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Looters’ list: ‘You be thief, I no be thief…’

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Looters’ list: ‘You be thief, I no be thief…’

You be thief (I no be thief)
You be rogue (I no be rogue)
You dey steal (I no dey steal)
You be robber (I no be robber)
You be armed robber (No be armed robber)
Argument, argument, argue
Them argue
Everybody dem argue
Dem dem argue
Up and down them argue
– Fela Anikulapo-Kuti – Authority Stealing (1980)

When the late great Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti released his monster hit “Authority Stealing” way back in the early 80s little did he realise that 38 years after it will leap from just being a song to becoming a major topic for discussion across the land.
For those not familiar with the track let me summarise what the late “Abami Eda” said in the album. The late musician accused those in authority of being worse than armed robbers and deserving of hanging because the impact of their stealing is felt more than those of armed robbers’.

According to the late musician, those who steal by abusing their positions of authority take from the commonwealth of the people while armed robbers just rob a few.
In the past couple of weeks Nigerians and indeed the whole world have been treated to the theatre of the absurd as the two prominent parties – the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – have exposed their dirty linen in public by revealing their looters’ lists
The APC set the ball rolling by releasing what it dubbed the names of those who had brazenly looted the commonwealth of the people while they were the party in power.
Of course, the list was made up totally of members of the opposition party with no APC member’s name on it.

This immediately brought howls of derision from not only the PDP but a number of other commentators who wondered how it was possible that not a single member of the APC had been caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar.
However, the PDP immediately fired back, first claiming that many of the “thieves” had already left the “umbrella” to pick up the “broom” ahead of the 2015 general elections and then followed up by releasing their own looters’ list with all the names expectantly belonging to those in the APC.

But while the slanging match makes for good copy and headlines for the traditional and social media, the truth is of what purpose has the “looters list” served?
Sadly, long gone are the days when a “good name” meant the world to people. Now it appears that wealth is more important than reputation.

That is how far the nation has degenerated as the years have gone by. If not after what the military did to the politicians when they struck again on the night of December 31, 1983; the new generation of politicians should be terrified of touching money not meant for them for fear of what might happen to them.

But since they (politicians) believe they are above the law and will never have their day in court they continue to dip their hands into the nation’s cookie jar to the detriment of the development of the nation.
Is it little wonder that many of the major infrastructural developments in the nation took place when the military was in power?

It is not as if there was no stealing or corruption; but the simple truth is that those dipping their hands in the cookie jar were not as many as the hands now, which means that in spite of the theft there was still enough money left to carry out major developments across the land.

Thus it was under the military that the nation’s new capital city, Abuja, sprung up, expressways built all over to make connecting cities very easy and such ways which readily spring to mind are the Lagos-Ibadan, Benin-Sagamu, Oshodi-Apapa, Abuja-Kaduna, Enugu-Port Harcourt and Onitsha-Enugu to mention but a few.
But sadly decades after being built, successive civilian governments since 1999 have failed to maintain them leaving many in terrible states of repair.

In fact the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway is virtually a no go area for many, which has prompted many companies and businesses to move out of the prime locale; government is still struggling to finish the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, years after the contract was first awarded during the time of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, whose tenure ended in 2007!

Some other key roads yet to receive major attention include the Onitsha-Enugu and Enugu-Port Harcourt expressways; while the Benin-Sagamu Expressway is yet to be completed, having only been done up to Ore. The stretch from Ore to Sagamu is in a very terrible shape. The Second Niger Bridge, which has been awarded a “million times”, is still a mirage.

Is it in health, power or education or what? The list is endless of failed promises by the various political parties to improve the lot of their people only to leave the stage with the people worse off than when they came into office!
Alas, despite all the of problems besetting the nation, the country’s most prominent parties, which have held sway since the return to civilian rule 19 years ago, are busy engaging in mundane issues – a reflection of the type of personalities ruling us.
It is sad that the same APC, which had for long resisted attempts by the opposition to cajole it into releasing the names of supposed looters on the grounds that it could jeopardise legal actions against them, finally backed down and opted to release the names.
However, in doing so I believed the APC goofed because what they have simply just done is to open a Pandora’s Box of “You be thief, I no be thief”!

Following this example, what stops the next government, should APC lose the next elections, from also coming up with its own list of looters?
Like Fela said in “Army Arrangement,” government can always come up with “evidence” to prove one’s guilt even in the face of obvious facts to the contrary.
Since both parties have opted to fight dirty let’s see where this will lead the nation at the end of the day. However, rather than resulting to mudslinging I would have loved them to come together to tackle the monster once and for all – because like their catch phrase, “if we don’t kill corruption; corruption will kill the country!”

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Adamu Muhammad Julde

    October 14, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    all Nigerian politicians are looters. more especially Baba go slow.

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Perspectives

100 days in office: Gov. Zulum as Roosevelt’s good student

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100 days in office: Gov. Zulum as Roosevelt’s good student

Different countries have had their own share of economic depression and political turmoil. While some wriggled out of their socioeconomic and political quagmire, others allow such problems to become their albatross. What accounted for the difference between countries, which survived devastating effects of depression and those, which allowed the problems to consume them largely depended on leadership style and political will. The experience of America under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has shown that government’s intervention in economic crisis can be effective if it is right. Roosevelt was inaugurated on March 4, 1933 having won the US election in 1932.

This was at a time when most banks in the U.S. were insolvent. Over 10,000 banks had failed and $2 billion were lost in deposit. Expectedly, there was fear and panic among depositors. But the president assured a dejected nation using his famous words: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

For him, it was not just about rhetoric; it was about building a political reputation and viable economy that will allay the fear of a dispirited nation. Just a day after assumption of office, Roosevelt declared a “bank holiday,” closing all banks indefinitely until the situation improved. Although the situation was critical, the term “holiday” was used to douse the tension and gave hope to depositors. Roosevelt did not bailout his country alone. He relied on the U.S. Congress to carry out his reforms. The Congress gave him a tremendous support. The president got everything he wanted and in today’s politics, the Congressmen would have been labelled as rubber stamp legislators.

The Emergency Banking Bill sent by the president was passed overwhelmingly by the Congress with little debate to pave the way for solution to the banking sector. This gave a lifeline to some banks and on March 12 they were opened for business. Just 24 hours after, depositors found reason those banks should be trusted again by depositing their money, which they had hitherto kept at home, with the banks. And for the first time during the depression, deposits exceeded withdrawals. Both the Congress and the public became convinced from the outset that Roosevelt was on the right track.

Roosevelt’s strategy comprised two parts: first, he provided relief for those in need mostly through redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Second, he re-organised and created new agencies. This provided long-lasting reform to the U.S. economy. Political observers described most of Roosevelt’s policies as “taking from one pocket to put in another.”

So, in his first 100 days, he concentrated on immediate relief. From March 9 to June 16, 1933, he sent to the Congress a record number of bills, all of which were passed without hassle by the congressmen. It was the success recorded by Roosevelt in his first 100 days that has now become the benchmark used in assessing whether a new government in different countries is on the right track or not. In other words, marking the first 100 days of a new government is Roosevelt’s legacy and gift for politicians to know the importance of hitting the ground running immediately. The only problem is that in some developing countries, the idea is misconstrued by governments to be an occasion for celebration, a misconception of what the first 100 days of an administration is meant to achieve.

Roosevelt went on to win election as the US president a record four times before the constitution was amended in 1951 to limit the tenure of a president to two terms. I have read opinions suggesting that in the first 100 days of an administration, the government should do something tangible in line with its electioneering promise. Providing a change in the first 100 days is relative.

The truth is that the first 100 days may not necessarily have any meaningful impact on the people and a serious government should avoid falling into the pit of populism by emphatising with the public at all times using unrealistic proposal. Policies should reflect the will of the generality of the people.

All sides of the coins should be looked at before the government arrives at a decision that will bring about general societal gains. Most Nigerian politicians are usually populists during electioneering such that they often forget that placing too much emphasis on populism in their programmes and policies could be dangerous and make them unpopular if reality dawns on them that some of the electioneering promises cannot be easily fulfilled as they had presented them during campaign. Of course, people will be easily dejected and feel deceived.

Populism as a political doctrine makes politicians look charismatic in the eyes of the people since they use rhetoric to aggressively defend the interest of the masses at the expense of the privileged elite. During his first electioneering, U.S. President Barack Obama promised that in his first 100 days, he would close the Guantanamo Bay camp without considering the consequences of such action. Although such populist statement was well applauded during electioneering, when the chips were down, it dawned on Obama that his plan was not only unrealistic; it could also compromise the safety of Americans. That indiscretion was Obama’s moral burden throughout his tenure.

This is the political damage that populism causes at times. Reasons have been advanced that populist policies have the tendency to harm rather than assuage the pains of the majority because it thrives more on pity and emotion rather than reasons. President Muhammadu Buhari like Roosevelt should concentrate on immediate relief and avoid controversial economic policies. A little bit to the right and a little bit to the left won’t be a bad idea. He should avoid a situation whereby he will be on the defensive most times explaining his programmes and policies to the populace because they are vague.

Like the Congressmen did for Roosevelt, our lawmakers should do the same for the president, particularly when his party, All Progressives Congress, is in the majority at the National Assembly. This is not a time to arm-twist the president for pecuniary gains. It is expected that the 9th National Assembly won’t be hostile to the executive as witnessed during the 8th National Assembly. It is a good thing that the president this time around showed more than a passing interest on how the leadership of the 9th National Assembly emerged. However, this does not mean that the lawmakers should be rubber stamps.

The Congressmen were not rubber stamps under Roosevelt’s Presidency. Yet, a lot was achieved through cooperation and American citizens were better for it. While nothing much could be achieved by most governors in their first 100 days, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has shown that much could the achieved within a short period of time if those at the helms of affairs are determined and have the politica will. The governor has reportedly inaugurated 120 projects in a state where insecurity remains a major challenge owing to Boko Haram insurgency. Most of the projects are at various stages of completion.

Infrastructures are not abstract. The people will see them, feel them and relate with them if they are available. Perhaps, the governor would have done more except for the security challenges, which made it difficult to access some areas. The Zulum example is what the first 100 days of an administration should look like as defined and practicalised by Roosevelt. Thumbs up for Zulum, things can only get better in Borno. Congratulation, Mr. Governor.

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Perspectives

Practising witchcraft in marriage?

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Practising witchcraft in marriage?

The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines witchcraft as “the activity of performing magic to help or harm other people.” Collins Dictionary defines witchcraft as “the practice of magic powers, especially evil ones.” Marriage is not man’s idea. It was a creation of God in Genesis chapter 2. After originating marriage, God provided the rules of engagement in the Holy Bible, the word of God. Every brand new car comes with a manufacturer’s manual. Any attempt to operate the car outside the guidelines of the manual can create problems.

In the same vein, any attempt to operate marriage outside the provisions of the word of God leaves you with a marital crisis to contend with. Now, if you believe in God as your creator and believe in his instructions, your decisions or attempt to disobey his instruction is an act of rebellion, even when you offer him sacrifices such as songs, all night prayers, lavish monetary donations in church, and so on.

“But Samuel replied: Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams:

FOR REBELLION IS LIKE THE SIN OF WITCHCRAFT and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry” (1st Samuel 15:22-23).

You are unmarried and you have the aspiration to marry your own husband and be joyful in marriage. You are being advised to consider God’s guidelines concerning such venture. You are telling your adviser to put Bible aside and allow you to do things your own way.

It is witchcraft because rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and unknown to you, you are about to practice magic and do yourself evil. You have a conflict with your spouse. Efforts are being made to use the word of God to resolve the issue.

You are saying things like: “Please, keep the Bible out of this. I won’t accept it.” My dear, you have embarked on an activity that can help you to harm yourself and your spouse, which is witchcraft. You are rebelling against the word of God and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Your spouse has offended you but despite his or her repentance and remorse over the offence, you have refused to forgive him or her despite all the Biblical references being presented before you. You have even vowed to deal with him or her in retaliation. You are simply practicing witchcraft by rebelling against God and his word in Matthew 5:38-39, 43-48.

“If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house” (Proverbs 17:13). You are having sex with someone you are not legally married to. God in his mercy is using people to bring your attention to God’s position on what you are doing. You are telling them to leave you alone to continue living contrary to God’s expectations. You are practicing witchcraft in marriage by rebelling against God and hurting or harming your spouse. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.

You are stealing from or defrauding your spouse, claiming to be wise, in line with the coaching or influence of your ungodly friends, even though you know that the wisdom of the world is foolishness unto God (1st Corinthians 3:19). You are practising witchcraft in marriage because you are rebelling against God’s word; and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry.

The danger of witchcraft in marriage and rebellion against God’s word is that there is a reward. God said: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18). It is not the duty of any mortal to identify, fight or kill a witch on God’s behalf. However, this scripture indicates that God hates witchcraft. Anyone practising witchcraft is God’s enemy and does not deserve his mercy to enjoy life or peace. Do you now see why peace has eluded many people in marriage? “An evil man is bent only on rebellion.

A merciless official will be sent against him” (Proverbs 17:11). When you are practicing witchcraft in a marriage or premarital relationship, you are an evil man and you could unknowingly navigate towards violating the laws of the land and paying penalty for your offence.

If you are involved in wife battering, child abuse, rape, fraud, stealing and other crimes, you are practising witchcraft and breaking the laws of the land at the same time. A merciless official will be sent against you to arrest and prosecute you.

Today, examine your ways and be sure you are not practising witchcraft in your premarital or marital relationship. To be liberated from any form of witchcraft practise, you need to surrender your heart to Jesus Christ. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: FOR WITHOUT ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING” (John 15:5). If you desire a joyful marriage, you must avoid the practise of witchcraft and obey God’s word.

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Perspectives

7.2% VAT hike: Here we go again

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7.2% VAT hike: Here we go again

Plenty plenty water for Africa

Na so-so water in Africa

Water underground, water in the air

Na so-so water in Africa

Water for man to drink nko O!

(CHORUS) E-no dey

E-no dey e dey

(CHORUS) E-no dey

Water for town

(CHORUS) E-no dey

Government sef e dey?

(CHORUS) E-no dey

-Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s ‘Original Suffer

Head’ (1981)

 

I am again turning to the ‘People’s musician’, the late Abami Eda, Fela Anikulapo Kuti to once again illustrate the happenings in this our amazing country called Nigeria. The above couple of stanzas were taken from an album released by the Afro Beat maestro way back in 1981, which he titled: “Original Suffer Head”.

In the song, Fela sang about the many problems the average Nigerian was suffering ranging from the high price of food, no power, no water and housing amongst others. On the other hand, Fela, who died on August 2, 1997, in the same record also pointed out that while the average Nigerian was suffering those he called “big people” were enjoying because they had food, lived in decent accommodation and had generators to provide themselves with electricity. This is his exact lyrics from the song concerning the power and food situation: “Na the big-big men dey get electric If them no get electric Dem go Get plant O Ordinary light for man nko O (CHORUS) E-no- dey Na so-so plenty food for Africa Ordinary food for man for chop nko O E-no dey Government sef e dey? E no dey” Sadly 38 years and 10 Nigerian leaders later the reality is that not much has changed. In fact, many might even say the plight of the average Nigerian is bleaker now than it was back then when Fela released the song.

What is startling is the fact that government is again about to take citizens on another journey promises without them at the end of the day enjoying any corresponding tangible benefits. And what do I mean by this, let me explain. Sticking to an already well tested script, which has served them in the past, early this year, in March to be precise; two senior officials of the Federal Government, the then Budget and National Planning Minister, Udo Udoma and the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, dropped the hint of government’s intention to increase Value Added Tax by 50 per cent as part of adjustments aimed funding the 2019 budget. According to Fowler, the proposed payable VAT based on the increment would be between 6.75 percent and 7.25 per cent as against the five per cent on all products in the country.

This implies an increase of between 35 per cent and 50 percent. He added that the increment will affect the Company Income Tax and the Petroleum Profit Tax. Predictably the announcements immediately drew reactions, with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) cautioned the Federal Government against increasing VAT.

The uproar that greeted the kite flying made government to back down insisting that it was still being considered and no firm decision had been taken. However, last week the government finally showed their hand and announced that it agreed to increase VAT from its current 5 percent to 7.2 per cent and when it is implemented, it is expected to generate not less than N2 trillion into the government coffers in 2020. No one can begrudge government for trying to improve its revenue base. Unfortunately if history is anything to go by most of the citizens will again be left with the short end of the stick. Incidentally as at the time “Original Suffer Head” was released, the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS), more popularly known as petrol was 15.3k per litre.

In fact, it had only just been increased three years earlier by the then Military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo from 9k a gargantuan leap of 70%. Of course in making the adjustment the Head of State told citizens that the government needed more money in order to provide better services for them in the area of roads, security, power, health and so on. Since this price hike of October 1, 1978 the pump price of fuel has been adjusted a staggering 23 times with every single leader giving the same reasons for what they acknowledged to be “painful but necessary action” in order to provide more services.

However, still not satisfied with the increased revenue from the increase in pump price, in 1994, after receiving the report of the study group set up by the Federal Government in 1991 to review the entire tax system, government, in January of that year, kicked off VAT after the promulgation of the Value Added Tax Decree No. 102 of 1993.

This was to further boost government’s coffers as unlike the Sales Tax, which covered only nine categories of goods plus sales and services in registered hotels, motels, and similar establishments, VAT base is broader and includes most professional services and banking transactions which are high profit-generating sectors.

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the VAT pool in 2018 at N1.1 trillion, while the Federal Inland Revenue Service has already generated more than N600 billion in the first half of 2019. Going by the NBS 2018 figures, the recent increase in VAT from five percent to 7.2 percent (2.2 percent addition), representing 44 percent increase, and is expected to generate an additional N484 billion yearly. And by the current sharing formula, the Federal Government will get N73 billion; states, N242 billion; and councils, N170 billion.

But can we, in all honesty, say that citizens have also seen a marked improvement in their general wellbeing in the wake of these various increases? The answer is no. People still cannot access improved health care facilities, nor enjoy portable water, good roads or even enhanced security! Instead while the generality of the citizens have seen their standards of living going south; the political elite have seen theirs go north! And it is because of the general mismanagement of the nation’s commonwealth at all levels of government – local, state and federal – that many are against any form of increased financial burden in whatever guise because at the end of the day the money will not be put to good use. Despite the difficult economic situation of the country, governments and our representatives have not deemed it fit to help out by reducing their wages, emoluments and other overhead costs.

Instead, they are giving the impression that they are already making sacrifices by “donating” their time to represent us. Thus why they (political class) can quickly pass bills that will benefit them; they are struggling to come up with a new minimum wage. The bottom line is that if the citizens see that their money is actually being put to good use, many will be more than willing to pay more with minimal complaints not minding what the politicians are doing. The sooner politicians realise this, then the sooner things will begin to improve, not only for themselves but more importantly the the generality of Nigerians and the nation overall through good roads, decent health care and enhanced security amongst other things.

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Perspectives

I’m an Englishman in New York

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I’m an Englishman in New York

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner aka Sting is an English singer, songwriter, and actor. He was the principal songwriter, lead singer, and bassist for the new wave rock band ‘’the Police’’ from 1977 to 1986, and launched a solo career in 1985. The chorus of his 1987 single headlined captures it all;

‘’Oh, I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien

I’m an Englishman in New York

Oh, I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien

I’m an Englishman in New York’’

A critical analysis of the dramatis personae portrayed by Sting revealed the following;

The subject is well oriented

He has awareness of who he is and his legal status

He has awareness of where he came from and his present location

He has a sound memory recall

Imagine the reverse of these; the subject is not aware of who he is, unaware of his legal status and doesn’t know where he came from and the present location and worst of all has an impaired memory. He is surely as bad as being lost!

The scene

Mama AJK lives with her daughter and son-in-law in the satellite town area of Lagos. She has had having recurrent bouts of memory loss over the years for which various orthodox and unorthodox medications have been used. She is also a known diabetic. On a fateful morning, she was home with the maid who had to dash out to buy some items in the neighbourhood market. She returned later and assumed Mama was in bed as is customary. About 3 hours later she went to her room to get her for lunch only to discover she was absent, searched and searched the whole house, compound, adjoining houses and neighbourhood but Mama was nowhere in sight. The search continued over the next 2 weeks but graciously enough a neighbor called their attention to a ‘’special announcement’’ on television which indicated Mama had been found in Badagry! The old woman looked unkempt, could not recall how she got there or what actually happened and was unable to recognize any member of the household including her daughter!!

What could have gone amiss, could she be suffering from a memory impairing disease?

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that leads to slow destruction of brain cells which in turn leads to impairment of memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.

The process

In Alzheimer’s disease, when brain cells start to deteriorate, the body attempts to stop this process by producing a protein called amyloid. However, amyloid deposits build up in the brain, leading to further deterioration. These deposits of amyloid are referred to as “plaques” and cause the brain cells to shrivel up and form “tangles”, which in turn lead to changes in the brain structure and cause the brain cells to die. The formation of plaques and tangles also prevents the production of some important brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters (eg: acetylcholine, which is important in memory function). Over time the loss of brain cells causes the brain to shrink.

Causes

While there is no known cause for Alzheimer’s disease, it has been indicated that the following factors may play an important role in the development of the condition:

Genetic factors, such as the presence of, or changes to, certain genes

Environmental factors, such as long-term exposure to some environmental solvents (eg: pesticides, glues and paints) or infection with certain viruses or bacteria

Lifestyle factors, such as a lack of exercise, poor-quality sleep and a diet lacking fruit and vegetables.

However, it is now believed that a combination of these lifestyle, environmental and genetic risk factors trigger an abnormal biological process in the brain that, over time, results in Alzheimer-type dementia.  Identified risk factors for developing the condition include:

Old age, Down syndrome, History of a head injury, Smoking, Alcohol intake, Family history of Alzheimer’s disease, Obesity, High blood pressure, High cholesterol and Diabetes.

The catch

Symptoms commonly experienced during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease include:

Mild forgetfulness – especially short-term memory loss

Mood changes, including irritability and anxiety

Difficulty processing new information and learning new things

Loss of spontaneity and initiative

Confusion about time and place

Communication difficulties

Decline in ability to perform routine tasks.

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses the following symptoms may develop:

Increasing short-term memory loss and confusion

Difficulty recognising family and friends

Shorter attention span and feelings of restlessness

Difficulty with reading, writing and numbers

Possibly neglectful of hygiene

Loss of appetite

Personality changes (eg: aggression, significant mood swings)

Requires increasing assistance with daily tasks.

Towards the later stages of the disease the following symptoms may be experienced:

Inability to understand or use speech

Inability to hold urine / faeces

Inability to recognise self or family

Severe disorientation

Increasing immobility and sleep time.

Diagnosis of the condition is via history taking, examination and request for some tests.

Treatment

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, treatment focuses on managing symptoms, associated chronic conditions and supporting the person and their family.

Preventive measures

Stop smoking and cut down on alcohol

eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight

staying physically fit and mentally active

Avoid exposure to pesticides, glues and paints

These measures have other health benefits, such as lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving overall health.

Please note!

The picture painted above was replicated in the past week when a septuagenarian was declared missing after haven visited a hospital unaccompanied. It is therefore expedient that someone should always be in the company of the elderly if they must venture out of the safety of the home environment.

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Onoja and the life of a political warrior

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Onoja and the life of a political warrior

MUHAMMAD BASHIR writes on the political exploits of the Chief-of-Staff to the Kogi State Governor, who is seen as a hardliner and someone who always surmount the insurmountable.

 

 

The Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor, Chief Edward David Onoja, is called the White Oracle not only because of his political sagacity but also because of his political triumphs. He always gets what he want, whenever he goes for it. The 45-year-old from Odidoko-Emonyoku in Ogugu District of Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State, is not a political green horn, as his political exploits started right from his school days.

During his student unionism days at the  University of Jos, Onoja wield his political expertise to install the first Student Union Government (SUG) President from the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Venturing into conventional politics, Onoja played a major role in ensuring victory of whoever he backs. One of the best quality that can never be taken from him, is having nose for a quality and credible leader, little wonder why he has always been passionate about the success of President Muhammadu Buhari. Chief Onoja in 2010 had galvanised support for Buhari during the defunct CPC era.

In the build-up to the 2015 presidential elections, Onoja became Project Director of the Kogi Youths Arise Group (KYAG) under the chairmanship and sponsorship of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, now the 4th executive governor of Kogi State.

The group mobilised thousands of youths to campaign for the Change Agenda of the APC in Kogi State and beyond. They were instrumental in delivering the state for the APC, which contributed in no small measure to the ultimate victory of their mentor and role model, President Muhammadu Buhari.

Later that same year, Edward became Head of Campaigns and Chief Strategist for the Yahaya Bello Campaign Organisation, leading a team of hitherto unknown, but equally passionate, youngsters into the nook and cranny of Kogi State canvassing for his candidate.

Through his doggedness and passion for success, Onoja played a pivotal role in ensuring that APC defeated an incumbent PDP governor to make Yahaya Bello the governor.

Given his expertise and political know-how, Onoja generally known as Chief or White Oracle won 25 seats in the Kogi State House of Assembly. The APC also won seven out of the nine federal constituency seats in the state and got  two senatorial seats.

Before the 2015 gubernatorial election in the state, Onoja was among the few  that believed in the Bello candidacy. He was faithful and stuck to his current boss until they took over the government from the PDP.

His loyalty to Governor Bello earned him the first appointment as the Chief of Staff, even when some were mumbling over his appointment. In several fora, the governor has always ascribed to him (Onoja) as his twin.

These diverse political overtures and experiences imparted him with the experience which currently serves him well in handling difficult political situations.

Onoja as a youth emancipator, have singlehandedly turn around the fortune of Kogi youths from thuggery to personalities to be reckoned with. The Chief-of-Staff, whose midas touch have positively affected kogi youths contributed to the peaceful coexistence the state is currently enjoying.

He ensured that youths in the state occupy enviable positions ranging from commissioners, local government administrators, special advisers, and heads of board and parastatals, among others.

Without mincing words, the next level administration of Governor Bello wouldn’t have succeeded without the huge input from Onoja. His tenacity in governance and politics armedtwisted the APC to nominate him as the running mate to Governor Bello ahead of the November 16 gubernatorial election.

A chieftain of the APC in the Central Senatorial District, Abdulazees Mohammed, who is also a former Special Assistant to a former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, described the nomination of Onoja as Governor Bello’s running mate as a perfect combination.

Mohammed further maintained that, besides increasing the fortune of Yahaya Bello in the forth coming election, his commitments and loyalty towards the success of the APC-led government under is unprecedented, stressing that as the current Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor, Chief Onoja has demonstrated uncommon loyalty, trust and sincerity which is rare amongst today’s politician.

According to him, the nomination as Bello’s running mate would have averted or reduced the likelihood of animosity, disloyalty, absence of understanding that has become of most governors and their deputies in the country today, describing the nomination as well thought and deserved.

Hon. Abdulazeez who disclosed this to our correspondent, also commended Governor Bello for empowering a sizable crop of the youths and women across the state, adding that the state shall witness multi-dimensional development if elected.

He called on the good people of the state to support the re-election bid of Governor Bello for a prosperous Kogi.

The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Muhammed Onogwu, while describing the quality of Onoja, said: “Many people have come to describe Edward Onoja with different appellation; with some describing him as a political oracle, some call him an enigma while others see him as a spiritual leader because of his prophetic manifestation.

“Laced with an immeasurable level of empathy, love for the people and charitable gesture, Edward Onoja has come to epitomise the living reference of an uncommon philanthropist.”

“Giving his iconic characteristics, unmitigated appetite for justice, proclivity for fairness and equity,  the Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor undoubtedly mirrors egalitarianism. He epitomizes nature’s template of what a man thrust with responsibility posits.”

“He is politically witty, courageously strategic and bravely poised in dismantling the chocking old order of political domination, offensive nepotism, tribal hegemony, favouritism and religious bigotry. Gifted with the innate ability of seamless negotiation, oratorical prowess, and the political wherewithal, he navigates and closes the gaps between the old and the new order, bringing to common compromise different ethnic, political and cultural orientations.”

“Edward Onoja embodies the essential qualities of the great American Diplomat in history; Henry Kissinger-renowned negotiator, geopolitical Consultant, custodian of political idealism and pragmatism.”

He said the unrivalled role in the overwhelming success of the APC in the 2019 General elections can not be easily forgotten.

“A young, committed and audacious Edward confronted the old system and broke the yoke of excruciating hegemony. With tact, domesticated vigour and intimate pact with the grassroots, he set the new order that defines inclusiveness. Traversing the hinterland along the interior villages at the boundary of Benue, crossing the Mabolo River along the boundaries of Enugu and Anambra states, identifying our brothers and sisters who were merely Kogites by geographical description but have be forgotten by the government in the past, Edward identified with them redirected their traces back to their roots and ensured government made impact in their communities.”

Chief Onoja was recently conferred with grand commander of Igala kingdom organised by the most revered Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA) an umbrella body of all associations in Igala land.

The first of it kind tittle bestowed on him came along with several commendation by some indigenes in the state.   

The story of Igalaland according Mohammed Onogwu cannot be told without the mention of Edward Onoja today. “He did not only erase the memory of the past maladministration and lack of basic amenities and infrastructure which had become the age-long insignia that differentiate Kogi East from other senatorial districts of the state, but he has also written his name in the historical marble as one who brought fortunes to the people of his ancestral constituency.”

He said  the last time Ibana-Okpo-Ikeje-Emonyoku-Odidoko-Ogugu-Ette road got government attention was during the reign of Prince Abubakar Audu of blessed memory, saying that Two Igala sons had governed the state while that road remained in deplorable condition.

“But today, it has been rehabilitated for the benefit of the people. Also, the Umomi-Akpagidigbo-Ugwolawo-Ajaka-Idah road, Ankpa-Okpo Express Junction road which were hitherto abandoned for years are now fixed. All things are equal; no politician is ideologically connected with the grassroots in Kogi East as Edward Onoja today. “

“Within Olamaboro local government area where he hails from, over 30 boreholes in over 17 communities have been provided as part of his constituency projects. Renovation of schools and scholarship to hundreds of students annually, offsetting medical bills of indigent patients, construction of town halls and worship centres, youth and women empowerment and support for entrepreneurship and participation in socio-cultural activities including the recently built and commissioned Igala Unity House has endeared Edward Onoja to the hearts of the Igalas.”

“Giving to his impact on Igala soil, Edward was recently conferred with the award of “Grand Commander of Igala Kingdom” by the highest Igala Socio-cultural Organisation, the Igala Cultural Development Association at Anyigba.

From the Riverfront of Bassa local government area, through the hinterland of Dekina, Ankpa, Ofu, Igalamela to the Riverbank of Idah and riverine settlement of Ibaji, the administration of Yahaya Bello dots various communities with one project or the other.”

Also extolling Onoja’s virturs, the former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists kogi state council, comrade Ali Atabor, this is the first time in the history of Kogi state a Chief of Staff to a governor commands much respect even from his political adversaries.

Atabor who is equally the trustee member of the NUJ national body, argued that Kogi State would have been greater if the kind of Onoja have been in governance of the state, since its creation.

“As a journalists I am not good at praise singing, but I am force to say that the relationship between the Chief-of-Staff and the governor is so cordial and healthy for the state,” he added.

Chief Edward David Onoja will be running mate to his boss, Governor Bello for the coming gubernatorial election in the state. The question now is; can he continue to do better in his philanthropic activities in an event they win the election? Time will tell.

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P&ID’s $9.6bn judgement: ‘Who Done It?’

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P&ID’s $9.6bn judgement: ‘Who Done It?’

 

 

F

or those not only old enough to know, but also fans of television series; they will immediately (or not so immediately) recall that the above headline I am using for my piece this weekend strikes a chord – stirring up something that might had receded in their memories because it happened a fairly long time ago!

 

 

So let me end your struggle to recall where you had come across it – it is the headline of the one of the episodes of the television series, Dallas.

 

 

It was one of the 1980 episodes of the very popular series than ran on the American television network, on CBS from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991; and was syndicated all over the world including Nigeria.

 

 

In fact this particular episode still remains the second highest rated prime-time telecast ever and got viewers scratching their heads trying to find out who actually shot one of the main characters, J.R. Ewing before finally revealing the culprit.

 

 

But what is the title of one of the longest lasting full-hour prime time dramas in American TV history, which in 2007 was included in TIME magazine’s list of “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time”, doing in a very recent event which has captivated the headlines and been the main talk around town?

 

 

The answer is very simple: Because millions of Nigerians want to know how those in government and who are to protect the interests of the citizens have allowed the nation to get into this mess involving British engineering firm, Process & Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) and its $9.6billion judgment against the country in the first instance!

 

 

While not in a position to apportion blame on anyone directly, from what has been gleamed about the case, it is clear once again how inept those saddled with the responsibility of looking after our collective commonwealth have been – either naively or deliberately.

 

 

It also raises the spectre of which other contracts are lurking out there that we do not know off until they come out of the shadow to haunt the nation or some other shoddy decisions have been taken without being properly thought through.

 

 

A classic example of the later is the decision of authorities to allow the siting of various tank farms around Apapa without proper environmental impact assessments being carried out.

 

 

And because of this failure on the part of our bureaucrats and politicians, the once tranquil Apapa, which used to be home to many upper middle and rich class, has been turned into a living hell for the residents.

 

 

Even businesses that were already in the vicinity before the arrival of the tank farms have been impacted negatively.

 

 

John Holt, Niger Biscuits, banks and many others have been forced to relocate or have been squeezed almost to death.

 

 

I remember many occasions, when I was still with This Day Newspapers, of not being able to take my car to the office because tankers waiting to load at the tank farm located on Creek Road would have taken over all the three lanes leading to both the farm and Apapa port proper.

 

 

There were times, on the occasions we were are able to take our vehicles to the office, that we were forced to sleep in the premises after finishing production because the truck drivers would have totally blocked the company’s entrance.

 

 

On a number of occasions a frustrated Publisher, Nduka Obaigbena in a classic case of the “baby wey say him mama no go sleep, himself no go sleep” would use his SUV to block the road leading to the tank farm.

 

 

Members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum & Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) would come to beg and appeal to him to allow their members get to the tank farm and in return he (Obaigbena) would squeeze concessions from the NUPENG officials that they would not use theirs to disturb his own business by taking over the road thereby preventing newsprint from getting to the press or even allowing the printed paper leave for distribution because of the antics of their lawless members.

 

 

Of course for the next couple of days after the “truce meeting” we will enjoy some semblance of normalcy with the trucks keeping to one side of the road allowing other road users ply the road before total confusion returns and we are back to the bad old ways.

 

 

A number of people living in Apapa that I know have finally thrown in the towel packed up and left fed up of government’s inability to safe guard their own rights to living in a decent environment.

 

 

What makes the Apapa situation even more poignant is the fact that despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s order of more than two months ago to get the issue fixture it is still business as usual. So if a President’s directive cannot be enforced in this country, then what hope is there for the ordinary man?

 

 

But if one can genuinely argue that this Apapa problem affects just a “few” Nigerians and is limited to just a “small” section of the country; the same cannot be said of the mammoth $9.6billion judgement the nation is now facing and which is enforced will affect everyone living in the country called Nigeria!

 

 

Although moves are already on to find a way out of the logjam, it is also very imperative for government to get to the root cause of how the nation got into the mess in the first instance.

 

 

All the dramatis personnel and the roles that they played in the infamous contract scandal must not only be exposed but must be severely dealt with in order to serve as a deterrent to others who might want to put their selfish interests above those of the collective good of the nation.

 

 

The investigation should not end up like the Halliburton scandal in which the company paid Nigerian officials some $180 million in bribes between 1993 and 2004 in order to secure a construction contract for a liquefied natural gas plant in Bonny Island in the Niger Delta.

 

 

After making headlines for a couple of weeks just like this P&ID scandal, ostensibly because of the “big names” involved, the case quietly blew over without any Nigerian being made to pay for their indiscretions even though a number of foreigners involved in the scandal were prosecuted.

 

This act of impunity by our so-called “big men” is one of the reasons for why we have found ourselves in another messy situation 15 years after that one.

 

 

Thus unless a number of these “big men” are made scape goats; it is clear that such scandals will continue to be a reoccurring decibel in the nation’s history.

 

 

Speaking to the media in Abuja on the issue, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said: “We will find those involved in this scam, either inside or outside government.”

 

 

Well, Nigerians and indeed the world is waiting to see if for once this will actually be the case and we will not end up being treated to another episode of the now rested “Dallas”! 

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Marriage in The GAME OF THRONES (Part 2)

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Marriage in The GAME OF THRONES (Part 2)

P

lease, understand that the devil is not winning this GAME OF THRONES as is being perceived. Making many believe that he is winning, is part of his strategies being employed in the game. If you are among those who believe or have been deceived to believe that the devil is winning this GAME OF THRONES, “you are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

 

 

One of Satan’s lies is that no one is reliable for marriage anymore. My dear! Don’t fall for this lie. There are dozens and dozens of faithful and reliable young men and ladies out there.

 

 

Because of media reports about church leaders whose marriages are in crisis, many are being deceived by the same attacker to believe that successful marriages hardly exist. He is even painting a picture of “all men of God have become suspects. After all, we hear reports of those indulging in adultery, fornication, rape, sodomy, etc.”

 

 

Satan’s projected VERY BIG LIES are attempts to win THE GAME OF THRONES. The big question (the truth) is “what percentage of men of God ever have their activities reported on the pages of the newspapers? Secondly, what percentage of priests, pastors and other church leaders are actually interested in having their private activities in public domain? Thirdly, who conducted a census of Christians and achieved a scientifically researched evidence that a significant percentage of church leaders have fallen into such sins?

 

 

Please, don’t fall for cheap lies and error of generalization. There are millions of clergy out there with exemplary successful marriages.

 

 

The media reports that husbands and wives, including church goer couples now all kill each other, is part of Satan’s exaggeration and engineering strategies to expand fears for the marital institution, while promoting sexual intercourse outside marriage, so that more people will join him to suffer in hell fire after rapture and white throne judgement.

 

 

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

 

 

Dear reader! Ask God to open your spiritual eyes to see that there is a GAME OF THRONES going on. Satan wants to secure by all means, your loyalty to his throne. So, he makes you believe that money alone is requirement for marital success. May I deflate this lie by informing you that many millionaire couples file for divorce every day? Divorce is not usually an overnight decision. It is the absence of Christ at the centre of a relationship that pilots the relationship towards divorce. Satan knows that your marriage wields a great influence over your personal relationship with God. So, there is currently, a massive satanic attack against Christian marriages, including those involving public figures. This also, is a gimmick being applied to contend for victory in the GAME OF THRONES.

 

 

It is the devil that tells you as a wife never to submit to your husband as scripture commands. Society applauds your errors as of course, sin is sweet and the road to hell fire looks easier to glide through.

 

 

It is Satan that tells you to forget about the Bible when it comes to marital issues. Your true enemy is not your spouse. Your true enemy is Satan who is doing everything to win more loyalists to his throne in this game. Jesus Christ warns you again not to switch camp in John 8:34-35.

 

 

Loyalty and faithfulness to your spouse is loyalty to God’s heavenly throne. Doing the contrary is to leave the winning team that the world thinks is losing (God’s team).

 

 

Avoiding premarital sex is loyalty to God’s heavenly throne. Doing the contrary is to denounce the winning team of godly people, loyalty to the heavenly throne.

 

 

There are millions of faithful, loyal and happy marriage partners in your society. Don’t fall for the devil’s gimmicks to get you, by forming analysis based on frequency of negative media reports. Publishing a church leader’s sin of adultery is fun and helps media houses to sell their products, especially when that church person is popular. That cannot become a representation of a larger silent population of loyalists to God’s heavenly throne.

 

 

Right from the day of your wedding where you were taking your marital vow, Satan was busy swearing to ensure that your marital vow never comes to fulfillment. His permanent focus is to ensure that your loyalty to the heavenly throne is broken (John 10:10).

 

 

What you are reading now is intended to help you ensure that you do not conform to this world’s standards but be transformed by the renewing of your mind to know the perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).

 

 

So, if you are a born again Christian, when next you go to the social media or any medium and receive an intimidating or tempting message from Satan’s throne, remember there is an ongoing GAME OF THRONES, and that you belong to, and must retain your position in the wining team. It can take just one second to give up your loyalty to the heavenly throne. Be careful that you do not sell your divine entitlement for the sweet pot of portage that is being shared by the father of all liars.

 

 

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

 

 

 

 

God’s heavenly throne is, and will forever remain the winning throne in the GAME OF THRONES. Don’t be deceived or lured out of the winning team.

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The yellowness of a fever

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The yellowness of a fever

 

 

T

he colour yellow relates to acquired knowledge. It is the colour which resonates with the left or logic side of the brain stimulating our mental faculties and creating mental agility and perception.  Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, the color psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun.  In the meaning of colors, yellow inspires original thought and inquisitiveness.  But it can be critical and judgmental, being overly analytical, being impatient and impulsive, being egotistical, pessimistic, an inferiority complex, spiteful, cowardly, deceitful and non-emotional.

 

 

When a fever is labeled yellow, it’s devoid of all the bright sides but entirely the negatives. This recent outbreak is linked to the death of four students of the College of Education, Waka-Biu, Borno. They had gone on a field trip to Yankari Game Reserve, in Bauchi State as part of their course work.

 

 

What it is

 

 

Yellow fever (also called Yellow jack, Yellow plague or Bronze john) is a serious, potentially deadly flu-like disease, it is an acute viral haemorrhagic (bleeding) disease (like Ebola and Lassa fever) transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they bite an infected human or monkey. The disease cannot be spread from one person to another. It’s characterized by a high fever and jaundice. Jaundice is yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is why this disease is called yellow fever. This disease is most prevalent in parts of Africa and South America. It is not curable.

 

 

How is it transmitted?

 

 

Yellow fever virus (an RNA virus) is mainly transmitted through the bite of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, but other mostly Aedes mosquitoes such as the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) can also serve as a vector for this virus. Like other arboviruses which are transmitted by mosquitoes, the yellow fever virus is taken up by a female mosquito when it ingests the blood of an infected human or other primate. Viruses reach the stomach of the mosquito, and if the virus concentration is high enough, the virions (the infective form of a virus) can infect epithelial cells and replicate there. From there, they reach the haemocoel (the blood system of mosquitoes) and from there the salivary glands. When the mosquito next sucks blood, it injects its saliva into the wound, and the virus reaches the bloodstream of the bitten person. The transmission of the yellow fever virus from a female mosquito to her eggs and then larvae, are indicated within A. aegypti.  This infection of vectors without a previous blood meal seems to play a role in single, sudden breakouts of the disease. The disease cannot be spread from one person to another. However, large numbers of cases (epidemics) can also occur in urban areas when a human with yellow fever infects the local Aedes mosquitoes (mainly Aedes aegypti) resulting in transmission from human to human via infected mosquitoes.

 

 

What may give it away

Yellow fever begins after an incubation period of three to six days. Most cases only cause a mild infection with fever, headache, chills, back pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting. In these cases, the infection lasts only three to four days.

 

 

In 15% of cases, however, people enter a second, toxic phase of the disease with recurring fever, this time accompanied by jaundice due to liver damage, as well as abdominal pain. Bleeding in the mouth, the eyes, and the gastrointestinal tract cause vomit containing blood, hence the Spanish name for yellow fever, vómito negro (“black vomit”). There may also be kidney failure, hiccups, and delirium.The toxic phase is fatal in about 20 to 50% of cases, making the overall fatality rate for the disease about 3.0 to 7.5%. However, the fatality rate of those with the toxic phase of the disease may exceed 50%.

 

 

Surviving the infection provides lifelong immunity, and normally no permanent organ damage results.

Laboratory catch

 

 

Yellow fever is most frequently a clinical diagnosis, made on the basis of symptoms and the diseased person’s whereabouts prior to becoming ill. Mild courses of the disease can only be confirmed virologically. Since mild courses of yellow fever can also contribute significantly to regional outbreaks, every suspected case of yellow fever (involving symptoms of fever, pain, nausea and vomiting six to 10 days after leaving the affected area) is treated seriously.

 

 

If yellow fever is suspected, the virus cannot be confirmed until six to 10 days after the illness. A direct confirmation can be obtained by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction where the genome of the virus is amplified. Another direct approach is the isolation of the virus and its growth in cell culture using blood plasma; this can take one to four weeks.

 

 

Serologically, an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) during the acute phase of the disease can confirm yellow fever.

 

 

Treatment

 

 

There’s no cure for yellow fever. Treatment involves managing symptoms (in a hospital setting) and assisting the body (immune system) in fighting off the infection by:

getting oxygen

maintaining a healthy blood pressure

getting blood transfusions if necessary

getting treatment for other infections that may develop

Prevention

Yellow fever is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine, which is safe and affordable. A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against yellow fever disease and a booster dose of the vaccine is not needed. The vaccine provides effective immunity within 30 days for 99% of persons vaccinated. Vector control taking measures to avoid mosquito bites (active in the day) are equally important.

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Judiciary was good in Zamfara but bad in Abuja?

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Judiciary was good in Zamfara but bad in Abuja?

The outcome of judicial pronouncements are usually two sides of the same coin. This, perhaps, explains the praises and criticisms that have trailed the outcome of the tribunal’s judgement that affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari and threw away the petitions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for their inability to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. The onus of proof lies with whoever alleges to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt if the pendulum of justice must swing in his favour, especially in matters that are criminal in nature. Law is what it is and not what it ought to be.

 

As a result, judges are not expected to act like Father Christmas and can only adjudicate based on evidence before them. However, we have seen situations where judges brought opprobrium to themselves by soiling their hands in iniquities. Year 2016 was a very bad year for our judiciary.

 

The judiciary was thoroughly bruised and broken. That arm of government was like a hen with broken beak. In October of that year, the Department of State Security (DSS) in “sting operations” raided the homes of some judges and arrested seven of them including two from the highest court in the country- the Supreme Court. It was unprecedented. During the operations, the DSS claimed it recovered N363 million from houses of three of the judges, a sad reminder of the alarm raised by a former Supreme Court Justice, late Kayode Esho, that there were dirty men and women in the temple of justice. The late justice described them as “millionaire judges.” The raid and its attendant consequences confirmed the suspicion that not all our judges come to equity with clean hands and confirmed the level of rot in the system.

 

While there was argument on the rightness or wrongness of the action of the DSS, there was a consensus that a corruptfree judiciary is a necessary ingredient if our democracy and the rule of law must thrive. There was also a general agreement that judicial rascality and recklessness must be tamed if found as a guarantee that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man. For those who felt the judiciary should be left alone even if corrupt so as to maintain its independence.

 

Then, I reminded them of the evocative words of late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa that: “If you are a judge and you are corrupt, where do we go from here? Then everything has come to a halt. If the legislature is corrupt, you go to the judiciary for redress.

 

If the executive is corrupt, you go to judiciary for remedy. If the judiciary itself is corrupt, where do we go from here?” Themis, the statue of woman of justice, found in courthouses and some law books, represents the Greek goddess of divine justice. Even those of us who are not “learned” as the lawyers call us, know that the statue has a very deep meaning beyond a mere symbol. The scale on Themis’ left hand symbolises fairness and balance. The black ribbon she is blindfolded with is a constant   reminder to judges that judicial pronouncements should be guided by evidence and law. In other words, judgements and rulings of court should not be determined by mere sentiments. Any court’s pronouncement that is not based on evidence and law is a travesty of justice.

 

However, some of our judges have shamelessly removed Themis’ blindfold so that they can see the faces of litigants and give judgements and rulings based on social and economic status of the parties before them. As a result of which, parties with higher monetary offers sure carry the day in courts. When people lose hope in the judiciary, they will resort to self-help, which can come in the form of people taking laws into their hands.

 

This is not good for the polity. It is an invitation to anarchy when people lose hope in the judiciary to find solace in self-help. Just as there are bad people in the temple of justice, there are also good people in the system.For this reason, it is extremely wrong to make sweeping statements that the entire judiciary is corrupt just because of a few bad eggs.

 

It’s a cause for concern when we bad mouth our judges each time the pendulum of justice does not swing in our favour or the way we expected it to be. While those of us who are not learned could be pardoned when we are aggrieved over courts’ judgements and rulings, how do we explain situations where lawyers who are learned lampoon judges on national television and on the pages of newspapers just because they disagreed with courts’ positions on some matters? This has been the case since the tribunal gave its judgement on Atiku/PDP’s petition. Some of us have gone back to the narrative of how the Buhari administration has ‘caged’ the judiciary.

 

‘The judiciary is now on trial.’ But when the same judiciary made pronouncements that put all elective political offices firmly in the hands of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) just because the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not conduct its primaries according to its own rules in Zamfara, the judiciary was okay and not caged then. Perhaps, the judiciary forgot then that the president belongs to the APC when it gave final verdict on Zamfara that in the eyes of the law, APC had no candidate in the election and could not have won any election as such would amount to building something on nothing. I am a firm and unrepentant believer in the rule of law.

 

This is what informed my position that Atiku should seek redress in court if he feels strongly that he won the February presidential election. I maintained that asking him not to seek redress so as not to heat up the polity is a bunkum talk that won’t fly. My insistence on Atiku to go to court was based on the fact that the outcome, irrespective of whatever it is would strengthen our jurisprudence and in turn help our democracy.

 

 

On Wednesday, the tribunal did affirm that Atiku has the right to petition against Buhari’s victory. The court said it was not a pre-election matter as claimed by the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The court hinged its position on the provisions of the Electoral Act, specifically Section 138 (1) (a), which allows for filing of petition relating to allegation of false information. We may never have known this if Atiku had not gone to court.

 

The same court said the former vicepresident is not a Cameroonian as claimed by the APC and that tradermoni is not for vote-buying. Imagine if the court had said tradermoni is being used to induce voters, of course that would have been the end of the programme until a more superior court pronounced otherwise. More importantly is the aspect of the judgement, which laid to rest the qualification of the president as the court insisted that “there’s no doubt that he (President Buhari) is not only qualified BUT EMINENTLY QUALIFIED (emphasis mine) to contest the election as shown by the EVIDENCE (emphasis mine) presented by the petitioners.

 

 

“No evidence that Buhari submitted false documents to the INEC,” the tribunal declared. We have also known that when criminal allegation is raised against someone or agency, the person or agency must be joined in the suit as failure to do so will negate the principle of fair hearing or akin to shaving someone’s head behind him. The tribunal said the PDP/Atiku should have joined security agents accused of rigging for Buhari if they feel strongly about such weighty allegation. Also of importance is the aspect which says the use of card readers and other electronic devices are valid component of the electoral process but there was ” no provision for electronic transmission of results.” All we need to do is to strengthen the process as such is capable of giving us credible polls in the future.

 

Just like I was happy when Atiku approached the court to register his disatisfaction with the outcome of the presidential election, my mood has not changed when I learnt that he is going to the Supreme Court to upturn Wednesday’s outcome. It is his right to do so. He should not be put under pressure or blackmail to rescind his decision. Whoever asks Atiku not to go to Supreme Court is definitely not a lover of democracy. The fact that that Nigerian court has not upturned presidential election victory does not mean it is impossible to do it. If there is need to do so. But the court won’t do it if it’s not approached by aggrieved party or parties. In everything, there is always the first time. Whatever the outcome is, at the Supreme Court, our jurisprudence and democracy stand to benefit immensely.

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So, how did Osun prepare Rauf Aregbesola for Nigeria’s stability?

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So, how did Osun prepare Rauf Aregbesola for Nigeria’s stability?

Trust Nigerians, hardly had he rounded off his first visit to the Ministry of Interiors than cartoonists, graphic artists went to work. In a jiffy, the tweeting facebooking and instagramming generation had gone to work to serve us different interpretations of what the new Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said shortly after his oath taking. “Interior Ministry for Beginners, Hard Copy, Soft Copy, Digital Editions Available” was one of those satirical pieces that got me laughing. And as usual too, the Nigerian media went out with different headlines: Buhari Has put me in a strange ministry-Aregbesola (Daily Post); “I don’t know Much About Interior Ministry” (PUNCH), “Except for Newspapers, I Have No Knowledge of my New Ministry” (Vanguard).

If you are one of those who had followed Aregbesola and his trajectory, you would have no qualms taking in these variants of interpretations of just one statement. For me, I laughed my head off. Don’t blame me! If I survived Aregbesola with all the possible darts he had received in his capacity as Governor of Osun, I doubt it any such blitz ( no matter how negative) could get my feet off grounds again. Just an example will do. Do you recall the former Governor after his famous interview at the Presidential Villa where he said the salary challenge in Osun was beyond him? Oh! Hell knew no worst media fury ever since.

A harmless opinion, genuine and critical to getting over the bad weather the national economy had run into was twisted to a campaign that Aregbesola must immediately vacate office because, according to the interpretations his critics would want to settle for, he had simply given up and had lost control of how to navigate out of the stormy financial weather in the state.

Such is the way, especially these days of gatekeeper-less media, any word, no matter how harmless, could easily become your greatest undoing by the time it passes through the crucibles of antagonistic wordsmiths. After eight good years, one should know better than being perturbed by the whimsical inclinations of ‘public affairs analysts’ bloggers, and writers who think first of traffic rather than truth. And the truth is that Aregbesola spoke the truth.

But the question here should be: How has Osun prepared Aregbesola for the tasks involved in internal security and other matters so interior to Nigeria? By the time the National Bureau of Statistics rated Osun as the safest state in Nigeria, it was obvious that certain government policies had impacted greatly on the state prompting others to look in the direction of the strategic approaches to solving societal problems. For security challenges, we are all more inclined to think that in guns and deployment of armed personnel to the field lie the solutions to national instability.

The experiment in Osun has proved that some more strategic policy frameworks are needed to create the atmosphere of peace and security required for smooth development to take place across the land. The pre-2010 Osun was fraught with insecurity, youths idleness and above all, despondency.

The ability to identify which segment of the society needed to be taken care of as a matter of priority became critical. Being able to achieve that, it then showed that creating opportunities for such segments such as the youths, the women and children and then the elderly would go far in eliminating elements that induce tension within the society. A scheme that took off 60,000 youths for some community engagements in three batches did more than reduce the lure into crimes in Osun.

The overall effects of re-orientations, value regenerations, skills acquisitions, realization of selfworth and potential were far more than token in effect on the psyche of the people. In addition to this were those specific programmes that engaged women such as the school-feeding programme for which women food vendors spread across the local governments were taken away from idleness.A number of Nigeria’s internal security challenges stem from vanishing values and good orientations.

Specifically, leadership programmes of the yore, which formed and baked future leaders from teen stages of their lives were practically lost. Characters became less important in dealings, culminating in criminal activities such as robberies, murders, suicides, rapes, advanced fee frauds, rituals, smugglings, bunkering, arsons and their ilk. And with those listed above, the challenges increase for the authorities to provide for internal security, which is threatened to the detriment of the law-abiding citizenry.

The society itself needs some review of its past with a view to bringing back some of the value-adding practices of old. A look at how leadership training strategies of the decades before now prepared citizens to be of good behaviours should give Nigeria the initiative that it is not only when security personnel are armed to their teeth that the people can sleep with their eyes full closed. Osun knew peace. Younger generation of the citizens in the state came under some new forms of re-orientations helping to produce the new man.

Apart from producing job opportunities, the Osun youths empowerment scheme reawakened the need for social responsibility. And in the same way, programmes such as calisthenics for younger minds willy-nilly, taught younger generation of Osun residents the beauty of collaboration, focus, concentration, commitment and dedication.

Were all these not to be missing in Nigeria’s national life, the issues that challenge us all today over internal security as listed above would have been halted at their manageable proportions. To sum it up, value re-orientation is pivotal to a new society where there is order and less criminality. Agencies such as the one for National Orientation, Ministry of Youths and Sports Development stand in very critical and good steads to help the Ministry of the Interiors step up engaging and positive youths activities to lure them away from crimes and other anti-social behaviours.

Even to be sure that no soul lived in Osun without being captured in the data base of the state, Aregbesola’s introduction of the Kaadi Omoluabi, a mode of identification for all in Osun with specific features went a long way to add to the overall task of securing the state.

Those saddled with leadership responsibilities must spot where the strengths lie in human capital resources. Of course, failure to do this has always in the past resulted in poor service delivery to the people. But where this is done, the people are always at the benefitting end. Aregbesola no doubt, left the workers in Osun with a lasting impression that a political office holder came and demonstrated an unrivaled penchant for spotting the best within the bureaucracy; motivating them to bring out the potential in them.

Even before Osun, it is on record that while Engr. Ganiyu Johnson served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure in Lagos State, it took Aregbesola’s eagle eye to spot Johnson’s competence, prompting him to ensure that rather than quit after his civil service years, he was headhunted to become a Special Adviser in the same ministry. Johnson later served as the Commissioner for Works in the state.

The current Senator representing Osun West district, Adelere Oriolowo, was Permanent Secretary, Rural Development before his retirement. Convinced of his vast experience in engineering and project management, Aregbesola did not hesitate to pull him back to serve as Project Coordinator for the Osun Rural Accessibility Mobility Programme (RAMP) a World Bank-funded development programme. In the same vein, at least, two permanent secretaries who had attained the peaks of their civil service careers – Fatai Kolawole and Lawrence Oyediran in the Ministry of Education were not allowed to go. While Kolawole was pulled back to head the State’s Universal Basic Education Board, Oyediran was pulled back to work at the State’s Education Quality Assurances Agency, an office created by his government specifically to monitor quality teachings and learning in the state’s public schools.

Whatever made Osun’s statistics to be such enviable in spite of the enormous financial challenges that administration faced must provide guides towards solving some of the national questions. Nigeria must rework her education policies such that the products are people who become assets, and not burdens to the society. It is only when peace is guaranteed internally through the combined strategies of the right value orientation, addition and focused social protection schemes that the economic potential of the country could be harnessed for the good of all.

 

Semiu Okanlawon, Communication and Strategy Consultant writes via sokanlawon67@gmail.com

 

 

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