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The $9.6bn judgement debt burden

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The court judgement of $9.6 billion against Nigeria by a United Kingdom court for its inability to perform a subsisting contract between both parties continues to elicit reactions and controversy in the polity. In a judgement against the nation, the Irish company, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) has been given the right to seize $9.6 billion in Nigerian assets. The sum, which is about 20 per cent of the country’s external reserves of $45 billion, makes the judgement a product of the inability of our government to keep faith with the contractual terms with the existing Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA), causing the nation an opportunity to add 2,000 megawatts of power to its generation capacity.

In 2010, both parties had signed the agreement that P&ID would build a state-of-the-art gas processing plant that would convert wet gas to dry gas and supply same to the national grid at no extra cost to the country while the Federal Government would lay pipelines and supply gas to the plant in line with the deal. The company was obliged to make its invested funds through the exportation of byproducts of the wet gas for over 20 years. Reports indicated that the government failed to lay required pipes, making it impossible for P&ID to build the plant, as agreed. This brought about the dispute that made the company accuse Nigeria of breach of contract and depriving it of opportunity to earn a profit, as building the plant was contingent on the government laying the pipes.

For emphasis, in keeping to the terms of the contract, the company had opted for arbitration and a settlement was reached in 2015 in which Nigeria agreed to pay $850 million. Unfortunately, Nigeria did not adhere to the terms of the arbitration, making P&ID resort to arbitration and in 2017 whereby the arbitration tribunal ruled in favour of the company and ordered Nigeria to pay for the value of the profits which P&ID would have earned from March 2013 with interest. Despite this, the government reneged by forcing the company to approach a commercial court to seek enforcement of the tribunal’s ruling, which culminated in making the court to rule that Nigeria had erred in the handling of the matter and should, therefore, pay $9.6 billion to the company. The non-presentation of proper documentation to the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (Commercial Court) has accounted for the legal action facing the nation.

The interim award judgement would give P&ID the right to seize Nigeria’s assets in any of the 160 countries that form part of the New York Convention, which is a global pact for the enforcement of such arbitral awards. Matters arising from the case suggest that there are many faults on the part of the government. For instance, representatives of the government were accused of not being in court when required or refused to follow up on negotiated out-of-court settlements. These amounted to costly legal mistakes as the judgement is capable of making the country to lose a huge amount of 20 per cent of its external reserves, which is about 2.5 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Furthermore, rather than correcting the mistake, retrogressive actions were taken by the country and the suit, which lasted for more than four years, had a ruling against Nigeria that it was liable to the P&ID. This judgement was never contested.

The following knotty questions deserve answers: why did public officials offer to give up jurisdiction clause to overseas interests and by so doing, externalise the choice of law in contracts to be executed within local jurisdictions? Could this be deliberate to put the nation in a disadvantaged position? Was the deal meant to be a failed venture ab initio? What were the obligations and limitations of the parties? What is the actual amount that the firm invested in Nigeria on the contract? Where is the office of the firm located in the country? Who are the personnel and principal officers of the firm in Nigeria? These are questions that deserve concrete explanations in line with the statutory requirements for foreign participation of business in Nigeria.

As a way forward, the government should explore every legal means to resolve the dispute without further delay. This becomes crucial in view of insinuations by government that the judgement debt was a calculated attempt by international and local scammers to deplete the country’s rising foreign reserves, just as the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had rejected claims by P&ID that he was culpable for causing a delay that culminated into the award of $9.6 billion against the nation.

It is hoped that the country’s economy would not be depleted going by the welcome decision to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the police and relevant bodies to look into the saga. Those found guilty should be sanctioned no matter how highly placed they may be. The Federal Government should logically appeal against the ruling of the UK court by exploring the possible defences customarily afforded by sovereign states under the United Kingdom Sovereign Immunity Act to halt enforcing payment of the avoidable judgement debt.

This should be properly done through a well-coordinated strategy without foreclosing out-of-court settlement options, which is the hallmark of arbitration as opposed to litigation in terms of being parties-driven, privacy, time management, and cost-effectiveness. This possibility should be harnessed given the reported olive branch extended by the son of the owner of P&ID, Adams Quinn, in reaching out to the Federal Government for a possible amicable resolution of the issue in dispute. Quinn is said to be in contact with the government, having proposed meetings with government officials.

We should always remember that the business of governance is a serious one that should be accorded great attention, expertise, and patriotism. What has been the experience of the nation over the years is that governmental affairs have not been given the utmost attention that could yield or transform into rapid development and good governance for the nation. Despite our modest achievements, unnecessary rivalry, poor accountability, red-tapism, nepotism, indiscipline, lack of continuity and sustainability of public policy had characterised public administration in Nigeria.

This lack-luster performance of public affairs has further weakened by the alleged government bloated workforce, which informed the setting up of the Steve Oronsaye Committee in 2011 and before it, the Ahmed Joda panel of 1999 that had recommended the reduction of statutory agencies from 263 to 161, out of which about 38 of them were set for outright scrapping. To date, not much had been done to implement the life-transforming initiative. We need to get it right as a nation by learning from past mistakes and taking decisive and critical decisions. The avoidable $9.6 billion debt judgement should be reversed. This is the expectation of the people.

  • Kupoluyi writes from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) via adewalekupoluyi@yahoo.co.uk.
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Perspectives

Calabar stands still for late Major Eyo Esua

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Calabar stands still for late Major Eyo Esua

October 12, was one day that Calabar stood still for one departed soul. The very large number of personalities that flooded the city to commiserate with the family of the late Major Eyo Ita Esua (retired) during funeral activities marking his departure confirmed that he touched many lives in his life time. Human and vehicular movement were practically shutdown around Beecroft Street, where the funeral service held at Wesley Cathedral of Methodist Church, Nigeria; Esua’s compound on Oma Street and Marian Road, which passes by the “Dome” reception venue on Calabar Municipal Council premises.

“Having passed away 45 days short of his 92nd birthday, he was not young but we know that you will all miss him – his voice, his mannerisms and his good judgement. His was a prominent name in Lagos medical circles, especially Surulere, Lagos Mainland where he tended to the health needs of a horde of people as the sympathetic physician, who lived up to the Hippocratic oath.”

That was part of the brief but very touching condolence letter that Baptist Academy Old Students Association (BAOSA) Obanikoro, Lagos, sent to Esua’s family. Titled “An illustrious old student”, the letter spoke the minds of thousands.

They said he was their doctor, their model, their judge and one that provided them with living water – a reference to his Blue Rose Water Project. The story of his life and times is interesting. The late Eyo Ita Eyo, chairman of Federal Electoral Commission 1964/1965 and secretary of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) was his father.

His mother’s name was Ada. Born on October 12, 1927, he began his kindergarten education in 1933 after which he attended Baptist Academy on Broad Street, Lagos, for his primary and secondary education. In 1950, he sailed in a mail boat to United Kingdom for the pre-medical programme of University of Durham.

His successful performance there helped him to proceed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne Medical School, which was then a college of the University of Durham. He later in 1957 undertook his housemanship in Surgery at the Park Hospital, Davyhume, Manchester University and in Medicine at the General Hospital, Altrincham. Esua returned to Nigeria in 1959 and worked with the Federal Ministry of Health, which posted him to Apapa Dispensary, General Hospital, Creek Hospital and Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

In 1962, he joined the Nigerian Army Medical Corps in the rank of a captain but left as a Major in 1965 to establish Ada Hospital in Surulere area of Lagos. The hospital became one of the most famous privatelyowned medical facilities in Lagos on account of his commitment to efficient medical care, availability of competent workers and consultants and willingness to treat some very poor people who could not settle their bills.

However, the brilliant doctor was compelled by advancing age and the fact that none of his children followed his footsteps into the medical profession, to retire from active medical practice and to sell Ada Hospital franchise to a younger doctor in his employ. On his return to Calabar, he decided to contribute to development of Cottage industry in Cross River State by establishing Blue Rose Water in 1996 – the first brand of table and sachet water in the state.

The product became very popular in homes, workplaces and hotels. “If you have not drank Blue Rose Water, then you don’t know Calabar or even Cross River State”, Pastor Okon Ndiok, a staff of University of Calabar, told this writer. Luckily, his widow Theresa has assured that the water project will continue.

“By God’s grace, we will maintain your wish to provide good clean water for human consumption and also provide jobs for our youths”, she said in her tribute to the husband. Late Dr. Esua was also a good judge. One of his relations, the proprietor of Ikpeme Medical Centre on Ambo Street, Calabar, recounts when one-time head of Central Bank of Nigeria, Calabar, wanted to cause another medical facility to take over the retainership he had with the CBN over “some trivial matter” and he informed Dr. Esua, who contacted the chief medical director of CBN that arrived Calabar to handle the investigation himself and he got back his retainership.

Dr. Esua was also known to be a devout Christian and a pillar both in the Wesley Cathedral, Olowogbowo, Lagos, where his father is said to have been instrumental to the establishment of English Language Service and the Calabar branch where he had the position of patron of the church and of the men and women fellowships. A lover of Christian music and hymns, the last song Major Esua was heard humming before his passing on August 28, was “Lead, kindly Light, and the encircling gloom”

 

 

  •  Akpaekong wrote in from Calabar
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Perspectives

Of journalist, journalism, grateful and ‘greatful’

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Of journalist, journalism, grateful and ‘greatful’

Two incidents aroused my interest of recent: the first was the banner carried by some officials of the Federal Ministry of Education during a march past to mark Teachers’ Day last Saturday. The banner reads: ‘FEDERAL MINISTRY OF EDUCATION WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY MATCH PAST.

The problem is the word “MATCH.” The appropriate word is MARCH not MATCH.A lot of Nigerians were taken aback by this error and wondered why nobody in the ministry that supervises and perhaps formulates our education policies did not spot the error before it became a national embarrassment on a day meant to celebrate teachers worldwide. Just a few days after the ministry’s World Teachers’ Day banner with the error went viral on the internet with its attendant backlashes, came another one from the judiciary workers in Akwa Ibom State.

The plaque on the wall of the staff clinic “commissioned by His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom, on Tuesday, the 8th of October, 2019, has Judiciary spelt as ‘Juduciary.’ Surprisingly, nobody saw it before the clinic was commissioned by the governor.

Expectedly, Nigerians feasted on it on social media. Some even blamed the governor for the error. But for me, that is politics. But if I were the governor and saw the error, I would have pointed it out and possibly give a short deadline for it to be corrected. It may be the fault of the sign writer and it is possible that the ‘Juduciary’ workers did not pay attention to the embarrassing error and got carried away by the frenzy of the governor coming to commission the project and preferred to dissipate energy on how to impress the governor as good hosts.

The problem might have been caused by a man who dropped out of school and found a vocation in sign writing or the plaque was made by somebody who assumes he knows when he is only intoxicated by his half knowledge. This may even be the case with the maker of the Ministry of Education’s banner.

I often tell people that as second language speakers of English Language, we are bound to make errors due to a lot of factors, which have been highlighted by socio- linguistics experts. But some errors should get us worried if they are made by university graduates or people in some professions who use English language as a mode of communication. It’s even more worrisome when such people assume they know when in actual fact they are ignoramuses. I cannot forget in a hurry the experiences I had with two ladies at different places last year.

I went for an event somewhere on the Lagos Island. A lady was asked to register attendees. She had a paper and a pen to register us. There was a column where occupations of attendees should be written, she asked for my occupation and I told her ‘journalism.’ She gave me a disdainful look and shook her head.

I couldn’t fathom what she was up to. I initially thought may be journalists were not expected at the event. I quickly checked my phone to be sure I was invited for the event since the invitation was sent to my phone. But before I could stop fiddling with my phone, she yelled at me:

“Oga, your occupation?” I responded:”journalism.” She rudely interrupted me and yelled again: Journalist not journalism. I did all I could to differentiate between journalism and journalist. I even used some other professions to explain the differences between occupations and those who practice them. I remember talking about teacher and teaching, police and policing, nurse and nursing etc. however, she had made up her mind she was right and I was wrong.

Perhaps, she would have rated me as the worst “Alakowe” (educated person) she had ever seen in her entire life. Since she had the yam and knife, in form of the paper and pen, she had her way and wrote that my occupation is journalist. She missed the opportunity of learning what she didn’t know.

Such person won’t get home and check the dictionary to know if she was right or wrong because she assumed she knew what she was talking about. Last year, I went to a fast food place and asked that a cake should be made to celebrate my birthday.

After making payment, the cashier, a young lady, asked if I wanted to inscribe words on the cake. She later handed a paper and a pen to me. I wrote: ‘A grateful heart’ on the paper. After reading it, her countenance changed. But I already knew where the problem was.

As I was descending the staircase with my wife, who had accompanied me to the place, I told her that the word ‘grateful’ would be misspelt and I gave her my reasons. I knew she didn’t believe me and might have felt I was unnecessarily underrating the girl. In fairness to my wife, she didn’t overtly say she doubted my rating of the girl.

However, when I went to pick the cake a day after, ‘grateful’ has been changed to ‘greatful’ boldly inscribed on the cake. I screamed and this attracted the manager of the eatery. He approached me and wanted to know what the problem was.

I demanded to see the girl whom I gave what I wanted written on the cake so as to compare my ‘grateful’ with her ‘greatful.’ But she wasn’t on duty. After the manager apologised, I suggested that the inscription should be scrapped from the cake.

However, I was convinced that doing so would deface the cake. I was confused because I didn’t want to take it to the newsroom. I was afraid some of my subordinates might think their editor didn’t know the spelling of ‘grateful’. I grudgingly took the cake with the error. What saved the day was that my colleagues in the office made another cake for me.

This was the cake I eventually cut in the office. So, I took my ‘greatful’ cake home where I knew I can have the luxury of explaining the error if I was asked. My wife was shocked that what I envisaged truly happened. But I wasn’t surprised because I am a journalist and my profession is journalism.

So, I often come across situations like that. I witnessed another one a few days ago on a WhatsApp platform group. A colleague mixed up “tasking” and “taxing.” He wrongly assumed that the correct word in the context was “tasking” and not “taxing” as correctly used by the writer. He thought and even argued that “taxing” is about “tax” and “taxation.”

When he was told the writer was right and he was wrong. He wouldn’t take such. When he was advised to check the dictionary for the meanings and usages of the closely related words in sound and written forms. His response was that at ‘his level’, he should not be checking the dictionary for such words. Of all my English Language teachers, Prof. Oko Okoro of the University of Lagos, stands out. But at his level, he didn’t enter our class as ‘Masters students’ without coming with his dictionary.

On a few occasions he forgot, he would ask one of us to go to his office and bring his dictionary before teaching. He said one thing he discovered was that he learnt new things each time he opened the dictionary. So, when in doubt, checking the dictionary is not a bad idea instead of assumption. It wasn’t a surprise that whenever a student said anything that sounded strange, Prof. Okoro would always insist on using the dictionary to either fault or corroborate that “strange” thing said by a student in the class. He always advised that we should not assume we know but should always rely on the dictionary.

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Abia North; Senator Kalu, employing utilitarian jurisprudence to reform representation to the right perspective

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Abia North; Senator Kalu, employing utilitarian jurisprudence to reform representation to the right perspective

Majority of Abia North constituents no longer swallow any narrative, hook, line and sinker, without efforts at fact- checking same, our people now live by rational, objective and empirical observation therefore efforts at hoodwinking and bamboozling us shall surely prove abortive.

One does not even need to go very close to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to understand that he is a social utilitarian who is always seeking the greatest happiness of the greatest number of persons and any person who understands his believe system also should expect his style of law making to be embedded in the jurisprudence of utilitarianism, given also his non- elitist, listening and open door nature.

While appreciating the fact that many of our people are now waking up to the fundamental and common obligation of general political cognizance which is what some of us have prayed as this shows we are now ready to come out of legislative obscurity with Kalu, some of us who have been in this field for long and are well acquainted with important and verifiable facts concerning the representation of Abia North, shall always offer to decorously and respectfully ensure that people are properly guided so that no person misrepresents salient facts as a result of inadequate knowledge and or misconstruement of issues, as this may be misleading those who rely on such persons for proper guidance and political decisions,we shall always seek to represent facts correctly for the overriding general interest of our people.

With most due respect, it totally fails the objective test of ripeness, and rather inchoate, premature and unwarranted given the fact that Senator Kalu has just spent about four months in office out of four years, it is also unfair,imbalanced,biased,prejudiced and unarguably incorrect for anyone to begin to make averrments of improper and or inadequate representation or begin to draw a comparator between him and his predecessors given the fact that within this short period senator Kalu has made very remarkable contributions that are already being felt in Abia North and Nigeria as a whole, inter alia, towards the revival of the oil palm industry in Nigeria which is the greatest endowment in Abia North and at present among the most needed commodities all over the world following more discoveries on the usefulness of the product,he has also made a laudable, bold and giant move to tackle the ecological issues that had been challenging Abia North which the other senators before him were not able to attract proportionate remedies, if they did their supporters will not be representing the problems in the manner they are doing, as if they started to exist in this current tenure which is targeted at evading the negligence and blameworthiness of their masters, the African Continental Free Trade Area(AFCTA), the Deplorable state of Akwa-Ibom and Abia State link-high way, Domestic Refining of Petroleum Products,need to check illegal mining activities, it is very rare to achieve this within this short period this shows vigilance and proactiveness.

It is beyond reasonable doubt that we have gotten it right this time. We have already departed from the era of permutations, probabilities, imprecision and uncertainties in relationships with our Senators to the era of certainty, predictability and stability.

From the era of elitist, toffee-nosed and inaccessible senators to the era of egalitarianism, accessibility and easily approachable senator for the first time, this is what our people had craved for, and without this no person can validly lay claim to Senators knowing the problems of their constituents and making laws that positively affect their lives, nemo dat quod non habeat, no one can give what he does not have. Nothing can be farther from the truth, any person making allusions that any of our former Senators had any better approach than Senator Kalu is obviously standing facts on their heads and taking the wrong position,how could they had spoken or worked satisfactorily for those they severed common fraternization with as almighty senators in their display of classical egoistic and elitist character? which was evidently and conspicuously displayed and imposed on us as the norm.

It may also be viewed by rational thinkers as an effort to hoodwink gullible persons, if any person should hold the opinion that past senators attracted whatever eldorado projects in Abia North, we should be able to point at them without scratching beyond the surface,if they did our people could not have overwhelmingly, vigorously and massively clamored for Kalu who we believe so much in his abilities to command changes in the system and our people stopped at nothing to effectuate their desires at the polls, at least we are reasonable enough.

Talking about attracting projects by past senators seems vague as such projects are not built in abstractism and illusionment rather in the physical for the use of the people except we are talking of stomach projects. While I totally agree that Abia North is the primary constituency of Senator Kalu, I also know, it is not correct and a bit myopic expecting that the only thing our Senator will give attention to must be problems domiciled only within Abia North as if we exist in isolation, this is because of some undeniable facts,(1) there are problems our district also share in common with other Nigerians (2) we should consider the level of political exposure of our Senator (3) being the Chief Whip means he is a principal officer of the Nigerian Senate and has a wider jurisdiction (4) that he is standing in the gap for the entire southeast from the governing APC (5) that he is under a constitutional obligation to legislate for all Nigerians, referencing section 4(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) which we are also beneficiaries, vibrancy and being vocal must not denote sectional and tribal aggressiveness.

Our major concern should be whether he is attending to our problems? the answer is a conspicuous YES, and every unbiased person in the world is attesting to this fact. What he requires from Abia North constituents is to make every possible and relevant information available to him, he is sure to deliver and he has reiterated this severally, every person in this world who knows Senator Orji Uzor Kalu knows that he has the capacity in all ramifications to deliver and he shall surely deliver.

 

Noble Agbaeze

Abia North Constituent.

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Perspectives

Have you forgotten what your spouse did?

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Have you forgotten what your spouse did?

Are you one of those who have come to perceive your spouse as a devil just a few years after marriage?

Some years ago when you met, your current spouse (or the one you pushed away) was a darling indeed. Your then fiancée or fiancé did just whatever you wished and you acted the same way. Your wish was his or her command. You could not sleep without speaking on phone (if it was post mobile-phone period). You cherished hanging out with him or her. Life with the person was just fun. You were ready to sacrifice anything to make him or her happy. The person had brought a long desired peace into your life suddenly.

Of particular importance was the fact that this person sponsored your education, helped you get a job, made your family happier, comfortable, gave you economic empowerment or helped you acquire a skill. The person picked you up from the gutter financially and made you a palace occupant, restored your lost self esteem or gave you a non-existent one. Maybe he or she gave you children, a lacked care and love or gave you hope and courage to move beyond your premarital financial, social, spiritual or psychological status.

Today, for whatever reasons, you are wishing you never married this person. You are even blaming all your perceived failures in life on this person. You have forgotten your spouse’s contributions to your personal development years ago. You have forgotten anything positive about your spouse.

My dear, you are in error. Forgetting the good that your spouse has done to your life is an error.

“But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and THINGS THAT ACCOMPANY SALVATION, though we thus speak. For GOD IS NOT UNRIGHTEOUS TO FORGET YOUR WORK AND LABOUR OF LOVE, WHICH YOU HAVE SHEWED toward his name in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister” (Hebrews 6:9-10).

“God is not unrighteous to forget” means that forgetting good deed that was done to you by someone is an act of unrighteousness. Forgetting the good deed that your spouse has done to your life and destiny is an act of unrighteousness.

The work and labour of love that your spouse has offered to your life must always be remembered to renew your passion for your spouse. Forgetting those good deeds is an act of unrighteousness. This explains why the Bible talks about God remembering people because of their good works. For instance, God remembered Abraham because of his display of faith, counted unto him for righteousness. God remembered dead Dorcas for her good works and Jesus brought her back to life based on mercy, after testimonies from people she blessed while alive.

My brother! My sister! I want you to recall all the good works and labour of love that your spouse has offered to your life. You have to constantly do so because it is part of the “THINGS THAT ACCOMPANY SALVATION” (if you are or claim to be born again). You are not permitted to forget about your spouse’s good works.

There are actually things that you are permitted to forget about your spouse. Every act of your spouse that upset you since you married him or her must be forgiven. After forgiveness, efforts should be made to forget offenses. This is what makes any marriage work.

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus said unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: But until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).

“So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matthew 18:35).

“But if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).

“Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hateth his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Ephesians 5:21-29 KJV).

Forgetting the positive contributions of your spouse to whatever good personality you have become today is an act of unrighteousness. So, don’t ever forget the blessings that your spouse has brought to your life, your history, your destiny, your character, your personality.

Your marriage shall be a blessing and a testimony in Jesus name.

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Perspectives

Police corruption expose: A recurring decibel in Nigeria

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Police corruption expose: A recurring decibel in Nigeria

During the week, online newspaper, TheCable published an expose on the rot and other shady deals that take place at police stations.

Although they zeroed in on a particular police station in Lagos, however, what they exposed is what is happing at the various other police stations dotted across the length and breadth of this country.

In the story, captioned: ‘UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION (I): Bribery, bail for sale… Lagos police station where innocent civilians are held and criminals are recycled’, TheCable wrote in their intro to the piece: “Investigative journalist ‘FISAYO SOYOMBO spent two weeks in detention — five days in a Police cell and eight as an inmate in Ikoyi Prison — to track corruption in Nigeria’s criminal justice system, beginning from the moment of arrest by the Police to the point of release from prison.

“To experience the workings of the system in its raw state, Soyombo — adopting the pseudonym Ojo Olajumoke — feigned an offence for which he was arrested and detained in police custody; arraigned in court and eventually remanded in Prison…he uncovers how the Police pervert the course of justice in their quest for ill-gotten money.”

TheCable then goes on to give a vivid account of what transpires at the Pedro Police Station and even Ikoyi Prison through the first-hand experience of their undercover reporter.

In one instance, ‘Ojo Olajumoke’ wrote: “The complainant was already registering the case with a policewoman by the time we returned, and soon after they were haggling over the fees. Chigozie Odo, the policewoman, had rejected his offer of N500. After some five minutes of talking, he handed her a N1, 000 note.

“Odo stripped me of my shirt, singlet, belt, wristwatch, shoes and cash. ‘Look at his hair; na you gangan be Ruggedy Baba,’ she said as she unlocked the cell and bundled me in.”

This report was only published during the week, but sadly, I can point out that this has been the pattern for decades; because I have also personally experienced it.

In my own case, it was not an attempt to expose the rot through fine investigative reporting, but rather I was a forced participant because a then military governor wanted to “deal” with my then medium, The Guardian.

I have actually written the story before in a piece I titled “How Champions League landed me in Kirikiri Prison”, which I wrote to commemorate the 25th  year that I and three other colleagues, Bayo Oguntimehin, Taiwo Akerele and Ben Akparanta (now late) were hounded into detention for about 16 days, first at Alausa Police Station and then Motor Traffic Division (MTD), both in Ikeja, Lagos, before ending up in Kirikiri Medium Prisons, just because the then governor Col, Raji Rasaki (rtd) had some bones to pick with the ‘flagship’ over The Guardian’s critical position on some of his actions as governor of Lagos.

Our ordeal began on May 29, 1991 when the then governor made his move leading to the closure of The Guardian by the state government.

At both Alausa and MTD, we witnessed first-hand how the police who claim to be “our friends” interact with those who come to the station to either lodge complaints or are brought in for allegedly committing and offence.

They (police officers) were mostly unfriendly towards such people and more often than not were ready to either bend the law or dish out favours following the receipt of some form of gratification.

For instance, on the first night of our detention after our management had “spoken” to the officers on duty, we were not immediately shoved into the detention cells with other suspects.

Instead, we were kept outside until about midnight before we were told we had to be put into the cell because it was against the law to allow suspects spend a whole night outside the holding bay.

But of course, before sending us into the cell, they (police) had spoken to the “president” to ensure that we (journalists) were not given the traditional “welcoming” which is often a severe beating.

And just like Ojo Olajumoke wrote, I still recall having to remove my belt, watch and other valuables on me and when I jokingly asked what would happen should my trousers not stay up without a belt, I was told if that be the case, then I would have to hold my ‘sokoto’ because I could not enter the cell with a belt so that I don’t use it to commit suicide or as a weapon!

Those in the holding cells were a sorry sight to behold with many of them complaining that they had been thrown in on trumped up charges and would only regain their freedoms as soon as they “settled”.     

Many of them were brought in for “wandering”, which was then an “offence” that the police exploited very well in apprehending people.

Although it is often said lightening does not strike twice, however, I have been an exception; and six years after my Kirikiri trip, I was again a forced guest of the police, after I and my two other co-tenants were arrested for armed robbery and gun running.

Incidentally, I had just arrived in the country from Egypt, where I had gone to cover the FIFA U17 World Cup when this fresh incident occurred.

This time we were “lodged” at the Adeniji Adele Police Station, while we battled to extradite ourselves from the case, which if not properly handled could see me face the death penalty.

Sadly, during the course of our investigation, we were told by our fellow detainees, that we had actually been setup by one of our fellow tenants, who was the only one not with us in detention.

We were told that he (the tenant) had come to the police that he could make money for them by writing a petition that he knew of some armed robbery suspects who once caught would be ready to cough up money in order to free themselves and it was this money that they (the tenant and police) would share.

Unfortunately in the end, the police doubled crossed him on the grounds that the money they made was not as much as he had claimed they would make.

Both stories were subsequently written, but here more than two decades after, we are reading the same story all over – a clear indication that absolutely nothing had changed!

And this sadly is one of the biggest problems we face in this country – failure to tackle issues head on in order to improve as a nation. 

Instead we will all complain about poor governance and yet still vote for the same people that are the hindrance to the nation having decent governance.

At the end of the day, the path to a decent society lies with us as a people, who must then decide once and for all that enough is enough and we are now ready for real change and not just “mouth change”.

Unless this happens, I can bet that two decades down the line another “Ojo Olajumoke” will write another expose on virtually the same issue.

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Perspectives

Convulsion caused by a fever; the harmless horror

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Convulsion caused by a fever; the harmless horror

Scene 1

She has been coughing over the last 5 days with the nose runny and recurrent sneezing. 2 years old OZK has also been having a running battle with fever which has been on and off in pattern. For each time the fever spikes, her eyes were red and she was restless. On the evening of a particular day, she went into a fit, people around thought she was dying, then within 1-2 hours she was up and about again!

Scene 2

10 months old Baby LTF was born in the slum to artisan parents. He has been having foul smelling yellowish discharge from the left ear for the past 2 months. This was associated with fever. He threw a fit during breast feeding and narrowly escaped been choked. The neighbours came, alerted by the cry for help; some shook him, some drenched him in water, another used an adult sized spoon to gag his mouth. In came an elderly woman with a burning stove and a liquid (which later turned out to be cow urine!). She grabbed the boy’s foot and held it over the flame and at the same time got someone to pour the cow urine in his mouth, the poor young man screamed in horror. After the dust had settled, he had multiple lacerations to the mouth and severe burns injury to the right foot in the short term but in the long term, disability and loss of function of same.

What it is

Febrile convulsion aka febrile seizures aka febrile fit are caused by a fever, usually those greater than 38 °C.  A high temperature is a sign of infection somewhere in the body and is often caused by a virus or bacteria. A high fever does not necessarily mean the child has a serious illness. Fever is not known to cause damage to the brain or other organs. Most children with fever suffer only minor discomfort, however one child in 30 will have a febrile convulsion at one time or another. This usually happens between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. Febrile convulsions are not harmful to the child and do not cause brain damage (a harmless horror!)

Most children who have a febrile convulsion will only ever have just one. Some children will have one or more seizures, usually during illnesses which cause a fever. However, febrile fits are usually harmless and almost all children make a complete recovery afterwards. It is not the same as an epileptic seizure.

Causes

The cause of the fever is often a viral illness. In most cases, the high temperature is caused by an infection. Common examples are chickenpox, flu, a middle ear infection or tonsillitis. It has also been associated with vaccination such as measles/mumps/rubella/varicella, diphtheria etc. There may also be a genetic link.

What may give it out

A febrile seizure usually lasts for less than five minutes, the child will:

become stiff and their arms and legs may begin to twitch

lose consciousness and may wet or soil themselves

may go red or blue in the face

They may also vomit and foam at the mouth, and their eyes may roll back.

After the seizure, the child may be sleepy for up to an hour or two. A straightforward febrile seizure like this will only happen once during the child’s illness.  Occasionally, febrile seizures can last longer than 15 minutes and symptoms may only affect one area of the child’s body. These are known as complex febrile seizures. The seizure sometimes happens again within 24 hours or during the period in which the child is ill.

What to do

The parent may not be able to make the convulsion stop.

The most important thing is to stay calm – don’t panic.

Place the child on a soft surface, lying on his or her side or back.

Do not restrain the child from convulsing

Do not put anything in their mouth, including sticks, spoons or your fingers. Your child will not choke or swallow their tongue.

Remove or move any objects that might harm them during the convulsions (furniture, sharp items, etc.)

Try to watch exactly what happens, so that you can describe it to the doctor later.

Time how long the convulsion lasts.

Do not put a child who is having a convulsion in the bath he may drown being bathed for because he is not in control.

Care after the convulsion

Occasionally, children who have long convulsions need to be watched in hospital for a while afterwards. This is usually to work out the cause of the fever and watch the course of your child’s illness. The child may be a little cranky for a day or so, but this will pass. Put the child to sleep at the usual time, in his or her own bed. Most children who have febrile convulsions do not have any long term health problems. They are normally healthy and grow out of them by the age of six.

The catch

Adequate history taking, examination and investigation appropriately directed.

Treatment of the fever

Once fever is noticed it is appropriate to expose the child and tepid sponge (wipe their skin with a washcloth or sponge soaked in water at room temperature to cool them down), paracetamol may further help.

Advice

See a doctor as soon as any fever causing ailment is noticed.

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Can a cabal against Aisha Buhari be for President?

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Can a cabal against Aisha Buhari be for President?

have always assumed that “the cabal” or the kitchen cabinet in any administration exists at the pleasure of the president or the leadership; hence members of this clique owe him and everything that comes with him, unsoiled loyalty.

My assumption was underpinned by some classical examples. In 2010, the kitchen cabinet was Turai Yar’Adua’s bulwark when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was in a vegetative state. In fact, the first lady was the head of that cabal which went overboard in seeking to hold on to power.

In Taraba State in 2013, a reprise of the Yar’Adua saga happened with Danbaba Suntai, who became impaired after an air crash, and whose wife in cahoots with the cabal in the state puppeteered until the end of his term.

Also, I recall that allusions of “cabal honcho” were made to the late Stella Obasanjo, whom former President Olusegun Obasanjo described as a “sage”.   

Really, perhaps in my ignorance, I have never imagined that a cabal will be crossed with someone so close to the president like his wife on this path where sycophancy is an art. The upshots at the presidency have caused a digital switch-over to my analogue thinking.

But can the cabal love the president more than his wife? Can the kitchen cabinet be for the president but against his wife? Does loyalty not come with full compliments? Is disloyalty to the wife of the president, loyalty to the president?

The president and his wife are one by dint of marriage. In fact, she should naturally be his biggest influencer; whispering sweet “nothings and somethings” in his ear during pillow talk.

I have read the interview of Fatima Mamman Daura, daughter of Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew and confidant, where she admitted leaking a video recording showing Aisha Buhari in a fit of rage, and alleged she attacked them.

I have also read the first lady’s response to the accusations. But how did things go off the deep end, to the point of violence and breaking doors? It is obvious there is internecine acrimony at the presidency.

But does this family feud affect governance? Yes and no. Yes, because the president naturally will be distracted; instead of concentrating on putting out the fire in the country, he will have to spare time quenching the inferno in his ‘parlour’. And no, because governance is already at an abysmal level so what could get worse?

Yet, ‘No one wins when the family feuds’.

This brings me to the concept of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ or ‘cabalism’. Though, it was a term that was first used to describe the collection of unofficial advisers President Andrew Jackson of the United States consulted in parallel to the United States cabinet, ‘the cabal’ in Nigeria is an extraordinary institution.

The cabal is the second “organ” of government; after the executive, then the cabal. The legislature comes next, then the judiciary, in that order.

If I may add again, the kitchen cabinet is the oxygen of the government of the day in Nigeria. It is that unconstitutional organ on which the decisions of the president pivot.

As a matter of fact, citizens can locate the fount of the bad policies that come from the government if they look a bit closer – at the cabal. A government that has no head to bear its own mysteries will be in the thrall of the cabal.

Really, the overwhelming influence of the kitchen cabinet on the government is symptomatic of irresponsible leadership. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is stewing in his own juice at the presidency for reportedly sacking Lawal Daura as director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), a principal officer of the cabal whom Mamman Daura brought into the government.

Everything rises and falls on leadership, but in the case of Nigeria, everything rises and falls on the cabal.

λNwabufo writes via @FredrickNwabufo

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Fast tracking Ekiti economy for devt

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Fast tracking Ekiti economy for devt

The Fayemi-led administration has taken on the responsibility to resuscitate Ekiti State’s ailing economy, moribund industries, low exports and infrastructural deficit by redirecting its focus from FAAC to agriculture, knowledge economy, commerce, and tourism development.

In this regard, Governor Kayode Fayemi approached development partners and representatives of foreign governments, including China, India, Belarus, the World Bank, European Union Commission and African Development Bank, to bring increased trade, new markets, and sustainable development to Ekiti State.

For instance, the state government is at an advanced stage of discussions with the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) for a sum of $100 million required for the construction of Ekiti Knowledge Zone (EKZ), Special Agriculture Processing Zone (SAPZ), Ado-Akure Road, and Ekiti Agro-Allied Cargo Airport. The proposed fund has a 10-year moratorium and 2% interest.

These projects are crucial to Governor Fayemi’s economic diversification plans and agribusiness investments policy to enhance food security, employment opportunities and empower women and youths in Ekiti State.

To survive and thrive in today’s global economy, Fayemi has turned to knowledge as the primary product in which Ekiti State can trade successfully. These are fields such as teaching, IT, research, technical back-stopping/support, consulting, etc.

The Fayemi-led administration is committed to harnessing the potentials of brilliant minds in the state by accelerating development, skipping less efficient routes and moving directly to more advanced stages such as a knowledge-based economy.

A knowledge-based economy is a system of consumption and production that is based on intellectual capital rather than on physical inputs or natural resources.

With the state’s reputation as being a leader in the production of superior intellectual capital, Ekiti can convincingly position itself as and effectively evolve into a knowledge-based economy. This is the rationale behind the creation of the EKZ.

The EKZ is conceived to be a place where the state can match its global repertoire of academic experts and pioneers with platinum players in the industrial and scientific community, discover, nurture and support creative talents, cross-fertilize revolutionary ideas and produce innovative concepts, products and services that will positively impact the state, nation, sub-Saharan Africa and by extension, make conscious, holistic contributions to the advancement of humanity.

The cargo airport, a support enabler of economic growth, will enable Ekiti State to connect to distant markets and national/global supply chains in a swift and reliable manner. Large quantity of cash crops (cocoa, plantain, oil palm) and staple foods (yam, cassava, maize, rice) from the proposed Special Agriculture Processing Zone (SAPZ) will be transported within and outside the country at record speed to ensure the early-to-market advantage as well as providing mass employment and sustainable economic growth in the state.

In order to enhance farmers’ productivity and transportation of products from the Special Agriculture Processing Zone, the state government has entered into a partnership with the World Bank to undertake rehabilitation and tarring of 1000km of rural roads through the Rural Access to Market Programme (RAMP).

This initiative will aid the reconstruction of farm settlements and provide basic amenities to facilitate cultivation and transportation of products after harvest to the SAPZ. Also, it will connect Ekiti rural communities to urban centres and market places.

One of the largest economic benefits of the Ekiti Agro-Allied cargo connectivity lies in its impact on the long-term performance of livestock and milk production which have high market demand and record increased growth. To this end, Ekiti State Government has entered into a partnership with Promasidor Company for the revitalization of the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm and to utilize its potentials for job creation and local milk production.

This partnership will attract a new investment of $5 million into Ikun Dairy Farm, which will be used to purchase equipment, provide the appropriate herd of cattle, and develop an out-grower scheme for providing feed for the cattle. It is estimated that production will be more than 10,000 litres of milk daily, which will require speedy and reliable mode of transportation for rapid delivery to local markets and exports.

Promasidor Nigeria Limited (PNL) is willing to key into Ekiti State Government’s agricultural schemes to train, employ and educate the youth in the state to build and grow commercial agriculture. When the farm is fully operational, it will create hundreds of jobs directly, and indirectly and also improve the economy of the host community, surrounding communities and Ekiti State at large.

In order to open up new markets and boost exports through the air cargo transport, Fayemi met with the hierarchy of corporate organizations, multinationals and development agencies to invest in modernized agriculture in Ekiti State.

Belarus, for example, is ready to collaborate with Ekiti State to ensure economic development through increased sustainable agricultural practices and food security in Ekiti State.

Belarus manufactures 10% of the world’s tractors and has a very reliable/efficient array of agric equipment/technologies for small, medium/large scale farms. This aligns with Fayemi’s plan to provide agric tools including tractors for small holder/large scale farms in Ekiti State.

Belarus also has the best modern poultry production technology and is willing to partner with Ekiti State Government to establish similar production facility in Ekiti State.

Discussions have been held with India’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur, on how Ekiti State can take advantage of India-Nigeria Bilateral Relations for trade, investment, and joint venture opportunities.

India is the largest trading partner of Nigeria and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa with the bilateral trade touching $11.76 billion from 2017-18. Ekiti State needs development partners for agribusiness and development.

The government of Ekiti State has since approved the clearing of over 1,554 hectares of agricultural land across five local government areas (Oye, Irepodun/Ifelodun, Emure, Ido-Osi and Ilejemeje) to open up the axis for farming and fulfil its readiness to partner with multilateral donors in developing agriculture in the state.

With the plan to clear a significant land area already ongoing, the government has shown its commitment to activate the agrarian potential of the state and create more jobs in the agricultural sector.

The state government has also entered into a partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) to participate in the implementation of FGN/IFAD Value Chain Development (VCDP).

The objective of the programme is to enhance and improve the income and food security of poor rural households that are engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava on a sustainable basis.

There is also an agreement with the World Bank/FGN sponsored Agro-processing Productivity Enhancing and Livelihood Improvement Support Programme (APPEALS) with the overall objective of enhancing the transformational Agric Value Chain Development of Ekiti State, particularly in the areas of modernising and upgrading the existing traditional and drudgery propelled agro-processing centres for maximum productivity.

It will be recalled that the AfDB granted a $40 million loan to the Afe Babalola University to build a world class teaching hospital to take advantage of the already available medical intellectual expertise in the axis and match competence with cutting edge facilities in the medical sector.

To aid the viability of its investment, the AfDB will be providing the funding for the airport which will support both the knowledge and agro-allied economy in the Ekiti State master plan.

The Ekiti Agro-Allied Cargo airport will play a key role in the rapid delivery of medical supplies and organs for transplantations at the world-class Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti.

The speed and reliability of the cargo air transport will help deliver urgent assistance to patients and reduce medical tourism to other nations.

An Agro-Allied Cargo Airport situate in Ekiti will serve the South-West and Middle Belt food basket region; attract skilled migration to boost IGR; improve commercial activity as a “dry port” for fresh and processed produce and make Ekiti State a logistics hub in the agro-allied industry.

Investment opportunities exist in all areas of Ekiti State’s agricultural value chain. The Government of Ekiti State has opened its doors to foreign direct investments promising attractive incentives and support.

The policy direction of the Fayemi-led administration is to reduce poverty, improve living conditions of Ekiti people and mobilize resources to fast track the state’s economic and social development.

λDurodola is a Postgraduate Researcher in the Unit for Diaspora and Transnational Studies (DTS), University of Ibadan.

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Opinions

Corruption of Nigerian education system and mediocrity

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Corruption of Nigerian education system and mediocrity

Education is very important in Nigeria. Education is very important to humanity because it is the chief means of transmission of human civilization. And human civilization is the sum totals of all the cultures of the different people of the world. The culture of writing first reached the ancient Kanem Borno Empire and later the Hausa city states through the trade and Islamic missionary activities of the Arab from North Africa and Middle East. Later Muslim clerics from Africa mainly from areas constituting modern Mali, Guinea and Senegal migrated into Hausaland and become part of the ancient Habe Dynasties of Hausa City States where they functioned as court recorders and religious advisers. But this Arabic education was restricted to the court and to the children of the rulers.

The second wave of educational development came with the European trade and missionary activities. By 1861, Lagos has been colonized but then the missionaries, especially the Church Missionary Society had established the first primary school in Badagry and a secondary school, the CMS Grammar School in Lagos starting from 1842. With the colonization of Nigeria between 1861 and 1900, the colonial authority encouraged religious missionaries to establish primary and secondary schools across Nigeria. Thus, great schools such as Methodist Colleges in Lagos, Uzuakoli, Hope Waddel Training Institute, Calabar, St. Gregory, Holy Child Girls Colleges in West, East and South were opened just as the St. John’s College, Kaduna (now Rimi College) and several others sprang up in different parts of Nigeria. It was later in the early part of 20th century that government started establishing public school modelled after similar institutions in Britain such as Eton and this policy led to the founding of Kings and Queens Colleges in Lagos, Government Colleges at Ibadan, Umuahia, Afikpo, Barewa and Katsina Colleges in Kaduna and Katsina.

Essentially, the education policy under colonial rule was focused on the three ’rs’: reading, (w)riting and (A)rithmetic. But despite its shallow focus, the educational policy and its content were deep enough to produce very bright and confident scholars that have survived into the 21st century. Before independence, the University College modelled after the University of London and fostered by it, has been established and the products of that college, later University of Ibadan and other post-independence universities such as University of Nigeria, University of Lagos, University of Ife, University of Benin and Ahmadu Bello University have made Nigeria proud both at home and abroad.

As stated earlier, the British colonial education policy was shallow and was just deep enough to make the products of the schools and colleges to function under the colonial socio-economic and political environment but in large measure it succeeded and ended up producing persons who rebelled against the system, even though in very limited sense and effect. Education essentially is a tool of socialisation and purveyor of culture and for this reason it is usually adopted by a progressive societies and governments as deliberate policy for the creation and sustenance of equality of opportunity for the people. It was in this respect that it was possible for the children of the poor and the rich in colonial Nigeria to access primary, secondary and even university education largely at the expense of the state and its governments through scholarships and bursaries. This seemingly happy situation was destroyed when the soldiers seized Nigeria in 1966 and thereon instituted a socio-economic and political culture founded on brigandage, robbery, lies and frauds.

Honesty, hard work and integrity were destroyed in favour of the new culture of the ‘bigman’ who gets whatever he wants on the platter of force, treachery and fraud and all was fair in the new social relations. Between July 29, 1966 and January 12, 1970 when the Biafra War ended this culture was made manifest as soldiers made it clear that education and right conduct do not pay. They derided people with ‘dogoturenchi’ (longgrammar). What pays was the force of their new power through the barrel of the gun. And the gun rather than intelligence through learning became the norm. You can get anything in Nigeria if you have the gun or have anybody who lends you the force of that gun. Due to this new norm, armed robbery seized the country between 1970 till date and has produced ‘cultural icons’ such as Oyenusi, Otokoto, Lawrence Anini, Osunbor, etc.

Between 1970 to date, students began to disdain the labours of great learning preferring instead fraudulent acquisition of certificates. Thus, the culture of examination frauds starting with leakage and selling of examination papers of WAEC in the great examination fraud bonanza of 1976 and it became a culture. That year marked the public admission of the pervasive leakage of examination papers ahead of the examination. This fraud has multiplied to great extent that it is now openly perpetrated in special examination centres where candidates pay humongous fees to guarantee good results. There is racketeering virtually in every facet of education system be it, admission, university internal examination where students ‘sort’ themselves out to pass through bribery in cash or kind as we are now acknowledging only because a foreign media organisation, the BBC, is exposing us to the world. But this has been public knowledge since 1980s. It did not start today. There have been the sex-for-grades scandals that rocked University of Calabar, Obafemi Awolowo University and several other universities, colleges and polytechnics before the BBC undercover coverage of the stench at University of Lagos.

All these noise about the University Lagos scandal will not stop this culture which has been ingrained in the education system of Nigeria. Is this UNILAG case greater or worse than the Obafemi Awolowo University case where a professor (pastor of 60 years) was involved with Monica Osagie to award her marks for sex? This will not end the fraud because those involved know that this feudal and autocratic system that centralized all powers and dishes out social desiderata including universities admissions on quota basis/federal character makes it possible and intractable. Go to the universities and you will find out that over 60% of students are not university materials and shouldn’t be there but Nigeria system made it imperative that you can only succeed in life by acquiring the certificate whether you gained knowledge and skill or not. That certificate is your meal ticket for the great bazaar that is Nigeria. In all societies where education, mainly through public school system is a tool for equal opportunity for the citizenry, the system is sanitized by giving different individuals openings where their talents will germinate and flourish. To sanitize, as in all functional societies, the system by insisting that everybody is not a university material is the first step. We can readily point to the USA where there are community colleges and of course the universities where two year courses are available at the colleges just as there are four-year and above courses in universities. You don’t dream to enter Harvard unless you are an ‘A’ student. If you are a ‘C’ you retire to the colleges where there are various courses to equip you to function optimally in the society. If in the course of your studies you improve academically, nothing stops you from proceeding to Harvard or any other Ivy League universities for your academic advancement. Let’s stop this culture of mediocrities and consequent crimes being perpetrated in the Nigerian education system.

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Opinions

The 1967 military coup in Greece

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The 1967 military coup in Greece

The 1967 military coup d’état in Greece took the entire world by storm. The fact of the matter was that democracy first started amongst the Greek City States in ancient times before the entire world followed up in order to be like Greece. In spite of this achievements, it was surprising that the army seized power from the democratically elected government to upset its own democratic structures. With the military takeover, it symbolised that a military coup was competent to be staged in any other country. The coup certainly destroyed the fineness and beauty of the Greek democracy, when in fact the country was expected to be of good influence unto others.

During the particular era of the Greek City States, democracy gradually rose to its peak, at a time it became imperative that Greece has come of age in terms of democratic governance. The coup of April 21, 1967, may not be too sudden. Some of the causes were anchored on conspiracy theories of which the United States was alleged to have supported the coup of the four Colonels. The said military coup was led by Andreas Papandreou. It was also alleged that the coup was staged in order to fulfil the personal ambition of George Papadopoulos, who was vividly confirmed as head of the military junta. He ruled Greece from 1967-1974. He died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 80 years on June 27, 1999.

However, it is interesting to note that the causes of the 1967 Greek military coup of the April 21, was dominated by a combination of some foreign factors. For instance, the United States was in support of the coup in order to halt the spread of communism in Europe. There was also a close relationship between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Greek military junta (1967-1974). This close intimacy was also intended to ensure that communism was kept very far from Western Europe.

Favouritism in NATO Southeastern flank and the cold war were also factors which led to the Greek coup. The need to ensure that human rights and foreign policy were in tandem with the rule of law and an ideal foreign policy was adjudged to be a major cause in view of the fact that the civil regime in Greece violently abused the rights of the people and the obvious fact that her foreign policy was tilted towards communism as an ideology. In spite of the fact that human rights violation and a foreign policy coated with communist colouration, the said coup brought to power a repressive dictatorship in Greece. The junta’s regime proceeded to deprive Greeks of their human rights and civil liberties, outraged international public opinion and strained transatlantic relations during the cold war. This case culminated into the withdrawal of Greece from the council of Europe and a pronounced threat to expel her from NATO. The relevance of ‘Détente’ to the United States coupled with its foreign policy was also a major cause for the Colonels to stage the coup.

It is essential to place on record that Papadopoulos who was head of the military government and leader of the junta ruled the country with iron fist. He was simply a deft dictator, who was himself toppled by his co-conspirator, Dimitrios Loannidis. After some few coups plotting in Greece, the ambitious Greek army officers may have appreciated the futility of their undemocratic actions. So also were the coup plotters in third world countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Chad and many others within the global context. The master coup plotters in Latin America and the Caribbean cannot be left out amongst countries where soldiers would circumvent democracy in order to pilot themselves to power.

The implications of the Colonels’ coup of 1967 in Greece appears to be legion, it must be acknowledged that the dictatorship of the Greek colonels ended on July 24, 1974 under the pressure of the Turkish military invasion of Cyprus. The fall of the junta was followed by the metapolitefsi, and the establishments of Third Hellenic Republic. In addition, let me stress that the 1967 coup was the accumulation of 30 years of national division between the forces of the left and that of the right.

Return to democracy in Greece was however gradual and consistent. Greece was being reborn with great things. The 1967 coup was an attempt to ensure the political and cultural purity of the people of Greece, though the means by which the Colonels attempted to achieve such goals resulted in a period of intense fear, distrust and political instability. The events which precipitated the coup represented the fearful Colonels and provoked them to act upon the growing international concern over communism and the instability of Greece’s foreign relations with the Republic of Turkey.

The return to democracy commenced with the withdrawal of support for the junta by the monarchy. Politicians such as Karamanis also advocated that the military henchmen and government should be under the control of the monarch. An attempt by King Constantine to stage a palace coup against the Colonels regime was thwarted due to lack of co-ordination, inability to broadcast the royal coup, to place in Athens and Thessalonica, lack of discretion in planning as long as the military stronghold over Greece combined to frustrate the royal coup. Although the Colonels’ regime did not blame King Constantine for the attempted royal coup, it rather blamed disloyal army officers. Those who mounted extra pressures on the junta to quit the stage were the Greek intellectuals, celebrities and other notable figures who formed National Groups alongside civilians to exact an amount of maximum pressures on the military. Today, Democracy has fully returned to Greece and it is likely that the country may not return to coup plotting such as was experienced by the four Colonels who suffered from the poverty of inordinate class political ambition.

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