Nwoko which demands articulate appreciation is his determination to build one of the biggest universities East of the Niger in the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

His proposed university is such that for the first time will see a community being accommodated  by the founder and sponsor as one of the leading co-owners of educational faculties built from scratch to finish with funds sourced by the man who conceived the idea.

We will come to the matter of his involvement in driving the process of finding lasting cure to malaria in Africa, but first we will reflect on the university concept and the rapid progress he has made towards the actualization of this lofty dream.

The National Universities Commission has reportedly inspected the facilities and imposing structures already erected at the massive expanse of land housing the soon to be inaugurated University.

The former member of House of Representatives, Prince Ned Nwoko, had very recently reportedly  restated commitment to the establishment of Stars University at Idumuje-Ugboko, his country home in Aniocha North local government area of Delta State, saying that efforts are in top gear for the take-off of the university before the end of the year.

Prince Nwoko made the disclosure while playing host to the newly elected Chairman of the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Michael Ikeogwu along with other executives and some members of the union who paid him a courtesy visit at the prestigious Mount Prince Ned Nwoko Tourist Site, located in Idumuje-Ugboko,Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State.

Speaking during a guided tour round some tourist buildings for the proposed university Prince Nwoko was optimistic that the institution would takeoff in the next one year subject to the granting of operational license by the National University Commission, NUC.

He said already the proposed Stars University in line with NUC guidelines, has a Vice Chancellor and a working committee with a renowned Professor of medicine and Asagba of Asaba as its chairman that is working assiduously and liaising with the commission to get approval for the institution.

His words: “We have submitted all our applications to NUC. It’s a very important project….I don’t want to start a University without NUC licence. They have come here… We are discussing. But I hope that we’ll get the licence this year. It is not something we can buy with money. But we will follow the guidelines’’, he pointed out.

Impressed by the determination to attract one of the best universities to Delta State as is being done by Prince Ned Nwoko, the governor of Delta State who was a Senator just before he won the governorship seat in 2015,  Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, stated emphatically, that the millions of people from Delta state are praying and wishing Prince Ned Nwoko the blessings of the divine. The solemn occasion was during the birthday celebrations of Prince Ned Nwoko.

Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa congratulated businessman and politician, Prince Ned Nwoko, on his 60th birth anniversary. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, the governor said Nwoko, a former member of House of Representatives, contributed immensely to political evolution in Delta and the development of his Idumuje-Ugboko community in Aniocha North Local Government Area.

He lauded the former lawmaker, who re-presented Aniocha/Oshimili Constituency in the green chamber from 1999 to 2003 for his patriotic contributions to the state and country, especially with his Malaria Eradication Project in Africa.

The governor affirmed that the Nwoko had continued to make life meaningful for the downtrodden, and urged him not to rest on his oars.  The Delta State Chief executive said: “You have consistently impacted positively on the lives of people irrespective of tribe, religion, social status or political affiliation through your entrepreneurial drive.

“Your Malaria Eradication Project in Africa and the establishment of Stars University, Idumuje-Ugboko, are some of your entrepreneurial contributions to job and wealth creation for Deltans and Nigerians.

“You have continued to blaze the trail by providing and offering leadership at various strata of the society and I urge you to continue to serve your people well without relenting. You have created several jobs and provided many opportunities for our people to utilize their potential and earn a decent means of livelihood through your investments and philanthropy.

“Through your generosity and large-heartedness, you have continued to maintain a large, devoted and loyal followership that bestrode the entire Delta and Nigeria. On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate you on the occasion of your 60th birth anniversary. “It is my prayer that God will continue to grant you a life of more accomplishments,” Okowa added.

A certain commentator who was commenting on the recent endorsement of the anti- malaria campaigns launched by the Ned Nwoko Foundation, first and foremost, reminded the audience about the official position Canvassed by the World Health Organization on the health crisis occasioned by Malaria fever, mostly in Africa with nearly 1 billion human beings.

The vast social capital of Ned Nwoko is replicated in the search he has funded and is spearheading with determination, resilience and candour  for a lasting Medical solution to malaria and he has already set up a structure in form of a foundation to effectively and aggressively pursue the goal and to achieve the target within a framework of a deadline.

He (Ned Nwoko)  has put his money where his mouth is and the people and government of Nigeria have also keyed in into this noble project. After all who does not fear malaria? And as they say in local parlance, better soup na money make am.

And so the commentator aforementioned stated that according to the World Health Organisation, every two minutes, a child dies of Malaria in Africa. Government, corporate bodies and individuals have employed methods to minimize or prevent malaria especially in Nigeria.

One man, he said,  who has initiated ways of total eradication of malaria in Africa starting with Nigeria is the Billionaire and Antarctica explorer, Prince Ned Nwoko.

“He presented the Malaria Project to the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and Minister of State for Health Dr Adeleke O. Mamora and further discussed ways of collaborating with the Ministry on the Prince Ned Nwoko Malaria Eradication Project.”

Ned stressed that Environmental Sanitation, Advocacy, Malaria Vaccine Development and Fumigation of the entire country will put a permanent end to the scourge of malaria in Africa. Also in the meeting were the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Health Mr Abdulaziz Abdullahi, a Director at the National Malaria Programme (NMEP) Dr Tim Obot, Project Coordinator Prince Ned Nwoko Malaria Project, Mr Chuks Anyaduba, to mention but a few.

The Minister praised the Antarctica explorer and initiator of the Ned Nwoko Malaria Eradication Project, Prince Ned Nwoko for his resilience in pursuing this initiative and assured him that the Ministry of Health will be willing to partner with his foundation through the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP).

Dr Osagie also mandated that a technical working committee should be set up to liaise with the Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation so as to come up with a robust and formidable plan to get rid of Malaria in Nigeria. Notable in the remark of the Minister of State for Health thus: ‘for a Nigerian to start a fight of this nature to end malaria in Nigeria and Africa, it is something Africa should be proud of’.

Ned also shared his Antarctica experience with the Hon. Minister and his team as well and presented him with an album that document his exploration as the first black African to the south pole in Antarctica, raising global awareness on the scourge of malaria in Africa.

Ned Nwoko also secured the endorsement of the military establishment and that of the mouth piece of the Federal government which is the Ministry of Information.

Chairman of Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation and Billionaire Antarctica Explorer Prince Ned Nwoko was received by the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture Prof. Lai Mohammed at his office.

They had good deliberations on ways of collaborating with the Ministry of Information and Culture on the Malaria Project. Prince Ned shared the areas of focus of the Project which are: Research for safe Malaria Vaccine, Sanitation and Cleaning of the entire environment, Waste Management and Establishment of recycling plants in every local government and finally total fumigation of the length and breath of the country.

According to Ned, ‘Everyone is a stakeholder in the Malaria Project, all hands must be on deck to end Malaria in Nigeria and Africa.’

The Chairman was in company of his lovely wife and popular actress Regina Daniels as well as the Project Coordinator Mr Chukwuebuka Anyaduba.

Indeed, unlike like Socrates of the Ancient Athena, Ned Nwoko, the Socrates of our epoch is receiving accolades and his rise is not just meteoric but phenomenal.

Here is an account rendered in a very ancient book which depicts the status, stature and phenomenal rise and rise of Ned Nwoko: “During the reign of Tamerlane there began the restoration of the languages and of all the disciplines. The first to apply himself to this work was Francesco Petrarca, who opened up Libraries which had long been closed and removed the dust and filth from the good books and ancient writers.”

“Being a man of great understanding and excellent learning, he not only embellished the Italian tongue, of which he, together with his disciple Boccaccio, is revered as an exemplar and principal author, but also laudably stimulated Latin poetry and prose.

Then Giovanni of Ravenna, grammarian, who as a youth had known Petrarca as an old man, greatly advanced the progress of the Latin language, instructing and exhorting to the love of good letters many who became very learned.

Among these were Leonardo Bruni, Francesco Filelfo, Lorenzo Valla, Guarino da Verona, Poggio, Ognibene of Lonigo, Niccoló Perotti, Vittorino da Feltre, Francesco Barbaro, Pietro Paolo Vergerio, Maffeo Vegio, Leonardo Giustiniani, Gregorio and Lilio Tifernas, Antonio of Panormo, Giovanni Aurispa, Pietro Candido, Flavio Biondo.

Then Manuel Chrysoloras, a gentleman of Constantinople, a personage famous for his learning and for every virtue, was sent by the Emperor John Paleologos (Manuel II1393) to the kings of Europe to implore their aid for the rescue of Greece, which was perishing”. (The Portable Renaissance Reader Edited by James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLAUGHI IN).

These epochal and outstanding virtues showcased in this ancient book about the Rennaissanc are replicated in the man we now prefer to name the Modern day Socrates of Nigeria- Ned Nwoko.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.comwww.huriwanigeria.com.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

 

Salami And The Judicial Age Cheats

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

From a very old book, this is what a classical author stated about the dignity of man-: “A great miracle, Asclepius, is man.” But when I thought about the reason for these statements, I was not satisfied by the many remarkable qualities which were advanced as arguments by many men- that man is the intermediary between creatures, the intimate of higher beings and the king of lower beings, the interpreter of nature by the sharpness of his senses, by the questing curiosity of his reason, and by the light of his intelligence, the interval between enduring eternity and the flow of time, and, as the Persians say, the nuptial bond of the world, and by David’s testimony, a little lower than the angels.”

The author wrote poetically further: “Great indeed as these attributes are, they are not the principal ones, those, that is, which may rightfully claim the privilege of the highest admiration. For why should we not admire the angels themselves and the most blessed choirs of heaven more?

At last I seem to have understood why man is the most fortunate creature and thus worthy of all admiration, and what precisely is the place allotted to him in the universal chain, a place to be envied not only by the beasts, but also by the stars, and the intelligences beyond this world. It is an incredible and wonderful thing.

And why not? For this is the very reason why man is rightly called and considered a great miracle and a truly marvelous creature. But hear what this place is, Fathers, and courteously grant me the favour of listening with friendly ears.” (The Portal Renaissance Reader Edited by James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLAUGHI IN).”

The above poem came to mind when attempting to reflect on a profound body of revelation made by the retired head of the Nigerian Court of Appeal about the existence of age cheats in the Nigerian Judiciary and then i wondered if these wonderful attributes of man can be ascribed to the members of the Nigerian Judiciary inflicted with ethical damage and moral corruption.

As it were, this former head of an arm of the Court system, Justice Ayo Salami served the Country meritoriously and left as the President of the Court of Appeal which is considered one of the most prestigious positions any Nigerian jurist can hold in life.

He (Ayo Salami) has the public image as a no nonsense judge and as someone who says it as it is. As someone who spent over three decades in the Judiciary of Nigeria, his claims about happenings within the Nigerian Judiciary is to be taken as authoritative and far reaching.

But that is in no way equating him with the likes of the Iconic Justice Chukwudifu Oputa or even Justice Niki Tobi both of whom are considered as some of the best egg heads that the court system in Nigeria produced just as their opinions delivered in the Supreme Court are unassailable.

So I return to the discussion of Justice Ayo Salami and my main concern is the revelation he was reported to have made that some judges are in the habit of falsifying their ages even as he urged the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria not to extend the retirement age of judges to 75 as is being canvassed by some forces within the judiciary.

I must throw my support in saying that extending the retirement age to 75 will stifle the growth of our jurisprudence.

The issue of age falsification amongst judges which justice Salami alluded to is such that every citizen of Nigeria must deeply reflect on and mount pressure on the government to uncover the judges who have forged their ages and prosecute them.

If a Judge who falsifies any of his vital information is allowed to remain in service, they will invariably pollute the sanctity of the Judiciary.  This is because he who goes to equity must do so with clean hands.

I must say that although the story of age falsification is like a social menace that has been with the public and Civil service in Nigeria, but it is unthinkable to therefore read the report by a senior editor of Nation Newspaper Yusuf Ali, in which he quoted the retired Appeal Court’s President as revealing the existence of judges who ‘forged’ their ages.

The former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, on Saturday advised the Senate against increasing the retirement age of justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal from 70 years to 75 years.

He said some of the judges are not healthy and they regularly travel abroad for treatment. He also claimed that some of them forget easily in addition to memory challenges. Some of the judges, he told The Nation, do not know their actual age and have been using declaration of age affidavit.

He said the nation can fill the vacancies from a pool of qualified, experienced and healthier professionals. Salami shared his views on the proposed amendment to the 1999 Constitution to increase the age of judges at the apex court from 70 years to 75 years.

He said: “It’s understood that it’s being contemplated to raise the tenure of the Supreme Court justices and possibly those of the Court of Appeal to 75 years within the next couple of weeks. To be precise, before the end of March.

“The profession is ominously silent over it. I could remember that the same issue was brought up by the Senate during my screening for the President of the Court of Appeal which was persuaded by my reasoning.

“I contended that very few of us had birth certificates. Invariably we rely on declaration of age, which is generally inflated because they are inferred from incidences or occurrences the happening of which we were not sure of.”

He said it is dangerous and unproductive for the nation to increase the age of judges it is unsure of. He said it is dangerous and unproductive for the nation to increase the age of judges it is unsure of.

He said: “So to be increasing age which is predicated on unsure parameters could be dangerous merely because their counterparts elsewhere retire at about that age without taking into account the faulty starting point.

“The living conditions in those countries as well as their health facilities are in no manner comparable with ours.” Salami said some of the judges in the apex court are no longer strong as they used to be.

He added: “Many of them are not healthy. They regularly travel abroad for treatment, and some of them forget easily in addition to memory challenges.

“In the circumstances, some of the justices would only be there as passengers to fulfill statutory conditions without ability to make meaningful contribution. This is a condition that could easily be exploited by dishonest members of the court.

“It’s my humble opinion that the present retirement age is adequate for any sincere hardworking member of the court. It’s not only consuming but also tasking emotionally, physically and mentally.”

He said “there is a pool of qualified, experienced and healthier professionals from which vacancies created by their respective retirements can be filled.”

Salami said what should be paramount to the nation now is the output of the judges at old age. He said: “We should have in mind their output at old age. The interest of the nation and not preference of the justices should be paramount on the minds of the senators.

“The employer and not the labourer determines the duration of the contract. It’s the people who make a constitution for themselves and not an institution thereof.

He cautioned against any act of lawlessness which would make it look as if the Judiciary is out  to fashion a constitution and impose a constitution amendment on the rest of Nigerians.

“It’s in this act of lawlessness that an individual forced National Industrial Court on the rest of us. I think it’s only Executive Bill that could bring about constitutional amendment(s),” he said.

I beg to differ fundamentally with the diplomatic claim that the judges who forged their ages do it out of ignorance. This is because ignorance is not an excuse for lawlessness.

In the crusade to clean up the Augean stable in the Judiciary, the need to conduct detailed forensic investigations into the phenomenon of age falsification amongst judges must be activated now much more than before.

I agree with the comprehensive view of age falsification as presented by a scholar.  “Age falsification is a disease that has eaten deep into Nigerian civil service and labour market. The Nigerian labour force is filled with senile and over aged employees.

“This continues to affect production adversely in our institutions, establishments and businesses. This paper presents an ICT approach to solving the menace of age falsification in Nigerian Civil service. A model is presented for predicting employees’ age before engagement into an establishment….”

He submits also that: “Feeble Government efforts at curbing age falsification is as follows: One of the existing efforts by government to fight age falsification is through staff auditing. Staff auditing  requires   every   staff   in   civil   service   to   present   themselves   for   interviewing   and verification.

“The exercise also includes verification of present and old certificates acquired by the employees. These exercises apart from taking place occasionally are also seen as a mock means of justifying expenditure, siphoning   funds and a mere  routine   government check. In (Emmanuel Ukekwe,UNN; Nov,2018).

“In  addition, they usually involve a cursory look at certificates especially birth certificates without a thorough check.  The   number   of  staff  to  be  verified   is   usually  too  large  and  the  time   allotted   for  the exercise is also very short.

“Another existing  attempt   at  checking age falsification is the introduction of IPPIS. The  era of grey-haired and old public officers still remaining in service, claiming not to have reached the retirement age will be over soon with the introduction of the new scheme” (Omeiza, 2015).

Borrowing from the principle of the aforementioned presentation, I must say only insignificant amount of effort is made by the National Judicial Council to fish out these bad eggs. There has to be a forensic analysis to be spearheaded by an independent commission to fish out these age cheats in the Nigerian Judiciary immediately.

Recently, the duo of Justice Abdulkareem Babatunde Abdulrasaq of the Osun State High Court and the Grand Kadi of Yobe State Grand Kadi Shu’aibu A. Talba, were recommended for retirement with immediate effect by the National Judicial Council (NJC), Dec 2020.

The official press release said the NJC was actually exercising its disciplinary powers under the Constitution, just as it was disclosed that the NJC has suspended both judicial officers from office pending the approval of the recommendation of their compulsory retirements by the governors in their respective states.

The Council took the decision at its 93rd virtual meeting on December 16, 2020, during which it rejected 18 petitions against 14 judges and equally recommended the appointment of 69 more.

This tepid measure by NJC does not go deep enough as there are thousands of other age cheats embedded in the Judiciary who may be protected by the powers that be because politicians can do just anything to protect principalities who engineer the manipulation of election results for them including judges who are the sellers of justice from election tribunals to the highest bidders.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.comwww.huriwanigeria.com.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

Will Joe Biden Fight Boko Haram?

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

The number 46th President of the world’s super- power – the Unites States of America, Mr. Joe Biden of the Democratic Party has only just practically inaugurated his government’s foreign relations’ orientation with a landmark speech in which he announced the return of his country to a multilateral world away from Donald Trump’s America first ideology. He told the World that he will “narrowly focus on our mission on AL-Qaeda and ISIS”.

It is the firm belief of Mr. Biden that in the last four years of the administration of the number 45th President of the United States of America, the Republican billionaire President; Mr. Donald John Trump, the United States of America abdicated her global leadership role, and burnt many friendly bridges that hitherto existed with America’s traditional allies in Western Europe and beyond.

Of momentous interest to me from his speech is the pledge to re-establish the United States’ positive international role as a constructive force against global terrorism just as the administration of Joe Biden appears increasingly poised as reflecting the zeal and drive to advance the cause of democracy all across the World.

I will make a quick detour to look at what a professor of philosophy clearly stated that represents the essence of government in which case he highlighted the social contract role of government to safeguard lives and property of the citizens. Asking the question, what is the government for, this distinguished scholar wrote the following:

“James Madison, George Mason, and others assembled in Williamsburg in the spring of 1776 to begin drafting a constitution. The preamble to it said: Government is or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community.”

Will Joe Biden Fight Boko Haram?
Joe Biden

He wrote also that: “Of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and that when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal,”(The Good State: On the Principles of Democracy”, by Professor A.C. Grayling).

Back to our major point of view which is on the foreign policy blueprints unveiled by President Joe Biden in which he spoke to the issue of the place of the United States of America in the counter terror war around the globe.

He (Joe Biden) vowed to rebuild alliances because according to him, his assumption of office signifies that “America is back” in foreign policy.

CBS News reported that President Biden sought to reassert the United States as a world leader and boost morale among the ranks of the State Department in his inaugural foreign policy speech as president Thursday, vowing “America is back.”

He also announced his administration would be reversing some plans from the Trump administration.

“I will have your back,” Mr. Biden said during his address at the State Department. “This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you. We want a rigorous debate that brings all perspectives, that makes room for dissent. That’s how we’ll get the best possible policy outcomes. So with your help, the United States will again lead not just by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.”

The leading media in the USA also reported that Mr. Biden announced Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is launching a global force posture review, during which there will be a freeze on the planned withdrawal of troops from Germany announced by the Trump administration. He also said there will be an end to American support for offensive operations in Yemen, including arms sales.

Both initiatives were previewed by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan earlier Thursday.

The media said that the President and Vice President Kamala Harris made the short trip to the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom to speak with department staff and meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who took the reins of the State Department last week, before delivering his remarks.

Mr. Biden told State Department employees he supports them and their work, comments that stand in contrast to former President Donald Trump’s criticisms.

“We must meet the new moment of accelerating global challenges, from the pandemic to the climate crisis, to nuclear proliferation, challenging the will only to be solved by nations working together and in common,” Mr. Biden said. “We can’t do it alone. We must start with diplomacy.”

The president reflected on his conversations with America’s closest allies — Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, NATO, Japan, South Korea and Australia — which were about “re-forming the habits of cooperation and rebuilding the muscle of democratic alliances that have atrophied over the past few years of neglect and I would argue abuse. American alliances are our greatest asset.”

“The main message that I want to communicate to you all is whether you’re part of the newest class of foreign service officers or you’ve worked for decades in the civil service or foreign service, or you’re locally employed staff, you’re vital, and success to the strength of our nation depends in no small part on you,” he said.

Mr. Biden previewed his later remarks, vowing to “send a clear message to the world: America is back. America is back. Diplomacy is back. You are the center of all that I intend to do. You are the heart of it.”

I listened attentively to President Biden’s inaugural foreign policy speech to hear if West Africa means anything to his administration especially given the danger that Islamic terrorists pose to the lives and property of hundreds of millions of West Africans.

Biden made no specific mention of the Islamic terror movement in West Africa but of course his mention of the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) encapsulates the West African dimension since boko haram terrorists are allies of ISIS.

Nigeria is obviously the hot bed of Islamic terrorism since the last one decade that boko haram terrorists launched series of attacks and bumbling campaigns.

Only few days back, the French spy boss raised an alarm that the Islamic terrorists have concluded all arrangements to expand their scope of attacks to such other Nations like Benin Republic and Cote d’ Ivoire.

With this credible alert, it is therefore not out of place to hazard a guess that Biden may look into how his administration can provide technical assistance to the counter terror strategies adopted by the West African Nations like Nigeria, Niger Chad, Cameroon and Mali.

Recall that France’s top spy chief warned this week that militant jihadist groups in the Sahel are pursuing expansion into the Golf of Guinea, with a focus on Cote d’Ivoire and Benin. In a rare public appearance, Bernard Emié, head of the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) revealed intelligence purportedly showing a meeting between top al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb commanders.

“The agenda of this meeting was the preparation of a series of large scale attacks against military bases,” said Emié during a speech on Monday alongside Defence Minister Florence Parly at the d’Orléans-Bricy airbase. This is where leaders of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) devised their expansion plans for the countries of the Gulf of Guinea,” he added.

A leading French media reminds us that Cote d’Ivoire suffered an attack in 2016 when three gunmen opened fire at a beach resort in Grand-Bassam killing 19 people.

 

Will Joe Biden Fight Boko Haram?
Emmanuel Onwubiko

Benin the French media says was the scene of an attack against a police station in February 2020, and the kidnapping of two French tourists and a local guide from Pendjari National Park in May 2019.

Emié’s appearance in public, as well as presentation involving intelligence the spy agency had gathered, was somewhat rare.

He spoke of successes he said the French authorities had achieved in the Sahel, as well as in Iraq and Syria. In Mali, he referred to two main groups who pose a threat – AQIM and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

François Lecointre, France’s chief of defence staff, also spoke during Monday’s briefing, underlining the DGSE’s support to the military and Operation Barkhane, France’s anti-insurgency operation targeting Islamist fighters in the region.

www.rfi.fr reports that Sahelian countries serve as a base from which hardline groups, made up of foreign fighters, can use to plot attacks against Europe, according to the spy boss, describing several hundred combatants using motorbike and pickups.

It is a welcome development therefore that the alarm from France coincided with the foreign policy speech by Biden. From his campaign websites, we read that “Joe Biden laid out his foreign policy vision for America to restore dignified leadership at home and respected leadership on the world stage.

Arguing that our policies at home and abroad are deeply connected, Joe Biden announced that, as president, he will advance the security, prosperity, and values of the United States by taking immediate steps to renew our own democracy and alliances, protect our economic future, and once more place America at the head of the table, leading the world to address the most urgent global challenges”.

He had also pledged that in a Biden administration, America will lead by example and rally the world to meet our common challenges that no one nation can face on its own, from climate change to nuclear proliferation, from great power aggression to transnational terrorism, from cyberwarfare to mass migration.

In a speech at The Graduate Center at CUNY in New York, Joe Biden laid out his blueprint to repair the damage allegedly wrought by President Trump and chart a fundamentally different course for American foreign policy for the world as we find it today—and as we anticipate it will be tomorrow. Biden will continue to build on this vision over the course of the campaign.

Nigeria and West Africa need to escalate the war on terror with determination and commitments and hope that the Joe Biden’s administration will provide the needed leadership in the global war on terror. Sadly,  the practice of releasing Boko haram terrorists back into the society after they are caught by the Army needs to stop.

Biden should ask President Muhammadu Buhari the hard question of why the government has yet to arrest the sponsors of terrorists in Nigeria and how come the Central bank of Nigeria could crack down on sponsors of peaceful protests against police excessive deployment of force and brutality otherwise known as ENDSARS protests but has not shut down the banking accounts of sponsors of Boko haram terrorists and other armed non state actors.

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.comwww.huriwanigeria.com.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


CORRUPTION: When The ‘Exorcist’ Requires Exorcism

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

Exorcism in the Holy Roman Catholic church is the spiritual exercise of driving away the evil spirits from a faithful possessed by the demons.

If you are a person of faith, then you must believe that good and evil do exists and the devil is that which originates evil. However, exorcism is not very popular because of how complex and dangerous it is.

Therefore, if someone who is designated as the exorcist now becomes possessed and requires exorcism to be liberated, you can then begin to imagine that dramatic scenario.

It is therefore in the above context that I intend to discuss the current President Muhammadu Buhari’s odyssey with the fight against corruption which the President has made heavy weather of embarking upon since he assumed office.

Five years and half down the line; it has become increasingly unambiguous and as constant as the Northern Star that the same government that claims to be fighting corruption has become deeply immersed in the ocean of corruption.

My observation was exactly what a reporter with the Voice of America News Channel anticipated when on June 22nd 2015 at exactly 12: 15pm, he posted a story that President Buhari of Nigeria will definitely contend with big battles against corruption. He had thought the President had good anti-corruption fight antecedents.

Unarguably, five years  down the line, it is clear to even a Primary 1 pupil that Nigeria is contending with large scale public sector corruption which is why Nigeria despite being endowed with enormous Human and natural resources became in 2018, the poverty Capital of the World, thus dethroning India.

The population of India is obviously like 10 times bigger than Nigeria’s. So it is mathematically correct to state that corruption has become a hydra headed monster and to put it graphically, corruption amongst public office holders walks with four legs right under the nose of President Buhari who doubles as the Petroleum Minister.

Petroleum (and police and of course the judiciary) sector has definitely dominated public conversations as the most corrupt sector of the Nation’s economy.

The National Biotechnology Agency has being dogged with huge corruption leading to the arrest by Independent Corrupt Practices  and other related offences commission of the acting director general Alex Uwadiegwu Akpa over N400 million alleged theft.

The acting Chairman of the Economic and financial crimes commission Ibrahim Magu fell from grace to grass when the Federal Attorney General and minister of justice Abubakar Malami accused him of large scale corruption leading to his suspension. Magu also said the Attorney General and minister of justice Abubakar Malami is corrupt. Malami stridently denies this.

Over 6 months now the President has maintained sealed lips on this even as the suspended chairman is hibernating.  Buhari spent millions to set up a judicial panel to investigate allegations of corruption against his erstwhile anti-graft chieftain; Ibrahim Magu. But almost six months not a word about the recommendations which was leaked to the media reportedly indicting Magu of GRANDSCALE corruption which he denies.

The truth is that the public sector is so infested with corruption so much so that employment racketeering has become commonplace in government offices with civil servants bribing their superiors for juicy postings and promotions and police officers paying bribes for postings and promotions.

Transparency International has also validated the fears of most Nigerians about how dominant corruption amongst public sector officials has become. This was the outcome of the latest global ranking in which Nigeria came second as the most corrupt Nation in west Africa only after Guinea Bissau.

So, what did the voice of America reporter reported on June 22nd 2015 titled: “Big battles await President Buhari in corruption fight”?

The reporter started by stating that according to historian and author of the book Soldiers of Fortune from Buhari to Babangida, Max Siollun, the military government led by Muhammadu Buhari jailed several government ministers.

CORRUPTION: When The 'Exorcist' Requires Exorcism
Emmanuel Onwubiko

He said the politicians were accused of corruption and embezzlement of public funds while in office and the punishment was serious.

“What that did was he tracked all the politicians, the leaders of pre-civilian government inside the country and the next thing he did was all of them were arrested and detained from the president to the vice president, all the way down to senators and house of representative members and were placed on trial by military tribunals, which tried them and convicted a lot of them of corruption and corrupt enrichment and handed down quick severe sentences to the politicians,” said Siollun.

He said during the trials at the time, some Nigerians had reservations and protested how those politicians were tried because they did not appear in a regular civilian court. He said the military courts had civilian judges on them, but people still felt the tribunal and the sentences were quite draconian.

Three decades later, Muhammadu Buhari has come to power as a democratically elected president, he wrote. Those who remember his rule in ’80s hope he has the energy and zeal to fight corruption plaguing Nigerian society.

Nigeria’s previous governments have created mechanisms to fight corruption, including commissions of inquiry, stronger anti-corruption departments and prosecutions.

But the Washington DC-based non-profit Global Financial Integrity estimates more than $150 billion left the country illegally in the past decade.

A representative of the non-profit organization Every Nigerian Do Something (ENDS), Peregrino Brimah, said the president needs to work with people to deliver on his pledges.

“Buhari does not need to fight these wars,” said Brimah. “What Buhari simply needs to do is work with the people. To me, that is the greatest thing he can do is show all these youths, everybody here, that ‘I am with you and let us do this task together.”

Constitutional lawyer Manasara Kogo said Buhari will have to appoint competent people to win the war against corruption.

“The president is the one to appoint the attorney general, is the one to constitute these bodies that are meant to fight corruption including the Code of Conduct Bureau. The president is the one to appoint these people, first of all he has to think of people impeccable integrity,” Kogo stated.

Historian Siollun disagreed, saying it is not easy to win such wars when powerful people are involved.

“The type of people who will be tried for corruption will be very wealthy and very powerful,” he said. “So they have lots of money to buy and spend on the best lawyers, expensive lawyers and pile the government up in liquidations for years.

“We more likely to see is a lot about plea bargaining what I mean by that is the government doing deals with corrupt people whereby perhaps if they return corruptly acquired wealth they will get amnesty from prosecution.”

Kogo said the suspected corrupt individuals should not be allowed to buy time, court cases should be shorter. “It should be proceedings that last a period of three months, six months so that it is a clear case of going straight to the substance tandem of the issue rather than unnecessary baboons technicalities that our courts are traditionally used into,” he added.

Well, five years and some months after President Buhari made a lot of noise about fighting corruption, the summary of the crusade against corruption shows a huge absence of the political will on the part of the administration to fight the monster of corruption because of vested interests entrenched right inside the government.

Little wonder then that the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 report published by Transparency International indicates that Nigeria occupies the 149th position out of the 180 countries surveyed as well scored 25 out of 100 points.

With the current ranking, Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the sub-region. It can be recalled that in the 2019 report, Nigeria was ranked 146th out of the 180 countries surveyed, scoring 26 points out of 100 points.

As usual, the Federal government lives in denial and has already faulted the fact that the government swims in the ocean of corruption. Ironically, as we will show in this reflection, even the Chairman of ICPC under this same government accepts that there is large scale corruption under the government that appointed him. The double speak has become part of the government which is why Garba Shehu is denying the obvious.

Garba Shehu comically claimed that the Buhari administration deserves credit for diminishing corruption in the public service and will continue to vigorously support prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment activities of anti-corruption agencies.

We are currently analyzing the sources of data used in arriving at the latest Transparency International (TI) report on Corruption Perceptions Index in Nigeria since by their own admission, they don’t gather their own data.

This report is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on ground.

In the coming days, the Government’s Technical Unit on Governance Research (TUGAR) will be providing more detailed information on the sources of the TI data.

While this is being awaited, the examination carried out on their 2019 report showed that 60 percent of their data was collected from businesses and other entities with issues bordering on transparency and the ease of doing business at the ports.

Although this is a government ready to learn from mistakes and make corrections, the economy of this country, in its fullness, is bigger than the sea ports we have.

We are also not unaware of the characters behind the TI in Nigeria whose opposition to the Buhari administration is not hidden.

We have repeatedly challenged TI to provide indices and statistics of its own to justify its sensational and baseless rating on Nigeria and the fight against corruption. We expect them to come clean and desist from further rehashing of old tales.

A Naira denominated review that excludes recoveries in Dollars, Pounds, Euro shows that a sum of N1.2tn was recovered by EFCC between 2009 — 2019. N939bn of that total was recovered between 2015 – 2019 with less than N300bn recovered in the first six years.

Additionally, preventative instruments deployed by this administration such as Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) coverage expansion and the removal of 54,000 ghost workers from federal civil service saving us N200bn annually serve as evidence that perception is not reality.

Reality is based on verifiable facts and data. And any evidence-based analysis would prove that whether it is by prevention or punitive measures in recoveries and prosecution, this administration would be rising fast up these rankings rather than standing still.

Organizations should be factual in their analysis and be prepared to rely on inputs outside of sensational media reports and age-old narratives which have not been updated to reflect today’s reality in Nigeria concerning its globally-respected war on corruption.

In the existential fight against this multi-pronged malice and manifestations of corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari has avowed that he would take-no-prisoners, guided by respect for the rule of law.

We invite Nigerians to stand with an administration that has done so much on asset recovery, prosecution, legislation, political will and leadership by example in the fight against corruption.

Equally, we urge our friends in the media, development partners and the civil society organizations to continue to support efforts to strengthen accountability, transparency, ethical values and integrity in Nigeria’s public sector.

President Buhari has put his hand to the plough and will not relent in working with those passionate about the welfare, stability and prosperity of future generations to come in Nigeria., Garba Shehu concluded.

But nobody believes Garba Shehu and sadly even himself does not believe his incongruity if I’m not mistaken. The pathetic effort by President Buhari to deny the obvious fact of huge scale corruption  concerning the large scale corruption under his administration can be faulted with many empirical evidences but I will cite just three.

The first is that the petroleum sector which he Presides over as minister is rated as the most corrupt even as the NNPC has become a cesspool of corruption with the illogical claim of spending billions of public fund to maintain refineries that are not productive and then to announce that it will be seeking a $1 billion USD loan to fund the turn-around – maintenance of these same near moribund refineries. The ministry of humanitarian affairs is another bastion of corruption.

This is the summary of the unbelievable manner that NNPC commits corruption of the unfathomable dimension. The newspapers report that despite processing no crude oil in June this year, Nigeria’s three refineries still cost the country N10.23 billion in expenses, report published by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Thursday has shown.

The NNPC says the three refineries, located in Warri, Port-Harcourt and Kaduna, processed no crude because of the rehabilitation works being carried out on them.

The Port-Harcourt Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (PHRC) has the capacity of producing 210,000 barrels per day, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (KRPC) can produce 110,000 barrels per day while the Warri Refining Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC) has a 125,000 barrels per day production capacity.

“In June 2020, the corporation’s three refineries processed no crude and combined yield efficiency is 0.00% owing largely to on-going rehabilitation works at the refineries.

“There was no associated crude plus freight cost for the three refineries since there was no production but operational expenses amounted to ₦10.27 billion. This resulted in an operating deficit of ₦10.23 billion by the refineries, according to the report.

In an analysis breakdown, Warri Refining Petrochemical Company Limited recorded an operating deficit of N2.68 billion, Port-Harcourt Refining Petrochemical Company Limited recorded an operating deficit of N2.76 billion while Kaduna Refining Petrochemical Company Limited recorded the highest operating deficit of N4.79 billion.

The declining operational performance which the group said is “attributable to the ongoing revamping of the refineries are expected to further enhance capacity utilization once completed.”

And then the senate recently uncovered how the ministry, which is headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, spent N14 million for biros and N46 million for letterhead papers and raised the alarm.

Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector as well as transparency and accountability advocates are disturbed over how the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, directly overseen by President Muhammadu Buhari spent a whopping N116 million on biros, papers and inks in one year. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday said the Judiciary is on top of the Nigeria Corruption Index between 2018 and 2020.

It claimed that about N9, 457,650,000.00 (N9.457 billion) was offered and paid as bribe by lawyers. Six female judges, according to the agency, reported that they were offered N3, 307,444,000.00 (N3.307billion) and five male judges reported N392, 220,000(N392.2million).

The anti-corruption commission said the cases of outright demand and offer of bribes were “mostly linked to election matters.”

These details are contained in a report: “Nigeria Corruption Index: Report of a pilot survey”, which was made available on Tuesday by the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN) in Abuja.

The survey was carried out by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, the intellectual arm of the ICPC.

Owasanoye said the Nigeria Corruption Index(NCI) “indicates that both the public and private sectors are complicit in the high corruption levels in Nigeria.

“The survey also identifies the specific practices that are contributing to the corruption levels. This is the sort of information that stakeholders require to plan and evaluate their anti-corruption work”.

No gainsaying the fact that fighting  corruption under President Muhammadu Buhari is just like exorcism because whereas the government claims it is fighting  corruption, indeed corruption has conquered the government which is characterized by public sector corruption.

Just like in the spiritual enterprise of exorcism  which is a dying charisma because very few Priests are interested to embrace it. Fighting corruption  by a corrupt government is like forcing a possessed person to exorcise himself which is a mission impossible.

Can a demon exorcise himself?

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.comwww.huriwanigeria.com.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”



As Kidnappers Disvirgin Abuja

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

Two DISTINGUISHED professors of Politics in what is considered the best University in the World- Harvard University wrote in their new book as follows: “Although some elected demagogues take office with a blueprint for autocracy, many, such as Fujimori, do not”.

Democratic breakdown, they say, doesn’t need a blueprint. Rather as Peru’s experience suggests, it can be the result of a sequence of unanticipated events- an escalating tit- for –tat between a demagogic, norm-breaking leader and a threatened political establishment.

The process, they affirmed, often begins with words. Demagogues attack their critics in harsh and provocative terms- as enemies, as subversives and even as terrorists.

When he first ran for President, Hugo Chavez, the authors recalled vividly, described his opponents as “rancid pigs” and “squalid oligarchs”; Fujimori linked his opponents to terrorism and drug trafficking; and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attacked judges who ruled against him as “communist” Journalists also become targets Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa called the media a “grave political enemy” that “has to be defeated”.

“Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused journalists of propagating “terrorism”. These attacks can be consequential: If the public comes to share the view that opponents are linked to terrorism and the media are spreading lies, it becomes easier to justify taking actions against them.”

“The assault rarely ends there. Though observers often assure us that demagogue’s are “all talk” and that their words should not be taken too seriously, a look at demagogic leaders around the world suggest that many of them do eventually cross the line from words to action.”

This, according to these Professors, is because a demagogue’s initial rise to power tends to polarize society, creating a climate of panic, hostility, and mutual distrust.

The new leader’s threatening words often have a boomerang effect, they asserted.  If the media feel threatened, it may abandon restraint and professional standards in a desperate effort to weaken the government, says the Professors of Government.

“And the opposition may conclude that, for the good of the country, the government must be removed via extreme measures impeachment, mass project, even a coup.” (How Democracies Die, What History Reveals about our Future by Steven Livitsky & Daniel Ziblatt)”.

Obviously, these words are true of what Nigerians are going through in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari who does not take kindly to constructive criticism of the widespread violence and insecurity in Nigeria.

Whilst the government of President Muhammadu Buhari who is rarely seen but often heard through the mouths of Femi Adesina and Garba his spokesmen, refuses to introduce effective strategy to combat the crimes of kidnapping and mass killings, the same government do not take kindly to constructive criticism of the Nigerian security quagmire even from his political party.

Sadly, these attacks against patriots asking government to take steps to check the rising wave of crimes, usually emboldened criminals and kidnappers/terrorists to up their deadly game of blood cuddling violence against the Nigerian citizens.

As I write, there is no place that can be described as VIRGING LAND that is impregnable to criminals- not even the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. The Federal Capital Territory of Abuja is the seat of power and is home to virtually all the military, Para-military and policing institutions.

Abuja is also the Political Capital which signifies that the Central Law making organ of the Federation Operates from the Federal Capital Territory.

In terms of security, Abuja is hitherto known as impregnable by criminal elements not until few years back when armed terrorists bombarded some sections of the very important city of Africa’s most populated nation.

The Boko Haram terrorists invaded Abuja and successfully attacked the United Nations building somewhere around Garki just as they stormed the police headquarters using a lone bomber who detonated his weapon of mass destruction and left scores of people dead with enormous structure     and infrastructural damage.

The terrorists similarly bombed one of the busiest commercial nerve centres of Abuja in Wuse two, maiming, killing and destroying several facilities. They also bombed Thisday press in Jabi area of Abuja and a bus station in Nyanya near Abuja.

However, the current service Chiefs successfully drove these blood sucking demons out of the nation’s capital to far away North East of Nigeria.

After several successful raids to the hideouts of the Islamic terrorists in the North East of Nigeria, we have just been told that the terrorists have set their eyes towards Abuja with their movement into parts of Nasarawa state which is only few miles away from the Federal Capital Territory.

Gov. Abdulahi Sule of Nasarawa State had raised an alarm over the regrouping of dislodged Boko Haram insurgents along the Benue/Nasarawa border, seeking urgent presidential intervention in checking their dastardly activities.

Sule who frequently travels to Western nations on holidays, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.

According to him, even though the terrorists had been dislodged from Toto Local Government Area of the state, where they had camped, they have regrouped at the Nasarawa/Benue border from where they are now causing havoc.

He said some of the Boko Haram elements active in Nasarawa State belonged to the Darussalam group that had been dislodged from Niger.

“I have come to see the leader of our party and the leader of the nation, Mr President to brief him about some the activities happening in the state (Nasarawa). First, especially in the area of security – that we continue to have challenges with a team of Boko Haram who were settled at the border with the FCT.

“And, we thank the security forces that they had been able to dislodge them. But, now they have gone back and gathered at our border with Benue, and they are causing a lot of havoc.

“Therefore, it was an opportunity as Mr. President wanted to know. So I briefed him and I strongly believe, just like the decision was taken last time to take care of this, and another decision would be taken to do this,’’ he said.

Sule revealed that he also updated the president on other socio-economic issues including the possible federal government take-over of the construction work on Jitata road. The road serves as an alternative route from the state to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He expressed the hope that the road when completed would open up the area for development as well as reduce traffic jams being experienced along the main Abuja – Keffi – Lafia road. Some armed men believed to be kidnappers only few days back raided Pmagbe Layout in Ushafa, Abuja, abducting 3 persons.

The community located around Usuma Dam was thrown into panic when the armed men numbering over 10 stormed the community around 6.30pm, shooting sporadically in what appeared like a total raid. Usuma Dam supplies water to FCT residents.

An Eyewitness told a respected online newspaper- DAILY POST that the Dam gate has recently become notorious for criminal activities following a high level of movements by cultists and other criminal elements around the dam, deep inside the forest and the adjoining mountains.

The witness who does not want his name in print said just recently, a car was snatched from its owner in front of the dam gate.

Narrating further on how the kidnappers successfully abducted their victims, the eyewitness said the gunmen spent about 3 hours inside the dam, strategizing on how to invade the community.

“The fishermen and other people inside the dam were held down at gunpoint until the time for their operation. I was one of those held down.

“It was after they left the dam that they fired shots sporadically while storming one of the victims’ house. They took him and walked him down the dam gate, after which they stopped an oncoming Toyota Camry and abducted a woman and her nephew.

They took them through a rocky path around the dam. The media gathered that the DPO, Bwari Police Division, CSP Biodun Makanjuola, upon receiving a distressed call, mobilized his men to the scene of the crime but the kidnappers had left before the police got to the scene. A search party was immediately conducted around the area, but the victims and the abductors could not be traced.

Ironically, whilst the incessant raids of armed kidnappers around Abuja are yet to abate because a clear lack of strategy on the part of the police and other security agencies, the order issued by the Ondo state Governor on suspected armed herdsmen masquerading as Fulani herdsmen to vacate Ondo forests should call our attention to the unresolved case of suspected invasion of armed herdsmen/kidnappers at the forest near the Ushafa dam in Abuja.

This writer reliably gathered that all the policing institutions in Abuja including the secret police otherwise known as DSS have been told to ransack the Ushafa forest to dislodge the suspected armed herdsmen who are mostly the kidnappers that invade parts of Abuja to wreak havoc.  The security forces have done nothing thereby creating the impression that these herdsmen turned kidnappers are above the law.

Is anyone therefore in doubt when the spokesman of the President attacked the Ondo state governor for seeking to clear the Ondo forests of alleged armed herdsmen who are terrorizing parts of south west as kidnappers? These are the issues the book “How Democracy Fails” has told us at the beginning of this piece.

Now here is what Ondo governor did.

The media reports that herdsmen will not be allowed to operate in Ondo State’s forest reserves without permission, the state government insisted on Wednesday.

The insistence came against the backdrop of Tuesday’s caution by the presidency against the seven-day ultimatum the state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), gave to herders to quit the forest reserves.

The presidency’s intervention stoked the controversy over the quit order as the pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), which supported the governor, clashed with the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) that opposed the decision.

Some senior lawyers have also endorsed the constitutionality of Akeredolu’s decision. In a statement in Akure on Wednesday, the state government, in a tacit repudiation of the presidency’s intervention, said no herdsman will graze on the forest reserves in the state without permission.

The state Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development, Mr. Adegboyega Adefarati, said in the statement that over 50,000 farmers have been registered to engage in various agricultural activities in the state’s forest reserves and no herder will be permitted to graze without going through the same process.

It said: “We have registered over fifty (50,000) thousands of farmers who engage in different forms of agricultural activities in Ondo State Government Forest Reserves. With this, we regulate their activities and reduce criminality as we interface daily with farmers.

“Love it or leave it; farming is farming, be it crop production or animal husbandry. If any Nigerian irrespective of his/her state of origin desires land for farming in Government Forest Reserves, he/she must apply to Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture and pay the normal fee for the required hectares of land.

“It is illegal for herdsmen to encroach on the Ondo State Government Forest Reserves without permission and graze on the farms, many of which will be destroyed.”

But as the back and forth debate about the Ondo forest occupation by armed herdsmen continued, Abuja has again being hit by kidnappers.

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers invaded Rachael’s Orphanage Home opposite UBE Junior Secondary School in Naharati, Abaji Area Council, Abuja, and abducted seven orphans, including a security guard of the home in the area.

Media learnt that three persons, which comprised of two house wives, Rukaiyyat Salihu, Suwaiba Momoh and Momoh Jomih, who reside behind the orphanage home were also abducted by the kidnappers.

The names of the kidnapped orphans were Elizabeth Andrew, Dayo Udeh, Jacob Ukpas, Melody Ijeh, Benard Itim, Issac Mathew and Laruba Emmanuel as well as the security guard of the home, Joseph Mathew.

A resident of the area who preferred anonymity, said the incident happened on Saturday around 1am when the gunmen in their large numbers with sophisticated weapons invaded the orphanage home.

He said the gunmen gained entrance through the main gate. He said the gunmen forced the gate opened and went straight into the rooms of the orphans and whisked seven of them alongside the guard at the gunpoint.

“In fact, they came in, in their large numbers heavily armed, even though they didn’t shoot as they carried out the operation quietly before they proceeded to neighbours houses,” he said.

A victim, Mohammed Nurudeen, whose wife, Rukaiyyat Salihu, was abducted by the gunmen, said he was sleeping when gunmen came and forcefully opened the door and whisked his wife away at gunpoint.

“I was sleeping when they came and threatened to shoot me if I refused to open the door for them, in which I refused until they forced the door opened and entered inside the room and whisked my wife away,” he said.

Well, since the government does not seem to be on the side of the citizens, the citizens must take lawful means to defend themselves. Mr. Jefferson Uwagieren, a lawyer based in Benin City, Edo state has written a beautiful prose on why people should opt for self-defense.

He states as follows: “The right to use force in defense of oneself or another against unjustifiable attack has existed from time immemorial. If you don’t exercise it you will suffer and you will deserve the suffering.

The rule as to the right of self-defense or right of private defense has been stated by Russell W.O (1958), Russell on Crime, published by Stevens & Son Ltd 11th Edition, Vol. 1 at page 491.

“A man is justified in resisting by force anyone who manifestly intends and endeavours by violence or surprise to commit a known felony against either his person, habitation or property. In these cases, he is not obliged to retreat, and may not merely resist the attack where he stands but may indeed pursue his adversary until the danger is ended and if in a conflict between them he happens to kill his attacker such killing is justifiable.”

Self-defense or private defense has not been given a statutory definition in Nigeria, but has to be understood in the common law context of which there are two aspects.

First, a man may in defense of liberty, person or property use such force as is necessary to obtain its object and which does not cause injury that is disproportionate to the injury sought to be prevented.

Second, a man may use so much force as is necessary in repelling an unlawful attack on his person or liberty, but may not cause grievous bodily harm or death except in defence of life or limb or permanent liberty.

In Nigeria, the right of defending one’s body or the body of any other person is codified in Section 32 (3) of the Criminal Code applicable in the Southern States of Nigeria and Section 59 of the Penal Code applicable in the Northern States of Nigeria.

Section 32(3) of the Criminal Code provides, inter alia: “A person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission if he does or omits to do the act… when the act is reasonably necessary in order to resist actual and unlawful violence threatened to him or to  another person in his presence.” 

Section 59 of the Penal Code on the other hand reads as follows: “Nothing is an offence of which is done in the lawful exercise of the right of private defense”.

It is well known, and psychologists have confirmed it, that if one is beaten/abused as a child, it is very likely that child will grow up violent. It is also likely that if our parents, brothers, sisters, are being murdered, by identifiable terrorists, we will grow up violent and seek revenge. If you beat a dog everyday, even if you own and feed it, one day when the dog has had enough, it will forget who owns or feeds it. A word is enough for the wise.

Any idiot going about arrogantly murdering today may tomorrow have their intestines used as necklaces. Those who are meant to protect and speak for us who condone and collude with the enemy may also suffer the same fate.

Those in power must stop the wanton acts of murder perpetrated daily, across the country, on innocent Nigerian citizens by terrorists who seem emboldened and empowered by inaction and financial support disguised as ransom payments.

People are not stupid and they are angry. Much patience has been displayed and much has been lost in the process. These killings must stop. Chukkol, K.S. (1989) The Laws of Crimes in Nigeria. ABU Press Limited Zaria at P. 100 says:

“This is necessary if society is not to degenerate into anarchy with everybody taking the law into his hands”.

In Akpan V. State, Adio JSCourt (as he then was) in interpreting section 286 of the Nigerian Criminal Code held as follows:

“When a person is unlawfully assaulted, and has not provoked the assault, it is lawful for him to use such force on the assailant as is reasonably necessary to make effectual defense against the assault. The force which may be used in such circumstances must not be intended, and should not be such as is likely to cause death or grievous harm.

“If the nature of the assault is such as to cause reasonable apprehension of death or grievous harm, and the person using force by way of defense believes on reasonable grounds that he cannot otherwise preserve the person defended from death or grievous harm, it is lawful for him to use any such force to the assailant as is necessary for defence even though such force may cause death or grievous harm.”

The above dictum was cited with approval by the Court of Appeal in Karimu V State, where the court ruled that before the defense of self-defense can avail an accused or can lawfully be invoked, three fundamental principles must be established, viz:

1. the defense can only be invoked against a person who is an assailant or an aggressor;

2. the person attacked or assaulted or threatened with violence by the assailant must be in actual fear or belief of reasonable apprehension of death or grievous harm;

3. the force used to repel the attack by the assailant must be proportionate to the force used in the attack.

Under section 60 of the Penal Code, it is provided that subject to restrictions contained in the code, every person has a right to defend his own body, and the body of another person against any offence affecting the human body. One of the restrictions is that “the right of private defense in no case extends to the infliction of more harm than is necessary to inflict for the purpose of defense.”

Also, under Section 65 of the Nigerian Penal Code, private defence may, in certain circumstances, extend to killing where the act being repelled is one of the following categories:

(a) an attack which causes reasonable apprehension of death or causing grievous hurt; or

(b) rape or assault with intent to gratify unnatural lust, or

(c) abduction or kidnapping

Under the Penal Code of Nigeria, express provisions are made which give an accused person a right to kill in self defence where the act repelled is either rape, assault with intent to gratify unnatural lust, abduction or kidnapping.

In construing the Nigerian Penal Code provisions on the right of private defence, the Supreme Court in Kwagshir v State held that four cardinal conditions must exist before the taking of the life of a person is justified on the plea of self defence. These are:

1. the accused must be free from fault in bringing about the encounter;

2. there must be present an impending peril to life or of great bodily harm real or so apparent as to create honest belief of an existing necessity;

3. there must be no safe or reasonable mode of escape by retreat; and

4. there must have been a necessity for taking life.

It is clear that the Authorities are unwilling, unable, uninterested. ……in stopping these murders of innocent people in our communities. The rape of our mothers, sisters and daughters. The butchering of unborn babies ripped out of the stomachs of pregnant mothers in farms and communities. The organised murders of whole communities at a time and burning down of such communities.

Defend yourself or you die.

The force used to defend must equal the force used in the murders of our families. It is unbelievable that words like these should be voiced in the 21st Century but it is where we find ourselves.

Under the common law of England, the courts have equated the defence of others with the prevention of crimes. In R V Duffy (1988) IAC 130 at page 144, it was held that a woman would be justified in using reasonable force when it was necessary to do so in defence of her sister, not because they were sisters, but because “there is a general liberty as between strangers to prevent a felony”.

My position is supported by many civilised legal systems. Even in the law relating to homicide worldwide, provocation is an acceptable defence to killing. I said at the beginning of this write up, killing is permissible. It always is. It is the circumstances that are debatable.

In Baridam v State (1994) 1 NWLR (Part 32) at page 250, the Supreme Court held that:

The onus is always on the prosecution to disprove the accused’s defence of self defence and not on the accused to establish his plea. Thus, the defence of self defence will only fail where the prosecution shows beyond reasonable doubt that what the accused did was not done by way of self defence.

We must fight. Fiercely and intelligently. The alternative is displacement, loss of lives and property, ethnic cleansing and extinction.

We cannot keep pretending that the Landlord has not become a tenant and soon to become a street dweller”, the Lawyer affirmed.

Here is what the land Use Act says meaning that the Ondo state governor was right to clear armed Fulani herdsmen from On do forests. Sections of that law states thus: ”

1. Subject to the provision  of this Act, all land comprised in the territory of each state in the Federation are hereby vested in the Governor of that state and such land shall be held in trust  and administered  for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this act .

2.(1) As from the commencement of this  Act-

a) All land in urban areas shall be under the control and management of the governor of each state; and

b) All other land shall, subject to this Act, be under the control and management of the local Government within the area of jurisdiction of which the land is situated.

(2) There shall be established in each state a body to be known as “ the Land Use and Allocation Committee” which shall have responsibility for-

(a) advising the Governor on any matter connected with the management of land to which paragraph (a) of subsection (1) above relates:

(b) advising the governor on any matter connected with the resettlement of persons affected by the revocation of rights of occupancy on the ground of overriding public interest under this Act; and

3. determining disputes as to the amount of compensation payable under this Act for improvements of land.

4.The land use and Allocation Committee shall consist of such number of persons as the Governor may determine and shall include its membership x-(a) not less than two persons possessing qualifications approved for appointment to the public service as estate surveyors or land officers and who have had such qualification for not less than five years; and

(b)        A legal practitioner

5. The Committee shall be presided over by such one of its members as may be designated by the Governor and, subject to such directions as may be given in that regard by the Governors, shall have power to regulate its proceedings.

6. There shall also be established for each Local Government a body to be known as “the Land Allocation Advisory Committee” which shall consist of such person as may be determined by the Governor acting after consultation with the Local Government and shall have responsibility for advising the Local Government on any matter connected with the management of land to which paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above relates.

7. Subject to such general conditions as may be specified in that behalf by the National Council of States, the Governor may of for the purposes of this Act by order published in the State Gazettee designate the parts of the area of the territory of the State Constituting land in an urban area. (The Land Use Act, Cases & Materials by Olakanmi & Co).”

So what’s  all this noise from Garba Shehu who is passionate about defending his ETHNIC group of Fulani even in matters that offend extant laws?

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com,

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


The Mathew Kukah We Need To Be And The Muhammadu Buhari In All Of Us

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

The Mathew Kukah We Need To Be And The Muhammadu Buhari In All Of Us
Emmanuel Onwubiko

There are three significant events or statements made or that happened within the last one week that typifies the character of most contemporary Nigerians. I mean Nigerians of significance who are in political or public offices.

I am writing about the dominant trait of a Nigerian as a political animal who is what he/she is for a different reason remotely detached from why most other members of the human race elsewhere, especially in the developed western societies, get involved in the governance of their respective political entities.

By the way, every citizen of any given political space ought to be involved one way or the other in politics because as Plato said, if the educated and the wise detest politics because they perceive it as a dirty game, then they will be governed by the dirty people. Aristotle says man by nature is a political animal.

Back to the theme of our intervention and i make haste to assert once again that this dominant trait has to do with personal or selfish aggrandizement over and above the interests of the nation state or the collective.

In other climes, where there are institutional checks and balances that are effective and unencumbered, the most basic qualification for ever seeking elective or appointive position is first and foremost to render specialized service that is selfless and enduring.  Ordinarily, in politics, as we are told by those who are schooled, the collective overrides the self.

These epochal statements or facts and/or events being referenced aforementioned, are in their order of pre-eminence and they are, the New Year Message of Pope Francis, the leader of the over two billion active Roman Catholic Church adherents.

Pope Francis who braved his personal health challenge associated with old age to admonish each  of us to evolve a functional agenda of uplifting each and everyone around us, indeed provided the much needed panacea to the substantial problems that have occasioned mass poverty, poor governance, unemployment and high crime rate in Nigeria.

I will shortly return to relay the entire body of the Holy Father’s speech which is fundamentally self-explanatory.

The second Iconic statement was the Christmas Day 2020 message read out by the eminently regarded intellectual giant in Nigeria and the catholic bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Right Reverend Mathew Hassan Kukah. 

This straight forward essay from the pulpit of one of Nigeria’s best Known crusaders for constitutional democracy was still generating needless controversy amongst the presidential circles of Muhammadu Buhari when the first ever black Nobel Prize laureate in literature; Professor Wole Soyinka made a brief remark signifying that President Muhammadu Buhari is an incompetent ruler and indeed that he is absent minded.

The Mathew Kukah We Need To Be And The Muhammadu Buhari In All Of Us
Archbishop Mathew Kukah of Sokoto Archdiocese

We will read what the Holy Father told the World and we will on our own relate the import of that powerful statement to the issues that have generated developmental crises for Nigeria over the past many years.

Pope Francis warned on Sunday against the temptation to ignore the suffering of others during the coronavirus pandemic and said that things will get better in the New Year to the extent to which the needs of the weakest and most disadvantaged are prioritized.

“We don’t know what 2021 has in store for us, but what each of us and all of us together can do is to commit ourselves a little more to take care of each other and of creation, our common home,” the pope said in his Angelus address Jan. 3.

In the live video broadcast from the Apostolic Palace, the pope said that “things will get better to the extent that, with God’s help, we work together for the common good, putting the weakest and most disadvantaged at the center.”

The pope said that there is a temptation to take care only of one’s own interests during the pandemic and “to live hedonistically, that is, seeking only to satisfy our own pleasure.”

He added: “I read something in the newspapers that saddened me greatly: in one country, I forget which, more than 40 aircraft left, to enable people to flee from the lockdown and to enjoy the holidays.”

“But those people, good people, did they not think about those who stayed at home, about the economic problems faced by many people who have been floored by the lockdown, about the sick? They thought only about taking a holiday for their own pleasure. This pained me greatly.”

Pope Francis addressed a special greeting to “those who begin the New Year with greater difficulties,” mentioning the sick and the unemployed. “I like to think that when the Lord prays to the Father for us, He does not merely speak: He makes Him see the wounds of the flesh, He makes Him see the wounds He suffered for us,” he said.

“This is Jesus: with His flesh He is the intercessor, he wanted to bear even the signs of suffering.” In a reflection on the first chapter of the Gospel of John, Pope Francis said that God became man to love us in our human frailty.

“Dear brother, dear sister, God became flesh to tell us, to tell you that He loves us … in our frailty, in your frailty; right there, where we are most ashamed, where you are most ashamed. This is bold,” he said.

“Indeed, the Gospel says that He came to dwell among us. He did not come to visit us, and then leave; He came to dwell with us, to stay with us.

The Mathew Kukah We Need To Be And The Muhammadu Buhari In All Of Us
President Muhammadu Buhari

“What, then, does He desire from us? He desires a great intimacy. He wants us to share with Him our joys and sufferings, desires and fears, hopes and sorrows, people and situations. Let us do this, with confidence: let us open our hearts to Him, let us tell Him everything.”

Pope Francis encouraged everyone to pause in silence before the nativity to “savour the tenderness of God who became near, who became flesh.” The pope also expressed his closeness to families with young children and to those who are expecting, adding “a birth is always a promise of hope.”

“May the Holy Mother of God, in whom the Word became flesh, help us to welcome Jesus, who knocks on the door of our hearts to dwell with us,” Pope Francis said.

“Without fear, let us invite Him among us, into our homes, into our families. And also … let us invite Him into our frailties. Let us invite Him, so that He may see our wounds. He will come and life will change.”

The message of the Pontiff is reflected on how the governors of almost the 36 states of Nigeria hoarded essential foods and commodities donated by CORPORATE bodies for poor Nigerians to be used during the 8 Months lockdown last year to cushion the consequences of the Covid-19 lockdown.

These privileged few who are governors, were so selfish that they kept back what belongs to the poor. The poor citizens discovered that these relief materials and essential foods were diverted by governors and some of the desperately hungry Nigerians invaded the warehouses of these diverted palliatives to help themselves with these items to save them from death and starvation.

So, as can be seen, the Holy Father’s message resonates amongst Nigerians. The next iconic lesson came on December 25th 2020 from the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Right Reverend Doctor Mathew Hassan Kukah which speaks to the self-inflicted political crisis inflicted on Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari and other political rulers.

Part of that message argued that against the backdrop of our endless woes, ours has become a nation wrapped in desolation. The prospects of a failed state stare us in the face: endless bloodletting, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and community violence, kidnappings, armed robberies etc.

Ours has become a house of horror with fear stalking our homes, highways, cities, hamlets and entire communities. The middle grounds of optimism have continued to shift and many genuinely ask, what have we done to the gods? Does Nigeria have a future? Where can we find hope? Like the Psalmist, we ask; from where shall come our help? (Ps.121:1).

Father Mathew Hassan Kukah stated however that whatever the temptations to despair, we cannot give up. When the Psalmist asked where help shall come from, he answered that it will come from the Lord.

The Mathew Kukah We Need To Be And The Muhammadu Buhari In All Of Us
Professor. Wole Soyinka

He urges Nigerians that therefore, like Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, we Priests must stand before the mercy seat of God and plead the cause of our great country (Lk. 1:8). Like Abraham, we must plead for the Lord to save our nation because we have more than ten righteous men (Gen. 18: 16ff).

Like Moses, we believe that as long as our hands are held up in prayer, the Lord will be on our side (Ex. 17:11). These are trying but life changing moments in the history of our nation. Politics and Economics alone will not resolve our problems. There is enough hate and bitterness to go around. We need to pause, reflect, pray, be honest and courageous in facing tomorrow.

Waxing Poetic, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah said: “Yes, our dreams have been aborted. Yes, our commonwealth has been stolen. Yes, our cancer of corruption has metastasized. Yes, we have been guilty of patricide, fratricide and attempted even suicide.

Yes, we are hungry, angry, thirsty and starving. Yet, we stand firmly with the unshaken belief that no matter the temptations, the world has known worst times. These may be the worst of times, but for men and women of faith, they could be the best of times. We must stand firm and resolute because, our redeemer liveth (Job 19:25).”

Writing on the sub-theme of Annus Mirabilis or Annus Horribilis?, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah says the following:

“The roads to the graveyards are busier than those to the farms. Amidst the wails and laments, I hear the congregants saying; the world is coming to an end, it has never been so bad. Yes, people are dying, but they are not dying more now than they did in recent years. It is the social media and its connectivity that has given us a sense of greater urgency and added to our seeming despair with the way things are.

The social media is value neutral. It depends on what we make of it. Its instantaneous impact is often times dizzyingly traumatic, but the other benefits more than compensate. In a way, the choices we make will help us decide whether this year is our annus mirabilis or annus horribilis.”

Further, Kukah affirmed with a reminder that when Isaac Newton, at the age of 23, made the spectacular discoveries in the areas of Calculus, Motion, Optics, and Gravitation, the year of those discoveries, 1666, was referred to as, annus mirabilis, the year of joy.

“On the other hand, in 1992, when the marriages of three of her children collapsed, Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas address referred to that year as her annus horribilis, the year of horror. As such, notwithstanding all the earth shaking impact of the Covid-19, our own individual, communal and national tragedies, it is not just a choice between annus mirabilis and annus horribilis.

At various levels, there have been grey areas of hope, flickers of light, achievement and so on. It is to these flickers of hope that we must cling tenaciously. For our son, Anthony Joshua, the loss of his title to Andy Ruis on June 1, 2019 after 25 fights without a loss, that year was his annus horribilis. When he pummeled Kubrat Pulev, this year became his annus mirabilis. Things change and, joy or sorrow, we must know that nothing lasts forever. What matters is how we handle failure.”

He, Bishop Kukah sounded profoundly philosophical when he asserted that we are in another Christmas but in a Cloud of Doom and then offered the explanation as follows: “Not unexpectedly, this Christmas is again coming against a backdrop of so much pain, sorrow and uncertainty in our land. We all seem to have become sedated and inured to pain. Tragedy has been standing as our gate keeper.

For over ten years now, at almost each Christmas, a dark pall of horror, sorrow and death has consistently hung in our horizon threatening to eclipse the promises of the joy of Christmas. Recall the bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla on Christmas day in 2011.

The Mathew Kukah We Need To Be And The Muhammadu Buhari In All Of Us
Pope Francis

In the wake of the Christmas day bombing, I issued a statement titled, An Appeal to Nigerians. In the statement which enjoyed a wide circulation, I stated: All of this should cause us to pause and ponder about the nature of the force of evil that is in our midst and appreciate the fact that contrary to popular thinking, we are not faced with a crisis or conflict between Christians and Muslims.

Rather, like the friends of Job, we need to humbly appreciate the limits of our human understanding. Terror is a product of hate, but while hate tries to divide us, terror and death should pull us together.”

Mathew Hassan Kukah is forthright and a worshipper of the God of truth and this quality manifested when he asked the key question to ascertain if Government in Nigeria has gone into Suspended Animation?:

He provided the response logically: “As our country drifts almost rudderless, we seem like people travelling without maps, without destination and with neither Captain nor Crew. Citizens have nowhere to turn to.

After he assumed power, a delegation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference had audience with President Buhari. In the course of our discussion, the President shared with us his frustration over the state of decay and rut that he had met. In frustration, I vividly recalled him saying that, from the decay and neglect, it seemed as if preceding governments had been doing nothing but just eating and going to the toilet!

Looking back, one might conclude that those were happy times because at least there was food to eat and people could go to the toilet. Now, a journey to the toilet is considered by the poor an extra luxury. Our country’s inability to feed itself is one of the most dangerous signs of state failure and a trigger to violence.”

Kukah also adumbrated on the issues of the nepotistic appointment of the current administration and stated that because Muhammadu Buhari is from a seemingly privileged background who dominate the command and control structures of the Armed forces and that is why he is getting away with too many things just as he imagined that should  the occupant of the office of President be a Christian for instance and he implement half of the divisive policies as done by Muhammadu Buhari, there could have been military change of power.

These are hard core facts. Sycophants and supporters of evil criticised Mathew Hassan Kukah and misinterpreted his message to mean a call for violent overthrow of the government.  Lai Mohammed was the arrow head of this falsehood.  Then enters the literary icon; Prof. Wole Soyinka who says he may no longer want to comment on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He told an on-line TV in a chat that went viral on Monday that “for the sake of sanity, one must imagine that the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari does not exist”.

The Nobel laureate, who was seen being interviewed onboard a train, described the new Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan standard gauge train, as marvellous and long overdue.

He told the Kaftan TV reporter that he would not like to talk about the Buhari administration because he imagined the regime doesn’t exist.

When asked whether the new train was a plus to Buhari’s regime, he said: “I don’t want to talk about Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. I think it is best for my sanity just to avoid that overall question. I can take bits and pieces of Nigeria’s present predicament but I think for one’s sense of balance, one must forget the existence of the Buhari administration.

These three messages from these prominent theologians and intellectuals have a unified message for each and every Nigerian and this message is that the best way out of the Nigerian quagmire and the self-inflicted underdevelopment, is for each of us to grow balls and evolve the Mathew Hassan Kukah’s courage to speak out against political oppression and poor governance.

The other diametrically opposed message from this is that we as a people and a nation , we do not have the luxury of time not to speak out against political vices irrespective of our impression that president Muhammadu Buhari is not in control of his administration.

The above demand to speak out always is one way of setting the Papal agenda of helping each other to overcome our National malaise.

Another salient lesson in all of the above episodes, especially for politicians, is that we need not venture into the political arena if all that we want to manifest is the Muhammadu Buhari’s disappointing political character of the self over and above the collective interests.

The least demand that Nigerians should ask from those who seek to be elected and appointed into public offices is merit, competence and commitment to render selfless services geared towards the emancipation of the silent majority of Nigerians who have been pushed into absolute poverty due to the poor political and economic policies of the Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

The suffocating social issues of nepotism, favouritism, corruption which are tearing down the fabrics of a united Nigeria are the key challenges which the trinity of the righteous made up of Pope Francis, Bishop Kukah and Professor Soyinka exemplified with their recent oral outings.

Nigerians whether big or small needs to take away these lessons and apply them in our everyday affairs both in Private and public so we can extinguish the ‘Buhari’s tendencies’ and inculcate the bold Mathew Kukah’s power of personal example and the courageous attribute to say it as it is. Christ Jesus told his disciples, let your Yes be Yes and Your NO be NO. I think Philosophers had stated it clearly that “Nothing can be and not be at the same time”.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is the Head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs @www.huriwanigeria.com; www.emmanuelonwubikocom; www.thenigerianinsidernews.com; www.huriwa@blogpot.com

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

David, The Peripatetic Politician

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

It first dropped like a bombshell when a cocktail of political gossips swirled and ballooned about freely for weeks and then dropped as newspaper speculation.

This tale by moonlight is all about the then choreographed plot by the governor of Ebonyi State; Mr. David Umahi to migrate from the People’s Democratic party (PDP), a party synonymous with the South East of Nigeria to the All Progressives Congress(APC) seen in some quarters in the South East of Nigeria as ‘Hausa/Fulani/Moslem’ party.

As these rumours where making rounds, the man himself who goes by the name Dave meaning beloved, the diminutive form of David, made strident efforts to deny the story that he plans to move to the All Progressives Congress- a party which produced President Muhammadu Buhari since 2015.

Recall that  the President MUHAMMADU BUHARI IS THE first Nigerian President who in the history of politics in Nigeria, openly stated that he will distribute national wealth during his tenure in office to zones and States according to the votes he scored during the election from those areas of the Country. This warped and contrived position offends the Nigerian Constitution because for anybody to become a President, he must score both NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE VOTES.

Notwithstanding the unambiguous provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this erstwhile military ruler behaved like he has never read the Constitution because he indeed pull through with his 95 percentage and 5 percenters in the redistribution of wealth to the citizens.

David, The Peripatetic Politician
Dave Umahi

The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is notorious for not doing anything significantly towards the infrastructures upgrade and advancement of the South East of Nigeria whereby Dave Umahi paraded about as the Chairman of the South East GOVERNORS forum.

So, the man himself at the centre of current political storms generated by his decision to jettison the party platform that gave him tickets twice to become the governor of Ebonyi State is well aware that his ill informed decision to betray the People’s Democratic party will not go down well in a lot of places in the South East of Nigeria so he decided to play the regional mind game by blaming the failure of the People’s Democratic party to zone the 2023 Presidential slot to the South East of Nigeria from where no Executive President has ever emerged since October 1st 1960 that Nigeria got political or flag independence for his ‘POLITICAL CROSSOVER NIGHT’.

I think this politician, the son of Joseph Umahi Nwaze and Margaret Umahi of Umunaga, decided to reach for the ethnic card to try to justify his late entry to the All Progressives Congress.

Unfortunately, he never thought that he has behaved through to the historicity and etymology of his name popularised by a certain Jewish Shepherd named David who like Dave Umahi later became King who was ordained by God but the Nigerian peripatetic politician Mr. David Umahi was anointed by the People’s Democratic party to assume leadership position, a party that he has betrayed to migrate into the All Progressives Congress, a political party whose leader Muhammadu Buhari openly threatened to deny the South East of Nigeria the rightful entitlements as bona fide citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

So in his nature as a peripatetic politician, he betrayed the PDP which is a party that made him acting state chairman in 2007 while he was still in political wilderness after crossing over from self-employment.

From 2009 to 2011, he served as state chairman of the party. In 2011, PDP made him the deputy governor on a ticket with then Governor Martin Elechi. In 2014, the PDP voted him as its candidate for governorship against the will of the then incumbent who had wanted the then health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu, a Professor to succeed him as governor in 2015.

By now, the PDP is regretting that error of judgment of granting her flag to Dave Umahi who has now abandoned them for a juicier personal political project in the APC which he unsuccessfully and deceptively attempted to blame on the marginalization of the South East of Nigeria by the PDP.

So, Umahi decided to embrace ethnic card to try to demonize the political party that made him a significant politician from the wilderness of  self-employment as head of an engineering firm with nothing to show.

David, The Peripatetic Politician
Chief Ellias Mbam

We will shortly read that ethnic card he played. 

But first, let us say that he also decided to behave like a masquerade who would wait for a ‘John the Baptist’ to herald his joining his newly found political family of All Progressive Congress.

So he found a willing tool. He went for the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation  and Fiscal Commission, Mr. Elias Mbam, who himself migrated from PDP that made him a Federal Cabinet minister and Chairman of the Revenue Commission before he managed to secure a second term from Muhammadu Buhari after a year that he wandered hopelessly in the wilderness of political uncertainty. Indeed his reappointment was even announced by the then acting President Yemi Osinbanjo when President Muhammadu Buhari was in a London hospital.

So Chief Elias Mbam, who prefers to be called a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi, was procured to publicly urge Gov. Dave Umahi to move ahead with his plans to defect to the APC.

Mbam, also Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), said this while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Abakaliki.

He was reacting to a meeting held between the governor and some APC stakeholders on Sunday, in Uburu, in Ohaozara Local Government Area (LGA) of the state preparatory to his defection to the party.

Mbam said that the decision was a welcome development saying that the state, as well as the South East would benefit from the defection.

He said that the South East had nothing to show for its numerous support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the return to civil rule in 1999.

Mbam said that the APC-led Federal Government has shown commitment towards developing infrastructure in the South-East, adding that it was time politicians in the zone moved to APC en-masse.

“The major stakeholders in our party met with the governor and he told us why he wanted to leave his party for the APC; part of the reasons was the need for South East to be part of the government at the centre.

“He stressed the need for the zone to collaborate with the North and that if we do that; we will be able to get what we have not been able to get since 1999.

David, The Peripatetic Politician
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu

“Since 1999, PDP has been in control in Ebonyi and other states in South East, yet the party has not found one person worthy of flying its flag and we don’t even have any hope that it would happen soon,” Mbam said.

He said that the APC led federal government does not accord much recognition to the South East, hence the need for the zone to join the ruling party in order to become relevant to the government.

He said that Ebonyi needed to join the ruling party in order to be present where major decisions were being taken.

“We want to lead a campaign where the South East will become more relevant at the centre; Umahi’s move is a commendable decision, it’s good for our state and Igbo people.

”The best way to be represented in a meeting is to be present where major decisions are taken and if Ebonyi is not present at the centre, certainly it will affect what we get from there,” he said.

The RMAFC chairman said that Umahi’s defection to APC would further strengthen the unity of the party in the state and reposition it towards capturing the governor’s seat in 2023.

After the carefully choreographed procured outcry laced with numerous half-truths and falsehoods,  to join APC by the Elias Mbam – led motley crowd of hired praise singers, the man himself who had earlier denied that he wanted to migrate away from his party to APC, confirmed the much circulated story of his defection.

And so it came to pass that the Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi said he defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) because the PDP had failed the people of the Southeast.

He said he had no regrets defecting from the party, adding that it was based on his conviction and avowed commitment to the interest of the geo-political zone.

Umahi explained that he defected because of the injustice against the Southeast by the PDP.

The governor spoke with reporters in Abakaliki, the state capital, on the controversial defection to the ruling party at the centre.

He clarified that his defection was not premised on any deal with the APC on the contentious subject matter of presidential zoning to the region in 2023.

Justifying his defection, Umahi said: “I want to clear the air that I never sought for the PDP presidential ticket and I will not.  So, whoever said that I moved to the APC because they refused to zone the ticket to me is being very mischievous.

“Even if PDP promises somebody presidential ticket, how does it work when over 8,000 delegates will be voting. And such a promise cannot happen with more than 10 or 20 people. So, people are being very mischievous about that.

“There are a lot of qualified persons from the Southeast. Some people say I was promised lots of things by the APC. There was no such discussion.  APC never promised me any position. They never promised southeast any position.

David, The Peripatetic Politician
Martin Elechi

“However, I offered this movement as a protest to injustice being done to the Southeast by the PDP. Since 1999, the Southeast have supported the PDP. At a time, the five states were all PDP. One of the founding members of the PDP was from Southeast, the late former Vice President Dr Alex Ekwueme.

“It is absurd that since 1999, going to 2023, the Southeast will never be considered to run for the presidency under the PDP. And this is my position and it will continue to be my position. It had nothing to do with me or my ambition.”

Umahi said he would continue to agitate for the interest of the Southeast in and out of office.

He said he has decided to become the sacrificial lamb that would be crucified for the interest of the zone.

The governor rejected the notion that he was driven by selfish reasons, maintaining that he was protesting the non-zoning of the presidential slot to the Southeast.

He said the PDP is yet to give reasons why the Southeast is unfit for the Presidency.

Umahi said the region is at liberty to agitate for the presidential slot, stressing that the crusade is legitimate.

However, he said despite his defection to the APC, he would not castigate the PDP, which has refused to toe the path of equity and fairness.

The governor who emphasised that he had not declared interest in the presidency said he may even quit politics in 2023.

He said his involvement in 2023 would be limited to building support for a presidential candidate of Southeast origin.

On the reaction by the PDP that it was not yet time to consider zoning, the governor said the party was being economical with the truth.

David, The Peripatetic Politician
Ken Nnamani

Umahi stressed: “In 2015, PDP had zoned the next presidential slot to the North against 2019. Then, the executive statement in Bauchi that the presidential slot is open to all parts of the country and the overtures and scheming to remove most members of the National Working Committee, these are some of the indications that the party has no intention of zoning it to the Southeast”

“The point is very simple. In 2023, I would have been in PDP between 23 and 24 years and Southeast never really  supported APC the way they are supporting PDP and in that 2023, they  would have been eight years in office. But, it would have been about 23 years going.

“I believe strongly that the will of God will come to play. But, I believe that APC is amenable to working with Southeast from  all indication. It is amenable and I also believe that until justice and equity is implanted in this  Nigeria, it is difficult for Nigeria to make progress.”

Onu, who expressed optimism at the enlargement of the APC’s coast in the Southeast, said: “We have one governor now and we are working so that by 2023, we will have five governors. We are very optimistic. We have the people and whatever problem we have, we will resolved them.”

The minister said APC should also work hard to win the senatorial by-election in Imo North Zone.

On Umahi’s defection, former Senate President Ken Nnamani said: “it is a work in progress. Our party is a moving train. We are ready to pick anybody that wants to join us. We are expecting not only governors but everybody.

“Our gate is wide open for any person who loves to move in. We are expecting more people. There are many large rooms in our party. For those who are ready to join, the train of APC is already moving.”

The PDP understandably are not happy. Already Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has accused the Ebonyi State governor of blackmailing the PDP just to fulfill his long known affinity to the APC.

I think the governor of Ebonyi State has by this betrayal of the political platform that brought him into relevance shown that he cannot be trusted and that he lacks political loyalty and stability and that indeed as a politician, he suffers from credibility deficits.

Why enjoy all those privileges from PDP only to betray them with a jaundiced explanation that does not hold water. The decision of Dave Umahi to quit his party does not represent the position of Ndigbo on PDP.

He is on a self-anointed gambit for political aggrandizement and so should be told to shut up and stop dragging South East of Nigeria along in his political adventure. What he did by moving to APC remains a big time betrayal of trust and is absolutely intolerable since nobody was driving him out of PDP but he simply displayed his true colour as a political saboteur whilst he was in PDP.

David Umahi is a peripatetic politician. I apply the word Peripatetic not in the manner that the apostles of Aristotle are called because Aristotle and his followers are highly principled but this one in Nigeria has no qualms abandoning ship and casting needless aspersions on the political party that fed him and gave him power, might and wealth.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.comwww.huriwanigeria.com.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

Effective Leadership As NYSC Camps Resume

 By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

“There will be reason they are not listening so work out what it is.” – Richard Templar; THE RULES OF PEOPLE. 

Richard Templar is the pen name of a British author who has written self-development books.  He reportedly shares his “path to success” in a series of books, in which 100 simple “ Rules” are presented.

The World’s best known online marketing application Amazon.com said Richard Templar is an astute observer of human behaviour and understands what makes the difference between those of us who effortlessly glide towards success.

As I reflect on some successful leadership qualities in display in the management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) under the current dispensation, the best intellectual hot spot to tap for some guides towards unraveling the strides made institutionally in the administration of the NYSC is therefore the qualitative thoughts of this beloved British author whose 2018 book titled “ the Rules of people” I find Fascinating in this thematic reflection on the imminent resumption of camping by hundreds of thousands of Nigerian University graduates by the National Youth Service Corp as a necessary prelude towards kick starting their year-long service to fatherland Nigeria.

My reading of the works of Richard Templar and other erudite writers on management shows that to pay attention and listen to the pulse of the people under your management is at the core of the qualitative virtues of an effective manager.

Richard Templar puts it succinctly thus: “if someone persistently doesn’t listen – or doesn’t hear what you’re saying –you need to do something different otherwise nothing will change. There will be a reason they‘re not listening, so work out what it is.

Are you undermining their authority, criticizing them, saying something they don’t want to hear, and making them look bad in front of someone else? Whatever the reason, try to accommodate it. Take a different tone, speak to them in private, plan out how to get your point across more succinctly, pick a better time. Show them why what you have to say is worth listening to.”

These indeed constitute the corpus of the ingredients needed for a sustainable and effective management of people and resources institutionally. For the purposes of our reflection, it is tangential to situate these concrete body of evidence at the doorstep of how so well and how so efficiently effective the managers of the National Youth Service Corp have carried on with their onerous task even amidst the shifting nature of the dreaded COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA.

The distinguished citizen named Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim who has a doctorate degree in education is the head of the NYSC and he has over the past few couple of months, since coming on board, manifested the abundant qualities of an effective leader of Youngsters and he uniquely showed the quality of listening when in the hit of the advent  of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the first quarter of the year he was quick to ask the participants of the NYSC scheme to leave the camps so measures are adopted to safeguard their lives.

The rapid shut down of camps by the management of NYSC in line with the directives published by the Nigerian government under the auspices of the Presidential Task Force on containment of Covid-19, remains commendable and it is indeed an excellent show of effective leadership.

Writing on the scholarly theme of efficient management versus effective leadership, Emily Rice stated the following: “In most leadership books, you are told that you need to be both in order to be successful; that you need to be both, effective and efficient. Except, when given a choice, we’re likely to choose one over the other. In definition, effective is producing the intended or expected results.”

This management guru further informed us that: “While, efficient is performing the best results in the least about of time and/or effort. In other words, being effective is doing the right things and being efficient is doing things right. Doing the right things isn’t enough anymore. Nor is just doing things right – Laura Stack.

“Therefore, if someone is expected to be both, then it’s about doing the right things, right. Although, both “lenses” encompass a different mindset. Those that align with being effective are impact-oriented, strategic, and relational.

An effective leader focuses on productivity in various layers such as motivation, teamwork, communication and objectives. They encourage innovation and creativity to reach a desired goal. Those who are efficient are task-oriented, impulsive, and project focused.”

The management expert said also thus: “An efficient manager is one who uses limited resources to get the job done in a more professional manner; they want immediate results. Efficiency avoids mistakes and likes to take repeated steps to achieve a goal.

Both efficiency and effectiveness are desirable characteristics in business. Although, one is often attainable only at the expense of the other. While some do a good job of balancing the two, others view one lens more than the other. Depending on the situation, both efficiency and effectiveness can be used, if managers and leaders work together. “

No doubt, the effective leadership of the NYSC was also instrumental to the ability of the institution to very rapidly rise to the occasion and to efficiently put internal measures in place to meet with global best practices and guidelines published by the Nigerian Centre for disease control, presidential task force on Covid -19 and the world Health Organization’s protocols towards the containment of spread of Covid-19 disease.

The media has been awash with the positive story that the management of the NYSC in consultation with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have developed these guidelines to facilitate the safe conduct of the 2020 NYSC orientation camp activities in all NYSC camps across the country.

The management has reportedly put all the necessary logistics and manpower in their proper position to effectively ensure that all Corp members are  tested for COVID-19 on arrival. Only those whose test results are negative will proceed to register in the camp.

From information generated by this writer from official channels, the following are the general measures in place: *Additional orientation camps will be provided in each State/FCT to reduce the number of participants in each camp. *This is to ensure the observance of physical distancing.

*As part of usual practice, all orientation camps will be fumigated/decontaminated before the commencement of the orientation exercise. In addition to the fumigation/decontamination of the camps, there will be enforcement of physical distancing, regular hand washing, use of face coverings and proper hygiene in all camps. There will be compulsory temperature screening at every camp entrance.

The use of face masks is compulsory for every Corp member, camp officials and visitors.

Beds in hostels will be re-arranged to allow for two-metres spacing, which will ensure physical distancing as provided for in the COVID-19 safety protocol.

Lectures will be conducted observing physical distancing and will be complemented via e-learning tools.

COVID-19 safety measures will be part of the content of the call-up letters for prospective Corp members. All Corp members are required to fill the COVID-19 testing self-reporting form before they can download their call up letters.

There will be deliberate reduction in the number of participants during each orientation exercise in order to free up spaces in the hostels and make for proper physical distancing and better ventilation.

Also, Camp officials, in addition to the corps members, shall be sensitised fully on the required measures.

There will be Infection Prevention Control reminders and communication materials prominently displayed in every part of the camp. Hand hygiene stations will be set up across strategic locations in the camp.

Assessment tools have been developed to inform baseline situation at the proposed NYSC camp sites. This will ensure adherence to safety protocols before opening of orientation camps and for entire camp duration.

Readiness assessments have been conducted across NYSC camps to ensure that all camps meet the key performance indicators (KPIs) of COVID-19 preventive measures and are ready for safe opening.

These are facts gathered from the NYSC safety protocols for NYSC Corp members just as this document is for all prospective NYSC Corp members to read and sign before resumption at camp. This should be available on the NYSC website.

To visit the NYSC COVID-19 RDT Testing Self-Reporting Form web page, prospective Corp members are asked to click on the appropriate registration buttons in the official portal of the NYSC.

Also, every Corp member will be given an appointment for resumption and they are warned to endeavour to resume camp on the day of their appointment as arrangements will not be available for those that resume earlier than scheduled.

They are to fill a self-reporting form on the dashboard and Download a code and covid-19 testing slip just as this should be presented on arrival in camp for the NCDC officials to be able to conduct your test.

After successfully meeting up these guidelines, President Buhari has therefore permitted the re-opening of NYSC camp after 8 months of closure with mandatory order that full COVID-19 protocols to be enforced in camps to protect corps members.

The Federal Government has approved the reopening of orientation camps for prospective members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Prospective corps members were sent home when camps were closed in March 2020 as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, announced on Thursday, October 15 that camps will reopen on November 18.

“The resumption of the NYSC orientation camp for prospective Youth Corpers has been approved and opens on November 10th 2020. Full COVID-19 Protocols will be enforced,” he said.

Recall that the coronavirus pandemic has swept around the world and infected over 38 million people and killed over one million globally. Nigeria has recorded over 60,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths, but infection rates have dropped over the past few weeks, even though officials are concerned that is due to the drop in testing rate.

Many sectors that were shut down in March have steadily reopened since restrictions started getting relaxed in May.

There is no mass-produced vaccine yet for the novel disease, however Pfizer/BioNTech have just announced that their COVID-19 vaccine is already tested ninety percent effective. The fact that the management of the NYSC successfully met the stringent resumption requirements for the camps to be reopened is a dramatic and constructive demonstration of remarkable leadership acumen which must be applauded.  This goes to show the effective observations of the kernel of public policy for public good.

RK SAPRU in his book: ‘Public policy: formulation, implementation and evaluation’ says the following on public policies: “It is first important to understand the concept of public’ fora discussion of public policy. We often use such terms as public interest, public sector public opinion, public health, and so on.

The starting point is that Public Policy’ has to do with those spheres which are so labeled as public’ as opposed to spheres involving the idea of private”. The concept theoretical Perspectives of public policy presupposes that there is an area or domain of life which is not private or purely individual, but held in common. Public dimension is generally referred to public ownership or control for ‘public purpose”

“The public comprises that domain of human activity which is regarded as requiring governmental intervention or common action. However there has always been a conflict between what is public and what is private.

W.F. Baber argues that the public sector has ten key differences from the private sector

i. It faces more complex and ambiguous tasks

ii. It has more problems in implementing its decisions

iii. it employs more people with a wider range of motivations

iv. it is more concerned with securing opportunities or capacities.

v. It is more concerned with compensating for market failure;

vi.  It engages in activities with greater symbolic significance,

vii. It is held to stricter standards of commitment and legality and has a greater opportunity to respond to issues of farness

viii. It must operate or appear to operate in the public interest

ix. It must maintain minimal levels of public support above that required in private industry”.

Impressed by these groundswell of preparation for the commencement of camps across Nigeria as made by the NYSC, the DIRECTOR-GENERAL, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC Chikwe hekweazu  revealed that no National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, camp will be  shut down as a result of one corps member testing positive to COVID-19.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director Press and Public Relations, NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi.

The NYSC to ensure compliance to the necessary preventive protocols to COVID-19 when the camp reopens, the prospective corp member would undergo COVID-19 test in order to ascertain their health status and in the event of a prospective corp member testing positive, other Corps members should not panic as adequate measures have been put in place in all NYSC camps to manage such case.

He commended the Director General of the NYSC, Brigadier- General Shuaibu Ibrahim, for his passion for youths, exemplified by his tenacity of purpose which facilitated the approval for the Corps to resume normal operations.

He said prospective corps members should exercise caution as coronavirus is still around. Ihekweazu said it has been a trying time for the country, but expressed challenge brought the NYSC and NCDC together to work in partnership tor the common good of the country.

He challenged the participants to be the leaders that the country needs at this critical time.

On his part, General lbrahim praised the NCDC director-general and his team for working tirelessly to safeguard the health of the nation, stating that there will be zero tolerance for risky behaviours that will compromise the health of those at the camps.

He thanked the NCDC chief executive for the donation of personal protection equipment to the NYSC, pledging to put them to good use. Ibrahim appealed to the camp participants to eschew the spreading of fake news and encouraged them to always approach the camp management for clarification on issues of interest.

Another impressive milestone worth noting is the phenomenal directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that henceforth all participants at the NYSC would be enrolled in the National Health Insurance Scheme of the Nigerian public sector.

This single most important directive by President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed salutary and should be pragmatically implemented and without doubt the management of the NYSC under the current dispensation would carry out this instruction vigorously and meticulously.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA). He blogs @www. huriwanigeria.com, www.thenigerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwa@blogspots.com. 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

How Not To Be A Governor

By Dan Ugwu.

 

Ever since he acquired power through the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo state has become the most unsettled leader in the country. His emergence as governor, which brought much opprobrium to his persona was to be a prelude to a governorship that has suffered much ignominy and intrigues.

From muffled grumbling to angry outburst, Imolites have always found one reason to critize the governor. Often times, he has appeared on the media for the wrong reasons. If there are efforts he has made to better the people, such has been received with mixed feelings.

Far from the people’s disgust, Uzodimma’s party; the APC in Imo has not allowed him to chew and swallow at same time. In the analysis of pundits, the governor seems to have launched himself into this tight corner by the division he allegedly created in the party.

Granted, the Imo APC was already led to ruins before his arrival through the quagmire starring Rochas Okorocha and Adams Oshiomhole, the major strikers of the debacle. Upon his emergence as Imo governor, Hope Uzodimma pitched tent with his CampHope; a handful of his supporters at the wake of the 2019 election.

When other APC camps in the state like the Rescue Mission, Destiny group and Uche Nwosu supporters made attempts to be adapted into the system, the governor rebuffed such fellowship and stuck to his gang. Immediately, the aggrieved elements in various shades and clothing emerged and consequently caved in to give him a good fight.

First, it was the leadership of the state party as it fluctuated between Malcolm Nlemigbo, loyal to Uzodimma and Dan Nwafor of Rochas camp. Eventually the court has ruled in favour of Dan Nwafor as the authentic leader of the party.

Secondly, the struggle for Okigwe North senatorial zone was in the picture. While Hope Uzodimma elected Frank Ibezim, the parallel group opted for Ifeanyi Ararume. At the long run, the court has ruled in favour of Ararume as the APC flag bearer in Imo North.

As it is now, the governor has lost grip of the three senatorial zones in Imo. While Rochas Okorocha takes charge of Imo West, Ararume will lead in Imo North, while the opposition party PDP is resident in Owerri zone.

Are these defeats enough? May be no. While the Philip Emeadi suit is gathering momentum at the Supreme Court, the elected LGA chairmen under Rochas are now dusting up to unlock their offices that have been under lock and key.

By the time this last group succeeds in taking over the local government structures, the governor maybe left with his aides. This will not be a joy ride especially for someone who is struggling to change an ugly narrative. Indeed, this is not how best to enjoy being a governor.

*Dan Ugwu is a Social Analyst; he writes from Owerri, Imo State

                                                  

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

The Politics Of Palliatives

 By Orbih William.

 

The word “palliative” is perhaps the most used word in Nigeria today. Before last week, or let us say before COVID 19 pandemic, many Nigerians did not even know that the word existed, talk less of what it meant. Today, it is not that many Nigerians can now define the term.

I am not even sure whether I still can. Instead, it is that palliative has found its way into the Nigerian political consciousness and popular lexicon, and it is destined to stay for a long time. Typical of Nigerians’ fun-loving and critical nature, palliative has already inspired many comedies and scholarly theories.

Someone on Twitter jokingly asked: “Is your partner showing you off? Abi you be palliative?” It has been trending ever since. The sudden discovery of palliatives in warehouses across the country has also raised concerns. Soon, conspiracy theorist shall wade into the matter. I await their creativity.

However, as we await the conspiracists, we must make do with the intelligentsias as they raise some pertinent questions trying to probe into the sudden discovery of warehouses that has become a trend these past days.

They have wondered whether if this is not a ploy by the ruling class to distract the masses from the struggle—especially the unforgivable genocide in Lekki on October 20, 2020? The morality of looting palliatives stashed away in warehouses has also been vigorously debated, and it seems the overwhelming majority are of the opinion that it is both moral as well as logical.

According to most people, the logic involved is as simple as logic can be: “Meant for the poor, carried by the poor.”  It is, however, important to also consider the politics of palliative. By this, I mean the social condition that makes palliatives an issue in the first place. This social condition is not just poverty, but what one can describe as the politicization of poverty.

The politicization of poverty refers, first of all, to the massive corruption of government officials that is chiefly responsible for the impoverishment of the majority of Nigerians. Poverty in Nigeria is neither natural nor inevitable. Nigeria is too rich to be poor. “The land is green” as T. Y Bello excellently captured it in her hit single.

According to Chinua Achebe, who describes The Trouble with Nigeria as “simply and squarely the failure of leadership,” “there is nothing wrong with Nigeria’s land or climate or water or air.” Rather, Nigeria is superabundantly blessed by God with natural resources and enviable human resources.

Poverty is not the consequence of unfertile land or unimaginative people. It is the result of a long history of looting, mismanagement, insensitivity, and utter lack of vision and purpose of the ruling class.

The Politics Of Palliatives
Orbih William

Recently, the sheer wickedness of Nigerian leaders has been added to the list. Many of us are still gaping in amazement at how many Nigerians continue to languish and perish, even amidst so much food in warehouses around them.

However, it is one thing for poverty to be widespread. It is another thing for it to be weaponized for political reasons. The politics of palliative in Nigeria can simply be defined as the weaponization of poverty by the Nigerian elites. It is simply disheartening.

This strategy did not begin in the wake of COVID 19; it is a strategy that has always been employed by the Nigerian ruling class to keep the people too poor to rise up for their rights and crushed enough to be willing to settle for dregs.

It has had different names in the past. Once, it was called amala politics, or stomach infrastructure. It was essentially a three-step process. Steal public money. Use the stolen money to buy palliatives. Use the palliatives to buy the people’s votes during elections while posing as a benefactor.

One politician even claimed that he was preparing to distribute the palliatives that were discovered and looted in his warehouse on his birthday. What stupidity and audacity. Safe for the few spates of violence involved and the unfortunate human casualties that have resulted, I think the looting of palliatives stored wickedly in warehouses is not just logical but also a welcome idea.

Not in the sense that I want the looting to continue, but in the sense that I wish that it becomes the first step to the ordinary Nigerian rejecting the evil politics of palliatives. This means rejecting vote-buying. It means realizing that leaders are not benefactors for discharging their constitutional duties; they are public servants only doing what they were elected for and are being paid handsomely to do.

Lastly and most importantly, Nigerians must reject the mindset of poverty that makes us easily susceptible to the politics of palliative. We can take the money while still voting our conscience. Our future and that of our children depend on our voting rightly.

We must also ultimately seek to rise from what Godfrey Nzamujo describes as the logic of poverty. He defines it as the “incapacity to effectively harness the opportunities before us.” Ours is a rich country.

Our land is too green not to be able to feed all of us. Nigerians are good, hardworking, and intelligent people. Resilience should also be added to this list. Nigerians are neither lazy nor clueless. Except that we have been cursed by awfully bad leaders at all levels since independence, we have no reason to be a poor country depending on aid, whether foreign or palliatives.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  Orbih William and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

Looting Of Palliative Stashed In Warehouses: Logical Or Moral?

By Orbih William.

 

JOHNNY: A Note Of Appreciation By Orbih William.
Orbih William

Let me explain why it is difficult for me to frown at the looting of warehouses. But first, let me clarify that I do not support violence in any way or form, or theft. I also do not support the wanton destruction of property or the looting of business, whether privately or publicly owned. Thus, I would not have been happy with the looting of government (or were they privately) owned warehouses, safe for what was discovered in these stores.

What did we find when he broke the doors of these warehouses opened? Palliatives meant for us; palliatives that did not get to us, palliatives that would probably never get to us. And even the tiny fraction of “us” who would have been lucky to get them would have probably only gotten them days after their expiration.

‘I understand why you are so skeptical,’ one of my best friends from secondary school told me. Like me, he is frustrated by the failure of Nigerian elites and could not blame me for not being able to trust them.

Most of us are frustrated with the lies of the elites. The Lagos State Government issued a statement claiming that the proposed or ongoing distribution was interrupted by the protests.

It is difficult to believe that. This is eight months into the pandemic, and most Nigerians are yet to get any support from their government, and you expect us to believe that these treasures stored would somehow get to them? All that most Nigerians have received have been nothing but “audio” palliatives.

We know that the Lagos State Government is lying, or at least not telling the whole truth. But this is not the only lie that they are telling. They are also talking about the palliatives being meant for other Southwestern states. This is most likely also a lie. I have seen similar videos of people invading warehouses in Osun State.

Fr Ameh Sylvanus is amazed that “the palliative items were so many that people didn’t even bother to fight over them. They had time for pictures and videos.” Like him, most people are amazed about how so much was stored in warehouses across the country while most Nigerians continue to languish in poverty and misery. Nigerian leaders are heartless, evil, wicked, and demonic. How do they sleep at night?

Looting Of Palliative Stashed In Warehouses: Logical Or Moral?

For me, the leaders’ insensitivity aside, the looting of the warehouse by the poor is quite logical—even if the morality is difficult to dissect. After all, the palliatives are ultimately meant for the poor.

If this is the case, then the poor have only taken what is rightfully theirs. The inscription on the pack clearly indicates NOT FOR SALE. So, the owners of these warehouses cannot claim to have suffered any loss.

There are perhaps a few persons who invaded these storehouses out of sheer greed. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority are certainly the poor and the needy. Thankfully, I have not heard that any storekeeper was killed or injured in the process. Thanks be to God. Rather, we saw even military men also scampering for their share.

I am tempted to see it as a sign of God fighting for the poor. I am tempted to see God directing street prophets to where their blessings are stashed away to rot. I am tempted to see God’s peace in the peaceful distribution that followed. I might be wrong, I admit. But it is definitely not out of place to remember Proverbs 11: 26: “People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.”

Interestingly, the Holy Quran also condemns the evil of hoarding while people around are suffering. “According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), somebody who hoards foods or other goods for forty days will be prohibited from entering Jannah.” (https://azislam.com/prohibition-of-hoarding-in-islam#). I’m not suggesting that either the Bible or Quran approve or encourage looting. Neither do I.

Of course, I do not imagine that our leaders who often pose as Christians and Muslims (often because it is politically expedient) care about what is written in the Bible or the Quran.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  Orbih William and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

YOUTH PROTESTS: A Call To Genuine National Renewal

By Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius Kaigama.

 

From the moment of political independence, Nigeria appeared set to attain very great political heights, social integration and economic viability. We started well, but for sixty years now, it appears Nigeria has wallowed from one crisis to another, pursued misdirected economic policies and reaped sour political fruits.

There was a time when students received pocket money from the Government; jobs were available before the completion of school. One gained admission to school based on merit and recruitment into the army, police, and other paramilitary bodies was also largely based on merit.

Those noble Nigerian political leaders who fought for our independence put the people first, and their interests were subordinated to those of the people. There was more careful planning, infrastructural development and maintenance.

Roads, even when not tarred, were maintained regularly. Even in rural areas, one went to hospital and came back with different packages of medicine. Pensioners did not have to queue up for long months. It was not paradise, but there was a country that could really be said to be the giant of Africa on the march.

Teachers, doctors, pharmacists, engineers among others, came to work in Nigeria from Asia, Europe and other African countries. The foreign exchange rate of our national currency was fantastic. The “Ghana must go” protests showed how Nigeria as a local economic power was like a magnet that attracted people from everywhere.

We thought that Nigeria was on the march to emerge as one of the greatest nations, but greed, the quest for selfish power, narrow ethnic interests and worst of all, exaggerated religious sensitivity began to polarize us.

The chasm between the north and south and Christians and Muslims became disturbingly wider. Trust, merit, patriotism, honesty and hard work, all began crumbling. The country started degenerating and sometimes appeared to be on the brink of collapse.

Since the civil war, followed by various forms of violence rooted in religious or ethnic sentiments, Nigeria has not remained the same. As a consequence of this, women and young people suffer greatly. Some young people, fed with the produce of corrupt earnings, lack role models at home and sometimes at school. Is it any wonder that in some cases even with the help of their parents and teachers some children today cheat to pass exams, while others engage in cultism, etc?

Over the years, as if by progression, life started becoming miserable. There is no safety on the roads, people everywhere complain of hunger, unable to meet basic needs. For water, you provide your borehole; for electricity you buy your generator; for security, you find your “mai gadi”, for school, you pay to enroll children in private schools; for medical care, you go to private hospitals or clinics and pay through the nose.

YOUTH PROTESTS: A Call To Genuine National RenewalMost Rv. Dr. Ignatius Kaigama; Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja[/caption
Social insurance for young people has been lacking, just as for pensioners who have worked nearly all their life in service of the country. Ex-prisoners are not well rehabilitated, teenagers are troubled by a bleak future, and youths run away from the country to travel abroad legally or illegally, in search of greener pastures.
Some of them are trafficked, while some go on voluntary prostitution, with some dying in the Sahara desert, in Libyan jails or in the Mediterranean Sea.
As a Catholic priest for almost forty years, I feel that many people prefer to see me as a social worker. Day in, day out, requests flow in for basic needs: school fees, hospital bills, food, house rent, etc. Letters, e-mails, text messages and calls received are largely about requests to meet the needs for basic survival.
Transferred from Jos to Abuja as Archbishop, my troubles have doubled. Some of my acquaintances in need from different parts of Nigeria who before now, did not text or call me, believe that I have made it “big” as the Archbishop of Abuja, and they so very kindly leave their bank account details after describing their woes and how “you are the last hope.”
Some feel that in my new position in Abuja, I have the resources to meet their demands or to talk to influential men or women on their behalf for jobs, contracts or other favours. Some, I think, believe that I have regular breakfast with President Buhari every morning! Since they cannot go or write to government or talk to their representatives in the National Assembly they turn round to ask, “What is the Church doing?”
Even when palliatives during the Covid-19 lockdown were not getting to them, instead of confronting government, some would ask “What is the Church doing?” I tried to explain that the Church was not established as an alternative government to provide food, education, health care or to look after all the needs of the poor, the prisoners and the sick.
In doing our corporal works of mercy we only watch out for those suffering social deprivation and assist them to complement government efforts. Somehow, because there seems to be a perpetual social lack, the impression has been formed that the Church must be in the forefront of providing social services, by reaching out to the poor and marginalized. Yet, no support is given to the Church by the Government. In some cases, the Government even wants to tax Churches despite the humanitarian services being rendered!
Our communiqués since the 1960s, published into a book by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) are a testimony of the concern of the Catholic Bishops not only with spiritual and pastoral welfare, but also with the integral progress and happiness of all Nigerians.
The younger generations even tend to blame the Church for not doing much for the youths, but they forget to take their demands to Senators and other elected officials who receive mouth- watering and humongous salaries and other privileges, when the basic pay for an ordinary worker is thirty thousand Naira per month, nearly the cost of a bag of rice! In order words, a man or woman works for only a bag of rice in one month! Yet, we wonder why there is agitation or violence at many levels.
Now the youths feeling tired, crushed, desperate, frustrated, demoralized are asking: stop brutality; provide good governance; remove the monster of corruption; make life more bearable and reasonable. They are crying out for a new Nigeria. A new Nigeria is not impossible. The youth protest is like the proverbial gadfly stinging us to wakefulness as religious, traditional and political leaders.
The youths must realize however that due to prolonged greed and corruption in the country, we have mostly been infested with the virus of greed and corruption. This includes some leaders in places of worship, roadside mechanics, traders, office clerks and even the youths themselves.
A secretary in a government office hides your employment file until you give a good tip. It is no longer news that contract sums are deliberately inflated to enable the awarders of the contract get their big share.
Needless to say that this seriously affects the quality of services provided. Our leaders seem to be always on a borrowing spree, and having borrowed, they don’t use the funds judiciously and fruitfully, thereby seriously jeopardizing/mortgaging the future well-being and all-round prospects of present and future generations.
Because there is a time for everything, time has come for genuine introspection, critical self-analysis and inner purification. Nigerians in public office or in private life; on the streets, employed or unemployed; in the classrooms or market, must always think of the good of other Nigerians and the common good that binds us all.
The scriptures advise us to do whatever we do with honesty, noble motives and intentions and to do them in the name of God. Whatever good we can do, we should do it now, for we pass through this world only once. We should learn to live simple life styles. Through this, there will be enough to go round and very few will be in dire need.
Truth must however be told. Things are not well. Something urgently and effectively must be done by the authorities. Dialogue is the way forward, a national conversation. People scream about disproportionate appointments in favour of some groups based on ethnic and religious grounds.
Others worry that some tribes lord it over others, resulting in constant violence. There is inequitable distribution of our resources and the thwarting of democratic process through electoral rigging. Today, the immoral buying and selling of votes openly during elections goes on without qualms of conscience.
Nothing seems to get done without monetary inducement. Many young people complain that today if interviews for employment opportunities are advertised it is a mere formality because the jobs or positions would have already been assigned well in advance to influential government officials or rich business personalities or to the highest bidders.
All of us are guilty about what has happened to Nigeria and Nigerians, but we can work at it together. As long as there is life, there is hope. Pointing the finger of blame will not solve the problem.
The decay in which we find ourselves started decades ago. We can work at it with serenity, truthfulness, equity and justice. We cannot go on like this with brothers killing brothers and strangely celebrating it as an “achievement.”
Militant herdsmen, bandits, religious fanatics, kidnappers and corrupt Nigerians, especially among the political class, add to our litany of woes. We seem to be our worst enemies. This reduces the quality of life for Nigerians. The need to talk openly, sincerely and to act in a positive and concrete manner is now!
*Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius Kaigama is the Archbishop of The Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja in Nigeria

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius Kaigama and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”
 
 


 
Maximizing The Protest
By Dan Ugwu.
 
Maximizing The Protest
At a point in its wake, Boko Haram went for dialogue with government; Shekau their faceless Speaker nominated Buhari, Shettima, Ali Monguno, former Yobe State governor, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Ambassador Gaji Galtimari and Hajia Aisha Wakil and her husband, Alkali Wakil. The dialogue failed because they insisted the venue must be in Saudi Arabia.
At another time, Niger Delta militants applied for dialogue. Alhaji Asari was the leader of the Avengers. On their own, Kidnappers were not at the time united under one front. The hoodlums in Aba region were under Killer Osisikankwu. Those in the west were under Evans. All these killers formed their independent syndicates. The hoodlums were united by violence through sophisticated ammunition that almost outweighed the various national security apparati.
Fast Forward:
Apart from those dreaded folks, there have been other revolutionary outfits in Nigeria; Labour Congress, ASUU, Pensioners, NUPENG, etc. Apart from the 2012 fuel subsidy protest involving civil society groups, other protest units have always flooded the streets to demand one or two things.
They are united by one factor, DIALOGUE. They will always have a round table discussion with government through their leadership to seek a way forward. In the two situations here, the revolutionaries have always had their way either by crook or partial settlement.
I have always believed that the Nigerian state will get to a point where revolution will take a measure of no leadership, where survival instinct will only be the propelling force. By then, the young people will not be asking for their share of bread but rather they will commandeer it. The ongoing protest has a mixture of both properties.
The youths have rolled out for non-violent march. Some miscreants have decided to upturn it to make the entire activity look anti-social. However, we cannot use the elements of violent revolt to achieve the results of a non-violent protest.
At a time like this, it will not be good to be recording bloodbath and macrebre series of murder by matches and clubs. Since we are not ready to go violent (which is not ruled out yet), the protest must have a structure. We need leadership structure that will serve as frontliners.
The youths can co-opt some persons with moral probity whom they trust. Persons like: Bishop Geofrey Onah; Bishop Hassan Kukah; Bishop David Oyedepo; Fr John Oluoma; Evangelist Uma Ukpai, Femi Falana; Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; Sa’adu Abubakar and some others who can act as anchor persons in a dialogue with the Nigerian government under domestic and international coverage.
A dialogue that will lead to dignified press conference. A dialogue that will allow time frame for action pending when the youths will flood the streets again. Truth be told, the government may not have the constitutional power to effect some of the demands without review.
With the dialogue, the Nigerian government, which is deluding itself in emphasising only SARS disbandment, will understand that the protest is beyond SARS as it involves many forms of brutal misgovernment witnessed at the various states; the tribunalization of Nigeria’s democracy and the unhindered loot and sqandamania engineered by our leaders.
At such dialogue, there could be state chapters of the revolt where example Imo state revolutionaries could demand explanation for uncompleted 27 general hospitals built with tax payer’s 40 billion naira. This will also be a way of averting the ongoing destruction of our social structure by miscreants cashing in on the uncontrolled protest to wreak havoc.
*Dan Ugwu is a Social Analyst; he writes from Owerri, Imo State
                                                  

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


How To End #ENDSARS Agitations
By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

I had barely gone to bed yesterday after my usual Sunday activities when around the wee hours of 2am, my phones rang continuously and frantically for 4 minutes, 6 seconds.  At first, I was actually thinking that an emergency may have occurred to warrant this unexpected calls in an unwelcome period of the night.
Although on some occasions, some top Generals have had the reason to put calls across to me about same time especially when on two occasions yours faithfully experienced security breaches in my place of residence which elicited empathy from some of my friends in the military.
However, these calls yesterday were not the same with those other friendly calls because of its persistence and irritating frequency.
I must also state that twenty four hours earlier, I got similar early morning phone call from a top politician of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who asked if I can step up and intervene to call the organisers of the #ENDSARS PROTESTS for a negotiation on winding down the street protests, but my answer to him was that I’m aware that the protesters are actually their own leaders as there is no central control and command structure for the current protests all across Nigeria.
Well, I picked up the call on the third attempt and the voice on the other side was that of a serving office holder in the current administration who sought to know if I can give them some intelligence on the plans of the planners of the #ENDSARS PROTESTS but I quickly dismissed him with a negative response even as I told him that the ball is in the court of President Muhammadu Buhari on how to end the agitations constructively to the satisfaction of everyone including the victims of the accumulated periods of gross and grave human rights violations committed against thousands of Nigerians by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad now comically renamed SWAT- SPECIAL WEAPON TACTICAL TEAM(SWAT).
I equally reminded him that the United Nations Special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions had paid two visits in the last five years and had toured DETENTION centres in Nigeria and turned out comprehensive reports on the state of those facilities but the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari did not reckon with those wide-ranging recommendations on how to sanitize the poor policing standards and end the use of torture and extralegal execution of the citizens as the policing tactics.  In the course of this reflection, I will relay all the contents of the last visit by the UN special envoy as aforementioned.
But suffice it to say that the major puzzle that everyone in Nigeria is battling to resolve is how these coordinated peaceful marches by the youths can be brought to s constructive end.  For me, the answer lies in the ability of the Federal government to deal decisively with the nitty gritty of the fundamental factors that instigated the protests in the first instance.
The administration of Muhammadu Buhari has however chosen divide-and-rule tactics to end the peaceful protests just as officials of the Federal government have gone to the devilish extent of hiring armed thugs to attack the protesters or to break into prisons to free prisoners as has just happened in Benin City Nigeria.
Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has also resorted to the old tactics of playing on religious and ethnic sentiments to try to paint the protesters as persons who want to remove the President who is Fulani from Katsina state in the North West of Nigeria. This is the bane of politics in Nigeria as adumbrated in the book by Arend Lijphart titled ‘Democracy in Plural Societies- A Comparative exploration”.
His words: “A great many of the developing countries – particularly those in Asia and Africa, but also some South American countries, such as Guyana, Surinam, and Trinidad- are beset by political problems arising from the deep divisions between segments of their populations and the absence of a unifying consensus. The theoretical literature on political development, nation –building, and democratization in a new states treats this fact in a curiously ambivalent fashion.”

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”
Emmanuel Onwubiko
The distinguished scholar continued thus: “On the one hand, many writers implicitly refuse to acknowledge its importance. Walker Connor even charges that most of the leading theoreticians of nation building “have tended to sight, if not totally ignore, problems associated with the ethnic diversity”.  
On the other hand, the authors who do treat the question seriously tend to attach overriding importance to it. For instance, it constitutes the very first of Lucian W. Pye’s famous syndrome of seventeen features that jointly characterize the non – western political process. Pye’s states that the political sphere is not clearly differentiated from the sphere of social and personal relations in non-western societies”.
He says: “The fundamental framework of non- western politics is a communal one, and all political behavior is strongly colored by considerations of communal identification.” Such communal attachments are what Clifford Geertz calls “primordial” loyalties, which may be based on language, religion custom, region, race or assumed blood ties.
The subcultures of the European convocational democracies, which are religious and ideological in nature and on which, in two of the countries, linguistic divisions are superimposed, may also be regarded as primordial groups – if one is willing to view ideology as a religion.
All of these societies, western and non-western, will be referred to here as a plural societies. And the definition of this term, supplied earlier in this chapter, closely approximates the meaning of which J.S. Furnivall’s conceptual frameworks are fully compatible, because Furnivall explicitly includes culture differences as one of the characteristics of the plural society: “Each group holds by its own religion, its own culture and language, its own ideas and ways”.
“He defines a plural society as one in which such “different section of the community (live) side by side, but separately, within the same political unit.” This concept is somewhat narrower than Geertz’s because it does not include regional differentiation. Furnivall’s plural society is one of geographical mixture.
But mutual social avoidance: “It is in the strictest sense a medley (of peoples), for they mix but do not combine. The border definition will be followed here because it fits the purposes of this study’s broad comparative exploration best, despite the frequent criticism that the concept of plural society is too broad and encompasses too much”.
Be that as it may, it is important to also locate the blame for the inability of the government to negotiate an end to the peaceful protests on the longstanding insincerity of officials of government and the failure to implement outcomes of investigations that governments over the years have funded towards reforming the policing institution.
A social media commentator; James Ibor had asked, WHERE ARE THESE REPORTS? WHAT ACTIONS WERE TAKEN ON THEM? They include:  Report of the Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Police (2006); Report of the Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Nigeria Police force, led by Alhaji M.D. Yusuf (2008); Report of the Sheik Ahmed Lemu Committee with regard to post-2011 election violence (2011);Report of the Parry Osayande Committee on Police Reform (2012);Report of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution and Security Challenges in the North with regard to Boko Haram, led by Alhaji Tanimu Turaki (2015).
In addition, on the part of Civil Society, NOPRIN and CLEEN Foundation in 2012 organised a CSO PANEL ON POLICE REFORMS IN NIGERIA. The panel was made up of CSO Leaders from across the country. Part of the activities of the panel, was zonal hearings on police brutality across the six geo-political zones. It was a twelve (12) weeks assignment at the end of which we put together a report with recommendations and submitted to the Federal government “.

[caption id="attachment_2957" align="aligncenter" width="727"]Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.” End SARS Protesters attacked by Thugs

Let us look at the end of visit statement of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on her visit to Nigeria, Agnes Callamard; United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, 2 September 2019.

The report is as follows: “I conducted an official country visit to Nigeria from 19 August to 3 September 2019. I warmly thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for their invitation to visit the country, and the officials I met for their availability and support. I also thank the United Nations (UN) Office in Nigeria and the UN country team. Their logistical and substantive support during my visit was invaluable.

The principal goals of my visit were to examine situations of violations of the right to life by State and non-State actors; the Federal State security strategy and the responses at Federal and State level to allegations of arbitrary deprivation of life.

I considered violations allegedly committed by State security agencies and by non-State actors, particularly in the North East, Middle Belt and South of the country, as well as actions taken by the State to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes. I also examined specifically the killings of women and members of the LGBTQI community, and, as part of my gender-sensitive approach to my mandate; I included a focus on Nigeria’s criminalization of abortion.

During the twelve days of my mission, I held meetings with the Permanent Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations Office in Geneva and in New York, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the African Union, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the Department of Security Services, the National Commission for Refugees and IDPs., the National Security Advisor, the Director of Legal Services of the Federal Ministry of Defence, and the Commander of Operation Safe Haven, the National Human Rights Commission, and representatives of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

I also held meetings with authorities at the State level, including the Security Adviser for the Governor of Benue State, the Commissioner for Defence, and the Commissioner for Police and the Director of State Security Services of Benue State; the Attorney General of Plateau; and the Governor of Rivers State.

I met with members of the diplomatic community, international, regional and national human rights organizations; with women and men working for human rights at the grassroots level; with community and religious; media workers, including journalists; activists; LGBTQI individuals; internally displaced women and men; and with victims of human rights violations and abuse, including survivors, eye witnesses and family members whose relatives have been brutally killed.

These preliminary findings have been presented today to the authorities as part of the end of mission debriefing. The official final report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2020. I am looking forward to engage and work with the Government and all relevant stakeholders to receive more information and clarification on these preliminary observations.

Overview

The overall situation that I encountered in Nigeria gives rise to extreme concern. By many measures, the Federal authorities and the international partners are presiding over an injustice pressure cooker. Some of the specific contexts I examined are simmering.

The warning signs are flashing bright red: increased numbers of attacks and killings over the last five years with a few notable exceptions; increased criminality and spreading insecurity; widespread failure by the federal authorities to investigate and hold perpetrators to account, even for mass killings; a lack of public trust and confidence in the judicial institutions and State institutions more generally; high levels of resentment and grievances within and between communities; toxic ethno-religious narratives and “extremist” ideologies – characterised by dehumanization of the “others” and denial of the legitimacy of the others’ claims; a generalised break down of the rule of law, with particularly acute consequences for the most vulnerable and impoverished populations of Nigeria.

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”
End SARS Peaceful Protesters

Over the course of its tumultuous history, Nigeria has confronted many challenges and much conflict, including military rule and mass killings. It has also experienced economic boom and considerable economic growth, particularly in the 1990s thanks to its oil resources. Perhaps it is this history that leads (some) commentators, analysts and even officials themselves to downplay or ignore the warning signs or to assume that no matter their gravity that these will be overcome.

However, the absence today of accountability functionality is on such a scale that pretending this is anything short of a crisis is a major mistake. It is a tragedy for the people of Nigeria. Unchecked, its ripple effects will spread throughout the sub-region if not the continent, given the country’s central economic, political and cultural leadership role.”

These observations by the United Nations were never implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari and exactly a year after, millions of youths angered by the mass killings of youth illegally by SARS are on the streets calling for an end to police brutality but the government has still not heeded and respond to these broad-based issues. The administration is making use of divide-and-rule tactics to scatter the Peaceful protests.

This writer recalls a Statement By The Pro Democracy and Leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on The Entire Anti Special Anti-Robbery Squad Fiasco, The Police Constant Harassment of The Media, Calling for A Surgical Overhaul of The Police Through Constitutional Reforms In Addition to Setting Up Judicial Commission of Inquiry into The Extrajudicial Killings by Police And To Audit All Detention Centers Run By Police.

HURIWA said it is shocked that despite the fact that even the President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Ahmed Lawan and virtually the entire leaderships of the different levels of government have continued to applaud the Police following the widely reported public notice on the dissolution by the IGP of SARS, It is clear that the crimes against humanity for which a lot of the SARS operatives were accused of committing,  are being replicated many hours after the celebrated DISBANDMENT OF SARS.

The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) argued that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad; a unit in the Nigerian Police, was established in 1992 with the mandate of combating armed robbery and other related crimes. But it quickly garnered notoriety for brutal violations of human rights, which includes arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual harassment, barefaced extortions, torture and extrajudicial killings.

Since 2017, many Nigerians on social media had begun trending a Twitter hashtag #EndSARS calling for the disbandment of the unit. Last week, young people began demonstrations against police brutality, which have swept Nigeria, demanding justice for victims and intensifying the clamour for reform and accountability.

Mobilised through social media, the youth-led rallies in several parts of the country initially targeted the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a notorious police unit long accused of harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killings, have also been challenging growing anger among the youth over unemployment, corruption and economic mismanagement.

Authorities had on Sunday last week announced the scrapping of SARS and the redeployment of its officers to other police units, which fell short of expectations for many protesters, who have since pledged to continue fighting for accountability, an end to police violence and a complete overhaul of the security apparatus.

Worrisome is that in the midst of the clamour, these protesters have been met with violence and excessive use of force. As such, we are skeptical of the authorities’ pledge to end police atrocities because the past claims of reforming SARS have turned out to be empty words.

That the police are still using excessive force on peaceful protesters, which has led to injuries and deaths in Lagos, Ughelli, Abuja and Ogbomosho, throws through the window claims of any commitment to ending violations of human rights by Nigeria police. This is of utmost concern to us as civil rights advocacy group.

Beyond the Anti SARS Fiasco, there have been cases of police constant harassment of the media of which the latest being the arrest of a publisher in Abuja on the directive of minister of state for budgets.

In all democratic societies, all over the world, the media has a role to play. That role is to inform the populace of facts. In addition to providing current events, the news media have a distinct role in a democracy to oversee the actions of the traditional branches of government and thereby prevent abuses of power by those branches

Evidently, lack of surgical overhaul of the police through a constitutional reform, which it does not look like the current national assembly members can do even with over a billion naira budgeted for their routine and ritual of constitution amendments has far reaching implications.

This is because, the one thing we all agree is that Nigeria is in desperate need of police reform. Not just SARS reform, but police reform. Nobody in their right senses believes that the Nigeria police is their friend.

They are to be avoided at all costs, lest their trigger happy fingers create more chaos than they are worth. At the same time, how can we continue to live in a society where nobody is held accountable, and there is no law and order?

The Rights group said as an important arm in governance and social control, attention has to be focused on the police. Corruption, inadequate funding, poor governance, and public attitude to the police force, under-staffing, and inadequate training have been identified by scholars and policymakers as major problems of the Nigerian Police.

The Nigerian Police Force has not been able to contribute effectively and efficiently to the maintenance of national security of Nigeria because of indiscipline. There is lot of laxity, insolence and disrespect among men and officers of the Nigerian Police.

Corruption, inadequate funding, poor training, and interference of governments in Police duties, understaffing and poor training are results of circumvention of standards. Rules and orders stipulated by the Nigeria Police Acts and provisions by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are not adhered to. This results in their dismal performance.

We, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) do recorgnize the objectives and goals of the ongoing nationwide protests, which is to address the excesses of the now banned Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force.

While we commiserate with all the innocent victims of alleged SARS brutality and the families of those who have suffered fatalities in the hands of this notorious police department, we wish to state that with the current outcry by the Nigerian youths against police brutality in the country, the need for the complete overhaul of the very foundational structure of the Nigerian Police Force informed by genuine commitment, political will and constitutional reform cannot be overemphasized.

In line with the demonstrators whose demands now appear to have widened to include calls for reforms across the country’s entire police system and the call for an independent body to investigate police abuse, according to a list of demands widely shared on social media, we are recommending for the naming of Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the extrajudicial killings by police and to audit all detention centres run by police and all security forces.

No doubt, many pundits have acknowledged that the Nigerian Police Force is faced with numerous frustrations such as opaque recruitment processes, inadequate training, poor remunerations, poor working conditions and benefits, and a non-existent development incentive, which according to them informs the attitude of the police towards the citizenry and the output of policing in the country; yet, there is no justification whatsoever to the spate of brutality the Nigerian police is leashing on the same citizenry they have sworn to serve and to protect.

Currently the sorrow of Nigerians, justifiably so, against their own very police service men and women, is so overwhelming that a surgical reform needs to come in fast. Hence, we are by this statement calling for a holistic reform that strengthens and sustains police-citizens relations, revamps community confidence in the police such as constitutional reform, especially on the sections that govern the establishment of the Nigerian Police Force.

Observably, the present Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which governs the establishment of the Nigerian Police Force is no longer fit for the purpose. The Nigerian Police requires an enforceable legislation, which will be in line with international human rights laws, and explicitly specify its functions and powers.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko Is The National Coordinator; Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @ www.huriwa@blogspot.comwww.huriwanigeria.comwww.thenigerianinsidernews.com

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

 

Reforming The Nigerian Police

By Peter Claver Oparah.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, I don’t like the Nigerian Police, least of all, the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Unit of the force. My hatred for the police stems from the way they do their jobs; mistaking the guns they were issued to protect Nigerians as instrument of terror, extortion, intimidation and harassment.

The Nigerian police conducts itself in such annoying brash, crude, uncultured, dumb manner that galls the mind. I am. sure the police is the most hated institution in Nigeria today despite its claim to be our friend.

The men of the Nigerian police have massively de-marketed the force that only bad and negative imprimatur has come to represent the public image of the police. Worse still, the police which should be a principally intelligence agency has leased the intelligence aspect of its duties to the guns they are given to guard the people.

Worse still is this penchant of the police to advertise itself as unaccountable, irreformable and doomed to perfidy. Perhaps, this has been the reason many Nigerians doubt that the police could ever be reformed. It is certain that most Nigerians have sincerely given up on the Nigerian police and its notorious ways.

But, even with all these badges of shame, the police is still the necessary evil we all agree we need. No matter how high pitched our distaste for the police and its vile ways are, we still need the police if we are not to degenerate into a state of nature. Even, with all our negative perception of the police, Nigerians still need the police so the pursuit of its reform to make it better continues.

Lest we run the risk of hasty generalization, there are still many good men and women in the Nigerian Police. There are still policemen who do their legitimate duties with high degree of etiquette and zeal.

There are still legions of policemen ruled by high moral standards. There are still many policemen in Nigeria that have sacrificed their lives and comfort for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians. But the sad reality is that because these good seeds are in the minority, the bad seeds in the Nigerian police have overwhelmed their and sown dirty images and impressions of the Nigerian police.

Take the SARS issue for instance. SARS has greatly contributed in taming crime and has sacrificed unquantified number of men in a bid to rid the country of crime and its perpetrators.

But it had over reached itself in terms of the conduct of its operatives. It has bluffed all previous demands for reform and cleansing and had carried on in an annoyingly lawless manner that has drawn widespread opprobrium among Nigerians.

Make no mistake about it, I don’t buy most of the outlandish stories Nigerians tell in recent times about SARS but the truth is that the body clearly deviated from its core mandate and minimum best practices that can only breed the kind of resentment that led to its scrapping by the Inspector General of Police.

Some points need to be made clear. It is in line with police duties everywhere to suspect, arrest, interrogate and prosecute, especially in crime issues. But such is no license for intimidation, detention, extortion and brutalization.

Not every suspicion or arrest leads to detention. In some cases, the police can have reasonable grounds for suspicion or arrest. Where such arrests are proven to be groundless, the police releases immediately, with apology.

Where it establishes grounds to take it further, it moves on in line with universal best practices which doesn’t allow the excessive use of force or commercialization of bail as well as forceful illegal monetary extortion which SARS had been massively accused of

There is nothing wrong with the police taking in anybody for questioning based on suspicion generated by appearance, as many Nigerians wrongly protest. There is nothing wrong in doing sting searches, as many complain.

These however have to follow civil, transparent processes that must not necessarily lead to detention, extortion and all manners of atrocious conducts that SARS have been charged with. No one will question civil, open and mature interrogation that ensures all citizens stay within the confines of legality.

What is wrong is when such is done with brazen force and impunity where the subject has not violated the rules of engagement and going further to criminalize suspicion by automatically detaining victims and extorting them and forcing stringent bail conditions on them where no offences have been proved against them.

All said, my honest take is that scrapping SARS was wrong. Fact is that the rainbow coalition that massed under the #EndSARS banner gathered from diverse interests. Many were criminals that see the end of SARS as a borderless license to advance their seedy businesses unimpeded.

Many were distressed political wayfarers that see the protest as viable grounds to advance their worsening political interests. Many were from the limelight-hugging and attention-seeking potentates, the wannabe celebrities that saw it as another golden chance to advertise themselves.

Such riotous make up is the reason why no credible alternative was fangled to #EndSARS. Because there was no deep thinking binding the campaign, nothing was suggested to replace SARS after it is ended.

Many good heads however believed that reform is the way to go to redeem not only SARS but the entire Nigerian police. While the #EndSARS protagonists fiercely fought off this in their orgiastic demand to end SARS as the cure-all medicine for the excesses of SARS, they have seen the open chasm and the deep holes in their demand, after the police high command acceded to their demand and ended SARS. They have therefore come to embrace the reform demand which they repudiated at the peak of their demand.

The Inspector General of Police has promised to empanel a new body that will replace SARS, which is what it should be despite the naivety of some of the #EndSARS protesters that SARS would be the last of such anti-robbery units of the police. Of course the new body will be drawn from the same pool SARS operatives are drawn, which is the Nigerian Police Force.

Of course many of them will still come from the disbanded SARS. Where they don’t end up in the new unit, the same SARS operatives will jump into their uniforms and continue their nefarious acts in the notorious checkpoints on the nation’s highways or at the various police stations.

So the entire police force needs reforms that will target an upward review of their conditions of service, scale up their equipment, close monitoring of their activities, retraining and reorientation, strict  internal discipline, among other reform imperatives.

The Nigerian police must curb the notorious penchant of the police to constitute annoying nuisance on the nation’s highways through all manners of roadblocks, where they use guns and all manners of weapons to extort and rob Nigerians.

Police has no business searching vehicle particulars on the highways and employing same to rob Nigerians and constitute serious impediments to movement as well as business in Nigeria.

We need the police on our roads but purely for security. Police on the highways shouldn’t be blocking roads at every 100 meters and frisking vehicle papers. They should rather be stationed on the sides of the road, watching for any security glitch or doing motorized patrolling on the roads and not the sordid roadblocks they excessively mount on Nigerian roads.

Then the police high command must take serious the task of monitoring and enforcing actions among the rank and file of the police force. This is an area that had systematically been ignored in police administration and which is key to reforming the police.

The police high command could have effectively dealt with the bad eggs of SARS if it wished to do by carrying out constant raids on the operatives and severely punishing errant operatives when caught perpetrating these vices or when reported.

But in actual fact, the police high command has treated complaints with levity and even encouraged these bad eggs because they share in the corrupt proceeds from these rogue SARS operatives.

Take the issue of highway roadblocks for instance. We have, over the years, heard different Inspectors General issue orders for their disbandment but each time such orders were issued, they were often followed by increment in such notorious roadblocks and a worsening of their nefarious activities.

If the police wants to stop these roadblocks, it will immediately empanel an enforcement team that will target errant officers and sack them while others learn from it. If the IG unleashes a crack team to monitor and enforce roadblock dismantling on all our roads today, with a view to arrest and dismiss offenders instantly, the menace will automatically stop.

But it is widely believed that roadblocks still exist and indeed worsening because the profit from roadblocks runs through the entire police high command, even up to the Inspector General of Police

All said, much needs to be done to reclaim the police. While the government needs to reform, restructure and reposition the police, the police high command must start enforcing simple rules and directives, enforce discipline and start working to cleanse its image.

The task of reforming the police is very difficult and enormous but let the police start by tracking bad eggs in the force, enforce and instill discipline among its ranks and file and start enforcing orders directives that target the many notorious acts the force is known for.

*Peter Claver Oparah wrote from Ikeja, Lagos. (E-mail: peterclaver2000@yahoo.com)

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Peter Claver Oparah and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

NIGERIA: Road Rage And Terrorism 

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

NIGERIA: Road Rage And Terrorism 
Emmanuel Onwubiko

I have had the good fortune of being driven around in very extensive journeys in both the United Kingdom and China.  In China, around year 2005,  I can recall an experience I had to be conveyed in a bus from the political capital of that vast Country to another far distant province in a journey that spanned eight hours.

The roads were well laid and greatly maintained from the Chinese beautiful capital city to that part of China. The journey was an adventure in sweet discoveries and the roads were so well built that there was not a single bump.

However, a noticeable incident is the absence of any sort of stop and search armed police nor did we experience any incident of road terrorism such as armed banditry, armed kidnapping and or harassment by armed security forces.

In Great Britain, about a couple of years back, the journey from Central London to a beach very close to the border with France was sweet and there was never any incident of road terrorism even as it was a beautiful journey just as I enumerated above in my other journeys in China.

Also, the nations of China and the United Kingdom have seamless road transportation systems and strategies for checking cases of terrorism and insecurity of any kinds on their highways just as the enforcement of traffic laws are scientifically based and fantastically implemented.

When cases of crimes or terrorism on the road do occur which are very rare, It is a known fact that those involved in such incidents are apprehended and prosecuted just as they are made to face the full weight of the laws and therefore the concept of road safety in those jurisdictions are integral and strategic even as the matter of road maintenance are second to none.

I’m not sure I saw the equivalence of Nigeria’s federal highway policing institution. In the UK, the Police still enforce traffic laws using the best available technology and CCTV.   The same can’t be said about Nigeria where I have had the misfortune to have travelled to the entire 36 years spanning a period of three decades.

To be fair to history, in Nigeria of the 1980’s, road travels had minimal violent incidents just as the standards of roads maintenance are high and this was the period the Country had only the Nigerian Police Force as the enforcers of traffic laws and there were almost non-existing terrorists on the highways of Nigeria.

However, Nigeria now has a Road Safety Commission set up under the  FEDERAL ROAD SAFETY COMMISSION (ESTABLISHMENT) ACT, 2007 ACT No. 22 which is an extant  ACT TO REPEAL THE FEDERAL ROAD SAFETY COMMISSION ACT, CAP 141 LFN, 1990 (AS AMENDED) TO ESTABLISH THE FEDERAL ROAD SAFETY COMMISSION WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT,PREVENTING AND MINIMIZING ACCIDENTS ON THE HIGHWAYS, THE SUPERVISION OF USERS OF SUCH HIGHWAYS, THE REGULATION OF TRAFFIC THEREON AND CLEARING OF OBSTRUCTION ON ANY PART OF THE HIGHWAYS AND FOR EDUCATING DRIVERS, MOTORISTS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC GENERALLY ON THE PROPER USE OF HIGHWAYS; AND FOR RELATED MATTERS TO SAFETY ON THE HIGHWAYS.

Specifically, the chapter 5 of the law says; The Commission may make regulations generally for the carrying out of the (m) the supervision of the user of highways; (n) the restriction or exclusion of type or class of vehicles;(o) the restriction of the use of highway by any breed of animals; (p) the line to be kept on a highway and the direction to be followed by vehicles.

Since over a decade that this Commission was set up, there has been a mixed bag of opinion on their performance given that deaths from accidents have increased and the most dominant causative factor is the deteriorating state of the road infrastructures all over Nigeria. Infact the Corp marshal of the Federal Road Safety commission was quoted recently in the media of claiming that road accident kills more than the much dreaded global pandemic of COVID-19.

Suffice it to state that there have been calls for the federal Road safety commission to be further empowered to effectively enforce sanity on our high ways.

For instance, the President, Court of Appeal Justice; Monica Dongban-Mensem, recently disclosed that there were no stringent laws to punish road traffic offenders in the country.

Justice Dongban-Mensem, who made the remarks during the 9th annual road safety conference and FRSC/KRSD easy competition award 2020, held at ICT hall of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, headquarters in Abuja, regretted the absence of severe  punishment accounted for reckless and dangerous driving often result in death or injury.

Justice Dongban-Mensem spoke at the event to mark the 10th memorial of the passing of her son, Prince Kwapda’as Rangna’an Samson Dongban, who was killed by unknown motorist in Jos, plateau State and in whose memory the Kwapda’as Road Safety Demand, KRSD Foundation was established.

She said, “We have set aside this day for annual conference to remember him and several others who have departed this world in similar circumstance and place at the front burner of public discourse the unabating road crash incidences in our country. “

According to her, “It’s my conviction that the penalties currently listed in our laws are no longer as stringent as they were when first enacted. On the contrary, the grievous acts of over speeding, reckless or dangerous driving often result in death or injury. It appears as though, drivers found guilty of road offences are given a proverbial slap on the wrist

“We shall continually embark on fresh initiatives so as to change this anomaly. Now, we are in the process of sponsoring a Bill in National Assembly. The Bill entitled ‘Proposal to the National Assembly for the amendment and addition of some Sections to the Federal Road Safety Commission Act 2007’.

“This amendment seeks to impose stringent penalties are meted to traffic offenders. This should ensure that errant drivers are effectively precluded from reckless behavior on our roads or otherwise adequately punished for it. The idea is to implore deterrence.”

The respected jurist stressed further that, “Also, we are reviewing the provisions on Third Party Motor Insurance Policy. In Nigeria, third party insurance is compulsory under the Motor Vehicle (Third Party) Insurance Act 1950.

“It is one of the six compulsory classes of insurance under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. However, this policy stops at coercing motorists to buy the stickers. Motorists pay the annual premium of N5, 000 and it stops there.

“Actually, the policy is designed to make insurance companies pay compensation to road crash victims in form of restitution. It is meant to help the injured recover medical bills or relatives of the dead get compensations.

“However, we hear stories like Fake Insurance Companies collecting premiums, insurers adopting very frustratingly complex indemnity processes etc.

“Almost every vehicle on the road is covered with either Comprehensive or Third Party Motor Insurance policy. Yet victims of motor crashes hardly get compensated in Nigeria, thereby making the policy very unpopular in Nigeria.

“We would like to enlighten motorists and the general public on the benefits of the Third Party Motor Insurance Policy to ensure that the process of identification is seamless and transparent.

“We want to see a straightforward and fraud proof way of acquiring the insurance sticker. This has worked in a country like Uganda. It should work here also.

“I wish to remind us in ending my speech that the commitment to safer roads is for all Nigerians. The FRSC, Special Marshals and the Regular Marshals cannot do it alone.

“I urge all Nigerians to join us in making a personal commitment to Keep the Roads Safe by not drinking and driving, not over speed, wearing your seatbelts and helmets, observing the traffic rules and encouraging fellow drivers to obey traffic rules.

“That way, the loss of the lives of my son and all those who have passed, will never be in vain. Above all, I urge everyone to make a commitment to stop and save a road crash victim and please do not look away.”

Noble and wonderful as these calls for upgrade of the legal frameworks setting up the Roads safety commission are, but the biggest challenge to the safety of commuters is not being looked at which is the all-important grave threat posed by kidnappers and bandits on the highways.

The critical postulation is to ask the Nigerian government why it does not think that it has the legal obligations to enforce the counter terror law effectively on the highways to stop the incessant attacks, kidnappings and maiming of commuters and users of these highways.

Why check the road worthiness of vehicles plying our roads but fail to fix the rapidly deteriorating federal road infrastructures and the increasing threats to the lives and property of commuters on the highways?

This reflection is to challenge the Federal Republic of Nigeria to amend the Federal Road Safety COMMISSION’s law to blend it with relevant sections of the nation’s counter terrorism laws so it becomes inherently incumbent on a joint patrol of men and operatives of Federal Road Safety COMMISSION and the trained wing of the armed security forces to continuously clampdown on TERRORISTS ON NIGERIAN HIGHWAYS. Just the past five Months, not less than 500 Nigerian commuters on these Highways have been killed or kidnapped by terrorists.

Recently, no fewer than two passengers were killed, while a police officer was shot at a nearby roadblock by suspected armed robbers on Okene -Lokoja highway in Kogi State.  The incident, which occurred at about 6pm at Osara last led to most of the drivers abandoning their vehicles and running away while the passengers were left stranded on the road.

Also, a report by Daily Nigerian indicates that armed men suspected to be kidnappers on Thursday, July 30, returned to Abuja-Kaduna expressway and abducted an unspecified number of travellers. The incident happened as many Muslim faithfuls travel to spend time with their loved ones for the Sallah festivities.

Around July, a Nigeria army captain attached to the 353 Artillery Regiment, Ojo, Lagos, was shot dead by men suspected to be armed bandits or kidnappers.  GSM Abubakar, with army number N/13600, was traveling in his Honda Accord car  when he ran into a blockade mounted by the armed men along the notorious Okene -Lokoja highway, those familiar with the matter said.

Mr Abubakar, media sources said, was traveling from Lagos to the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, to participate in this year’s junior officers course.

In less than five days that an Army Captain was killed along Abuja- lokoja- Okene highway by men suspected to be armed robbers/ kidnappers two other naval officers were also killed on Thursday evening.

The two officers one Male and the other female were said to have been shot dead at about 6pm while driving in their personal vehicle along the now dreaded area of the highway

This is coming six days after an army captain GSM Abubakar was also killed on the same road while his mother and wife were reportedly kidnapped.

Around May, it was an unusual onslaught of attacks for Lagos residents by highway robbers in recent days, who have taken advantage of the traffic snarl caused by road construction workers and tanker drivers along several sections of the Oshodi-Apapa expressway.

In June, four persons narrowly escaped death, as hoodlum suspected to be armed robbers with automatic pump action rifle fired indiscriminately after allegedly snatching a bag containing the sum of N3,500,000 cash from one Mr Ebuka Ukeakpu, at Regina Ceali junction by Zenith Bank PLC along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Awka, Anambra State. Then in July a yet to be specified number of travellers were allegedly abducted along Abuja- Kaduna Expressway on Thursday by some hoodlums.

SaharaReporters gathered that the gunmen laid ambush near Katari Village, shooting sporadically at some vehicles heading to Kaduna around 9:00am.

Another media observer told the story thus: “An unspecified number of people are said to have been abducted on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.

The incident, according one of the victims, the driver of The Sun Newspapers circulation van, Mallam Ibrahim, occurred in the early hours of Thursday.

He said the incident took place close to the popular Alheri Camp, a few kilometres to the Kaduna metropolis. Last Month a staff of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Abuja network station, Abdullah Aminu, was shot by kidnappers along Abuja-Kaduna express way.

Aminu was among travellers who escaped kidnappers’ attacks on Wednesday along the dreaded highway.

The Nation gathered the broadcaster, who was once a staff of the Kaduna network centre of NTA, was traveling to Kaduna when the incident occurred.

Some unknown gunmen same last month kidnapped the Medical Director of the Ondo State General Hospital , Ido Ani in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State , Dr . Olufemi Adeogun.

The hoodlums also abducted two other people who are workers of the hospital alongside with the medical doctor.

It was gathered that the victims were abducted on the bad portion of Ipele -Ido Ani road in the  evening and their whereabouts are yet unknown.

Same last month, heavily armed robbers attacked commuters along Benin-Asaba highway, Benin City in Edo State.

The bandits’ operation, which started around 4 p.m., lasted for more than 20 minutes, was witnessed by PREMIUM TIMES.

Many drivers drove their cars off the road while passengers ran for their safety into a nearby village, Ugoneki.

Gunmen on a typical midweek in September  killed two people and reportedly abducted several others along the Lokoja – Abuja expressway.

The incident occurred at about 7:00 a.m. between Acheni and Gegu villages in Kogi State. In Ebonyi State around July ending, the Police Command in Ebonyi confirmed the killing of four officers by suspected armed robbers at Ezzamgbo junction of the Enugu-Abakaliki federal highway.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Phillip Maku made the disclosure in an interview with  Newsmen.

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs @www. huriwanigeria.com, www.thenigerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwa@blogspot.com. 

 


 

2nd Niger Bridge and Political ‘Voodoism’!

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

 

2nd Niger Bridge and Political ‘Voodoism’!

On paper, the federal republic of Nigeria is rated globally as one place whereby virtually it’s entire populace engage in one religion or the other with about the clear majority of the nearly 200m population identifying themselves as either Christians, Moslems or adherents of African traditional religions.

Of all these religious divides, there is however a nexus which links them together and this is the common belief in a common creator known as God and of course, these religions have ideologically ruled dishonesty as a fundamental vice that their members are asked to shun as a matter of practice.

Readers may be imagining the rationale for advancing religious arguments primarily in a piece that is set out to reflect on one of the most impactful physical infrastructures of the nation Nigeria in the 21th century especially because this singular project has lasted nearly 20yrs since inception but yet there is no end in sight for its completion.- the 2nd River Niger bridge.

The reason of course is that the writer is bewildered and astounded that a country that is known as one place whereby the clear majority of the human beings populating the geographical space are worshippers of God belonging to one theistic group or the other, it is expected that these persons must at all times elevate honesty as cardinal principle of politics.

This is because, the same people who identify themselves as adherents of the organised religions are the same persons holding political offices. But appearance is far different from reality when politicians of the Nigerian species are involved.  The politicians tend to distance themselves from the centrality of honesty as ideologically brainwashed by their distinctive religions, but adopts the attitude of telling lies as a modus operandi and modus vivendi in politics.

A mystery amongst international scholars is the empirical evidence showing that Nigerians being some of the most well-known religious adherents, are also some of the most depraved and unprincipled minds when politics is involved.

Nigerian politicians tell lies to their commoners effortlessly even when Uthman Danfodio; one of the most respected fathers of one of the dominant religions stated rightly that: “Conscience is an open wound which only truth can heal”.

Reverend Father George Ehusanmi, a former Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria once stated that: “As a nation, we are abundantly blessed by the Creator in both human and material terms. Yet, despite our blessings, the truth is that we so shamefully and self-consciously crippled in development because we will not face up to the realities on the ground.

The truth of Nigeria is that we have been going around in circles in the cesspit of greed and selfish interests, in our tribal and clannish cocoons, and in fiery allegiance to our ethnic Cleavages”. This self-evident truth is exactly why the South East of Nigeria that has consistently being politically marginalised and has never produced an executive President since 1960, is also marginalised in the distribution of national infrastructures and economic assets by the Federal government.

2nd Niger Bridge and Political ‘Voodoism’!
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko

Coming down to the nitty gritty of the fundamental basis of the aforementioned facts, the history of the yet to be completed second Niger bridge which would cross many states in the South of Nigeria, is a good example of when persons parading about as adherents of one religion or the other , have made dishonesty their central political ideological character.

The truth also is that, the more lies that are uttered by politicians in Abuja about the second Niger Bridge, the more it would seem that religion means nothing to the Political rulers of contemporary Nigerian society. Even some persons who are not seriously into religions, have started saying that religions are to be blamed for the widening chasm between the few affluent Nigerians and the millions of people are are absolutely poor.

The times of London reportedly wrote an editorial on the relationship between religion and wealth in which the United Kingdom’s based medium tend to argue that the unprecedented rise in religiosity amongst Nigerians, signposted the rise in poverty amongst a clear majority of the people.

In the case of the second Niger bridge, it would seem that those who make policies in Abuja, often discard the notion of honesty and have embraced ‘political voodooism’ of anything but the truth as their ideology  in seeking to circulate incoherent communications on issues about why the second Niger bridge has not being completed and why there is no end to the lies by politicians about it.

Beginning from the political eras of chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yaradua , Good luck Jonathan and now Muhammadu Buhari, it has being  from one smooth lie to the other about the completion date of the second Niger bridge described by even the Government as one of the pressing needs of the people of southern Nigeria in the 21th century.

This is how one of the construction firms working for Nigerian Government described the second Niger bridge.

The writer of the brief history says that construction of the Second Niger Bridge project in Nigeria on track. The governor of Anambra state as would be seen in this piece is of a contrary opinion saying that the equipment to construct the second Niger Bridge are held up in Germany.

However, the official propagation is that construction of the Second Niger Bridge project in south-eastern Nigeria is on track and progressing well.

The Federal Ministry of works in charge of Anambra state Engineer Adeyemo Ajani revealed the reports and said that the project is likely to be completed before the approved date.

The official said: “The Second Niger Bridge project was initiated by the former President Goodluck Jonathan, and the vision has been sustained by the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The bridge is being constructed across Nigeria’s Niger River and is intended to ease traffic congestion and will span from Asaba to Ozubulu and Ogbaru areas. The project is undertaken on behalf of the Nigerian federal government by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing jointly with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

The Second Niger Bridge construction is a Nigerian federal government project that is 1.6 km-long and furnished with other ancillary infrastructure including a 10.3 km highway and a toll station.

The project is being developed through a Public Private Partnership involving Julius Berger –NSIA Consortium as a Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (DFBOT) model to cost US $653m with the Federal Government contributing US $150m while the consortium will raise the rest of the funds.

To be sure, the construction of the Second Niger Bridge well-survives the delay in the approval of the Nigerian 2019 national budget, the government established a fund ‘Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF)’ from where it finances the project.

Work capacity of the project has employed between 1000 and 1300 workers optimally engaged. According to Engineer Adeyemo Ajani, the project is currently is 23% complete. The new Niger Bridge upon completion will also facilitate vibrant commercial exchanges especially in the host South-East region of the country, Nigeria.”

We will read up another propaganda by another official of government heading the Sovereign wealth fund office who gave a contradictory statements on this same bridge and asserted another exaggerated statistical data on the bridge.

However, an official literature gives us a bird’s eye view on the project thus: “The Second Niger Bridge is a key national infrastructure, with immense socio-economic benefits for the contiguous states and indeed the entire nation.

Upon completion, the bridge will ease traffic flow, improve road safety, and create greater opportunities for local residents by advancing the commercial viability of the immediate area and regenerating economic life.

The scope of work includes the construction of 1.6 km long bridge, 10.3 km Highway, Owerri interchange and a toll station.”

Now here is another lying angle from the same government which had only few months back stated that the bridge was 23% completed in which another government official exaggerated the statistics regarding where the bridge is at the moment.

The Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji recently disclosed that the ongoing construction of the Second Niger Bridge has achieved a completion rate of 47 per cent a clear contradiction from the position of the Federal director in charge of the ministry of works in the South East of Nigeria.

However, speaking during an interview at the weekend, he expressed optimism that the project would be completed in 2022.

“Work is going on at the second Niger Bridge and it is over 47 per cent completed. It is a public-private partnership. The Ministry of Works awarded that contract, but the full concession agreement would be signed very soon that would hand it over to the NSIA,” he explained.

According to him, the NSIA would also be fully involved in the proposed InfraCo by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which also would involve the Africa Finance Corporation.

Orji said the proposed infrastructure company which has been approved by the President, would be a vehicle to support the development of infrastructure in the country.

And then emerged a totally different angle to the stories about the second Niger Bridge with the revelation by the Anambra state governor that the equipment needed for the construction of the 2nd River Niger bridge are held up in Germany. He spoke about roads also and this reminds us of another lie told by the government that it has constructed 600 roads within five years.

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State only Yesterday told President Muhammadu Buhari that construction work at the Onitsha-Enugu federal highway has slowed down to almost zero level.

The governor also begged the President to intervene in ensuring that the equipment purchased for the ongoing work at the Second Niger Bridge which are still in Germany are brought to Nigeria for the speedy completion of the project on record time.

Speaking with State House Correspondents after meeting behind closed-door with the President, Governor Obiano, who is the only governor on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, said   he sought the assistance of the federal government for the settlement of about 5,000 displaced people from his state.

On the reason for the visit, he said: ”I come once in a while to brief Mr. President on the developments we are having in Anambra State and we do have a lot of beautiful developments. We also have some that bothered me to come right now, which is the flood.

“Four of my local governments, that is four out of 21 are under water now as we speak because of this flood and it affected a lot of things, properties which include farm produce and what have you.

”So, I called on Mr. President to assist us at this very crucial time being a COVID-19 time and now, the flood we are experiencing this time around is like the one of 2012 which is terrible. So, he promised to do something immediately.

”I did also told him about the progress  so far made on the 2nd Niger Bridge. If you watch from their side, you will see that almost half of that bridge has been done.

”But because the water level is very high, the contractor working in that bridge requires some equipment which they’ve already purchased long ago sitting in Germany and requires some support from Central Bank to be able to be brought in. I did mention that  to him and the President noted that and said he will do something about that.

“We did discuss some other roads, federal roads that are in very bad shape, about six of them and I requested Mr. President to see if they can go into their budget as they prepare for the budget of next year.”

As December is fast approaching meaning that over 40 million Nigerians that will travel to the South East of Nigeria will still confront the nightmares associated with poor federal roads infrastructures in that part of Nigeria and the only major bridge across the River Niger built since 1965 will be subjected to horrendous over use by these huge numbers of commuters who would travel to the South East of Nigeria and other Southern States such as Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, and Bayelsa from across the Country.

They  may have to ply this rapidly collapsing first Niger bridge since the central government has been unable to deliver the second Niger Bridge since over a decade when the first construction work started and the people have been fed continuously with propaganda and political lies regarding the completion date for this critically important national asset East of the Niger.

Millions of road users in the East are already asking the critical question of when this jinx of the unending second Niger Bridge would be demystified.

*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs @www. huriwanigeria. com, www.thenigerianimsidernews.com

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

Okorocha; Imo Panels And Demand For Exhibits

By Dan UGWU.

 

Imo state will not very soon live without pointing fingers at Rochas Okorocha, her former governor and present Senator. At times, reference is made to him in comparing his administration with the government of Hope Uzodimma that is still struggling to win the people’s confidence.

Most times too, it is for negative references. This later has given his aides and foot soldiers sleepless nights in trying to save the face of their ombudsman and leviathan. It is either they are writing well worded articles or waging a head on and frontal confrontation with those who accuse them of mismanaging and looting the state.

In most cases, their long defensive essays excite them more than their calculated audience. In fact, for any close observer, it is clear the acolytes have been faced with more challenges at this time than when their principal held sway.

The implication of this is very clear. If a government carries out its activities diligently and with transparency and sincerity of purpose, there wouldn’t be need of using academic writings to correct the people’s impression. Legacies serve as material and non-material exhibits of past governments.

From various panels to individual reports, the government of Rochas Okorocha has been indicted in one form of fraudulent activity or the other. If it is not about material property, it is about over bloated financial budgets through which he allegedly looted the treasury.

Recall that in July 30, 2019, one Collins Opurozor reported about 34 properties, including alleged stolen funds which the Imo Panel of Enquiry asked Rochas Okorcha to return to Imo state government. Apart from looted funds from LGA system and Imo IGR, some of the physical properties so mentioned will include:

– The Eastern Palm University;

– Westbrook Hotels which was built by Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu;

– WODDI Wellness Center owned by Okorocha’s wife, Nkechi, built on the former Imo State Secretariat Annex, a land forcefully acquired from the State by Uche Nwosu as Commissioner for Lands

– The multi billion Naira Farmers Market built by Geraldine, Okorocha’s sister, on a land belonging to the State.

– Over twenty-five plots State land acquired by Uche Nwosu upon which El Freeda Foundation was built. This is the Foundation through which billions of Naira have been laundered out of the State.

– Extervia Mega Supermarket opposite Civic Center Estate owned by Ogechi Ololo, Okorocha’s sister.

– Municipal Plaza owned by Nkechi Okorocha built on a land forcefully acquired from a civil servant by Uche Nwosu.

– Twitter Bites acquired by Geraldine Okorocha forcefully from Mr. Fans.

– Spibat Estate most of which land was forcefully taken from Mbieri people by Okorocha.

– House of Freeda Malls in Owerri, Abuja and Lagos built by Uloma, Uche Nwosu’s wife.

Of special mention is the over N30 billion which Okorocha said he spent on building the unexecuted 27 general hospitals projects that are still in their skeletal stages. There is no way those bloc installations could cost as much as N1 Billion for each unit.

If block works are that costly we would have been dwelling in shanties and mud settlements. Most Church buildings and furnishings are bigger than government projects, but they do not cost as much as government blocks. What is more intriguing about the properties is that they were acquired when the Okorocha’s controlled the reins of power.

The lands were purportedly facilitated when Uche Nwosu was Commisioner for Lands. Ogechi Ololo, the governor’s sister was incharge of Happiness. Nkechi Okorocha, the governor’s wife was in charge of four ministries simultaneously: Women Affairs, Works, Health and Office of the SSG. She also superintended the Amnesty Committee announced on September 26, 2016.

Others were: Anthony Anwuka, his inlaw was Minister for Education; Mrs. Geraldine Obinali- His Eldest Sister was in charge of Market Revenue Collection; Mr Gerald Okorocha, Motor Park Tolls Collection; Okey Okorocha, IMO Transport Company; Jude Okorocha, Sand & Other Mineral dredging matters, Mrs. Uju Rochas Anwukah – his Second daughter, Federal Board member. In these conditions, we are not begrudging them.

Just last week, the Justice Benjamin Iheaka Panel of Inquiry, which investigated the contracts awarded by ex-Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha between 2016 and 2019, asked Rochas Okorocha to refund N106 billion to the state government.

The panel claimed that they did not follow due process while awarding the contracts and that there was “a monumental fraud” in the award of contracts. Any keen observer will never doubt the reality of monumental fraud orchestrated and evidenced in over-pricing of the value of the contracts executed in the state.

What is more worrisome is that at each period of these accusations, Rochas Okorocha and his soldiers will quickly rush to the media to demand for publicity and evidence of such fraud. In some cases, they even challenge the panels and Imo government. They do that with gusto and surety of purpose to either delude the people further or show signs of innocence.

Any concerned Imo citizen does not need to prove to the Okorocha dynasty that their government underdeveloped our communities. How will the common man on the street shout LOOT if not at the sight of social decay? That Imo state for the past 12 years has no active LGA and with rural and suburb infrastructure abandoned, what other evidence of fraud is needed to convince the Okorochas and their cronies that our common till underwent pillage? That civil servants were being owed for months when there is no report of empty treasury, what further proof do they need from Imo people?

Governor Hope Uzodimma has been constituting probe panels with no action taken to recover loot. If nothing tangible is done by his government to instill hope, we may conclude that he is distracting the people to create an avenue for further loot. As a governor struggling to correct ugly impressions about himself, the greatest legacy he can give to the Imo people will be to recover Imo looted fortunes. He could better be remembered for that than addressing the people on his better plans for governance.

*Dan Ugwu is a Social Analyst; he writes from Owerri, Imo State

                                                  

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

Fuel Subsidy Removal: The Needless Furore

By Maryam I. Shettima.

 

Fuel Subsidy Removal: The Needless Furore
Maryam I. Shettima

Mr President is in the eye of the storm recently for bravely realizing the inevitable expungement of the fuel subsidy in Nigeria. Brave due to the extreme furore and knee jerk reaction by some gullible and credulous Nigerians, who are convinced that, this decision is most inhumane and anti-masses.

Yet, conflictingly, deep within their minds, they are secretly relieved in knowing that the removal is an absolute necessity. Also, they are not unaware of the fact that, Nigerian masses are neither directly nor indirectly benefiting from the obsolete policy. Thirdly, put them in the same position and the same condition, they would not be any different.

The term subsidy means a sum of money granted by the state or a public body to help an industry or business keep the price of a commodity or services low. For decades, Nigeria had a policy to subsidise petroleum product, especially on PMS, which is one of the most consumed petroleum products in the country.

This, over the years, has become a thorn in the flesh of our National Economy, due to blatant abuse and corruption by many beneficiaries as would be outlined later. Experts in the field consequently argued that Nigeria can actually do better by removing the subsidy regime in petroleum, and instead, putting the money to use by developing other sectors with emphasis on health-care, infrastructure and agriculture.

For the past two decades, after democratic governments took over from the military in 1999; this topic has been a major bone of contention. The three past Nigerian leaders had a long and onerous battle with Nigerians, in an attempt to convince the Nigerian masses that subsidy is merely an exploitative and self-serving mechanism some unpatriotic elites use, to deprive the nation of its hard earned resources. This battle proved to be a hopeless one….almost!

Why does any attempt by the government to right the wrongs of subsidy hit a brick wall? Did the subsidy regime truly help in providing enough gasoline to our vehicles and industries? Who are the major beneficiaries of the subsidy idea and why are they averse to the policy being abolished?

Fuel Subsidy Removal: The Needless Furore
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Most importantly, what are the benefits Nigerians stand to gain in the eventuality of its removal? These are some of the questions,  that are begging to be explored on this topic.

Going back to memory lane, in 1999 the price of petrol in Nigeria was N11 per litre, by 2015, despite the subsidy, the price had skyrocketed to N145 per litre, an increase of over 15 times the initial 1999 rate! Coupled with that, the incessant scarcity of petroleum in a country that parades itself as the sixth largest petroleum exporter all these years, is awfully disturbing and beyond shameful.

In reaction to this quagmire, experts like Malam Sunusi Lamido Sunusi; Former Nigerian Central Bank Governor, and former Emir of Kano argued, that the subsidies on petroleum products succeeded in making Nigeria the only oil exporting country that does not enjoy the benefits of increase in the price of crude oil in the international market.

According to him; firstly, he reasoned we needed to fix the price of petroleum products ourselves, but then, we do not refine these products! How can you fix the price of a product that you do not produce? We produce crude oil but regrettably the price we fix is for refined products. Thus, suffice it to say….we are fixing the price of what we never produced, as a result, we end up paying enormously for NOTHING.

The money meant to improve other more deserving sectors, now is monopolised by a few individuals, consequently deepening the fissures of poverty in the country. This plunged us in a bleak situation whereby while the rich are getting richer; the poor actually keep getting poorer.

Malam Sanusi Lamido is not alone in this argument, Former Minister of Finance; Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala also in a nine paged document, presented to the Federal Executive Council in 2011, similarly leaned toward the same direction of thought, as carried by Vanguard Newspaper of 25th December 2011:

Dr. Ngozi Okono-Iweala

“During that briefing to ministers, Okonjo-Iweala, in a document, titled, BRIEF ON FUEL SUBSIDY, (by) Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the coordinating Minister for the Economy / Honourable Minister of Finance explained the key facts about subsidy, what fuel subsidy is all about, deregulation of the downstream sector benefits for deregulation), why the subsidy was going to be removed, pointing out that it was a major fiscal and financial “BURDEN” on the nation, those who benefit from the subsidy as well as the relationship between subsidy and the Federal Government of Nigeria’s budget, among other things”.

From her point of argument, the former minister laboriously, and convincingly, pointed to the fact that, the benefit of subsidy’s removal far outweighs its stay. The policy is nothing but waste of resources and a huge needless economic scam in the name of making the products cheaper for the masses.

On the final analysis, if government budgeted N10 for subsidy the masses only get a meagre fraction of Kobo out of it, while some subsidy elites are smiling to the bank with the rest. This systematic siphonage of our common wealth by a few subsidy elites can be clearly seen, if we are to consider the 2018 NEITI report alone, which stated that Nigeria spent about N722.3 billion on fuel subsidy!

In healthcare, this amount can build 6 world class standard hospitals each in one of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. The money also if carefully invested on energy sector, can provide our country with over 2000megawatts! This can give a tremendous boost to power generation and lead to massive industrialization, which would in turn provide employment opportunity for millions of “qualified” yet jobless youths in the country. In the area of Agriculture, the money can guaranty food security in Nigeria, and improve farming and other agro allied products in the country.

Interestingly, this same amount of money could also build Ten Dams with modern irrigation facilities, which would also improve agro business in Nigeria, and launch Nigeria in the league of major exporters of Agricultural products for the inexhaustible foreign consumption.

It is both curiously perplexing then, how some politicians who maximally exploited subsidy removal as the cardinal principle of their campaign, now turn back to be its major adversaries!

The former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the PDP Presidential candidate in the 2019 elections happens to be one of these. He was quoted recently, attacking President Buhari’s decision on the removal and argued thus on his Twitter handle:

Fuel Subsidy Removal: The Needless Furore
Atiku Abubakar

“Federal Government finally withdraws the fuel subsidy and price fixing bazaar that had been rife with corruption and stalling investment. This is something patriots have been calling for and for which I was demonised”

Even the Chief political adversary of PMB, from the above statement, believes the policy is corruption permeated, which every patriotic Nigerian must fight to a standstill. Subsidy removal will at least have two major advantages, killing one major form of corruption and also encouraging investors to put their money in the sector.

These at the end of the day, will witness more refineries built in Nigeria, provide job opportunities for our teeming unemployed youths, and would translate to a source of income for more projects development, in transportation, healthcare, housing, and many more sectors.

Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a two time governor in Kano State and former Minister of Defence also kicked against the President’s unpopular decision on subsidy. However, if we are good students of history we could remember vividly how in 2011, during fuel subsidy removal’s nationwide protest, the same governor ordered for the shooting of the protesters in Kano.

According to him, the idea is ill-timed and inhumane, but like the Chairman of Nigerians in diaspora acknowledged, much as the idea is painful, coupled with Corona Virus pandemic and a slump in the global economy, still agreed the decision is unavoidably necessary. As far as the oppositions are concerned the only right time for the removal is when they are in power, as long as they are out of it, no time will ever be right!

As far as “WE” are concerned, it is a welcome idea, Nigerians need more focus on developing projects, they have no or limited luxury of enjoying as a result of subsidy regime, the wise and far-sighted man, took the painful decision, not to further the harsh economic conditions Nigerians are in, but to alleviate their suffering, fight corruption, improve, lay out and solidly set the stage for more infrastructures, and a solid foundation for National Economic growth.

There is no way we can stop fuel smuggling across our boarders with the current pricing system. The subsidy removal will bring more investment in the sector, government will get more income for projects implementation, and in the long run, prosperity and progress will reign!

*Maryam I Shettima is an Abuja based social media activist, and the CEO of #webelieve! movement.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Maryam I. Shettima and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 

 


 

My Mercedes Is Bigger Than Yours

By Femi Adesina.

 

I am borrowing the title of a 1975 book by Nkem Nwankwo to express my thoughts today. Published by Heinemann African Writers Series, it is the story of postcolonial Nigerian society, and the social climbing that attended it. As a young schoolboy, one grew up on the staple of such writings.

In Nigeria, when one new administration comes, it abandons most, if not all the projects its predecessors had been doing. The billions of naira or dollars, legitimate and padded that had been spent on such projects do not matter.

It is a question of aggrandizement, of competition, of not wanting to walk in anyone’s shadows. ‘My Mercedes is Bigger than Yours’ they struggle to tell one another. Therefore, abandoned and uncompleted projects dot the entire national landscape.

But not Muhammadu Buhari; this is one President that came to his assignment with clear objectives. It is our country, and the projects are for the land, and for the people. Therefore, all worthy projects were continued with gusto. Some are already completed and serving Nigerians and many others in different stages of completion.

Water projects. Power, Roads, Schools, Hospitals, and many others, in different stages of abandonment, line the length and breadth of the country, simply because the governments that conceived and started them were not able to complete. When the successors came, they wanted to ‘do their own thing,’ as if it’s a personal estate. And the country hemorrhages, suffers, and is almost asphyxiated.

But one mark the President Buhari administration is making is its ability and determination to continue and complete inherited projects, some dating back several decades. It is not about pride, not ego, not what I want, but about what is good for the country.

The Bonny-Bodo road in Rivers State was conceived and inaugurated 47 years ago. Governments came and went, and the road, envisaged to link Bonny Island with the rest of the state, never saw the light of day. It remained just a dream. And at times, dreams die first, before the dreamer. For now, the only way to access Bonny, where our cash cow; the Nigeria Natural Liquefied Gas company is located, is by water and air, with all the attendant dangers and perils.

My Mercedes Is Bigger Than Yours
The Man From Daura; President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

To build a road into Bonny would cost billions upon billions of naira. If any government got serious about such project, wouldn’t it affect the volume of cash the officials would salt away from the kitty? Till Buhari came. And he is doing what Napoleon couldn’t do. The Bonny-Bodo road, with many bridges, was awarded for N120 billion, and in collaboration with NLNG, the work began in 2017. It promises to be one of the legacy projects of the administration.

We can never say too much about the Second Niger Bridge. The existing one was built in 1965, and had become totally inadequate to serve as the artery between the southern and other parts of the country. When it is festive season like Christmas, come and see how people suffer on the bridge, spending hours on end, sometimes days.

The bridge became an object of fake political promises, particularly in the 16 years of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It was like a pie in the sky, which they kept building with their mouths. Whenever elections approached, they would go to the site with hoes, cutlasses and wheelbarrows, pretending to dig the ground, all to win votes. Whenever the polls were completed, and they had swindled the people of their votes, they disappeared. Till the next election.

And they claimed to have spent billions upon billions of naira on the project. Yet, it remained at the blueprint level. Olusegun Obasanjo launched it with much fanfare. That was where it ended. Umaru Yar’Adua did not seem to touch it, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. Goodluck Jonathan said his middle name was Ebele, making him an indigene of the South East, where the bridge was situated. He said “what would he say he did for his people, if he couldn’t build the bridge”. He spent six years in office, and all he left were the ubiquitous hoes, cutlasses and wheelbarrows.

Enter Muhammadu Buhari. Without fanfare, without flourish, he set to work. The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) was set up in 2018 to fast-track completion of critical infrastructural projects. And at the last count, the Second Niger Bridge was 48% completed, with the sights firmly set on the first quarter of 2022 as completion time.

The things we couldn’t accomplish when we were swimming in petro-dollars, we are now daring and making steady progress on, at a season of scarcity. That is what you get when the Captain of a ship has only come to serve, not to feather his own nest.

The Mambila Hydro Power project was conceived in 1972. How many governments, both military and civilian have we had since then? How many billions upon billions of dollars have we earned from oil since then? But Mambila remained a dream, pipe dream. Till a man came from Daura, and seriousness is now being shown. Finally, Mambila Power project is appearing doable.

My Mercedes Is Bigger Than Yours

The country’s biggest power plant will produce approximately 3,050 MW of electricity, and estimated to cost $5.8 billion. Chinese Export-Import Bank will provide 85 percent of the funding, while Nigeria brings the remaining 15 %. Completion time is 2030, long after Buhari would have left power. Yet, the man is planning and working for the future of Nigerians. The project would generate at least 50,000 jobs.

The Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited was started in 1979, and envisaged to launch Nigeria into the steel development realm in a few years. But 41 years later, it remains mere dream, with billions of dollars gone down the drain.

The steel mill became a cesspool of corruption for many decades. Each government came, made false promises, pumped dollars and more dollars into the sinking hole, officials pocketed the rest, yet the steel mill, built on 24,000 hectares of land remains uncompleted.

The Buhari administration took up the gauntlet. Last year, the President held talks with the original builders of the mill in Russia, and the project is set to roar to life before 2023. And Buhari’s name would remain indelible in the annals of the country, without the man setting out to achieve anything personal.

Some Federal Secretariat projects were awarded in 2012. They included those of Anambra, Bayelsa, Nasarawa, Osun, and Zamfara states. The projects had long been abandoned, due to lack of proper funding. Last week, a memo was brought to the Federal Executive Council meeting by Works and Housing Minister; Babatunde Raji Fashola, seeking a review and variation of the contract sums, and it was approved. That is Buhari for you. Even development round the country is what he seeks. That is why inherited projects continue, and are being completed.

Rail projects: Nigeria had a master plan since days of military rule, which Obasanjo kept faith with, and Yar’Adua and Jonathan continued, but not much in terms of practical achievements. In consonance with his commitment to continuity, Buhari first completed the Abuja-Kaduna rail project, which has been running since 2016.

My Mercedes Is Bigger Than Yours

The Itakpe-Warri project, started by Ibrahim Babangida in 1987, was not completed till 34 years later by Buhari. You now have Lagos-Ibadan rail about being inaugurated, while Ibadan-Kano takes off soon. What manner of man is this Buhari, completing inherited projects, and starting new ones, despite lower earnings than we ever had?

Road projects; Lagos-Ibadan Expressway could not be completed in 16 years of PDP. Not to talk of Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Lagos-Ore-Benin, and many others. Today, you have at least a Federal road project going on in every state of the country, and all are to be completed in the life of this administration.

AKK gas pipeline: Humongous; the cost is $2.8 billion. It had been on the drawing board for many years, long before Buhari. A couple of weeks back, the President flagged off the project, estimated to be completed in two years. What manner of man is this Buhari, I ask again. You don’t dare huge projects like these, if your intention is to steal. You simply dip your hands in the cookie jar, and pop it into your mouth.

The Loko-Oweto Bridge: How can one ever forget? Began since 2011, it will link Benue and Nasarawa States, and open up the North Central to other parts of the country. The economic gains are limitless. The bridge is now 95% completed by Buhari.

Zik, oh Great Zik; an illustrious son of Africa, first Nigerian President and Owelle of Onitsha. A mausoleum was started in 1996 as a monument in his memory. It is to tell everyone the Great Nnamdi Azikiwe was buried here! Governments came, governments went, but the mausoleum was uncompleted, even abandoned till the advent of the man from Daura. He not only funded and completed the project, he personally inaugurated it in early 2019.

What shall we say of the East-West road, airport projects, and many others, all inherited and set to be completed. President Buhari came with Executive Order 7 (the Companies Income Tax Road Infrastructural Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme). It is to attract private financing for road construction across Nigeria. Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway is being rebuilt in Lagos with concrete under this scheme, 40 years after the road was initially built.

Despite all these, you hear the funny question from some people, who never see or hear good. What has Buhari done? What has he achieved in the past five years? Such questions bring this passage of Scripture to my mind, the very words of Jesus Himself: “Though seeing they do not see, though hearing they do not hear or understand.”(Matthew 13:13). If a man chooses to be willfully blind, he will never see. If he decides to be willfully deaf, he will never hear, even if you noise ii into his ears.

My Mercedes Is Bigger Than Yours
Femi Adesina; Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari

Some other funny people say: what has Buhari started? He has only been completing projects started by other people. My Mercedes is bigger than yours people. Head you lose, tail you lose. You never can satisfy them. You abandon projects of your predecessors, they grumble. You complete them, they murmur.

For the sake of argument, which I don’t think is really necessary, let’s give them just a sample of projects started and completed by Buhari.

The 17-story Local Content House was inaugurated in Yenagoa a fortnight ago. It is the tallest Federal Government structure in both the South-South and South East regions put together. It was started in late 2015, now completed.

An ultra-modern cancer centre was built and commissioned at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. Diagnostic centers, costing billions of dollars, built and commissioned in Kano and Umuahia.

Captive electricity projects in Lagos, Kano and Ariana markets. Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road project under reconstruction. Rail Wagon Assembly Plant in Kajola, Ogun State. Many other projects that space would not permit one to number here.

But the chronicle would come. The compendium of works done by a highly focused administration would come, despite all the distractions caused by insecurity and endless wailing. Today is not yet the day.

How big is your Mercedes? It does not matter to Buhari. Your Mercedes could be bigger than his own. He does not bother. Service to Nigeria is all that counts.

*Adesina is the  Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Femi Adesina and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

APC Moves To Placate Okorocha, Amosun … *As Jigawa Governor heads APC Reconciliation committee for Imo, Ogun

 By Disciples of Democracy.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday took steps to quench the anger of two of its strong pillars; Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun who are immediate past governors of Imo and Ogun States respectively as well as serving senators.

The party inaugurated Imo and Ogun States Reconciliation Committee with the Governor of Jigawa State; Mohammed Badaru as the chairman and Governors of Ekiti; Kayode Fayemi Plateau; Simon Lalong Nasarawa; Abdullahi Sule as well as Gombe; Muhammed Yahaya as members.

Both Okorocha and Amosun had serious disagreement with the former National Working Committee of APC led by Adams Oshiomhole over choice of governorship candidates in the build up to the 2019 general election.

In his address at the inauguration, the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planing Committee; Mai-Mala Buni said the constitution of reconciliation team was part of some peace building and true reconciliation mechanisms, to give every member a sense of fairness and belonging initiated by the Caretaker.

The Yobe State Governor expressed confidence in the members of the Committee’s individual and collective capacities in executing the assignment with sense of fairness, justice and responsibility, placing party interest above personal interests.

He said: “I am equally fulfilled that our exploits in reconciling our members in Edo and Ondo states have strengthened the party and further expanded our chances with assurances of winning the governorship elections in the two states with land slide victories.

“Let me also add that the on-going reconciliatory initiatives of the All Progressives Congress will soon shock Nigeria’s political space with massive return of former members who felt aggrieved and unwillingly, went to other political parties.

“Therefore, it is in the spirit of the ongoing reconciliation that the chairmen and members of the Imo and Ogun states reconciliation committees were carefully selected to reconcile aggrieved members and groups within the party”.

Addressing journalists, the Committee Chairman, Badaru said the team so selected is conversant with the party situation, has carried out similar assignment and knows the problem, hence it would know how to resolve the issues.

According to him, “there is sincerity of purpose; the present management of the party are very sincere in the development of the party. And once you are sincere, honest and straight forward, you fear nothing and I’m sure the two states will see the sincerity of purpose and will see the need to continue to build the party for the interest of all”.

 


 

SECTION 839 CAMA 2020: A Provision From The Pit Of Hell?

 By Bright Ogbonna Esq.

The reaction, which has greeted the passage of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 since its passage earlier this month has been one with two poles of extremities.

One the one hand, the business community have embraced it as one of the laudable reforms made in the business environment in the last thirty years, on the other, Incorporated Trustee Organisations, especially some churches, are outraged at having received the rough end of the stick.

The grievance climaxed in the statement signed by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at its meeting on the 20th of August, 2020 in which it mandated the President to withdraw the Act or at least a part of it. The position of these Christian leaders form the fulcrum of this discourse.

The main grievance of CAN is the ‘offensive’ Section 839 of the Act which gives the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) (the agency of government which regulates the activities of businesses and corporate organisations) the powers to remove trustees (in this case, General Overseers, Founders, Senior Pastors) upon reasonable belief of misconduct, fraud or mismanagement and replace them with managers of their discretion.

They argue that the establishment of a church has a spiritual foundation and the invitation of a manager who obviously does not share the spiritual insight of the founders of the church would undermine the church, insidiously defeating its purpose. They have further vented that since the government did not contribute a dime to the establishment of the church, why should they wade in to control their activities for any reason?

Notwithstanding the views of these church leaders, it is pertinent to state that the moment it becomes the incumbent on any governmental authority to grant a person any right or license to operate, its right to regulate the person’s activities immediately inures.

This position is apparent in the regulation of private companies, public companies, companies limited by guarantee by the same Commission, wherein Directors are replaced by liquidators, receivers and managers upon allegations of mismanagement.

This is so, even when the CAC contributes nothing to the establishment of these business organisations. Of course, from the point of registration, the CAC already has the right to determine and reject the proposed name, objectives, trustees, constitution or outrightly refuse registration of the association, if they do not conform with its criteria.

The power of regulation is already embedded at registration! If that is not enough evidence, the government regulates the landholding capacities of the Association and even the attendance and conduct of members as was experienced during the COVID 19 lockdown wherein churches were summarily asked to close down.

Again, one of the objectives of government through its regulatory authorities is to ensure that the public interest is protected at all times. It is without doubt that bone chilling instances of fraud have been recorded by many so-called trustees of NGOs.

In many instances, money is collected from unsuspecting individuals both within and outside Nigeria for all kinds of ‘selfless’ and ‘non-profit’ purposes, after which the trustees neglect, refuse or fail to meet the objectives for which the funds were disbursed. I daresay that it would be unnecessary to state that many religious organisations and churches have also been directly or indirectly involved in these schemes.

SECTION 839 CAMA 2020: A Provision From The Pit Of Hell?
Bright Ogbonna Esq.

If a business organisation can be prevented from employing the machinery of the corporate form to mastermind and execute fraud, why should a religious organisation not be so prevented? The Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC), for instance, is constantly updating its rules to oppose and discourage all kinds of sharp practices by Capital market practitioners.

Now, a cursory look at the grounds upon which the Commission may remove a trustee as stated in Section 839(1) of the Act would reveal that such removal would be lawful where there is an allegation of misconduct, mismanagement, fraud and when such removal is necessary to ensure that the objects of the Association is met or to ensure that public interest is protected.

Even without the presence of these provisions in the Act, the Constitution of the Association usually contain provisions, which sanction these conducts, ascribing civil and sometimes criminal liability to erring trustees and which may result in the removal or replacement of the trustee. The codification of this position only reinforces its statutory teeth.

It is also necessary to mention that the regulation of incorporated associations and churches by government agencies is not peculiar to only Nigeria. The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 of the UK Sections 3 and 4 among others provides for the removal and replacement of a trustee upon satisfaction that such trustee is responsible for misconduct or mismanagement.

Finally, the CAMA 2020 by Section 839 (2) provides that the removal of a trustee requires a court order. This is a second layer of protection by way of judicial review aimed at preventing perceived highhandedness, witch-hunting or abuse by officials of the CAC.

A trustee aggrieved by the decision of the CAC may make a representation in Court before the Order for removal or replacement is made. This is certainly an improvement on the UK position in which the Charity Commission can remove and replace a trustee without recourse to any further authority.

While I sympathise with the apprehensions of the aggrieved churches owing to the peculiarities of our system, I do not agree that a law which seeks to sanction fraudulent and incompetent trustees is anything to be afraid of.

This law simply says ‘we won’t condone misconduct simply because you are not for profit’. If anything, it reinforces the trust of the members of the Association in the ability of the trustees to stay on the track of the objectives of the association.

Nevertheless, CAC, in carrying out this function ought to ensure that the process of investigation accords with the principles of natural justice, transparency and fair play to ensure that innocent trustees are not unjustly removed if the objectives of the Act is to be achieved.

*Bright Ogbonna Esq. is the Director of Volunteers, SIFA Human Rights Office.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Bright Ogbonna Esq. as published on the online platform of SIFA Nigeria, and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

 

Why We Need To Calm Down

By Femi Adesina.

There’s this hilarious video that went viral recently. A boy had offended his mother, and was about to get a beating. Tearfully, even before he got whipped, the boy tried to plead his way out. As the mother told him to stretch forth his palm to be caned, he entreated: “Mummy, it must not be hard beating o…This is my last chance. Last chance in the world.”

Amidst tears, he said he had a question for the mother: “Will you be going out today? You must rest a little…Mummy, calm down. Don’t be angry. I’m just telling you to be ‘calming’ down. You must rest a little.”

The boy then reclined on a couch, to show how the mother must calm down, and rest. The boy and his mother became some sort of celebrity. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State asked to meet with him, and said there were fundamental lessons to learn from his tearful admonition to his mum.

Calm down. I’m just telling you to be ‘calming’ down. Hahahahahaaaaaaa.

But if the truth the told, that message from the boy is for the entire country. We need to calm down. We are too uptight, nervy, and edgy. We grumble, murmur too much, call the government a lot of names, and try to demonize those serving the nation, when it could be “our last chance. Last chance in the world” to really fix things.

If you listen to some people; angry youths, religious leaders, political analysts, newspaper columnists, news reviewers, so-called activists, then nothing positive is happening in the country. It is all about insurgency, banditry, killings, joblessness, corruption, lack and deprivation. True? False!

Those things are there, as they are also in many countries of the world. But they are not the only things happening in Nigeria. Only that we would not see the positive things, except we calmed down. We would never enjoy the rainfall, if we expect rainstorm to carry away our rooftop at any moment. Calm down. “I’m just telling you to be ‘calming’ down.”

One of my favorite boyhood songs is the one by Jimmy Cliff. ‘Keep Your Eyes on the Sparrow.’

Here I stand with my head down in my hand
Wondering what on earth I have done wrong
There’s a cloud that has overshadowed me
Blocks the light from my eyes, I cannot see
But I know where I wana be
Right or wrong, I’ve got to face my destiny

Somebody tell me to
Keep your eyes on the sparrow
Keep your eyes on the sparrow
Keep it on, keep it on now
Keep your eyes on the sparrow.

That is a song of hope. It’s a song of encouragement. The Good Book says God keeps His eyes on the sparrow, and none can fall down without His permission. If He watches over a bird, how much more we human beings, created in His image? But man has walked away from that original estate.

We sit on the complaint counter. We murmur, curse, cavil. We rail against God, against man, against government, even against our own selves. We indulge in hate speech, concoct and spread fake news. And it blinds our eyes. It blocks the light from our eyes, and we cannot see. We never see good, even when it surrounds us. We focus only on negative narratives.

Let me give a practical example. Last Sunday, one of the guests on Sunday Politics, hosted by Seun Okinbaloye of Channels Television, was one Group Captain Sadeeq Garba (Retd). He was also deputy head of safety and security at the African Union Commission, and now a private security consultant.

The retired Air Force Officer was asked to talk about the worrisome trend of killings in the country. The man said the killings were sad and regrettable, but things were not as completely negative as some people and interest groups would want to make them seem.

Quoting what he called reliable statistics from the Centre for Research in the United States, he gave these figures of the evil development from 2011, in number of total killings:
2011-1096
2012-3761
2013-7167
2014-15,600
2015- Not available
2016-4618
2017-5763
2018-6565
2019-8350
2020-6195, as at June.

Now, one life lost is already too many. One single life should not be taken wantonly, not to talk of in hundreds and thousands. It is bestial, inhuman. But why do some people want to make it appear as if we hadn’t passed through worse times in this country? Forget about who was in power as President.

It is not about individuals now; it is about the descent of a country into the Hobbesian state of nature, where life is nasty, brutish and short. For President Muhammadu Buhari, it’s a solemn pledge that lives and property would be secured. And a lot is being done in that direction, though we are not there yet. Unkind, negative comments can only demoralize those fighting to secure the country.

When the President said recently that things were better in the area of security than what he met in 2015, some people wailed endlessly, as is their wont to. But when the Group Captain came with facts and figures on national television last Sunday, not one word was heard. Not even a whimper!

Why do people like to spread negative, rather than positive developments? Killings dropped from 15,600 in 2014 to 4,618 in 2016. But not one positive word. Simply because their eyes are blinded by negative thoughts and sentiments. And they now need to calm down. Rather than upbraid, our security agencies should be challenged and encouraged to rediscover what they did in 2016.

During the week, Ministry of Power said electricity generation had returned to over 5,000 megawatts. Not a word from professional complainers. If it had dropped to below 1,000 megawatts, we would not have heard anything else. Calm down. “I’m just telling you to be ‘calming’ down.”

If we calm down, what would we see? Massive infrastructural developments; roads, rail, airports, bridges, efforts to reverse power deficit of many decades, newly approved Youth Bank to empower the younger generation, strident efforts to secure the country, N2.3 trillion stimulus package to combat the negative effect of COVID-19, and many other positive developments. There are many, and many more.

Jesus looked at Jerusalem, and wept over it, saying: “if thou hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto thy peace. But now, they are hid from thine eyes.” (Luke 19:42).

We will see the things that pertain to the peace of our country, if we would just calm down. As the young boy said, “this is my last chance. Last chance in the world.”
It could well be.

*Adesina is the  Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Femi Adesina and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

Imo APC Leadership And The Ruins Of Litigation

By Dan Ugwu.

 In the build up to the 2019 elections in Imo, former APC National Chairman and ombudsman; Adams Oshiomhole dissolved the state elected officials led by Dan Nwafor and installed his caretaking committee led by Macolm Nlemigbo on grounds of the former’s anti party activities engineered by Rochas Okorocha. Rochas refuted that and as a result, both groups were leading their faithful simultaneously in Imo until APC was led to clear and infamous defeat. That was a vivid illustration of implosion.

After the election, the crisis has continued till date. Meanwhile in August 2018, Abuja High Court stipulated merely that the National Working Committee (NWC) hasn’t the right to change the status of constitutionally elected party officials by a common fiat. So, while Nwafor held his power through constitutional and court legislation, Nlemigbo held his own through party verdict. Both parties at the time had their legal suits running.

Now To The Next Confusion

President Muhammadu Buhari in the last NEC meeting of APC dissolved the officials and urged the withdrawal of all litigations against and by the party. Now whose suit is to be withdrawn? Nwafor feels Nlemigbo should withdraw his case while Nlemigbo feels Nwafor should withdraw his own for peace to reign. This will be seekers of peace that is not peace.

Now, on July 16, the Abuja High court presided over by Justice A.O. Musa ruled on a motion brought by purported members of Nlemigbo group, seeking for stay of execution and restraining order which was not granted. Its interpretation has been left to the whims and caprices of concerned APC faithful.

The Nigerian judiciary is often brought to ridicule through frivolous and nonsensical applications. Approaching the court to re-rule on a matter already adjudicated should be an offence against the applicant. This is part of the tribunalization of our democracy by the judiciary.

Also, the interpretation of court injunctions should not be left at the behest and wisdom of plaintiffs and defendants. The court should always define its ruling in clear terms and wean it of ambiguities that could present a ground for filthy and ambitious elements to drag on.

The APC must also through its disciplinary and ethical Committee prevail on party belligerents whose personal interests have always overshadowed the common good. It is not a good step to approach the court again after the president has urged for withdrawal of litigations.

Even after the last court ruling, the disgruntled group still announced the declaration of a press conference to be held at the Okigwe Road secretariat of APC. Will that not be usurpation of power and impersonation? Let the right thing be done.

  • Dan Ugwu is a media analyst, he writes from Abuja, Nigeria

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

 

Who Are the Looters of Imo Pension Fund; Government or The People?

By: Dan UGWU.

 

Who Are the Looters of Imo Pension Fund; Government or The People?
His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State, Nigeria

Successive administrations in Imo State from Achike Udenwa to Hope Uzodimma have all hired the services of Consultants to verify IMO State Pensioners and Staff strength. These mercenaries were paid in Millions of Naira of IMO scarce resources. At the end of all those exercises, we always hear that ghost workers and ghost Pensioners had been discovered.

The irony however is that rather than the IMO State wage bill to reduce, it keeps increasing and even become inaccurate and unascertainable by mathematical figures. Also, successive administrations in Imo, has done multiple Pension Verifications during which Pensioners were subjected to untold hardship trying to fulfill government insistence that they must be captured Biometrically in person.

The government had always refused 3rd Party payment and in many cases, we have seen families haul their old sickly parents in a bid to fulfill Government verification requirement and pay in person policy. Currently, the Imo government is carrying out an automated system of payment, all these in the bid to sanitize the system.

Heralding the Irony:

Who Are the Looters of Imo Pension Fund; Government or The People?
Ikedi Ohakim

In July 9, 2015, trial Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court, Abuja granted Ikedi Ohakim bail to the tune of N270million over his alleged $2.3m fraud misappropriated from public and pension funds.

Rochas Okorocha later came to RESCUE Imo State from the wreckages of Ohakim. In July 2016, Okorocha alleged to have uncovered N700m pension fraud. The revelation was made by his Chief of Staff; Uche Nwosu who stated that the fund resulted from the accumulated pension of N1.3 billion in contrast to the authentic pension of N600 million, which is an increase of above 100 per cent.

Again, in August 2017, Governor Rochas Okorocha had ordered the arrest of no fewer than 30 indicted officials looting the PENSION board. This time, it was N640m meant for the payment of retirees. Unfortunately, at each of these periods, PENSIONERS WERE ON THE STREETS OF OWERRI IN PROTEST.

Who Are the Looters of Imo Pension Fund; Government or The People?
Senator Rochas Okorocha

As if Okorocha was determined to reap off the pensioners, he printed a form and coaxed pensioners to sign that upon collecting 40% of their pension arears, the state was no longer obligated to pay the balance. Sadly, between 2011 to 2019, 60% of Imo pensioners died without receiving their pay.

In 2019, Emeka Ihedioha came to REBUILD the disfigured structures of Rochas described as the years of locust for pensioners. By October 2019, the Imo Verification Committee headed by Barrister Pascal Madu had uncovered the massive pension fraud under Rochas. In a broadcast precisely on pension issues dated Thursday October 17, 2019, Ihedioha revealed that a total of 8,549 or 25 percent, of ghost pensioners in all were filtered out.

This represented the amount of state resources that would have gone into the drains without the necessary due diligence. These involved cases of duplication and over payments engendered by wrong parameters, calculation errors or deliberate falsifications. There were also instances in which Level 6 officers were earning pensions for Level 16.

Who Are the Looters of Imo Pension Fund; Government or The People?
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha

In 2020, Hope Uzodimma came with his three “R” mantra of RECONSTRUCTION, REHABILITATION AND RECOVERY. He alleged to have migrated Imo state from analogue system of payment to an automated system. Within this period of migration, pensioners have been protesting their 3/4 months debt by Uzodimma’s government.

Just this July 2020, less than one-year Ihedioha uncovered ghost workers in pension board, Uzodimma said he has uncovered eight persons said to be fraudulently receiving N330 million annually as pension. As we write, PENSIONERS ARE ON THE STREETS OF OWERRI IN PROTEST FOR THEIR UNPAID MONEY.

The Imo state pension situation is becoming worrisome. Every administration comes with its news of uncovering fraud and then using it as a standpoint to owe retirees. I recall that at a time, Imo State government established a model where Pensioners were paid by Cheque after BVN varication at the various Community Government Council Headquarters.

There was a time also Transition Chairmen and other officers of the State Government went to the LGA Headquarters to pay Pensioners by hand to obviate fraud. How come by this time after the introduction of BVN and mandatory requirement of paying via Cheque, there is still mountain of padding and active ghost workers?

I think it has gotten to a point where we begin to take a second look at the veracity of these findings because the hunter can also become the hunted. The pension board has become a cash point for every administration maybe because the beneficiaries are old and worn-out citizens who cannot wage strife. It is time we ask who actually are the real fraudsters in the Imo state pension board. Your gaze is as good as my suspicion.

                                                                *Dan Ugwu is a media analyst, he writes from Abuja, Nigeria

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

 

Bola Ahmed Tinubu Has Not Fallen

By Agbonsuremi Augustine Okhiria.

 

Those who are rejoicing that Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) is on the ground are jokers. BAT is not, and will not fall to the ground. He has not fallen. Many of those rejoicing today have not done a quarter of political mobilization and grooming embarked upon by Tinubu before and after the return of democracy.

In 1998, just before the return to civil rule, I met BAT in Ikeja and I asked him why he ran away from Nigeria when Abacha was on the loose. He gave me the details of his activities abroad and I was later to confirm from Kayode Fayemi and Pa Enahoro of blessed memory.

Most of today’s active beneficiaries of the long and tortuous road to 1999 don’t know how the battles were fought at home and abroad. They only read about Epetedo declaration.
They will not understand why some us who saw the events became activists and why we are angry over what has become of the democracy we risked our lives for in doing our reporting and analysis.

The huge disappointment for me is not that our dreams faded into this absurdity called democracy but that politicians like BAT have participated in the derailment, pursuing their personal gains than the entrenchment of the ideals for which so many comrades were jailed or killed.Prince Ademola Adeniji Adele of blessed memory who spent 18 months in Kaduna prison and a host of others couldn’t have suffered just for this kind of democracy.

No matter how you look at the current events and whatever impressions you may have about Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he and a few others who were in the trenches during the fight against the military are the same people who will fight to mobilize against the current hijackers who are completely carefree about Nigeria.

Tinubu needs the current lessons to drop the current jackets of pleasure to dress up in the old dress. He can still get back to himself and employ the huge resources at his disposal to rescue Nigeria. Is he a fit and proper person to do this? I will say yes. He joined forces to do it before and he can do it again.

The Tinubu I know can’t continue to eat and dine with those who don’t understand the meaning of democracy. He can’t continue to pretend he doesn’t understand that there has been a derailment. His current travails can serve as the catalyst for self-discovery. He has not fallen.

  • Agbonsuremi Augustine Okhiria is the Executive Director, Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG. (Email: agbonsuremi@primorg.org)

 

 

Disclaimer:“The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Agbonsuremi Augustine Okhiria and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

Uzodimma’s Choice of Roundabout Over Okorocha’s Tunnel; A Wasteful and Myopic Venture

By Dan Ugwu.

Facts have emerged about the decision of Imo State government to replace the metropolitan tunnels with roundabout. These tunnels were visibly constructed by Rochas Okorocha’s government to ease vehicular movement and road safety on the major roads. Last week, Uzodimma’s bulldozers were spotted destroying those tunnels on the allegation that they were poorly built.

Recall that Rochas Okorocha’s government allegedly spent over N240m on those tunnels according to Mr. Collins Ududua; accountant of Kilcornam Construction Company that undertook the project. It is not in doubt that the Uzodimma government will also spend more than that in demolishing and constructing its own choice infrastructure.

It is disheartening and breath taking to watch the various governments in Imo state spend our hard cash on irrelevant ventures. Every regime that comes into the state will always concentrate on the municipal city of Owerri, destroying the achievements of its predecessor in a vicious circle while allowing the city suburbs in their ageless rurality.

The present government says the tunnels are not of good quality. The next positive action would have been either to engage Kilcornam Construction Company and sue them for inferior job OR to invest in fortifying the project for use. The idea of destroying it to build a roundabout is both myopic, wasteful and disappointing.

Today, Imo State has various undeveloped cities a little mile away from Owerri town that could be harnessed for economic development, but the various governments have abandoned them to concentrate on the over-laboured municipal city already constructed by Sam Mbakwe.

Governor Uzodimma's Appreciable Performance in Few Months
His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodinma; Excecutive Governor of Imo State, Nigeria

During Okorocha’s administration, there were minor scratches along Agbala road but he ended up building Nneoma Kitchen that has been overgrown by weeds and shrubs. Villages like Olakwo Agbala, Mbutu Okohia, Emekuku/ Azaraegbelu, Iho/Akabor and then Oguta could serve as mini cities to decongest the populated town, but no government thinks in that direction.

At the wake of the 21st century when Lagos, Abuja and PH are competing in real estates and the ease of doing business, with Dave Umahi’s Ebonyi turning fortune around, Imo state government is still struggling with roundabout and traffic light.

Anambra state has left Awka to look out for Nnewi; Abia has even avoided Umuahia to commercialise Aba; Enugu itself has its capital as Enugu and Imo is still negotiating with Ekeukwu marketers and how to finish up her Alaba new market in the same Owerri, while Okigwe is struggling with decay. There is an agelong saying about Okigwe in Imo state “Obodo nile emepesigo bereso Okigwe”.

The wasteful attitude of the government in Imo has made pundits even to querry the usefulness of its House of Assembly that should checkmate the excesses of the Executive. They seem to converge at the Assembly quarters to watch over the wreckage and serial wasteful venture of various governments.

It is obvious, that arm of government has been hijacked. It is not in doubt that Imo has been unfortunate with leaders after Sam Mbakwe, but this present government with the high level of ignominy accompanying its rulership cannot afford to thread on negative paths. A stich in time saves nine.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


A ‘GOOD SETBACK’ BY 60 YEARS

By Femi Adesina.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has a fixation with 60 years. At the height of its heady days in power, it challenged its Chi (personal god) to a wrestling contest, vowing that it would rule Nigeria for minimum of 60 years. We know how the story ended. The Chi gave the boastful party a thunderous pin-fall. So great was the fall that not all the king’s horses nor all the king’s men could put Humpty Dumpty together again.

The Sugar Candy Mountain of 60 years ended in 16 years, with the bloody nose Nigerians gave PDP at the polls through the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015.
Since that time, however, PDP has not stopped fantasizing about 60 years.

Addressing the media recently on the 5th year anniversary of its nemesis, President Muhammadu Buhari, in power, the party, through Kola Ologbondiyan; its National Publicity Secretary, said the President and his team “have taken our country 60 years backward.” Lol. What a neurosis with 60 years.

When the PDP lies, it speaks its mother tongue, its natural language, “for he is a liar and father of all lies.” The party has become willfully blind and deaf to all progress going on in the country.
Back to English Literature class in secondary school, we were taught what an oxymoron was: figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. That is why we want to examine the ‘good setback’ the Buhari government has given Nigeria, taking her back 60 years, according to the PDP.

There are minimum of 600 road projects going on in different parts of the country today. What a good setback. The Buhari government is doing what Napoleon couldn’t do, and so, it is taking the country ‘backward.’

Hear the story of the Bodo-Bonny Road. It had been on the drawing board for 48 years. It is supposed to be the first link road between Bonny, where the country’s cash cow, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) project is sited, and the rest of Rivers State. But no access, except by boats and helicopters.

For almost five decades, the Bodo-Bonny Road was only in the realm of imagination. Till Muhammadu Buhari came. Work commenced on the $333 million project in 2017, and estimated time of completion is 2022.

The 38 kilometers long road runs through low lying marshland swampy terrain, with many culverts, two creek bridges of about 500 meters in length, and a major river bridge of about 713 meters length. Yet, Buhari is building it, in conjunction with NLNG. What a backward movement!

We have said a lot about the Second Niger Bridge. And we shall never stop talking about it. The project makes our heart to beat Du du ke, du du ke, each time we remember it.
The first bridge was built in 1965, and is the major gateway to the land of the wise men-the East. But the sole bridge has become grossly inadequate, and people virtually see hell on it at major festive times.

A ‘GOOD SETBACK’ BY 60 YEARS
Femi Adesina; Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari

Government after government had built a new bridge-with their mouths- particularly since we returned to democratic rule in 1999. Whenever elections approached, and they needed the votes of the people, they would take cutlasses, hoes and shovels, go to the site of the bridge, and pretend to be digging the ground. Once elections were over, and they had got the votes they wanted, it’s goodbye basket, I’ve carried all my apples.

Till Buhari came. Without fanfare, no bravado, no theatrics, he set to work. The bridge is 48% completed today, with sights firmly set on the first quarter of 2022 as delivery time. What a backward move, according to PDP. And to think the party can’t even complete its head office, despite raising billions of Naira, which developed legs and vanished.

What about rail? Have you seen the Warri-Itakpe line, which had vegetated for over 30 years? What about Abuja-Kaduna, already put to use? And Lagos-Ibadan, about 90% done? Ibadan-Kano has been awarded, there will be Lagos-Calabar, and many others. But PDP says the rail lines are leading us backwards by 60 years. What a good backward movement!

Airports. The country was rated as having some of the worst airports in the world before Buhari came. But today, see ultra-modern terminals in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kano, and Enugu is coming on stream shortly. But they say it’s a flight backwards. Oh, I see. Such people may never then fly forward ever and ever. They are perpetually stuck in reverse gear.

Agriculture. We used to import everything. Even when we had a celebrated farmer as President, we brought in rice from all over the world, and beans from Burkina Faso. Maize, wheat, sorghum, millet, we imported everything. Fertilizer was one huge scam, when we planted nothing.
Then Buhari came. He told Nigerians to return to the land. And he put his money where his mouth was. Agriculture was massively funded, and today, we have pyramids of rice round the country. We no longer import any type of grains, rather our neighbors come to buy here. We are almost self-sufficient in food.

Imagine if such hadn’t happened, and COVID-19 came. No foreign exchange to import food, all international borders closed, nothing to eat. Nigeria would have been in terrible crises. But we thank God Buhari came this way. He made all the difference. Yet PDP (Papa Deceiving Pikin) says its backward movement. I like that kind of backstroke, don’t you?

Eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth, before Coronavirus threw a spanner in the works. Yet, they say it’s all backward movement. Non-oil exports have grown highest in the country’s history. We are taking massive leaps in the Ease of Doing Business. Light appears at the end of the long tunnel of lack of electricity, with a transparent deal with Siemens of Germany.

For the first time in over ten years, Nigeria is conducting transparent bidding process for 57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue. Insurgency, crime and criminality are being robustly fought. COVID19, which has humbled the great powers of the world, is also being battled relentlessly. What of corruption? No retreat, no surrender. Do the crime, do the term. More than 1,400 convictions, and over N800 billion recovered in recent times. Yet PDP says it’s backward movement. I hear.

When AfDB President, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina came to see President Buhari recently, I had a private dialogue with him. And he told me of an African leader who met him and said: “Those who don’t want you for a second term in office say you are not doing well. But if what you are doing is a bad thing, please continue with those bad things for the sake of Africa. We appreciate what you are doing.”

Doing admirable bad things. Another oxymoron. But some morons don’t know oxymorons. So, they talk of Nigeria being taken back 60 years. What a good backward movement. Nigerians want more of such.

*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Femi Adesina and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

RAPE: A Sad Reminder of Our Vulnerability

By Bright Ogbonna Esq.

 

RAPE: A Sad Reminder of Our Vulnerability
MODEL: Janet Akor; Queen of Federal Republic of Nigeria 2019

There has been an upsurge in the incidence of rape cases in Nigeria. In April 2020, Jennifer; an 18-year-old girl was raped by a group of 5 boys in Narayi, Kaduna, in Kaduna State. Only two of the alleged rapists have been apprehended.1 In May 2020, Uwaila Omozuwa; a student of the University of Benin was raped by an unknown group of 11 men and bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher canister, while studying in a church auditorium in Benin.2

As if these were not enough, one week later, Barakat Bello; another 18-year-old, who was a student of Science Laboratory Technology at the Federal College of Animal and Health Production, Oyo State was also raped and butchered to death in her home in Akinyele, Ibadan.3 In all the above, investigations are ongoing and no prosecutions have so far been made.

These are but a few of the incidents which have come to public notice because of the decision by family members to report online. The resulting public outcry against this menace has attracted the intervention of several persons of prominence including Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu of Lagos State, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, calling on security operatives to bring the perpetrators to book.

While the response of these eminent persons is commendable, without a concerted effort at reappraisal of the legal and institutional realities, their intervention would remain mere rhetorics.

Since it is agreed that this vice, which evokes the bitterest reprehension within right thinking members of our society has become rife in our society, it is sought herein to explore the legal framework for the prosecution of rape cases together with the institutions concerned with a view to identifying the imperatives for curbing this growing menace.

CHALLENGES                

Legal Impediments

The Criminal Code and Penal Code, which are the foremost criminal legislations applicable to Southern and Northern Nigeria respectively recognize rape as an offence. While the Criminal Code provides for the offence of rape in Section 357, providing a punishment of life imprisonment with or without whipping in Section 358, the Penal Code creates the offence of rape in Section 282 with the same punishment or a less term and liability to a fine.5

Although the merits of the provisions of the Code is recognised, legal scholars would agree that the provisions in reference are inadequate to deal with the issues arising from rape and emerging matters within the discourse.

In the first instance, rape is defined as having carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent. On the meaning of carnal knowledge, Section 6 of the Criminal Code describes it as ‘being complete upon penetration’. The Supreme Court has held in such cases as OGUNBAYO V STATE that the offence of rape is complete upon the penetration of the vagina by the penis.

Upon decisions of this nature, in the course of interpreting carnal knowledge, came the constricted assumption that carnal knowledge as being penetration of the vagina by the penis. One of the problems with this definition is that the sphere of sexual assault, which can be considered as rape cannot be limited to only penetration of the vagina. Sexual penetration of other parts of the body, like the anus and mouth, are not captured within this definition.

Secondly, the definition of rape in Section 357, presupposes that only females can be raped under the law. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that males have for years, been the victims of various degrees of sexual assault.

Again, the Criminal6 and Penal Code7 are in agreement that rape cannot occur between a man and his wife, provided in the case of the Penal code that the wife has attained puberty. These provisions tend to deny the possibility of imposing unreasonable sexual demands on spouses especially in cases of ill-health and other circumstances, which make it either difficult or impossible for the spouse to consent to the sex act.

RAPE: A Sad Reminder of Our Vulnerability
Bright Ogbonna Esq.

Thankfully, the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) (VAPP) Act of 2015 was enacted to cure these defects. Section 1 of the Act states: A person commits the offence of rape if:

a. He or she intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any part of his or her body or anything else.

b. The other person does not consent to the penetration

c. The consent is obtained by force or threat or means of intimidation of any kind or by fear of harm or by means of fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act or the use of any substance or additive capable of taking away the will of such person or in the case of a married person, impersonating his or her spouse.

The unlawful penetration of the anus or mouth without consent have been recognised as constituting rape, as well as such penetration of a man.8 These improvements are reflective of the progressive nature of the rape discourse as exemplified in the UK9 legislations on this matter.

The VAPP Act further introduced a Sex Offenders’ Register10; a practice very common in advanced legal systems and effective for information about the proclivities of individuals and warning the public in advance. The Register is however yet to be seen in any part of the nation.

It must be noted that in spite of the laudable improvements made by the VAPP Act, its Section 2(c) prescribes a punishment of 20 years upon conviction for gang rape. With respect, there is absolutely no justification for prescribing life imprisonment for a single offender of rape and 20 years for rape committed by many persons at a time.

Gang rape is no less heinous than a single individual committing same. If anything, it causes more anguish, trauma and is more likely to be fatal. If the punishment is to have a deterrent effect on prospective/intending offenders, the punishment should be more, not less.

More importantly, the VAPP Act is only applicable within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.11 The effect thereof is that other states outside of Abuja can only rely on their state criminal laws and other laws criminalizing rape and assault.

Another issue arising from the legal framework from which rape arises is the requirement of corroboration. Although the relevant Criminal legislations and the Evidence Act do not specify the need for corroboration in order to convict a defendant for rape, it would be very difficult for a judge to convict without corroboration.

In the case of STATE V OGWUDIEGWU12, the Supreme Court stated that in order to secure a conviction in the case of rape, corroboration of the evidence of the complainant is not essential, but a judge must warn himself of the risk of convicting the accused solely on the evidence of the complainant.

The consequence of convicting an alleged offender solely on the testimony of an alleged victim is all too obvious. This situation is compounded by constraints stemming from the two main forms of corroboration in this situation.

RAPE: A Sad Reminder of Our Vulnerability
Say no to Rape

The first form of corroboration would be the evidence of witnesses. It goes without saying that it would be easier to find a needle in a haystack than to find a witness to a rape. This is because, except in instances where the victim is anticipating rape, it is usually perpetrated away from the view of prying eyes – hotel rooms, the privacy of homes, dark alleys and such hidden places.

The second form of corroboration would be physical observations made from the body of the victim. With this comes the problem of preservation of the observations until trial. The usual and safest mode of achieving this is by obtaining a medical report perhaps accompanied with pictures of any lacerations or wounds sustained around the genitalia.

Now, apart from the reluctance of rape victims to seek medical attention immediately after the incident, many hospitals are ill equipped with the rape kit able to properly preserve the evidence which can sustain a prosecution to conviction.

Again, owing to administrative constraints, rape prosecution takes a long time at the court. As a result, many rape victims are discouraged from pursuing prosecution of their cases. This necessitated the establishment of special courts for sexual offences in states like Lagos. The objective here was to decongest the dockets of the criminal courts and enable the judges designated concentrate on sexual offences. There has however not been an appreciable acceleration in the rate of justice dispensation in this area.

Investigation and Evidence Management

Having identified a few of the legal issues surrounding rape, it is also necessary to look at the administrative constraints regarding rape reports. It is necessary to underscore that the crime management authorities in Nigeria, namely the Nigerian Police, has not lived up to its bidding in investigating and prosecuting reports of rape.

In a report by Amnesty International, it was stated that apart from an unwillingness to investigate rape cases in Nigeria, many police officers were themselves perpetrators of rape among inmates held in their custody and outside their places of work using the instrument of intimidation.13

In many instances, it is difficult to convince a police officer of date rape for instance, as the question which usually emerges is ‘What were you doing with him?’ or ‘why were you at his house?’, questions which put the blame on the victim. The fear of this line of questioning creates the reluctance in many victims to make a report.

Again, as has been earlier identified, even when a rape victim manages to get to the hospital, the management facilities are ill equipped to provide the needed services. Generally, it would be necessary to examine and treat the victim for wounds and infections, obtain and preserve the evidence of the rape for prosecution, after which there is a further need for counselling sessions with trained therapists to deal with the psychological impact of this level of abuse.

In many cases, evidence is lost because of improper handling of the victim and the dearth of body fluid analysis equipment. Consequently, many offenders are freed for want of credible evidence even when their victims have actually suffered rape. It was only recently that the Mirabel Centre; a private initiative in Lagos for instance, with professional services for rape victims was established.14 Otherwise, there is a dearth of healthcare providers with specialty in this area across Nigeria.

Stigmatisation

We have earlier observed that there is a reluctance on the part of rape victims to make reports to the appropriate authorities. This fact has been traced to the stigmatization associated with rape victims. Often, victims are stigmatized and are considered a public disgrace to their families and significant others with serious implications for future relationships such as marriage.15

RAPE: A Sad Reminder of Our Vulnerability
A Soldiers Story Movie out in the Cinemas this December

Unfortunately, there has not been enough efforts at the reorientation of both the victims, their families and the society on the possibility of a normal life after a rape incident. The result is that the victim is left all alone to deal with the effects, often times, in silence and depending on their emotional strength and financial capacity, may end up with venereal disease, unwanted pregnancy, depression, and even suicide.

Although there is currently before the House of Representatives, the Rape and Insurgency Victims Stigmatisation (Prohibition) Bill 2019, which bill seeks to protect the fundamental right to dignity and freedom of association of rape victims, it is yet to be passed by the National Assembly.

WHAT THE GOVERNMENT MUST DO

In order to rid the society of the menace of rape, it is necessary to take another look at the laws on rape. Notwithstanding the improvement brought about by the VAPP Act, the restriction of its application to the FCT limits its impact. A national legislation modelled after the improvements made in the VAPP Act is imperative.

Further, since crime is jurisdictional, there is a need to incorporate the improvements on the law of rape to criminal laws of the various states while including the recommendations made herein. We have recommended for instance, that it is necessary to impose the same sentence of life imprisonment on gang rape as it is with rape involving a single offender. It is obvious that the effect of the offence is not ameliorated by its perpetration by a gang; and as such the punishment should not be less.

The Sexual Offences Bill of 2013 was one strong attempt at improving on the rape laws of Nigeria. It expanded the definition and scope of rape, employing most of the statutory recommendations made above. Unfortunately, that bill, despite having been passed by the National Assembly, did not receive Presidential assent. The National Assembly on its part, did not override the veto.

In the quest for a national legislation which would cater to the growing need to curb incidences of rape, the National Assembly is hereby called upon to effect whatever reasonable changes that are needed to obtain presidential assent to the Bill or override the veto of the President and have the Bill signed into law.

Further, it is necessary to relax the requirement of corroboration for the evidences of the prosecution regarding rape. While it is recognized that conviction of an alleged rapist solely on the testimony or evidence of the victim would open the door to an avalanche of spurious vindictive claims against persons for any grievances, it must also be recognized that requiring corroboration stricto sensu before conviction would also do great injustice in genuine cases.

This is more so, when it is considered that rape is almost always committed in relative secrecy. It is imperative to consider the surrounding circumstances forming the facts of the case which may lead to the veracity of the victim’s testimony without necessarily requiring corroboration. In the case of AHMED V NIGERIAN ARMY16, the court held that in the instant case, the PW 2 Ruth Waziri testified with clarity not only that she had been severally raped more than three times, she was also able to note and state the two birth marks around the pubic area of the appellant and on the thigh which was confirmed. This was taken as enough to secure a conviction.

In order to curb the stigmatization of rape victims, the government (especially the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Orientation Agency) in collaboration with civil society organizations needs to urgently sponsor and execute a continuous, spirited orientation campaign on the incidence, prevention and proper protocol after a rape incident.

It must be emphasized that anyone can be raped. By keeping the public abreast of the steps to take in the event that a person falls victim, the victim has a higher chance of complete recovery and ensuring that the offender is arrested, prosecuted and punished.

RAPE: A Sad Reminder of Our Vulnerability
Nigeria’s justice system has not been tough on rapists and that’s why we are here

The organization of these campaigns periodically, would reduce the protests against rape incidents after the fact. In the same vein, government at all levels need to immediately establish specialized treatment and rehabilitation centres, fully equipped for rape victims with a workforce of professional caregivers who would cater to their needs.

It is imperative that the Police stations establish and equip in every division of the Force a Sexual Offences Section, which shall deal with Rape and other related matters. Officers serving in these sections should be trained in forensic investigation and analysis, in order to ensure that all exhibits and evidences collected are properly managed in preparation for prosecution and trial.

It is further of urgent necessity that the Rape and Insurgency Victims Stigmatisation (Prohibition) Bill 2019 be passed to protect rape victims and punish persons who indulge in acts stigmatizing them. This would reinforce the strong stance of government on the matter.

Again, some states like Lagos have established a sexual offences division within their state High Courts. This practice should be adopted by all states. The Chief Judges of the states should issue practice directions which abridge the time within which the prosecution of rape cases must be procured.

More specifically, rape cases ought to be heard from day to day, since often times, defendants in the offence of rape are remanded without option of bail. By publishing the practice direction ahead of time, the parties are made aware of the procedure of court and as such, complaints of denial of fair hearing are thereby forestalled.

Although Section 1(4) of the VAPP Act provides for the maintenance of a sexual offender’s register by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related Matters (NAPTIP), as at the time of writing this article, no such register has been published. The register ought to be made accessible at their various state offices and published on their website. This would avail the public with the criminal records of sexual offenders and better equip themselves in their employment and social relationship with them.

In addition, corporate organizations and business should be compelled to institute sexual harassment policies within their organizations wherein the organization would be obliged to ensure that their organisations are harassment free or be made to pay heavy fines where they fail to do so.

Finally, it is necessary to incorporate human rights education into the primary and secondary school curriculum across Nigeria, with emphasis on the right of the human person to dignity. It is important that the culture of understanding and respecting personal boundaries be inculcated in our children from an early age. This will go a long way to dislodge certain socio-cultural beliefs inherent in society, like the objectification and unhealthy subjugation of women, which has led to the perpetuation of rape incidents.

CONCLUSION
Rape is a menace which has come to stay with us. But we can ameliorate its effect on us by if the proper steps are taken.

REFERENCES
1. Aljazeera: Nigerians online demand justice on abuse of women, aljazeera.com/news/2020/06

2. E. Akinwolu: Rape and Murder of Student in Church sparks outrage across Nigeria, theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/02

3. A. Kabir, ‘How My Daughter Barakat was gang raped, killed – Father’ June 4, 2020.

4.  C. Muoghalu, ‘Rape and Women’s Sexual Health in Nigeria: The Stark Reality of being female in a Patriarchal World’, The African Anthropologist Volume 19 Nos. I & 2, 2012 p.33 – 41, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Nigeria 2014.

5. Section 283.

6. Section 6

7. Section 282(2)

8. T. Akpogome, ‘Analysis of the Domestic Legal Framework on Sexual Violence in Nigeria’, Journal of Law and Criminal Justice, Vol.4 No. 2 2016 pp. 17 – 30.

9. Sexual Offences Act 2003 (UK)

10. Section 1(4) VAPP Act

11. Section 44 VAPP Act

12. (1968) NMLR 117

13. Nigeria: ‘Rape: The Silent Weapon’, refworld.org/pdfid/45a2479c2.pdf

14. E.Egbejule, ‘Welcome to Mirabel, the First Centre for Support of Rape Survivors in Nigeria’, Guardian, 25th Feb., 2016.

15. Muoghalu, ‘Rape and Women’s Sexual Health in Nigeria: The Stark Reality of being female in a Patriarchal World’, The African Anthropologist Volume 19 Nos. I & 2, 2012 p.33 – 41, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Nigeria 2014.

16. (2011) 2 NWLR (PT.1234) 393.

  • Bright Ogbonna Esq. is the Director of Volunteers, SIFA Human Rights Office.

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Bright Ogbonna Esq. as published on the online platform of SIFA Nigeria, and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”T

 

 


 

Institutions and The Attack Dogs

By Emmanuel Onwubiko.

IT has therefore come to my notice that the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), an institution that is playing a key role in the transformation of Nigerian agriculture has been the subject of a vicious and sustained campaign of calumny over the past two years.

This campaign, which has intensified in the last six months is being executed by faceless elements who hide behind compromised social media platforms to throw mud at the organization.

They have also tried to instigate the security agencies through baseless unsubstantiated reports based on unproven allegations which they have sponsored in the social media. These allegations have ranged from mismanagement of funds by its current leadership to claims of discrimination and favoritism.

Significantly, despite the media campaign and reports made to the security agencies, no evidence of impropriety has been found. Hence, we, the coalition of civil Society organisations are very concerned about the ongoing campaign against NIRSAL for the following reasons:

First, the efforts to distract and even disable NIRSAL is not in the interest of the nation because the institution’s mandate is central to the focus on agriculture by the President Buhari administration, the sector that is the number one employer of labour and lynchpin of the nation’s plans for a post-oil future.

Institutions and The Attack Dogs
Aliyu Abdulhameed; Pioneer MD/CEO, NIRSAL

Second, there is clear evidence NIRSAL is doing justice to its mandate. It is an established fact that the institution has facilitated about N110 billion from the financial sector into agriculture. In the process, it has contributed to the creation of millions of jobs and the improvement of the lives of smallholder farmers across the country.

Third, NIRSAL is adding significant value in other areas, notably agricultural insurance, where it is working with partners to create and popularize innovative insurance packages that will reduce the risks faced by Nigerian farmers and help them to benefit more from their toil.

Fourthly and related to the above, the institution is making brisk progress with its AgroGeoCorps scheme, which is projected to create about 16,000 farmer-cooperatives on 4 million hectares of farmland, and enroll about 8 million farmers across Nigeria.

My self and other civil rights activists  had investigated these wishy washy allegations and found them to be politically tainted and motivated, aimed at destroying the key essence of the current administration, which is focused towards using agriculture as the stepping stone for aggressive employment opportunities for the young school leavers and graduates who would be assisted with working funds to mechanize their commercial farming activities.

In a near three hours-long conversation, openly done with the civil society community and the media in which I attended accidentally,  the MD, Aliyu Abdulhameed said  most of the allegations made against his person  in recent times were as a result  of ignorance of how NIRSAL works and why it was set up.

Institutions and The Attack Dogs
Godwin Emefiele; Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria

“NIRSAL is supposed to be a guarantee agency. We don’t give one Kobo out. We issue paper, guaranteeing you the banker so that if anything happens to your money, you come back to us. But of course, as a risk company, we ensure that event doesn’t happen.

“Because if we don’t monitor in the field and events happen and we keep paying…that means CBN paying, then what is the purpose of the existence of the organisation?

“What is so confusing to the public is when you tell people that NIRSAL does not touch one Kobo from the government. Go to the national assembly, there has never been an appropriation for NIRSAL to spend. And we are not designed to spend money.

“In fact,we don’t even have the money to spend. We are designed to issue guarantees to bankers and investors against that capital. NIRSAL building belongs to CBN. All our offices are run from CBN branches nationwide. The reason this is so is that we reduce the burden on our little earnings so that we can pay staff salaries and keep servicing farmers when they borrow money.

“CBN is the Chairman of the board and provides oversight. That means the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, is board chairman of NIRSAL. The approval for NIRSAL was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan. But we took off under President Muhammadu Buhari. That means it was under Buhari that we were established or incorporated.

“In the beginning, I rented a bungalow in Maitama, used my own money and friends to pay for this and that. Sometimes when I didn’t have money to pay for diesel for the generator, I had to borrow money. We operated from this bungalow for six months until the first board meeting. We built this organisation from zero with not more than seven staff at the initial stage,” he explained.

Institutions and The Attack Dogs
Approval for NIRSAL was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan (R), but incorporated under President Muhammadu Buhari (L)

Hameed also reserved plenty of praise for the CBN Governor, for his kind words and support.

“I don’t cease to praise my boss, Gov Emefiele. This is one CBN Governor that doesn’t act like CBN Governor. CBN Governors are supposed to be quiet, mind themselves with inflation, monetary policy, financial instability, exchange rates. But Emefiele? He’s made his lifetime ambition to use the CBN system to do more developmental financing in agriculture.

“Nothing keeps Emefiele awake than what to do with rice farmers, palm oil and so on.You know this. We work with the policies designed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. If there’s one organisation that deserves the highest national productivity merit award, it’s NIRSAL. We add value, we train farmers and we put bankers to work.

“They allege that I have put the entire capital of CBN in my pocket. Imagine that here I am, I go to CBN, and I do wizardry on them to approve so I can carry? Like CBN says ‘go inside, carry N72.5bn and go?’

“We do quarterly board meetings without fail. Every single thing I do in this place is controlled by the board. It’s their money, I’m just a servant. Everything we do at NIRSAL is for the public good. Over the span of its existence so far, NIRSAL has facilitated N100 billion into the agricultural sector. Honestly, Nigerians need to be proud of this baby and not try to bring it down with patently false allegations.”

On the March 18 protest, Hameed says the protesters were hired for peanuts and didn’t even know why they were at his office.

“The people who came to protest, we asked them, do you know NIRSAL, they said they don’t know. They said NIRSAL is supposed to give us government money. The protesters were sponsored. They didn’t even know what we do here. They said they were paid N1,000 to carry the placards.

Institutions and The Attack Dogs
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko; National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria

“My board has not indicted me; my board continues to shower praises on me. There’s a huge campaign of calumny against me and this organisation. Don’t forget that the agricultural agenda of the presidency and the central bank is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way. Like the importers of tomatoes, the importers of palm oil and the rest are very angry and unhappy.

“They ask; ‘why should the CBN not give foreign exchange? Why should Emefiele be rigging this revolution?’ Emefiele never forgets where he comes from in Agbor. How he grew up. How he suffered to go through school. You see him as CBN Governor on TV, but believe me, this man is a different person altogether. He is so full of humility and love.

“He tells me that Aliyu, if you think you are getting attacked one time, multiply that by a hundred in terms of what I get. Emefiele’s heart is clear. I learn humility from Emefiele. Some people think my job is a political appointment so they attack me. Somebody told me that ‘you think this honeymoon will continue? Your baptism is coming.’

“Without Emefiele, we wouldn’t be where we are as an organisation. The credit should not come to me at all. If people attack me, they are attacking the agricultural policy of this government. People are angry that they are being stopped from importing rice. There are sponsors behind all of these media attacks.

“How can someone write that the MD of NIRSAL has put the entire capital in his pocket and run away? They say I have stolen N75 billion or N5.6 billion from a wheat project in Jigawa? They say my son drives a Lamborghini and is spraying millions of dollars on the streets of Dubai…come on!”

Institutions and The Attack Dogs
Aliyu Abdulhameed (3rd from L), with members of the Heritage Bank at the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) 2018 Chief Risk Officers Forum Retreat, in Lagos,

Forcing staff to sign non-disclosure forms and dictatorship at NIRSAL

On allegations that he’s forcing his employees to sign secrecy agreements, Hameed says, “when I pay salaries, you’d hear complaints, when I do trainings, people would complain, when I do welfare, just be ready to be receiving information.

“If I sign on this desk for those that did ICAN to go and pay their dues or that the lawyers should go and pay their dues at NBA, I can assure you that the other people that are not lawyers would write to you to say I’m practicing favoritism.

“If every little thing I do here as CEO is subject to second guessing, it’s up to us to figure out what is reasonable or what is not. Which organisation, from Zenith bank or any organisation in this world, would allow its IT policy or corporate policy to be breached? So you mean that everything I do here, every board decision, I am supposed to call staff and say please can you take it to the street and share it?

“Is there any organisation that doesn’t have a code of corporate governance and oath of secrecy? Is that not backed by law? Is what we are doing not backed by the laws of corporations in Nigeria and around the world or not? Are there not confidentiality agreements in corporate settings everywhere?

“All organisations run background checks and certificate checks on incoming staff or criminal records. The oath of secrecy we do here is not about running the organisation, it’s about since your wife or kids go to XYZ schools, their addresses should not be exposed.

“Because, some of our staff are in charge of personal files, some staff are in charge of your salary file. So someone wants to carry our staff file and salary file and staff location number and go and share with kidnappers and killers right?

“If staff are complaining, why is it that when they join, they don’t say they won’t sign the oath of secrecy like any other organisation? Why don’t they leave? And who says as a young organisation, we cannot be improving our regulations and rules as we go along? As we learn?

“There are some things that are reasonable, there are some things that do not make sense. If I don’t do what I am supposed to do as CEO, I may as well resign and go and tell Gov Emefiele that I can’t do this job anymore.

“If any staff meets you with these allegations, ask them why they haven’t resigned and gone to any organisation in the United States or in Nigeria where they don’t sign corporate governance forms. By the way, I am an employee here too, I also signed those forms.”

On allegations that he appointed a daughter of the nation’s police boss in order to ingratiate himself with the IGP and shield himself from interrogation and a possible arrest, Hameed says nothing could be farther from the truth.

“So if your sister, or your son or brother’s son qualifies for a job after an interview and I say come and do a job, he knows risk management, he knows finance, he knows agriculture, so it’s a crime because I know Jude, not to employ that person?

“Forget whether it is IG (Inspector General) or President Buhari or Governor Emefiele or that man on the street.

“The majority of my Technical Assistants are from which ethnic group? Tosin (one of his assistants) is from Osun State. They even wrote that I have a car and driver. Why should MD of NIRSAL have a driver? Or why should my wife have a driver?

“You know, 90 percent of our work is in the bush with farmers, kidnappers and armed robbers. If you guarantee a project, you have to go monitor on the ground so that it doesn’t fail. The board decided to buy bulletproof cars for staff, management and board members when they go on site visits. And they say Aliyu has bought cars….

“Did the board purchase these cars and say ‘Aliyu these are your personal cars, drive them?’ Where the cars bought in my name or they are company assets? They say MD has 11 cars scattered across the country, right? Why can’t they say every bulletproof vehicle, pick-ups, are Aliyu’s? In other words, why did God create me? Because they say why should my children go to school? If I leave NIRSAL today, I leave all the assets here for the new MD’s use”.

As an activist, I hereby  pass a vote of confidence of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc.) which is a US$500million Non-Bank Financial Institution wholly-owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) created to Redefine, Dimension, Measure, Re-Price and Share agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.

Established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigerian Bankers’ Committee in 2013, NIRSAL’s mandate is to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain, fixing agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity, and institutionalizing incentives for agricultural lending through its five (5) strategic pillars, namely: Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.

  • Emmanuel Onwubiko is the Head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com, www.thenigerianinsidernews.com, www.emmanuelonwubiko.com, www.huriwanigeria.com. 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

Raping Society, Not Just Individuals

By Benneth Joshua K.

As the campaign against forced sex called “Rape” gathers momentum, the need to raise our voices against a twin-devil, “false rape accusation” is more important now than ever. It is important to state that like sister-deviants who arbitrarily and unilaterally force their ways through others genitals or rectums for sexual gains, amidst others; false rape alarmists are worse evils whose very existence need be checked at all cost.

Equally important to note is that this later set of deviants do grave harm, not just to the psyche of their victims, but to the morals of society, which empathy is exploited and manipulated for personal gains. For the victim, the injury cuts deeper and leaves him/her with the course of proving innocence where and when such prove is unnecessary.

The victim’s reputation in public is cannibalized and probably left in tatters; whilst in private, same reputation might be placed on permanent scrutiny depending on the cognitive capacity of those around him/her.

The victim’s self-worth is also set on a potential downward spiral if and when the accused has limited capacity for self-motivation. The result of this might be suicide or its tendencies such as depression, isolation, balkanization of personal image, etc…

Raping Society, Not Just Individuals
MODEL: Janet Akor; Queen of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2019

For the society, the trauma is deeper but less felt. What it does for starters is creating a hallucinating moral fabric, thus engendering suspicion among neighbours and friends who were formerly and solidly on good grounds with themselves. Society becomes the unwilling tool for redefinition of social cohesion, all thanks to false rape accusers.

In most cases, the accused is judged and sentenced to a live of regrets and pain by a jury with a morbid sense of deduction. Lives are shattered… Society is hoodwinked and caused to float unanchored until, if it ever happens, a reasonably educated argument and reality to debunk the false rape accusation is ushered into public discourse.

Before then, the false rape accuser has succeeded in raping not just the innocence of its victim but the reputation of same victim and the moral cadence of society. Rape is Bad! Its an Evil that Must Be Stopped!!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Benneth Joshua K and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

HERDSMEN INVASION: Gov. Uzodinma Answers Archbishop Obinna’s Questions

By Lancelot Obiaku.

 

Recently, the vocal Archbishop of the Owerri Catholic Ecclesiastical Province; the Most Rev. (Dr.) Anthony Obinna, expressed concerns over alleged invasion of communities in the Southeast by Fulani Herdsmen. The cleric had in an open letter to the Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Senator Hope Uzodinma, called on him and other Southeast leaders not to blink an eyelid over the security of lives and property in the region.

In his open letter, Archbishop Obinna admitted that he had spoken privately with Gov. Uzodinma but seemed not satisfied with the private discussion with the Governor. He chose to go public with the matter, notwithstanding his earlier meeting with the Governor. He said: “Not satisfied with defeating us in an uneven war, there is this threat to wipe out the Igbos and take over our God-given homes and lands.

“I hereby publicly charge him to recognise that it is his primary duty as the Chief Security Officer of the state to protect the lives of Imo people, their homes and their lands. Your Excellency, your voice should be loud and clear on this life and death issue”.

The Archbishop extended his call for the protection of lives and property in the Southeast to other governors and leaders in the region. “I equally charge other Igbo governors and all Igbo leaders at various levels to protect our people, our homes and our lands. I urge all our people to rise up in prayer to God, in vigilance and legitimate self-defence. The right to life, to our homes and our lands is God-given,” he stated.

Though the Archbishop’s outburst on the alleged increasing presence of Fulani Herdsmen in the Southeast remains unconfirmed, the threat posed by an invasion of the Southeast by any group cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. Recent experience shows that cattle rearing Fulanis have been associated with violent and lethal clashes with farmers in their host communities.

HERDSMEN INVASION: Gov. Uzodinma Answers Archbishop Obinna's Questions
Senator Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State

Such fights had often resulted from the herdsmen irrationally gracing cattle on farmlands, leading to the destruction of crops and its attendant economic losses. Situations like this had contributed a great deal to insecurity in communities in Northern Nigeria in particular, and other parts of the country.

However, we may not have reason to lose sleep over the alleged invasion of the state by Fulani herders as Gov. Uzodinma has taken proactive measures to secure lives and property in Imo State. Over a week ago, the Governor allayed the fear over the rumoured herdsman invasion of Imo forests when he said that “the rumours going around that there are suspected Fulani herdsmen in various forests in our state who are ready to unleash terror on our people are all false. Imolites are urged to disregard it. We are urged to go about our normal businesses as the Government remains committed to the business of protecting the lives and properties of the citizenry.”

Not resting on his oars or taking things for granted, the Governor demonstrated that he is not leaving anything to chance. On Friday, June 5, 2020, the Governor announced plans by his administration to establish community policing in the state. “Our Administration is working on a law to establish community policing to enable the Government and communities collaborate more on security issues,” the Governor said.

He added that “The bill will collapse some of the existing security outfits while harmonizing the viable ones to ensure a more holistic approach to tackling security issues in the State. This initiative will enhance intelligence gathering by the state.”

We believe that the Governor was correct when he explained that the establishment of community policing in the state would, among other things, enhance intelligence gathering in various communities, and make efficient collaboration of the communities with the government on security issues possible.

HERDSMEN INVASION: Gov. Uzodinma Answers Archbishop Obinna's Questions
Most Rev. (Dr.) Anthony Obinna; Metropolitan Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Ecclesiastical Province

The Southwest had recently established the legal framework for the establishment of their own brand of community policing called Amotekun. We have seen the Amotekun launched in Osun and other states in the region. This proactive move in response to the mounting security threats in the area was warmly welcomed by the citizens of the affected states. And rightly so.

Consequently, we think that if properly set up, funded and managed, the proposed community policing in Imo State would boost security in the state. The idea could not have been birthed at a better time than now, considering the heightened tension over insecurity in Nigeria and Southeast in particular.

Given that individuals would be saddled with policing Imo communities under the new security architecture are citizens of the state, the onus on them is greater, as they are not expected to compromise on the security of the communities in the state. Marching words with action, as in this instant case by the Governor, is a perfect and prompt response to the concerns raised over the safety of lives and property in the state, especially those expressed by the revered Archbishop Obinna.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Lancelot Obiaku and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

N8.5BN: The Untold Story of IMSUBEB Contracts

By Collins Ughalaa.

 

Nigeria has had chequered history in her education sector. From 1960 to about 1977 Nigeria maintained the education policy she inherited from her colonial master, Britain. Over a decade after her independence, the journey for review of the inherited policy on education began. In 1973 the National Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) had a national conference which gave rise to the National Policy on Education in 1976, giving birth to the Universal Primary Education programme (UPE).

One of the problems the education sector faced was getting people into school. According to Claudia Irigoyen of the Centre for Public Impact, school enrolment was still low in the 90s, with gross enrolment ratio in primary school pegged at 86%. This figure, she said, dropped to 25% by the time children reached secondary school level, as many of them dropped out of school after primary education.

Apart from low enrolment rate, Irigoyen added: “The education sector infrastructure also deteriorated and was neglected. In 1997, the Federal Ministry of Education – while on a nationwide tour of the country’s schools – allegedly stated that ‘the basic infrastructure in schools such as classrooms, laboratories, workshops, sporting facilities, equipment, libraries were in a state of total decay’. The physical condition of most schools was reported to be pathetic” (sic).

As part of measures to address the challenges in the education sector and as well respond to the global demand to provide education for all, the federal government under President Olusegun Obasanjo launched the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme on September 29, 1999, in Sokoto State.

The programme rather took off in April 2004 due to legal issues. It was designed as a nine-year national basic education programme with the objective of eliminating illiteracy, ignorance and poverty as well as stimulating and accelerating national development, political consciousness and national integration.

N8.5BN: The Untold Story of IMSUBEB Contracts By Collins Ughalaa.
Sen. Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State, Nigeria

The UBE, therefore, provides for six years of primary school and three years of Junior Scondary School. Part of the mandate of the UBE is to provide “free, universal and compulsory basic education for every Nigerian child aged 6-15 years”. By the end of the 9-year programme culminating at the JSS3, a student is adjudged literate – that is, being able to read and write.

To coordinate the robust UBE Programme nationwide the federal government created a counterpart funding programme where state governments were required to establish an agency that would house the programme in their respective states. Imo State bought into the programme and in turn created the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB) as required by the UBE regulation.

Through the IMSUBEB the Imo State government responds to the challenges in the education sector. As required by the UBE regulation, IMSUBEB does not work in isolation but in partnership with the UBEC.

However, recently there has been a buzz in the media over alleged refusal of the Governor Hope Uzodimma led government in Imo State to pay the contractors that were allegedly awarded contracts by the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB) during the last administration.

The contractors claim they have done their jobs, or are still on them, but the state government has refused to pay them. They also claimed that the state government does not want to pay them for political reasons. These claims are far from the truth as those pillorying the state government for refusing to pay IMSUBEB contractors are being economical with the truth.

N8.5BN: The Untold Story of IMSUBEB Contracts By Collins Ughalaa.
Prof. Mathew Obioma Iheduru; Executive Chairman, IMSUBEB

Our independent findings show that there is no partisan consideration in the travails of the contractors, rather their ordeal is caused by a fundamental error caused by those who awarded the contracts, which the government says is unacceptable. Moreover, the non-payment of the contractors did not begin with the Governor Uzodimma led government but with the PDP government that awarded the contracts. The reason, we gathered for the non-payment is that the award of the contracts did not follow due process.

We gathered that even though IMSUBEB had placed advertisement in the newspapers calling for the submission of tenders to the agency for the contract said to worth N8.5BN, the Due Process Committee in IMSUBEB which has the statutory role of recommending contracts and monitoring the entire contract award process never met and never recommended any contract to be award.

A friend; Greg Nwadike, in his several articles on the issue admitted that the only procedure followed was the newspaper advertisement. We understand that before anything else, the Due Process Committee meets and decides the contracts to be awarded, but this was never done.

Ironically, the contractors believe that the newspaper advertisement means that the contract award process followed due process. “The jobs (2016 and 2017 Action Plan) awarded to us by the immediate past administration of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha followed due process. Attached herewith is a photocopy of one of the Newspaper publications that carried the job advert”, they said in their letter to UBEC.

Unfortunately, the directors at IMSUBEB did not believe that the newspaper advertisements were enough to satisfy legal requirements for the award of contracts. The directors at IMSUBEB who were statutory members of the Due Process Committee were said to have met the Chairman and briefed him on the violations, but nothing came out of it.

N8.5BN: The Untold Story of IMSUBEB Contracts By Collins Ughalaa.
A Soldiers Story Movie out in the Cinemas this December

Apart from the initial violations, the IMSUBEB contract award process went deeper into violating extant regulations. We further gathered that apart from the Opening of Bids Ceremony, there was no bidding for the contracts, rather the contracts were said to have been given to influential party members, top government officials and politicians in the state.

Greg Nwadike admits this fact also in his article of Wednesday, 27 May 2020. “It should be noted that these contracts were also won by most of the politicians who are today members of the Uzodinma’s political family. Of note are the … members of the Imo state House of Assembly who personally grabbed these jobs, sold them to these professional contractors”, he said.

The members of the Due Process Committee had expressed shock over the manner the contractors were selected, alleging that the contractors were arbitrarily selected and that the names of the contractors were kept in secret and were never published in any newspaper or posted on the Board’s Notice Board, in keeping with the rules of transparency.

Not satisfied with the process, therefore, the directors were said to have met the Chairman for the umpteenth time, pointing out the further violations to him. And following the said violations that characterised the award of the contracts the directors refused to process papers for the payment or mobilization of the contractors. This was where the problem began.

Aware of the problem, the powers that be were said to have assured the contractors not to worry, that they would be paid, nevertheless, as there were plans to either transfer the “stubborn” directors or sack them to pave the way for the payment of the contractors and “smooth operation of IMSUBEB”.

N8.5BN: The Untold Story of IMSUBEB Contracts By Collins Ughalaa.

In their letter to UBEC, mentioned above, the contractors agreed that they started work without mobilization fee. “We have attained different milestones without mobilization”, they admitted. The only reason they started work without mobilization fee was because the directors refused to process their payment papers and they were assured of their payment by the powers that be. By this time, Uzodimma was not the Governor of Imo State.

Contrary to the media buzz, therefore, the logjam in the payment of the contractors which started with the last administration was not resolved until the end of that administration on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. Governor Hope Uzodimma merely inherited the problem. The State Assembly, seeing the same irregularities recommended that the contracts be voided.

A worker deserves his wages, no doubt, but we cannot build something on nothing or adopt irregularity as state mantra. Therefore, there is no reason to vilify the Governor for insisting that the right thing be done.

Recently, the Governor scrapped the law that provided pensions for former governors, deputy governors, speakers and deputy speakers of the state assembly. More interesting is the fact that the Governor would have benefitted from the law upon leaving office. But he chose to sacrifice his legitimate personal privileges just to ensure that the right thing is done.

The Governor made the sacrifice not because some people put him under pressure. No one even recognized that such a law posed any serious financial burden on the state until when the House passed the bill abrogating it. It was a forgotten matter. Business as usual would rather suggest that the Governor continued in the trajectory he met. But he chose otherwise.

It’s painful that the contractors are caught in this web. But seeing the broader picture would recommend that we encourage the Governor and not vilify him.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Collins Ughalaa and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

 

IHEDIOHA & IMO PDP DEFECTORS: Very Interesting Rehearsal for Gov. Uzodinma

By Sam Onwuemeodo.

In my open letter to Chief Emeka Ihedioha, dated May 27, 2019; two days to his inauguration as the Executive Governor of Imo State, I solemnly told him, not to be carried away or be intoxicated by the avalanche of accolades and beautifully worded Congratulatory Messages that had greeted his governorship.

I reminded him that, there was no humiliation or criticism or attack or disappointment Rochas Okorocha experienced that he would not experience. Afterall, Okorocha had received accolades or Commendations and fantastic Congratulatory Messages, perhaps, more than those before him.I was very frank. I didn’t speak in tongues. I didn’t soliloquize. I was sincere. I had also told Governor Hope Uzodinma, a similar thing, in my open letter to him, on March 27, 2020.

Today, Ihedioha can tell better. In less than three months, after he was Sacked as governor, by the Supreme Court, he has become a toy in the hands of the same elements that had held him in a very esteem, when the tap was running. Some key officers of his party, the PDP in Imo, have resigned, both their Positions in the Party and their memberships, respectively, claiming to have done so because of him.

And the governor, Senator Uzodinma, was reported to have received the defectors personally at the Government House, and by so doing, giving them the honour they never deserved. All things, being equal. Onwa Oyoko has also become the first Executive Governor of the State to receive defectors from a Political Party in the State, at the Sam Mbakwe, Exco Chambers.

What were the reasons for their defections? They said, they had left their Party because of Ihedioha’s high-handedness. They also claimed that, they were coming to add Value to APC. And Value that only existed in their imaginations, which they could not add to PDP. Just follow me closely. We are migrating.

IHEDIOHA & IMO PDP DEFECTORS: Very Interesting Rehearsal for Gov. Uzodinma
His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha was sacked as Imo State Governor by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in January, 2020

In 2003, the Imo PDP and its members gave Ihedioha the ticket, for the Aboh Mbaise/Ngor-Okpala Federal Constituency Seat. He was successful in the main election. He went to the House of Representatives. In 2007, the same Party gave him ticket for the same Position. He went back to the Green Chambers of the National Assembly.

In 2011, the Party equally gave him ticket. He was in the same House for another four years. Add the tenures, you have twelve years he had spent in the House of Representatives, sponsored by the same Party. The Party, made him Chief Whip and Deputy-Speaker respectively, at different times.

In 2015, the Party in Imo gave him the governorship ticket. He Contested against Rochas Okorocha and came Second, in the election. In 2019, the Party again gave him the governorship ticket. And, either by Omission or by Commission, INEC declared him winner. He held sway as governor till January 2020, when the Supreme Court sacked him.

From 2003 to 2020, a simple arithmetic would give Seventeen years. For the Seventeen years, these PDP defectors didn’t see Ihedioha’s high-handedness. They only needed the Green Cap man to lose the governorship, to see his high-handedness. I do not believe them. They can tell their disjointed stories to the marines. None of them resigned, either as an official of the Party or its member.

They stayed put until the man left as governor. And Babatunde Charles Ezekwem in Particular, did not resign as the Chairman of the Party even when the man he had supported in the PDP Primary lost out. I am talking about Senator Samdaddy Anyanwu. He didn’t resign at any Stage. Ihedioha gave him the Chairmanship of Heartland, Football Club. He Collected. Or, took it. He didn’t see the man’s high-handedness.

IHEDIOHA & IMO PDP DEFECTORS: Very Interesting Rehearsal for Gov. Uzodinma
Sen. Hope Uzodinma of Imo State; Executive Governor of Imo State

Ihedioha Created Imo Sports Commission, with one Fan Ndubuoke who is his kinsman, as Chairman, to Checkmate Ezekwem, he never resigned even out of frustration. He held on until Ihedioha was sent Packing as governor. Then his resignation. I do not know how we reconcile some of these pranks.

The same story with Hon. Ahanonu Chibueze Williams, who was the Party’s Youth leader. Again, Damian Opara and Barr. Jerry Egemba, who were the Publicity Secretary and Legal Adviser of the Party respectively. And of course, Chief Ekwegh Chijioke, who was the South-East Publicity Secretary of the Party. They are all fickle minded fellows. Elements like them, can’t build a nation. They can’t be models in an ideal democratic setting or environment. Even in an age-grade scenario.

The governor should have asked his Special Assistant on Protocol, to take them to a fun centre like IBARI OGWA or UWAMGBEDE bar, at World Bank Road, to go and drink to Stupor, in lieu of taking them to the Sam Mbakwe Exco Chambers. I feel for them. Barr. Ezekwem is from Okigwe Local Government in Okigwe Zone. Barr. Jerry Egemba, another major defector, is from Ehime Mbano, LGA, also in Okigwe Zone and Chief Ekweghe who also answers “Pope” is from Isiala Mbano, LGA, equally in Okigwe Zone.

Hon. Ahanonu is from Nkwerre while Hon. Opara is from Ohaji/Egbema LGA. They had also claimed that they joined Imo APC to add Value to it. Which Value? If they could not add Value to PDP where they had stayed for years, what is the guarantee that they would add any to APC? In the 2019 governorship election, Action Alliance (AA) won in Okigwe LGA with 8,469 votes. APGA came Second with 8,365. Then PDP, Ezekwem’s Party came third. And in election, third position is vague. Why didn’t he deliver the LGA to PDP?

In Ehime Mbano, where Barr. Egemba comes from, APGA won with 12,410 votes, followed by AA, with 5,444. PDP also came third. In Isiala Mbano, where Chief Ekwegh comes from, APGA dwarfed other Parties with Senator Ifeanyi Araraume in-charge. In Nkwerre where Hon. Ahanonu comes from, PDP lost in all the elections. Also lost in Ohaji/Egbema where Hon. Opara hails from. So, where are they going to get the Value to add to APC?

IHEDIOHA & IMO PDP DEFECTORS: Very Interesting Rehearsal for Gov. Uzodinma
Ugwumba Uche Nwosu; Imo 2019 Gubernatorial Candidate of the AA

If Ihedioha had remained as governor, would any of them had imagined to leave the Party? Your answer is as good as mine. In other words, they had neither believed in their Party, the PDP nor in Ihedioha. They were just there waiting for ‘food is ready’ announcement. This are ‘feeding bottle’ Politicians. Their defections and their receptions are all rehearsals for Governor Uzodinma.

If these PDP elements could desert Ihedioha they had carried on their shoulders for Seventeen years and nominated him for the governorship of the State for two times, and followed him till January 2020 when he lost the governorship at the Supreme Court, before leaving, then, they would also abandon Uzodinma who they have just come to meet in APC, three months after his Victory.

What is happening at the Panels set up by Ihedioha to probe Okorocha should also be another rehearsal for governor Uzodinma. Almost all those who had appeared before the Panels, both the Contractors and then government functionaries, big and small, have all denied doing the jobs and receiving payments, for which the Panels asked them to come. To them, they have finished with Okorocha. They have no more inheritance in him. It has become a matter of, to your tents, Oh! Israel.

They want to run down Okorocha to gain acceptance from the new landlord at the Douglas House; Governor Uzodinma. One of them admitted that the bank account, money was passed into, is his own. But claimed that he didn’t know that such money was paid into the account. On cross-examination, he admitted that he got the credit alerts. These are the kinds of stories they tell to their audience. They are the bad losers and not Okorocha.

These defectors have not left PDP because of their love for APC or for Uzodinma, or because of their hatred for Ihedioha or PDP. The implication is that, if by tomorrow, Senator Uzodinma loses to APGA or UPP (that’s not my prayer), they will also move, giving reasons. They are always Confronted or threatened by the uncertainties of their personal Political gains. Which is one of the ugly indices of our kind of Politics.

IHEDIOHA & IMO PDP DEFECTORS: Very Interesting Rehearsal for Gov. Uzodinma
A Soldiers Story Movie out in the Cinemas this December

But that of Imo, is becoming disturbing. If you ask me, the manner with which they have defected, remains a mockery of our democracy and would remain largely, Counter-Productive. They never supported Muhammadu Buhari or APC. They never supported Uzodinma or any APC Candidate in their domains. Overnight, they developed Charity for the Party and all those Concerned. I have my doubts.

I tell you a related story. Rt. Hon. Acho Ihim was the deputy-governorship Candidate to Ugwumba Uche Nwosu on the ticket of AA. He saw nothing wrong in the whole setting or arrangement. He was there, until the election came and gone. He waited until the tribunal Confirmed Ihedioha’s election.

Then he left as Nwosu’s deputy in the election and celebrated his exit. And also began to give reasons, he took such action. And nobody could ask him; would you have left, if Nwosu had won the election or won at the tribunal? My worry is that, they tell these sordid stories believing that we would believe them.

Let me further strengthen the debate, using some elders in the State, to make my point. There has never been any government or governor in the State that these particular Imo elders never praised from one radio Station to another. And from one newspaper House to another. Right from the time of Tanko Zubairu as the Military Administrator, to the time of Ihedioha. There is no positive or sweet thing they have said or would say about Uzodinma today, they never said about Achike Udenwa or Ikedi Ohakim or Rochas Okorocha or Emeka Ihedioha. Let me be Contradicted.

At least, I have a functional library to lay hand on any past material I need. These elders in question are magicians. They know when to join a particular government and when to quit. Like I said, they are magicians or fortune-tellers. We are not and do not wish to be like them. Do you know or do you not know that, once a Chief, always a Chief?

That is to say, I remain the Okangaoziri 1 of Mbutu Nwenkwo Autonomous Community, in Aboh Mbaise LGA, even when my traditional ruler, had wasted his time, when he wrote to say that, he had taken back the title he willingly gave to me, also because of this same Ihedioha. My traditional ruler was apolitical. A very nice man. He didn’t want to be left out in the scheme of things. And had wanted to use me to enroll. Echewodu, is an Igbo name. For me, We shall Continue to Clap for Jesus.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Sam Onwuemeodo and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 

 


 

 

Ambrose Nwaogwugwu and DSS Action: Matters Arising

By Dan Ugwu.

With the passage of time, pieces of information are emerging with regard to the invitation, detention and interrogation of Mr. Ambrose Nwaogwugwu; the DG of Imo PDP New Media.

The Imo Information Commissioner; Declan Emelumba was alleged to have revealed that Nwaogwugwu and two others, now at large, were the masterminds of some seditious fabrications against the state government, claiming, among other things, that the government had created three Emirates in the state and installed three Emirs.

More so, that the government planned to rename Imo State University after the late Chief of staff to the President; Abba kyari, and lately that the government had approved 15 Almajiri Schools for the state.

As far as am concerned, there is nothing wrong with the DSS inviting any person for some clarifications on allegations. It is neither a bridge of the person’s right nor an intimidation to cow any crusader to silence.

In such development, the suspect has every opportunity to either disclaim the findings or exonerate himself. Where he has no window of escape, the DSS has every right after 48 hours detention as approved by the court to arraign the person where the court will have the jurisdiction to read the charges against him. In Nwogwugwu’s case, lawful process is on display.

Ambrose Nwaogwugwu and DSS Action: Matters Arising
Ambrose Nwaogwugwu; DG, Imo PDP New Media

While the case at hand is coming as shock to many Nigerians is because of the misconception and misunderstanding people have about FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND INFORMATION. This natural democratic freedom does not in any way give citizens the platform to run down government.

Without prejudice to any political party, most of the new age politicians, party supporters and aides think that all there is in opposition is the brazen audacity to cause public disaffection and unrelenting determination to incite the public against the government.

This is why people peddle all sorts of false and malicious information against the government in the guise of playing opposition. Today, secondary school graduates and dropouts, uninformed and armchair informants stage malicious writings and unfounded lies against the person of Muhammadu Buhari and they sell their junk down the suburb, inciting revolt and installing hate in unsuspecting citizens who swallow junk as fact.

Various forms of drawings emerging from cartoonists have also joined in this infamous charade where almost every person has become a journalist.

Today, people have forgotten that even in the face of projected freedom of speech and information, there are still crimes labelled as defamation, libel, calumny and slander in media law. This should evoke a sense of responsibility where people will be responsible for their actions.

Ambrose Nwaogwugwu and DSS Action: Matters Arising
A Soldiers Story Movie out in the Cinemas this December

If Nwaogwugwu is responsible for those defamatory publications, let the law stipulate his guilt, if he exonerates himself, let his freedom be secured. This however, is not a clampdown on social crusading, it is a call to responsibility for one’s action.

We will not fail to report with dismay how governments in Nigeria have lately been using the DSS and police to intimidate and punish people unjustly, and how the Nigerian judiciary has always played out the government template.

The case of Agba Jalingo in Cross River State demanded public outcry before the DSS took the journalist to court where he was granted bail after months. If the DSS carries out her responsibility to the favour of Imo government in Nwaogwugwu’s case, the voice of condemnation will never go silent.

                                             Dan Ugwu is a Social Analyst; he writes from Owerri, Imo State

                                                  

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 

 

 


 

How Christian Mantras are Negatively Impacting the Nigerian Society

By Rita Selman.

 

How Christian Mantras are Negatively Impacting the Nigerian Society
National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja; The Centre for Christian worship in Nigeria

In the beginning

The first organized and named significant Christian gathering was the Catholic Church. It grew to become as political as it was religious.

There were, and still are, notable pockets of Christian adherents by other names. They were also independent of the Catholic Church.

However, in the sixteenth century the situation changed. A little known German monk and scholar called Martin Luther started questioning some of the practices of the Catholic Church.

The church authorities tried in vain to subdue him. Unfortunately for the Catholic Church, Martin Luther’s rebellion coincided with the face-off between King Henry VIII and the Vatican.

King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife (unacceptable in the Catholic Church) and marry the delectable Anne Boleyn. This alignment of issues succeeded in causing a rift within the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther’s followers became known informally as Protestants. They make up the Christian denominations namely; Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists, etc of today.

With time, another upheaval occurred within the Catholic and Protestant churches which resulted in the movement known as Pentecostalism.

Pentecostals concentrate on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and see themselves as having access to powers outside the realm of mortals.

The birth of Pentecostalism in Nigeria

The Pentecostal movement in Nigeria may trace its growth to the likes of Joseph BabalolaPa Josiah AkindayomiRev Uma Ukpai and Bishop Benson Idahosa.

How Christian Mantras are Negatively Impacting the Nigerian Society
Late Archbishop Benson Idahosa inspired a generation

The movement’s method of choice in the beginning was evangelical crusades. The preachers won souls for Christ and healed the sick.

These early Nigerian Pentecostal preachers established churches, but the churches were not their sole “call cards” (so to say).

The preachers’ goal was conversion of sinners. The tracts their members handed out did not have categorical instructions to “worship” with them at THEIR church.

The changing Pentecostal narrative

The Pentecostal movement in Nigeria has always participated in the political and religious affairs of the nation. They do this for the good of the Church and the society at large.

But as time went on, the Pentecostal narrative changed.

In the early days, the messages of these Pentecostal preachers were outright criticisms of the Catholic Church and her doctrines. Perhaps the movement was still reeling from the memory of the unpleasant divorce from the mother Church,

For instance, the notion of purgatory – a kind of stop-over for dead people – did not sit well with Pentecostals.

The movement copiously quoted Bible verses to counter the idea of Purgatory. Hebrews 9:27 became the go-to phrase to challenge the position of the Catholic Church on this particular doctrine.

But with time, the verse, “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, KJV) faded in regular discourse as did the frequency of the soul-winning crusades.

They gave way to mega-churches and the assurance of Philippians 4:19: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (KJV).

Philippians 4:19 would not be the last to be heartily embraced by the Pentecostal world. Other popular phrases include “no weapon fashioned against me shall prosper” and later; “it’s not my portion”.

All about the satisfaction of self

As the Pentecostal churches grew bigger, the previous narratives gave way to “destiny helpers”, to “highly favoured”, to “divine wealth”. These mantras mostly emphasize the satisfaction of self here on earth, usually by some miraculous happenstance and not persistent effort.

How Christian Mantras are Negatively Impacting the Nigerian Society
We can wait for destiny helpers to locate us

These “catch-phrases” for want of a better description, are no more dangerous than a therapist saying, “you are special” to a patient in order to help the patient’s self-esteem issues.

The problem arises when the recipients of these mantras are ill-educated, impressionable congregants. They are like the child that can’t decide between the chocolate ice cream and a pizza.

They want both so they hover between the practices of their ancestors and the new way of worship that promises them heaven on earth.

The danger is in plain sight

In the propagation of God’s word in Nigeria in present times, English language has become the enemy. Of course, we should be mindful of our utterances as continuously repeated words can take on a life of its own.

But we also forget that English language is a second language to us with figurative speech and idiomatic expressions.

The English language has been twisted so much in religious discourse in the present Nigerian society that a woman at the end of the line at an ATM refuses to answer the polite question of whether she is the last in line. And the bystanders admonish the enquirer that the woman can never be “last in line” as that would mean she was using her own mouth to affirm that she would always be last which somehow translates to failure, poverty, etc.

This same “bastardization” of the English language is the reason why a parent storms a school to demand that her child be removed from JSS 1F, insisting that anything “F” stands for failure.

All these might appear to be harmless human foibles, but these beliefs and actions beget a society where a father poisons his children to death because a pastor told him the children were witches and responsible for his travails.

Something in a name?

Maybe there’s something in a name, maybe not.

In the past, African parents, unlike their western counterparts, named their children after events and festivals. It may also be a happy occurrence, a desire, a fear, a bountiful harvest, an era of famine, a calamity, position in the family, realized or unrealized wish, a market day, etc. Sometimes a parent would name their child after a personal god or deity.

Presently, African parents choose names from the Bible (or plain English names) for their children. But as mentioned two sub-headings ago, the continuous “favour”, “fortune”, “success” messages of the Pentecostal movement have taken unchallenged residence in the consciousness of the people.

Let’s name everybody Favour and Goodluck

These words have made major impressions that parents are naming their children Favour, Miracle, Goodluck, Fortune and so on. They do this in the belief that the children’s lives will be a manifestation of these names. In every ten children, five bear Favour and two may be named Goodluck or Success.

However, for every Miracle that wins a pot of gold at a game show, and for every Goodluck Jonathan that beats the odds to attain a lofty position, so also there is a Success or Fortune deservedly cooling his heels in prison.

How Christian Mantras are Negatively Impacting the Nigerian Society
Former President Goodluck Jonathan went from being a schoolboy with no shoes to the leader of over 180 million people.

How goes it Yul?

By the way, Yul Edochie, you are a responsible father and husband, a successful movie star and a former gubernatorial aspirant, how is the decidedly unchristian name “Yul” working out for you?

By all means let’s name our children Favour. But isn’t the idea that we are “highly favoured” preventing us from working harder because we believe it is not how hard we work but how highly we are favoured?

Is favour not the term we use in testimonies when someone more qualified for a job is passed over for us because of our connections?

Is the idea of a destiny helper not the reason why we don’t go the extra mile believing all we need is for a destiny helper to locate us?

In other words, is “favour” not one of the ways that Christian mantras are ruining the Nigerian society?

It’s not my portion

Another mantra that directly originated from the Pentecostal movement is, “It is not my portion”. It is used to exclude all manners of negative circumstances from one’s life.

For instance, “It is not my portion to be sick”, It is not my portion to be poor”, “It is not my portion to be in an accident”, etc.

There’s surely nothing wrong with having a positive mantra to live by; in fact, everyone should have one or three.

But could this particular mantra be the reason we can’t be bothered about our rights as citizens of Nigeria? Why should we demand for hospitals from our government since it is not our portion to use it? To put it plainly: e no concern us.

We proclaim that “we have light” even when the electricity supply is non-existent. We do this because we are not supposed to pronounce anything negative or else it becomes reality.

Although our system of education is so bad that it cannot be recommended to a classroom of monkeys, we dutifully say “it is well”.

How Christian Mantras are Negatively Impacting the Nigerian Society
One of the many roads in Nigeria. (Image Source: Vanguard News)

Who cares about insuring their properties when it is not their portion to encounter natural or man-made mishaps?

Why protest absurdly terrible roads in the country when we have declared that “it is not my portion” to be victims of that bad road?

Who wants a piece of national cake?

Some thirty years ago, the military was in charge of Nigeria. They also had a mantra they lived by. We all knew this mantra to be “chop-I-chop”.

It took root and spread fast. Everybody liked it. Who wouldn’t? It worked like this: you take what you can get from the national coffers, and I look the other way. And you don’t begrudge my own “chopping” also known as sharing of the national cake.

But the problem was that it did not stop there. The mantra permeated all facets of the Nigerian society.

More than thirty years later, the fruits of the “chop-I-chop” lifestyle is evident in numerous rotten government infrastructure. Many hospitals are ill-equipped. The roads are non-existent and educational institutions are even more degraded than those of a country at war.

Gold is refined by fire

Today, we have the Pentecostal mantras of ‘favour”, “divine wealth”, “destiny helper”, etc. They all seem harmless enough. But are we not beginning to see the same unwelcome consequences as that of the military’s mantra?

What do we call the case of a mother abandoning her toddler in the wild because of claims that the child is a witch? Or the children who slaughtered their mother on same accusation of witchcraft?

How Christian Mantras are Negatively Impacting the Nigerian Society
2-year-old Hope was accused of witch craft and abandoned on the streets to die before he was rescued by a Danish Aid worker

Did parents in colonial Nigeria complain to the nuns at the mission schools about their child being in JSS 1F?

Why is every challenge, every set-back, every hiccup, attributed to machinations of “village people” and not the Almighty’s potter’s wheel?

Why are problems not seen as gold being refined by fire? If Thomas Edison was a Nigerian Christian, would he had continued after his second failed experiment to get to the one thousandth? He would likely have gone to church to “bind” the village people who are against his progress.

Is anyone still in doubt that these mantras are negatively impacting the Nigerian society?

  • Source: mashasview.com

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Rita Selman, first published in mashasview.com, and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

Hope Uzodinma/Chiji Collins: The Alliance That Works

By Kizito Duru.

 

Most Nigerians still operate with the knowledge that the legislative arm of government only makes laws and checks the excesses of the executive. You don’t have to blame them. It was what we inhaled as knowledge as primary and secondary school students. But having got higher education, we now know that the legislature does much more. This reality brings to the fore the overwhelming need to update the curriculum of primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.

Only those who saw the need to unlearn, learn and relearn have the broader knowledge on the many duties of the legislature. Sitting at the top of the duties of the lawmakers is their harmonous working relationship with the executive arm to ensure quality governance, anchored on transparency, due process and accountability. While the primary school definition of lawmakers as those who control the excesses of the executive, portrays them as enemies of the executive, the broader knowledge paints the picture of the two arms as partners in progress.

Oftentimes, we celebrate the guts of speakers of a State House of Assembly who oppose the views and ideas of governors. We do not even care to interrogate the ideas to ascertain if it is worth the opposition. We seem to rather enjoy the verbal fisticuffs between the executive and legislative arms of the government, even at the detriment of our state and country. Such unhealthy fisticuffs, for many people, is practical democracy. Anything to the contrary means that the legislature is being controlled by the executive.

While we do not subscribe to the idea of the legislature dancing to the drumbeat of the executive, we exonerate ourselves from those who judge as anti-democracy a smooth and cordial relationship between the two arms of government. For economic, social and political development of any state in Nigeria, a healthy romance should be encouraged between the arms of government. We think this relationship does not call for the speaker to be labeled a rubber stamp of the executive.

In Imo State, the opposition; notably the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), presents a rather ridiculous definition of their job as an opposition party. They criticize even the air Governor Hope Uzodinma and Chiji Collins breathe. While we encourage healthy opposition in the state, we decry opposition that smacks of irresponsibility.

Hope Uzodinma/Chiji Collins: The Alliance That Works
Sen. Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State, Nigeria

Irresponsible opposition is typified when the opposition campaigns against robust understanding and cordiality between the executive and the legislature. Typical of the opposition in Imo State, they have termed the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chiji Collins, a rubber stamp, for supporting the vision of the governor.

We recall that the same Speaker they vilify today was the Speaker they promoted on the media as an ideal speaker to work with the immediate past governor of Imo State; Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha. At that time the PDP believed Chiji Collins was not a rubber stamp, even when he was not reported to have opposed any idea of Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha. Chiji Collins was a saint.

Fast-forward to January 14, when the Supreme Court gave the judgement that removed the PDP and Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Chiji Collins became the devil. They have called him unprintable names for giving the same support he gave to Ihedioha, to Uzodinma. Doublespeak as exemplified by the actions of the PDP is the reason many people say that hypocrites is the new name given to the media hirelings of the party.

The current speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly; Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, has shown that he is a partner anyone who is desirous of the progress and development of the State would crave. He is a consummate administrator, entrepreneur and politician, with relevant experiences in the educational and technology sectors of the economy.

His more than five years legislative experience will be invaluable in sustaining the landmark programs of the prosperity government. The partnership between the legislature and the executive arms of government is therefore a prerequisite for development in the state. No government succeeds without the cooperation of the various arms of government.

Hope Uzodinma/Chiji Collins: The Alliance That Works
Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins; Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly

Just recently, the Speaker was attacked for his role in the abolishment of a pension law for ex-governors and speakers of Imo State and their deputies. The executive Bill, which got the governor’s assent few days ago will save for the state One billion, three hundred million Naira (1.3bn) annually; et the opposition didn’t see anything good in it. At a time, Nigerians are bemoaning the high cost of governance in the country and states, such bills should be encouraged, as it does not only save cost but would translate to more development in the state.

What’s more? The Speaker and the Governor are the losers in the repealed law as both would not be entitled to the privileges enjoyed by their predecessors at the end of their tenures. This is selflessness and patriotism redefined in the Nigeria concept.

It bears repeating that the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, was in the Senate for an uninterrupted eight years, making laws. He is not a neophyte in the act of lawmaking. Both Chiji Collins and Uzodinma prepared themselves for their respective jobs. There is no indication that their loyalty to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be compromised.

Those expecting Chiji to be working at cross-purposes with the Governor may wait till eternity. The possibility of catching them on the wrong side of the law is slim. Chiji Collins and the members of the House of Assembly understand that everything they do has to be in the best interest of the Prosperity Government and the people of Imo State.

We had said in the past that we should not wish the Governor of our state to fail. We may not agree with him politically, but for the sake of the future and the dire need for our dear state to develop, especially on infrastructure, we should support the Governor to succeed. This, the Speaker and members of Imo House of Assembly have done.

The Uzodimma and Chiji partnership is working. Perhaps it is for this reason we now have the slogan, ‘Chiji 4 Hope,’ signifying the harmonious relationship between the two arms of government.  MAY IMO PROSPER!

  • Kizito Duruis a Journalist, he writes from Owerri, Imo State. Email: durukizito30@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Kizito Duru and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

Abolishing Pensions for Ex-Governors in Imo; A Masterstroke From Gov. Uzodinma

 By Kizito Duru.

Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has brought to an end the pensions and gratuities that accrued to former governors, deputy governors, speakers and deputy speakers in Imo. An executive bill sponsored to that effect got the governor’s assent on Friday, May 22. The governor cited the need to save cost for the state and channel money to other more important programs as one of the reasons he signed the dotted lines on the bill.

While signing the bill into law, the governor said: “As a young state grappling with enormous challenges, it dawned on me that the Imo State Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law No 5 of 2007 was a bad omen. At the age our governors and speakers are leaving office it will not be out of place to assume that many of them will be alive and kicking in the next 15 years or more. This will mean that by then the state will have more than 20 governors and speakers qualified for pensions and privileges”, adding that it was unacceptable to him.

Perhaps, the signing into law of the bill abolishing pensions for former governors, deputy governors, speakers and deputy speakers could have been treated as governor’s routine performance of his duty as the number one citizen of the state, had my friend Ambrose Nwaogwugwu not taken to his Facebook wall to state what he considered the exact amount the governor have saved for the state by signing the bill into law.

Nwaogwugwu said that One Billion and Three Hundred Million Naira (N1.3bn) annually have been saved for the state by that singular act. This figure will amount to Five Billion Two Hundred Million Naira (N5.4bn) for the four years of Gov. Uzodinma’s first tenure.

It is difficult to find a former governor in Imo who is lacking financially. While as governor, they may have invested in businesses that will not only put food on their table but also the table of their children, and even grandchildren. To further service such people with a whopping N1.3bn annually is not only evil but scandalous.

Abolishing Pensions for Ex-Governors in Imo; A Masterstroke From Gov. Uzodinma
Sen. Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State, Nigeria

As noted by the governor, former governors and speakers of the state receive bountiful severance allowance running into millions, hence they can do without the pensions. “It is more so because the same governors and speakers also receive severance allowances, amounting to several millions of Naira, when they disengage from office.

“Severance allowances are targeted at cushioning post public office financial challenges for non-pensionable positions such as Governor and Speaker. How then can the same category of former public office holders turn around to receive pensions?”, the governor wondered.

Noting the financial implications of sustaining the pensions regime for the former governors, speakers and their deputies, the Governor said: “I was alarmed that the financial implications for the state will not only be scandalous but indefensible. My simple calculation told me that there could come a time when the state could be spending more than one third of its resources to maintain former Governors and Speakers.

“This was unacceptable to me, particularly for a state that has not been able to pay the gratuities of many retired public servants.”

While in office as governor, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha did not fail to tell Imo people the pitiable financial condition of Imo State. Nothing has changed since then. In fact, it has become worse. With the COVID-19 pandemic which has crippled global economy, coupled with the all-time low price for crude oil, which is Nigeria’s mainstay, thus affecting the internally generated revenue of both the country and the states, Imo State cannot be in a condition worse than it is in at the moment.

Abolishing Pensions for Ex-Governors in Imo; A Masterstroke From Gov. Uzodinma
Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins; Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly

In this milieu, Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s decision to stop unnecessary expenses by the state government for the overall interest of Imo people is not only timely and audacious, but needful and commendable.

By signing the bill into law, Governor Uzodimma also demonstrated uncommon selflessness. It did not occur to him that himself and the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly are the ‘losers’ in this development. Repealing the law that entitled pensions to ex governors and speakers means that both Uzodinma and Collins will not enjoy the largesse when they leave offices as governor and speaker respectively. But both seem not to be bothered by that thought.

Noting this apparent personal loss, the governor said: “It is noteworthy that I am supposed to benefit from this law when I leave office as governor. Yet I called for its repeal. This should leave no one in doubt that I am acting in the best interest of our state and our people. I believe that those of us who have had the privilege of occupying exalted positions must be human enough to resist the temptation of feeding fat on the lean resources of the state at the expense of the people. We must know when to say enough is enough.”

The governor was right to term the pension law, anti-people and fraudulent. In America where we copied our democracy from, after stints in public offices, leaders go back to their professional fields and live a less flamboyant lives. In Nigeria, it is worrisome that while out of offices the former public office holders are further paid from the lean resources of the state.

Despite having the backing of the law, this act is nothing short of fraud. The governor recognised this fact, and he said: “So let no one make any mistake about it. The governors and speakers pensions and privileges law was a bad law that needed to be repealed. it was anti people. It was in bad faith. It was fraudulent.”

Abolishing Pensions for Ex-Governors in Imo; A Masterstroke From Gov. Uzodinma

The Governor added: “I could not condone such a law. History and my conscience will not forgive me if I do. I had no choice therefore but to ask for its repeal as part of my government’s recovery agenda. Yes, I needed to recover the billions of public funds that would have been lavished on a privileged few and plough it back to the more important business of developing our state.

“I am glad that the House of Assembly members saw reason with me and today this offensive law has been repealed.”

There is no gain saying the fact that Governor Uzodimma’s bold step as typified by his repealing of the pensions for former public office holders in Imo State will not only cushion the financial predicament of the state, but will also free some funds that could be channeled for the development of the state. Little wonder those who hardly agree with the actions of the Prosperity Government of Gov. Hope Uzodinma are quick to applaud this noble and wise decision.

  • Kizito Duru is a Journalist, he writes from Owerri, Imo State. Email: durukizito30@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Kizito Duru and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

Ajaokuta Steel; Jinxed and Junked?

By Dan Ugwu.

Ajaokuta Steel; Jinxed and Junked?
Ajaokuta Steel Plant

Forty years in the making and $6 billion down the drain, Ajaokuta has been an advertisement of Nigerian government’s limitless profligacy and debilitating incompetence. The project plan was conceived by Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s government in the First Republic.

The plan was further developed by the military government headed by General Olusegun Obasanjo and handed over to President Shehu Shagari’s administration in 1979, which accelerated its construction.

The project was simultaneously cajoled during President Obasanjo democratic rulership as Bluestar Consortium floated by Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola and others caved in. NNPC’s management and the Labour Unions were to pressurize President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s administration to scuttle the deal. The project further went to its dreamland under Goodluck Jonathan.

This time, the Federal Government has again set up the Ajaokuta Project and Implementation Team for that purpose as chaired by Boss Mustapha and Uchechukwu Ogah. Granted, government never learns any lesson from so many disastrous investments in huge projects that it cannot manage. Otherwise, it would not be making yet another attempt to do the impossible and needlessly wasting more scarce public funds.

So long as President Buhari is fronting the revival of Ajaokuta, what we would recommend is to look for serious and reputable global steel conglomerates to take over the plant at very generous financial terms. That would encourage them to make the needed investments to complete the plant and get it running.

But still fixated on public ownership of such key industries and lacking the political will to pivot to a new paradigm of private sector-led industrialization process, the government might remain deluded that it can fix the plant and Ajaokuta will still never produce any steel. But in the meantime, we watch in hope.

  • Dan Ugwu is a Social Analyst. He writes from Owerri, Imo State

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

Imo Speaker and The Certificates’ Forgery Allegation; What Gov. Uzodinma Urgently Needs to Do

By Sam Onwuemeodo.

 

THE principles of Separation of Power also talk about checks and balances. They were all parts of the lessons in Government as a subject at the Secondary School level. In our days, one of the popular government books was, “Essentials of Government, For West Africa”, written by Francis Adigwe; Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

That was the level we began to learn about the three arms of Government. Ditto, the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. We were told that each of the three arms is expected to be independent, but aside acting as “police” on each other, the appetite for good governance also makes their functions interwoven.

None, is in reality, independent of the other. The Executive funds both the Legislature and the Judiciary. The legislature makes the laws and can also impeach the head of the Executive. The Judiciary interprets the laws enacted by the legislature and can also invalidate the actions of both the Executive and the Legislature.

In our time, I preferred History to Government. You remember KBC Onwubiko’s History one and two talking about Mali and Ghana empires; their Rise and Fall, very interesting. So, whatever happens to any of the arms or whatever that is happening in any of the branches of government, could affect the other arms, either overtly or covertly, positively or negatively.

You can imagine where I am going from here. The Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly; Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, and the disturbing allegation of Certificates’ forgery against him are the issues. And what Governor Hope Uzodinma needs to do in the Circumstance. And from all indications, the Speaker appears not to know what to do or how to go about the whole thing.

Imo Speaker and The Certificates’ Forgery Allegation; What Gov. Uzodinma Urgently Needs to Do
Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins; Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly

Those who have been following this worrisome allegation right from the outset, could attest that it has lingered for so long. And the man at the centre of the whole debate is not helping matters. The allegation also survived or outlived the Seven months government of Chief Emeka Ihedioha. The allegation too is not an anonymous one. It is not the whistle blower venture. Those behind it, are not only real, but also men of substance with one of them, Hon. Lawman Duruji being Rt. Hon. Collins’ Colleague in the Assembly before now.

Both on the face value and in content, with those behind the allegation, it cannot be wished away. It carries weight. Now, the Speaker has dragged Hon. Duruji and some Media Houses to Court over the allegation. Hon. Duruji has also gone to Court against the Speaker on the same issue.

These are all Civil and Civilized actions especially in a democratic setting. But something more drastic or more urgent needs to be done for the sake of the State, Imo people, the governor and his government. And indeed, for the sake of the Imo Assembly and the Honourable Members.

The issue has gone beyond whether the allegation is true or false. They can sort themselves out in Court since they are already there over the issue. But the situation now demands a very bold Political action or Political solution. And the ball is in the Court of Governor Hope Uzodinma. He must act to save the State from further embarrassment.

In this matter, a stitch in time cannot save nine again. It has gone beyond that level.
The truth, which must be told, is that, if the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins had ever meant business, he would have taken one decisive action to dwarf his accusers. That action would have done him better than Court action.

Imo Speaker and The Certificates’ Forgery Allegation; What Gov. Uzodinma Urgently Needs to Do
Senator Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State

What is that action? He would have showcased the Certificates in Contest, not minding whether such action is advisable or not. If an animal runs anyhow, the hunter would shoot it anyhow. Even, the reported Comment of Hon. Chiagozie Nwaneri; the Chairman of the House Committee investigating the allegation did not also help Rt. Hon. Chiji’s Case. The whole thing points to the fact that the Speaker has a very bad Case.

I have always believed that no smoke without fire. Except that “fire” could be anything. The smoke that comes out from the exhaust pipe of a vehicle or generator could not be caused by fire but we understand the missing link.

Again, I do not also believe that the burden of proof is always on the accuser; yes, to a very large extent. But in some cases, like that of the Certificate forgery allegation against the Speaker, the reverse can be the Case. For me, the burden of proof in this Case is on the accused; the Speaker, because he is the one at the receiving end.

I may be wrong but that should have made the long story or the lingering story short. I have also read that the Institutions claimed by the Speaker to have issued him the Certificates in question have not been able to reply all the Correspondences to them to confirm the Speaker’s Certificates. So, something is fishing or something is wrong somewhere; conspiracy cannot be ruled out.

It was also learnt that Ihedioha had used the issue to hold Speaker Chiji to ransom. Or had gone for the Speaker’s jugular. Hence, the man could not find his feet under Ihedioha. Infact, with the issue he was at the mercy of Ihedioha. But Governor Uzodinma should not be advised to follow Ihedioha’s example, even when it also appears that he has already begun to do same.

Imo Speaker and The Certificates’ Forgery Allegation; What Gov. Uzodinma Urgently Needs to Do

For instance, the tradition has been that the Assembly would screen Chairmen and members of the Interim Management Committees of the Local Governments. But the Governor Constituted the Committee Chairmen and Members and inaugurated them without the Assembly Screening and Confirming them. And the irony of it all was that, the Speaker attended the inauguration.

To say the least, the man needs liberation. Liberation from psychological trauma. Liberation from emotional torture. Liberation from the fear of the unknown. He needs these liberations urgently. And Governor Uzodinma has the anointing oil for these liberations. Rt. Hon. Chiji was not born speaker.

He didn’t come to the Assembly as speaker or to be speaker. He was not also elected by Isiala Mbano people only to become Speaker. So, his becoming Speaker was an act of God, by providence. Call it divine providence if you so wish. And he should not lose or forfeit all he has as a human being in his needless desire or effort to remain Speaker.

Good name is better than riches. Good name or good reputation or image is equally better than position. This allegation has taken toll on the image of the State, the Assembly, Members of the Assembly, the State government and on the entire people of the State.

It has also taken a toll on him and his family. And this is the time to call a spade, a spade. Governor Uzodinma should play the ball in his Court, and not only playing it, but to score goal. And that goal is asking Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins to resign as Speaker. When he does that, calm would be restored both in the Assembly and in the State, generally. It would also be a kind of “Value Added Tax” (VAT) to the government on ground.

Imo Speaker and The Certificates’ Forgery Allegation; What Gov. Uzodinma Urgently Needs to Do
Sam Onwuemodo

The man can Continue with his Court action against his accusers. But his resignation would detach the State from his personal matter. The fact is that allowing him to remain as Speaker has nothing to Credit to the Political “account” of the State, but would rather Continue to debit it. But his resignation would have a lot to Credit to the Political account of the State and its government.

The Speaker should also consider the State and the Twenty-six other Honourable Members of the House. It is not all about him. He should live above board. Which is to resign even without anybody asking him to do so. Those of them who lived long abroad should at times, act like the people they had lived in their areas. They should not be seen to have only brought “Yeemen” home.

He should look beyond his accusers and see the efficacy of quitting that office in the face of the weighty and lingering accusation of Certificates’ forgery against him, including that of NYSC. In case he does not know, staying put as Speaker with the allegation hanging on his head would only make him toy in the hands of his Colleagues and the governor. And that won’t be good for him.

I have always Contended that lean liberty is better than fat slavery. In the face of all these, the Speaker is a “Prisoner” at the moment. Like I had earlier argued, he needs liberation or freedom and urgently too. And that liberation or freedom comes instantly or spontaneously the moment he resigns either on his own or with pressure or advice from outside.

That is the best option or action in the Circumstance. Anything outside this, will ultimately present the Speaker as having gotten maggot-infested fire woods and by so doing, have invited all the species of lizard including Agama lizard, to both breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And with no light at the end of the tunnel for the Isiala Mbano born legislator, who is a brother to two great men from the State. You know the two men. And in Case you do not know them, I am talking about His Excellency, Ikedi Godson Ohakim, and Distinguished Senator Ifeanyi Araraume. They are all “referees” to the embattled Speaker. He is their brother in whom they are well pleased. This particular claim is mine. All in all, we Shall Continue to Clap for Jesus.

 

 


 

IMO SPEAKER CERTIFICATE SAGA: When A Stitch in Time Can’t Save Nine

By Dan Ugwu.

 

IMO SPEAKER CERTIFICATE SAGA: When A Stitch in Time Can't Save Nine
Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins; Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly

Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins is a household name in Imo State politics now. He is the Hon. member representing Isiala Mbano in the State House of Assembly. He is also the current Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly. The belly-rich Collins was elected to the House on the platform of APGA. Shortly before the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, he decamped to PDP and hobnobbed with then governor, Emeka Ihedioha. Shortly after the Ihedioha’s loss to power, Collins switched to APC to align with Hope Uzodimma. The rest in this category is history.

Our honourable Speaker has been embattled with Certificate saga. In fact, he has been on the spotlight recently. It would be recalled that late last year, a front-page news item carried by Big Truth Newspaper; an Owerri based Tabloid published by one Mr. Modestus Nwankpa came up with an allegation against the speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chiji Collins.

The newspaper accused the speaker of having discrepancies in his academic record which suggest that there could be forgery of his NYSC and PHD certificates obtained. Moment after the publication hit the newsstands, the state legislature was alerted and subsequently issued a summon for the publisher of the Big Truth; Mr. Nwankpa to appear before it for clarification.

Ever since this development, Chiji has been in and out allegations bordering on his credentials. Consequently, the House had in November last year set up an ad-hoc committee headed by a former Majority Leader; Chigozie Nwaneri, to investigate the matter.

Also, a former lawmaker in the state, Lawman Duruji had accused the Speaker of prevailing on the ad-hoc committee to sweep the matter under the carpet, insisting that such attempt would not save him from being prosecuted. According to Duruji, “Quote me, Chiji parades fake credentials, his PhD is fake and he also forged National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate”.

IMO SPEAKER CERTIFICATE SAGA: When A Stitch in Time Can't Save Nine

Unfortunately, ever since the committee saddled with the tasks of unearthing the truth behind this controversy was constituted, nobody can place hands on anything as the outcome of the committee’s finding is yet to be made public. Little wonder, this certificate controversy has eventually snowballed into a full-blown scandal; as the embattled Speaker’s many opponents and the critics are such in a hurry asking him to resign his position.

What are the Speaker’s allegations? Chiji Collins having first obtained HND in Ceramics from the Institute of Art, Reggio Calabria in 1981, Chidi Collins whose documents stated was born on October 27, 1957, and who obtained the qualification at age 24 is unqualified to enjoy an exemption from participating in the compulsory national youth service because he obtained the certificate ahead of his thirtieth birthday as a ground for which suitable individual could be exempted according to the law.

From common analysis then, except Chiji concealed his HND certificate, the allegation holds strong view that there was no ground other than that, which the bearer could be issued the NYSC exemption certificate issued to him dated July 22, 1993. Should this be the case, Chiji Collins then lied under the oath, an act which ought to be brought to justice and sanction upon discovery.

In response, the speaker who has been charged to make his credentials public for scrutiny has not done so. He has rather placed a $10,000 booty on any one who is willing and ready to travel to Italy to verify the authenticity of his academic certificates. Chiji has even indicted some other lawmakers in the state, saying they are currently being investigated over the authenticity of their educational certificates. This is an ugly development in our state polity.

Consequently, Chiji is not alone in this embarrassing certificate allegation in Imo state. Recall that on January 18, 2020, one Mr. Jackson Ude, a North American based journalist had alleged that Senator Hope Uzodimma has a fake result from a Washington University. In a series of tweets on his twitter handle, Jackson Ude alleged that he personally investigated Uzodinma’s claim of having obtained a Washington University Certificate.

IMO SPEAKER CERTIFICATE SAGA: When A Stitch in Time Can't Save Nine

According to Ude, his investigation revealed that the School do not have educational accreditation by any accrediting body in the U.S. More still, he noted that after he exposed the racket in 2012, his accused quickly deleted his academic records from his profile and till date, has not yet made his academic records public.

We will not quickly forget Mr. Ikechukwu Amuka; the former Chief whip and member representing Ideato South State Constituency at the Imo State House of Assembly who was exposed, disgraced and sacked by the election petition Tribunal sitting in Owerri in 2015 on the basis of Certificate fraud, impersonation, forgery and perjury.

Chiji’s matter has dangled in courts. While his accusers sued him for forgery, he has sued them for false accusation. As at December 2019, the matter hit National TV glare with AIT making analysis of the issue. This is a serious issue in Imo state and an affront on the people’s sensibilities and intelligence.

How can Imo state which produces more than 5000 graduates every year be ruled by persons struggling to affirm their academic qualifications? A state with brainy graduates and notable people in the academia and intelligentsia units is being engineered by leaders with questionable academic status.

It is a disservice to fairness. The Speaker owes the nation a duty by explaining the motive behind the deliberate masking possession of a qualification compelling him like every other Nigerian captured under the NYSC Decree 1973 from offering himself to participate in the one-year mandatory service.

READ ALSO: The Truth Gov. Uzodinma Should Know

Already some other stakeholders in Imo have made clear their opinion in the ongoing saga. The matter has lingered, it is advisable for the speaker to resign his post and face his court process which will determine his stay in the hallowed chambers. Such an action even if taken now will be seen as the best attitude coming so late. He cannot be presiding over reputable decisions when he has much Augean stables to clean.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 

 


 

The Truth Gov. Uzodinma Should Know

By Obiaku Lancelot Ifeanyi.

 

Governor Hope Uzodinma as the governor of Imo State seems to be battling negative stereotyping of his person as people tend to judge him by how he became governor. This could account for why most claims he has made about the achievements of his administration so far are easily dismissed as false with a wave of the hand. As much as the opposition can be mischievous at times, there are indications that a greater percentage of the neutrals do not think differently of the Imo number one.

Becoming the governor through the Supreme Court verdict which although does not confer illegitimacy on his governorship has done more to swing opinions against Gov. Uzodinma. He was Senator for eight years, during which he wasn’t so ‘hated’ as he is today.

The question now is, to what extent is he aware that he is extensively ‘hated’? A situation like this calls for the Governor’s close aides and associates to regularly look him in the face and tell him “Oga, our people do not say good of you”.

The Truth Gov. Uzodinma Should Know
Senator Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State, Nigeria

But how many of them would do that? They would rather tell him, “our people are happy.” “The coast is clear.” Onwa, you are unstoppable, you will be here as governor until 2027″. And other comments like these.

Gov. Hope Uzodinma could become the best the ‘new’ Imo State ever had if he is fully aware of what the people he is leading say about him and the extent to which they don’t trust and have confidence in him. By making efforts to prove his credentials and establish himself as one who means well for the state, he would offer good governance which is what it would take to win souls to himself.

Sycophancy will not do Imo State or Gov. Uzodinma’s administration, in particular, any good at this time. The governor’s aides must feed him with the truth always, while he should be discerning and disposed to accepting the truth and heeding good advice.

May Imo prevail!

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Obiaku Lancelot Ifeanyi and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

 

The Madagascan Courage

By Emmanuel Iheaka.

 

The Madagascan Courage
Late Chinua Achebe

Twice Chinua Achebe was marked for Nigeria’s national honour and twice he rejected it. But not without a cogent reason. Had he not returned to his maker some seven years ago, he would still turn down the honour if it ever comes again. Perhaps, with a stern warning this time to whoever proposes it, never to try it again.

Should there be any attempt for a posthumous one, that will certainly be dangerous. The soul of the ace story teller could spring up from his abode of rest for a protest. His anger against the country may not have subsided any bit.

The issues for which legendary Achebe rejected the honour are still staring the country in the face. In fact, they have assumed a more alarming, deteriorating, deriding and dehumanizing nature. And the present operators appear more clueless and unperturbed than those of the yesteryears.

In 2004, Achebe had turned down an offer by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to recognize him as a Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). He hinged his reason for the rejection in a statement he captured thus: “Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours’ List.”

Seven years later, Goodluck Jonathan returned the award. “The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again”, Achebe insisted.

The Madagascan Courage By Emmanuel Iheaka. Late Chinua Achebe Twice Chinua Achebe was marked for Nigeria's national honour and twice he rejected it. But not without a cogent reason. Had he not returned to his maker some seven years ago, he would still turn down the honour if it ever comes again. Perhaps, with a stern warning this time to whoever proposes it, never to try it again. Should there be any attempt for a posthumous one, that will certainly be dangerous. The soul of the ace story teller could spring up from his abode of rest for a protest. His anger against the country may not have subsided any bit. The issues for which legendary Achebe rejected the honour are still staring the country in the face. In fact, they have assumed a more alarming, deteriorating, deriding and dehumanizing nature. And the present operators appear more clueless and unperturbed than those of the yesteryears. In 2004, Achebe had turned down an offer by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to recognize him as a Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). He hinged his reason for the rejection in a statement he captured thus: "Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours’ List.” Seven years later, Goodluck Jonathan returned the award. "The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again", Achebe insisted. He refused to be a commander of a failing nation. Or is it a failed nation? I don't think it is the latter anyway. There is still a ray of hope. The father of African modern literature must have felt that Nigeria might not have celebrated him if he had not stepped out of the country to achieve fame. He knew Nigeria certainly would not have recognized that in him lied the treasure of the world. Things Fall Apart which was translated into 50 languages and sold more than 10 million copies would have appeared as ordinary as any other book. If he had told them the entire world would be falling over Things Fall Apart when published, they would tell him to wake from his hallucination. How could you write an English novel that would be highly acclaimed as a masterpiece by the owners of the language? They would ask him. Who is even sure that those who nominated him for the honour had read Things Fall Apart or any of Achebe's books then? It would not be a surprise if the nomination was majorly influenced by the foreign approval and celebration of the book. Nigeria neither appreciates nor encourages its own. The country struggles for a confidence in the ability of its own. The confidence and courage they lacked in giving ear to Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka who claimed he had discovered cure for HIV. For more than two decades, Nigeria could not conduct clinical trial to either prove or disprove the surgeon's claim. All they could do was to dismiss the claim with a wave of hand and even slammed a ban on Abalaka. The reason for such action wasn't far-fetched. Who is a Nigerian to discover a cure for a viral infection that had defied the knowledge of the western world? It is same way they have treated with levity the claim by Prof. Maurice Iwu that his company has the cure for the Covid-19 currently ravaging the world. For more than three months, Iwu has almost shouted himself hoarse about the potency of his drug against the Covid-19 which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared has no known drug for its cure at the moment. Despite meeting with the Minister of Health and his Science and Technology counterpart months ago, the authorities are still not emboldened to quickly look into the claim as to ascertain its potency and veracity or otherwise. To make it easy, Iwu, a Professor of Pharmacognosy, notified the authorities that two of the major active ingredients of the drug had already been approved by NAFDAC and had been in use since 2016. What is needed is to repurpose the drug. But the authorities lack the courage because a Nigerian is making the claim. Amazingly, same NAFDAC gave its nod to the use of Chloroquine for the treatment of the Covid-19 and went ahead to ask companies known for production of the hitherto banned drug to come forward. The nod came less than 48 hours after eccentric President Donald Trump announced the use of Chloroquine to tackle the virus in the United States of America. That was even when Trump spoke without the approval of the American FDA. Imagine Iwu being an American or a Malagasy. Trump or President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar would have celebrated him. Notwithstanding the controversy and pressure from WHO, Madagascar has stood its ground that its indigenously produced Covid-19 Organics is a cure for the viral disease. Made from Artemisia, an African shrub with long history of tackling malaria and flu, Madagascar was reported to have cleared about 70 percent of its Covid-19 cases. No responsible country would be waiting for an overwhelmed USA, Germany, UK, France, for a drug to rescue citizens dying daily, while one of its own has what could be the remedy? No proactive country will wait eternally for a seemingly compromised WHO to pronounce a treatment or vaccine for the virus. Is it not said that desperate situations require desperate measures? Many countries have reached out to Madagascar for the drug. Beyond saving citizens' lives, Madagascar will also make some good money from such bold step. They believe Iwu's claim of a cure and those of other citizens do not deserve a swift trial, but Nigeria quickly signed up for WHO's vaccine trial. Those involved should stop insulting Nigerians. One thing that appears good about Iwu's drug is that it comes like what would rather detoxify than being toxic. If that is ascertained, it therefore implies it could be taken as a preventative. Nigeria has been locked down enough. I salute the Madagascan courage.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria

He refused to be a commander of a failing nation. Or is it a failed nation? I don’t think it is the latter anyway. There is still a ray of hope.

The father of African modern literature must have felt that Nigeria might not have celebrated him if he had not stepped out of the country to achieve fame. He knew Nigeria certainly would not have recognized that in him lied the treasure of the world.

Things Fall Apart which was translated into 50 languages and sold more than 10 million copies would have appeared as ordinary as any other book. If he had told them the entire world would be falling over Things Fall Apart when published, they would tell him to wake from his hallucination. How could you write an English novel that would be highly acclaimed as a masterpiece by the owners of the language? They would ask him.

The Madagascan Courage By Emmanuel Iheaka. Late Chinua Achebe Twice Chinua Achebe was marked for Nigeria's national honour and twice he rejected it. But not without a cogent reason. Had he not returned to his maker some seven years ago, he would still turn down the honour if it ever comes again. Perhaps, with a stern warning this time to whoever proposes it, never to try it again. Should there be any attempt for a posthumous one, that will certainly be dangerous. The soul of the ace story teller could spring up from his abode of rest for a protest. His anger against the country may not have subsided any bit. The issues for which legendary Achebe rejected the honour are still staring the country in the face. In fact, they have assumed a more alarming, deteriorating, deriding and dehumanizing nature. And the present operators appear more clueless and unperturbed than those of the yesteryears. In 2004, Achebe had turned down an offer by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to recognize him as a Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). He hinged his reason for the rejection in a statement he captured thus: "Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours’ List.” Seven years later, Goodluck Jonathan returned the award. "The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again", Achebe insisted. He refused to be a commander of a failing nation. Or is it a failed nation? I don't think it is the latter anyway. There is still a ray of hope. The father of African modern literature must have felt that Nigeria might not have celebrated him if he had not stepped out of the country to achieve fame. He knew Nigeria certainly would not have recognized that in him lied the treasure of the world. Things Fall Apart which was translated into 50 languages and sold more than 10 million copies would have appeared as ordinary as any other book. If he had told them the entire world would be falling over Things Fall Apart when published, they would tell him to wake from his hallucination. How could you write an English novel that would be highly acclaimed as a masterpiece by the owners of the language? They would ask him. Who is even sure that those who nominated him for the honour had read Things Fall Apart or any of Achebe's books then? It would not be a surprise if the nomination was majorly influenced by the foreign approval and celebration of the book. Nigeria neither appreciates nor encourages its own. The country struggles for a confidence in the ability of its own. The confidence and courage they lacked in giving ear to Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka who claimed he had discovered cure for HIV. For more than two decades, Nigeria could not conduct clinical trial to either prove or disprove the surgeon's claim. All they could do was to dismiss the claim with a wave of hand and even slammed a ban on Abalaka. The reason for such action wasn't far-fetched. Who is a Nigerian to discover a cure for a viral infection that had defied the knowledge of the western world? It is same way they have treated with levity the claim by Prof. Maurice Iwu that his company has the cure for the Covid-19 currently ravaging the world. For more than three months, Iwu has almost shouted himself hoarse about the potency of his drug against the Covid-19 which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared has no known drug for its cure at the moment. Despite meeting with the Minister of Health and his Science and Technology counterpart months ago, the authorities are still not emboldened to quickly look into the claim as to ascertain its potency and veracity or otherwise. To make it easy, Iwu, a Professor of Pharmacognosy, notified the authorities that two of the major active ingredients of the drug had already been approved by NAFDAC and had been in use since 2016. What is needed is to repurpose the drug. But the authorities lack the courage because a Nigerian is making the claim. Amazingly, same NAFDAC gave its nod to the use of Chloroquine for the treatment of the Covid-19 and went ahead to ask companies known for production of the hitherto banned drug to come forward. The nod came less than 48 hours after eccentric President Donald Trump announced the use of Chloroquine to tackle the virus in the United States of America. That was even when Trump spoke without the approval of the American FDA. Imagine Iwu being an American or a Malagasy. Trump or President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar would have celebrated him. Notwithstanding the controversy and pressure from WHO, Madagascar has stood its ground that its indigenously produced Covid-19 Organics is a cure for the viral disease. Made from Artemisia, an African shrub with long history of tackling malaria and flu, Madagascar was reported to have cleared about 70 percent of its Covid-19 cases. No responsible country would be waiting for an overwhelmed USA, Germany, UK, France, for a drug to rescue citizens dying daily, while one of its own has what could be the remedy? No proactive country will wait eternally for a seemingly compromised WHO to pronounce a treatment or vaccine for the virus. Is it not said that desperate situations require desperate measures? Many countries have reached out to Madagascar for the drug. Beyond saving citizens' lives, Madagascar will also make some good money from such bold step. They believe Iwu's claim of a cure and those of other citizens do not deserve a swift trial, but Nigeria quickly signed up for WHO's vaccine trial. Those involved should stop insulting Nigerians. One thing that appears good about Iwu's drug is that it comes like what would rather detoxify than being toxic. If that is ascertained, it therefore implies it could be taken as a preventative. Nigeria has been locked down enough. I salute the Madagascan courage.
Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka

Who is even sure that those who nominated him for the honour had read Things Fall Apart or any of Achebe’s books then? It would not be a surprise if the nomination was majorly influenced by the foreign approval and celebration of the book.

Nigeria neither appreciates nor encourages its own. The country struggles for a confidence in the ability of its own. The confidence and courage they lacked in giving ear to Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka who claimed he had discovered cure for HIV.

For more than two decades, Nigeria could not conduct clinical trial to either prove or disprove the surgeon’s claim. All they could do was to dismiss the claim with a wave of hand and even slammed a ban on Abalaka. The reason for such action wasn’t far-fetched. Who is a Nigerian to discover a cure for a viral infection that had defied the knowledge of the western world?

It is same way they have treated with levity the claim by Prof. Maurice Iwu that his company has the cure for the Covid-19 currently ravaging the world. For more than three months, Iwu has almost shouted himself hoarse about the potency of his drug against the Covid-19 which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared has no known drug for its cure at the moment.

Despite meeting with the Minister of Health and his Science and Technology counterpart months ago, the authorities are still not emboldened to quickly look into the claim as to ascertain its potency and veracity or otherwise. To make it easy, Iwu, a Professor of Pharmacognosy, notified the authorities that two of the major active ingredients of the drug had already been approved by NAFDAC and had been in use since 2016.

The Madagascan Courage By Emmanuel Iheaka. Late Chinua Achebe Twice Chinua Achebe was marked for Nigeria's national honour and twice he rejected it. But not without a cogent reason. Had he not returned to his maker some seven years ago, he would still turn down the honour if it ever comes again. Perhaps, with a stern warning this time to whoever proposes it, never to try it again. Should there be any attempt for a posthumous one, that will certainly be dangerous. The soul of the ace story teller could spring up from his abode of rest for a protest. His anger against the country may not have subsided any bit. The issues for which legendary Achebe rejected the honour are still staring the country in the face. In fact, they have assumed a more alarming, deteriorating, deriding and dehumanizing nature. And the present operators appear more clueless and unperturbed than those of the yesteryears. In 2004, Achebe had turned down an offer by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to recognize him as a Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). He hinged his reason for the rejection in a statement he captured thus: "Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours’ List.” Seven years later, Goodluck Jonathan returned the award. "The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again", Achebe insisted. He refused to be a commander of a failing nation. Or is it a failed nation? I don't think it is the latter anyway. There is still a ray of hope. The father of African modern literature must have felt that Nigeria might not have celebrated him if he had not stepped out of the country to achieve fame. He knew Nigeria certainly would not have recognized that in him lied the treasure of the world. Things Fall Apart which was translated into 50 languages and sold more than 10 million copies would have appeared as ordinary as any other book. If he had told them the entire world would be falling over Things Fall Apart when published, they would tell him to wake from his hallucination. How could you write an English novel that would be highly acclaimed as a masterpiece by the owners of the language? They would ask him. Who is even sure that those who nominated him for the honour had read Things Fall Apart or any of Achebe's books then? It would not be a surprise if the nomination was majorly influenced by the foreign approval and celebration of the book. Nigeria neither appreciates nor encourages its own. The country struggles for a confidence in the ability of its own. The confidence and courage they lacked in giving ear to Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka who claimed he had discovered cure for HIV. For more than two decades, Nigeria could not conduct clinical trial to either prove or disprove the surgeon's claim. All they could do was to dismiss the claim with a wave of hand and even slammed a ban on Abalaka. The reason for such action wasn't far-fetched. Who is a Nigerian to discover a cure for a viral infection that had defied the knowledge of the western world? It is same way they have treated with levity the claim by Prof. Maurice Iwu that his company has the cure for the Covid-19 currently ravaging the world. For more than three months, Iwu has almost shouted himself hoarse about the potency of his drug against the Covid-19 which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared has no known drug for its cure at the moment. Despite meeting with the Minister of Health and his Science and Technology counterpart months ago, the authorities are still not emboldened to quickly look into the claim as to ascertain its potency and veracity or otherwise. To make it easy, Iwu, a Professor of Pharmacognosy, notified the authorities that two of the major active ingredients of the drug had already been approved by NAFDAC and had been in use since 2016. What is needed is to repurpose the drug. But the authorities lack the courage because a Nigerian is making the claim. Amazingly, same NAFDAC gave its nod to the use of Chloroquine for the treatment of the Covid-19 and went ahead to ask companies known for production of the hitherto banned drug to come forward. The nod came less than 48 hours after eccentric President Donald Trump announced the use of Chloroquine to tackle the virus in the United States of America. That was even when Trump spoke without the approval of the American FDA. Imagine Iwu being an American or a Malagasy. Trump or President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar would have celebrated him. Notwithstanding the controversy and pressure from WHO, Madagascar has stood its ground that its indigenously produced Covid-19 Organics is a cure for the viral disease. Made from Artemisia, an African shrub with long history of tackling malaria and flu, Madagascar was reported to have cleared about 70 percent of its Covid-19 cases. No responsible country would be waiting for an overwhelmed USA, Germany, UK, France, for a drug to rescue citizens dying daily, while one of its own has what could be the remedy? No proactive country will wait eternally for a seemingly compromised WHO to pronounce a treatment or vaccine for the virus. Is it not said that desperate situations require desperate measures? Many countries have reached out to Madagascar for the drug. Beyond saving citizens' lives, Madagascar will also make some good money from such bold step. They believe Iwu's claim of a cure and those of other citizens do not deserve a swift trial, but Nigeria quickly signed up for WHO's vaccine trial. Those involved should stop insulting Nigerians. One thing that appears good about Iwu's drug is that it comes like what would rather detoxify than being toxic. If that is ascertained, it therefore implies it could be taken as a preventative. Nigeria has been locked down enough. I salute the Madagascan courage.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

What is needed is to repurpose the drug. But the authorities lack the courage because a Nigerian is making the claim. Amazingly, same NAFDAC gave its nod to the use of Chloroquine for the treatment of the Covid-19 and went ahead to ask companies known for production of the hitherto banned drug to come forward.

The nod came less than 48 hours after eccentric President Donald Trump announced the use of Chloroquine to tackle the virus in the United States of America. That was even when Trump spoke without the approval of the American FDA.

Imagine Iwu being an American or a Malagasy. Trump or President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar would have celebrated him. Notwithstanding the controversy and pressure from WHO, Madagascar has stood its ground that its indigenously produced Covid-19 Organics is a cure for the viral disease. Made from Artemisia, an African shrub with long history of tackling malaria and flu, Madagascar was reported to have cleared about 70 percent of its Covid-19 cases.

The Madagascan Courage By Emmanuel Iheaka. Late Chinua Achebe Twice Chinua Achebe was marked for Nigeria's national honour and twice he rejected it. But not without a cogent reason. Had he not returned to his maker some seven years ago, he would still turn down the honour if it ever comes again. Perhaps, with a stern warning this time to whoever proposes it, never to try it again. Should there be any attempt for a posthumous one, that will certainly be dangerous. The soul of the ace story teller could spring up from his abode of rest for a protest. His anger against the country may not have subsided any bit. The issues for which legendary Achebe rejected the honour are still staring the country in the face. In fact, they have assumed a more alarming, deteriorating, deriding and dehumanizing nature. And the present operators appear more clueless and unperturbed than those of the yesteryears. In 2004, Achebe had turned down an offer by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to recognize him as a Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). He hinged his reason for the rejection in a statement he captured thus: "Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours’ List.” Seven years later, Goodluck Jonathan returned the award. "The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again", Achebe insisted. He refused to be a commander of a failing nation. Or is it a failed nation? I don't think it is the latter anyway. There is still a ray of hope. The father of African modern literature must have felt that Nigeria might not have celebrated him if he had not stepped out of the country to achieve fame. He knew Nigeria certainly would not have recognized that in him lied the treasure of the world. Things Fall Apart which was translated into 50 languages and sold more than 10 million copies would have appeared as ordinary as any other book. If he had told them the entire world would be falling over Things Fall Apart when published, they would tell him to wake from his hallucination. How could you write an English novel that would be highly acclaimed as a masterpiece by the owners of the language? They would ask him. Who is even sure that those who nominated him for the honour had read Things Fall Apart or any of Achebe's books then? It would not be a surprise if the nomination was majorly influenced by the foreign approval and celebration of the book. Nigeria neither appreciates nor encourages its own. The country struggles for a confidence in the ability of its own. The confidence and courage they lacked in giving ear to Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka who claimed he had discovered cure for HIV. For more than two decades, Nigeria could not conduct clinical trial to either prove or disprove the surgeon's claim. All they could do was to dismiss the claim with a wave of hand and even slammed a ban on Abalaka. The reason for such action wasn't far-fetched. Who is a Nigerian to discover a cure for a viral infection that had defied the knowledge of the western world? It is same way they have treated with levity the claim by Prof. Maurice Iwu that his company has the cure for the Covid-19 currently ravaging the world. For more than three months, Iwu has almost shouted himself hoarse about the potency of his drug against the Covid-19 which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared has no known drug for its cure at the moment. Despite meeting with the Minister of Health and his Science and Technology counterpart months ago, the authorities are still not emboldened to quickly look into the claim as to ascertain its potency and veracity or otherwise. To make it easy, Iwu, a Professor of Pharmacognosy, notified the authorities that two of the major active ingredients of the drug had already been approved by NAFDAC and had been in use since 2016. What is needed is to repurpose the drug. But the authorities lack the courage because a Nigerian is making the claim. Amazingly, same NAFDAC gave its nod to the use of Chloroquine for the treatment of the Covid-19 and went ahead to ask companies known for production of the hitherto banned drug to come forward. The nod came less than 48 hours after eccentric President Donald Trump announced the use of Chloroquine to tackle the virus in the United States of America. That was even when Trump spoke without the approval of the American FDA. Imagine Iwu being an American or a Malagasy. Trump or President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar would have celebrated him. Notwithstanding the controversy and pressure from WHO, Madagascar has stood its ground that its indigenously produced Covid-19 Organics is a cure for the viral disease. Made from Artemisia, an African shrub with long history of tackling malaria and flu, Madagascar was reported to have cleared about 70 percent of its Covid-19 cases. No responsible country would be waiting for an overwhelmed USA, Germany, UK, France, for a drug to rescue citizens dying daily, while one of its own has what could be the remedy? No proactive country will wait eternally for a seemingly compromised WHO to pronounce a treatment or vaccine for the virus. Is it not said that desperate situations require desperate measures? Many countries have reached out to Madagascar for the drug. Beyond saving citizens' lives, Madagascar will also make some good money from such bold step. They believe Iwu's claim of a cure and those of other citizens do not deserve a swift trial, but Nigeria quickly signed up for WHO's vaccine trial. Those involved should stop insulting Nigerians. One thing that appears good about Iwu's drug is that it comes like what would rather detoxify than being toxic. If that is ascertained, it therefore implies it could be taken as a preventative. Nigeria has been locked down enough. I salute the Madagascan courage.
Prof. Maurice Iwu

No responsible country would be waiting for an overwhelmed USA, Germany, UK, France, for a drug to rescue citizens dying daily, while one of its own has what could be the remedy? No proactive country will wait eternally for a seemingly compromised WHO to pronounce a treatment or vaccine for the virus.

Is it not said that desperate situations require desperate measures? Many countries have reached out to Madagascar for the drug. Beyond saving citizens’ lives, Madagascar will also make some good money from such bold step.

They believe Iwu’s claim of a cure and those of other citizens do not deserve a swift trial, but Nigeria quickly signed up for WHO’s vaccine trial. Those involved should stop insulting Nigerians. One thing that appears good about Iwu’s drug is that it comes like what would rather detoxify than being toxic. If that is ascertained, it therefore implies it could be taken as a preventative. Nigeria has been locked down enough. I salute the Madagascan courage.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  Emmanuel Iheaka and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 


 

Averting The Road To Venezuela

 By FEMI ADESINA

 

Averting The Road To Venezuela
Femi Adesina; Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari

Let’s tell the story of Venezuela, because it bears striking similitude with that of Nigeria.

Just like us, Venezuela is rich in oil, very rich. At a time, the county’s problem was not money, but how to spend it. Just like Nigeria. And quite like us again, the South American country did not look inwards. It planted nothing, did not invest in agriculture, since there was an endless flow of oil wealth. Life was one long Christmas, and it was jingle bells all the way.

But the rainy days came, as they would always come. And the bells stopped jingling. Rain began to beat Venezuela badly. Nowhere to take refuge. It did not buy umbrellas in the time of affluence, so no shelter from the rains.

From the days of the immediate past President, Hugo Chavez, to the current Nicolas Maduro, the country has seen that life is not one long honeymoon. The Egungun Festival would always end, no matter how fun and pleasurable it has been.

From a land flowing with milk and honey, what are the characteristics of Venezuelan life today? Hyperinflation. Starvation. Diseases. Crime and high mortality rates. Massive emigration, the worst in the history of the country.

And the half has never yet been told. By 2017, over 75% of the population had reportedly lost 8 kg (19 lbs) due to hunger. There are interminable food queues, and people even cross the borders, looking for sustenance. At least 94% live in grinding poverty, more than 10% (3.4 million) have left the country, and 25% needed one form of humanitarian assistance or the other.

Averting The Road To Venezuela

How did a country that was once an oasis of pleasure get to this sorry pass? Simple.
Economic mismanagement, sole dependence on oil. More than 70% of food needs were being imported, and why not, since petroleum-dollars were flowing. Then, the crunch came. Oil prices crashed, and Venezuela crashed with it. Just like it almost happened to Nigeria. Almost. If not for a simple man from Daura called Muhammadu Buhari.

Imagine pediatric wards in hospitals filled with underweight babies, who still continue to suck the shriveled breasts of equally emaciated mothers. Close your eyes and try to envision hitherto middle-class adults now rummaging through rubbish heaps for scraps, with the remainder of what used to be neckties now hanging limply over threadbare shirts and suits that have turned to ‘coats,’ looking more like parachutes on thin shoulders.

That was what Nigeria almost became. Almost. And by today, with COVID-19 ravaging the world, all international borders closed, oil prices crashed and external reserves dwindling, that is where we would have been. If God had not brought Muhammadu Buhari our way in 2015.

When he got to office as President, oil prices had crashed from an Olympian height of 100 dollars per barrel (it even went as high as 143 dollars), and then dropped to less than 30 dollars. Where were the savings during the boom years? None. Where were the foreign reserves? Mere pittance. Empty national treasury.

Excess crude oil account, depleted. Nothing in reserve, local or foreign. The Venezuelan situation was at the very doors. But how did we avert it? How did we avoid the journey to Caracas, the capital of Venezuela? President Buhari knew that we had to stave off the evil day by getting to work immediately. Whatever money we had left must be put where our mouth was, otherwise danger loomed.

Averting The Road To Venezuela
The Man from Daura; President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

With a rallying cry, the President urged Nigerians to return to the land. They obeyed. God also showed mercy by giving consistently good rainy seasons back to back. And today, we can count our blessings.

In late 2015, the Buhari Administration came with the Anchor Borrowers Program, championed by the Central Bank. It was launched in Kebbi, and the vision was to grant farmers access to finance, so that they could grow rice, wheat, ginger, maize, soybeans, and many other products.

And what a revolution has been sparked off. When we launched in Kebbi in 2015, it was in a vast open land. When we went back to same state earlier this year for the Argungu International Fishing Festival, the heap of rice was almost touching the sky. We once had groundnut pyramids in this country. Now, they have been succeeded by rice pyramids. Just because a President came, and had a dream. He then turned the dream to reality.

I once visited one vast farm in Nasarawa State run by Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society. It is promoted by a man named Retson Tedheke, started in 2017, and there you have professionals from different disciplines, engaged in farming. Very impressive. I was told Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had also been there. The place sure is dreamland, and who would have thought a prophet could come from a small town like Nazareth? But it’s happening, right before our eyes. Thanks to the man from Daura.

Each time, as I see palliative materials being handed out at this time of health and economic emergency, and I behold heaps and heaps of bags of rice, all locally grown, I imagine what else could have happened.

Averting The Road To Venezuela

What if we had needed to import, and there was no foreign currency, and all international borders were closed? Hunger ooo. Starvation ooo. Weeping and gnashing of teeth. But we averted the journey to Venezuela. We avoided the trip to Caracas, because a man called Muhammadu Buhari came.

There was a time we imported beans even from Burkina Faso. Rice from Thailand, and from everywhere under the sun. Milk, tomato paste, palm oil, vegetable oil, even toothpick. Everything was imported. Today, we rank highest in Africa in rice cultivation and milling, with over seven million tonnes yearly. Jobs have been created in millions, and food sufficiency has almost been achieved.

Cotton farmers were funded last year to start production. It means a rebound for the textiles sector soon, and jobs and jobs. Fertilizer that used to be imported at hundreds of millions of dollars, with the attendant sleaze that attended it, is now done locally. Nigeria and Morocco are in alliance, and the project is driven right from the Presidency.

Not less than 11 moribund blending plants have been resuscitated, and we now produce about 1.3 million tonnes. Prices of fertilizer have crashed from N15,000 to N5,500 per bag. And set to crash further. Farmers now have direct access to the product, and at affordable prices. Just because a man from Daura had a dream, and turned it to reality.

Agriculture has contributed a great deal to our Gross Domestic Product in the past four years. The private sector has equally keyed in. Dangote Group is already test running a two billion dollars fertilizer plant, which will see us become a net exporter of the product. And many others.

Averting The Road To Venezuela
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro

A presidential aspirant recently described the closure of our land borders as an ‘insane’ policy. May we have many more positive insanities. If President Buhari was not proactive, even prescient, to have closed our borders, where would local farmers be today? Every food product was being smuggled into the country, thus discouraging local initiatives.

And when borders were closed, apart from the security benefits, local production of food items thrived-rice, poultry, vegetables, tomatoes, other food products boomed. Yet, somebody says it’s ‘insanity,’ because the selfish interests of buccaneers were affected. More of such insanities, please.

The Coronavirus pandemic is severely testing our capacities to feed ourselves. And we are making a good showing, acquitting ourselves creditably.

Despite the crash in the global economy, we are continuing with key infrastructure projects, not borrowing to pay salaries as we did in the height of the 2014 oil boom. An army of entrepreneurs is being created in different spheres. All because a man from Daura had a dream, and turned it to reality. May God bless this man. Amen, somebody!

Harry Belafonte, King of Calypso music, sang the hit track,

Matilda. “Hey! Matilda, Matilda, Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela. Five hundred dollars, friends, I lost Woman even sell me cart and horse! Heya! Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela.”

But now that Venezuela is the way it is, with President Maduro striving day and night to turn things round, where will Matilda run to? Nigeria, I guess.

*Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  Femi Adesina and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

COVID-19: Blame Game not Able to Save Lives  

By Zhong Sheng.

 

The exacerbating COVID-19 pandemic is taking lives around the world. However, some U.S. politicians, including Secretary of State; Mike Pompeo, are “cooperating” with right-wing media outlets such as the Fox News to cover their incapability of pandemic response and shift blames to others.

They spread the rumor that the virus was man-made and escaped the Wuhan Institute of Virology, saying China covered up pandemic information. They even accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of delaying virus response.

It is reported that according to a Republican strategy memo, the party now sees attacking China as an opportunity to buoy their chances in the 2020 election. However, such political manipulation exactly revealed their vicious intentions.

The origin of the novel coronavirus is a serious and scientific issue that calls for meticulous and professional investigation from scientists. The “patient zero” of the 1918 influenza pandemic that originated in the U.S. is still not found today despite over a hundred years of searching.

COVID-19: Blame Game not Able to Save Lives

So how can the U.S. politicians and right-wing media be so certain about the source of COVID-19? As a matter of fact, their theory that the virus was man-made and leaked has encountered immediate and unanimous opposition from the science world, including American medical experts.

Authoritative academic journals such as The Lancet and Nature Medicine published articles underlining the natural origin of the virus, and a medical expert remarked that focusing on the origin of the virus rather than saving the people, is nothing different from murder. Those who attempt to only gain political benefits from disasters will only live in infamy.

Conspiracies can’t exist under sunshine. U.S. independent news site; The Grayzone published an article revealing how conservative journalists cooperated with the U.S. government, as well as the making and spread of their conspiracy theories.

Vincent Racaniello, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University pointed out the lab leak theory is driven by politics and not science-based. Virologist, Jason Kindrachuk from the Canadian University of Manitoba also said on Forbes that the escape theory lacks scientific supporting.

COVID-19: Blame Game not Able to Save Lives
US Secretary of State; Mike Pompeo

Shifting the blames to China isn’t all that the American politicians have done, and now they are passing the buck to the WHO. Rather than having a look back on their disastrous response to the pandemic, they attributed the spread of the virus in the U.S. to the so-called delayed informing from China and the UN health body.

It’s been recognized that China has always kept its information open and transparent, and the country has reported to the WHO and relevant U.S. organizations on Jan. 3. Besides, the WHO also released information to the world at the first opportunity, without any delay.

Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou all reported their first infection on Jan. 20, and that of the U.S. came only one day after. However, the virus developed in totally different ways in the two countries.

A joint letter was recently submitted to the White House by over 1,000 medical associations, charity organizations, pharmaceutical companies and experts around the world, saying the WHO and the Chinese government have always maintained close cooperation to make sure that they report public health data to the international society as early as possible.

COVID-19: Blame Game not Able to Save Lives

China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus at the first opportunity, which laid a basic foundation for accelerating vaccine development.

Editor-in-chief of The Lancet Richard Horton told the truth. The inaction that followed the WHO’s emergency declaration, he said, was down to member states and not to China, adding that the world should be grateful to the country for its warnings and containment efforts.

The U.S. is currently the most hit-hard region in the world where the response failures of the government have sparked strong dissatisfaction of the society. However, some U.S. politicians, attempting to diver the blames, resorted to “red herring” though the situation is clear enough for all. They bragged their so-called achievements to the U.S. citizens while spreading rumors to the world.

The 57-page strategy document distributed by the Senate Republican campaign arm focused on one thing – to pass the buck to China.

Global scientists are concerned, as the rampant virus is new to this world and it takes time before vaccines are developed and people can finally get rid of its impacts on lives and health. Only mutual assistance can help the world get through the hard time, and only cooperation and solidarity can enable the world to better cope with challenges.

“While American leaders play the blame game, more lives are being endangered,” said Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times. It is far more productive for the US and its allies to focus on saving lives and working together with China to find an effective vaccine, the newspaper added.

COVID-19: Blame Game not Able to Save Lives

One of the most famous sayings attributed to Abraham Lincoln is about deception: You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. But his words did not stop those American politicians from believing they can fool the world.

China deserves respect for its efforts and contribution, as it launched an all-out war against the virus, conducted unprecedented lockdown of cities, and tried to treat the patients at all cost. This is obvious to all and will never be changed by political manipulation.

“This time the US must learn from others. Global cooperation and the sharing of best practices is our best hope to get out of this crisis alive and intact,” said Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University.

To react to disasters with hatred and stigmatization will not only do nothing to help the U.S. overcome the difficulties, but also place a shadow over the world. In fact, the spiking number of COVID-19 deaths is a result of the inaction and blame game.

The U.S. politicians shall understand that the ignorance of people’s lives is inhumane and that seeking temporary relief regardless of the consequences will finally lead to bad results. The blame game, not matter how disguised, is self-deception. They should place such practices with concrete pandemic response actions, as well as stop speculation and take more responsibilities. Besides, they should also halt instigation and admit their wrong doings. Only by this can they save lives and end the tragedy.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of  Zhong Sheng and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

The Post Covid-19 Realities

 By Okhiria Agbonsuremi.

 

The Post Covid-19 Realities

Covid 19 has, and will change things forever around the world. Many airlines will not fly again. Some airlines in Europe are already raising the red flags. Many other businesses will not come back unless government will help with some re-start packages.

The economies of some countries will come to ruin. Mono economic nations will suffer most. There will be fresh wealth definitions and distribution. The world order will begin to shift and wise nations will fare better to look inwards rather than the outside for the discovery of their wealth and sustenance.

Some governments will collapse and poverty will hover around those who once depended on corruption, cheap patronages and influence peddling. The reality is here.
It will not be the same again. Infrastructure will suffer and raw crimes will rise.

Nigeria and many third world nations will be hard hit. African nations will learn new lessons and the wise ones will discover their hidden wealths, talents and use of their potentials.
The states to survive in Nigeria will be those that will face the reality and begin collaboration with others to reduce cost.

The Post Covid-19 Realities
Agbonsuremi Okhiria; Executive Director, Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG

I see many states not being able to pay workers’ salaries in the next few months and the restiveness and agitations will increase. The quest for true federalism will shift from debates to actions.
This is the time Nigeria needs leadership. The alternative will be lawlessness and the battle for survival.

Will the government read the situation well and prepare its citizens for the impending challenges?
Can we begin a re-mapping of our natural resources around agriculture, technology, the people, and our beautiful weather and environment.?

This is the time to get our best brains forward. This is the time to bury our differences and crave for unity like never before. At the level of individuals, we are likely to be on our own. Government will not be able to reach everyone. The world will not, and cannot help us much. We must grow our own solutions.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Agbonsuremi Okhiria and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 

 

 


 

 

COVID-19: Stop Listening to Ignorant People

 By Ucheka Anofienem.

Particularly painful is the conspiracy built around Melinda and Bill Gates. You probably have seen where a certain Femi Fani Kayode was cursing and insulting Melinda Gates while quoting her out of context on ‘dead bodies on streets of Africa’?

What Bill Gates said was that vaccine is the only thing that can stop the coronavirus infection, that it’s important that the whole world should be vaccinated. To him, that’s the safest measure to prevent the spread of the virus. That statement is what had been distorted and Africans particularly have labelled him Antichrist that want to reduce the population of the world and kill Africa with his vaccines.

Is there anybody alive today that has not taken one form of vaccines or another? Stop reading and check your left arm and you will see inoculation scar there. Bill and Melinda Gates foundation have spent over $24 billion to save lives in Africa. Is that the person that wants to kill you?

COVID-19: Stop Listening to Ignorant People
Bill Gates

Since the emergence of this false controversy against Gates many pastors and idle critics across Africa have latched on same misinformation to castigate the couple peddling false accusations and irresponsible falsehood – go online and see for yourself.

Melinda Gates was quoted out of context and these people continue to make reference to that misinformed statement of her saying she sees dead bodies on the streets of Africa.

Belinda Gates was talking about preparation to contain the spread of the virus, and she said that her heart is in Africa, and that she is concerned that if the continent is not assisted with the resources to be ready for the virus that she sees dead bodies on the streets. On that occasion she donated huge sums of dollars to support Africa get prepared.

COVID-19: Stop Listening to Ignorant People
Melinda Gates

As at that time Nigeria just had only one case of coronavirus. Many were still fooling themselves that the disease does not affect blacks. You now know better.

It is unfortunate how Africans think. Pray all you want but if you do nothing to stop the virus it will overwhelm you.

Chinese, and all the Europeans that had died from the pandemic were not all gays. The over 50,000 Americans that had died so far did not die because of atrocities that had never been seen in Africa.

COVID-19: Stop Listening to Ignorant People
Femi Fani Kayode

Religion has nothing to do with this, otherwise the virus would not have come to Africa by any means. But you can see that all the miracle working pastors are silent, and the virus had defied those that dared to prophesy against it.

It is important that you stop listening to influential pastors and ignoramuses fueling conspiracy theories to divert people’s attention to what they should be doing to remain safe and practically protect themselves and their families from this deadly infectious disease.

This is not about government, this is not politics or 5G network, if you are careless because you were listening to a cynical critic undermining government’s effort to find solution to the pandemic you will be infected. God forbid this, but you just have to be careful. It’s all about your health and safety. Be wise!

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Ucheka Anofienem and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

What God Maybe Telling the Government in Kyari’s Death

By Dan Ugwu.

Mallam ABBA Kyari did not die in any of the Lagos State COVID-19 isolation centres. The former Chief of Staff died at the First Cardiology Consultants Hospital in Ikoyi area of Lagos State. Kyari who had battled with heart related challenges bowed to death at 67 and may still have done so with some hard feelings.

The reason for this suspicion is not in short supply. Kyari’s health challenges have been treated with mastery in the UK where he gets the best of medical intervention. Perhaps he will regret testing positive to COVID-19 in Nigeria, a situation that later complicated his health problems when international air waves where locked up.

Whatever commendations and condemnations we write as tribute does not change anything for Kyari whose remains have been interred at Gudu. The messages are even for those who write them. If Nigeria has well equipped cardiology centres like Kyari gets in the UK, he may have been set free from death at that point irrespective of his infection.

Just like ABBA Kyari, most Nigerian politicians are bearing the burden of complicated illnesses. Many of them carry on the body systems, irons, single kidney, plastics, while some are subjected to all kinds of medical dialysis associated with suspected edema and anasarca. These sicknesses do not easily kill them because they have access to good health facilities abroad.

What God Maybe Telling the Government in Kyari's Death
Mallam Abba Kyari; Former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

Just last week, the 43-year-old Bayelsa born billionaire politician, Kenedi Okoko died in Lagos while reportedly undergoing a liposuction surgery when electric power went out. On a normal day, Okoko will only fly above Lagos to get the best of his services overseas where light does not go out.

What does God tell us? In his riches, man lacks wisdom (Psalm 49:20). Until our politicians spare a thought for this country and care for it like their property, they will always be caught up in one form of emergency or the other. In Imo for example, Rochas Okorocha who led the state with iron fist made joke of medical facilities.

In all the 27 LGAs, he erected blocks, deceiving the people of constructing 27 General Hospitals within a stipulated time. At Douglas, he also erected a magnificent building named Somtochukwu hospital. None of these dilapidating buildings had the shadow of a health centre. Perhaps the former governor is lucky because he has no single health problem and will never have any.

As it is in Imo, so it is in Yobe State where Governor Buni recently purchased N600m Luxury Vehicles For 14 Emirs despite the fact that some public-school Pupils are still learning in classrooms with leaky roof. The ugly structure stretches across the country. Not until our leaders feel the need to take care of Nigeria, the God of the poor will always be speaking directly to them in mysterious ways.

CAVEAT

According to the Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, First Cardiology Consultants was however established as a separate specialist wing with staff dedicated to the treatment of complicated cases of COVID-19.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

How the US Maybe Losing Out to China

 

By Dan Ugwu.

 

The year 2020 has been very decisive in the existence of the United States of America. This is coming at a time it is gradually becoming so challenging for the US to retain her place as a global world power, where China the Super power is struggling to rise above her limits.

The challenge of contending the deadly global Corona virus that came November last year is at the centre of this whole drama. With his latest accusation of World Health organization (WHO), the US President; Donald Trump is caught up in a tarrying dilemma.

The provision of aid to troubled nations has underlined America’s prowess as a world power. Being dissatisfied with WHO handling of COVID-19 especially as it relates to China’s involvement, Trump has said his administration will halt funding of WHO in fighting the pandemic.

How the US Maybe Losing Out to China
Bill Gates

What is the implication? China has already caved in, providing global initiative to Asia, Europe and Africa and has expressed willingness to sustain the aid. This does not spell good for Trump who is due for reelection. Already, the Democrats in US are suing Trump for killing Americans in torrents as he was warned in January about this disease, and he chose to label it ‘Chinese virus’.

American business tycoon and money magnet; Bill Gates, has described President Donald Trump’s halting of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) as very negative to his administration.

Gates in a tweet on his handle, faulted Trump’s decision at a time the world is fighting a pandemic. Even though the Microsoft founder has come under serial tweet attacks, halting funding for WHO during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds.

How the US Maybe Losing Out to China
President of the United States of America; Donald Trump

As we write, China is already penetrating Africa for aid to assert their relevance in our economy above America. In Algeria, China is building 500 capacity health centres; negotiating similar ventures in Zimbabwe and East Africa. Apart from accessing loans, Chinese Exim Bank has under-written huge debts for Nigeria and is still supplying aid.

Do you still think China is joking? No. What is this called? Business and battle for supremacy. Perhaps China’s breakthrough is good news for the US combatants like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and even Niger.

On a sincere note, Trump’s reelection in America spells much good especially for Africa and Nigeria, where the battle against insurgency has assumed a global outfit. Trump’s interest to capture Boko Haram’s Shekau and his continuous attack on the Illuminati syndicate headquartered in Europe is a desire that shows concern to Nigeria more than her Colonial Masters who have given deaf ear to the serial massacre in the country.

However, the tortuous road from super power to world power might have been made easy through a global pandemic. We watch and stay tuned as events unfold to global amazement.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

 

What Is Nigeria’s Problem with Chinese Aid?

By Dan UGWU.

Nigeria is at the crossroads of history. It has gotten to a point that being a Nigerian becomes abysmally frustrating and incredibly exciting. A pervasive feeling of betrayal and disenchantment is sweeping across Nigeria like the desert sand.

The besetting factors of our democracy is the uncultured self-depreciation, self-immolation, stone throwing, name calling, buck passing, bickering, treachery, blackmail and wangling that swing as pendulums among the Nigerian people. From muffled grumbling to loud murmuring, and now unguarded and uncensored propaganda.

It is hard to outlive any week in Nigeria without being fed with one propaganda or the other. In the last few days, Nigerians feasted heavily on the 5G network deployment. Dino Melayi; former Nigerian Senator was a major vanguard of the crusade.

In the emerging unnecessary debate, social media analysts caved in, pastors queued in and before the arrival of telecom pundits, the entire Nigerian space had been polluted with fake news. As the propaganda is gradually fading, fragments of the 5G writing are still appearing epileptically on social media.

While 5G news is fading, Nigerians will not easily be starved of propaganda. Another information has preoccupied the media and this one for sure will rage for days and weeks. What is it this time? NIGERIANS WILL NEVER ACCEPT THE EMPLOYMENT OF CHINESE DOCTORS TO TREAT CORONA VIRUS. Where did the information emanate from?

Three days ago (April 3, 2020), the Honorable Minister of Health; Dr Osagie Ehanire announced during the Presidential Task Force Media Briefing, that an 18 man team of Chinese medical experts are expected to arrive Nigeria within a few days with a consignment of globally scarce medical supplies, to augment the government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

What Is Nigeria's Problem with Chinese Aid?
Stay Safe Message from Solidier’s Story Movie

According to Health Minister; Dr Ehanire, the donations by the group of Chinese Companies in Nigeria, includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other Medical consumables, with one million surgical masks for health workers and also ICU ventilators valued at over $100,000, all sourced in the face of global scarcity of these items.

In addition, the Minister noted that the Chinese medical experts, comprising of doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and public health managers will share their knowledge, skills and real-life experience of fighting covid-19 with Nigerian expert personnel in strengthening management of COVID-19 cases, especially with regard to critical care.

The Chinese professionals will only educate our experts on the usage of some of the sophisticated equipment they produced and will not necessarily take over medical duties.

Ever since this information hit the media, it has been cooked in various pots as is customary with Nigeria. Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s leader led open the floodgates of this latest criticism, alleging it was a way to kill Nigerians.

Sadly, the Nigerian Medical Association led by Dr Francis Faduyile has issued a statement saying the association vehemently rejects the spreading news of the invitation of Chinese doctors to Nigeria on the grounds that they are already experts.

Some other analysts are of the opinion that Nigeria must reject any offer from China, maybe because they are harbinger of Corona Virus. This is coming after some weeks Nigeria received her own package of medical equipment from Chinese Billionaire; Jack Ma.

What Is Nigeria's Problem with Chinese Aid?
Nigeria’s President; Muhammadu Buhari and Chinese Leader; Xi Jinping. Xi

Apart from China, South Korea and Taiwan are now sending resources around the world to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. As part of a larger global initiative to send Chinese medical experts to Europe, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf among other regions, China has already given $20 million to the World Health Organization for COVID-19 efforts. China is supplying millions of masks and other desperately needed items to struggling governments, hoping to build political ties and defuse unwholesome criticisms.

As we write, Serbia’s president plans to be at the airport this weekend to welcome a shipment of medical supplies from his “brother and friend,” Chinese leader. Xi Jinping. Xi’s government has flown gloves and protective clothing to Liberia. It is sending 100,000 test kits to the Philippines. It is shipping supplies to Cambodia. More than 10 flights carrying millions of masks and other supplies are bound for the Czech Republic this week.

In Africa, Ethiopia has commenced the usage of their latest supplies from China. Algeria has already received her Chinese envoy of medical experts with their consignments. Nigeria is next and after which the experts will land in Zimbabwe. At one level, China is reciprocating assistance it received.

Nearly 80 countries sent supplies to China, some on charter flights they sent to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan. On another scale, China is deepening ties with countries that have been receptive to its outreach as it assumes a larger international role. So, what is Nigeria’s worry over the Chinese aid?

Every government effort must not be viewed with the prism of politics. For any unbiased and sincere observer, this initiative would greatly build the capacity of hard working and resourceful Nigerian health workers at the fore front of fighting coronavirus.

The encounter will sure provide a window of opportunity to strengthen our own response mechanism through lessons learnt from any country that has had the experience and can provide hands- on demonstration of dealing with the outbreak and give the Nigerian clinical workforce the opportunity to share global best practices.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

Raging Suspicion About 5G Network


By Dan Ugwu.

 

Raging Suspicion About 5G Network

There is an ongoing debate in many quarters across the globe with regard to the deployment of 5G network for telecommunications. The central debate rests on the fact that there is huge suspicion that the 5G is harmful to the human person with its radiative effects.

It has been a raging mantra even in Nigeria where conspiracy theorists have associated the network to the spread of the COVID-19. Persons like former Senator Dino Melayi have taken the campaign to another level. His video clips have adorned the social network where he is expressing fears of the outcome of the 5G.

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment our 4G LTE latest connection. 5G is a wireless communications technology supporting cellular data networks.

The 5G is engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks and enable a sharp increase in the amount of data transmitted over wireless systems due to more available bandwidth and advanced antenna technology. Its frequency spectrum is divided into millimeter waves, mid-band and low-band.

Raging Suspicion About 5G Network
A Screenshot from a video posted online of the Birmingham Mobile Mast ablaze

As of April 2019, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association had identified 224 operators in 88 countries that have demonstrated, are testing or trialing, or have been licensed to conduct field trials of 5G technologies. The first country to adopt 5G on a large scale was South Korea in April 2019.

However, Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson predicted that 5G internet will cover up to 65% of the world’s population by the end of 2025. As we write, 9 companies sell 5G radio hardware and 5G systems for carriers: Altiostar, Cisco Systems, Datang Telecom/Fiberhome, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, and ZTE

Some 5G pundits contend that the new network generates radiofrequency radiation that can damage DNA and lead to cancer; cause oxidative damage that can cause premature aging; disrupt cell metabolism; and potentially lead to other diseases through the generation of stress proteins.

This is to say that the 5G apparatus has a chemical reaction and biological interaction with human cells that can endanger health. It is even alleged that the 5G is harmful to even birds flying on the air.

Already, Nigeria is the first country in West Africa that has carried out 5G trials. As at November 2019, MTN Nigeria demoed 5G network. This was done in Abuja, Calabar, and Lagos respectively, with the hope of a nationwide commercial launch anytime soon.

At Maitama Abuja, MTN Nigeria demonstrated a live demo of 5G network in line with the telecom’s decision to roll out 5G in other major cities in Nigeria before end of 2020. This is coming immediately after the telecom network successfully ran a trial of the 5G in its domiciled South Africa, achieving 20 Gigabyte per second (Gbps) with less than five minutes latency. Whether these telecoms companies take permission to launch their networks is what I do not know.

Raging Suspicion About 5G Network

Most network users in Nigeria like myself have only been used to the 3G network before Artel popularised their 4G SIM card. I was opportuned to get mine few months ago as it doles out much call and data bonus and runs faster. Nigerians are end users of smart phones and we use them even without checking their negative effects.

If this 5G will be harmful to us then it should not be deployed. Even if 5G will help us in downloading the Atlantic Ocean and Zuma rock the effects on the human person must be checked. This is where there should be synergy between Science, Religion and Technology.

The Federal Government through the Ministry of Science and Technology ought to queue into this debate. Telecom operators, technological experts and Prolifers must be involved too. At their instance, the 5G network can be demobilize within the parameter space of the Federal republic, where whatever that has been buried in form of earth cables or erected mask have to be brought down.

Already the infrared and Bluetooth electromagnetic and radio bands are having their effects negative on us and that’s why it is not good to place these gadgets directly on our bodies. There are alleged pictorial evidences in Birmingham city where a mask emitting 5G network was set ablaze on the grounds that it is linked to the Corona Virus. Majority Nigerians have no access to good food and immune supplements, so anything that will serve as threat to our poor immunity should be checked and confronted.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

COVID-19: Nigerians Should Trust Science, Not Fiction

By Garba Shehu.

 

COVID-19: Nigerians Should Trust Science, Not Fiction
Garba Shehu; Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Media and Publicity

Yesterday, the esteemed Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka made comments on the legal status and description of 14-day lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Professor Soyinka is not a medical professor. His qualifications are in English literature, and his prizes are for writing books and plays for theatres. He is of course entitled to his opinions – but that is exactly all they are: semantics, not science. They cannot – and should not – therefore be judged as professional expertise in this matter in any shape or form.

Across the world – from parts of the United States and China, to countries including the United Kingdom and France, government-mandated lockdowns are in place to slow and defeat the spread of coronavirus. All have been declared, and all have been made necessary, based on medical and scientific evidence. The guidance of the Nigerian Government’s medical specialists is to advise the same.

COVID-19: Nigerians Should Trust Science, Not Fiction
Professor. Wole Soyinka

Professor Soyinka has also declared, doubtless based on his specialism as a playwright, that: “We are not in a war emergency’’, but eminent scientists say otherwise.
Dr Richard Hatchett, Head of the International Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (and former Director of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) has said, ‘War is an appropriate analogy’.

Professor Anthony Fauci; Director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Corona virus Task Force has said of the battle against the pandemic: ‘It’s almost like the fog of war’.

As for the legality of the lock down, the Government of Nigeria’s primary duty in law and action is the defence of the people of Nigeria. We face a global pandemic. Nigeria is now affected. The scientific and medical guidance the world over is clear: the way to defeat the virus is to halt its spread through limitation of movement of people.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Vaccine for Treatment Ready Soon – Iwu

Perhaps Wole Soyinka may write a play on the coronavirus pandemic, after this emergency is over. In the meantime, we ask the people of Nigeria to trust the words of our doctors and scientists – and not fiction writers – at this time of national crisis.’’

  • Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Garba Shehu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

SECOND COVID-19 DEATH: Dousing Unnecessary Fears

By Dan Ugwu.

 

SECOND COVID-19 DEATH: Dousing Unnecessary Fears
Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Health, Federal Republic of Nigeria

In the couple of days running, there have been palpable fear in Imo State especially the Mbaise area, over a suspected case of COVID-19. In fact, offline media outlets, particularly Opera Mini has been reporting the death of Mr. Christogonus Aguwa Osuagwu as Nigeria’s second death case. The NCDC has even updated its dashboard to reflect the nation’s COVID-19 death count.

Unfortunately, neither the Ministry of Health, the Imo state government nor the NCDC has given the medical report of the late Aguwa. The agencies have also not issued his itinerary to ascertain those who should isolate immediately. The case has been left in the theater of social media who dissect the information as it pleases them.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Isolation Can Save You from Impending Embarrassment

While some allege the late Aguwa returned from Europe, others maintain he visited South Africa at the wake of this pandemic. The DSS had already isolated the FANCY hotel in Owerri where the suspect spent some time before his arrival in Abuja. The agency has also taken samples from some members of his family while awaiting result in few days.

Regrettably, Aguwa’s case has not been handled properly. We are yet to know if he died of COVID-19 or as a result of his serial health challenges that take him occasionally to South Africa. Media reports are accusing him of hiding away his infection, is that true? Where was he diagnosed and confirmed? Was he tested at all? Was he taken to the Gwagwalada isolation unit?

SECOND COVID-19 DEATH: Dousing Unnecessary Fears
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu; DG, Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC)

The NCDC should be able to come out strong and direct so as to douse the raging fear among the people. Aguwa was alleged to have passed out last Sunday in a location yet undisclosed. Even though Aguwa’s mortal remains have already been interred at Abuja; a circumstance that is unusual to the Mbaise people, if it is discovered in all reality that the man was never a carrier of this disease, then the FG, the Health Ministry and the NCDC will have a lot to contend with about a man who is crowned with honour and sense of industry in Mbaise and beyond.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Signs Covid-19 Regulations, 2020

We are now living in a society where all forms of ill health are loathed as evidence of the deadly pandemic. The NCDC is also saddled with the responsibility of harnessing this situation properly. Last week, I had gone to withdraw a little money in one of the ever-busy ATM machines. That I cleared my throat in a heavy manner sent all those on queue scampering for their safety that made me gently use the machine freely. This is how best Nigerians react to any threat to their lives. So, whatever that will intensify this fear ought not to be allowed.

In a situation of this nature, we feel deeply with the Aguwa family of Umuhuocha Obohia Mbaise. They will be challenged not only by the demise of their husband and brother, but they are also living with the stigma of yet to be proven disease. Rest in peace Mr Aguwa, CEO, Aguwa Aluminium Industry, Emekuku Owerri.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

COVID-19:
Isolation Can Save You from Impending Embarrassment

By Agbonsuremi Okhiria.

 

COVID-19: Isolation Can Save You from Impending Embarrassment
Agbonsuremi Okhiria; Executive Director, Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG

So many Nigerians are beginning to get apprehensive over the spread of the virus; I am apprehensive too. Some people want to carry out a test on themselves but don’t know how to get it, they don’t know where.

Now let me make it clear. You will not get any test if you are not a big man. You will not likely get tested if you are not already developing symptoms unless you are a Governor, Minister or very close to a Governor and Minister.

For now, the NCDC and other testing centers don’t have the number of facilities to carry out tests on just anyone desiring a test. The notion that you will get a test to know your status is unattainable for now, and may never be.

When the virus makes a landfall, I pray it doesn’t, treatment will follow the same pattern. You will not likely get treatment if you are not connected; mark my words. The virus is supposedly only with the big politicians currently. Only them and those in close contact with them are getting attention.

This is the reason you should not play around and assume that you will not have any problems if you’re found positive. If Nigeria witnesses the virus at the base of the society, many will be left on their own; this will not be new.

In some endemic states of the US and parts of Italy and Spain, health officials are currently concentrating on those with higher degrees or likelihood of survival. They don’t have enough facilities to attend to already bad cases. The ventilators are not enough to go round. The elders with underlining health issues are being left to die, with attention concentrated on younger patients with higher degrees of survival.

If Covid-19 makes a landfall in Nigeria, I pray it hasn’t already, the ventilators will not be enough for everyone. Only those connected will get one. And the health officials will likely attend to those with higher degrees of survival.

The Governor of Kaduna state did a test out of anxiety and curiosity because he had contacts with a primary contact. El-Rufai had no symptoms at all. The Queen of England had no symptoms but went for a test because she had contacts with Prince Charles.

Maurice Iwu And the Covid-19 Vaccine

Some of those who were in close contacts with Abba Kyari, Bala Mohammed, El-Rufai, Okiye (Edo Speaker), late Achimogu, (former MD of PPMC) and all the other persons who have tested positive in Nigeria have been with us in the markets, shops, saloons, taxis, offices, churches and mosques and on the streets.

The rising numbers we are getting are the result of this community spreading of the virus. This is Community spreading of the virus.
Now how many of us have been responsible enough to isolate ourselves from the public space. How easy has it been.

The Covid-19 can be avoided if you obey very simple instructions from our health workers. The best of all the recommendations is to stay at home. Do not go out if you can. And don’t endanger your family by dashing in and out unnecessarily.

You need to isolate your family from this virus. Family isolation means you remain at home with your family. It means you are not opening your doors to visitors. It means any member of the family who goes out to the market, shop, saloon, work or for a walk is potentially at the risk of bringing home the virus.

It means such member of the family must practice social distancing, wash hands and enters the bathroom immediately he or she comes back to the house before touching anything in the house.
It means that the family member must be very careful any time he or she goes out.

The only sure option is to isolate yourself and your family. This is not the time to receive visitors or pay visits to friends and other family members who are not in your household. When the government says stay at home, please stay at home.

You will be embarrassed if it happens. There is no flight to anywhere and your money can’t help you now. Test kits are not in the market. Treatment is currently managed by specialists in government designated centers, not in your private hospital. Stay isolated and thank me later.

  • Agbonsuremi Augustine Okhiria is the Executive Director, Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG. agbonsuremi@primorg.org

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Agbonsuremi Okhiria and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

The One Plague That Is Not Uniting Nigeria

By Dan Ugwu.

 

The One Plague That Is Not Uniting Nigeria

There is this one PLAGUE that has stood the whole world still. Call it Corona Virus; name it Chinese virus or Nigerian Leaders’ virus. The Only one PLAGUE that has humbled World Government. The one PLAGUE that has confused world powers and shut down economy.

Only one PLAGUE and everyone is scampering for safety – schools shut down, offices shut down, streets deserted. Only one PLAGUE Mecca, the ancient religious city sent back its worshipers; Jerusalem turned back her tourists; Vatican locked out her pilgrims.

Just one PLAGUE our Churches are shut down, Mosques are closed, all Sports are postponed. Olympic is shutting down, Clubs are sealed, the entertainment industry is groaning mournfully. Just because of one PLAGUE, we don’t shake hands again; don’t hug each other again; keep a social distance.

Before the arrival of this one PLAGUE, many nations were at war. Syria and its combatants have been reducing Damascus to ruins in their air strikes, with the Kurdish forces facing Turkish onslaught strike deal with Bashir Assad, America’s major belligerent.

The One Plague That Is Not Uniting Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

The revolt in Iran was raging with its innuendos in Baghdad even with Trump’s US promising to extricate the country from extended military entanglements. Turkey was still living with accusations of aiding ISIS and others in the Islamic Maghreb. But the entire turmoil quenched before this one PLAGUE with all nations scampering for their united safety and survival. It has brought that strife to a halt.

It is only in Nigeria that this one PLAGUE is not bringing consciousness to the people. Rather than suspend squabbles and face the one PLAGUE about to kill us all, energies and time are still being wasted in fighting Muhammadu Buhari and enlisting his deficiencies even in this crisis time.

Before the one PLAGUE that has humbled and quieted political vilification and vituperation across the globe, my beloved nation is still soaked in politics that has even involved the one PLAGUE, associating the pandemic with bickering, name-calling and stone-throwing that has characterized the besetting factors of the leftover of our democracy.

If this one PLAGUE does not humble and unite us in struggle, then only Nigeria maybe awaiting not just one more PLAGUE but a locust that may quarantine this nation perpetually. May God save us from this doomsday.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu. and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

Police Brutality Won’t Curb Cyber Crimes

By Kizito Duru.

 

Police Brutality Won’t Curb Cyber Crimes

For some years now, there is hardly any month without the harsh tag ENDSARS occupying a prominent position on trends on twitter. This sums the perception of the police from the public, making mockery of the ‘police is your friend’ gospel preached in the media by the uniform men.

For every story that accompanied the #endSARs tweet is a horrible experience of people from different parts of life. They found twitter and other social media platforms as a place they could ventilate their experiences with the police, notably operatives in the department of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Truth is, when one sits back to sincerely ponder over the myriads of challenges negating members of the Nigerian Police Force in their duty to ensure a crime free society, you would want to spare some line of words to appreciate their efforts.

Whether or not you agree, with poor welfare package, analogue crime fighting methods and the ultimate fact that the nation is a developing but critically ailing society, our corps deserve some appreciation and encouragement for the sacrifices they make.

However, why there have been advocacy to improve the relationship between citizens of the country and the police which swore to protect them, recent events have further undermined the “Police is your friend” cliché.

Last weekend, a student at the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, was rushed to the hospital after operatives of the Nigeria Police Force invaded his room and beat him to unconsciousness. His crime? He took to his heels upon sighting the police men around his lounge. The victim, a student of Mass Communication, was identified as Cajetan Okereke.

Police Brutality Won’t Curb Cyber Crimes
Inspector-General of Police, Nigeria; Adamu Mohammed

Cajetan saw a police van approaching the hostel and out of fear ran into a room with some of his lodge mates since it had become a tradition for men of the security agency to arrest students indiscriminately.

The police team went after him, banging his door as if he was declared wanted by the state governor. Upon opening it, the student stated, the policemen, numbering about four, hit various parts of Cajetan’s body including his chest before he slumped. An eye witness said that the corps left Cajetan unconscious and fled the hostel with the excuse that their victim had wasted time before opening his door.

Cajetan was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was rejected before he was brought to the school’s medical center where he is responding to treatment. The big poser is, why the police came after Cajetan? They took him for an Internet fraudster!

Perhaps the young man was well dressed as a youth, which is against the ‘constitution’ of the Nigerian Police. It is a crime for a young man in Nigeria to be on dreads. Young people in the country now use their laptop computers in hiding. And to think that a young man driving a flashy car is now an invitation to a face-off with the police is at worst ridiculous. This is especially as it concerns members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the law enforcement agency.

Common sense should tell us that SARS should not employ the same commando style used for armed robbers in dealing with perpetrators of cyber-crimes as the crime is not the same with those that has to do with people taking other people’s belongings by use of harmful weapons.

 

I have been harassed twice by SARS operatives. My phones were accessed to my consternation. My time was wasted. They simply wanted to find fault with you and force you to pay financially for it. Ordinarily, when one is guilty of a crime, he is taken to the police station where he is detained until investigations are concluded.

Police Brutality Won’t Curb Cyber Crimes

But no, SARS will pronounce you guilty at that spot they confronted you, charge you according to how sophisticated your car and clothes look and force you to pay immediately. They sometimes threaten to shoot you if you don’t comply. They can be worse than armed robbers sometimes.

You don’t end a crime by behaving like a criminal. How do you end cyber-crimes? Is it by stopping young people carrying laptops, phones or driving flashy cars, confiscating these items, harassing the bearers and extorting money from them? You claim they obtained the money by trick only for you to collect it by force.

Both SARS and Internet fraudsters are in the same category. Judging from the accounts of many who have narrated their ordeals with SARS, one would conclude that the essence of the new dimension which they have taken is to make money in the guise of clamping down on cyber-crimes and criminals.

If Nigeria really wants to end cyber-crimes, it must not be by stop and search. The search should be done on the internet where the crime is committed, making use of efficient monitoring mechanism. You cannot stay in Lagos and catch a thief in Kaduna. The cyber route should be followed to end cyber-crimes.

That is why there is EFCC; an anti-graft agency, saddled with the responsibility of dealing with financial crimes, including cyber-crimes in the country. To my knowledge, no cyber-crime is committed without connection with the Bank and I am also aware that the CBN has a policy in place which it initiated to check financial crimes.

What SARS should rather do is to liaise with the apex bank, its subsidiary banks and EFCC to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of cyber fraud and other related offences, and this must be done within the ambits of the law.

The Inspector-General of Police and the Federal Government of Nigeria should, therefore, address this issue forthwith and stop SARS from posing terror to Nigerians instead of being their security.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Kizito Duru and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

Maurice Iwu And the Covid-19 Vaccine

By Dan Ugwu.

 

Maurice Iwu And the Covid-19 Vaccine
Professor Maurice Iwu

When in 1985, a 13-year-old non-Nigerian female sex hawker introduced HIV/AIDS in Lagos Nigeria, the news sent panic, doubt and disbelief to the whole nation as AIDS was perceived as the disease of American homosexuals. The confusion infected Nigerians so well that we didn’t distinguish the HIV virus from the AIDS disease.

The complacency and mystery associated with AIDS made people especially easterners to describe it as “Obiri n’aja Ocha”, indicating lack of cure for the deadly disease which has claimed over 34 million lives before the advent of antiretrovirals. To indicate further its lack of cure, proactive measures were then centered on ‘Prevention is better than Cure’. At that point, it became obvious all hope were lost.

Fast forward to 2019.

Corona virus has come with its confusion. China took off with the virus until it was introduced in Nigeria with the help of a 30-year-old lady on March 13, 2020. Just like HIV/AIDS, it is not clear if Corona is the virus while COVID-19 is the disease.

We already understand that the description COVID-19 is associated with the December 2019 entry of the virus, and the WHO has moved the virus classification from epidemic to pandemic because of its spread. There is dire need to distinguishes the virus from its disease so we don’t entertain much casualties as we had in HIV/AIDS before the arrival of its antiretroviral.

Maurice Iwu And the Covid-19 Vaccine

For now, apart from quarantining the suspects the only antidote we have now is precaution. Someone coughed in a taxi in Abuja yesterday, every person alighted from the bus immediately, is that the precaution? Just few days ago, 43-year-old Jennifer Haller, has become the first person in history to test the potential COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trial. We pray the vaccine worths it.

Before Haller’s trial, our own brother, home grown (UNN) Professor Maurice Iwu had presented a plant-based patented treatment for COVID-19 to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. This writer had personally interacted with Mr. Iwu on the said case and he explained that it was important to note that COVID-19 belongs to a class of viruses that are very common, some more serious than others.

The class includes the flu virus, SARS, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). He explained that they are Ribo Nucleic Acid (RNA) viruses, which allow them to mutate easily and spread between species. Iwu insisted that SARS and MERS Coronaviruses are more lethal than COVID-19. After the discourse, it became clear to me that Nigeria is close to COVID-19 cure.

So while the Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and healthcare professionals are actively engaged in providing treatment and support for the management of the Coronavirus infection, it is important to indicate that the Nigerian scientific community are making contributions towards finding a sustainable treatment for the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19 as part of drug discovery programme for neglected tropical diseases, emergent infections and orphan diseases. This may be Nigeria’s scientific breakthrough and curative offer to the embattled and ‘diseased’ continents.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

IMO STATE: Uzodinma’s Two Months Appear Impressive

By Collins Ughalaa.

Most people agree that Governor Hope Uzodimma did not have the privilege of a transition period that is conventional for incoming governors. From the time a governorship candidate is declared governor-elect, he has about 90 days to the swearing-in ceremony which ushers in his government. From the day he was sworn-in people would begin the countdown for him.

During the transition period, the governor-elect usually sets up committees with the incumbent. This Committees liaise with the incumbent on a number of fronts, including the actual condition of things, the performance level of the government, the real and expected challenges and the planning of the swearing-in ceremony. Oftentimes too, the governor-elect sets up a committee that helps him in drawing up actionable plans that would meet the challenges on the ground.

Notwithstanding the privilege of a transition period, the new governor usually takes some time off. Some people refer to this period as the learning curve period, the honeymoon period or the teething period. Depending on the individual capacity of the governor, or the combined capacities of the people he assembles to help him run the government, this learning curve period may take some months.

Governors that are well prepared and focused, however, hit the ground running. They brook no excuses. They want to serve, and they begin to serve from the blast of the whistle. With the scorecard available in the public space, Governor Hope Uzodinma was prepared for governance. He hit the ground running from the word go.

From the day he was sworn-in, he went straight to work, knowing that he had no time for honeymoon. He did not enjoy the benefits of the transition period and its fanfare as his emergence did not provide for that. Not his fault. Not the fault of his predecessor either.

IMO STATE: Uzodinma’s Two Months Appear Impressive
Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo State

He was sworn-in as the executive governor of Imo State on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, having been declared the duly elected governor of the state by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, with an order to be sworn-in immediately.

It was shocking to many, therefore, that without the benefits of the transition period and a handover note, Governor Hope Uzodimma runs so fast with the ball, as if he had been running with the ball all along. He marshalled to the people the real thrust of his government. He told the people that in order to address the economic challenges in the state, he had come with the vision of shared prosperity.

He said: “Our New Imo State will enshrine a new culture of shared prosperity in which the commonwealth of the people is made available for the good of all. Above all, it is a new Imo State that will ensure good governance, prosperity, rule of law and equity.

 

“The mission cuts across party lines, religious leanings and intra-ethnic divides. From now on it will no longer be governance as usual, but governance of the people, by the people and for the people, without discrimination against anyone”.

The candor in the governor’s vision of shared prosperity has become the mobilizing agent. From its everyday actions, the people of the state have come to see the government as a pro-family government, and the Governor as a pro-family Governor.

IMO STATE: Uzodinma’s Two Months Appear Impressive
Gov. Hope Uzodinma Inaugurating the new Chief Judge; Hon. Justice Ijeoma Agugua

Not only did the Governor, in an unprecedented move, begin the payment of workers’ salaries on the 25th of every month, beginning from January, he assured that he would pay the N30,000 Minimum Wage when the Committee earlier set up by his predecessor submits its report. He is giving no room for excuses as to why he did not match his promise with action.

With the deficit in cash upon his assumption of office, the Governor did not fancy the idea of keeping his security vote to himself while salaries and pensions and other obligations of the government suffered. He declared a voluntary forfeiture of his security vote, stressing the need to free funds so as to meet government’s current obligations.

In another deft move, the Governor scored first and further demonstrated his commitment to shared prosperity. He paid the January salaries of the members of the Interim Management Committee (IMCs) who were appointed by his predecessor. The members of the IMCs had vacated their offices before the pay-rolling date for January.

According to a report by Greg Nwadike, former S.A. Media to the former IMC Chairman of Orlu LGA: “Many of those appointees of Gov. Ihedioha were surprised early this week [in January] as they were invited to come for their cheques for their January salaries. Yes. Gov. Uzodinma also paid them for the month of January even when they were sacked before the pay-rolling date of 18th”.

Last week, the news broke that the Governor had recalled the over 3,500 workers employed from 2015 and 2018. This act alone would distribute money in at least additional 35,000 families, hitherto disconnected from the economic stream.

IMO STATE: Uzodinma’s Two Months Appear Impressive

The multiplier effect of this act on the socioe-conomic condition of the people can only be imagined. And if the Governor goes ahead to consider the pleas of the beneficiaries of the Ikedi Ohakim’s10,000 Jobs Scheme, it would bring the figure to 13,500 families.

If the average monthly income is N40,000, it means that N540M will be distributed among 13,500 new families in the state. The best of economists and sociologists can only speculate on the impact of the new N540M in the hands of new 13,500 families monthly.

Underscoring further the pro-family nature of his administration, the Governor assured the people on the core philosophy of his government and the intention of his government to distribute prosperity among the people. He said: “I cannot fire, I can only hire, because I’m on a mission of prosperity in Imo State. Quote me anywhere, anytime, any day”.

The Governor also scored another first when he appointed the first ever female Chief Judge of the state. Inaugurating the new Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Ijeoma Agugua, amidst commendation from the people of the state, on Friday, March 13, the Governor reiterated his resolve to make Imo Judiciary one of the best in the country, as well as encourage judicial autonomy in the state.

“The Judiciary is an important arm of government, and if our democracy must grow with its attendant dividends, we must have an efficient judiciary. This is why every government must take seriously the leadership and membership of the judicial arm of government”

IMO STATE: Uzodinma’s Two Months Appear Impressive

Political economists argue that the lack of continuity in government is part of the reasons for the under-development witnessed across the country. According to them, a successor should showcase the political will to continue with the projects initiated by his predecessor in order to avoid littering the state with uncompleted or abandoned projects.

They add that not doing so would continue to take its toll on the economy, with the people suffering under-development. It was therefore not surprising that most people in Imo State rolled out the drums to herald the Governor’s directive that all contracts initiated by his predecessor would continue.

This is a new path not taken before, but a new path created by the Governor. This new path shows that it takes nothing away from the incumbent if he continues with the projects of the preceding government. Not only is the Governor continuing with the contracts awarded by his predecessor, he has also asked the panels set up by his predecessor to continue.

The state’s civil service is one sector that is dear to the Governor and what he is doing with the civil service is commendable. He is initiating reforms aimed at repositioning the state’s bureaucracy. This reform approach is also aimed at having a civil service structure that is service oriented.

This is the reason the Governor is introducing an essential ingredient in his civil service reform agenda, the Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER), which would assist in evaluating the efficiency of the civil service and every civil servant. Another essential ingredient in the reform agenda is the repositioning of the Permanent Secretaries, making them the Chief Accounting Officers of the MDAs as required by law.

The Governor has in addition promised total obedience to all procedures and statues contained in the civil service guidelines, while the operations in the civil service would be digitized to improve efficiency in service delivery.

In carrying out the civil service reform, the Governor is not oblivious of the welfare of the civil servants. Apart from the new payday of 25th of every month and the readiness to pay the N30,000 new Minimum Wage, the Governor is taking the welfare of the civil servants higher. He is providing a housing and car loan for the civil servants. He has already provided brand new vehicles for the Permanent Secretaries. This reform approach is in tandem with his shared prosperity agenda.

                                                                           Collins Ughalaa could be reached via email: ughalaacollins@gmail.com.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Collins Ughalaa and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

Sanusi, El-Rufai, Ganduje and 2023

By Dan Ugwu.

 

Sanusi, El-Rufai, Ganduje and 2023
Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, with Muhammed Sanusi II

The Dethronement of Emir Muhammad Sanusi II as the Emir of Kano has continued to stir up controversies, and interestingly the Kaduna State Governor; Gov. Nasir El-Rufai is at the epicenter of this controversy too.

In the space of 48 hours, Muhammad Sanusi II was given double appointment by the Kaduna State Government, and this has raised so much suspicion if there is a cold war between the Kano State Governor; Dr. Umar Ganduje and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-rufai.

The duo, have over the years shared close bond especially as two Governors controlling two largest states in the Northern region. Similarly, the duo have both enjoyed political alignments over the years as regards supporting the APC Presidential Agenda.

Regardless of the age difference, Ganduje who is 70 years and El-rufai who is 60 years, there has been some sort of respectful relationship between the duo, but the with recent outlook of things, it appears El-Rufai is confronting the banishment orders of the Kano State Governor.

Sanusi, El-Rufai, Ganduje and 2023
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Nigeria

Many speculations have been made as regards the appointment, while some believe that the double appointment is to spite the Kano State Government under the leadership of Dr. Umar Ganduje. Still, some are of the opinion that there is some sort of handwriting of 2023 elections on the wall.

Many also believe that El-Rufai is protecting the interest of the deposed ruler based on tribal sentiments but however, it is believed that El-Rufai understands the intellectual capacity of Sanusi, and his contributions will go a long way to improve the state.

 

  • Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

$22.7BN LOAN: Sieving Noise from Fact

By Dan Ugwu.

 

I will hardly believe that the running of government is as cheap as we analyse it on social media, the seat of acrimonious writings. I do not know what we understand when government borrows. Does it mean indebtedness? From where do we think government borrows, maybe from wealthy individuals or world bank account.

It is even more piercing when some of our Economics and Government teachers and lecturers also join in the shallow arguments of online teeming analysts shouting wolf at the National Assembly’s nod to borrow $22.7.

Even at the senate chambers, the argument was not on why the borrowing, the rancor generated bordered on the mode and content of the budget. While the senate leadership led by Lawan called for voting, the minority group opted for a painstaking screening of its content before approval.

$22.7BN LOAN: Sieving Noise from Fact
Nigeria’s Senator President; Sen. Ahmed Lawan

Borrowing means that the government can meet a temporary shortfall, rather than having to immediately cut back on spending. Like an overdraft facility, government borrowing gives the government more flexibility and means they can maintain wages and spending commitments without having to keep cutting spending.

External debt or Foreign Aid is considered a significant source of income for developing countries. Pakistan for example has relied much on foreign debt to finance its balance of payments (BOP) deficit and saving investment gap. This heavily dependence on external resources became uncontrollable since the late 1980s.

No doubt, domestic debt, in itself has the effect of crowding out private investment; an issue that is remedied by external borrowing. This is because a rise in government borrowing from the domestic economy would reduce the ability of domestic investors to access credit leading to a reduction in their investment.

Have you for once asked why government cannot print money and use when it needs rather than borrowing? Some are even asking the government to give them account of recovered loot as if the country is an Age Grade meeting.

$22.7BN LOAN: Sieving Noise from Fact
Sen. Enyinaya Abaribe; Senate’s Minority Leader

If government prints money, then they’d be devaluing the money of everyone who had saved or invested, whereas if they borrow money and use taxes to repay it, the burden falls more evenly across the economy and doesn’t disproportionately penalize certain sets of people.

If you think Nigeria is carelessly borrowing, then what will you say to America and China that are world powers? China owes about $1.1 trillion in U.S. debt, or a bit more than the amount Japan owes, and China is still steadily supplying us everything including matches and toothpicks. America itself borrows hard cash from TREASURY BONDS. Whether you’re an American retiree or Chinese bank, American debt is considered a sound investment. The Chinese Yuan, like the currencies of many nations, is tied to the U.S. dollar.

Even at that, there are seven countries in the world whose external loan debt to China surpasses 25 percent of their GDP. What are we even talking about?


 

INEC’S SWANSONG: A Commission in Its Shadows

By Dan UGWU.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set up in 1998 to oversee elections in Nigeria is running a risk of going defunct. As the day goes by, its troubles increase in breadth and width. Right from the time of Justice Ephraim Akpata; the Commission’s premier chairman to these days of Mahmood Yakubu, INEC has been saddled with irregularities in matters of elections.

Apart from irregularities centered on common factors as shoddy preparations, ballot paper unavailability, unavailability of smart card readers and large cancellation of valid votes, INEC’s crown of thorns has further been complication with court verdicts. This is the latest addition in the Commission’s sad story, a development that is almost becoming a dirge to INEC’s swansong.

If there is anything that poses threat to the continuous existence of democratic governance in Nigeria aside from the rising spate of insecurity and the dangerous trend of distrust among ethnic nationalities in recent times, the rate at which the Supreme Court now decides election outcomes and the perceived shortcomings of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have become matters of major concern.

In the recent times, our beloved country has witnessed the tribunalization of our electoral process and democracy. Nigeria as a nation has had the highest number of electoral disputes in the world. It is only in Nigeria, that our election candidates or aspirants are determined not by the political parties or electorates per say, but by the courts which legislate on the outcome of party primaries and conventions.

INEC'S SWANSONG: A Commission in Its Shadows
Prof. Yakubu Mahmood; Current Chairman, INEC

At times, the courts determine rightful party flag-bearers even months after the general elections, leading to sack of elected officers by the people. Our leaders and the courts also have a way of imposing candidates on the people. Even after the elections, we also go back to the tribunal for them to determine who has won.

It doesn’t happen anywhere in the world where the courts are saddled with such responsibilities that make the electorates irrelevant in matters of selecting their choice leaders, a situation that is making political offices appear as positions for the highest bidders and corrupt persons who have the whims and caprices to wangle their ways.

INEC; the electoral body that superintends over elections does not even have the authority to determine who wins and who loses. INEC reports are challenged by the aspirants who push them to court as defendants. Even the Nigerian police and other security agents appear more powerful, resourceful and reliable in elections as their reports have become more valuable and reliable than INEC’s.

In cases of irregularity and fraud, INEC’s decision to exclude such units and votes for transparency and credibility are even challenged by some aggrieved aspirants. In the foregoing, they drag the Commission to court and the court adjudicates on their litigations, rendering INEC as toothless Bulldogs.

INEC'S SWANSONG: A Commission in Its Shadows

Sadly, the Commission has been involved in over 1,600 court cases arising from the February/March 2019 general elections. This includes 809 cases on pre-election matters and 807 cases on post-election litigations.

Unfortunately, Nigerian judges are not essentially trained to determine winners of elections, and yet they have over a thousand cases to address all through election period. It does appear the courts have no more responsibilities than election matters in Nigeria. This is a very ugly development that has marred our democracy, making us the scorn among other nations.

As a matter of fact, the verdicts of the Supreme Court in the isolated governorship elections of Osun State held in September 2018, the Imo and Bayelsa State governorship polls and the conduct of INEC in the Kogi State exercise have continued to give political pundits and legal luminaries worry over the fate of Nigeria’s democracy should the trend continue.

Several other Nigerians, using the Bayelsa and Imo states governorship elections and the final verdict of the apex court as a peg, have also expressed concern that Nigerian courts are gradually taking over the role of the election umpire, especially when it comes to determining winners in many contests. This is further complicated by the inconsistency inherent in some Apex court’s decisions.

INEC'S SWANSONG: A Commission in Its Shadows
Justice Muhammad Tank; Chief Justice of Nigeria

For instance, in the judgement that sacked David Lyon the governor-elect of Bayelsa and his running mate Biobarakuma Degi-Eriemienyo on the grounds of alleged certificate forgery, was received across the board with mixed feelings because in a similar case involving James Faleke and Audu Abubakar in Kogi state, the court separated the deputy governor from the governor.

The same court refused to give it to Faleke on the ground that he was not the governorship candidate but the deputy. In the Bayelsa case, the same Supreme Court joined and sacked them. Now, the governor who was chosen by the people is suffering for the sins of his running mate.

The people of Bayelsa State have elected their candidate through INEC but the Supreme Court subverted their choice without recalling its earlier judgment that brought Yahaha Bello of Kogi State to power.

In Imo state, the Supreme court only succeeded in distracting and destabilizing governance by short changing the people’s choice. Even after human right groups and well-meaning Nigerians shouted wolf to the judgement that gave Senator Uzodimma victory, the court still went ahead to assert its judgement in favour of Uzodimma on the premise that the Supreme court cannot set aside its prior judgement.

INEC'S SWANSONG: A Commission in Its Shadows

In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Kayode Ariwoola, the court held that granting the request of the applicants would open the flood gate by parties to all kinds of litigations. With this, it became clear that there was error and fraud in the entire process.

In the interest of justice, the court ought to have set-aside its decision that was given in error and even issue a punitive measure to the plaintiff for misleading the court. But that was not to be, as the court ruled in favour of the candidate who has usurped an elective position by fraud. In these situations, the credibility of INEC has been put to question as an electoral umpire.

This is a time when the government will think properly what to do with INEC. Some Nigerians are calling for the replacement of the current electoral body with a better and well-organised one to manage its electoral processes. This is good especially when the Commission is intensified to improve on the current Electoral Act to address grey areas in the election process.

But this will only be meaningful if the courts will no longer be the final determinant of the true representatives of the electorate after elections, otherwise it will tantamount to changing SARS to FSARS.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

When the Court Dictates on The Contrary

By Dan UGWU.

Ordinarily, if not for the communal, committed and concerted effort of Imo people who were bent on ousting the governor Rochas Okorocha’s dynasty and Oligarchy, it would have been a smooth sail for his crony; Ugwumba Uche Nwosu.

Just as it is normal with elections in Nigeria, litigations set in, Uche Nwosu took Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha; the candidate of the PDP and who pulled 273, 404 to emerge governor as declared by INEC in the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Imo State from High court to Supreme court; Ararume took Ihedioha down to Supreme court; Hope Uzodimma took Ihedioha from High court to Supreme court as well.

Behind Uche Nwosu was Rochas Okorocha and Imo treasury. With Hope Uzodimma was Adams Oshiomhole and the APC militia. Ararume himself enjoyed the friendship of the Presidency to an extent, to the point that his stay with APGA was to be short lived.

WHEN ADVICE IS UNPLEASANT: Those Obnoxious Epistles to Ihedioha
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha

It was as if the elements caved in to assail just but one man who had no political sponsor and godfather in the entire process except the generality of Imolites. Just like the biblical David, Ihedioha was never afraid of the myriads set against him on every side. After all the bible said earlier that a thousand soldiers may fall at your side, another ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Barely 8 months into his leadership, the Supreme court struck with terror and upturned a judgement already adjudicated to Ihedioha’s favour by the lower courts. It was like a shot from the blues, Imolites woke up from their deep sleep. What was the news? Hope Uzodimma who had come 4th and who had celebrated Ihedioha’s victory against ‘Rochas family’ has been declared the duely elected governor. Reason: He brought forward to the supreme court alleged padded results from some 388 units situated in his wonderland.

It was not clear to Imo people. Even though Ihedioha had issued his acceptance of the judgement in a somewhat heartbreaking and quite sentimental tone, he was encouraged to apply for explanation and clarity from the hallowed chambers in Abuja. His application is scheduled to take place on March 2, 2020.

When the Court Dictates on The Contrary
Chief Justice of Nigeria; Tanko Mohammed

This is not all, Ihedioha’s victory in Imo as declared by INEC was the victory of Imolites. This was illustrated by the various ululative renditions spiced with trilling melodies across the state. But today, his sack, his failure to retain to power is gradually becoming his personal lot.

The many comrades who had worn his crested vest, caps and almost shortchanged their names with his, have almost deserted him to flock around the incumbent. Is that all? No. They have variously maligned him to a point of spoiling his political ambition in the bid to create relevance. What is his offence? He contested for governorship.

However, this later development is not shocking to some of us who had followed the acrimonious pattern of Nigerian form of leadership where ‘might is always wealth and right’. This form of desertation is not new to PDP. After all the party isolated itself from Olisa Metuh when the convict was almost robing every person into his witness box. The rest in this category is history.

When the Court Dictates on The ContraryANT: Those Obnoxious Epistles to Ihedioha
Ugwumba Uche Nwosu

By Monday, March 2, the Supreme Court will be expected to give its final statement on the earlier judgement. Two things stand in the variables. It is either he will be returned after various errors are itemized or he will still be sacked. In either of the variables, EMEKA IHEDIOHA will never be a failure either to himself, his homestead Mbutu, the Mbaise nation, his Owerri senatorial zone and the entire Imo state that gave him mantle.

After so many years in the Federal House, Ihedioha has made his Marks as an accomplished politician. No matter the picture his traducers and assailants project, Ihedioha remains a hero he is. If anyone doubts this, let him organize a ceremony where Imo political actors will converge and watch where Imo accolades will be emptied. Win or lose, he is made.

The situation has only offered Ihedioha an opportunity to know his real political friends and foes. Good a thing, Ihedioha still has numerous years ahead in his political future. This will be an opportunity to wean himself of all those ‘food is ready’ politicians.

When the Court Dictates on The Contrary
Sen. Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State, with Senator Rochas Okorocha

With PDP, he still has a brighter future in Nigeria. Win or lose, Ihedioha must have the challenge of nurturing young and progressive politicians who will point to him as a godfather. Godfatherism can only be a vice in a morally bound institution, not in politics where there is broad day sponsorship.

At the end of the day, only those poor and political handicaped citizens are the ones who are left with him today. Apart from a few of them, all those heavyweights he rode with on a motorcade have since resumed duty in the camp of the opposition. After the review, we shall have time to address them and their future individually. In the meantime, when the court dictates on the contrary, only what God wants will happen.

 

  • Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

WHEN ADVICE IS UNPLEASANT: Those Obnoxious Epistles to Ihedioha

By Dan Ugwu .

The Imo state literary space has been awash with variety of letters addressed to Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha ever since the Supreme Court unturned his government on January 14, 2020. These letters if compiled will by now take over a big portion of Ihedioha’s shelve.

Ironically, these letters are authored mostly by his political opponents, those who either derive fortune from his political enemies or groups who are expecting some commendations as a product of their charade. The outlet with which these venomous writings sell through are the social media, the hub of acrimonious tweets.

There are also some local tabloids especially in Imo state that have found relish in the publication of these letters, good to mention here is the WHITE PAPER managed by Hon. Chief Sam Onwuemodo. In the most recent edition of this beautiful paper, these letters adorned its front page and banal headlines.

Notable authors of these letters will include Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, Dr. Fabian Ihekweme, Okenze Blyden Amajirionwu, Lemmy Akakem and a battery of other disgruntled groups. If there is anything achieved by these writers, it is unity of purpose. They are united both in their awkward request for Emeka Ihedioha to drop his application for review, and also in their resolve to play to the gallery and win the applause of incumbent governor Hope Uzodimma.

WHEN ADVICE IS UNPLEASANT: Those Obnoxious Epistles to Ihedioha
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha

Since most of these letters are open and public, it is not difficult to ascertain the spirit inherent in such epistles. They are not good willed; they rather bespeak the contrary. They come before the reading public as fragments of political gerrymandering, uncultured self-depreciation, self-immolation, stone throwing, name calling, buck passing, bickering, treachery, blackmail and wangling that swing as pendulums among our politicians.

Unfortunately, this has become the besetting factors of our modern-day democracy where finding the person who will always stand by you in politics requires a very subtle alchemy.

Uche Nwosu is a household name in Imo state. He is one of the upcoming politicians that rose to popularity on the wings of his in-law; Senator Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo state. He got a huge boost in his ambition when Okorocha picked him to become the next governor.

The struggle to protect him and secure APC guber ticket as against the wish of the party led both himself and the party to defeat. The struggle also ruptured the relationship between Rochas Okorocha and Adams Oshiomhole; APC National Chairman.

WHEN ADVICE IS UNPLEASANT: Those Obnoxious Epistles to Ihedioha
Ugwumba Uche Nwosu

At a time, Oshiomhole brokered peace between Rochas and other leaders of the party in Imo and asked him to share structure and candidates with others on a 55-45 ratio where he takes the higher share. Okorocha bluntly refused.

He was asked to allow Hope Uzodimma to continue in the senate. He refused insisting on taking the senate seat while his son in-law takes the guber slot. Okorocha also insisted in nominating all candidates for the senate, House of Representatives and of House of Assembly and only a few like the late Benjamin Uwajumogu who was reelected senator battled to retrieve their candidacies through Oshiomhole’s intervention.

Of course, Okorocha gave Uwajimogu’s slot to one of his weightless cronies Obiareri. All these formed the prelude to the APC crisis in Imo as the wounded elements in various shades and clothings emerged and consequently caved in, waged war against him, battled him and ensured that he went to the election besieged and battered. Therein, he shouted wolf, denigrating and pointing accusing fingers on Hope, Ararume and Ohakim as the major gang up against his political ambition.

At these various stages, Uche Nwosu was in the picture without any advice, rather he even divided the party, took his followers to another party to stand in for the election. This was one of the grievous wounds he inflicted on the party that made it almost impossible for party members to determine where they belonged and who to support.

WHEN ADVICE IS UNPLEASANT: Those Obnoxious Epistles to Ihedioha
Senator Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor Imo State, Nigeria

When Nwosu later approached the Assumpta Cathedral; the seat of the Catholic faith in Imo, the Archbishop Obinna advised him to retrace steps as he was not ripe for such contest. Did he take it? No. Nwosu neither heeded to the voice of reason nor to the appeal from both his party and well-meaning Imolites. Was that all? No.

When he lost the election to Ihedioha of the PDP, he went to court and took him up to the Supreme court without also taking any advice to drop his case and join hands with Ihedioha to work. Now after the ugly marriage of strange associates, he feels he has the moral temerity to litter advise on social network for Ihedioha to drop his appeal. Such advise can only be taken by morons who suffer from dementia and impaired reasoning.

Another person whose letter appeared in the emerging Hope Uzodimma government paper is Okenze Blyden Amajirionwu. Amajirionwu was the state PDP Publicity Secretary. His name came often in the media during the controversy surrounding the death of one Nnanna Eke in Uvuru Ntu, Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State on December 30, 2012 when he was accused of complicity.

At the dawn of that controversy, we were also muttering prayers for him. He wrote a letter to Emeka Ihedioha advising him to drop his case and render apology to the Supreme court judges. After reading the said letter, it will be easy to conclude that it is a vindictive writing aimed at securing vendetta. There is no single sincerity and love in the note, rather Amajolirionwu was recalling the huge money he spent to secure a PDP slot in Ngor Okpala that failed.

WHEN ADVICE IS UNPLEASANT: Those Obnoxious Epistles to Ihedioha
Senator Rochas Okorocha

He was also itemizing the different locations where Ihedioha has material properties. Perhaps, these were the reason for his advice for Ihedioha to back down. Dr. Fabian Ihekweme is a Consultant on Political matters and a former Chairman of Imo State Newspapers Ltd.; the Statesman. The White Paper describes him as an arch supporter of Hope Uzodimma, a situation which also puts him in an ugly line of advice.

Since these advise are coming from persons already with a mindset and individuals paid or hopeful to be paid to have an opinion, they are the worst of advice, which Ihedioha should take. Ihedioha is a Nigerian politician like others, he also has right of appeal where necessary and accepted. He has not committed any crime to seek for clarity.

If the Supreme court convinces him on why he was sacked, he has no option than to team up and build up Imo with the new government of Uzodimma. If he is returned as many would doubt, the rest who have also maligned him will be expected to join in praise. This is the Nigeria we have grown to love.

 

  • Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

 

LENT; A Stimulus for Christian Involvement In Social Struggle

By Dan UGWU.

The scriptural calls for repentance, judgment, dangers of sin and temptation are notable during the time of lent which spans from Ash Wednesday till the eve of Easter. However, I feel is good as well to reflect on how lent can be a stimulus for Christian involvement in social struggle considering the urgent demand for everyone in Nigeria to contribute in the salvation of Nigeria from current dehumanizing challenges.

The English word “Lent” comes from the Germanic word for “springtime.” It’s such a resonant word, bringing to mind renewal and new life. But springtime also brings to mind the often-dreaded task of spring cleansing.

No wonder lent and springtime are connected! Like spring, Lent is a time of renewal and new life as well as a time to do some spring cleansing. It is a perfect opportunity to take spiritual inventory and clean out those things that clutter our lives (both personal and social) and get in the way of our relationship.

Lent, observed in the forty days before Easter, developed as a way of recalling our Lord’s own forty days and nights of fasting in the wilderness while he prayed and battled with the devil. Traditionally, lent has always be regarded as a period of renewal characterized by the three features of fasting, alms-giving and prayer.

LENT; A Stimulus for Christian Involvement In Social Struggle
Catholic Faithfuls receiving the ash on their forehead as a symbol of repentance

One may be tempted to ask the question – why do Christians observe lent? The opening chapter of Baruch tells how on one occasion the Jewish exiles in Babylon “wept and fasted and prayed before the Lord, and collected such funds as each could furnish” (1:5-6). That one sentence summarizes the common penitential disciplines of God’s people since the ancient times.

In the life of ancient Israel, God himself set the precedent for designating special days for penance. Through Moses, he commanded the people to observe an annual Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) “on the tenth day of the seventh month” (Lev. 16:29).

On this day, the people were to mortify themselves (eat no food) and do no work, so they could devote the day to repentance and prayer, asking God to cleanse them of their sins (Lev. 16:29-34). In later times, the Jewish people set aside additional days and seasons of penitential fasting (Zech 8:19). This practice of penitential days and seasons was continued by the early Christians (Acts 13:2-3) and became an established tradition in the Church.

It is fitting that the season of Lent begins with a symbol repentance: the placing of ashes on our foreheads, a practice which buttresses the attitude of repentance as seen in the Old Testament when after the prophecy of Jonah in Nineveh “the King rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down on ashes” (Jonah 3:6). During the season of lent, Christians continue to express sorrow for their sins and a desire to draw closer to God through prayer, fasting and alms-giving.

LENT; A Stimulus for Christian Involvement In Social Struggle

From the above overview, the value of prayer is immediately obvious; with Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection, the new Christian meaning of human suffering is underlined; the victory that comes with faithful suffering is expressive. Because of this traditional way of understanding lent, some Christians have correctly interpreted the season as a time for penance, fasting and alms-giving.

Although correct, but I intend to establish a new meaning and message of the season.
As it is clear to all of us, the spiritual exercises of the Lenten season are meant to prepare us spiritually to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and his victory over death. Death itself is a state of lifelessness and hopelessness; it is the end of all possibilities; the end of existence.

Contrary to the hopelessness of death, the feast of Easter radiates hope and courage that “with God all things are possible”. Easter brings to the fore, the infinitude of possibilities against the hopelessness of death. Just as death means hopelessness and lifelessness, any state of life that shares these characters fall within the categories of death.

This could stretch from the personal to the socio-economic and political. Examples will include: consciences that no longer distinguish between good and evil, religious leaders who have abandoned their divine assignment to sing praises for criminal politicians and gold-diggers for lust of filthy lucre and those who materially compete with business tycoons and money magnets in a show of wealth; politicians who have looted their constituents dry to the tune of billions.

LENT; A Stimulus for Christian Involvement In Social Struggle

Politics and public governance in countries like Nigeria have been reduced to huge jokes and are steadily dying that the necessity of CHANGE has become imperative. No patriotic Nigerian will be comfortable with the situation of Nigeria today.

Political gangsterism has become a norm while election rigging appears canonized. The culture of political unruliness has created unimaginable miseries and unparalleled oceans of poverty dotted with islands of scandalous wealth.

The violence that accompanied the murder of Jesus of Nazareth was made even more vicious because of the innocence of the victim. Such mindless injustice is being perpetrated among us today, not even children and the unborn are exempted. Our world has simply failed to adequately respond to the demands of equity and justice for all especially the vulnerable.

The issue of justice in Nigeria is heavily treated with much subjectivism, such that the notion of justice and its implementation are abandoned to the whims and caprices of each individual to such an extent that Nigerians are more conversant with “jungle justice” than the idea of justice concerned with the proper ordering of people and things within the Nigerian polity and beyond.

The polity is notoriously known for its complete breakdown of law and order, indiscipline and flagrant violations of human rights. The situation is complicated with the level of acrimony and hate propagated as doctrine.

LENT; A Stimulus for Christian Involvement In Social StruggleOn the social scene, our national economy is suffering from attack and sabotage. Insurgency has graduated to frightening dimensions. The belligerent Boko Haram sect now operate with military precision and appear to outweigh the country’s security outfits. The activities of the sect is one of the latest additions in the inexhaustible catalogues of social evils that have vowed to lay Nigeria to quick rest.

The onslaught of these men is fast turning the country into another version of the Rwandan genocide and with its morbid infamy. Basic social amenities like portable water, electricity, motor-able roads as well as health care and education appear as forgotten issues. The cost of governance in Nigeria unlike in many other democracies is outrageously high, little wonder well-meaning Nigerians have been calling for a review of the cost of bureaucracy.

These problems keep multiplying in spread and depth. There is no doubt that we have arrived at this state of death in our national history and personal orientations which have led to loss of the sense of the sacred, obliterating the boundaries between good and evil. To say the least, there is despair and frustration.

Lent is a period, when Christians prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Christ from death. The season is meant to create in us the stimulus to confront our many states of death and seriously prepare us to rise with Christ to new life, new courage, new vision and new orientations.

LENT; A Stimulus for Christian Involvement In Social Struggle
Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBC)

The season is meant to spur us into positive involvement in social struggles so as to adopt a creative critical engagement with the society in the bid to transform it for better human living conditions. The season could acquire social and political relevance that transcends the dark rooms of mere religious piety.

In this sense, repentance as a special requirement of the Lenten season will not only consist in the prayer of forgiveness but rather involves the renunciation of lifestyles that stimulate and enhance the state of death in our human society.

The awareness of sin during this period of lent involves also socially insensitive and destructive tendencies. There is the consciousness that there is much more to Lent than wearing the ashen sign for one day; much more, even, that our acts of fasting, prayer and alms-giving.

Conceived in this way, the Stations of the Cross, which is a norm during lent through which the Christian journeys with Jesus through his agony and death, can incorporate the present sufferings and cries of our people.

Through this process, the devotion could become transformed from religious piety to a powerful spiritual vehicle of touching minds, hearts and challenging them to decreasing the many crowns of thorns worn by our people.

In this way, the sufferings of Jesus would not be in the past but will be replayed every day in each kidnapped person; and in every victim of bloodbath occasioned by acts of insurrection in Nigeria. This is how best to appreciate the significance of lent.

Let the preparation begin today! We pray the Lord to support us, as with this Lenten fast, we begin our Christian warfare, so that in doing battle against the spirit of evil, both personal and social, we may be armed with the weapon of self-denial.

 

  • Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

BLACK WEDNESDAY: From Fuga Mundi Spirituality to Confrontational Evangelization

By Dan UGWU.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 26, 2020, the Catholic Church in Nigeria will not only be marked with ash on the foreheads. This time, Nigeria will be robed black. Unlike the prophecy of Jonah where the King wore sackcloth and sat down in the dust as a sign of reparation, this time, the entire Catholic community, both clergy and lay will be expected to clad in black, not necessarily in observance of the Lenten campaign but in entreaty and call for an end to incessant killings in Nigeria.

This is not the first time the catholic Church is taking campaign of this magnitude to the streets. On Friday September 10, 2010 was also a day of extra-significance and symbolism for the Church. On this day, the Catholic faithful in Owerri Ecclesiastical Province went on procession, clad in black and observed a day of fasting and prayer, pleading for God’s mercy and forgiveness for the many crimes and abominations going on in our society.

Although, I was actually on my way to Lagos on this day, but in the Diocese of Ahiara where I took off from, the turnout was unprecedented. In Okigwe, Owerri and Orlu Dioceses where I went through during my journey, the appearance of thousands upon thousands of people of all grades and gender in procession was both dramatic and somehow terrifying. This is because the symbolism was so obvious to anyone who knows the Igbo culture.

BLACK WEDNESDAY: From Fuga Mundi Spirituality to Confrontational Evangelization
cross section of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBC)

“Black” in Igbo culture symbolizes a state of abnormality; it connotes a “mournful state” associated with bereavement, a state of utter disgust and bold expression of sadness. It symbolizes a threatening darkness and a state of utter hopelessness and helplessness, an ugly state of affairs.

The message of the “black Friday” episode was lucid and direct. The (Nigerian) society has been immersed in an unjust social structure. For instance, poverty has been made structural and kidnapping took a social and political dimension with other sundry evils.

After articulating and meditating over this penitential convocation of the Catholic faithful, so many questions keep calling. Having assumed our individual responsibilities and prayed for our sins, what can the church do to save the socio-economic situation of man?

The challenge posed by insecurity has taken a frightening dimension already, what could be the contribution of the Church to tame this menace? Loot, misappropriation and acute sqaundermania in public offices is almost turning cultural in Nigeria; is there any way the Church can come in solution?

BLACK WEDNESDAY: From Fuga Mundi Spirituality to Confrontational Evangelization
Pope Francis

There is fragrant tribunalization of our democracy. This is occasioned by open electoral robbery and manipulations; how best can the Church confront these ills? Political parties have become the bane of our democracy, will the Church remain toothless in its condemnations?

How could the Christian faith become more of a practical realty in the light of the people’s present life? And how could it transform its efficacy to the misruled and oppressed people of Nigeria and convince them that the Christian God is the one who has demonstrated his love for the world in the incarnation and his option for the poor in Christ’s strong criticisms of the rich and the powerful?

How can Christian theology truly merge the contents of the Christian faith and practice in the socio-political context of Nigeria in order to actualize the profundity of the social, political and economic demands of the Christian love? Will the church ever remain silent and retain the traditional fuga mundi spirituality in the socio-political afflictions of the faithful?

These and more are the yawning questions which the BLACK WEDNESDAY should set out to address because the church ought and must fight the structures of sin whether religious, economic, social or political.

Nigeria certainly has gone a long way in her chequered history. The distress we live today in Nigeria does not leave any committed human person neutral. The divisions in Nigeria along ethnic, religious, economic and professional lines make our suffering especially that of the less privileged very severe.

BLACK WEDNESDAY: From Fuga Mundi Spirituality to Confrontational Evangelization

Unfortunately, those who may lead in resisting the oppressor are prevented by loyalties or have their efforts blunted and helmed in by walls of malice and suspicion. There is extreme suffering inflicted on those who are robbed of their possession and denied their human rights and dignity.

Unfortunately, the Church is not even free of these ills. Most at times, the oppressors connive with some leaders of the Church in their filth. These make such clerics optimize the advantage of the pulpit to advance political interests.

Nigeria is indeed lagging behind in all indices of human, religious and infrastructural development. In fact, record has it that about 70% of the Nigerian population live below poverty line. No one doubts the need today for a concerted action to save the situation.

It is within the existence of these social realities that we can assess the social mission of the church. The social mission of the church takes its bearing from the locus classicus of Jesus’ mission, which declares: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, he has sent me to announce release to the captive and restoration of sight to the blind, to set free the downtrodden and to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour” (Luke 4:18-19, Isa 61:1-2).

BLACK WEDNESDAY: From Fuga Mundi Spirituality to Confrontational Evangelization

It goes then without gainsaying that Jesus’ announcement sets in motion the social mission of the church. The religion of Jesus as is known has less to fear from sitting down to dine with publicans and sinners than it has to fear from the immaculate isolation of the Pharisees.

In the face of these thrusts, it is imperative to renew the question of the Church’s mission in our contemporary Nigerian society. Does it only consist in praying, preachments as we will see on Ash (Black) Wednesday, seating at the confessional, going on sick calls, issuing Communiques, observing dialogues with government, wearing immaculate white habits and soutanes, organizing crusades and ministries, shouting Holy Ghost fire and purportedly casting out demons?

Do issues of social justice, social responsibility and confronting social evil receive proportionate attention in this mission? It is my submission that the church’s spiritual mission cannot ignore social questions or treat them with levity without offending the mind of Jesus her founder.

So, the church cannot feign ignorance or pretend to be neutral in the midst of the great social struggle that has reduced majority of Nigerians to subhuman conditions. A Church that will have something to tell the people about salvation in the next world but will provide neither succor nor solidarity to a people being enslaved by the oppressive social, economic and political structures of the day will be dismissed as opium of the masses.

BLACK WEDNESDAY: From Fuga Mundi Spirituality to Confrontational Evangelization

In this case, the Church will be captive as she cannot remove herself from temporal affairs, because the temporal is the activity of men, and all that concerns men concerns the Church. The Church interests herself closely in every generous endeavour which helps to set humanity on the road to heaven and also in the search for well-being, for justice, for peace, for happiness on earth.

Having analyzed the unjust social order of the Nigerian society, it is imperative for the church to be involved in a more critical engagement with the society because the Church’s mission of divinization includes a humanization which is expressed in the words of St. Iraneus that the glory of God is in the living man.

This critical engagement with the society is inspired by various instructions of the Church. Central to the theology and ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council is its changed understanding of the proper relationship of the world and the Church.

While earlier ecclesiologies had often pictured the Church as refuge from an evil world, Vatican II firmly fixes the vocation of the Christian and indeed the mission of the Church itself within the world which it sees as a place of both sin and grace.

BLACK WEDNESDAY: From Fuga Mundi Spirituality to Confrontational Evangelization

In his 1971 Apostolic Exhortation tittled OCTOGESIMA ADVENIENS, Pope Paul VI among other things recognizes that imbalance decisively affects the outcome of political negotiations and fortifies injustice.

The Pope recognizes the fact that there can hardly be any socio-political change or social justice without some form of social struggle. So, this form of social struggle will lead the Church to ask the government some direct questions devoid of diplomacy.

Elsewhere in another document of the Church tittled “Centesimus Annus”, John Paul II argued that such movements as the People Power Movement of the Philippines, the Solidarity Movement in Poland and others that played active roles in transformation of human societies are struggles born out of religion, prayer and trust in God. After all Jesus was bold enough to ask one of the guards beside him “If there is some offence in what I said, point it out; but if not, WHY DO YOU STRIKE ME? (Jn 18: 22-23).

This question of Jesus challenges Christians never to be passive in the face of evil, injustice and oppression. It could also be salvific in the sense that it could bring the oppressors to re-think their actions against the people. Through organs like the JDPC, CARITAS and JUDICIAL COMMISSIONS, the Church can confront agencies like the EFCC, ICPC, INEC, SECURITY FORCES, SENATE, LEGISLATURE AND EVEN THE EXECUTIVE, to query about some happenstances. In this way, they can stand a chance of telling the people things with fact, and as such become the hope of the common masses.

If the Church in Nigeria had made use of the resources at her disposal, oppressive governments and structures would not have survived their days. On August 1, 1988, Chuks Iloegbunam of the now defunct Newswatch magazine wrote an article titled, “They Who Dare Say No to Oppression”.

In that article, he writes: “Each man decides for himself how to react when he is entangled in a web. Some bury their heads in the sand. Others grumble. A few chant songs in praise of oppressive chains, believing freedom is derived therefrom. A class apart says “No” in thunder, using various methods to make their point”. This class of the fearless is of interest in these disconcerting times.

 

  • Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

Jeopardizing Governance; Our Governor Goofs

By Dan Ugwu.

 

Far from despising the dead, the naming of Ihitte Uboma College of Education after Ben Uwajumogu by Governor Hope Uzodimma is an ugly precedence. What are we going to tell our children when they ask us who was Uwajumogu? Maybe we tell them he was a politician, a lawmaker and senator. Just that?

Educational institutions are named after persons who made wonderful and notable contributions towards education or academics in a state. It is not an opportunity to cement friendship or doll out favour to curry applause.

The late Ben Uwajumogu just like his folks played serious politics in Imo and made his wealth. He also rose to the position of a Speaker in Imo House of Assembly; a position which so many others have also attained.

It is an open secret that state legislators in Nigeria, particularly in Imo State are mere rubber stamps of the state governors. They hardly make any meaningful contributions to the development of their states, as they are there largely on their own. So they strive to get what they want by working for the state governors, rather than working for the people they claim to represent.

JEOPARDIZING GOVERNANCE: Our Governor Goofs
Senator Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor Imo State, Nigeria

Certainly, late Uwajimogu was one of such state legislators and Speakers Imo State had ever had. We do know that the situation was worst during Okorocha’s ill-fated administration when Imo State legislators were practically nonexistent.

As a senator, late Uwajimogu represented just one third part of Imo State. His roles and achievements as a senator, to the best of my knowledge can hardly be outstanding. If this is so, how then can Hope Uzodinma justify naming Imo State College of Education after the late Senator Uwajimogu?

Sincerely speaking, can any right thinking Imolite testify with evidences that the late Uwajimogu falls into the class of Imo Statesmen, professional high fliers and outstanding entrepreneurs that deserve being named after a public institution of that type to honour and immortalize them?

I will hardly identify him in the class of people like the Arochukwu born ALVAN IKOKU who was an educationist, statesman and activist. Unwana born FRANCIS AKANU IBIAM was a distinguished medical missionary and governor of Eastern Region, and MICHAEL OKPARA; a physician of note who made waves as the youngest Premier of Eastern Nigeria.

JEOPARDIZING GOVERNANCE: Our Governor Goofs
Late Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu

Ben Uwajumogu could have merited the naming of other structures like roads, streets or facilities as the governor may seem fit. Such merits could have gone to persons like the Professor Celestine Onwuliri, Justice Oputa or Engr. Ezekiel Izuogu who explored African technology. Am sure there other socially and educationally relevant persons in Ihitte Uboma too.

As a lawmaker, Senator Uzodimma should also know that such ventures are passed as Bills to the House of Assembly. The Imo lawmakers have that prerogative according to Law Number Four of 1984 and the subsequent amendment of the Law carried out by the House in 2004.

One will recall that when Ikedi Ohakim sought to rename Imo State University (IMSU) after the late Evan Enwerem, it caused pandemonium because the students and some Imolites felt the politician had a failed political carrier especially in the Senate.

In a swift response, the Imo State House of Assembly unanimously amended and passed a Bill that sought among other things, to change the name of IMSU to Evan Enwerem University, Owerri. News of the de-immortalization was widely celebrated by indigens of the state, Alumni of the institution and friends of the university who felt that Enwerem did not deserve that brand of immortalization.

JEOPARDIZING GOVERNANCE: Our Governor Goofs
Former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

When on May 29, 2012, President Goodluck announced the renaming of UniLag to Moshood Abiola University of Lagos (MAULAG), the Nigerian Senates approved the renaming bill which also included the renaming of other educational institutions like Federal University of Technology, Umudike which was renamed to the Michael Okpara University, Umudike and the Federal Univeristy of Technology, Yola, which was renamed to the Modibbo Adamawa University.

The Abiola University renamed by the president caused crisis that occasioned a law suit filed by students of the University of Lagos (Unilag) observing that the name, which was changed was unconstitutional as it initially was done without parliamentary approval. After litigations, I wonder if that schools still goes by the moniker UNILAG OR MAULAG today.

The governor should also know when acting within the province of the law. This Pyrrhic offer goes a long way to show the mentality and understanding of Nigerian brand of modern-day leaders. The advisers of Governor Uzodimma, if he has one failed in this one.

The governor should be made to understand that educational institutions are very serious monuments that ought not to be politicized. May God accept the soul of the late Senator who died in service to humanity. Amen.

  • Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 

 


 

 

Oshiomhole’s Swangsong

By Dan Ugwu.

APC under Adams Oshiomhole has entered the dark days. The party is gradually becoming the scorn of Nigerians. Except for illustrious figures like Prsident Muhhamadu Buhari, the party would have become a shadow of itself. This was also the tone of PDP’s swansong when it lost laudable attributes because of its unhindered access to the nation’s treasury and lifeblood.

Oshiomhole’s rascality and irresponsibility has caused the ruling party much hatred and criticism from well-meaning Nigerians. The party shot itself in the foot in Zamfara, Rivers and Imo states because of irresponsible miscalculations.

Even in Bayelsa where hearts are broken, Oshiomhole is the highest loser. After the High court disqualified Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, David Lyon’s running mate a day to the election, Oshiomhole felt he could muscle his way as usual to get an Appeal court order immediately to lead the party to the polls.

Oshiomhole's Swangsong
Adams Oshiomhole; National President of the All Progressives Congress (APC)

A reasonable leader would have substituted the controversial candidate early enough. It beats one’s imagination to note that Degi-Eremienyo was chairman of Nembe LGA, Commissioner for Health and a serving Senator representing Bayelsa state East Senatorial District. Nobody knew of this forgery.

Check it in and out, Dickson played a role in the infamous development. After this judgement, Oshiomhole still had the effrontery to fool Nigerians saying there will be no handover in Bayelsa. That’s an enlarged portrait of Alice in wonderland.

The one that will destroy him and the party is the Imo case study that has been universally condemned. Granted Oshiomhole is dense in the art of manipulation, such a figure can only be a leader figure leading a party to defeat.

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

PORTRAIT OF A BAD LEADER: How Oshiomhole is Destroying Nigeria

By Dan Ugwu.

PORTRAIT OF A BAD LEADER: How Oshiomhole is Destroying Nigeria
Adams Eric Aliyu Oshiomhole; National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria.

Adams Eric Aliyu Oshiomhole is the national Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC) party in Nigeria. Oshiomhole, former president of Nigerian Labour Congress emerged APC headsman on June 23, 2018 following a voice vote by delegates at the party National convention in Abuja.

During his Labour days, Oshiomhole was prominent as the leader of a campaign for industrial action against high oil prices in Nigeria.

Early in the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Adams Oshiomhole was known to have negotiated a 25% wage increase for public sector workers. In return he publicly supported Obasanjo and endorsed his candidacy when the latter was re-elected in 2003.

PORTRAIT OF A BAD LEADER: How Oshiomhole is Destroying Nigeria
Senator Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State, Nigeria

However, his relationship with Obasanjo turned sour as neglect of local oil refineries led to reliance on imported gasoline, followed by rises in the price of fuel. Oshiomhole led strikes and demonstrations against the increase. As a result, he faced arrests, tear gas and temporary blockades of union offices, as Obasanjo introduced legislations to make it more difficult for the NLC to strike.

All of these give a picture of a trusted man of the people, a Nigerian who can be trusted with leadership and someone who has experienced the people’s hardship before laying hold on power. But all of that was yesterday, and like the Latin people will say, Corruptio optimi pessimi, that is, the corruption of the best is the worst.

As our man veered into active partisan politics, the tide began to change. After seizing power through the court from Oserheimen osunbor of PDP on March 20, 2008, Oshiomhole led his native Edo state for a round of eight years. The analysis of his reign is better left for Edo people.

Less than two years after Oshiomhole handed power over to his successor Godwin Obaseki who is now his greatest enemy, Oshiomhole got infected with power aphrodisiac as he emerged APC chairman. Ever since then, he has led the party with iron fist.

Edo state chapter of the APC has been boiling as a result of the disagreement between the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki and the national Chairman of the party Adams Oshiomhole, and the underlined word is greed and choice of who decides what in the state.

PORTRAIT OF A BAD LEADER: How Oshiomhole is Destroying Nigeria
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria

Some political pundits are of the view that the defection of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from PDP to APC was part of the plot by the Oshiomhole camp to draft him into the governorship race in 2020 and then upstage Obaseki.

Whatever will be the outcome of Edo election on September 19 is still in the womb of history. APC chieftains in Edo like the former political adviser to Mr Oshiomhole, Charles Idahosa have been accusing Oshiomhole of instigating crisis within the APC in the state.

Is it only Edo State that has been getting a share of Oshiomhole rascality? No. We saw this kind of crisis in Zamfara and Rivers states chapters of the APC in the build up to the 2019 general elections and it was never resolved. In the end, the party paid dearly by not fielding candidates in the two states and their booties were shared by the PDP.

PORTRAIT OF A BAD LEADER: How Oshiomhole is Destroying Nigeria
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha

It did not stop at that. Oshiomhole seem to have infested Imo State with this same unwholesome approach to politics. Ever since his mismanagement and involvement in Imo, grace and peace have eluded the eastern heartland. First of all, his mismanagement and shoddy arrangements of Imo chapter of APC led the party to defeat in the last election.

One will quickly recall the press statement issued by Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, in Owerri on Thursday, March 14, 2019 where the governor said that posterity will judge Adams Oshiomhole and Hope Uzodimma over fate of APC in Imo. In the said letter, the governor alleged that Mr Uzodinma worked for the People’s Democratic Party in the concluded elections.

He said “Mr Uzodinma was one of the first to celebrate with the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, after he was declared the winner of the election, citing a video of the two contestants as proof of his guilt.

“We had maintained that Chief Uzodinma was just a mole in the APC and today, the governorship election in the state and its outcome have obviously vindicated us, aside the fact that a video of Chief Uzodinma’s celebration with Ihedioha has gone viral on the social media”.

PORTRAIT OF A BAD LEADER: How Oshiomhole is Destroying Nigeria
Godwin Obasake; Executive Governor of Edo state, Nigeria

He also alleged that Mr Uzodinma succeeded in the alleged plot by ensuring only his supporters were made agents of the party, adding that his target was to destroy APC in the South-east. Okorocha revealed that Uzodinma succeeded through Adams Oshiomhole to ensure that only his supporters were made agents of the party, from the list he sent from Abuja to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

He further revealed that none of Uzodinma’s and Oshiomhole’s approved agents were seen either at the ward, local government or at the state level. Part of that letter reads “We had equally maintained the contention that Imo people would not vote for Uzodinma because they know him very well, but Oshiomhole refused to listen. He came fourth and never showed that he took part in the election”.

PORTRAIT OF A BAD LEADER: How Oshiomhole is Destroying Nigeria
Senator Rochas Okorocha

These revelations will even go a long way to show the level of insincerity and immorality that have marred the installation of Uzodimma as Imo governor through the antics of Adams Oshiomhole. It is needless to discuss about Oshiomhole’s bid with Rochas when Adams visited Owerri and brokered peace between him and other leaders of the party with a bargain of structure and candidacy sharing formular on a 55-45 ratio.

Posterity will indeed resolve that when it is due. But, it has to be record that Oshiomhole’s dangle with Hope Uzodimma and their subsequent employment of Federal might to recapture Imo against the people’s choice is the height of immorality from two high ranking Catholics with high positions in the Catholic Church.

Through this standard, Oshiomhole has instituted an ugly precedence on how not to chairman a party. The critical opprobrium generated by Oshiomhole against the presidency does not at all worth it as he has always cashed in on Buhari’s popularity to achieve sinister motives. Until Oshiomhole purges himself of all these tricks, Nigeria will never be better for him.

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


 

IMO: Supreme Court Judgement and Urgent Need for Correction

By Austin Uganwa, PhD

Supreme Court Judgement and Urgent Need for Correction

It is no longer a conjecture that Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and the People’s Democratic Party have headed back to the Supreme Court to seek a revisit and revise of the controversial and infuriating verdict of the apex court on Imo governorship election petition. A contrived verdict many have dubbed mathematical injustice.

The fresh application was effectively filed on Wednesday February 5. Not a few well-meaning Nigerians consider this new move by Ihedioha as apt and welcoming for a number of pungent reasons.

First is its salvage import. Ihedioha’s return to the Law Court essentially offers the Supreme Court a veritable window to redress the wide-ranging and evidence-based anomalies and judicial blunder inherent in the judgement that resulted in the miscarriage and subversion of justice. Since the ruling, the Supreme Court has not known peace.

It has justifiably come under constant attacks and condemnations. These have been underpinned by country-wide and global peaceful protests with the protesters pressing for the amendment of the judgement and the sack of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed

This development has not only left the Supreme Court utterly embarrassed but has logically resulted in the desecration of the sacredness of the apex court, thereby putting the hitherto respected highest bench in the land into opprobrium.

Supreme Court Judgement and Urgent Need for Correction
Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha

These unfortunate and reprehensible realities make a total overhaul of the troubled judgement not only urgent but judiciously imperative. This has become crucial and instructive to serve as a balm to cleanse and atone the apex court, set apart as a bastion of justice and last hope of the oppressed.

Besides, the nation’s jurisprudence would be much better, if the ruling is remedied. This is because the Supreme Court being the highest court of law in the country is a policy making judicial body that sets precedents for the lower courts to follow through decided cases.

Consequently, if the obvious abuse of justice inherent in the judgement is allowed to stay, it will., too lamentably, erode the values of reprieve, justice and faith in the judiciary. More so, it will have double-edged and devastating effects on the Nigeria legal system.

For instance, many principled legal Counsels and Judges will basically refuse to cite it because of its intrinsic unscrupulous nature. “A judgement no one would comfortably follow in future would be a great attack on the doctrine of judicial precedent”, Tony Iredia submitted.

The judgement is also a bad omen for our democracy that is still embryonic. Given the heightened fury that attended the brazen subversion of the collective mandate Imo people bequeathed to Ihedioha, it is incontrovertible that Imo and indeed other states (as the anti- Supreme Court protests have been assuming a nationwide dimension) would be heading for voter’s apathy in subsequent elections.

Supreme Court Sacks Ihedioa, Declares Hope Winner
Chief Justice of Nigeria; Tanko Mohammed

This will regrettably set our democracy on backward integration. But then, the critical place of democracy in modernity, globalization and development makes any such recessive shift unacceptable. In this realization, the reconsideration of the judgement is not only compelling but rational and plausible.

Besides the review of the judgement would be in the best interest of the vast majority of Imo people. This is evidenced in the fact that Ihedioha’s seven months on the saddle brought happiness, satisfaction and remarkable development to the state.

Ihedioha threw up massive infrastructural development with 25 roads projects undertaken simultaneously. Due process, accountability and transparency were enthroned in government business leading to Imo being listed as the least corrupt state in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics and relevant international development agencies.

He commenced regular payment of pensioners’ entitlements after six years of non-payment and increased workers’ salaries. He boosted the Internally Generated Revenue from N250m to N1.2b, just to mention a few of his accomplishments.

These inimitable realities underscore the reasons why well-intentioned Nigerians including statesmen, politicians, scholars, legal luminaries, conveners of Civil Society Organizations and members of the Diaspora Community are in one accord for the judgement to be revisited and Ihedioha restored such that justice is not only done but seen to have been done.

Supreme Court Judgement and Urgent Need for Correction
Sen. Hope Uzodinma; Executive Governor of Imo State

Chief Mbazulike Amechi; First Republic Minister of Aviation who was a key member of the defunct Zikist Movement described the judgement as a coup against Imo people and demanded that it should be reversed without delay.

Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma who spoke on behalf of the Anglican Church Bishops accordingly submitted: “The judgement is wicked and corrupt. We warn that failure to reverse it could attract wrath of God”.

Tony Iredia, former spokesman of INEC advised Ihedioha to rely on Order 8 Rule 6 to return to the Court towards ensuring the “correction of the mathematical error, the clerical error, accidental slip or omission inherent in the judgement”. This view was shared by notable human rights lawyers such as Mike Ozekhome, Femi Falana, Ifeanyi Okonkwo and Prof Chidi Odinkalu

New York-based Imo Diaspora Coalition for Justice and Democracy also pushing for the judgement redress and restoration of Ihedioha has mapped out plans to invite the diplomatic missions of European countries, United States, Canada, Asian nations of China, Japan to the Supreme Court planned review of the judgement.

Prof Eddie Oparaji who spoke on behalf of the group called on the Justices of the Court to exercise the courage to reverse the judgement or face visa ban and other international sanctions

However, one-time Justice of the Supreme Court, Late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa known during his time as Socrates because of his preeminent disposition in jurisprudence pointed the way forward in his classical submission in 1989 while delivering a lead judgement.

According to him, the apex court can actually over-rule its judgement because “it is far better to admit an error than to preserve it”. This serves as veritable diet and roadmap for CJN Tanko Mohammed and the other six Justices who delivered the offensive judgement to digest and implement towards ensuring that justice is done in the case and to save the apex court from further hit, hate and desecration.

  • Dr Austin Uganwa wrote from Owerri

 

 

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dr. Austin Uganwa and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”

 


 

ANITA KEYSS; A Testament of the Nollywood Dream

By Kennedy Onyegbado.

 

Anita Keyss; A Testament of the Nollywood Dream
Miss Anita Keyss

Those who argue that there is future for the Nigerian Film Industry can and indeed proudly point at Anita Caroline Odia, popularly known as Anita Keyss as a perfect example of a persona, who has broken free from imposed and self-imposed blockades that usually dragged behind, most individuals from achieving their dreams.

Anita Keyss who was born Lagos as the first child of a beautician mother from Cameroon and a Father from Nigeria is a focused, dedicated and unique actress with an outstanding pedigree. Her life, talents and vision has been characterized by innovations and ingenuities.

Very assiduous, focused and result oriented; Miss Anita has over the years demonstrated her quest to being Nigeria’s fast rising screen goddess and filmmaker. She is the CEO of A KEYSS PRODUCTIONS through which she has produced several movies that has gone a long way in solidifying the Nigerian Film Industry.

A hardworking, innovative and strong team player, Anita got interested in acting while in college and consequently trained for acting at the Film Training Workshop in Abuja organized by the New York Film Academy. Thereafter featured, though un-credited, in some movies such as Real Wife (2012) and New Love (2013) where her talents and skills came to the fore.

Subsequently, in 2014, through her ‘A Keyss Productions’, she produced her first movie; ‘Beauty of The Mind’ wherein she played the role of a Supporting Actress, which earned 2 nominations at the International Film Festival in London. Also she got nominated for the Best independent Film Supporting Actress Award.

Sequel to the huge success of her fist production, Anita was poised to produce and feature in several other movies including: From the Street, Stay with Me, Ekwueme and His Investment (where she acted alongside the Popular Nkem Owoh and the multiple awards winning Daniel K. Daniel), Eno my Calabar love (alongside Ini Edo), and Ojuko The War Lord (alongside Queen Nwokoye and Eniola Badmus). Under A Keyss Productions, she Co-Produced Fast Cash (2015), produced Silver Spoon (2017), and Dry Tears (2019).

Her success in life could be pinned down to good education and hard work. After graduating from high school, Anita proceeded to the prestigious University of Calabar where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

Anita Keyss; A Testament of the Nollywood Dream
Anita Keyss; Face of Elax Table Water

Beyond this, Miss Anita has been upbeat about morals and etiquettes in the Nigerian Film Industry. This was evident in her recent chat with Broadway TV wherein she was asked about her thoughts on nudity which seems to be the other of the day on social media.

In her response, the New Face of Elax Water noted thus: “You don’t have to expose your body to be popular. If you believe in yourself and in your talent, you don’t have to expose your body just to get fame. Look at the likes of Omotola, the likes of Genevieve, they didn’t go nude to get fame, they worked hard and it paid off”.

She further frowned at the notion of celebrities living for their fans. “I don’t think celebrities should live for their fans, it’s all about you doing what you feel you are comfortable with, and about believing in yourself. In this world, you can’t please people, so it’s about you pleasing yourself. So don’t live your life for anybody, live it for yourself”, she informed.

Giving her achievements so far, Anita Keyss as one of the Nigeria’s fast rising actress is a big boost to improving the already strong dynamism and functionality in the Nigerian Movie Industry and beyond.

  • Kennedy Onyegbado is a Publicist and Heads Ken-Gbados Concepts Limited.  Email: gbadoka@yahoo.com,

 

 

 


 

 

EJIKE MBAKA: A Priest of his Kind

By Dan Ugwu.

EJIKE MBAKA: A Priest of his Kind
Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka C.

Rev. Fr. Camillus Anthony Ebenezer Ejike Mbaka is a Catholic priest of Enugu Diocese in Eastern Nigeria. Mbaka who was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1995 did so with an unction which many have described as special and different.

The reason for this is not hidden considering his spiritual directorate of the Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria; a spiritual ground where most Nigerians have attributed their fortune. Mbaka’s wonder ground, which was initially centred on exorcism and spiritual welfare of the people soon grew to a global assembly where socio-political matters held sway.

In the later years when Mbaka’s adoration grew bigger in length and width, accompanied by its surging crowd, his overwhelming popularity threw him into prominence as he started engaging Nigerian political actors in debate. Like it is common with the Christian assembly, financial donations marked the visit of politicians who are often times induced or rather compelled to give ‘God’ some cash.

Fr Mbaka’s popularity took a different turn in Nigeria with his uncanny knack at Nigeria’s politics and elections. His trademark for this remains his luck of prophecy and prediction about electoral and judicial outcome. Apart from his serial involvement in Enugu state politics, Mbaka made his debut in political prophecy with the accurate prediction of the 2015 presidential election starring Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.

EJIKE MBAKA: A Priest of his KindCoincidentally, the cleric was not alone in this trade. In fact, the year 2015 witnessed an upsurge in prophecy that could make an uncommitted Christian think that God was double speaking. Unfortunately, 95% of Christian clerics predicted Jonathan’s victory at the poll. But with Jonathan’s defeat and acceptance of defeat, many Nigerians could only but wonder if these ‘seers’ actually see beyond their immediate vicinities.

However, as intelligent as Fr Mbaka was, he took a difficult odd in his bet and prophesied that Buhari will win the election. From then, not a few Nigerians have accepted him as modern day Nostradamus who sees tomorrow with bewildering precision. Even though some of us who have followed and supported Buhari’s ambition with passion from day one knew that the gap-toothed general was to be crowned with victory at that poll.

If not for the reverential awe associated with the Catholic Church and her priests, Nigerians were already calling for Fr Mbaka’s head when Buhari won because it was as if fire and brimstone have come to roast. Just like the leading Jewish scholar and sage; Josef Akiva noted that darkness virtually fell on the earth when the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, for Nigerians, Buhari’s victory meant total islamization of the country. All of that was yesterday.

Mbaka’s successful prediction of Buhari’s victory at the 2015 election seemed to have added gusto to that portion of his prophetic ministry. He has since then been associated with the forecast both of election results and tribunal judgements. The last in this category that has brought much scorn on him and the Catholic Church is the prediction or prophecy of former governor Emeka Ihedioha’s loss to Senator Hope Uzodimma at the ill-fated Supreme Court judgement.

EJIKE MBAKA: A Priest of his Kind
Rev. fr. Ejike Mbaka, with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

Few weeks before the Apex court ruling, the fiery preacher had derided Ihedioha, urging him to be ready to step down for Hope Uzodimma. Whatever was Ihedioha’s spiritual offence, Fr. Mbaka did not relate. Ever since the Supreme Court judgement favoured his predictions, so many other political actors have been meeting with Fr. Mbaka to secure a favourable prophecy. This is so because Mbaka’s adoration ground has become so decisive.

Recall that Peter Obi’s refusal to give cash at hand at Fr. Mbaka’s adoration harvest during the preparatory period of the 2019 Presidential Election merited him open disgrace that allegedly formed a keynote to their defeat. It is needless to talk about the cases of Ikedi Ohakim and Rochas Okorocha as were related at Fr. Mbaka’s adoration. For all I know, these politicians rushing to Fr. Mbaka’s wonder ground do not do so to seek God, but to cash in on his popularity to deceive unsuspecting Nigerians who would accept them because Mbaka adopts them.

Except those who are not educated on the Catholic Church teachings and position on both prophecy and politics, every other committed and informed Catholic, beginning from the ecclesiastical hierarchy to the least of the baptized have demonstrated deep worry over Rev. Fr. Mbaka’s constant goofing and derailing from the teachings of the Church.

The continuous association of Fr. Ejike Mbaka today with political prophecies is NOT and will never be good news to the Catholic Church that owns him. Worthy of note here is the intervention from the Archbishop Alfred Martins of Lagos Archdiocese. The bishop condemned Fr. Mbaka’s gut while analyzing the true position of the Church on politics. He called on his Bishop, Callistus Onaga to stop being indifferent but should rather raise a sanction on his priest.

EJIKE MBAKA: A Priest of his Kind
Rev. Fr. Mbaka at his Adoration Ground in Enugu State

Before this time, Cardinal Onayeikan of Abuja Archdiocese had also berated the unwholesome involvement of the cleric in active politics, a position which the Catholic Church abhors. Recall that Bishop Michael Nnachi Okoro of Abakaliki diocese tamed the excesses of Fr. John Odey when the latter’s involvement in Nigeria politics was becoming active.

At the wake of all these political confusion in Imo, Fr. Mbaka has only been supported by journalists and political actors who seem favoured in his politicking. If Bishop Onaga cannot do much in this regard, then the conference of Nigerian bishops has to tame these anomalies before the Church in Nigeria loses its dignity and trust.

Before we are accused of insufficient knowledge of the Church’s social mission. Let me quickly observe that right from time immemorial, the social mission of the Church has been indicative. The relationship of the Church to the world has been a subject of deep controversy in the history of the Church.

At the centre of the controversy is the question whether the Church should confine her mission to theology and the Bible while being anti-thetical to the world or mundane realities. Both heretics and saints have been created out of the controversy. The Church’s mission of divinization includes also a humanization, a project which could be expressed in the great words of St. Ireneaus that the glory of God is the living man.

EJIKE MBAKA: A Priest of his KindThis Church’s prophetic role demands that when the status quo is not in the interest of men and society that she should stand as a condemning and corrective force. As such, she must point out to humanity and to nations the immoral ideologies and philosophies of life inimical to the moral, social and spiritual life.

These should provoke the action of the people of God both as individuals and as an institution to the scandal of nursing oppression and exploitation as is mostly the case in Nigeria. Recall that in Israel, the charismatics and prophets appeared (from Moses to John the Baptist) as opponents of tyrants. Such a long rejection of tyranny occasioned the vocation of Moses, the Judges, Samuel, the two charismatic kings (Saul and David); and the prophets were to rise also against the despotism of their very rulers.

The survival of Israel and her future were no doubt the pre-occupation of the classical prophets who, through their messages, demonstrated opposition to whatever threatened the life and survival of Israel. All these show that the Church must not anchor her theologies on fuga mundi spirituality.

Perchance it eludes us, Fr. Mbaka’s theatrics have not been part and parcel of this social mission of the Church. The cleric has rather been partisan in his involvements, a repugnant approach which the Mother Church abhors. Many of us who have enjoyed the Church’s formation for years can only but shoulder at the seemingly irredeemable hellhole the clergyman is fast sinking into.

The Catholic Church cannot continue to watch in amazement how her image is quick receiving scorn through the actions of Fr. Mbaka. The Church must not allow him to be carried away by the huge popularity and overwhelming support and accolades given by his fans, otherwise he will be acting like the biblical Hananniah; the fake prophet who persuaded his countrymen to trust in lies (Jer.28).

Most times, the timing and presentation of his messages are so wrong that his actions elicit national confusion. The Catholic Church is blessed with so many political analysts whose interventions have been noteworthy. For instance, Bishop Hassan Kukah of Sokoto diocese is one whose thoughtful analysis have always been appreciated. He is often drafted into conflict resolution committees in the country because everyone knows what he is made of.

Mention Fr. Mbaka as a member of a negotiating panel in Nigeria and watch the unfolding drama. The time to get it right is now. The Church has to place caution on her ministers who are fast becoming independent in the same apostolate carried out by the Church. The Church can only maintain or reclaim her place of trust and unbiased stand when she is united in her positions.

ScriptCREDIT: @DanUGWU

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

THE BURDEN OF GULLAK’S SECOND COMING;  Don’t Blame The Justices or The Prophet.

By Mike Ikem Umealo.

 

Chief Justice of Nigeria

Many people in Imo state and across Nigeria genuinely believe that Sen. Hope Uzodinma did not win the election in Imo state. And therefore it makes sense to them that what happened at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, 14 January, 2020 was a miscarriage of justice. But it is not.

Sen. Hope Uzodimma went to court for one purpose and one purpose only: to challenge and win his argument against the foolishness of INEC, in the hope that Rt. Hon. Ihedioha’s legal team will not “catch the joke” until the judgement is over. And it worked.

Like during the APC’s governorship primaries, Gullak came with his own results with the name of Sen. Hope Uzodimma boldly written on the results sheets as the winner. It was written on the original result sheets and were therefore acceptable to the party leadership and INEC admitted it.

Likewise, on the day of the governorship election in Imo State, a lot of result sheets from about 380 (possibly more at the time) on original INEC papers duly and correctly signed by INEC Presiding Officers showing Sen. Hope Uzodinma a clear lead in those result sheets were transmitted to the Collation Centres at the wards to be certified.

Recklessly, the INEC Collation Officers, who were probably not taught by INEC that they had no legal power to cancel or reject such results, rejected and refused to collate the polling units results in their own rights. Once it was on record that the COLLATION OFFICERS excluded them from the final result of the governorship elections declared by the Returning Officer, “Gullak’s second coming” was concluded.

It didn’t matter that INEC declared Governor Ihedioha the winner of the election. The legal loophole was there and Sen. Hope Uzodimma waited to see if Rt.Hon. Ihedioha’s legal team will “catch the joke.” And they didn’t.Those “legal” but excluded results from the polling units was the foundation of the petition that Sen. Hope Uzodimma fileded at the Election Tribunal.

Under the law, “No (CO) collation officers, No (RO) returning officer, will have any legal authority to exclude a polling unit result already signed by the (PO) presiding officer at the polling unit. The only legal authority with the power to exclude or cancel results or even admit results is the election tribunal.

Rt. Hon. Ihedioha’s team did not challenge that the rejected results submitted by Sen. Hope Uzodimma at the Polling Units were fake. In the absence of such counter argument, the Court presumed those results to be correct based on the existing electoral law regarding results signed by a (PO) presiding officer.

It was the failure of Rt. Hon. Ihedioha’s talented legal team to “catch the joke” by not attacking the “Gullak like polling Unit results” as fake, that left the Apex court with no choice but to follow the law. Rt. Hon. Ihedioha’s team, knowing that the election tribunal has power to nullify those “fake results” failed and never prayed to the tribunal to declare those results as null and void. Instead, what the team of the sacked governor appear to have done was to raise arguments to support the reasons why the Collation Officers rejected the duly and legally signed results submitted by Sen. Hope Uzodimma.

Rt. Hon Ihedioha’s team did NOT pray against the petition of Sen. Hope Uzodimma on the FACTs. His team did not show reason to the court that those results were fake. Instead they tried to tell the court that “they were correctly rejected and cancelled by those who were not authorised to cancel such results.”

Thus, the APEX court reasoned that although the Queen may have gotten pregnant by adultery, but since the law says that any male child born by the Queen would be King, and given that nobody has provided any DNA to support their argument that the boy born by the Queen is of a strange blood, the court was left with no other choice but to declare the young man King.

Thus, while Rt. Hon. Ihedioha’s defence was unable to show that the Collation Officers had the legal authority to exclude a candidates results, they also failed to argue and show evidence that indeed those results were fake and therefore invalid.

As a result, The Supreme Court refused to admit the behaviour of the Collation officers, admitted the rejected results, which put Sen. Hope Uzodimma in first place and thus declared him the winner in an election that he didn’t even campaign.

The questions now are:

1) Under Gullak 101, were the Collation Officers paid to take powers into their hands by rejecting election results duly signed by the presiding officers as their own part in the scheme?
2) If they were paid, then who failed to pay Rt. Hon. Ihedioha’s legal team for such a botched job and their strategy to not challenge the integrity of the rejected results?

This is because, if they had challenged the intergrity of the results from the over 380 units and its ruled in their favour, despite the error of the Collation officers in rejecting the results, the results would still be considered as fake and therefore inadmissible.
The final question therefore is: did Rt. Hon. Ihedioha chop alone? God bless.

 

 


 

 

SIRENS: The Nuisance Government Should Outlaw

Nigerians have noted with great dismay the regrettable and serious abuse of privilege in recent times by VIP convoys misusing sirens in our localities in complete disregard of traffic rules. These siren-blaring convoys force oncoming vehicles to either stop or clear off the road in a manner that exposes law-abiding road users to hazards.

Unfortunately, most of the traffic jams witnessed during the Yuletide were mostly occasioned by the unlawful activities of siren using elements who move into every available space on the road without minding the consequential havoc it could wreck.

A siren is a loud noise-making device used on emergency service vehicles such as ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks. SIRENS ordinarily should be alarm signals to herald vehicles on emergency missions.

They are also meant to clear the way for a limited number of very important government dignitaries who because of security concerns and official duty imperatives should not be bogged down in vehicular traffic. Ambulances, fire trucks and the gamut of emergency responders are among those whose movements should be heralded by sirens when in traffic.

Besides these emergency responders, the police have listed out ten categories of public office holders who are entitled to sirens while on official convoys. They include the President, Vice President, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, House of Representatives Speaker, State Governors, Service Chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, General Officers Commanding (GOCs) and Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs)

There is no doubt that sirens are for the good of humanity and are meant to herald arrivals, alert motorists and pedestrians as well as forewarn traffic controllers. They are essentially designed to be used in an emergency. But in Nigeria especially in Imo state where this report is referenced, the siren is used to harass, intimidate and sometimes inflict avoidable injuries (that could sometimes be fatal) on road users and innocent members of the public.

Sirens

Road users and pedestrians were daily under constant harassment from the wailing sirens of visiting governors from other states of the federation – ministers, senators, police chiefs, customs bosses, immigration comptrollers and traditional rulers. Is that all? No. Within this period, almost every latest SUV on the road is accompanied by a siren Hilux loaded with battery of worn-out policemen who wave their filthy hands to ward off law abiding motorists.

These days, sirens do not accompany government personnel alone, people who rose to emergency wealth have also joined in the fray of siren users. Infact, the reality is that several other public office holders and wealthy private individuals illegally mount sirens on their convoys bringing serious discomfort to other motorists and pedestrians. Banks have also joined the craze with sirens on their bullion vans.

Indeed, the abuse of sirens has turned into a torment for many innocent road users. Convoys turn themselves into sources of terror on the roads. It is a great irony that government vehicles which are purchased with tax payers’ money are used to torment them and create noise pollution on not only the public highways but also local routes.

In several cases, the pilot vehicles of the convoys do not have identifiable licence plates, putting the public in confusion on the identities of the dignitaries being conveyed. In most cases, the drivers on such convoys drive recklessly putting other road users and pedestrians in harm’s way. Any foreigner visiting Nigeria for the first time during this Christmas must have gone back with the ugly impression that Nigeria is in an emergency situation.

We condemn with ignominy this act of impunity whereby drivers and security officers attached to siren-convoys harass and intimidate road users simply because they want to clear the road for an individual, whether entitled to a siren or not. Our government must checkmate these anomalies before poor road users abandon the roads for them.

 

 


 

ERIGWARA: The Highpoint of Mbaise Solidarity

Mbaise New Yam festival
Kola Nut; a sign of welcome

The concept “Erigwara” is an Mbaise dialectical coinage. The term has it’s etymological root in the verb ‘to eat’. In Mbaise vocabulary, the lexicon, Erigwara will denote the attitude of visiting neighbouring communities during the Christmas festive period to eat what was literarily eaten in your home.

With the passage of time, the conceptual meaning evolved to capture both ‘the first or initial ceremonial visit’ and its ‘revisiting event’. So today in the contemporary Mbaise employment and usage, Erigwara will mean every ceremonial visit during the Yuletide according to market days.

ERIGWARA is strictly an Mbaise expression of solidarity during the Yuletide. Just like the Jewish Passover, Erigwara is meant to deepen the people’s affection for themselves; appreciate God for His faithfulness all through the 12 running months by showing love to people. It is a time when communities in respect to their last market days of the year show love and charity to their visitors.

Just like the Jewish Passover when neighbouring villages converge in Jerusalem for the feast of weeks, during the ERIGWARA event, the invitation to take part in the feast is unofficial. Villages within and outside the neighbourhood will always work out the erigwara dates from the market calendars.

This is the highest form of solidarity in Mbaise land. As a people famously known for the adage “ÒHURU ÒBIA GBAA NKWA”, the Mbaise people will always prepare to receive, feast and thrill their guests to lavish meals. For some families that are bouyant enough, Erigwara is more or less transformed to a banquet where every guest is feted like a prince.

It is almost held in disappointment to over expected visitors that never turned up, and the accompanying question will be “Ibiara anyi ERIGWARA? For instance, in Mbutu ancient kingdom, a seemingly oil rich settlement in the Southern pole of Mbaise, ERIGWARA is famously taken to it’s digital level.

This community with over six market squares, designed to celebrate their ERIGWARA four times during the Yuletide. How is this done? Each village in the community cerebrates according to their ancient markets.

As the euphoria is in Mbutu so it is in other parts of Mbaise. For instance on December 31, 2019 all villages that habour Eke nta markets rolled out their red carpet. The logjam at Eke Ahiara junction will worth it as numerous commuters from within and across Mbaise thronged the famous community to feast.

At strategic bypass, Mbaise born musicians will be on stage to entertain our visitors. This will include Òku Nwamama, Nkwo Nnabuchi, Olololo and all PMAN members. A similar scenario is played out on Afogbe, Aforu, Nkwogwu, Eke Nguru and Orieukwu. The holdups are quite appreciated.

 

 


 

 

SOWORE: THE COMFORT REVOLUTIONARY

By Sam Omatseye

THE Sowore saga shows a state in search of a sage. They set up a stage, filled it with a cast so peculiar and they treated us to a theatre of the absurd. It first seemed improbable, then it was a laugh, then a farce and now it is unveiling what seems like the beginnings of a tragedy.

What were they thinking when they transformed a non-event into a cause celebre? In media philosophy, it is called a pseudo-event. You fake it to make it. The DSS faked a non-protest into a storm.

How did the Buhari government allow itself to lionise a fellow who cannot even bark like a dog? He whined and the DSS lost its balance, went for a chain and locked up Sowore. Did they find out who this fellow was before their desperate frenzy? Did they know they were operating a democracy?

Of course, they have operated from the premise that democracy must bow to the strong-arm view of state security. Dasuki, El Zakzaky and others are examples. Just as the United States democratic Czars did with Guantanamo Bay, they have suspended the law and become the lawgivers.

The man said he wanted revolution. And he was locked up. Where is the evidence that he belched out more than a vapor of words? Did he amass arms to overthrow a system? Where is the armoury? Were they in some faraway country? If so, what country? If in Nigeria, where? If so, he would not be acting alone? Who financed it?

For sure, he is no Karl Marx with resources. Even Marx winced. You must be some sort of billionaire to overthrow a system or enjoy the backings of men of money. In that case, it would not be Sowore alone in the narrative of subversion. The DSS would have to name accomplices, nations, arms dealers, etc.

But they keep telling us they have facts they would not tell us. It is like a tale of calling a house fly a tsetse fly. The latter sucks blood, the former dumps filth. The vampire insect sets one to sleep or death. You swat the house fly. You do not swat when the tsetse fly buzzes into view. You reach for the insecticide. Sowore is no more than a housefly. But the DSS bombed the air.

Sowore had just run to be president. He ran a puny contest. He lit no democratic fire. He did not impress with logic, rhetoric or charisma. He was just a publisher who failed to whet a national appetite. Then afterwards, he wanted a last word, an after word. He sought the attention that eluded Sowore the candidate. It is a sort of Pavlovian yearning for fame.

Featured Picture
Sowore

The DSS allowed itself to yield to his craving. He is not Lenin, who struggled for bread and butter outside his home country trying to give his country to Karl Marx. He is no Mao, who groveled like John the Baptist on the mountains plotting to wrest his home country from a feudal cenacle. Nor is he Castro in the bushes before the Batista government fell.

He is a comfort revolutionary. He is not like economist John Galbraith, who urged that we “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Sowore never wanted the classic agony of a revolutionary. He called off his hunger strike when he became hungry. His family is ensconced in what many see as the bourgeois languor of the United States.

Not like Mengistu Haile Mariam, who yelled, when he was in his “revolutionary trenches,” that the state could kill his wife and children and even butcher them. Sowore’s is what Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn described as “revolutionary cretinism,” in his novel titled Lenin in Zurich.

Nor is he a moral light. Did he respond to former Inspector General Mike Okiro’s charge that he jumped bail over raping a girl?

So, I keep wondering why the Federal Government would do such a grave infamy to itself, and allow a military-style impunity to reign when it has nothing to save and nothing to gain from it. As we speak, the military keeps working fruitlessly to rein in the Boko Haram goons making themselves landlords in most of Borno State.

Even the National Security Adviser cannot go to his home village, Monguno, without a full detachment of security forces to protect him. Yet the DSS is still playing haughty in the city while those who cannot eat, or farm, or secure shelter have become refugees as a routine in their own country.

Maybe the Federal Government is trying to save face by the act of the Attorney General; Abubarkar Malami, who has now called for the files. Is it a transfer from impunity to law? It is evidence that Buhari’s men are still in turf wars because the commander in chief has left too much power in their hands. A hands-off approach will drop the egg.

If they are trying to save face, they should do it fast. Keeping Sowore under lock and key would not give them peace. The world will continue to clamour, and the man will continue to grow in grace. They already have made a tyro into a hero. We have to follow the constitution. It is the document that separates us from a tribe of savages.

Somebody needs to convey to the president that his men are ruining things for him. Democracy does not work this way. The whole world is now going through what political scientist; Neil Diamond calls a “democratic recession.” Whether it is the U.S, India, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Israel or Hungary, the world is getting weary of liberal ideas. Nigeria seems to embrace this and it is a bad omen.

The editorial that hit the waves saying the newspaper henceforth will call Buhari Major General instead of President of a democracy and call his administration a regime was a beautiful piece written with rigour and wit and finesse until it reached its conclusion. It stumbled and undermined the very basis of its logic. You cannot ask for the president to obey the rule of law and the constitution while undercutting the same constitution.

The Punch editorial, while showing rage for a president adrift, drowned itself. It sought to delegitimise a presidency that is a fruit of the constitution. It sought to delegitimise the constitution by calling it a regime though the constitution says it is a democracy. A feudalist has the right to hate the king, but not the throne.

Democracy, not a newspaper, voted Buhari to office. A newspaper has no vote in an election; it’s the people’s voice. A newspaper, like the presidency, owes its legitimacy to the constitution. A democrat is Machsvilan if he appeals to a dictations cudgel to pursue a democratic end.

You cannot torpedo same constitution and serve the higher virtues of a republic. The editorial affirmed a right by expressing its views, but it wanted to deny Buhari his right to run an administration, both guaranteed by the same constitution.

But all of this would not happen if the DSS does not create a case that turns public sentiment against it. Abraham Lincoln warned that a government’s fortunes lies in how it manages such sentiment. Sowore is the winner at the moment.

 

 


 

Obaseki’s Secrets

By Sam Omatseye.

 

Oasekis secreetsThe fascinating thing about politics is that what we see in public is the charade, the rites of glamour and blood. We see the politicians in their high hours in agbadas and babaringa and bowler hats, their smiles in supernova light. During campaigns and in social arenas, they wave hands like royals connecting with the poor. In sober moments, they talk policy and affect empathy.

In turbulent times, they retreat from the public. Their supporters, just as we saw recently in Kogi and Bayelsa, are landlords and cavemen, bearing the torch of war, burning buildings, slashing necks, breaking windows, slaying widows, despatching red-blooded youths, telegraphing fear.

We are not too sure who they are, just like the quiet guard at the door, his bulk and mournful eyes and biceps say nothing until we provoke him. Sometimes, we see them on display when the rumbles in their souls, like a constipated bowel, cannot hide inside anymore.

Then, as we saw recently in Edo State politics, the private spills onto the public space. The Nobel Prize novelist and author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Garcia Marquez once said that “all human beings have three lives: public, private and secret.”

Much of what we know of politicians is public. Their private lives they invite the public to see so we can somehow humanise them. We observe their children, their friends, when they sport, dine, dance and pray, when they are sick, or when they lose a mother or father or a child. Or when they do charity, or cry at funerals.

The private is sometimes public. In his memoirs, President Richard Nixon documented the crises he endured and how the media exposed much of his life. His wife Pat was scandalised. Nixon replied, “People in political life must live in a fish bowl.”

What fascinates the public is the unintended detail of their seamy secrets, the ones that they cannot sugar-coat with public relations cunning. They don’t tell anyone but confidants. Yet when we know, they wince. President Lincoln, a politician whose wife’s eccentricities he tried to hide, once said: “It’s not me who can’t keep a secret. It’s the people I tell who can’t.”

That was what happened when the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman; Adams Oshiomhole’s residence was attacked by hoodlums loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki. The theatre was re-enacted during a university convocation when the deputy governor, playing an Okada rider, stormed Adam’s house with hoodlums to embarrass guests like the CBN Governor and a monarch. The situation was first rigged in news reports as Adams being hostile to the governor before the full story lit the headlines.

But how did Adams, who became the first apostle of Obaseki’s candidacy turn into the enemy at the gate? Even when he was warned that selling his candidacy was like retailing a dead goat in a muslim society. Now, the APC chairman is often reminded by those who warned him about “Godwin’s style” that the man would look the other way and knife him in the guts. Prophecy has met providence. But all these, I learned, began with the issue of party primaries, and the Governor wanted to shut out all stakeholders, including Adams.

This led to a series of efforts to reconcile Obaseki and Adams. From all available evidence, Obaseki does not want any form of peace. He rebuffed all the overtures and suggestions from people outside the state and within APC. The first and only meeting had wheel horses of the party as well as a man of means.

The politicians were Abubakar Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and also head of the Governor’s Forum as well as the man of means. Of course Obaseki and Adams were at the meeting. All efforts to persuade the governor of Edo State to reach an agreement about the primaries and for both men to reconcile did not yield fruits.

El Rufai, who knelt to Kogites recently also genuflected to Obaseki, informing the governor that whatever happened at the party at the state level would have to be ratified by the National Working Committee. Obaseki did not budge, and the man of means in their midst was clearly unhappy with the governor’s tempestuous recalcitrance. The meeting was stalemated.

Another meeting was scheduled to hold to include a broader landscape of party stakeholders. Obaseki said he would not come to Adam’s house because his (Adam’s) people did not like the governor. Adams agreed to meet in Obaseki’s house. It did not happen. He asked them to meet at Transcorp. Adam’s agreed and went there in the company of his lawyer friend Nnamonso Ekanem (SAN).

Obaseki told Adams that both had nothing to discuss because they were heading to mutual self-destruction. Adams reportedly forswore such a fate for both of them. Obaseki had his deputy, a one-time ally turned foe and storm rider, and secretary to government with him in the room.

This meeting was to prepare for a meeting in Fayemi’s Abuja residence. But Obaseki did not show up for that meeting, and both Fayemi and Bagudu, who had arrived for the meeting had to do something else with their time.

It was after that the Edo Governor sacked 18 secretaries of the local governments and councillors. He also fired over 200 senior special assistants, all appointed by him. He also reportedly asked Mrs Eghe Ogbedmudia to do a press conference to condemn APC leaders who were not on his side. The woman balked and advised the governor to reconcile all factions. Obaseki announced her suspension afterwards.

In a recent APC caucus meeting, Katsina State Governor; Aminu Bello Masari had to rebuke Obaseki when he turned such a grave matter as reconciliation into a gale of laughter, and he wondered whether the Edo State Governor thought they gathered there for trivialities.

I have inquired, what did Adams ask from Obaseki that he turned cold to the man who engineered his rise to power from an obscure technocrat, though now an obscurantist power player? Did he ask for appointments? I learned Adams played minimal role in appointments. He only had one commissioner, Mika Amanokhai, whom Obaseki fired along with seven others. In all 33 local government areas Adams only had three. I would like Obaseki to come clean with evidence of Adams’ overbearing presence.

A source told me that Obaseki once asked Adams if he had any interests, and his predecessor said nothing. Yet, I wonder why he said once that, “I am not an ungrateful person. No one made me governor. I became governor by God’s grace, with the support of many other people.”

Men who brandish God’s grace should remember that God first made Nebuchadnezzar king.

Source: Disciples of Democracy

 


 

Ihedioha and the Imperatives of the 40th Ahiajoku Festival

By Aic Akwarandu

 

Ihedioha Ahiajoku LectureThe determination of His Excellency, Governor Emeka Nkem Ihedioha to Rebuild the Institutions of the State remains commendable. The Governor understands that to holistically rebuild a State, both the physical structures and the Institutions that make up the state must be effectively turned-On to be at the same speed.

On November 30, 1979, the very first Ahiajoku Lecture entitled “A Matter of Identity” was delivered by Professor Michael J.C. Echeruo of the Department of English and Literature, University of Ibadan. He was at the time the Dean of the institution’s Postgraduate School.

 

In his presentation, Prof. Echeruo posited that, “Our harvests, then, can only be as good as our labour. Only when we have worked like men can we hope for a proper harvest and for a stock of yams with which to celebrate Ahịajọkụ. Annual celebrations and propitiations make sense only against the background of all full and thorough season’s labour of both hand and brain.”

The above has come to set the agenda for and define the essence of the Ahiajoku Festival. It is a celebration that accords formal recognition to a culture which as Igbo people we were almost in danger of losing, and it further creates a context for serious reflection on the deepest cultural values of the Igbo people. Those values include hard work, creativity, unity and moral rectitude.

Today, the Governor of Imo State, the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has demonstrated his passion for the sustenance of those cherished values by setting the stage for the 40th Ahiajoku Lecture which will be delivered by the selfsame Professor Michael. J.C. Echeruo. Further, the Governor has ensured that the scope of attendance to this year’s event is broadened to bring together the entire Igbo Nation and also the South-South (The old Eastern Region). This is a practical way of fostering the unity of a people with a refreshingly enriching intellectual engagement.

The Ahiajoku Festival has provided a platform for setting, renewing and reinvigorating the socio-cultural commitment of the Igbos and has also shaped the trajectory of the prosperity of the Igbo Nation and the development of Nigeria. This was amply reflected in the 1991 Ahiajoku Lecture delivered by Professor Romanus Ohuche entitled, “Ibu Anyị Ndanda” where the Igbo were charged to return to industry and cooperation in order to contribute maximally to individual well-being and Nigeria’s development.

It is the vision of the Ihedioha’s administration to contribute to the unity, cultural resurgence, economic prosperity and intellectual growth of the Igbo Nation. These considerations underlie this year’s Ahiajoku Festival.

 

      • ·         Aic Akwarandu is the S.A. to the Imo State Government on New Media

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Nigeria’s Story of Imports

Africa’s giant, Nigeria is widely known for its petroleum production and exportation as a major source of the nation’s economy accounting for about 95% of foreign exchange income and 70% of government revenue. This black nation remains the largest oil producer in Africa and the 12th largest producer in the world. Nigeria imports mainly: industrial supplies (27%), capital goods (23%), food and beverage (17%), fuel and lubricants (14%), transport equipment and parts (12%) and consumer goods (7%).

Nigeria’s record in import and export especially on petroleum is noteworthy. For instance, the country is an important oil supplier to the United States. For the almost ten years, the United States has imported between 9-11 percent of its crude oil from Nigeria; even though the US import data shows that Nigerian crude is down to a 5% share of total United States crude imports. However, without prejudice and from available records in Business and economic digest, the top exports of Nigeria are Crude Petroleum ($35.6B), Petroleum Gas ($6.47B), Refined Petroleum ($774M), Cocoa Beans ($660M) and Rough Wood ($321M).

In all of these, Nigeria has lost much in this charade of importation, with it’s effects on the economy affecting employment rate and increasing hunger. Example, a ship load of rice is just but a ship load of unemployment because we are transferring our wealth to other economies. Our country struck almost a record in infamy when we started importing even toothpics, loosing about 18 million dollars each year. Even tomatoes’ pests are imported annually at the expenditure of 400 million dollars.

What has much compounded Nigeria’s economic woes is the fluctuations in crude oil sales since 2014. As with any commodity, stock or bond, the economic laws of supply and demand cause oil prices to change. When supply exceeds demand, prices fall and the inverse is also true when demand outpaces supply. The 2014 fall in oil prices can be attributed to a lower demand for oil in Europe and China, coupled with a steady supply of oil from OPEC. The excess supply of oil caused oil prices to fall sharply. Oil prices have fluctuated since that time, and are valued at approximately $54 per barrel as of September 2019.

Sadly, Buhari’s regime has become so unpopular because it has decided to cut down cost and clamp down on importation because no country survives on such. In the process, enemies have been made especially from those who have held this country’s economy hostage through their huge benefits from imports. That is not all. The Nigerian rebranded pattern of opposition politics has also been a big challenge to this survival crusade. This is not in isolation the high percentage of ignorance that has enveloped too many myopic minds that are constantly operating on ethnic sentiments.

Nigeria story imports

To cure Nigeria of such malady will for sure, take a while. This is so because: 1. The import barons and tycoons are not happy with the current administration for clamping down on their lifeblood. 2. The opposition party will spare no effort in running down every policy of the government, thinking their waning popularity will be recovered therefrom. 3. The overwhelming majority of the Nigerian people are constantly fed and are ready to be fed with the obnoxious salad of acrimony and bitterness laced with the putrid miasma of rotten logic.

To these effect, the media is constantly awash with all sorts of malicious publication emphasizing that the government is telling lies and that for instance, the nation is not growing rice. These are all in the bid to demoralize unsuspecting local farmers to make sure the government fails. As if this is not enough, sabotage has also caved in from the Nigerian people. Since the clampdown on foreign rice importation, some mischievous Nigerians have started the business of re-bagging local rice with foreign bags and sell at exorbitant rates to many Nigerians who still have ugly penchant for foreign goods just Ike the Israelites preferred the Egyptian cucumber to the wilderness manner.

Because of this crusade against the tide and current, the current administration has suffered much wounds, ranging from defamation, insult, libel, slander, calumny and the likes. Young people can easily visit the social network with the overwhelming vituperation against the sovereign, daring him to visit hell if he cares. This has become a significant feature of the Nigerian society which has made the nation a laughing stock among other nations.

Nigerian politicians and their acolytes must understand that partisan politics should end with election and that healthy opposition helps to put the government in check and never to run down every policy to discredit the government in power. Nigerian elites and erudite from the academia and intelligentia units must reason beyond the prism of sentiment and help to neutralize hate and bitter speeches which contribute no credit to our economy.

The land border closure and other clampdown on importation should be explained out and understood as a purely economic step and never a strategy to score a political capital.

 

 


 

 

BUHARI’S BIG STICK & THE NDDC BOOK

By Dan Ugwu

When some of us throw in our support for President Muhammadu Buhari, it is not for lust for filthy lucre but for the conviction that the president has a selfless spirit for service. For some time now, people of the South have been advised to look HOMEWARDS and ask their leaders questions rather than point accusing fingers on the president for the huge infrastructural decay in the zone.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission from 2001 to 2019. The decision followed persistent criticisms of the operations of the commission. Buhari gave the directive after receiving governors of the states that make up the NCDC, led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State. The President said what was presently on ground in the South-South region did not justify the huge resources that had been made available to the agency.

Buhari is lunching this complain after serial accusations leveled against our leaders here. The Niger Delta states are the oil producing states in Nigeria which comprises of all the 6 states in the South South geopolitical zone as well as one from the south west (Ondo) and two from south east (Abia and Imo). This area occupies about 70,000kmsq of the landmass of Nigeria.

In a short briefing on Channels TV, the media analyst; Kayode Okikiolu engaged Sen. Ita Enang, SA to PMB on Niger Delta Affairs. Etang recalled that for over 19 years of it’s operation, up to N37b goes monthly to NDDC fund through statutory transfers. Some of these oil companies also explore up to 44,000 barrels of oil on daily basis, which is about $2.5m and still the states are far from development.

Buhari is worried that his envoys who went on inspection came back to inform him that some of our communities are lacking health centres, good School blocks, pipe borne water and good roads. He shouldered in disbelief and summoned the governors. Who do we blame? Not Buhari ofcourse, but our leaders who stock these monies in their private homes to build intimidating houses and drive expensive cars. They build substandard roads for us, pour asphalt on laterite and when the rain comes, it goes away and the roads are worst. They turn around and tell us Buhari wants to islamize.

Buhari has decided to urge the National Assembly to make a law to send fund to the communities directly so they can manage their development. No senator, Lawmaker or governor from the south is trustworthy.

 

 


 

OKOROCHA’S WINK IN THE DARK

Senator Rochas Okorocha is one whose personality is shrouded in uncertainties. His eloquence and oratory has always marked him out. As a gifted demagogue with particular skill in manipulating the press, Okorocha rhetorically exploits situations for political capital in a way calculated to appeal to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people.

As Imo governor and lord, he gained much of this popularity in his government by exploiting prejudice and ignorance to arouse the common people against elites, whipping up the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation. But did he last in that web of lordship? No. The rest in this category is history.

However, the senator’s mien has made it almost impossible to see him from the prisms of selflessness and common good. That not withstanding, we cannot wish him away in all matters as he has once more starred the honest nest. Last week Thursday, Senator Rochas Okorocha canvassed for the reduction of parliamentarians representing each state of the federation, saying the nation cannot afford their expenditure anymore.

Okorocha, a former Governor now representing Imo West Senatorial District, stated this while contributing to a Committee report on MTEF at the Senate’s midweek plenary. He faulted the bicameral legislature, saying that there was nothing too sacrosanct that Senators and House of Representatives members were doing that only senators could not do. Ever since Okorocha dropped this beat, media houses have had their field play.

Obviously, the need for government in civil societies has received numerous positive supports over the centuries and this has been proved through various theories in political thoughts. For any society to prosper, it needs to have a government to run its affairs. The government helps to sustain the social contract that binds every member of the state.

However, many Nigerians have decried the situation where costs associated with the running of government have dramatically increased over the years such that an increasingly reduced proportion of public revenue is available to support and implement the primary functions of government. This situation has led many Nigerians to believe that the road to transformation and salvation may still be long and tortuous, more so because governments at all levels are ignoring the need to cut cost.

The over-bloated nature of Nigeria’s administrative system was one of the issues the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) harped on before it was dissolved in 2010. Recall that the Council under the chairmanship of Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma; a retired general had asked President Jonathan to cut down the number of ministries, departments and agencies to free resources for other productive uses instead of paying salaries of civil servants alone.

The Danjuma-led PAC noted that the federal government has, since 1999, spent N15.6 trillion on public servants alone. A year later, Hamman Tukur; the former chairman, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, also disclosed that the country spends N1.3 trillion yearly on the emoluments of the federal government, 36 states and 774 local councils’ political, public and judicial office holders. There was no doubt that the council was speaking the mind of many Nigerians and in line with the principle of justice and equity.

OKOROCHA'S WINK IN THE DARK
Senator Rochas Okorocha

This debauchery is as well seen among state governors who waste public money on large armies of commissioners, special assistants and assistants ostensibly as aids to advise on virtually every issue under the sun. For instance, most of the states have an average of between 13 and 29 commissioners and a coterie of special assistants.

Rochas Okorocha in particular who was Imo State Governor, led the over bloated pack with 66 special assistants, some of them handling portfolios as ridiculous as special assistants on Igbo affairs, Orlu Zonal Security, Lagos Affairs and Chief Comedian of the state. In fact, Imo State had a total of 83 aids working for the governor.

By these appointments, the governor and his allies gave the impression that they were exercising powers conferred on them under Section 14 (4) of the constitution which stipulates that the composition of the government of a state or local council (and their agencies) “shall be carried out in such manner as to recognize…the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among the peoples of the federation.”

Although this section and section 192 dealing with the appointment of commissioners are not categorical about the number of such aids, it is envisaged that political players, taking into consideration the resources of the states, would operate within the limits of reason and do what is right, just and defensible.

It is obvious that the presidency and state powers seem to be running a circus featuring men and women who had helped them to power, and by so doing, they would be unwittingly reducing governance to a pedestrian and irresponsible affair, thus amplifying the letter of the constitution to the detriment of its spirit. This speaks volumes about a misplacement of priorities by those who are supposed to govern the people in a country where it is difficult to pay a minimum wage of N30, 000 to civil servants.

According to projections, the average lawmaker in the National Assembly takes home about $1.2 million or about N186 million per annum, excluding a severance package in millions of naira. In fact, members of the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives earn more than the President who takes home N1 million a month, an amount considered still very high in a country where the minimum wage was grudgingly raised to N30, 000 a month.

The cost of running our bloated cabinets of about 1, 411 members, at both federal and state levels only stand at the piercing rate of over N64 billion in four years. This is, no doubt, a very conservative estimate that excludes other perks for the politicians in a country like Nigeria ravaged by grinding poverty.

By sheer estimation, it will cost Nigeria three hundred and thirty-eight billion, six hundred and forty-five million, eight hundred and forty-five thousand, five hundred and ten naira (N338, 645, 845, 510 bn) in taxpayers’ money to keep the 469 members of the National Assembly in office for four years.

This amount which covers salaries and sundry allowances to be earned by the lawmakers does not, however, factor in the deferential pays and other prerequisites that go to the principal officers of the two chambers of the federal legislature. It does not also include expenses incurred on duty tours and frivolities.

What this means is that when the huge cost of governance as a result of waste is added to the increasing cost of corruption and other vices in the country, the common man in Nigeria is not likely to feel the impact of government till eternity. It is sad that in Nigeria, what operates is a system without a social conscience, a sort of primitive, beggar-my-country capitalism where the average citizen is preyed upon, enjoying almost nothing from the commonwealth.

Okorocha’s submission is not new to us. He has only reinstated the obvious, an obnoxious charade which himself is a senior beneficiary. He who comes to the table of Justice must come with clean hands. The huge fraudulent allegations against him in Imo State is more harmful than the cost of entire government. He cannot be exempted from the accusations leveled against those who have wrecked and pillaged this nation.

The ruins he leftover in Imo State are quickly starring at him. In a decent society, people of his mold and that of T. A. Orji of collapsed Abia State should never have the moral temerity of approaching the hallowed chambers. Rather than suggesting cutting the number of Assembly members, the senate ought to make a law forbidding former governor’s from being senators. Until such decisive measures are taken, Okorocha’s suggestion will only be a mere wink in the tin dark night.

Script CREDIT: @DanUGWU


AT 59; NIGERIA IS NOT AT WAR

 

Bashar Al-Asaad and his foreign combatants who have been soaked in Syrian strife with it’s spillovers to the Iraq conflict since March 2011 are succinct expressions of Carnage. With the belligerents involving Syrian armed forces; Interim/ parallel Syrian government; Islamic state of Iraq (2013); Al-Qaeda (2014); United States (2014); Russia (2015); France (2016), a seemingly unending war has been flagged off and has soon thrown the parties into an irredeemable hellhole.

Nigeria not at war
President Muhammadu Buhari and other Leaders during the 59th Independence Anniversary Celebration in Abuja

The unrest in Syria, part of a wider wave of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, grew out of discontent with the Syrian government and escalated to an armed conflict after protests calling for Assad’s removal were violently suppressed. Asaad, a dictator who has ruled Syria with iron fist responded vehemently with his allies. In the unfolding drama, sabotage and political interests caved in.

Defectors from the military announced the formation of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group aiming to overthrow the government of Asaad and Syria began to slide into civil war with its experience of Carnage involving air-strikes and chemical red line that has left even Damascus, the ancient city in ruins.

Like it is, interested parties took sides for their interests. The major parties supporting the Syrian Government include Iran, Russia and the Lebanese Hezbollah. Syrian rebel groups have also been receiving political, logistic and military support from the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Britain, France, Israel and the Netherlands. Ever since the bloodbath was initiated, uncountable Syrians have been killed in the fighting, over a million injured, and over 12 million – half the country’s prewar population – have been displaced.

Nigera not at war

This is the story of a Nation at war: Syria, the only significant crude oil producing country in the Eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Apart from effects of global warming in Syria, what other factors led to the uprising? Lack of freedom, intolerance, hate speech, lack of integration etc. All these were occasioned by Asaad’s dictatorship. Like we saw in Rwanda when the country experienced morbid attack, all the variables that sparked the genocide 25 years ago in Rwanda are replete in Nigeria.

Talk of hate; we have it in prodigious quantity among the ethic nationalities. What of malice? Ever present. Suspicion? That is the middle name of Nigeria. Religious intolerance and insularity? That is the water some Nigerians drink daily. Unfortunately, the warlords in the guerilla warfare (politicians) use religion as a cloak to achieve their sinister motives. Due to the theatre of the absurd created by the incompatibility of professed tenets and the gruesome activities of religious fanatics, religion has been given a bad name in Nigeria.

The mere mention of religion here reminds one of crisis. Religious and ethnic identities create strong passion and as such are susceptible to exploitation to advance selfish and egocentric interests. Nigerians must watch this. The introduction of contemporary pattern of politics has even complicated the troubles.Reasoning can no longer be done with the intellect but with the political thinking cap. Worst still, the creation of tension in Nigeria is ongoing, and this is propagated by individuals who are indirectly breeding hate and discontent especially on social media and through armchair junk served to unsuspecting Nigerians.

Nigeria not at war

Buhari is Nigeria’s president and nothing except the law can remove him in such a Democratic society. Not even propaganda, not malice and not bigotry. The whole nation has to accept that in good faith and help him through constructive analysis to govern what remains of this entity.

In a country like Nigeria that spends much on the National Assembly, reporting your concerns through our elected Representatives and besieging the homes of such people when our messages are not delivered would be Democratic in nature. We can’t continue fanning the embers of discord because Syria and Rwanda have soon regretted their registration in conflict. People of the academia and intelligentsia unit have to educate and enlighten others on the right way of thought and not mislead them. Let those striking bets for war stop.

At 59, Nigeria even in the midst of economic crisis and insecurity still has much reasons to celebrate and thank God because Nigeria is not yet at war.

Script CREDIT: @DanUGWU

 


BETWEEN REVOLT AND PROTEST
By Dan Ugwu

In 1994, after the general elections, MKO Abiola was arrested on the orders of General Sani Abacha, who sent 200 police vehicles to apprehend and hold him in prison on charges of TREASON. Abiola eventually died on 7 July 1998, the day he was due to be released from prison. Even though his death was trailed by suspicious circumstances, an official autopsy stated that Abiola died of heart attack.

On August 3, 2019, Omoyele Sowore; former presidential candidate of AAC was arrested by Nigeria Department of Security Services (DSS) for TREASON allegation after calling for a protest tagged “RevolutionNow”. Even though we are in a Democratic dispensation, this may also offer us an opportunity to reflect on the phenomena of both PROTEST and REVOLT.

Revoult and Protest
Omoyele Sowore

While protest/demonstration enhances Democratic institutions, revolt itself is a direct affront on any Democratic institution. While revolt leads to rebellion and insurrection, protest/demonstration leads to negotiation and dialogue, and this is often organized and spontaneous. Often, we see every mass discontent as protest when the intentions are geared towards revolt. This was also what got Zakzakky and his followers behind bars for waylaying a senior police officer under the guise of demonstration.

Sowore is a young vibrant activist who is entitled to his freedom, both in speech and movement. His call for revolution may have betrayed his intention of peacefully demonstration against any alleged unwholesome structure. As we write, G.O Agbadua; DSS’ plaintiff and Sowore’s Counsel; Femi Falana have been soaked in arguments, as the litigants offer reasons either for or against Sowore’s further detention.

The DSS lawyers are having serious arguments against him for his call for revolution, a move now seen as a criminal gang against the incumbent. We pray that his pure intention sheds more light on his case so that he doesn’t end up like Abiola where he will be handed over from a particular administration to another.

 

 


 

100 DAYS IN OFFICE: X-raying the Activities of Lady Ebere Ihedioha

By Kennedy Eberechi

 

Activiteis lady Ebere Ihedioha
Lady Ebere Ihedioha

When on May 29 majority of Imo people heaved a sigh of relief, most pundits were perceptive to how the Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s led administration can smoothly and successfully deliver on his election promises (Rebuild Imo Mantra) and general yearnings of the citizens.

According to most analysts, between 2011 and 2019, Imo was turned into a cesspool of corruption and needs practical and professional actions and activities to develop new pathways to prosperity.

Nonetheless, for those who believe that Governor Emeka Ihedioha can and indeed smoothly and successfully deliver on the gains of his Rebuild Imo mantra can proudly point at the Office of the Wife of the Executive Governor as a typical example as the women have been identified as effective catalysts in the Rebuild Imo Project.

Undoubtedly, the yearnings of women for empowerment and recognition are gradually becoming a reality in Imo State. This is due to the visionary proactive and more purposeful social security-oriented Wife of the Executive Governor of Imo State; Lady Ebere Ihedioha who has decided to make women effective partners in the Imo Rebuild Project.

Activities Lady Ebere Ihedioha
Lady Ebere Ihedioha, with the Deputy Governor of Imo State; Gerald Irona during the August meeting tour

Since the past few months, Lady Ebere Ihedioha has continued to steer the course of the women, which includes fashioning out new vistas of empowerment, integration, collaboration and standing up for the indigent.

Lady Ebere’s recent capacity development tour on the 27 Local Government Areas of the state is a testament of her desire to seek participatory and complementary attitude towards exploring new areas of cooperation and partnership with the Imo women based on the specific objective of making Imo women more relevant in the Rebuild Imo project.

The 3 weeks long capacity development tour was part of her involvement in the 2019 August meeting, which usually witness a massive homecoming from different towns and cities across the world of “Igbo women” groups to their matrimonial rural hometowns, where they unite with their rural-based colleagues.

Activities Lady Ebere Ihedioha
Lady Ebere Ihedioha, with a happy Imo Mother

Remarkably, Imo women’s dream for sustainable economic renaissance was further demonstrated. The Capacity Development Tour provided Her Excellency the veritable platform to empower one woman from every ward, provide free medical outreach and eye treatment, and distribute mosquito nets across the 27 LGAs.

More so, owing to her passion to better lives  she started up business for 15 indigent widows per LGA totaling 405 women, built and furnished a 2-bedroom apartment for an indigent widow, and in collaboration with Microsoft, train 300 women in ICT.

Beyond this, Her Excellency, within the first 100 days as wife of the Executive Governor of Imo State saw to the renovation of the Imo State University Crèche, which previously had a lot to be desired. Again, in recognition of Polio challenges and to further demonstrate the commitment of this present Government in tackling health challenges, Her Excellency flagged off this year’s National Immunization Plus Days in the state, while restating Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s Health vision of making Imo State a health tourism state.

Activities lady Ebere Ihedioha
The newly built and furnished 2 bedroom house for an Indigent Widow by Lady Ebere Ihedioha

Her speech during the event underscored her passion for families and societal values. “…Hence, the need for us to do all we can to reach every community and enlighten families, to ensure that we reach every nook and cranny of the state and run a massive enlightenment to educate our people on the need to demand better health services so as to ensure that all their children (0-5 months) are fully vaccinated”, she had emphasized.

Generally, it would be recalled that one of the priority areas of Emekea Ihedioha is to reclaim the dignity of the people of Imo such that the state shall no longer be the laughing stock of Nigeria.

Pragmatically, reclaiming the dignity of the people and the state must start by enhancing family and societal values, which according to several analysts emanates from empowering the women.

Therefore, the stakes are high and it is another defining historical moment of socio-economic realism, of realignments and bridge building to secure a greater Imo State for the coming generation. Today’s decisions have got far reaching implications for our future both as a people and as a state.

  • Kennedy Eberechi is a Publicist and writes from Abuja. (07064715591, gbadoka@yahoo.com)

 


 

THE HATCHET AND THE HOLDERS. LET IHEDIOHA BE!

By Ike C. Ibe

Let Ihedioha Be
Ike C. Ibe

On May 29th majority of Imo people heaved a sigh of relief. They welcomed a new government and said ‘old things shall pass away”. Governor Emeka Ihedioha has taken off on a systematic journey. A strong professional cabinet is in place. Several adhoc committees have done great jobs. The train of a purposeful government has rolled off the station.

Any responsible government will look at certain aspects of the past government and see how and why things went wrong. Ihedioha has called and addressed a stakeholders forum of all segments of IMO people. He has talked about what he met on ground and we all heard. Following election promises and general yearnings, two extremely critical committees have been set up judicially by his government to look at land issues and contracting practices of past governments.

It would have been a travesty of justice if these commissions of inquiry were not set up. Every concerned citizen should go to these commissions. The commissions must be swift and firm. Quick and just. No innocent person should be afraid and no guilty person should be spared.

Men and women with writing prowess are all over the place. The good, the bad and the ugly. We are inundated everyday by literary crossfires. Everyone should now stop talking about the past government and focus on genuinely helping the new government . The commissions, the EFCC and the courts are now talking about the past.

Our role now as citizens should be to find the deck and put our hands on it to ensure that Ihedioha runs a government that will wipe the people’s tears. Let’s stop talking about the past. It is very painful and very traumatic. It’s like holding sad memorial services everyday reliving the sadness of yesterday. The future is more important than the past.

Let Ihedioha Be
Ike C. Ibe, with Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State

Ihedioha is the present and the future. Okorocha is past and history. His history has just begun. He wrote it himself. Grandstanding does not change any history. History is made and written only when you were the present and by your actions. The present is now in someone else’s hands. Let’s all forget hatchets and the holders.

I’m only interested in the judgement of that history. We saw it everyday. We live here. We still live here. The Augean stable is bleeding. The state is weeping. May God help us all and stop us from distracting Ihedioha with our mouths and keyboards. The commissions and the courts will talk to us. They should talk sooner than later.

 

 

 

 


 

POETIC MESSAGES AND REVOLT OF THE NIGERIAN POOR

By Dan Ugwu

 

The Poet and the Nigerian Poor
Senator Ike Ekweremadu

In history, the vocation of poetry has always imposed on poets variegated and cumbersome but inalienable responsibilities. Poets are pre-eminent repositories of the individual or communal voice and (re)memory. They are also the custodians of societal fund or mores, values and cherished ideals. As such, they constitute and represent the open sore of collective conscience dutifully and religiously rankling and applying the healing herb to the weeping sore in any society’s experiential trajectories through the kinesis of history.

Fundamentally too, poets, through the efficacy of the creative word, are veritable midwives of transition and revolution distilling and nourishing ideas and ideals that constitute the substratum for society’s ontological essence and existence.

Thus, whether they assume the high office of the traditional griot, marabout, prophet, town-crier or that of the (post)modern poet, the burdensome, urgency and immediacy of these protocols cannot be diminished. And the poet must diligently apply the self to this hallowed office with penetrating vatic insights and searing vision.

Unfortunately, Africa’s nay Nigeria’s prevalent predicament finds eloquent and unequivocal expression in political subterfuge and treachery by a decadent political elite, economic strangulation by a petite bourgeoisie in active collaboration with their counterparts in the metropolis and an unconscionable crippling social morass and moral atrophy.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their Communist Manifesto laboured much to establish this existing class struggle of the bourgeois and proletarians. Ancient and medieval court and peripatetic poets wove martial poetic lines and stored them in the granaries of history as eternal testaments to the human spirit and obsession for war.

In the present epoch, especially in Africa, the case is not different. “Drumbeats of War” is Gbanabom Hallowell’s poetic collection, which eminently belongs to this thriving, noble and ennobling African tradition in verse which frontally and viscerally engages postcolonial Africa’s history of violence and violence of history mediated by fratricidal and internecine wars.

The poet’s penetrating searchlight in the present collection is beamed powerfully on his native Sierra Leone which was embroiled in a decade-long civil debacle until the ECOWAS monitoring group, ECOMOG led by Nigeria tamed the tall raging flames and willful self-annihilation. While the war lasted, democratic institutions were convulsed, economic hub of activities disrupted and socio-cultural life anesthetized.

Sierra Leone became quarantined as an international pariah earning the opprobrium of the world as a failed state in a state of developmental arrest, perpetual inertia and endless becoming. Hallowell’s “Drumbeats of War” represents a committed and patriotic citizen’s confrontation with the realities of war with its negative and negating temperament, manifest in the mindless destruction of innocent lives and property and the ruination of a nation’s soul and integrity.

Hallowell’s poetic afflatus, imagination and sensibility have drawn heavily from the fountainhead of the purgatorial experiential gamut of the war. Ushie’s “Eclipse in Rwanda” is a vociferous poetic statement employing astronomical metaphors in strident condemnation of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

Back home to Nigeria, the warning brims often. Christopher Okigbo’s “Path of Thunder” prophetically prognosticated the Nigerian civil imbroglio of 1967 – 70. Wole Soyinka’s “A Shuttle in the Crypt” and J. P. Clark – “Bekederemo’s Casualties” are poetic renditions whose thematic matrices negotiate war.

Above all these writings, Chinua Achebe, a novelist and essayist, was a man of ideas who died with the burden of a seer, a change agent whose literary pouch brims with warnings that can chart a new course for national rebirth. So distraught was Achebe with the Nigerian system and those who run it that he chose not to connive with the ogres raping his motherland.

Achebe used his works to point out the grey areas needing attention in our politics. His writings served as adequate revolution for him to articulate his people’s culture and help the African society regain its belief in itself and put away the complexes of the years of denigration and self-denigration.

This was part of his contribution to the task of giving back to Africa the pride and self-respect it lost during the years of colonialism and to seek a way to repair the disaster brought upon the African psyche in the period of subjugation to alien races.

From his Magnus Opus, THINGS FALL APART to his grand memoir “THERE WAS A COUNTRY”; Achebe expressed an eloquent espousal to this poetic tradition that navigates the theme of war through his husbandry of language.

The discourse on Nigerian revolution has been over-emphasized. Nigeria is perching precariously on the brink of collapse, brought about by discontent with the activities of the ruling class, famously known as politicians; the bourgeoisie that has wasted this nation’s patrimony through scandalous squandamania and unchecked loot.

The poetic messages and drumbeats of revolution are now taking flesh. The assault on Senator Ike Ekweremadu in Germany has lots of messages. It is not necessarily about the activities of the outlawed IPOB, but much about the discontent of the masses. The outrage and frustration on the faces of those Igbo belligerents in Germany have much to say about the feeling of disenchantment and betrayal on the hearts of most Nigerians.

Ekweremadu is not the first and will not probably be the last to receive the huge assault that almost got him naked. Recall that some years back Former Governor Rochas Okorocha was nearly attacked in similar manner by angry Igbo men while he was invited to deliver a lecture at Chatham house London.

If not for security apparatus, he would have probably been lynched. But did that stop him from further plunder when he arrived Owerri? No! He even looted more as over 32 allegations of million loot are hanging over his throat.

Already, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB); Nnamdi Kanu has released the names of Nigerians who would be attacked on foreign lands as soon as they arrive. In his Twitter handle, Kanu said he had ordered its members in 100 countries across the world to attack all Igbo governors if they are seen in any of the countries.

The target will soon spread to all Senators, Federal and State lawmakers and Ministers, and from the Diaspora, the onslaught will arrive Nigeria where angry mob reeling with hunger and hopelessness will join the charade and trace the oppressors even to their comfort zones.

As it is customary of Nigerian political life, highly placed politicians have issued statements condemning the pugnacious attempt on Ekweremadu. His party the PDP has condemned it; Bukola Saraki his former boss has condemned it; Dino Melaye has condemned it; Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has also condemned it, and even told Nigerians that some of the perpetrators have been arrested by the German police.

Nigerian politicians and their cohorts would hardly alienate themselves from self delusion. It is not just condemning the violent act, but understanding the temerity and audacity of the attack. As a matter of urgency, government, particularly, the National Assembly has to take up comprehensive steps to address issues leading to acts of resentment and agitations by Nigerians within and outside the country, rather than playing ostrich.

Sadly, the culture of impunity occasioned mainly by power aphrodisiac and unprecedented squandamania has opened the floodgates for plundering government’s turn over. There is wide spread acrimony  arising from visible inequalities and social disorder, intolerance, mistrust, bigotry, unhealthy propaganda, deepening hatred and hate speech, rapid deterioration of relationship between the peoples of the different political parties/orientations and other myopic sentiments necessitated by religious Fiats.

There is a wide margin between the powerfully endowed politicians with sophisticated wealth and the educated and non educated poor of the society. All these are already forming a catalyst for a revolution; a revolution which will take a measure where the disadvantaged poor home and abroad will not only demand for their share of bread but commandeer it. It will be sudden and involuntary.

There will be no leader of the rebellion against the affluent politicians dressed on neatly ironed senator wears and agbada, rather hunger and survival instinct will be the propelling force. And by then, the so-called affluent politicians in the society will either be compelled to examine the plight of the poor or flee from their wrath. This is not time for using the Igbo front to advance hate politics by feeding them with the salad of bitterness against the opposition.

 

 


  • BACKGROUND

The name “Mbaise” was derived from five cities, which, comprises of Agbaja, Ahiara, Ekwerazu, Ezinihitte and Oke Uvuru. The area of Mbaise (the three Local Government Areas) is about 404 km²: Aboh Mbaise (185 km²), Ahiazu Mbaise (111 km²), Ezinihitte Mbaise (108 km²). The Mbaise Slogan is Seat of Sages. The region spans an area of about 160 square miles with a population of more than one million.

The quiddity of Mbaise is that this homogenous group of more than 1000 persons per square kilometer is the most densely populated area in West Africa. The population of Mbaise as at 2006 was estimated to be 611,204 people (Agulanna, E. C. “The Mbaiseness of Mbaise” (2nded), Owerri: Career Publishers, 2008.)

Iri Ji Mbaise; its origin and evolution were handed to us by oral tradition. There is no living person who can attest to the exact date when this festival started. However, the celebration is fixed on the 15th of August of every year, coinciding with the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar.

Mbaise New Yam Festiva
Some Members of Mmeko Umu Mbaise Socio-Cultural Association, with guests during one of their Iri Ji Ohuo Festival

Originally, it was referred to as ‘mgbawara onye aka oku’; meaning, I did not stop anybody from working hard. Reason being that when people go to farm then, the lazy ones will not participate. Thus, they found this ceremony as a reward for hard work and a way of encouraging lazy people to farm.

Besides, farming accounted for about 90% of source of income in Mbaise land then, and the number of yam ban one has suggests how rich a person is. This could be the sole reason why our ancestors had to marry many wives so as to help in cultivating more crops.

  • HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF MBAISE

Legends have it that the cradle of creation took place in Ezinihitte Mbaise at ‘Ihu Chineke Orie Ukwu’; a boundary between Oboama and Umunama with the birth of five clans: Agbaja (Nguru, Okwuato, Enyiogugu, Obiangwu, and Umuohiagu), Ahiara, Ekwerazu, Ezinihitte and Oke Ovoro; thus the name ‘Mbaise’ came into being as a federated unit of these five clans in June, 1941 when Mr. Jamike Iwunna from Amaohuru Nguru gave the name after putting together the five clans.

Later, Obiangwu and Umuohiagu which were constituent parts of Agbaja pulled out in 1957 and joined Ngor Okpala. Thus, administratively Mbaise is currently reduced to three local governments, namely Ahiazu (result of a merger of Ahiara and Ekwerazu), Aboh-Mbaise (carving out a part of Ezinihitte West and added to Agbaja and Oke Ovoro), and Ezinihitte in which there are about 81 Autonomous Communities.

Mbaise New Yam Festival
Typical Yam Stake in readiness for the Festival

Another version of history also has it that the present people of Mbaise where part of Ngwa people, now in Abia State, who were said to be on a journey from “Agbaja” in Owerri. Getting to the bank of Imo River, some of them decided to rest and roast their yams to eat before continuing while some hurriedly crossed the river.

Having lost contact with part of the group, the present Mbaise people decided to settle just before the Imo River. This could explain why Ngwa people today where given the name “Ngwa Ngwa” meaning hurry hurry, later shortened to “Ngwa” and Mbaise people where given the name “Ohuhu” meaning roasting, which people still call us today. These two versions of origin of Mbaise are both believed depending on the school of thought one belongs to.

  • EVOLUTION OF IRI JI FESTIVAL IN MBAISE

Before the advent of Christianity, early inhabitants of the Mbaise, believed in mini gods and one supreme God; the Almighty and Creator of all things. Their beliefs were said to stem from the fact that there must be a reason for every creation and thus the belief in higher beings which cannot be fathomed by human mind held sway.

For instance, the cultivation and planting of farm crops between January to the end of May resulted in shortage of food. Families fed on little available food and prayed to God for intervention in their hunger predicament. When July comes and one would enter the farm and find edible tubers, it would call for celebration. More mysterious would be the fact that when you cut and leave the head of the yam in the ground, it would bear more tubers in the coming months. This was figured out to be the work of a higher being sent by God to intervene in their hunger situation, Ahiajoku.

When this happens, the fathers in each household in the villages and towns would be very happy and thankful to God for having survived the famine. To them, this wonder of nature calls for celebration hence a day was set aside for the celebration named Iriji-Ohuo -New yam Festival.

Mbaise New Yam festival
Kola Nut; a sign of welcome

Again, each household revered Ahiajoku such that they built shrines in each home stead for offering goat, yam, sheep and drinks to it in gratitude. Ahiajoku is the acclaimed god of farm crops especially yam. During the Iriji Ohuo celebration, prayers and libation would flow in praise and thanksgiving to god of yam and to God Almighty whom the Mbaise people called Chukwu Abiami or Eke kere Uwa.

However, with time, Christians and people realized that the one God that created man also created every other thing in the Universe and to Him alone belongs all Honor, Praise, Worship and Adoration, and the Ahiajoku ceremony faded away and was replaced with Christian Festival of the First Fruit(EX 23;16).

With the advent of Christianity and the Bible, Mbaise nation was believed to be the home of the Most High God, the people believed that this was also a way to fulfill Gods law to his people of Israel to celebrate three Festivals a year to Him. Celebrate the harvest Festival when you begin to harvest your crops. (Exo 23; 16, Deu 16; 9, Lev 23, 15-21, 2nd Chro 8, 12-13. Thus the festival of the new yam is a thanksgiving celebration.

Undoubtedly, there are farmers in every village and town who grow and harvest more yams than others. These great farmers were given the prestigious title of EZEJI. They are acclaimed as having the largest farms and could feed hundreds of people without running out of supply. Though the Ezeji title holders regard Iriji as their particular ceremony, the event is for every member of the Mbaise.

Mbaise New yam Festival
Roasted yam

The Ezeji cultivates the yams, owns the yams, harvest the yams and gives them to people to eat. It is also the role of the Ezeji to roast and cook yams enough to feed the masses that attend the IriJi ceremony. They are also great and powerful landowners, and as title holders, they are expected to be outstanding personalities in the Community. Ezeji people play important roles in the settlement of land disputes. They pray and bless the new yam, taste it and give it to others to eat.

Meanwhile, in the recent times, yam which is regarded as the head of farm crops have come to symbolize among other things; accomplishments, jobs, productivity in every field of lives endeavor, overcoming adversity, anniversaries, etc.

On the 15th of August every year, Mbaise people all over the world must celebrate this thanksgiving event individually or collectively with friends and well wishers. They come together to celebrate their achievements and accomplishments over the year with special thanksgiving to God.

As a ceremony, the Iri Ji annual event attracts people from all over the world. It has attracted Chief Executives, top Government Officials, Governors and Vice Presidents over the years. It has become a symbol of unity and home coming for Mbaise sons and daughters which appreciates economic, social and tourism activities within this period.

  • SUMMARY

The real