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Buhari/Osinbajo Initiative on Niger Delta

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Buhari/Osinbajo Initiative on Niger Delta

For a while now, the Niger Delta has been on the boil again. Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom constitute the major sources of oil revenue that makes up over 60% of Federal Government foreign exchange earnings and over 50% of Federal Government income.

Ondo, Imo, Abia, Anambra and Lagos states contribute to a significantly lesser extent to Federal Government’s income from oil exports. It had therefore become imperative that actions are taken to resolve the agitation going on in the Niger Delta.

One cannot but acknowledge that despite the 13% derivation (which during the oil boom of the mid 2000’s to 2014 yielded sizable amounts of revenue to the Niger Delta states) the Niger Delta was getting significantly less than they contribute to the federation accounts whilst zones such as the South East, North East, North West and North Central got significantly more from the federation account than they contribute to it.

Such disparity is not unheard of. In the UK, London is the major contributer to UK’s income whilst Northern Ireland and Wales and major net recipients of government revenue.

However, that does not resolve the nation from addressing the critical issue of ensuring a greater amount of income that comes from the Niger Delta stays within the Niger Delta. Additionally, one has to ensure that the added income is actually reflected and felt by the residents of the Niger Delta as opposed to flowing into the private pockets of politicians of Niger Delta extraction. The issue therefore is how is to consider how this is best achieved.

The first (and least practical) option, is greater devolution of the right of states to exploit its own resources whilst sending the remainder of the income to the Federal Government. It may be right to consider moving the derivation principle (which should cover all mineral deposits and tax revenue) to 35% over the next ten years and then to 50% thereafter.

I say this is the least practical because most states dependent on Federal Government income will focus more on oil income lost to them than increased income due to them from the exploitation of other mineral deposits found within their states that the under funded Federal Ministry of Mineral Resources is unable to optimally exploit.

It would be a very hard sell to get the required numbers of states to key into this new reality to be able to amend the constitution in the near term.

It is easier for people to do nothing and pick up a nice cheque than expend energy and resources marketing its resources so that it can be exploited for the good of its people.

The second option, is to encourage the Niger Delta states or (more importantly) oil producing areas of the Niger Delta to incorporate oil exploration and oil and gas exploitation corporations. These corporations MUST be given a specified percentage of oil licenses (subject of course to those entities showing that they have the manpower and expertise to fulfill the obligations required of them).

Those entities will be wise to hire the best people from within and outside Nigeria in the knowledge that the vast profits of the incorporated entity are kept within the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta and used to develop the infrastructure and standard of living of the oil producing communities of their area.

This is the next best option to resource control if most states object to changes in the constitution to allow for the first option to take hold. What should not be countenanced is the forceful relocation of the headquarters of any International Oil Company or indeed non oil company to any other state or region.

In a democracy and in federal structure, private business should be allowed to staff their organisation, however, they choose and to select and change their headquarters however they like. All 36 states of the federation are competitors and are free to compete against each other in order to make their respective states more attractive to local and multi national corporations.

It is for the oil producing states (especially those with direct access to the ocean) to devise means of making their states more attractive economically, socially, tax wise and as a source of a highly skilled work force perspective necessary to entice these corporations to voluntarily change location.

That is what should be encouraged in a free market. It is the emphasis on the free market that would ultimately bring more development and investment to Nigeria and encourage existing investment into Nigeria to stay.

Dele.Awogbeoba@gmail.com

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The Mandela I know

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The Mandela I know

Nelson Mandela was an outstanding champion of human freedom and liberty, an anti-apartheid crusader who sacrificed the best years of his life to secure the emancipation of his people from the degradation and humiliation of inferiority status imposed on them by a wicked, hateful, abominable and lawless regime.

As we all know, Mr. Mandela was not just a revolutionary leader; his record of philanthropic commitment to not only South Africans, but to citizens of many other nations around the world was quite exceptional.

He taught the world the meaning and essence of humility, forgiveness, acceptance, perseverance and tolerance not through precepts but through an incredible force of personal example that probably has no parallel in human history.

As a prisoner at Rhodes Island, Mandela brought to bear on his terrible and negative experience, exemplary and positive qualities of discipline, endurance, patience, hope, fortitude and remarkable stoicism.

The Nobel Prize winner who became the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa at the age of 77, he retired after only a single tenure in office in 1999, setting a challenging example to other depraved African leaders who turned their offices into imperial bastions of maladministration, oppression of their own people and corruption. Madiba’s quest for comprehensive emancipation that encompassed political, mental, economic and physical dimensions led him to embark on charitable engagements, raising stupendous sums of money for schools, hospitals, sporting activities for the benefit of the desperately deprived black communities of South Africa.

His hunger for the freedom of South Africa, somehow, became the hunger for the freedom of all irrespective of their tribe, colour and religion. He took on a campaign that set the leadership bar for African leaders and Africa’s leadership.

I am a beneficiary of Mandela’s mentorship. I would say that God specially created the great man to tutor and shape me into responsible, industrious and disciplined man with a commitment to the welfare of my people and to humanity in general.

I recall my personal interactions with him especially during our national struggle to force President Olusegun Obasanjo to drop his plan to amend the constitution of the Federal Republic and secure an extension of his tenure of office. Disturbed by the details, Mandela placed a call to President Obasanjo and told him in clear terms that whatever his plans were, it was neither desirable for Nigeria nor Africa. That intervention, proved strategic to the leadership question in Nigeria at the time leading to elections in 2007. As the say, the rest is history.

As a politician and businessman, I met Mandela on several occasions. I must confess here that he inspired me a lot. He introduced me to the leaders of the great African National Congress (ANC), with whom I have maintained a very robust relationship. Through him, I met with President Thabo Mbeki, who is now a dear friend and a brother. I also met President Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, former National Secretary of ANC who held sway for six months following the decision of the ruling party to ask President Mbeki to step aside.

Of course, I met Presidents Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa who is now tasked with the responsibility of leading the great vision that Mandela had for South Africa. Nothing can demonstrate the level of intimacy I enjoy with Mandela’s family than the warm treatment I get from the matriarch of the house, Gracia, each time I visited. She always ensured that I lacked for nothing and that I felt at home.

The bridge Madiba built that connected me with South African political gladiators is still sustained till date. I am still a strong member of the ANC family, just as I am still an ally of former and incumbent President of the country.

Only few months ago, I undertook a trip to South Africa and visited the three ex-Presidents. I particularly spent a quality time with my friend, President Mbeki who was then giving cold hands to political activities in his party, ANC. I reminded him of the political philosophy of Madiba. And that did a lot of magic. That sentiments I expressed steered him out of his earlier disposition. He saw the need to join forces with ANC for the campaign. Of course, that decision played a big part in ANC triumphing at the poll.

 

TO BE CONTINUE TOMORROW

 

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Makinde’s asset declaration: Beyond a hollow ritual

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Makinde’s asset declaration: Beyond a hollow ritual

By making public the contents of his asset declaration form submitted at the Oyo State office of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in Ibadan on Monday, July 15, 2019, Governor Seyi Makinde has, on the double, fulfilled one of his many campaign promises.

That action counts for something in the overall appreciation of the bigger picture of keeping fidelity to the social contract; and, that perhaps, explains the accolades that have trailed the act. The philosophy that roused Makinde’s essential motion in the direction of keeping faith with what appears to be a simple promise must be largely humanistic much more than teleological.

The celebrated act epitomizes genuine altruism, not the humdrum jejune play to the gallery by conventional politicians. Makinde’s genre of politics is peculiar. In any case, time will supply the necessary validations.

However, I tend to understand the act more in the context of the overarching zeitgeist that has provoked in many Nigerians derision for corruption in our body-politic. If Makinde’s action was located in the context of the ideas and spirit of the time, I can then relate to it as his contribution to the emergent culture of pragmatic application of home-grown praxis to addressing some of the ills, especially corruption and its variants, which plague us as a people.

What the governor has clearly adopted is a self-sacrificing modus operandi that ordinarily enjoys legal protection. The confidentiality of his asset declaration is constitutionally-guaranteed. Nevertheless, he decided, on his own motion, to declassify the details, thus exposing himself to pro bono publico scrutiny, which many of his colleagues are not willing to do. Although, he has yet to get to the intersection of the second instance wherein he had also hinted that he would be ready to waive his immunity as governor for any alleged criminal infraction that borders on corruption or looting of the treasury of Oyo State on his watch, I believe that with this single-mindedness, the governor will fulfill this other pledge to boot, having kept faith with the first pledge.

This relatively new attitude to governance – of making promises and fulfilling the same – has the potential to promote the spirit of openness and accountability that is imperative to feed the anti-graft war. To be sure, it will help to stimulate self-restraint on the part of Makinde and other public officers, who had earlier subscribed to the idea of making public their assets, whenever they are confronted with the existential temptation to corruptly enrich themselves through abuse of office.

I advisedly use the word “relatively” in the paragraph above because, at the last count, and I stand to be corrected, not more than six public officers had published their assets before now. Former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan (who reluctantly followed Yar’Adua’s footsteps in 2007, but refused to do the same in 2011) published their assets in a pragmatic fashion, providing specific details.

The publications by four others, namely former Governor Gbenga Daniel (in 2007), President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (who reluctantly followed Buhari’s example in 2015; he has yet to follow suit in 2019) and Governor Nasir El-Rufai, of their assets were approximate. Indeed, it was the late Yar’Adua that blazed the trail. He had promised during his electioneering that he would make his assets public.

He did so immediately he stepped in the saddle and the declassification of the assets was the first assignment that his spokesperson, Segun Adeniyi, performed a week or two after assumption of duties.

The scope of the asset declaration that incorporated even the assets of his wife, Turai, did not give room for any doubt – whether reasonable or otherwise. Yar’Adua had shunned the advice by the CCB that the action would put other categories of public office holders under pressure to do the same contrary to their individual conviction to keep details of their assets confidential as provided for by law. Yar’Adua was driv-en by the need to shed the burden of the campaign promise that he made based on the conviction that the war against corruption could not have meaning until those at the helms of affairs began to live by example. It is to Yar’Adua’s eternal credit that he set that critical example for the likes of Buhari and Makinde, et al, to emulate. It was a personal choice.

Makinde has just made that personal choice, without holding back! His N48 billion asset net worth, earned from his chains of elite businesses, straddling engineering and technical services, energy, oil and gas, construction, et al, is staggering and intimidating.

This war chest imposes a duty of care on him to manage the resources of Oyo State prudently as a going concern. My immediate take-away from the compte rendu is that the governor is financially capacitated to overcome the pressure to pillage the commonwealth of Oyo State. In the circumstance, he should deploy the Midas touch with which he turned his businesses into huge success stories in stimulating the sleeping economy of Oyo State and transforming it into one of the most stable state economies in Nigeria within the next four years; and, if he performs creditably, a renewal of mandate by Oyo people will be his just recompense to enable him consolidate on the good work.

This is Makinde’s maiden outing in the public service turf. Therefore, the publication of his assets represents a challenge to the public to put him under constant watch and to raise the alarm if accretion to his assets while in office is traced to abuse of office. He has put himself under pressure, having come clean as a tabula rasa into government from the private sector unlike Daniel, Osinbajo and el-Rufai, for examples, who had been caught up in the intercourse of private and public office engagements. Buhari’s case, however, remains peculiar. Although his life and times have benefited largely from his involvement in public office at different levels, the details of his assets, as declared and made public in 2015 and the ones done in 2019, which his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said witnessed very minimal or insignificant accretions, would appear to fit perfectly into his socially-conservative, financially-prudent and celebrated Spartan lifestyle. Except for his cattle farm and other farms which commercial or income-generating values have not been declared, Buhari’s sources of income would appear writ large and he makes no bones about his assets.

The sincerity he had invested in the asset declaration in 2015 continues to bind and regulate him. The benefits derivable from this can be located in the credibility and public trust he has built for himself in matters of financial integrity and restrained material acquisition.

The culture of making public, asset declaration, is one of anti-graft war’s veritable enablers. But for Yar’Adua, Buhari and Makinde’s resolve, the argument that asset declaration is a hollow ritual would have gained a firm foothold in our body-politic.

The waiving of constitutional confidentiality, together with publication of personal assets by them, validates the counter-narrative that the exercise is now beyond a hollow ritual. Besides, ask former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Justice Walter Onnoghen (retd.) and they will concur. In rounding off, I commend Makinde, in particular, for keeping to his campaign promise. He has demonstrated that he can be trusted.

What he has also done is throwing down the gauntlet to all in position of responsibilities to make full disclosures of assets to their people before taking over the management of public finance. Beyond the suggestion of anticipatory declaration in some oppositional quarters, this will enable the relevant bodies to investigate claims, validate and monitor financial transactions in furtherance of trust.

 

  • Ojeifo, an Abuja-based journalist, writes via ojwonderngr@ yahoo.com
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No, Mr. President: Your critics not unpatriotic

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No, Mr. President: Your critics not unpatriotic

F

ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo’s latest “Open Letter” to President Muhammadu Buhari has raised a lot of dust, with the president labelling him and other critics of his administration as “unpatriotic.”

 

The question to ask is: What did Dr. Obasanjo say that other Nigerians, individually and collectively, had not said since the heightened insecurity in the land?

 

He had written about issues in the polity, particularly concerning the governments after his military headship of Nigeria in 1979, and not a few Nigerians, though, found such commentaries as unsavouring and irritating.

 

From the late Presidents Shehu Shagari and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, to President Goodluck Jonathan, and to Gens. Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar; Gen. Obasanjo had “meddled” in their governments, such that Abacha had to hang a “coup plot” on his neck, and detained him.

 

Friend or foe, Obasanjo never spared any administration and its leadership. To him, they either toe his line or be fed with the poisoned chalice of his pen and/or tongue.

 

Seeing and viewing himself as imbued with Solomonic wisdom and Messianic fervour, his approach to his successors in office is utter condescension. Hence, his messages, mostly in open letters, have been acidic in content and patronizing in delivery.

 

Obasanjo’s escape of possible death by execution for alleged “coup plotting” didn’t deter him from “riding on the tiger’s back.” And it’s the turn of Gen. Buhari to feel the drip of his pen in three consecutive “letters” within a few months of each other.

 

While previous “leaked” letters detailed alleged failure of Buhari to fulfil his campaign promises, last week’s “open letter” was essentially an invite to a “National Dialogue” on insecurity.

 

As he noted: “Since the issue (insecurity) is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you (Buhari), and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem.”

 

Even as he conduced his “deep worries” to about “four avoidable calamities,” Obasanjo recognized the president as one of the “well-meaning and right-thinking” Nigerians that should be concerned about the nation’s insecurity.

 

Frightening as his alarm bell was, not many would imagine an Obasanjo tempering his persona, and offering conciliatory counsel to President Buhari, whom he reckons as his subordinate in age, career, political standing, worldview and statesmanship.

 

 

But does this make him, and others “unpatriotic” for criticizing Buhari and his handling of the affairs of Nigeria? Certainly not! What the former president did is what Buhari’s aides may not dare.

 

 

So, instructive here are the immortal words of the reggae maestro, Bob Nester Marley, who exhorts that, “Your worst enemy could be your best friend, and your best friend your worst enemy.”

 

 

Or as a local adage goes, “Only your enemy can tell you that you have mouth odour.” And they don’t mind telling you in public, whereas your friends, even in private, would tell you that your mouth smells like the roses.

 

Simply put, those that President Buhari termed “unpatriotic” (betrayer, collaborator, deserter, renegade, spy or traitor) may actually be the “loyalists” to save him from himself in these times of grave insecurity in the country.

 

No matter the criticisms, so long as they aren’t subversive, we shouldn’t pigeon-hole Nigerians into “patriotic” or “unpatriotic” elements. That would be a situation of “us versus them,” and therefore “enemies of the State.”

 

Our diversity – and our freedom and ability to speak truth to power – is our strength, and the way to harnessing this great asset is through programmes and actions that do not stereotype and stigmatize citizens as non-patriots.

 

In this wise, Obasanjo’s open letter to the president doesn’t belong in the realm of unpatriotic acts. Let his not be a matter of “calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it.”

 

 

Nonetheless, it’s time President Buhari realized his problem – perception – and how to overcome it. In politics and governance, perception matters. Ordinarily, reality should drive perception. But most times, perception leads, and muddies the reality.

 

 

For allowing perception, or “body language” to define him and his administration, the president has earned many critics, including from the corps of his followers and supporters.

 

 

Rather than looking at the concrete, and tangible things his government is doing to revamp Nigeria’s socio-political and economic morass, the people would rather focus on his body language, as the best barometer for his actions or inaction.

 

 

Take the issue of the herders-farmers clashes. When it was brewing in the early part of the administration, and the victims, mostly the farmers, cried out, the presidency accusingly never issued any condemnation.

 

 

But if the farmers retaliated, the authorities would reportedly give a stern warning against such reprisals. Curiously, security operatives could arrest the farmers for “defending” themselves.

 

 

Besides, what did the president say when a group, claiming to speak for the North, gave a 30-day ultimatum for Southern states to implement the controversial RUGA Settlement initiative, or it would take “action” against the 17 states of the South?

 

 

In any case, the presidency had said that RUGA was the brainchild of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. So, why was it its business, and not that of the ministry, to suspend the programme?

 

Being silent or ambivalent on the issue created the impression that the Northern group had the presidency’s “backing” to issue its threats against the entire Southern Nigeria.

 

 

But unprecedentedly, the presidency expeditiously “revoked” the directive by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) for Fulani herders to leave the South if their safety was no longer guaranteed.

 

 

This should be the stand of President Buhari and his government at all times: Quick and undiluted intervention on all matters. No room for conjectures, speculations and reading of his body language that could be exploited to undermine his intentions.

 

 

Importantly, the president needs to connect, personally, with Nigerians, by leaving the comfort zone of Aso Rock Villa, and pay regular visits to the states, to meet with his constituents – Nigerians – that voted for him twice, for the exalted office.

 

Buhari is president for all Nigerians, and not only for occupants of The Villa, his friends and political associates. He should speak to, and meet frequently with the masses, as no platitudes delivered from the seat of power could suffice for such intimacy that’s capable of engendering rapprochement that Nigeria desires sorely!

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Asue Ighodalo: Exceptional boardroom guru at 60

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We pass through life in stages and there is a rite of passage for each stage. We are born, reach puberty, get married, become old and eventually pass through transition. We also experience baptisms, confirmations, school graduation ceremonies and retirement parties. We pass through times which stand out as moments in which we become that little bit older, bolder and wiser. But as we grow older, we are tempted to think that our best life’s work and fun are behind us. Yet, a new report by Cigna Insurance Services (UK) has just established that life truly begins at 60 and not 40, as the American psychologist Walter Pitkin postulated in 1932.

 

 

As the Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc., Mr. Asue Ighodalo, celebrates the important milestone of a new beginning in life at the age of 60 on Friday, July 19, 2019 a significant part of this rite of passage would be messages of felicitations and congratulations from associates, family and friends across the country and beyond. If the meaning of life at any age can be defined by what is most important to most of us, for Mr. Ighodalo, it will surely be his towering achievements as a boardroom guru. While many of his contemporaries may be looking forward to retirement, it is certain that Ighodalo will continue to find meaning in his many commitments to corporate Nigeria at the boardroom level.

 

 

Obviously, the highly respected former teacher of corporate governance and legal aspects of a director’s duties at the Lagos Business School could not have started his career in the boardroom. Having learned the benefits of hard work, integrity, character, strength and the fear of God from his parents at an early age, Ighodalo set out to be a banker by studying Economics at the University of Ibadan but his father had other ideas for him as a choice of profession. The elder Ighodalo prevailed on him to study law because it is a more “focused profession” and as a dutiful son, the younger Ighodalo agreed and proceeded to the London School of Economics to study after his Economics degree.

 

 

But true to what Sir Richard Branson, the British inventor, author and businessman, said that “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.” Mr. Asue Ighodalo eventually returned to his first love and is today renowned for his exploits in the banking sector of the Nigerian economy. His core areas of practice are corporate and project finance, securities and capital markets, energy and natural resources, mergers and acquisitions and banking and securitisation. Ighodalo is also a founding partner of Banwo & Ighodalo, a multi-disciplinary firm which provides legal advice on aspects of corporate and commercial Nigerian law.

 

 

More than anything else, Ighodalo not only teaches the qualities which every director must possess to perform optimally in the boardroom, he has brought his considerable experience in corporate governance to bear on the fortunes of the companies where he serves as the chairman. The phenomenal growth of Sterling Bank in recent years and the company’s pioneering efforts in several areas of banking through the introduction of innovative products come to mind.

 

 

For instance, while many banks were unprepared for the latest directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) for banks, Sterling Bank is among the few ones that have surpassed the 60 per cent minimum LDR directive. The bank recorded an impressive 78.9 per cent LDR, overshooting the new threshold by N148.29 billion after lending N618 billion out of N783.26 billion deposits. The risks associated with the new regulation such as banks underwriting high-risk loans which could lead to further asset quality deterioration and destabilisation of the industry are non-existent for Sterling Bank.

 

 

It should surprise no one that Ighodalo is a boardroom colossus today having undergone extensive training at the hands of some of the best and most accomplished boardroom giants in the annals of corporate Nigeria. Starting his career under the tutelage of the cerebral and meticulous Chief Chris Ogunbanjo who exposed him to the practice of corporate and commercial law at the highest levels, Ighodalo continued his training with Dr. Christopher Kolade, a great Nigerian public servant, diplomat and boardroom guru who he described as his “father” and mentor.

 

 

He was also fortunate to know and associate with Mr. Felix Ohiwerei, formerly of the Nigerian Breweries and the late Chief Adeyemi Lawson, two boardroom giants. Besides, he interacted closely inside and outside the boardroom with Messrs. Fola Adeola and Aliko Dangote and learnt a lot from all of them. In his words, “Learning from the best and having excellent mentors is invaluable.”

 

 

Summarising his thoughts on the duties of company directors, Ighodalo believes that company directors need to pay attention to the risk aspects of board membership, saying they could get into trouble if they breach their duties, or are negligent in the performance of their duties or do something wrong. “Being a director is really serious business which requires diligence, dedication and continuing capacity enhancement,” he said.

 

 

• Okoya, former Editorial Chairman of Financial Standard Newspaper, writes from Lagos

 

 

Today, Ighodalo not only chairs the board of Sterling Bank Plc., he also sits on the boards of public and private companies and NGOs including the Christopher Kolade Foundation, University of Ibadan advancement board, Dangote Flour Mills Plc., FATE Foundation, Main Street Technologies Limited (sponsor of the Main One cable project), the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Union Bank (UK) Plc., Okomu Oil Palm Plc. and Kakawa Discount House.

 

 

Ighodalo is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and currently serves as the vice-chairman of the NBA’s section on business law. He is also a member of the International Bar Association (section on energy and natural resources law), Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, commercial law and taxation committee of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chartered Institute of Taxation, the policy and monitoring committee of the National Council on Privatisation, and the Edo State Economic Strategy Team.

 

 

As Ighodalo turned 60 on Friday, he should have a greater sense of fulfilment for having touched the lives of so many people and for being a source of inspiration to thousands of others. He learned at the feet of the masters and has mentored many others in their journey towards greatness. No greater sacrifice is expected of a truly great man. Here is wishing Ighodalo a long and healthy life.

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Udom: A brand not branded

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Udom: A brand not branded

B

y introspection one can assume that 53 years ago when a teacher called Gabriel Nkanang christened his second son Udom, he was inspired by two factors: the fact that that was the surname of his landlord and the meaning of the name.

 

 

The man under whose roof Nkanang and his family lived at the time Udom was born was called Etokawasi Udom. He was a prominent personality in Afaha community, which is in present day Ukanafun Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom. It is not known whether the accommodation was free or paid for. But from continuous servicing of the relationship by the succeeding generation of the two families, it could be deduced that harmony was freely flowing between them. The name of the young Udom must have been Nkanang’s reciprocal gesture and mark of lasting admiration of the older Udom.

 

Udom is masculine name in Akwa Ibom and some parts of Cross River State. It denotes right hand and connotatively implies best, right-hand-man, confidant, cornerstone, favourite, pillar, trust, reliability, and the likes. In polygamous families, where strife of envy poisons blood of members of the family, naming a child Udom may worsen fault lines, especially if given to a person other than first son of the family. But Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is not envied by his siblings. The credit goes more to his father for religiously disciplining himself on the path of monogamy.

 

The governor stands out in his family as he is the only one not using the family name. That launches him to unique club of few famous persons who are popular by their first name other than surnames. In contemporary time, prominent in the category of those with popular first name is the world most celebrated monarch, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor). In Nigeria few names readily come to mind: Gani (Ganiyu Fawehinmi, who, a decade after he passed on, remains Nigeria’s most dogged activist lawyer and social critic); Fela (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Nigeria’s music legend); and Atiku (Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former Vice President).

 

Given that surname holds sway in many cultures in today’s world, those whose first names are more popular than surnames are exceptional. First name makes one a common being, in that it reinforces bond of commonality, especially among mates in formative stages of life. It makes one hoi polloi. It is uncommon seeing a famous person or those in authority with striking first name.

 

A striking first name evokes personal image of the person while a surname flies the family flag. Those who have rich family names but unable to carve personal niche for themselves often go about dropping family names to get doors opened for them. Surname has imperialistic aura while first name presupposes a person with unimposing demeanour, one that does not put on air.

 

There is a middle-age man in Akwa Ibom that has risen from grass to grace through instinctive entrepreneurial acumen and passion for excellence. He implores his mates not call him his first name any longer because, though he still uses his first name, he reasons that with his relative prominence the name given to him by his parents name has vanished along with hitherto obscurity. Udom is not like that. Even before he got into macro politics everyone from his work place at Victoria Island to church in Surulere called him Udom and still call him so today. Unlike the common trend among topnotch politicians he has no title other than Mr. Though the uninformed and the sycophants would not stop calling him “Executive Governor”, Udom wants to be addressed by the real name of the office he occupies and not with the superfluity.

 

 

In the build up to 2015 general election when Udom launched his campaign to become the fourth elected governor of Akwa Ibom, “Udom is right” was the catchphrase. Moses Ekpo, his deputy, who by virtue of his rousing career in journalism, understands far better how branding could  better the lot of products, was always distinguishing Udom at campaign rallies with admonition to the people that only fools would prefer left to right.

 

 

To Akwa Ibom audience, anywhere in the world, Udom is more catchy than Emmanuel. Reasons because of its nativity and meanings. Even outside Akwa Ibom community, Udom is more popular than Emmanuel because it is a one-syllable word and not tongue-twisted. It instantly connects the governor to his ancestral place, the Akwa Ibom society, which is currently the constituency of his core concentration.

 

Get it correct: there is nothing wrong with having a strong family name, as it is also not without its sterling significances. After all, in most cases those who are famous with first names do not deliberately create that niche. First names in most cases filter through the news media. It is therefore unfortunate that the news media has not taken cognisance of Udom in headlines relating to the governor.

 

Really, regarding his mentioning in the news media, Udom is a brand not branded. In brandings or headlines, keyword is of essence. In the name, Udom Emmanuel, and with regard to the target audience of the governor, the keyword is Udom and not Emmanuel. Also, since simplicity and space also factor into branding the one-syllable word of four characters is more fitting than  “Governor Emmanuel”, Akwa Ibom governor” and “Emmanuel” often used in headlines in the news media.

 

However, this writer does not intend to argue with those who go about marketing the governor at every opening with the tag of “Udom is Right”. But it can asserted that the governor is not always right, just as it is also certain that certain wrongs in the state are yet to be got right. That is why Udom does not have to look at criticism of his government as abuse, as he mentioned while inaugurating his second term cabinet last Thursday, which was precisely the 53rd anniversary of his birth. Critics are contributors to good governance at the opposite end. When constructively done, criticism pays better than praise-singing.

 

While the branding of Udom, the governor, with emphasis on his name is of essence in the media, the brand himself must constantly work to the billings of his name and beneficial to all.

 

Ekanem sent this piece from Lagos through nsikak4media@gmail.com

 

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Gbajabiamila, the lover of Nigerian youths

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Gbajabiamila, the lover of Nigerian youths

T

he Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila is a man close to my heart, and I know he is also close to the hearts of many Nigerians at this moment, especially the youths.

 

Unarguably, the Nigerian youths never had it this good with any Speaker of the House in since the return of democracy in 1999.

 

Though he already approaches his advanced age, 57, the Speaker considers himself as a young man. In fact, he said to his newly appointed media team last Saturday that “I’m a young Speaker with a young media team.”

 

Of all the appointments the Speaker made, including his Chief of Staff (CoS) Alhaji Sanusi Garba Rikiji, majority of them are youths.

 

He first of all appointed 51-year old Rikiji, a former Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly as his Chief of Staff on June 11.

 

The next set of appointments that the Speaker made was that of members of his media team. As part of his belief that Nigeria will sooner or later be led by young people, the Speaker appointed four very young people, out of the 6-member media team.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, the head of the media team and Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi is 46, while myself, the Chief Press Secretary, I am 33. The Special Assistant on Print Media, Dele Anofi, who is the oldest in the media team, is 52.

 

The Special Assistant on Broadcast/Electronic Media, Kunle Somoye is 26, while the man in charge of New Media, Bukola Ogunyemi, is 32, with the Special Assistant on Visual Communication/Official Photographer, Ayo Adeagbo, 25. This is the first in history of this country. The Speaker himself was excited by this team.

 

To show that he knows what he is doing all the time, the Speaker personally conducted searches on each of the members of the media team before appointing them all.

 

But as Nigerians were expressing excitement about the composition of the media team, a bigger excitement that endeared the Speaker more into the hearts of the citizens came on Tuesday, July 16 when the Speaker announced the appointment of additional aides that would assist him in his leadership.

 

 

From the latest appointments, the Special Adviser on Political Matters to the Speaker, Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart is 33, while the Special Adviser on Special Duties Badmus Olufunmi is 37.

 

The Speaker’s Senior Legislative Aide, Adim Akpapunam, is 24, with 30-year old Hadiza Abubakar Talba as the Special Assistant on Employment and Job Creation, while the Special Assistant on Gender Equality, Fatima Kakuri, is 32.

 

 

Additionally, Tuesday’s appointments indicated that the Special Assistant on Inter-governmental Affairs, Adaku Apugo, is 33, even as the Special Assistant on Policy and Inter-Parliamentary, Princewill Tabia, is 30 years old.

 

The Speaker’s Special Assistant on IDPs, Hamza Baba Ibrahim, is 39 with Ibrahim Alli-Balogun, who is 40, as the Special Assistant on Youth Matters. The Special Assistant on Executive Relations, Hon Ibrahim Mohammed Baba, is 42 years old.

 

The appointments also showed that the Special Assistant on Budget and Finance, Lukman Oyewole Lawal, is 43, while the Special Assistant on Legal Matters, Osazee Melody Ogundijie, is 46.

 

That is not all. The Special Assistant on Members’ Affairs, Dunkwu Nnamdi Chamberlain, is 48. Similarly, the Special Adviser on Administration, Odofin David Seun is 50.

 

The new appointees’ list equally had 47-year old Hon. Ayodeji Joseph as the Special Assistant on Political Matters (South West), and 49-year old Abdulsalam Idowu Kamaldeen as the Special Assistant on Special Needs/Equal Opportunities.

 

With the above appointments, it is glaring that the Rt. Hon. Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila is a true lover of the Nigerian youths. He believes in the competence of the Nigerian youth to handle national issues, especially at the legislative level. Interestingly, all the appointed youths were carefully chosen by the Speaker himself because.

 

Though the appointees above 40 may not be categorised as real youths as such, they are still youth at heart.

 

The development undoubtedly confers on the Speaker the title of ‘The lover of the Nigerian youths.’

 

 

What now remains is for those appointed to justify the confidence reposed in them by the Speaker to deliver on their mandate and assist him in his ‘Nation Building: A Joint Task’ project, which the 9th House of Representatives seeks to pursue vigorously in the next four years.

 

 

Musa Abdullahi Krishi is the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, House of Representatives

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Osun State, Supreme Court and stubborn facts

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“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams, 2nd President of the United States.

 

-Lord Denning in Leonard MacFoy v. United Africa Company Limited 1962 AC 153.

 

“My lords, the issue of jurisdiction is over and above any legal manipulation. There is no doubt that a court of law is fundamentally competent when it is properly constituted. If a court is not properly constituted, when there is a defect in its membership then that court cannot be said to have been properly in place. It lacks jurisdiction to properly adjudicate. Whatever decision it reached is going to be a nullity:

 

 

-Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa, JSC. in Oniah v. Onyia (1989) 1 NWLR (pt. 99) 514.

W

hen political and ideological opponents articulate and voice their opposition to certain developments in the polity, it admirably serves the corporate good when such articulated opposition and criticisms are grounded and founded in the consequential facts backed by a full appreciation of the underlying principles. Otherwise, no public good is done, and the universe of the polity is further polluted, if not poisoned.

 

The anxious quest for such unfounded and ill-conceived criticisms and innuendoes not to pollute the polity informed the writing of this piece.

 

In the 7th July 2019 edition of the Nigerian Tribune newspaper (both print and digital), Mr. Yinka Odumakin, a vocal and well-known political opponent of the All Progressives Congress (APC), put his name to an article titled: “Osun Verdict: Technicality Defeats Justice.” The overarching point of the article is evident from its title, namely that the Supreme Court of Nigeria failed to do substantial justice in the appeal emanating from the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal by allowing a ‘technical point’ raised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, His Excellency, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, to defeat the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the September 22 and September 27, 2018 Osun State gubernatorial election, Senator Ademola Adeleke.

 

Mr. Odumakin admittedly wrote beautifully, alluded to fascinating historical events and quoted respected jurists. However, he wrote under a mistaken appreciation of the legal principles involved and the fundamental principles of judicial adjudication. While the Supreme Court does not need a spokesperson to defend its judgements, the insinuation in Mr. Odumakin’s article that the bias of some of the justices made them elevate what he termed as ‘technicality’ above justice, is one that is indeed capable of poisoning the polity by diminishing the faith of political actors and citizens in the judiciary or by suggesting to other political actors that the APC is undeserving of its victory at the polls and at the Supreme Court. Hence, this rejoinder.

 

Of course, the right place to begin is exactly where Mr. Odumakin got it wrong: the supposition that the Supreme Court decided the appeal from the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on a ‘technical’ ground while ignoring the substance of the case. This is far from correct.

 

Respectable lawyers know so well, and jurists in all commonwealth jurisdictions agree, without exception, that jurisdiction is of fundamental importance to any adjudication process and further that one of the salient ingredients that confer jurisdiction on a judicial body is that it must be properly constituted at all times. Otherwise, it is not a body with vires to conduct a judicial act.

 

In the case of Nwankwo v. Yar’Adua (2010) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1209) p. 518, at p. 560, the Supreme Court restated the time-honoured principle of jurisdiction laid down in the celebrated locus classicus, Madukolu v. Nkemdilim thus:

 

 

“The law is indeed trite that a court is only competent to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any matter where-

 

1. It is properly constituted as regards numbers and qualification of the members and no member is disqualified for one reason or the other.

 

2. The subject matter of the case is within its jurisdiction and there is no feature in the case which prevents the court from exercising its jurisdiction.

 

3. The case comes by due process of the law and upon fulfillment of any condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction. See Madukolu & Ors. v. Nkemdilim &Ors.(1962) 2 SCNLR  341.”[Emphasis ours]

 

It is that first ingredient of jurisdiction listed by the Supreme Court that Mr. Odumakin and other ill-informed commentators or opportunistic opponents of the APC fail to appreciate. For the sake of genuinely intrigued members of the public, one should adumbrate on it.

 

It is not only a legal principle of procedural law or a mere ‘technical’ requirement but a foundational principle of justice that a judge or tribunal member is not qualified to write and deliver judgement when he was absent at any of the sessions during which the trial of the matter held. Absence at trial is tantamount to not hearing the case in person. This principle is simply giving life to the commonsense position that, without being at all sessions of the trial of a matter, a judge cannot be regarded as having heard the matter so as to be qualified to write and deliver the judgement in the matter.

 

 

Indeed, this cardinal principle is codified in almost all the laws setting up trial courts in Nigeria, including, for example, section 23 of the Federal High Court Act which provides that: “every proceeding in the Court and all business arising therein shall, so far as is practicable and convenient and subject to the provisions of any enactment or law, be heard and disposed of by a single judge, and all proceedings in an action subsequent to the hearing or trial, down to, and including the final judgment or order, shall so far as is practicable and convenient, be taken before the judge before whom the trial or hearing took place.”

 

 

This is because the trial judge in Nigeria as well as the members of the election petition tribunals are both judges of facts and law. Hence, the requirement for them to be present at the trial in order to be competent to write and deliver judgement. For, how can a judge properly apply the law to the testimonies of witnesses he did not personally see or hear?

 

 

As earlier mentioned, this is not some principle of law invented out of thin air but a principle of justice recognised in all mature legal jurisdictions. In the United States case of the Matter of Whisnant, 71 N.C. App. 439, 441 (1984), Judge Tate presided over a termination of parental rights hearing.  At the close of the hearing he announced his intended order and asked one of the attorneys to “prepare an order with the appropriate findings…reflecting the broad findings that I announced.”  A couple of months later, however, Judge Crotty—not Judge Tate—signed the relevant order, which included detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law.  The Court of Appeals reversed, citing Rule 52 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires a court in a non-jury trial to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law.  Because these findings and conclusions reflect the role of that judge as “both judge and juror,” they cannot be performed by a judge who did not hear the matter. (Emphasis mine).

 

 

Again, the second point that Mr. Odumakin failed to appreciate is the salient difference between the role of an appellate court and that of a trial court. The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal is, to all intents and purposes, a trial court which has the duty to sift through the evidence, listen to witnesses, listen to the oral and written arguments of lawyers and then deliver its judgement based on the evidence evaluated, the witnesses heard and observed and the legal arguments canvassed.

 

 

On the other hand, the role of the appellate court is, generally speaking, to review the proceedings and decisions of the trial court and the role of a higher appellate court is to review the proceeding and decision of the lower appellate court. In other words, an appellate court merely reviews what the trial court has done. It cannot substitute its own views for that of the trial court because it did not evaluate the evidence nor listen to the witnesses. With respect to the instant matter, the question submitted to the Court if Appeal was whether Justice Peter Obiora was competent to deliver the judgement of the tribunal notwithstanding his absence at one of the tribunal sittings.

 

 

Of course, the Court of Appeal could not deliver a judgement beyond the question submitted for its consideration. Similarly, the Supreme Court could not but answer the main question or issue placed before it, namely, whether the Court of Appeal was right in its decision that Justice Peter Obiora was not qualified to deliver the judgement of the tribunal having been absent on one of the days that witnesses appeared before the tribunal.

 

 

I am certain that a better appreciation of the issues would have restrained Mr. Odumakin from penning the July 7, 2019 article published in the Nigerian Tribune.  The only competent body that can conduct gubernatorial elections in Nigeria is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC is also the only competent authority that may declare results. It is therefore pedestrian to argue that the courts ought to have assumed the powers of INEC, extrapolate figures and arrive at what Mr. Odumakin considers the ‘correct’ result of the Osun State gubernatorial election.A court of law must act within the ambits of the law.

 

 

So, we may end this discourse exactly where we began it: John Adams was right in his observation that facts are stubborn things that cannot be altered by our wishes, inclinations and passions. And yes, the fact that Justice Peter Obiora, who wrote and delivered the judgement of the Osun State Election Tribunal was absent on a day when witnesses appeared before the tribunal, is so stubborn that it cannot be wished away by anyone. It is fact. A fact that goes to the competence of Justice Obiora to carry out the judicial act of writing and delivering the judgement of the tribunal. A fact that essentially denies him of jurisdiction and vires to deliver the judgement. As the erudite Justice Oputa rightly observed: “An act done without jurisdiction is a nullity” and, as the immortal Lord Denning espoused, one“cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there.  It will collapse.”

 

 

Let the Yinka Odumakins of our country know that that is not a mere ‘technical’ point of law. It is a universal and foundational principle of justice.

 

 

Akinyede is a legal practitioner based in Osun State

 

 

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The power of storytelling

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I

’ve always been fascinated with stories. It’s one of the reasons why in high school I jettisoned physics, chemistry, and math in favour of literature and history. The decision has served me well in my media and communication career.

I realized early on – to quote the poet Muriel Rukeyser – that “the universe is made up of stories, not atoms.”

 

 

The truth is, stories are not loaded with hard data but rather with something more powerful: emotional data. That’s why we remember good stories long after we first hear them.

 

 

Jesus was a master storyteller. At the age of 12, he theologically confounded the teachers in the Temple. But it was his capacity to tell stories that deeply stirred the souls of those who followed him. He wove familiar elements that his audience could  relate to into his stories – pastures, hills, farmers, sheep, oil and lamps, coins, bandits and highway robbers, etc.

 

 

In workshops, seminars, or conferences on public speaking or communication, my advice is always simple. “Don’t complicate your presentation. Tell stories. Your audience will thank and remember you for it.”

 

 

Whether in journalism, public speaking, or business presentations, the most effective speakers tell stories. What sets them apart is an innate understanding of the needs of their audiences. They know how to connect on an emotional and sensory level, rather than a cerebral one. How do they do it? Stories.

 

 

Sports legend and entrepreneur, Magic Johnson, the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, Virgin Atlantic Founder, Richard Branson, and Kenyan Pan-Africanist lawyer, Patrick Lumumba, distinguish themselves by their amazing storytelling abilities. They connect on a powerful and emotional level when they speak.

 

 

Why are stories important and so powerful?

 

 

Simply because oral tradition has been a part of our DNA for millenia. We are addicted to stories, especially in a digital world of social media dominated by Instagram, twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook. And because stories help bring issues into sharp focus.

 

 

Stories are also important because every single one of us is looking for answers. We connect with appropriate and authentic stories that help us build bonds and bridges. Stories help us recognize that our own experiences are not necessarily unique. Stories help us understand that we are not alone as we navigate this journey called life.

 

 

Good stories should always have three key elements:

 

    *Honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability:* Audiences can tell a fake from a mile away. Your unique life experiences have prepared you well. Tell your stories.

 

 

    *Inspiration:* Life is tough. Your speech or presentation should be a lift and not a burden. Give your audience something to believe in. Inspire them to want to change their world one life at a time.

 

 

    *Clear Lesson:* Before you deliver your speech or presentation, ask yourself, “what is the key takeaway? What’s the lesson I want my audience to leave with? Is it clear and easily understood? Is my logic sequential? Does the story fit the circumstance and needs of the audience? Does it resonate?

 

 

As Plato once said, “those who tell stories rule society.”

 

 

Stories make us laugh. They make us cry. They help change the way we think, perceive and act. They enlighten and provide new insights. They teach values and pass on ancient wisdom. Revolutions have changed nations on account of the narrative-changing power of stories.

 

 

Most importantly, stories transcend the mind and speak deeply to the heart.

 

 

Your authentic story is your power.

 

 

Dr. Victor Oladokun is the Director of Communication and External Relations at the African Development Bank

 

 

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Insecurity: Will we ever get it right in Nigeria?

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Insecurity: Will we ever get it right in Nigeria?

Last week the nation was taken aback when reports filtered in of the murder of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the 58-year-old daughter of Afenifere leader, Reuben Fasoranti. Mrs Olakunrin had just visited her 93-year-old father and was heading back home when suspected herdsmen attacked her car along the Akure-Ore road.

 

And what is becoming a very worrying trend (as if was not already) the assailants rather than blocking the road and giving their victims the chance of ‘cooperating’ or being dispossessed of their valuables by force, opted to shoot first and in the process the woman who resides in the US was struck and later died in hospital due to massive loss of blood.

 

Incidentally before last Friday’s incident a number of videos had been circulating on social media showing people recounting their brushes with death after having their vehicles shot at by the bandits. In one such case for instance, nine suspected armed herdsmen were said to have launched an attack on a Nigerian naval officer who was on his way to Lagos while returning from an official assignment.

 

The attack on Lt. M. Dahiru took place on July 7 at about 1:30 pm along the Benin by-pass by Ahor community, Edo State. Dahiru was returning from an official assignment on the NNS Burutu, a Nigerian navy vessel, when the attack occurred.

 

Just like in the case of Mrs Olakunrin, the attackers never gave him the opportunity of stopping but rather reportedly fired several rounds at Dahiru’s vehicle hitting him in the shoulder. While trying to escape from his assailants, the soldier crashed into another vehicle.

 

Pictures of the incident showed his white Peugeot 307 saloon car full of bullet holes on the bonnet with his boot crumpled from the crash. Sadly in the case of Pa Fasoranti daughter’s death politics crept in with the police insisting that it was a case of armed robbery and kidnapping since their investigation showed that another vehicle and a luxurious bus were also attacked and about eight people abducted.

 

However, this was hotly disputed by Mrs Olakunrin’s brother, Mr. Kehinde Fasoranti, who told journalists that he visited the police station in Ore town shortly after the incident and was told by officers on duty that those who operated and shot his sister were Fulani herdsmen!

 

“We need to get the story straight. The way they operated, according to what the police said in Ore, is the way Fulani herdsmen operate…The story that these are just bandits is a lie. If you want records, request the report I made at the Ore police station. They categorically said the attackers were Fulani herdsmen,” he told the media.

 

But whatever is the true situation, Friday’s incident only further drives home the fact that the security situation in the country is only getting worse by the day and no amount of propaganda by government and her officials can mask this fact!

 

From Sokoto to Zamfara, Borno to Yobe, Benue to Plateau state, we are constantly bombarded with chilling reports of killings, murders and attacks by herdsmen, bandits or ‘unknown gunmen’ slaughtering fellow Nigerians with reckless abandon. In fact, just a few months ago, the nation’s top police office, Mohammed Adamu, who is the Inspector General, reeled out very chilling statistics of the rising lawlessness in the country.

 

Speaking during the quarterly Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council meeting which took place in Kaduna State on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, Adamu said that 1,071 people were killed in crime-related cases in the first quarter of 2019. Of course the figures would have drastically shot up considering all the killings, murders and abductions that have taken place after his presentation. It is very clear that the nation did not get to this precarious situation overnight – it is obvious that failure by governments at all levels to face the situation with all the seriousness it required played a big part.

 

For instance, it still beats the imagination that the same set of people saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties, and who have clearly failed to do so from the daily reports we get, are still keeping their jobs. Like I have noted in previous write ups, the famous German theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results!” And yet we are still going down the same path. But why security chiefs are on their own not trying anything differently is also a source for concern.

 

Four years ago, a former Secretary to the Government, Chief Olu Falaye was attacked and abducted on his Ilado farm in Akure. Chief Falaye, who was also a one-time Finance Minister, insisted that it was six Fulani herdsmen who had carried out the abduction. And yet here we are years later still talking about the same set of people who rather than being degraded have become more daring, brutal and more widespread in carrying out their dastardly actions. This is clearly a sign that we have not learnt any lessons from previous incidences and evolved correspondingly to tackle them.

 

When Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda successfully breached the defences of the US intelligence agencies and carried out their multiple attacks on mainland America in 2001, the agencies did soul searching checked what they did wrong and have ensured that no such large scale attack has taken place since then.

 

The same thing in the UK, where security and intelligence services working in synch have been able to foil a repeat of the 7/7 (July 7) attacks of 2005, which killed 52 people of 18 different nationalities and injured more than 700 in Britain’s deadliest terrorist incident since the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 near Lockerbie, Scotland, and England’s deadliest since the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, as well as the country’s first Islamist suicide attack.

 

While it is good for our leaders to show empathy with the victims when such sad incidents happen, what we will want more than anything else is for them not to have to do so because they would not have to console bereaved families having ensured enhanced security across the land. Intelligence gathering should be stepped up by all those concerned with our security, while they should also be equipped with the latest gadgets in order to successfully carry out the very important task of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens.

 

Government should also not shy away from seeking assistance from wherever so long as it will improve the performances of our security services and allow citizens go about their daily chores without fearing for their lives. It is a given that an economy can only thrive in a safe and secure environment – of which, unfortunately, Nigeria is far from.

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Hearing impairment

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Hearing impairment

A Yoruba nollywood actress fondly referred to as ‘’no network’’ elicits a spinning laughter when she is immersed in her thespian role. It is essentially that of someone that is hard of hearing, someone that echoes and acts ‘’go’’ when ‘’come’’ was the actual instruction………….always hearing and carrying out the contrary.

 

As funny as her role seems, it’s actually a portrayal of a very disturbing condition. What it is This is a reduced ability to hear sounds in the same way as other people.

 

• Mild hearing loss: One-on-one conversations are fine, but it’s hard to catch every word when there’s background noise.

 

• Moderate hearing loss: You often need to ask people to repeat themselves during conversations in person and on the phone. • Severe hearing loss: Following a conversation is almost impossible unless you have a hearing aid.

 

• Profound hearing loss: You can’t hear when other people speaking, unless they are extremely loud. You can’t understand what they’re saying without a hearing aid.

 

Deafness: This occurs when a person cannot understand speech through hearing, even when sound is amplified.

 

Profound deafness: This refers to a total lack of hearing.

 

An individual with profound deafness is unable to detect sound at all. Types of hearing loss Hearing loss is defined as one of three types:

 

• Conductive (involves outer or middle ear)

 

• Sensorineural (involves inner ear)

 

• Mixed (combination of the two) The act of hearing Sound waves enter the ear, move down the ear or auditory canal, and hit the eardrum, which vibrates. The vibrations from the eardrum pass to three bones known as the ossicles in the middle ear.

 

These ossicles amplify the vibrations, which are then picked up by small hair-like cells in the cochlea. These move as the vibrations hit them, and the movement data is sent through the auditory nerve to the brain.

 

The brain processes the data, which a person with functional hearing will interpret as sound. Causes of hearing impairment

 

• Damage to the inner ear. Aging and exposure to loud noise may cause wear and tear on the hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea (the sense organ that translates sound into nerve impulses to be sent to the brain). When these hairs or nerve cells are damaged or missing, electrical signals aren’t transmitted as efficiently, and hearing loss occurs. Higher pitched tones may become muffled to you. It may become difficult for you to pick out words against background noise.

 

• Gradual buildup of earwax. Earwax can block the ear canal and prevent conduction of sound waves. Earwax removal can help restore your hearing.

 

• Ear infection and abnormal bone growths or tumors. In the outer or middle ear, any of these can cause hearing loss.

 

• Ruptured eardrum (tympanic membrane perforation). Loud blasts of noise, sudden changes in pressure, poking your eardrum with an object and infection can cause your eardrum to rupture and affect your hearing. Risk factors

 

• Aging. Degeneration of inner ear structures occurs over time. • Loud noise. Exposure to loud sounds can damage the cells of your inner ear. Damage can occur with long-term exposure to loud noises, or from a short blast of noise, such as from a gunshot. • Heredity. Genetic makeup may make one more susceptible to ear damage from sound or deterioration from aging.

 

• Occupational noises. Jobs where loud noise is a regular part of the working environment, such as farming, construction or factory work, can lead to damage inside your ear.

 

• Recreational noises. Exposure to explosive noises, such as from firearms and jet engines, can cause immediate, permanent hearing loss. Other recreational activities with dangerously high noise levels include power biking, carpentry or listening to loud music.

 

• Some medications. Drugs such as the antibiotic gentamicin, sildenafil (Viagra) and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the inner ear.

 

Temporary effects on your hearing — ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or hearing loss — can occur if you take very high doses of aspirin, other pain relievers, antimalarial drugs (chloroquine and quinine) or loop diuretics (drugs that rid the body of water)

 

• Some illnesses. Diseases or illnesses that result in high fever, such as meningitis, may damage the cochlea. Symptoms In adults

 

• Have trouble following a conversation when more than one person speaks at once

 

• Think other people are mumbling or not speaking clearly • Often misunderstand what others say and respond inappropriately

 

• Get complaints that the TV is too loud

 

 

• Hear ringing, roaring, or hissing sounds in your ears, known as tinnitus • High-pitched sounds, such as children’s and female voices,

 

• The sounds “S” and “F” become harder to make out. In infants

 

• Before the age of 4 months, the baby does not turn their head toward a noise. • By the age of 12 months, the baby still has not uttered a single word.

 

• The infant does not appear to be startled by a loud noise.

 

• The infant responds to you when they can see you, but respond far less or do not respond at all when you are out of sight and call out their name.

 

• The infant only seems to be aware of certain sounds. In toddlers and children

 

• The child is behind others the same age in oral communication.

 

• The child keeps saying “What?” or “Pardon?”

 

• The child talks in a very loud voice, and tends to produce louder-than-normal noises.

 

• When the child speaks, their utterances are not clear. What to do Please visit or take your ward to visit the hospital as soon as possible when any abnormality is noted.

 

The general practitioner will surely make a referral to the ear, nose and throat doctor.

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