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Hameed Ali and his arrogance

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Hameed Ali and his arrogance

Hameed Ibrahim Ali, a retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army, is presently in the eye of the storm. He is in direct confrontation with the Senate over his blunt refusal to wear the uniform of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The Senate invited him to appear before it to clarify certain aspects of the circular letter which he wrote and signed as the Comptroller-General of Customs. The said circular letter had to do with the import dues on vehicles which have been officially cleared and driven in Nigeria.

Ali’s visit to the Senate was also consequent upon the delay of the House of Representatives to approve the N8.5 billion virement request to complete the headquarters building of the Customs.

The setback in the lower House was due to the variation of consultancy fee which was frog-jumped from N206 million to N1 billion. During the interactive session, he told the Senate pointblank that he was not appointed as a Comptroller-General of the Customs to wear uniform. He added that he had no knowledge of any law which compels him to wear the agency’s uniform, and that the Senate has no business on whether he wore the customs uniform or not. In spite of the wisdom applied by the Senators to make Ali appreciate the essence of their position, the man remained adamant and held on to his arrogant wish and desire.

From the totality of this scenario, it would appear that the Comptroller-General was pompous and arrogant. It will further appear to me that Ali is suffering from the poverty of egoism including all the traces of unnecessary pride.

At this point, it is imperative to ask: before and when he become a Colonel in the Nigerian Army, did he not at all times wear the Army uniform? If the answer is yes, why has he refused to wear the Customs uniform since his appointment as Comptroller-General? And, again, when he was the Military Administrator of Kaduna State, did he not consistently wear his Army uniform? Let the head of Customs realise that it is conventionally a duty for him to wear his uniform, whether it is the position of our statutory law or not, or whether his letter of appointment contained it or not.

Even if the Comptroller-General is a hater of uniform wearing when on duty, he ought to have done so when he knew that he would appear before the Senate as a mark of respect for the upper legislative arm of government. In these circumstances, it is apparently significant to know the power and audacity behind the stubbornness of Ali, the “mighty man of valour” and to ascertain why he thought that he could confront the Senate with such a high level of comfort and impunity.

He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Criminology. He was appointed the Military Administrator of Kaduna State (August 1996 – August 1998) during the regime of General Sani Abacha. During the period, he sacked about 30,000 civil servants and arrested all the local government chairman in the state. Ali also extended his autocratic rule to journalists in the state and taught them “how best” to practice their profession.

It is relevant to add that after his retirement as an Army Colonel, he became the Secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a powerful northern lobbying group and a staunch supporter of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, even before he won the presidential election of the Federal Republic in 2015. Prior to his appointment as Comptroller- General of Customs, he was the Chief of Staff to Buhari before he became President.

It is crystal clear that Ali has a rich and intimidating curriculum vitae, which perhaps, constitutes his terminal intention to upgrade and boost his confrontational ego before the distinguished senators. I have a strong feeling that it was probably as a result of his resolve to embrace negative doggedness that made him to terminate his military career as a Colonel. After all, we are told that most of his contemporaries in the military ended up as Major Generals.

His closeness to Mr. President and the ACF should not be allowed to translate into an in depth posturing of his avowed disrespect to duly constituted authority. Ali ought to be reminded that Senators of the Federal Republic are representatives of about 170 million Nigerians.

Any attempt to insult and ridicule them will be regarded as an affront and the highest disrespect for the people. On Monday, March 20, 2017, the Comptroller-General was again invited to appear before the Senate in his official uniform. He also declined to honour the invitation based on what he regarded as a pending court case on the matter.

The Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice also wrote to the Senate that Ali will not be able to honour its invitation as a result of the same court case. In the present circumstance, Ali is left with the only option to resign from his duty post.

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  1. Tandy Nosek

    March 16, 2019 at 6:46 am

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Intensifying science teaching among young ones

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Intensifying science teaching among young ones

O

n November 10, the world over marks the 2019 edition of the World Science Day for Peace and Development. Science, as the name goes, is arguably unique.

The aforementioned commemoration was set aside in 2001 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate the inevitable impact of Science and Technology on nation building.       

As Nigeria joins the global community to celebrate science, it’s pertinent for us as a people to look inwards towards discovering the existing encumbrances surrounding the said field with a view to eradicating them.

 

 

There has in recent times conspicuously been a tremendous decline in the rate of seriousness among most science students in various levels of learning on the African continent, particularly Nigeria. Such a scenario has over the years served as a nuisance in the field of science and technology.

It’s noteworthy that development is required in every individual to every nation, in every aspect of human endeavour. And for development to take place, science and tech must go hand in hand.

 

 

Science is fundamentally noted as the study of knowledge, which is made into a system, and depends on analysing facts. Tech is the outright application of this scientific knowledge. In other words, tech transforms knowledge from science into reality.

The fact is, for any successful economy – especially in today’s quest for knowledge-based economies – science and tech are the primary requisites. If any nation relegates the two recipes to the background, the chances of getting itself developed becomes far-fetched, thus stands to be classified as an undeveloped nation.

 

A country or society that’s not able to prosper on these grounds would not be able to sustain the lives in it, and might have to depend on other societies for survival alongside other life’s requirements.

Taking a close view of the above exegesis, it’s therefore needless to reiterate that any country is supposed to take sciences very seriously as if its whole life depends on it. It, therefore, becomes so pathetic and mind-boggling when realized that Nigeria as a nation is taken aback regarding acquiring of science knowledge, or its implementation.

 

The lingering anomaly, which calls for great concern, can be observed in virtually all existing citadels of learning across the federation regardless of level, ranging from primary to tertiary.

 

In our primary schools, the pupils are now invariably preoccupied with the notion that science subjects, such as Mathematics and Basic Science, are very difficult to understand owing to the orientation they met in the system. Such an appalling circumstance is usually occasioned by the mode of teaching of the class teacher.

 

 

Sometimes, fear would be inculcated into the pupils’ mindset by their teacher who would, rather than participate in the actual teaching as expected, take much time to lay uncalled emphasis on why the pupils should see science subjects as tough and different from others. By so doing, the affected pupils would live to consider sciences as monster, thus would prefer to pay more attention to arts.

 

 

In the secondary schools, only a few students see subjects like Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry as friendly. Those who detest these subjects had nurtured their mentality or psyche with the view that sciences generally are only meant for a certain group of select individuals. Those who mistakenly chose to be in the science department, in the long run, tend to lose interest in the field and would want to dissociate themselves from the circle.

 

 

Funnily enough, in most cases, students would choose to be in science department when they get to the senior section simply because some of their intimate friends or classmates had chosen to be in that field.

This aspect of influence remains one of the major attributes of apathy noticed among various science students in most Nigerian secondary schools. This set of learners often becomes dropouts as a result of inability to cope with the studies.

 

 

Nowadays, virtually none pay good attention to the teachings of Pure Mathematics let alone Additional/Further Mathematics. And virtually most existing science-oriented disciplines, such as Engineering, in the tertiary institutions, basically depend on the knowledge of Further Mathematics on their day-to-day thrive.

 

 

This has caused enormous decline in the number of persons seeking to study engineering and other related courses. The few that managed to secure admission to read these courses, perhaps due to their background, usually fumble as the journey progresses.

The way out from this conundrum entails three prime approaches. One, the various primary and secondary schools ought to endeavour to engage qualified teachers that would imbibe the required mindset and knowledge into the pupils and students, as the case may be.

 

 

Guidance and counselling that has almost gone into extinction ought to equally be revived in these schools. A functional and viable mentorship mechanism would enable the learners to go for only the needful as well as what would be suitable for their future.

Parents and guardians, on their part, are expected to pay more attention to whatever their wards do as regards academics. Learning begins from home, thus the needed parental support mustn’t be overlooked.

Inter alia, governments at all levels among other relevant stakeholders should endeavour to provide the required facilities that would enable the affected people to appreciate science teachings. The management of the private learning citadels must also be mandated to follow suit.

 

 

For this growing apathy to become a thing of the past, every concerned stakeholder as mentioned above must note that science is the only tool that can fast-track the anticipated economic diversification. Think about it!

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Oyo on my mind

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Oyo on my mind

T

he Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan on November 11, 2019, delivered an ambiguous judgement that has got both the complainant and the defendant claiming victory regarding the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Oyo State. Seyi Makinde won the election handily by 515,621 votes to Adebayo Adelabu’s 357,982 votes. The margin of victory was by 157,639 votes. What made the victory even more decisive is that Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got more votes in 28 Local Government Areas of the state, while Adelabu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) won in only five LGAs. It was not by any means a close contest.

 

 

Makinde won comprehensively despite that APC was the ruling party at both the federal and state levels at the time of the election. With such a margin of victory, the loser in a saner society would have congratulated the winner and moved on to prepare for another day. But that is the way of Nigerian politicians with their win-at-all-cost mentality. The loser chose to exercise his right of appeal which was thrown out by the election petitions tribunal. Still, he proceeded to the Court of Appeal for redress.

 

 

Normally, a court judgement was supposed to bring closure to a case or clearly state the way forward for the parties in a case. This Court of Appeal’s ruling was different and the ensuing confusion now threatens the peace of the state. Makinde’s lead counsel, Eyitayo Jegede contends that Makinde remains the governor of the state since there had been no counter directive by the appellate court on his victory. The APC governorship candidate, Bayo Adelabu, on the other hand, claims that the court judgement vindicates his claim that the election was inconclusive and that there is still an opportunity for him to get the victor booted out of office.

 

 

By delivering a fuzzy judgement which neither upturned the ruling of the election petitions tribunal that had earlier upheld Makinde’s victory, nor ordered a fresh election, the stage as many commentators have opined, appears set for the kind of political subterfuge that has made Nigeria, in spite of its huge potentials, a perpetually underdeveloped country.

 

 

Knowing that nothing is ever straight forward in Nigeria, there is spreading speculation that a miracle judgement could come out of the Supreme Court to throw Oyo State into further confusion. What makes this matter sensitive is that it appears to fall in line with the larger narrative of a hidden political agenda that has long been bandied around for a while as the 2023 election circle approaches. The zero-sum politics of 2023 already has a potential collateral damage in the person of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo whose humiliation as part of the process of forcing him out has commenced.

 

 

It has long been whispered that the ruling government and some of its aspiring presidential hopefuls consider Oyo State to be a critically important political battleground that cannot be allowed to remain in the hands of the opposition. Conventional wisdom is that you cannot claim to control the South-West if Oyo State is not in your grasp. Incidentally, it is the only South-West state not controlled by the ruling APC. At the time I first heard this, I had thought that it was all about getting the state back in 2023. Now there are whispers in the political circles that the plan was meant to be activated immediately.

 

 

Truth be told, Makinde won the governorship election hands down, riding on his pedigree as a proven compassionate individual and the public dislike of his predecessor’s abrasive style of governance. What APC should have done is to go back to the drawing board to offer a more viable alternative to PDP in 2023. What Oyo State needs right now is peace to provide a conducive environment for development.

 

 

Makinde’s four-year term has started extremely well. The challenge for him is to finish strong. Makinde in just a few months in the saddle has proved not to be just another run of the mill governor. A selfless and compassionate man, Makinde symbolizes a paradigm shift in governance that has caught the fancy of Nigerians from the furthest reaches of the North to the nooks and cranny of the South. It is not for nothing that he is already being seen as a future presidential material. It may well be that the Court of Appeal ruling has ended any question about Makinde’s mandate and all the raging debate about the issue is much ado about nothing. But any ojoro takeover of the state through a judicial backdoor could easily turn ugly. The electorate are unlikely to fold their arms as desperate politicians try to hijack their manifest freewill in electing Seyi Makinde as their governor on March 10, 2019.

 

 

The way I see it, Makinde will become a political legend if he continues to exhibit the selfless service he has so far rendered. For a man who has not until now held a political office, he is a fresh breath of air in a state that has not been particularly blessed with selfless leadership and the last thing the downtrodden people of Oyo State want is another leader who will engage in self aggrandisement or kleptocracy. If he finishes the way he started, he would have created for himself a pedestal for bigger involvement in Nigerian politics.

 

 

Dr. Raufu, former MD/Editor-in-Chief of National Mirror Newspapers, teaches at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, United States of America.

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Where are the Awoists?

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Where are the Awoists?

Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo, GCFR, was born on March 6, 1909 in Ikenne, Ogun State, Western Nigeria and died on May 9, 1987. He attended various schools including Baptist Boy’s High School, Oke-Egunya, Abeokuta; he then became a teacher in Abeokuta. Following his education at Wesley College, Ibadan in 1927, he enrolled at the University of London as an external student and graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Hons).

He went to the United Kingdom in 1944 to study at the University of London and was called to the Bar by the honorable society of the inner temple on November 19, 1946. He founded the Nigerian Tribune in 1949 at Adeoyo, Ibadan as a private Nigerian newspaper, which he used to spread nationalist consciousness among Nigerians.Nigerian Tribune is still publishing in Nigeria. Chief Awolowo was Nigeria’s foremost Federalist. He advocated Federalism as the only basis for equitable national integration. As the leader of the Action Group party he led the damans for a federal constitution which was introduced in 1954 Lyttle Constitution, following primarily the model proposed by the Western Region Delegation led by him.

He was first Premier of Western Region. He proved to be and was viewed as a man of vision and a dynamic administrator. He introduced free primary education for all in Western Region and free health care for children. He established the first television station in Africa in 1959 and the Oduduwa Group of Companies. He built the first skyscraper called Cocoa House in Ibadan and the Liberty Stadium also in Ibadan.

When Chief Awolowo was alive, a group of young Nigerians called themselves ‘AWOISTS’ to feather their political interest. A few of them were columnists in the Nigerian Tribune newspaper. One of them became the Governor of Oyo State later in his life. Many of them got federal and state government appointments, especially when Chief Awolowo was the Vice Chairman of Federal Executive Council under General Yakubu Gowon.

After the death of Chief Awolowo, many of these so-called Awoists, thin away from weekly journey to Ikenne. Only a few of them kept fate with Mama H.I.D Awolowo.

As soon as Mama H.I.D Awolowo too passed to the great beyond, the so-called Awoists were nowhere to be found. That is human nature for you.

Many of the so-called Awoists did not imbibe the culture and nature of Chief Awolowo. All the three children of Chief Awolowo I know (they do not know me) attended public schools, like other children in Western Region as soon as free primary education started. Even though the first private primary school in Ibadan was just across the road to the residence of the Awolowos, instead, they attended N.A. Teachers Training Practicing School Oke-Ado, Ibadan. Chief Awolowo did not employ a private teacher for his children, Tola, Tokunbo and Oluwole. The three of them always trek from Oke-Ado near Ibadan Boys High School to Oke-Bola, Seventh day Adventist primary school under Mrs. Ogunsola and trek back after lessons.

Mama H.I.D Awolowo would come and check the progress of her wards. I remembered day the ball we were playing off the field and stopped between Mrs. Ogunsola and Mama H.I.D’s legs. We were afraid to go and get the ball. Mama H.I.D Awolowo threw the ball to us on the field. Her remark that day is still ringing in my ear. She said, “We may not know Thunder Balogun may arise amongst these children.”

When Chief Awolowo’s contemporaries were celebrating their joy of becoming billionaires, he celebrated 25 years of free education in Western Region.

Many of his contemporaries were not remembered again in history. But, free education introduced by Chief Awolowo continues to put him forward as the real Asiwaju of the Yoruba.

λDr. Ajai writes from Lagos.

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Edo’s political conundrum (3)

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Edo’s political conundrum (3)

The Edo political narrative has become a poisoned chalice, a broken record with cracked rhythms that easily unveil the outer clothings of men to see their dirty, stinking linen on the inside. The soundbites are disturbingly annoying. The level of political witch-hunt is gaining traction while political differences are no longer settled with convincing and superior argument but by exchange of cudgels, blunt scalpels or fire power. The number of politically motivated attacks is growing by the day, and further complicated by the governor’s hard stance and breathing down the throat of those who are not ready to toe his line of thought.

Only recently he told us of the efficacy of mosquito bite that can cause anyone malaria. The only catastrophy in the mosquito fable is that it is an enemy of all. Whether the governor’s allegory fitly captures his intended message is another kettle of fish, but it suffices to state that insecticides have proven to be ready response to stubborn mosquitoes. If the governor is speaking from the point of view of claim that he was being referred to as a mosquito, and for him to think that his mosquito bite can cause maximum damage, also conveys the impression that he is speaking from the point of view of political combustion. As a governor, he should see the entire state and its people as his constituency. There should be magnanimity in his leadership evocation. It should not be a concept of we versus them. Gubernatorial power has limitations.

Each time I watched the governor speaks, I see the marrows of frustration all over his face. That is what you get when you enter into a needless political battle within the same party with actors that midwifed your election. An intra-party crisis fulfils the attributes of the proverbial saying that the kolanut eating insect or weevil resides right inside the kolanut. Once suspicion is planted as a new seedling within a party, it grows with time and thereafter assumes the status of the main discourse. Trust is broken down. Friendship is built on the pedestal of political exigency and not on the platform of any intrinsic or altruistic value for friendship.

Obaseki’s response to the legion of issues confronting him exposed his political naivety, and I mean no derision here. But, to think that sacking political appointees because you feel their political loyalties reside somewhere and to some other political idols, is to miss the point squarely. Pretenders in politics occupy a higher percentage. In life, the hardest prison to escape from is the mind. There is no art to deconstruct the mind from the faces of those who gladiate around Governor Obaseki. And reappointing or trying to weed out certain persons on account of building your own army of supporters or loyalists is a classic case of undiluted contradiction. How can a man who has just broken the thin line of loyalty to his benefactor, be the one seeking to cultivate loyalists? Does it sound logical?

When the walls of loyalty are broken, what you get are emergency persons and stomach infrastructure supporters. Since the last one month that political appointees were relieved of their responsibilities, the cry of “hunger day” has become the lyrical ballad of Osadebey Avenue singers. They tell you without any prompting that they need to collect their own reward for their dispensed labour in 2016 when they were given a hard product to sell. You hear some say “I beg no take your reggae spoil my blues oh”, “we just dey tag along oh, man must wack naa”. Others will tell you, Obaseki is too stingy with money, but if fanning the embers of this political discord will make him spend the money, so be it. Some people are already making a fortune out of the scenario and the longer it endures, the better for those who are profiting from it. In fact, the Governor’s Deputy, Phillip Shuaibu has become comfortable now monetarily compared to 2017 December, when he reportedly walked out on the governor over issues bordering on frugal budget under his purview. The first two citizens are now in bed and united by the same guilt.

Using Governor Obaseki as my guinea pig for experimenting with loyalty, I doubt if he would use his templates as model for getting loyalists on his side. Having broken the bond of loyalty, imprisoned the allure of friendship, arrested the quintessence of good naturedliness, and constantly search for victims and villains in a political conquest with predictable prisoners of war, I doubt if Governor Obaseki can actually trust even his own shadow, let alone the legion of his appointees who have become political scavengers in search of daily bread in a country where poverty is elegantly dressed in three-piece suit. When I saw the chieftains of the pro-Obaseki APC lined up in the inner sanctuary of the church, on Sunday, 10th November, 2019 to accord praises to God for a journey of three years, it underscored God’s unequalled patience at tolerating human frailties, lies, chicanery, deceits, subterfuge and mischief. Deep in the heart of man is wickedness, depravity, cunny, pretentiousness, and sheer platitudinousness. If Oshiomhole was told three years ago that the man he fought tooth and nail to sell to the Edo people, would turn around to now haunt him like the tale of the devil and the blue sea, a plague kind of, Oshiomhole would most likely keep malice with anyone coming up with such introspection. But the reality today has become a moving story that is a compelling read by all.

The virtue of gratitude must not be lost on us no matter the provocations and the temptations. We must, as good Africans with a rich tradition and culture, imbibe the subliminal humility to say thank you always for the good done to us. When I hear people talk about Obaseki providing the funding for an Oshiomhole governorship in 2007, I often laugh with helpless awe. How can a man whose businesses had nosedived be the one sponsoring Oshiomhole? Where was Afri-Invest in 2007 and 2008 when Obaseki was running helter skelter to bail himself out of economic quagmire and financial gooble-de-gook? The truth is, when Oshiomhole realised that it was becoming difficult to sell a Godwin Obaseki candidacy, he decided to hand over all his achievements and ascribed his successes to him. If possible, he wanted people to see Obaseki as a cloned version of himself. He preached and sermonised in the homes of those who make things happen. He visited chiefs, traditional rulers, Enogies and told them pointedly that they should trust him. He was the guarantor and Dangote was the chief guarantor. Oshiomhole danced “azonto” with starcato steps to whet the appetite of party supporters. He exhausted his energy on the podium, betraying the supposed strength of his age, just to make sure that no stone was left unturned. But today, all that has amounted to pouring water into a basket of trouble.

Little did Dangote and Oshiomhole know that the man they were guaranteeing had a different plan altogether. He had no collateral. He doesn’t care a hoot about sustaining friendships. A movie trended about a certain Chief who tried to betray the Benin Kingdom and the palace in the 18th century. The movie trended for a long time but Oshiomhole was undaunted. He moved from house to house, reached out to the youth and the elderly just to make the point for an Obaseki success. Obaseki on his own path was in some kind of cul-de-sac because he was relatively unknown across the state. He hadn’t played politics in Edo State and hardly voted in previous elections. He was standoffish and remarkably self-effacing. He presented a picture of someone who was not desperate for power. He stood as bestman on May 15, 2016 when Comrade married Iara, his Cape Verdean Queen. Comrade thought he had found a true friend and brother but the reality in Edo State now is a deep cut in the heart of man. No one is expecting Obaseki to behave like an Oshiomhole. They surely nurture different idiosyncrasies. But gratitude has no synonym. Gratitude is gratitude. It is the wickedness of man that two political and social friends would turn apart like sworn enemies.

Barely 24 hours after the victory of Obaseki, he had allegedly informed the Accountant General of the state to halt any payment of approvals coming from Oshiomhole’s table. Work done were never paid and typical of civil servants, the Accountant General complied by using delay tactics to halt those payments, while at some point, the banks were blamed for the delays. One month later, Obaseki was sworn in and the full script of the real Obaseki began to unfold. When laughter does not emanate from the heart, it adds ugliness to the conduct of men. Pretentiousness is not only insanity by other means, it is the most disturbing character indices that lower the bar in character profiling. The dubiety of it is what kills relationship and hurts friendship. I feel a sense of lost watching the ugly scenarios from the inner fortress of Osadebe Avenue, where Osarodion Ogie, Phillip Shuaibu and Godwin Obaseki called the shots, and supported by a horde of visionless youths who have been converted to mobile army to visit mayhem on anyone that stands in the labyrinth of opposition. I have received phone calls from concerned persons that I should stay away from Edo State, my place of origin. So, an expression of opinion has now become sacrilegious and the only way to respond is through mayhem and assault. This is what you get when leadership is not cultured and schooled.

I am being reminded every now and then that Governor Obaseki wants to seek re-election. I find it hard to believe. A man seeking re-election should seek votes, not cutlasses, gun-powder, assault and mayhem. Democracy is an inclusive and participatory game where votes count based on campaign promises. Fighting against the electorate is a dissonance that cannot be ignored. This is why I feel strongly that Governor Obaseki wants to cause maximum damage, destroy the structure that birthed him, uproot the canopy that provided cover for him ab initio, and surplant a regime of radicalised and militarised youths on a fragile system, just to make the point sink that he is the new sherrif in town. Any politician that truly wants votes, will tone down on assault and verbal warfare, especially one that has not delivered substantially on his campaign promises. But if the war we witnessed in Kogi State on 16th November, 2019 is anything to go by, elections will no longer be decided by votes, but by cutlasses, gun powder, AK 47, Pump Action, and a combination of other dare-devilry confrontations to railroad everyone to conquest. And Nigeria will gradually be plummeting to an abysmal cesspool of inanities and butt of jokes around the world. Very soon, and very soon, elections will no longer be conducted by the electoral umpire but by armed robbers in a desperate bid to install whoever they desire to enthrone. This is where democracy will now assume a new name; demonstration of craze….

 

To be continued next week…..

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Bayelsa poll: APC’s roller-coaster continues

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Bayelsa poll: APC’s roller-coaster continues

 

 

K

een watchers of the polity didn’t expect otherwise, and weren’t disappointed when the Federal High Court in Yenagoa nullified the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Saturday, November 16, 2019, governorship poll in Bayelsa State.

The judgement by Justice Jane Inyang, barely 48 hours to the balloting, was akin to those delivered during the 2019 general election. Then, the courts, ruling on the conduct of primaries, had returned decisions against the APC, leading to the disqualification of its candidates in several states.

 

 

That’s how it lost out in the states of Rivers, Zamfara, Taraba and Cross River, as the courts ruled that the party couldn’t field candidates there due to “improper conduct” of its primaries.

 

 

Although the APC presented candidates in Zamfara for the governorship and legislative seats, the courts voided its sweeping victories at the polls. And in the governorship in Taraba and Cross River, in which it participated, and results declared for it, the courts ruled the party had no candidates.

 

It’s a total blackout of the party in its Rivers chapter, as the courts prevented it from the governorship and legislative elections.

 

So, ruling the party out again very close to the election in Bayelsa was a recipe for chaos for the APC, whose running mate in the poll, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, was disqualified, a few days back, by an Abuja Federal High Court.

 

 

In a judgement by Justice Inyang Ekwo, the court invalidated Degi-Eremienyo’s participation in the election after “it found him guilty of supplying false information” to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

 

Thus, disqualifying its flag bearer, Chief David Lyon, would have been “double jeopardy” for the APC had a stay of execution of both judgements not obtained on appeals, and the status quo ordered to be maintained by all parties beyond the November 16 election.

Besides, the INEC had declared that any 11th-hour judgements disqualifying candidates would not affect the conduct of the poll.

 

The APC primaries, in early September 2019, produced Chief Lyon as its candidate. But a dissatisfied aspirant and former Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobri, approached the court to vitiate Lyon’s nomination, and recognise him as the “authentic” winner of the shadow election.

 

However, following the November 14 court decision, many have raised issues with the judge’s rationale for fixing the court verdict just 48 hours to the crucial and highly-contentious election.

 

As insinuated, was the decision influenced by external forces or “fifth columnists,” to put a spanner in the works of the party seen as capable of halting the 20-year unbroken rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa?

 

Without attempting to dismiss or diminish the stand of the critics, as anything goes in politics, particularly in the Nigerian variant, the alibis advanced, at best, are sentimental.

 

 

First, the critics have forgotten that the power to fix a court ruling is at the discretion of the judge, who, nonetheless, should avoid causing confusion in a tensed political terrain as in Bayelsa.

 

Second, courts don’t adjudicate in a vacuum. If the aggrieved members of the APC didn’t approach the court with application, the judge wouldn’t have had discretionary power over nothing.

 

It’s the APC members, who brought an ant-infested wood to the court, that invited the lizards to a party, and they should be put on the spot. Their naïveté and ambition beclouded their sense of propriety to accept the party’s entreaty to sheath the sword.

 

That’s why it’s ludicrous, and infantile the positing of Lokpobri that he didn’t pray the court to nullify the APC primary election, but to declare him as the winner.

In other words, the judge, like a Father Christmas, went outside the issue(s) placed before her, and gave a “travesty of justice” that stopped the APC and its candidate, Lyon, in the election.

 

For that reason, and before the votes were cast, Justice Inyang had literally handed “victory” to the PDP, which the APC accused of abetting disgruntled members, such as Lokpobri, to go to court, which it (PDP) could influence its verdict.

 

Plausible as this allegation is, it’s plied to malign an opponent that wasn’t part of the primaries. If the PDP had “induced” dissatisfied APC elements to go to court, shouldn’t they object if truly they’re loyal and committed party members?

Lokpobri thought using the court to stop Lyon from contesting at the poll would be a walkover, a picnic. But by a twist of fate, the “unintended” happened: The court held he wasn’t also qualified for the election since the internal poll was not conducted in line with the party’s constitution and guidelines.

 

As Justice Inyang noted, the APC, rather than constituting a seven-member panel, had a one-man committee of Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, while the results of the primaries were declared by the Secretary of the committee, Senator Emmanuel Ochega.

Accordingly, the judge held: “It has been established by judicial authorities and several judgements that political parties are bound by their own rules, (but) the committee that conducted the primaries threw caution to the winds, and it is my ruling that the primaries stand nullified.

 

“The results announced by Senator Emmanuel Ochega are not valid, as he is not the returning officer for the election. And I make an order, restraining INEC from recognising any of the aspirants that participated in the said primaries.”

 

Lokpobri wanted to stop Lyon from parading, and presenting himself as candidate of the APC, but the court also barred him from holding himself out as such. It’s like cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face! So, no need for Lokpobri to shed crocodile tears!

 

But it should be stated that the Bayelsa chapter’s debacle is yet another example of the failure of the APC to put its house in order. The internal schism began in 2015, culminating in the party’s shameful “defeat” in the 2019 general election.

While it retained the Presidency, and majority in the National Assembly, the party lost key, and electorally-promising states due to the disputes arising from the governorship and legislative primaries it’s failed to resolve.

 

With the Bayelsa, and Edo State chapters boiling, members, worried that the APC may disintegrate ahead of the 2023 general election, have resurrected the agitation for the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to resign his position.

 

Perhaps, the omens, as predicted by political pundits and the opposition, may still come to pass unless urgent steps are taken to break the free-fall of the APC!

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FAAN’s proactive solution to bird strikes challenge

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FAAN’s proactive solution to bird strikes challenge

F

or a very long time, a number of issues have occupied the public discourse in Nigeria’s aviation sector. These issues have been considered crucial and urgent for the attention of the aviation authorities.

Some of the issues border on security, safety, standards, convenience, ambience and so on, depending on the perspective of the critic or reviewer.

 

As a person of interest in aviation reporting, I have played the roles of both the antagonist and the protagonist well enough to appreciate the concerns of the users and the regulators alike. By my reckoning, I can categorically state that the Nigerian aviation growth and development is destined for greater heights.

 

While we envy the depth and quality of the industry elsewhere abroad, Nigeria has certain organic and environmental features which cannot be replicated easily. The industry is lying there, waiting to be exploited maximally. I am positive that the right breed of entrepreneurs are already on-board or on the fringes, awaiting the right opportunity and moment to jump into the fray.

 

It is this perspective that gives me great delight to discover an ingenious set of activities by which the new management of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has quickly and decisively addressed the age-long risk of bird strikes at the Lagos hub of the Nigerian aviation industry.

 

It gladdens my heart that the new management of FAAN has adopted a natural solution to the endemic challenge of migratory birds to our airspace. To the uninitiated, the popular saying that “the sky is wide enough for every bird to fly” will just suffice. However, to the aviator, there is a potent threat to his artificial bird posed by the natural migratory birds.

 

Birds in flight pose danger to an aircraft in many ways. The most serious is when a collision impacts the windscreen enough to cause a breach. Another is when a bird or two get sucked into the jet engine and damage the fan blade such that the engine goes down. This may not be critical as such planes are designed to cope with a single engine. However, where it occurs during take-off or landing, it can become critical at some point! Bird strikes against windows and wings can also lead to costly damages!

 

This is why the successful completion of a six-month bird removal project undertaken by the Bird Hazard Control Unit of FAAN under the directive of the new Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu (himself a pilot of repute) is a feat, worthy of note.

 

With a painstaking environmental survey, the FAAN Hazard Team discovered the factors sustaining the “den” of some 5,000 or more assorted birds which have been terrorizing in-bound flights into the MMIA. For about two decades, these birds occupied a tactical strike position (2 miles in the direct line of flights for in-bound operation) during which the birds carried out about 700 sorties against innocent civilian aircraft.

 

As widely appreciated in the aviation industry, birds removal operation is quite delicate. The operation could actually catalyse or instigate the very danger being prevented if the birds are stampeded. The danger is more real with such a large population of diverse breeds. The breeds include the egrets, herons, whistling ducks, the common moorhens, open bills storks, and the long-tailed cormorants. All these species were fully represented in this extra-ordinary assembly of birds.

 

 

 

Interestingly, rather than adopt the simplistic solution of eliminating the birds, the Hazard Team in full recognition of the rights of these birds decided to naturally dislodge them by changing the environmental characteristics of the habitats, thereby making the birds relocate voluntarily. This feat is exemplary and a clear departure from the fire-brigade approach of Nigerians that I have come to be accustomed to.

 

More delightful is the fact that a project sustainers team has been constituted to further monitor the success recorded to ensure the birds do not return.

 

We believe this feat has been recorded so early and so seamlessly because at last a square peg has been fitted in a square hole as most Nigerians have been advocating.

 

Also worthy of note is the fact that this success story is not without the collaborative efforts of other stakeholders, especially safety managers like Captain Jide Bakare of Arik Air who had helped to pinpoint the focal area of the birds’ colony. This synergy among stakeholders is definitely a good recipe for advancing development in the aviation sector. Now that this example has become successful, we trust the FAAN management will quickly consider replicating this project across the nation’s airport facilities.

We also hope the Nigerian Government will begin to get lucky in shopping for similar men of pedigree to head critical national assets and take Nigeria to the promised Next Level.

 

 

•Aibangbe, a media relations expert, writes from Lagos via danaibangbe@yahoo.com

 

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Appeal Court judgment, Makinde and Oyo’s medley of songs

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Appeal Court judgment, Makinde and Oyo’s medley of songs

 

 

On October 29, Governor Seyi Makinde ticked off the fifth month on the 48-month calendar of the administration’s term of four years.

 

 

On that day, there were no drums or fanfare, as not much attention is given to landmarks like five months in office. But there were songs, even if they were acapella. Yes, there were songs. The teeming people of Oyo State, who have had a new song on their lips since the May 29, 2019 inauguration day of the new administration, which has brought a different approach to governance in the state, continued their songs of adulations for Governor Makinde.

 

These songs cut across different spheres of Oyo State’s life; they are a medley of inspiring songs about how Governor Makinde is restoring Oyo State, a once-so-glorious state nearly run aground by politicians without foresight. The songs on the lips of Oyo State residents and those outside it continue to commend Governor Makinde’s efforts across different spheres, especially based on the four point of his administration – education, health, expanded economy and security.

 

 

But barely less than two weeks after that date, the Court of Appeal gave its judgment on the Oyo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, introducing a strange sound to the medley of songs in the state. The court gave a judgment that legal experts and laymen now consider confusing in that it affirmed the election of Governor Makinde while at the same allowing the appeal against the upholding of same by the Election Petition Tribunal to stand.

 

 

Undeterred, however, the residents of the state and lovers of its progress have continued their songs, this time adding songs of solidarity in support of the People’s Governor.

 

Why the songs? In just five months in office, Governor Makinde has laid a solid foundation for a greater Oyo State, with strategic vision and action plans as well as a style of leadership that puts the people first and at the driving seat of their own affairs.

 

 

In five months, GSM, as he is now fondly called, has put Oyo on the trajectory of accelerated development in various sectors, with the latest being the innovative idea on budget planning known as the inclusive budget initiative, which allows citizens engagement and involvement in budgeting and economic planning.

 

 

As of 29 October, the government had approved a grant of N526 million to primary and secondary schools in the state in replacement of the N3,000 education levy, which Governor Makinde scrapped five months earlier on assumption of office.

 

 

The governor had given the people of the state something to sing about on May 29, when he announced the scrapping of the levy, noting that the decision was in tandem with his agenda to restore Oyo State’s glory through free qualitative education. He had followed that up with the downward review of the 2019 budget in which he increased the budgetary allocation to education to 10 per cent from a paltry 4 per cent. With the introduction of policies such as the distribution of textbooks and exercise books to all Oyo State students in public secondary schools, the immediate turnaround of education infrastructure, organisation of extra-mural classes for SSS III students in the state and the recent approval for the recruitment of teachers for public schools, the Makinde administration had also set the state on the path to greatness in education.

 

 

The Makinde administration’s achievements in the education sector, no doubt, gave Oyo State residents a reason to sing. Indeed, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) had recently joined in the singing, in recognition of Makinde’s achievements on free education when he commended the governor for taking up the challenge of free education.

 

 

Beyond education, there are other reasons for Oyo State residents’ songs. In five months, Governor Makinde has not missed an opportunity to make pensioners in the state sing to God for giving them a new dawn. By October 29, all the workers in the state had been paid their October salary in full, because the Oyo State governor has brought a tradition of salary payment on the 25th of every month, which the workers have now christened the GSM Day.

 

 

In the area of infrastructure, a few days ago, the Oyo State Governor raised the songs of praise for his administration several decibels when he announced the awarding of the contract for the total reconstruction of the 65-kilometre Ibadan-Iseyin Road. The last administration of Abiola Ajimobi awarded a contract for the rehabilitation of the road but that contract turned out to be a sham, as nothing was done on the road since February 2018 when it was first awarded. This was after N2 billion of Oyo State’s resources had found its way into the election expenses of some evil-minded politicians and into the pockets of their selfish accomplices.

 

 

But Governor Makinde, who had since his first week in office, made a commitment to fixing that strategic road, came through for the people of Oke-Ogun, when he re-awarded the contract to do a full reconstruction of the all-important road.

 

 

Across different sectors, residents of Oyo State are singing in praise of the many policies of the Makinde administration, which are targeted at reviving the economy of Oyo State and making life better for its people. But Governor Makinde himself had recently proven his mettle as a master of songs. He had lyrically fired canon shots into the camps of the detractors when he borrowed the words of the late philosophical musician, Bob Marley: “You can fool some people sometimes, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

 

 

The governor, piqued by the daily-unfolding rot left behind by the Abiola Ajimobi administration and the millions of Oyo State people’s money committed to projects that have brought no value, stated this at the Jericho Specialist Hospital, Ibadan.

 

 

Of course, those conversant with developments in Oyo State would remember how supporters of Ajimobi’s profligate administration never miss an opportunity to sing like canaries on the policies of the Makinde’s administration. They have continually sung songs of hate and regret that they lost Oyo State, the cow they mercilessly milked for eight years, leaving the people in massive suffering. They had come for the governor on his decision to scrap the N3,000 levy; they attacked him for distributing textbooks; they pilloried him with criticisms for improving the standard of the State Hospital, Ring Road; the attacked him for daring to construct the Iwo Road interchange. They aimed shots at him for insisting on several occasions that Oyo State people must get value for their money on projects instituted by the previous administration. Day in day out, Oyo APC members sang daily in sadness that Governor Makinde was succeeding where they failed.

 

 

So, when the Court of Appeal gave its judgment, which the APC members in Oyo State and outside, in their feeble minds, misread for a victory, they thought it was another opportunity for their ludicrous singsong. Their intention, as usual, was to pervert the songs of hope and joy occasioned by the Makinde leadership by confusing the public, but that song of deceit could not last, as the Court of Appeal’s decision was clearly and unmistakably an affirmation of Governor Makinde’s landslide victory in the March 9, 2019 election.

 

 

Sadly, the APC managed to forget how it was roundly trounced in the election, with Governor Makinde, backed by the people of Oyo State; polling 515,621 votes while the APC, with federal might and the support of political desperados and political buccaneers in some states of the South-West, only polling 357,982 votes.

 

 

They are in town with songs now, they sing about reclaiming a mandate that no one gave them; they sing about Supreme Court giving them a mandate that the people of Oyo State did not give them. They met and are still meeting across the country, planning evil against the God sent, the People’s Governor, but someone has to tell them that their songs will never be heard again. No, the loudness of Oyo State people’s songs of hope and a new beginning; songs of inspiration that Oyo can move from poverty to prosperity and songs of freedom from the ruinous APC government will deaden their voices.

 

 

Governor Makinde, like the orchestra leader, had borrowed from Bob Marley’s medley of powerful and philosophical songs, to send a note of warning to the APC in Oyo State and outside it sometimes ago, but before then, the Oyo State people seemed to have been singing another Marley song entitled “Redemption Songs”.

 

 

“Old pirates yes they rob I, sold I to the merchant ships minutes after they took I from the bottomless pit. But my hand was made strong by the hand of the almighty. We forward in this generation triumphantly. All I ever had is songs of freedom, won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom. ‘cause all I ever had redemption songs…,” Marley had seemed to be reflecting the situation of Oyo State, where the APC, like the old pirates, robbed the state for eight years and nearly sold it to the merchant ships from Lagos. Thanks to God, the people’s hands were made strong on March 9, 2019 and forward, with Governor Makinde, the state has begun to move triumphantly.

 

 

The enthronement of Makinde has brought about the redemption song, which the APC and some spent forces are now struggling to stop through the backdoor, using their best weapon against the people, the judiciary. Tufiakwa! The redemption songs will never stop.

 

 

Alao is the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Makinde

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Social media regulation and free speech

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Social media regulation and free speech

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was proclaimed by the United Nations’ General Assembly in 1948, and adopted as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 1981 is a milestone document in the history of human rights.

 

 

Accordingly, Nigeria as a member nation domesticated it as chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. Amongst them is the right to freedom of expressions and the press enshrined in Section 39 of the Constitution.

 

Section 39(1) provides, “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference”. Subsection 2 expansively provides, “Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions”.

 

 

On the other hand, the Criminal Code (Laws of the Federation – 1990) criminalized provoking breach of peace by offensive publication in Part 2. Section 88A (1) (b) provides, “Any person who publishes or circulates publications either in the form of newspapers, or leaflets, periodicals, pamphlets or posters, if such publications are likely to provoke or bring into disaffection any section of the country shall be guilty of an offence…” Similarly in subsection (1)(c).

 

 

Emphatically, the Criminal Code includes sedition as an offence under the law. Section 51(1) provides, “Any person who – (b) utters any seditious words; (c) prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distribute or reproduce any seditious publication; shall be guilty of an offence ….., and any seditious publication shall be forfeited to the State”.

 

 

By the way, what is sedition? It simply means organized or deliberate incitement of rebellion or civil disorder against authority or the state, usually by speech or writing.

 

 

In R v Sullivan (1961) US 254, the word ‘sedition’ was described as, “a comprehensive term which embraces all practices, whether by word, deed or writing, which are calculated to disturb the tranquility of the State”. And in IGP v Anagbogu (1954) 21 NLR 26, it was held that the act of writing an article with a seditious intention is tantamount to the offence of sedition.

 

 

Now, the crux of the matter is whether the right to freedom of expression and press is an absolute or qualified right? Under permissible circumstances such as is necessarily expedient for public order and security, arguably, freedom of expression and the press cannot be absolute rights instead must be exercised with restraint subject to law.

 

 

Article 29 (2) of the UDHR 1948 provides, “In the exercise of these rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and general welfare in a democratic society”.

 

 

Synchronically, Section 45 (1) of the1999 CFRN provides, “Nothing in sections 37, 38, 39, 40, and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society (a) in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or (b) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons”.

 

In the civil jurisprudence, the freedom of expressions and the press, interestingly, are controlled by libel and slander. Logically, freedom of speech is not an unconditional right.

 

 

The right to life, for example can be encumbered by judicial death sentence; right to free movement can be hindered by lawful arrests and jail terms, and the right to own movable property cannot be exercised by theft or stealing. Ditto on others. In other words, human rights are fundamental but not absolute rights.

 

 

Suffice to say that putting restraints on social media activities through regulations cannot fairly lead to brouhahas. Events in recent times have shown that such intervention is indispensable, and without regulations, social media will do more harm than good to the society in no distant time.

 

 

Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom). 08023184542 – SMS only. Https:carlumegboro.com

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Remebering 18th Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki (1923-2016)

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Remebering 18th Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki (1923-2016)

O

n November 14th, 2016, Nigeria lost former Sultan of Sokoto,  Ibrahim Dasuki, a revered Islamic leader, diplomat and great – grand son of UsmanuDanfodio. The indelible imprints and legacies he bequeathed are still quite visible for future references, while his contributions towards the development of Islam, human development are still fresh in our memories.

The mere mention of his name would indeed evoke nostalgic feelings both in Nigeria and outside. As a matter of fact, his exit had created a huge vacuum yet to be filled since his departure.

 

 

When he was chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), where he championed a policy of decentralization and the creation of district offices, he was the brain behind the Local Government Administration Unification of 1976. He served as a member of  the 1977 Constituent Assembly and contributed towards Nigeria becoming a member of the Organization of Islamic Country (OIC), and also contributed towards completion of the Sultan Abubakar III Central Juma’at Mosque in Sokoto and Jama’atuNasarul  Islam headquarters in Kaduna,  National Mosque Abuja and MashoodAbiola Central Mosque Ijebu –  Ode.

 

He upgraded the Sokoto Orphanage Home and modernized the Sultanate Palace. He introduced salary and allowances for the Chief Imams and deputies of the Jumu’at Mosque in Sokoto State and also made an unexpected visit to Jakarta, Indonesia for (OIC) Meeting and completed the compilation of Islamic literature and logical work by the founding fathers of Sokoto Caliphate and disciples.

 

In addition he made Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto the center for organizing Quranic recitation competition globally.

 

To keep the memories of late Ibrahim Dasuki alive, because he left unforgettable significant footprints, the appropriate authorities should make efforts to immortalize him because, he spent most of his productive years serving his fatherland. While it is commendable that Sokoto State government should name the State University after him, the federal government should also immortalize him

May Allah (SWT) make his grave one of the best gardens of paradise.

 

Bello ShehuShuni

belloshuni79@gmail.com

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Agulu Declaration and Police Image (1)

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Agulu Declaration and Police Image  (1)

T

he Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, made a confessional statement at the   Police Public Relations Officers’ (PPRO) Conference which took place on October 9, 2019, at Agulu,  Anambra State. 

 

 

Adamu, in  his address at the inaugural session, delivered on his behalf by AIG Baba Tijani said, inter-alia; “it is the realization of the bad image of the NPF that informed the decision of my administration to embark on Image laundering activities to reposition the Nigeria Police Force”. The Police Boss went further to say: “Unarguably, certain indiscretion and perceived inaction by some personnel of the force as well as the security challenges in some parts of the country impact negatively on the image of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). I urge the NPF Image Makers to do everything humanly possible to correct the situation.”

 

 

The  IGP deserves commendation  for publicly acknowledging the poor image of the force under his command, even though the fact that the police has a bad image is actually a matter of common knowledge. The Police Boss deserves commendation because many  leaders  in Nigeria, today, would rather want everyone to believe that all is well with the organization under their purview.   This attitude of covering-up,  accounts for why the institutional problems of our government establishments including the Police continue to defy  solutions. Therefore, this public admission of the IGP goes a long way to show that the IGP is a humble and courageous leader desirous of making a meaningful change in the NPF.

 

 

However,  a serious critique  of the IGP’s postulations  on why he embarked on Image–laundering as a means of getting the PPRO’s to be more efficient within the overall security apparatus of Nigeria shows an errorneous perception of the real challenge.

 

 

I perceived the IGP driving the point that an improved public-presentation of the NPF as it is today would seriously improve the worrisome NPF image and by implication the security situation in Nigeria. For sure, no one can fault any attempt of the IGP to improve the image of the NPF under his watch. However, I beg to differ that this assumption that the improvement of NPF image by hook and crook would improve the worth of the police security situation in Nigeria cannot be true. Thus, that assumption is tantamount to over-simplification, under-rating and down-sizing of the nature and enormity of the NPF challenges. The word “launder” means false presentation, white washing or superficial clean-up of the object in question.

 

 

The real subject of concern to the IGP and indeed to all Nigerians is not the image but the way the NPF really and practically is, and not how they are made to look, or portrayed by the  Police authorities. It is compelling to make this point because, like we all know, a good material sells itself and hardly needs any advertisement. Let me put it succinctly that no one can package a bad or unmarketable stuff. Even if the NPF succeeds in such futile exercise, it would only be short-lived because fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit can only be short-lived. It therefore means that the marketer would sooner or later earn a bad name for deceiving the populace. On this note, therefore, it must be clearly stated here that no matter how well the IGP pushes the issue of “laundering” or “re-branding”, the fact remains that he would achieve nothing without first putting in place a credible and efficient force, worth the re-branding. The IGP should therefore discard the idea of “laundering the image of NPF altogether, because it portrays a  negative meaning to the public. Indeed no amount of re-branding would be sufficient to transform the NPF as it is today into a worthy asset for efficient National Security Management.

 

 

Nigerians and the world at large are interested in seeing the NPF become a veritable law enforcement agency visibly capable of maintaining law and  order throughout  the country.  Nigerians  and foreigners alike want law and order maintained and guaranteed round the clock.  The only way to winning the confidence of people is to have a police force properly executing its constitutional duties with maximum proficiency and expertise. In other words, no such injunction as “doing whatever is humanly possible” from IGP or any government functionary for that matter, would provide remedy to the NPF security lapses unless the real issue of capacity and capability of the NPF to discharge her lawful duties professionally and efficiently is first addressed.

 

By blaming the poor image of the police  on  “indiscretion” and “perceived inaction” by some personnel of the force,  the  IGP ppears to be saying   that the security situation in North Eastern Nigeria is traceable to mere indiscretion and mere inaction and that these are the causes of the bad image of the force. It must, therefore, be pointed out, that it is not only in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria that the dangerous phenomenon of insecurity is prevalent. It is a nation-wide-phenomenon.

 

 

Secondly, the poor image of the Police predates the current wave of insecurity as being witnessed in the North East and other parts of the country. Therefore,  the words indiscretion and perceived inaction tend to over simplify or whittle-down the enormity of the lapses in the operations of the Nigeria Police Force. 

 

 

Brig.  General Idada  Ikponmwen, a retired military strategist and lawyer, writes from Benin-City.

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