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The cabal and the hour of decision

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The cabal and the hour of decision

If there is anything that the campaign for the 2019 presidential election has exposed, it is that we have a president who is not on top of his game. Aside from not being aware of so many things, his many gaffes point to the level of degeneration which our political leadership has sunk. From one state to another, President Muhammadu Buhari has become a subject for comedians in their chat room. He falters and stutters at the slightest opportunity.

 

He presents a frail persona with failed content. His handlers, in good conscience, know that the president is no longer in his full capacity, but that incapacity fulfils the very reason why they want him, so that he could fit into what they desire while the state is being run aground by the cabal that Hajia Aisha Buhari spoke so painfully about. In the last few days, following the verdicts of different opinion polls giving Atiku Abubakar the victory in Saturday’s polls, the APC and the cabal have intensified their efforts to circumvent the system and return a victory to President Buhari, no matter how ridiculous such exercise would be.

 

The desperation has led to the recruitment of their own ad-hoc staff from the beneficiaries of the N-power programme, and trying to force their way through INEC’s ad-hoc staff so that employees of the APC would manage the elections. That way, they would be at the point of writing dubious results that would be authenticated by their agents to represent the outcome of the election. Once the party is declared winner, they will roll out the army’s Operation Python Dance on the streets should there be violence and direct the opposition to go to court. Added to this is the fact that the APC has been mounting pressure on the academics who essentially play the role of returning officers and collation officers to get them on their side.

 

These subterranean plots have been ongoing and some of the collation officers who spoke to some journalists expressed worry that the APC pressure is becoming unbearable. Several chieftains of the APC who spoke with me concede that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is set to defeat their own candidate, President Buhari, but that they won’t let go without a fight no matter how explosive. The orgy of defeat staring them in the face is almost unthinkable because according to them, they feared that Atiku Abubakar would come after them when he finally settles down to the business of governance. Some of them also told me pointedly that the level of corruption in this government is not only monumental but hypocritically astonishing.

 

He queried: where do you think we are getting the funding for this expensive campaigns across the country especially the volume of billboards, poleboards and other campaign mementoes that have flooded everywhere? As much as they tried to drive the narrative against the PDP, they suddenly realised that Nigerians in their millions are angry because of the level of poverty and hunger which President Buhari has introduced through misdirected policies and programmes. Nigerians are worried that insecurity has become a serious issue while unemployment has continued to deepen.

 

The cost of living is not only high, other crimes and criminalities have been introduced into the system as a shortcut to eke a living. Killings and ritualistic killings are on the increase, the latest being the hot demand for female pants for money rituals. This is a new crime that came with this regime. It was unheard of before now or at least not as prevalent as it is today. This is what you get when a government fails to deliver on its promise to the people or make life better for the people.

 

Our unemployment figure is scary and utterly frightening. The optics show negative trend. Growth in agriculture has dropped from 4.9 per cent in 2015 to 1.9 per cent at present. Infrastructure across the country remain an eyesore while poverty has eaten deep into our collective psyche. Rather than allow the president some breather kind of, to give way for another leadership that will be pro-business, APC chieftains in their closet, are swearing that they won’t allow credible electoral process, that they will do whatever that is inhumanly possible to deliver President Buhari whether Nigerians like it or not.

 

The cabal has a date to protect its loot. Members of the cabal who are predominantly from the Northern region have sent out their slaving Southern brothers to the streets to oil the campaigns. And for obvious reasons of corruption, the APC chieftains would rather lick the ass of members of the cabal than allow EFCC go after them. It is a game of self-preservation. It is a deliberate effort aimed at protecting their illicit wealth while Nigerians in their millions agonise away in the hands of palpable hunger and poverty. The election of Saturday, 16th February is not just going to be a referendum of some sort against poverty, hunger and insecurity, it will be a loud statement against all the incompetence and incapacity of this government in the last three to four years.

 

 

The government is not only sluggish and back-pedaling, it has shown a manifest lack of understanding of the issues affecting us as a people. In four years, President Buhari refused blatantly to visit states of the Federation. He visited only six states out of 36 states but now that elections are by the corner, he has visited almost all the 36 states to ask for their support. How possible? He loves to advance his own political interest at the expense of the state. Each time he visits any state for campaign, you could almost feel the dearth of projects and intervention in critical sector of the state’s economy. His fellow party chieftains rather than tell Nigerians what they have done to improve on the quality of life of the ordinary Nigerian, will easily resort to abuses and abuses, accusations and counter-accusations.

 

 

There is no further proof to underscore Nigerians’ rejection of President Buhari than the near-empty Teslim Balogun stadium on Saturday, 9th February when the APC campaigns walked into Lagos. Reputed to be the homeground of Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the scanty crowd that welcomed the president was suggestive of the mood of the country. Lagosians are very smart people.

 

They are very expressive when it comes to voicing out their anger. Tinubu and other chieftains were shell shocked when they saw the scanty crowd and shout of “ole”, “ole” renting the air when the chieftains were exiting from the stadium. It was a good way to inform the Buhari presidency that it was about time to say good-bye. When you reconcile that with the mammoth crowd that received Atiku Abubakar in Kano, at the Sani Abacha Stadium, one could easily see the direction of the pendulum. Some of the chieftains of the APC are getting involved with the campaigns because they feel President Buhari won’t be able to sail through, and that would facilitate a Yoruba presidency, the same way Dr. Goodluck Jonathan inherited political leadership when Umaru Yar’Adua kicked the bucket.

 

Whatever be the permutations, it will serve Nigerians better to have an Atiku Abubakar presidency than a continuation of the present sluggishness and nepotism. The polarisation of the country along ethnic and religious lines has further eroded our national desire at integration. There is mutual suspicion everywhere and the level of nepotism in this government has become a source of worry to many. Skewed political appointments and infrastructural distribution has been most prevalence. Granting President Buhari another unearned opportunity of additional four years would be tantamount to seeing burning fire and walking into it. It will be a monumental disaster to have the continuation of this under-performing government.

 

 

This is why Nigerians from the North to the South, East to the West, must rally round on Saturday to make a huge statement about rescuing the country from the grip of cabals. Nigerians in their millions should come out to vote Atiku Abubakar to breath a new lease of life into our consciousness. We must defend our votes from morning till evening, from the polling units to the wards, local government and states collation centres. We must monitor the APC very closely to avoid foisting the cabal on us for another four years. If Hajia Aisha Buhari, the wife of the President has cautioned us, who are we not to concur?

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Marriage: Between old school and yuppies

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Marriage: Between old school and yuppies

Gone are the days when women would trap men with pregnancies to be married by all means. Gone are those days, when having a girlfriend was like winning a laurel. We wish we could experience the era when sex was so valued and appreciated. At that time, only older men were having concubines discreetly as a mark of respect for their wives. Even when a husband had a serious fight with his wife, quitting the marriage was never an option. This is because men of that dispensation hate to be stigmatized as “irresponsible.” Hence they were quick to make peace and rather learn to tolerate their wives and their excesses.

Men will always be who God had made them to be; they are sowers! They like to sow ‘seeds’ wherever they can find fallow grounds. Even if the land is unavailable and it’s being occupied by another sower, some covetous sower(s) may still encroach on the space through surreptitious means to defraud the legitimate landowner just to satisfy their insatiable appetite for a variety of grounds for cultivation. Such thieving sowers could be dangerous because they could kill to take over the land or wear a boldface via law suits or they instigate acrimony within the domain to dispossess the legitimate owners. That was a part of how the old school hunted for sexual satisfaction.

One thing we can’t deny about the old school generation is their openness or transparency. No matter how bad a situation is, they will own up! It is an open secret that many of our grandmothers know their husbands’ concubines. Some of them were friends or were into the same trade or belong to the same society. The mothers were largely tolerant of their husbands’ excesses. They valued their homes, cared so much about their children and support their husbands unconditionally, most of the time. This level of tolerance was the hallmark and the secret of settled homes in the ages past.

Today’s generation of yuppies are full of treachery. Lack of trust, mutual suspicion, pretence and intolerance are the major issues bedevilling their marital relationships. Unlike the old school generation, some of today’s spouses lure their partners into marriage by deceit. Upon discovering the antics, the marriage then faces threats of imminent collapse; and if interventions could salvage it, things would never be the same again in the home. That’s why I appreciate some people who are having health challenges but are sincere enough to tell their partners immediately or even before they start dating.

I know of cases where some partners had deceived their mates into marriage before unveiling their true health conditions. For example, a woman exhibited uncommon degree of love, care, support and tolerance to hoodwink her partner into marriage. Her husband later discovered that she has a damaged womb. In her confession while pleading for mercy and forgiveness from her husband, she disclosed that she narrowly escaped death in a complicated abortion. She was gang-raped by four boys back in her secondary school days but she maintained sealed lips to avoid stigmatization as warned by her elder sister she was living with at the time.

The fear of rejection made her to keep the information from her husband until it was revealed. She knew, according to her statement, that someday it would be known but she was hoping that it would happen at a time it would be too late to lose her marriage. In response, her visibly angry and disappointed husband said he would have still married her if she had opened up to him right from the onset. “All we would have done is to reach an accord that I should have a child from another woman who she would accept to nurture as her own. We can then adopt one more child and that will be it,” he lamented. For the sake of love, the home survives and is still intact as at today.

A marriage contracted mid-December 2017 is now on a shaky ground of possible collapse. No thanks to an act of insincerity. The couple met in the university and groomed their relationship into a conjugal consummation. Everything seemed to be working well until early this year when the bride was hospitalised. The nature of her illness was initially misconstrued for mere symptoms of advanced pregnancy but when she was fast looking pale, weak and becoming unconscious, she was rushed into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where she was on oxygen for more than three weeks.

Series of tests were conducted and her mother confessed that her daughter is suffering from Sickle Cell anaemia. Petrified by the outcome of the results and her mom’s disclosure, the husband’s family fumed, alleging deception of the highest order. Upon enquiry from their son, the husband, he said his wife told him about her SS status after the wedding. Unfortunately, he kept it to himself, thinking everything is under control. The seven months pregnancy was successfully evacuated in a desperate bid to save her life.

After weeks of convalescence at the specialist hospital with bills running into almost N2 million, the in-laws decided to back out of the union on the strength of deception. According to the elder brother of the groom, “The foundation of the marriage is faulty. We can’t continue with it. We have made our decision known to our brother, the bridegroom, that the decision to continue is entirely his. We as a family feel cheated into the union. It is a different matter all-together if we’re told from the onset. We will then weigh the chances, the cost and the implication before we go ahead. We would have braced up for the challenges ahead or we will quietly bow out of the deal to avoid this life-threatening situation.

“As it is now, the family is expecting our brother to come and pick his wife so they could continue living their life as a couple. We can’t force him to abandon his wife or continue with the marriage but we have made our position known to him if he chooses to continue. Our major ground is the tactful deception upon which the marriage is based,” he stressed.

Due to the fragile nature of the petite bride and her type of SS (Sickle cell disease), it is risky for her to carry pregnancy with complications. Also, the financial wherewithal to respond to her crisis situation whenever it occurs appears not available to the young graduate husband who is just starting a life.

Sickle cell disease is a health condition that has the potential to lead to a number of complications, due to the altered shape of haemoglobin in the blood. There are various different types of sickle cell disease, which are classified according to the haemoglobin abnormality. These types include: Haemoglobin SS.

People with sickle cell trait carry only one copy of the altered haemoglobin gene and rarely have any clinical symptoms related to thedisease. In contrast, people with sickle cell disease carry two copies of the altered haemoglobin gene. Haemoglobin SS disease is the mostcommon type of sickle cell disease. It occurs when you inherit copies of the haemoglobin S gene from both parents. This forms haemoglobin known as Hb SS. As the most severe form of SCD, individuals with this form also experience the worst symptoms at a higher rate. Unfortunately, her own falls into this category.

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A requiem for Nigeria’s democracy

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A requiem for Nigeria’s democracy

“The World will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything” – Albert Einstein.

When I signed off last week’s Political Musing, being the third in the four serial memos to the very critical geo-political zones of the country; the South-West, the North and the South-South I did promise to conclude it this week with a memo to the South-East. However, I also remember putting a proviso that the South-East memo could be postponed if something weightier takes the political space. And that exactly happened. What is a requiem one may ask, for Christians especially Catholics, it’s a mass offered for the repose of the souls of the dead.

Last Saturday a requiem mass was conducted for democracy in Bayelsa and Kogi states and nothing could have been more important. It was an interdenominational requiem conducted by priests from different churches and imams from Mosques.

The presiding priest otherwise called the Chief celebrant was the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but he was ably supported by other security agencies, the Police, the Army, the civil defence among others. The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) delivered the homily at the service where it dwelled mostly on the gains of impunity, the possible spiritual backing of incumbency using what you have to get what you want not minding how and whose psyche is bruised.

Since the scheduled memo to the South-East ab nitio is anchored on democracy surviving till 2023, it would make no rational sense writing the concluding memo when a dirge is already being sang for democracy, the basis upon which the idea came up in the first place. It’s for this reason that I ask for the understanding of you beloved readers asMusing this week try to deviate to pry into what happened in Bayelsa and Kogi states gubernatorial elections held last Saturday.

Every election in Nigeria evolves with its own unique features. There is an inherent manipulation technology characteristic of each regime in a given election. The one of last Saturday was the height of electoral banditry.

Election rigging has become part and parcel of our electoral wordlist in this country since the return to democracy in 1999. But its application grows with age and the civil disposition of the leaders at a time.

Even before 1999 the story of elections in our country has never been a sweet one. In the Second Republic the late legendary Musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti after witnessing the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) curious landslide victory in 1983 called it “demo-crazy’ and a ‘demonstration of craze”. A visible bitter revolutionary Fela did not know that what he saw then will eventually turn out to become among the best conducted elections in our history.

In 2007 late President Umaru Yar’Adua not excited and proud of the process that brought him to power openly acknowledged and began electoral reform immediately. When he died his successor Goodluck Jonathan continued the reform until it culminated in his losing even as incumbent to an opposition party. The global community stood still for us as a nation as a result. That was the process that brought in President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). As a huge beneficiary of a free process, not a few believed that the incoming process would even be tidier and respectable. But what have we witnessed in reality, a glaring deterioration of the process that was climaxed in the requiem of November 16 in Bayelsa and Kogi states. Since 2015, elections have been conducted with sour tales from Ondo to Anambra, to Edo, Ekiti, and Osun states, in all it has not been anything to be proud of.

The general election of February/March 2019 which every electoral observer thought was the peak of impunity, has just turned out to be a dress rehearsal for the requiem of last Saturday.

The question really begging for answer therefore is why our electoral potentials flagging despite witnessing the gains of sound electoral process to peace and development in the land? The reason has much to do with the democratic credentials of the people at the helm of affairs. Yar’Adua and Jonathan obviously had better democratic traits going by their background and it showed clearly.

President Buhari has told all who care to remember that he is a converted democrat. Those familiar with converts even in religion knows that they have two extreme options, get deep into their new embrace and even be stronger than the people they met there or fall back into their original being. Your guess will be as good as mine which of the divide our President belongs given the growth of our democracy under his watch.

But in truth should it surprise anybody what happened in Kogi and Bayelsa states on November 16 after what the Supreme Court did with Atiku Abubakar’s election petition on the February 23, 2019 general election? Justices of Supreme Court saying it themselves that it would be extremely difficult for a petitioner in an election to prove his case to warrant either award of victory or repeat of poll. The Justices said that Atiku would have called 250,000 witnesses to prove his case meanwhile the 400 witnesses he assembled, only 62 could be taken by the court for want of time. Curious?

With what came out of the judiciary the supposed last hope of the aggrieved what do you expect at the ballot box, win at all cost of course. What played out in Kogi and Bayelsa states last Saturday therefore was a clear case of win at all cost because there is no other level for justice. No wonder President Buhari was quick to mock the losers in Kogi and Bayelsa poll telling them to go to court with their grievances. Only a friend like this will advise travellers to embark on a mission whose road is a loop leading to nowhere.

Some electoral pundits sounded sarcastic when they suggested in their frustrations of what happened in Kogi and Bayelsa states gubernatorial elections that INEC and the security agencies should just tell us who they want as governor in subsequent elections in Edo and Anambra states governorship elections and save lives, resources and time and energy also.

The crime really is not that people are rigging elections; the unpardonable aspect is that they kill in the process. After APC won INEC and security agencies designed elections in Kogi thugs still go further in the most callous manner to burn the PDP woman leader Acheju Abuh after killing many others. Defeating her was not enough; she should not be allowed to be alive to bemoan her plight.

What we are witnessing is indeed the requiem for our democracy with all the gains of 2015 that saw an opposition party defeating a ruling party who not only accepted defeat but went some steps ahead to conduct a seamless transition.

Our democracy is already consigned to the coffin awaiting interment after the elegy. This is really unfortunate and a bad testimonial for a government that is a huge beneficiary of a transparent process.

May the souls of all who were killed while defending their votes not be otiose, may they be martyrs of democracy and their blood not shed in vain. Amen. As for those who watch democracy being flagrantly undermined in our land and keep mute possibly because they are beneficiaries of illicit deal today, may I refer them to the opening quote above from Albert Einstein that “The World will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Those who write results and falsify figures are evil indeed but those who should avert it and looked away possibly because of party or pecuniary and ethnic interests have more questions to answer on the judgement day.

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Back to my roots…

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Back to my roots…

 

 

L

ast Friday I went back to my roots – Owo in Ondo State. Mission was to give Madam Felicia Aboyinbogun – Iye Bimbo (Bimbo’s mother) – a befitting burial. Just like Madam Aboyinbogun was my mother’s very close friend, Bimbo and I have been childhood friends. As they say, I walked into Owo on my head and not with my legs; meaning, I was born and bred there by Owo parents.

 

 

I left Owo for the first time in mid-1976, two years after passing out of Owo High School (OHS) in 1974 with Division Two. My first port of call was Ede, then in Oyo State but now Osun, to live with my elder sister whose husband, Mr. Olusola Omiyale from Igbajo, was a teacher at Baptist High School, Ede. My in-law registered me at the Labour Office on Fagbewesa Street, Osogbo and the first job they got for me was that of a Laboratory Attendant at Osogbo Grammar School. I rejected the offer. I never was a Science person. Next, I got the job of an Auxiliary teacher in the same school, which I accepted, and I taught English and Literature in Forms 1 and 2.

 

 

At OsoGrams, I was known as “Mr. Jeans” because of my penchant for jeans and high-heeled shoes called “Platform” in those days. I left Osogbo for Ilesa Grammar School (where friends called me “Odaju” – the Audacious One) for my “A” Level in February 1978 and passed the first-ever JAMB, getting admitted into the then University of Ife same year. While in the university, I spent my holiday regularly at Owo; usually together with Bimbo, who also attended Ife, and on occasions with another classmate, Olanrewaju Adepoju (Laresco) at Ipele.

 

 

At OHS, Laresco and I (Black Avenger) together with Victor Akinlose (Vicky Moro), Akintayo Akintewe and Monday Adodo formed the dreaded “Danger Five”. My father died in 1996 and my mother followed 10 years later. Since then, my visits to Owo have petered out. But thanks to technology: I have managed to keep in touch with Owo through the social club to which I belong – the Krown Klub, Owo. We have a platform and occasional visits to Owo, such as that of last Friday, have ensured that I am not totally cut off from my roots.

 

 

Last Friday, I found that Owo has changed in, interestingly, two opposite directions. I had to fall back on residual knowledge to pick out places and locate where I was going. On the negative side, most, if not all, of the magnificent buildings of yore have become a shadow of their old selves. Other more magnificent buildings have taken the shine off them. This is a lesson! There is no opulence you display today that others coming behind will not surpass. Whatever you build today, better buildings are coming to overshadow it.

 

 

Everywhere also displayed signs of the harsh economic downturn that wallops the country. For sure, our fathers were wealthier in real terms than those of us their children. They lived a better life and prospered earlier. They made achievements, built houses and established businesses at relatively younger ages than ours. Keeping aloft their legacies or maintaining their achievements has been difficult for coming generations.

 

 

Rural-urban drift also leaves telling repercussions on Owo. Many like me have relocated to the cities and our places and positions left vacant are being sorely felt. If you have read Walter Rodney’s “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”, then, you will understand how the relocation of able-bodied young people from one location impoverishes that location while empowering and helping to develop their new-found homes.

 

 

Another reason advanced for the parlous state of our localities is the weakening of family ties brought about by new-found individualism. Rather than converge on the ancestral home as was the case in the past, the new elite prefer their own buildings, fenced round with barbed wires and made inaccessible to unwanted family members. The ancestral home, which once belonged to everyone, is left forlorn and abandoned to the weakest links in the family who do not possess the economic power to do the needful.

 

But Owo has also witnessed some development! New houses, more hotels, a university, a dual carriage-way that runs through the town and many more were evidence Owo has not been left behind in the scheme of things. Laresco took me round some of the on-going road projects. His summary is that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (aka Aketi) is performing. And I remember that Yemi Olowolabi, the then Ondo State Commissioner for Information, had told me a few years back that no government in Ondo State since the return to civil rule in 1999 accomplished a fraction of what Aketi did in just one year in office.

 

 

Partisanship apart, Yemi should know. He was Chief Press Secretary to Governor Olusegun Agagu, now late. But Akeredolu suffers two vices: One is that he is a good governor but not so good politician, to borrow the words of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu while describing the erstwhile Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State. Ondo politicians are grumbling that Aketi is not putting money in their pockets. Truth be told, Aketi must find a way to do that without compromising good governance. It is a tight rope politicians must learn to walk without falling.

 

 

The story is told of a governor in one of the South-West states who went head-hunting to get competent hands for his government. Among those invited was an Americana who came and started building roads, hospitals, bridges and providing water in his local government, intent on turning it to New York overnight! When the time came for second term, his constituents rejected him! They complained that he did not put money in their pockets. He hurried back to the U.S. flabbergasted! Again, like Ambode, good performer but not so good politician.

 

Aketi’s second virus is that he shies away from publicity. He works but does not advertise his work. People around him say they have tried in vain to let him see reason. They say he insists his good works will speak for him! Amen! Until Anita Ward of the “Ring My Bell” fame took hold of the bell and rang it herself, no one rang her bell!

 

Last Friday also, my seniors at OHS, the third set that, in 1969, passed out of the school described by one of them, Pastor Jube Olawale, as Nigeria’s own Eton (for that was the founder’s goal and ideal for OHS), celebrated their golden jubilee on the school premises. They had refurbished a whole block of classrooms. The president, Dr. Bode Ogunleye aka Adinqua, also reeled out scholarship and prize-giving initiatives the set as a group and as individuals have initiated. The digital centre donated by another old student, Foluso Falaye, sits majestically within the premises.

 

 

Giving back is the name of the game. The river that forgets its source will dry out. I never met them in school (I was admitted in 1970) but I remember hearing some of their names and aliases from our seniors, such as Titi-kaka; Bobo-Bobo. I met them life-and-direct last Friday. Some of the old students (and their spouses) at the event were Tunde Fadayomi, Ajayi “Samuel Crowther” Ijadimibola, Bobola Owoputi (Bobo-Bobo), Pastor and Mrs. Kunle Saliu, Engr. Gani Lagundoye (Titi-Kaka) and his wife, Alhaji Nafiu Kayode Muhammed Apaokagi (and his wife), Comfort Femi Aiyetigbo (nee Lasekan) who was described as “Mother of the set”, Revd. Adebayo Gabriel Adesina (represented by the wife), Olori Olasinbo Famakinwa (one of the set’s moving spirits), Pastor Olorunjube Olawale and his wife, Alhaji (Chief) Owolabi Olufemi, Phillip Ojo, Kola Adekagun, and others who later joined the ceremony.

 

 

The school was adequately represented by students and teachers ably led by the principal, Mr. Bola Obameso. Interestingly, Bola is the kid brother of my bosom friend, Olajura Obameso (Barbarossa), who retired from the Army. The cultural display, especially the Owo songs, rendered by the students made my head to swell. May our culture not go into extinction the way we are going!

 

The 1969 set eulogised our founder and principal, Pa Michael Adekunle Ajasin (now late), who later became governor of old Ondo State. We sang his favourite hymn – SOP Hymn Number 515: “He who will valiant be…” and held two minutes’ silence in his memory and honour, as well as for those of his wife, Babafunke, and members of the 1969 set who are deceased, some of whose names were mentioned. The set was to later pay a courtesy call on the new Olowo, who is also an old student, and on the traditional prime minister of Owo, High Chief Ojumu.

 

 

My own set of 1974 had better started preparations for our own golden jubilee!

 

 

What a stressful but memorable weekend! The bad state of the inter-state roads nearly ruined it all. And to think these were the same roads the Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola, swore were “Not that bad”! Not only were they that bad, they were, indeed, death-traps!

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Daura’s 80th: The burden of nationalism

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Daura’s 80th: The burden of nationalism

The Psalmist said in the Holy Scripture that our span is seventy or eighty for those who are strong. The Psalmist was deliberate in identifying those who get to 80, and beyond, as strong. Mallam Mamman Daura turned 80 a few days ago. He is a strong man. A Roman General once said that when a man reaches the peak, he looks back at the road he has passed. In looking back, he wants to be sure that he made positive impact. Positive impact is the trail we leave as we work ourselves up the ladder of actualization. Mamman Daura has many of such trails.

Mamman Daura is different things to different people. To his children his is a great father who cares. To his grandchildren he is a wonderful and playful grandfather. To his wife, he is a most loving husband. To his associates, he is a great nationalist who seeks the utmost good of all. To those who do not know him, he means something different. But as it is said, dogs bark at those they do not know. To me, he is a great Nigerian who has given his all in the service of his fatherland. He represents a generation of nationalists who know neither tribe nor religion. He represents what every Nigerian should aspire to be. It is therefore not surprising that even at 80, he is still strongly working for the good of the country, and people, he so much loves.

Some Nigerians do not know Mamman Daura. I agree that it is not possible for every Nigerian to have a personal experience of him like I have done in over two decades. Those who have been closely associated with him know deeply, that he is one patriot who goes to bed every night thinking of what next sacrifice to make for the good of Nigeria. He believes that Nigeria was deliberately created by God to be the black man’s reference in positive values. For this reason, Mallam Daura will not spare any moment to ensure that only the good is delivered for the good of Nigeria.

At 80, one may expect him to slow down and rest more. The Daura I know will not do so. He believes that there is still work to be done and has been working almost at same capacity, like he has done since his youthful days when he started off writing, as a journalist, for a better Nigeria. So, from merely writing and articulating views on how best to put Nigeria in shape for her future, Daura found himself within power corridors, with the opportunity to translate those great ideas he shared, into workable deliverables for our country.

The result has been torrential with an upsurge in rice production and growing national capacity for self-sufficiency in agricultural production, Daura has helped, albeit behind the curtain, to guide the incumbent administration towards policies that have made the Nigerian economy to be counted among one of the growing economies in the world. He has helped tailor government’s policy directive towards diversification which has seen a gradual focus shift from petroleum to other sources of revenue. Though some Nigerians feel otherwise about the effect on these policies on their personal economies, there is no denying the fact, however, that sanity has returned to the economic front with the country now making more money through taxation.

Nigerians are also feeling the positive impact on the improvement in power generation and distribution much the same way like they experience growth on infrastructure development. These are not happenstance. They are the direct outcome of a mind that is deeply focused on progress rather than privileges. Those who have the rare privilege of knowing the force behind the incumbent government would appreciate my assertion.

Daura is 80, but that is a number. His age has not taken a toll on him mentally. His experience has become very crucial at this time when Nigeria is going through a transformative rebirth. Like it is said, a new broom sweep fine, but an old one knows all the corners. Daura as a patriotic nationalist has a very deep understanding of the ethnic diversity of Nigeria and has worked very hard to ensure that government taps into this diversity for nation building. That is where his experience comes to play as the unifying link in government.

Beside his patriotism and nationalistic approach, Daura is such a loving heart with an infectious warmth. He loves humanity and does not hide it. He won’t go to dinner table alone. That way, he ensures that those around him go to bed with a stronger hope for tomorrow. Those who have come across him can testify to this. He is kind and affable. What more can humanity asks for than to have someone whose empathy knows neither tribe nor religion.

I would say that Nigeria is very blessed to have Mamman Daura within its leadership circles at this time when it is undergoing a rebirth because his wisdom and counsel have proved vital in strengthening the country’s unity. Having attained 80, what more can one ask for him than to pray that God will bless him with good health, of mind and body, to enable him help place this country on the pedestal of progress. God can’t be wrong.

However, he lives with a burden. The burden of nationalistic patriotism is such that those who drive it are often misunderstood. They are misunderstood not because they communicated wrongly, but because people grow and live with certain fixations about others. Those who live with negative fixations need work more to liberate themselves from such traps. As a good communicator, Daura is also a very good listener. He listens to every complaint about life and living in Nigeria. He reads every report published and pays very close attention to details. That way, he is able to identify the demon that is always hidden in there. Very few persona at his age, have the strength and capacity to sit long hours doing this. Those who still do, do so out of love for whatever they are involved in.

Like I said earlier, he bears the burden of being misunderstood. However, those who work with such burden always laugh last. History is replete with the story of great men, like Mamman Daura, who were misunderstood while they worked hard to liberate mankind from the clutches that had been placed on them by bad governance. For instance, when Jesus Christ entered the temple to chase away those who had turned it into a market place, as recorded in the scripture, not many saw his action as a necessary cleansing exercise to return the temple to its natural role in the development of the relationship between mankind and the divine. The people were to later understand what he represented and what his actions meant. But it was already too late as he had gone to be with his heavenly father, who ab initio, sent him.

As things are, Daura deserves all the accolades befitting a nationalistic patriot with very strong and progressive visions for the future of our children. Nigerians also need to celebrate him for sacrificing his retirement to help stir the country to loftier heights.

Happy Birthday, Mamman Daura.

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The place of the President and Vice President under the Nigerian and American Constitutions (3)

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The place of the President and Vice President under the Nigerian and American Constitutions (3)

INTRODUCTION

 

It was John Tyler that said “this Constitution was not made for a day, nor is it composed of such flexible materials as to be warped to the purposes of a casually ascendant influence.” The above situation can be likened to the on-going “private visit” by President Buhari to the UK, a foreign land, with a differing territorial jurisdiction, but where he is busy signing laws that govern Nigerians. This has more than ever before brought to the fore the unique place of the Vice President in a presidential system of government that we are operating. This is because the Constitution has specifically assigned definite functions to the office of the President and that of the Vice President (VP), with the VP standing in for Mr President in his absence. Today, we shall continue to unravel the place of the Vice President in Nigeria’s constitutional organogram.

 

THE VICE PRESIDENT IN NIGERIA

 

(continues)

 

It is clear from the provisions of section 143 of the Constitution that the process leading to the removal of the President or Vice President is entirely that of the National Assembly. While section 143 (10) ousts the court from entertaining or questioning the proceedings taken under the section, section 143 (11) defines what would constitute “gross misconduct” for which either the President or Vice President could be removed under the section.

 

On the other hand, Section 144 provides for instances in which the President or Vice President would cease to hold office; while section 145 sets out instances when the Vice President could act as President. Section 146 (1) on the other hand, provides that the Vice President shall hold the office of President if the office of President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason.

 

On other hand, section 146 (3) provides for what should happen in respect of the Vice President’s office becoming vacant. The subsection provides as follows: 146(3) where the office of the Vice President becomes vacant (a) by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or removal in-accordance with section 143 or 144 of this Constitution; (b) by his assumption of the office of President in accordance with subsection (1) of this section; or (c) for any other reason, the President shall nominate and, with the approval of each house of the National Assembly, appoint a new Vice President.’

 

As I have already stated above, the office of the Vice President is created by the Constitution. His appointment and removal from office are also provided for in the Constitution. Although the President had to nominate him as at the time he wanted to contest for the office of the President, and the Constitution also requires that the person nominated should be from the same political party as the President, I believe that the Constitution assumes that the President and the Vice President should maintain the same relationship throughout their term in office.

 

SPECIFIC DUTIES OF THE VICE PRESIDENT IN NIGERIA

 

Though, it can be contended that the role of the Vice-President is not sufficiently defined in the Constitution because it vests the totality of the executive powers of the Federation on the President, there are still some specific responsibilities assigned to the Vice-President under the Constitution. Some specific responsibilities assigned to the Vice-President qua Vice-President in the 1999 Constitution includes being the agent of the President in his exercise of the executive powers conferred on him by the Constitution; responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government previously assigned to him by the President; presiding over the meeting of the National Economic Council; to be the Deputy Chairman of the following Federal Councils established by section 153 of the 1999 Constitution, namely; the Council of State, the National Defence Council and the National Security Council.

 

The most significant responsibility of the Vice-President stipulated in the Constitution is without doubt that of succeeding the President if the office of the President becomes vacant by reason of death or resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 or 144 of the 1999 Constitution. This provision of section 146(1) ensures that there is no vacuum in the leadership of the country should any of the circumstances enumerated under the subsection occur. He can assume the Presidency only when the elected President is incapable of continuing in office as a result of any of the reasons therein enumerated.

 

A review of the Constitutions of some other countries such as United States of America and India shows that they contain provisions relating to the Vice-President acting as President during the temporary absence of the President. Actually, section 145 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria is nearly in pari materia with Article 3 of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

 

This is not surprising as it is an acknowledged fact that our democracy (including our Constitution) is modelled after the American version. The main differences between the provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 3 of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America are that there is no reference to the President’s vacation in the provision in the Constitution of the United States of America unlike the 1999 Constitution and the fact that the officer of the Senate to whom the President’s letter is addressed is the President pro tempore of the Senate unlike in the 1999 Constitution where the letter is addressed to   the President simpliciter of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. There is a similar provision in the Constitution of India.

 

Accordingly, section 65(2) of the Constitution of India clearly states as follows:

 

“When the President is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President shall discharge his functions until the date on which the President resumes his duties.” Section 146(1) of the CFRN is silent on the tenure of the presidency of the Vice-President. It may be reasonable to assume that the tenure of the Vice-President’s presidency under section 146(1) should be for the unexpired period of the tenure of the President who vacated the office. This conclusion can be justified. In the first place, the President and Vice-President are elected on a joint ticket.

 

Secondly, provisions of Part I of Chapter VI of the 1999 Constitution relating to qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualification, declaration of assets and liabilities and oaths of President applies to the Vice- President as if references to the President in those provisions were references to the Vice-President.

 

Thirdly, and more technically, the use of the expression “shall hold the office of President” in the subsection is definitive. In other words, it connotes a reference to the unexpired tenure of the President being succeeded. Indubitably, the 1999 Constitution is predicated on the principle of single executive.

 

This is evident from the vesting of all the executive powers of the Federation on the President by section 5(1)(a). The Vice- President, therefore, has no executive role except as may be assigned to him by the President, and as assigned by the Constitution. Nevertheless, it is indefensible to assert that the Vice-President is an outsider in the government. The 1999 Constitution, unlike the American Constitution, has numerous provisions as we have seen above, which ensure that the Vice-President is carried along in the administration.

 

THE VICE PRESIDENT IS NEITHER A SERVANT NOR SLAVE OF THE PRESIDENT

 

The Courts in Nigeria, especially the Court of Appeal have also done a great job in elevating the office of the Vice President beyond that of a mere servant or loyalist of the President who can be removed at the pleasure of the President. (To be continued). THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK “The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.” (George Washington).

 

LAST LINE

 

I thank Nigerians for always keeping faith with the Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project, by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., Ph.D, LL.D. I enjoin you to look forward to next week’s treatise.

Follow me on twitter @ MikeozekhomeSAN

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2021 AFCON qualifiers: Kalu aims for spotlight as Eagles target vic tory in Maseru

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2021 AFCON qualifiers: Kalu aims for spotlight as Eagles target vic tory in Maseru

Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu stole the show when he scored the winner in Super Eagles’ 2-1 win over Benin Republic in their opening match of the 2021 African Cup of Nation qualifying match on Wednesday, and Manager Gernot Rohr will count on the forward to produce another sublime showing when they face Lesotho on Match Day 2 in Maseru on Sunday (tomorrow).

The Eagles fell behind to Stephane Sessegnon’s third minute goal but reacted well as Victor Osimhen scored a penalty before Kalu produced the biggest moment by dribbling past Squirrels’ defenders to score the winner late on in the game and shot Nigeria to the summit of Group L. The goal was Kalu’s second since he broke into the national team, and he will fancy his chances of scoring with more consistency now. Rohr seems to prefer captain Ahmed Musa or Moses Simon ahead of him in the left side of the attack but the coach never regretted his decision to hand the speed-star a starting role against Benin Republic ahead of the duo. Kalu had shown flashes of what should be expected of him when he mesmerized the defence of Ukraine in their 2-2 draw in an international friendly last September.

He formed a devastating trinity with Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze and they replicated that showing against Benin. There is no doubting the winger ’s ability; he has established himself as one of the best dribblers in Africa.

The 22-year-old, last September, was even adjudged the best dribbler in Europe top five leagues, ahead of PSG’s Angel Di Maria, Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe and Real Betis’ Nabil Fekir. The 22-year-old winger, who is in his second season with Bordeaux, has the highest dribble percentage in Europe. As at September, according to OptaJean, the Nigeria international had successfully executed 22 dribbles out of 47 attempted, putting him ahead of some of the world’s most talked-about players known for that.

He is quite versatile so much so that Rohr even deployed him as a right wing-back in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa held in Johannesburg last year but the youngster said he thrives more as a winger and a support striker.

”I can play both sides of the flank, I also play as a supporting striker,” he said. Lesotho are a very plucky side; they are quite difficult to play at home after they lost only once in their last five home matches but with Kalu’s speed and skills, it shouldn’t be difficult for the Eagles to break their defence and maintain their perfect start to the campaign. He couldn’t do much as the Eagles won bronze at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt after he suffered concussion a few days to the start of the competition, although he still played a part in the campaign. He will be keen to make this series his own time to shine.

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‘I prefer woman living with HIV as wife’

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‘I prefer woman living with HIV as wife’

With scientific breakthroughs, stigmatization associated with the people living with Human Immuno Virus (HIV) will sooner be a thing of the past. Quite a number of “undetected” carriers of the virus are having fun and enjoying their relationships. The fear that is associated with HIV has toned down considerably. People are now coming out boldly to declare their status to their would-be partners at the onset of their relationship. So far, there’s no cause for alarm.

A courageous, healthy looking man called me last weekend and asked to be hooked up with a life partner. He prefers a woman living with HIV or non-carrier who is ready to be with him as wife. What amazes me about this Abuja-based gentleman is his candour. He unashamedly introduced himself as a man living with the virus. In the course of our discussion, he revealed the details of his condition as an “undetected carrier,” meaning he could date or marry without infecting his woman with the virus. Consequently, his child or children won’t be infected either, despite his own status. He has this to say:

I contracted the HIV through my late wife. We were childhood friends before we developed our relationship to dating and eventually to marriage. I didn’t know she was a carrier until when she wanted to be delivered of our first and the only child. The blood donation I did revealed my status as an HIV carrier. Apparently it was too late to reverse the situation, hence I decided to live with it. Unfortunately, she passed on later as a result of complications arising from the virus which had unknowingly developed into a full-blown AIDS.

Thereafter, I decided to seek medical attention from Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja, where I still attend clinic appointments. Eight years after the death of my wife, I remarried. I disclosed my status to my new wife from the onset and she agreed to go ahead with me. When we wanted to wed, the church insisted we have to do a test which revealed my status but she told the church authority that she would still marry me despite the outcome of the result.

Initially, I was trying to use protective method for her during sex but she protested, saying she can’t get pregnant with that method. That was when I started having “direct entry” – unprotected sex with her and we had a baby girl in the process. Barely two years later, she decided to quit the marriage, and we eventually went our separate ways. My daughter was negative up till when her mom left. As at now, I don’t know their current status as we speak.

I have since remained single and lonely. I decided to take my health condition seriously. As we speak, sir, I’m very healthy and active as a man. I can date and remarry now. That’s why I contacted you for help through your Hook Up service. I learnt about it through some people and I trust that you will be kind enough to get a good woman for me. There are many women around but only a few are really interested in marriage.

Sir, it may interest you to know that some women living with HIV are on the prowl in town, catching fun recklessly. They behave that way because most of them have very low viral loads – which is “undetected.” Because I use my anti-retroviral drugs consistently, my viral load is below 20. The minimum load is five. Therefore, viral loads between 5 and 20 are much safe with partners with negative HIV status. Our partners can’t be infected, same with our children.

I would have proposed to one of the women in our circle (we do interact and socially meet because we attend the same hospital for treatments; and to be honest with you, we have constituted ourselves into a social group) but some of our ladies are not keen on family life. They are more wayward than non-carriers outside. I believe there are carriers elsewhere who might need companions or life partners like me. In order to avoid embarrassment, rejection or stigmatization, that’s why I prefer a woman living with HIV. Both of us already have shared knowledge and understanding of our health condition.

My health status is well known to my family members. And I don’t hide it from anybody I come in contact with. Many years ago, malaria was a killer disease, same with cholera but today, both can be treated by just going to a nearby pharmacy with less than N2,000. I strongly believe that sooner than later, HIV will be totally demystified just like malaria and cholera. Until then, we need the grace of God and the support of caring people around us to bear the cross of stigmatization, rejection and fear from the members of the public.

Sir, she can come from any part of the country provided she’s sincere and she has the fear of God in her heart. Let me know the details of what is involved to be hooked up and I will be willing to do them. I do sincerely appreciate you, sir, for your rapt attention to hear me out and show empathy for my condition. Thank you and God bless.

Findings have confirmed his position that he can actually date or marry without infecting his partner or children. According to i-base.info/qa/65, it states that when carriers are told that they’re “lower than detectable,” this is referring to their viral load. Put simply, it means that their HIV is under control. There’s more info about being “lower than detectable” and why it’s important. Another finding posits that “the standard blood tests used in clinics can measure viral load down to 20 or 50 copies per millilitre of blood. When aperson has an “undetectable viral load,” their chances of passing on HIV to a sexual partner is zero. As the campaign slogan puts it, ‘Undetectable equals Untransmittable’ or ‘U = U’. Going by the 2018 report, no fewer than 1. 9 million people were living with HIV in Nigeria. 

In view of his healthy, active and safe condition, it is no longer much of a risk for any interested woman – regardless of her status, to go into a relationship and possibly marriage with him. God will be in charge, I will facilitate the connection and all will be well. Amen.

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2023: Memo to the South-South

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2023: Memo to the South-South

“The Igbo are in the South-East, they are part of this country from the First Republic. No one can put them aside; so when the time comes for the Igbo to be the President of Nigeria, nobody will dispute to it or stop them.” – E K Clark

 

 

The last two editions of Political Musing, a current affairs weekly analysis of issues in our polity on this space were centred on the Presidential power rotation along geo-political lines ahead of 2023.

The discourse was prompted by the needless agitation soon after the Supreme Court ruling of October 30 on the election petition by Atiku Abubakar and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which brought to an end the contentious February 23, 2019, Presidential election. The incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were declared victorious by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and they got the nod of the judiciary as well.

Despite the public perception on the election however the decision of the Supreme Court terminates the agitation. This is really not the subject of this memo anyway.

A peep into the two previous memos first to the South-West region and second to the North will to large extent help readers to decipher the message here. I will therefore advise those who had not read the previous memos to try and avail themselves of it either in my Facebook page or on New Telegraph website or their Facebook page so that we all can be on the same page as we proceed.

How far has the South-South region faired since the return to full time democracy in our polity in 1999?

This region is easily the richest and the strongest economy of all the geo-political zones in the country. The reason is obvious it’s the wealth base of the nation. But can it be said that these their huge resources have been adequately deployed to help alleviate the myriads of problems in the place? How has their politics faired since 1999, have they been shrewd enough to gain from their recompenses?

Political watchers believe that resource wise and even votes no President has emerged in Nigeria without votes from this region playing significant roles. They are also on record to have been very active in the national politics in the two main political parties.

But the essence of this memo is to decrypt the stand of this zone on the rotation of President ahead of 2023. Are they for power remaining in the North, or coming down South? If South where are they putting their coins, in themselves, the South-West or the South-East?

Ordinarily, it would be easy to say where the South-South people will favour for President in 2023 given political events of the last decade in the country, but in politics one plus one is not always two. By providence the region produced President for six years following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2009. Will they see this period as covering their turn for now and considerately supporting the zone that has not tasted it or will they jump into the fray the way some South-Westerners who have tasted it for eight years are also trying to do?

Political watchers believe that if reason and rationality have places in politics, the South-South should be stoutly steering for the South-East region that stood solidly behind them when their son was in charge and facing all the challenges of being seen as an interloper to the Presidency.

Today not a few believe that the South-East is facing some hard times politically in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling APC, because of the perception that the South-South candidate was theirs as well. It requires more educating to let average northerner agree that an Ijaw man like Goodluck Jonathan is not an Igbo after his mother gave him some Igbo names, Ebele and Azikiwe. The same way an average Igbo in the South-East village sees every northerner as ‘onye Hausa’.

This memo is actually not tailored towards examining the benefits of the six years sojourn of a South-South person at the commanding position, whether they were enough to quench their thirst at least in the near future, but it still need to be noted that critical infrastructures like East West road, Second Niger Bridge or Enugu-Port Harcourt road continued in its depilated conditions even after the reign of the son of the soil.

Notwithstanding the intentions and scheming of politicians and their parties from this region, key stakeholders under the umbrella of PANDEF led by the irrepressible elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark have been mobilizing and aligning forces with their like minds in Ohanaeze in the South-East, Afenifere in the South-West, and the Middle Belt Forum pushing for the restructuring of this country as a way of increasing efficiency and reducing injustice and imbalance in the land.

Whether what these leaders are doing and saying agree with the desires and aspirations of their politicians is to be seen in years to come.

Even while still gunning for restructuring as the first option, Chief Clark stands out unambiguously that the Presidency of this country in 2023 should be left for the South-East if really this country cherishes peace and is sincere about accommodating all. To him 2023 is the rightful turn of the Igbo.

According to the Ijaw leader, giving the people of the South-East region a condition that their presidency in 2023 could only be guaranteed and achieved if they vote for President Buhari in 2019 was unnecessary and must be condemned in all its ramifications.

The elder statesman was reacting to a statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, that only the South-East endorsement of Buhari’s re-election will secure their presidency in 2023.

But Clark said: “That is a very unusual statement. Is it a threat or an appeal? Nigerians will always vote for the candidates they believe in, candidates that will rule Nigeria without any trouble, without religious fanaticism, someone who doesn’t believe in ethnicity, somebody competent enough, healthy enough to rule Nigeria.”

It could therefore be safe to say that the position of Clark above reflects the wishes and aspirations of most South-South person especially those desiring fairness and equity in our system but to what extent are they on the same page with their ambitious politicians?

This memo therefore is intended to warn the region against playing into the hands of some greedy and ambitious politicians from the North and South-West by not standing with the view of their leader Clark that 2023 Presidency should go to the South-East for stability and good conscience. It’s only when the South-South lend their voice to the South-East will the 2023 project be realizable. If there is no unity among these two vital brotherly regions politically, all their advantages will remain untapped and could open the zone for political vandals to cannibalize. A lot of the resources of this region have been deployed in the making of Presidents from the other regions; can they say they have gotten a reciprocal treatment for all their political charity?

The journey to a better Nigeria if it must be in our time must be anchored on justice, equity and fairness. Anything to the contrary even if it seems to be working will be like a good design placed on a poor foundation.

Barring any political development in the country, this four serial memo which started a fortnight with South-West will be concluded next week with a memo to the South-East. God bless Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s houses of horror

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Nigeria’s houses of horror

H

ouses of horror were recently unearthed in various parts of the country, starting in the North before berthing, last week, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital and largest city in West Africa. Oyo State police boss, Shina Olukolu, was quoted as describing the Ibadan house of horror as “man’s inhumanity to man”. All manner of occultist and satanic practices take place in those houses of horror. Only God knows how many destinies have been truncated, careers ruined, lives lost and homes wrecked by the evil operators of such houses and their patrons.

 

 

To be sure, they have powerful backers. The highly-placed patronise them for their diabolical wares and such conscienceless but powerfully-connected people are always at hand to ensure that the law is thwarted and the cloak of immunity woven around the vile elements that, otherwise, should have been made to face the full wrath of the law. Ibadan, once again, may not be a different kettle of fish.

 

 

We are no strangers to horror houses. We all were living witnesses to the Okija shrine debacle. The principal actors remain till today firmly ensconced in the corridors of power. A politician caught naked bathing with what was suspected to be human blood is today the speaker of a State House of Assembly. Apart from the official oath of office taken publicly by public officers, Nigerians know that there is another more powerful, more efficacious, and more dreaded secret oath that is administered before anyone can be allowed into the inner caucus of power. This is where satanic mediums and their patrons derive their power, relevance, toga of the untouchable and invincibility.

 

 

Their other source of power and influence is the gullibility and illiteracy of our people who even take their wards to the horror houses for “training”, “healing” or what-have-you! It was to such circumstances that we lost Super Eagles superstar, Rashidi Yekini. Remember? Relations said Rashidi was mad. The guy said he was not. He might have been a recluse but he troubled no one. One day, his relatives swooped on him, tied his hands and legs and hauled him into a house of horror called “healing” home. Rashidi had died before even his “healers” knew the pedigree of who was in their hands. How many Rashidi Yekinis have we lost to horror houses nationwide?

 

 

Governor Seyi Makinde’s response to the unearthing of the Ibadan house of horror was prompt and apt. He visited the scene – embarrassingly, it is purportedly a mosque, a so-called place of worship called Olore Central Mosque. That name is euphemism personified. Olore (Oloore) in Yoruba means the harbinger of goodness and dispenser of favour. To be sure, it is not only mosques that advertise God or Allah today but worship Satan. How else can we describe the case of five “pastors” using the same contortionist to demonstrate their miracle-performing “prowess”? Are the so-called pastors in chains already or do they still walk free, holding court?

 

 

That is the problem with Nigeria! Nothing shocks us anymore! We have all developed a thick skin. We do not do diligent follow-up. We do not punish offenders. And where offenders go unpunished, impunity reigns. Very soon, it becomes, “if you can’t beat them, join them!” I must confess that an avid reader prodded me from my “siddon look” to do this story.

 

 

His story: In 1984 I was returning home from (secondary) school and had to pass in front of the Olore Central Mosque. Suddenly, some men came from nowhere, hit me with something and dragged me inside the building. I was hauled before their boss. He asked me for my name. I gave him a fake name. He gazed straight ahead of him; looked at the ground and then ordered them to throw me out. Outside, I stood unconscious.

 

 

“Then I sauntered into Agbala Daniel next door and demanded to see the pastor. They said ‘Mama is sleeping’ I waited, my head howling and my body shaking. When they saw my comportment – a child – and I wouldn’t go and come back as they had counselled, they went and woke Mama up. I told her ‘Please, pray for me’. She did and then poured water on me. I regained my consciousness. That was 34/35 years ago. I couldn’t have been their first victim. Imagine how many must have fallen prey in that spate of time.

 

 

“Sometime in 2008 when the atrocities of the same people came into the open and government wanted to do something; it was reported that a prominent Islamic leader of Ibadan origin, now late, intervened. Now, that the same people have again been exposed, religious leaders are reportedly also coming together to sweep the case under the carpet. For how long will this continue?”

 

 

It will not continue! Governor Makinde has ordered the demolition of the house of horror parading as a mosque, as it was rightly described by the governor. Conscionable Muslims must understand this and distance themselves from Olore’s atrocities. More than that, true Muslims must be really angry that their name, religion and faith have been wilfully abused and unabashedly desecrated and must see the need to come out clean. They must, therefore, be in the forefront of those who will ask – and ensure – that vile elements are brought to book. Otherwise, they suffer double jeopardy. They will be treated not just as accessory after the fact of all the hideous crimes allegedly committed at Olore; they will also be treated as the proverbial abetter of crimes, who deserve a heftier punishment than the criminal himself. Religion or religious affairs must be separated from crime and criminality, again, as Makinde aptly stated.       

 

 

A total of 259 inmates were rescued at Olore. Makinde has taken them into safe homes and ordered their treatment and rehabilitation. That is the first step; next is the prosecution of the offenders. And what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. Justice delayed – to both sides – is justice denied. CP Olukolu has given his word that justice would be served; Gov. Makinde similarly. If this proves not to be so in the end, citizens’ trust and confidence in government will be shaken while getting the support and cooperation of the same people shall become an uphill task. I will, however, want Makinde to understand that it is not the case that people have not spoken out about Olore and such other houses of horror in Ibadan; the unfortunate thing is that the appropriate authorities have failed to act again and again.

 

 

In The PUNCH of February 23, 2008, Akin Oyedele, the then Oyo State correspondent of the newspaper, wrote a story on Olore and other Ibadan houses of horror titled: POLICE UNCOVER ANOTHER IBADAN HOUSE OF HORROR WHERE INMATES EAT DEAD COLLEAGUES. Excerpts:

 

 

The Oyo State Police command on Friday (February 22, 2008) uncovered another illegal detention camp in Ojoo area of Ibadan where at least 60 inmates were said to have been tortured to death and buried secretly in the last two years.

 

 

Against their wish, the victims claimed that they were turned to cannibals as they were forced to prepare and eat the remains of their dead colleagues with their captors. The police said 92 inmates were rescued from the centre after spending between three days and seven years while 11 suspects working with the prime suspect, Alfa Mohammed Olore, were arrested…

 

 

Exhibits recovered from the suspects were three cars, N32,000, three spades, concoctions, a jar of black soap, plastic container with reddish water allegedly drained from the corpses of the dead inmates…

 

 

Parading the inmates and suspects at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on Saturday, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of the command, Mr. Udom Ekpoudom, said the latest discovery was shocking. This is coming on the heels of the arrest, last Friday (February 15, 2008), of an Islamic teacher, AbdulGaniyu Imoniyi, who operated an illegal detention camp at Eleta, Ile-tuntun area of Sanyo where 23 victims were rescued. Another Muslim cleric, Alfa Ali Ademola, was arrested at Orogun area of Ibadan, last week for allegedly torturing a trainee to death.   

 

 

On Saturday, an Islamic leader, Alhaji Azeez Arisekola-Alao, was one of the early callers at the SARS… The Muslim leader declined press interview during the brief period he stayed at the SARS while he assured the agitated victims, “Don’t worry; they will give you food,” before departing the venue.

 

 

The AIG admitted that pressure was mounted on him by some clerics… He said, “I don’t know what Ibadan is turning to… When I was in Abeokuta, two of my friends, an engineer and a doctor, came to Ibadan and disappeared. Who knows whether they ended up in one of these centres?”

 

 

There you are, Governor Makinde! It is not that people have not spoken out. It is not that the authorities have not been aware all along. It is just that the needful has not been done. Now, the ball is in your court! Will you dare to be different?

 

 

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Edo political conundrum (2)

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Edo political conundrum (2)

Coincidentally, today marks the 3rd year anniversary of Governor Godwin Obaseki in office, but I am not going to dissect his adventure thus far. That will be an assignment for a later date. Let me continue from where I stopped last week, the Iyamho debacle. The Iyamho show of shame has been given different interpretations and connotations with accusations and counter-accusations followed by sky-rocketing rebuttals, depending on what cylinder one is firing from. The governor who spoke about pursuing peace, refused to pick the phone calls of his boss, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who declared that his calls to Governor Obaseki, rang out. The Iyamho show of shame has a tinge of embarrassment to it, with a cincture of mutual suspicion. First, is the Oshiomhole angle. Second, is the Obaseki/Shuaibu angle.

The common denominator is the love lost, which led to some unhealthy conducts more on the part of the state government and partly Oshiomhole’s side. It is this love lost that breached the protocol in the entire scenario. Information has it that Governor Obaseki attended the Friday 1st November, 2019 Convocation Lecture without extending courtesies to his National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole at the latter’s home. It snowballed into the macabre theatre that played out the following day which has now been outsourced to professional hirelings, government bootlickers, naysayers, coupon clippers and renters, to further the ugly narrative. Even at that, a discerning mind would easily see the loose end. If there was the usual camaraderie, on arrival, both the governor and his deputy would have proceeded to the residence of their National Chairman to pay the usual courtesies and from there, all the dignitaries including their host, would ride in a bus to the venue for the day’s business.

So, the love lost became the catalyst for the show of shame. Even at that, I am yet to reconcile the rationale for the deputy governor’s decision to subject our collective psyche to such dangerous ride. As a number 2 citizen of the state, his total package should worry all of us. He belongs to us as our number 2, the same way the governor belongs to us as our number 1 in the state. Riding on top of motorcyle on that busy Okpella-Benin highway exposed all of us to undue hypertension. What if peradventure, God forbids, any of those trucks’ drivers plying that road failed to apply his brakes, and decided to ram into those motorcyclists, including that of the number 2? What would have been the explanation? There have been many instances of brake failure and mindless carnage on that ever-busy road by heavy duty long trucks by no ordinary design of their own. What moral lesson was the Deputy Governor trying to communicate to the average graduand of the university? What was the motivation for mobilising such huge and unruly crowd to the extent that the soldiers and police would shoot teargas canisters to disperse them? Was that supposed to be a role model display or a condemnable act bearing in mind the theme and environment of the event? Was it proper for the Deputy Governor to climb a make-shift podium to give directive to the crowd like a movie director? 

A usually serene, small, university community like Iyamho would expectedly become boisterous seeing such a huge, campaign-rally type of crowd on a day that should ordinarily be for merriment by parents and their graduating children. Containing such already charged atmosphere would also be a tall order, not when teargas canisters had been fired to create additional panic. Now, in the midst of such charged atmosphere, the event ended and the governor decided to accompany other invitees to the residence of his boss, the National Chairman, bearing in mind he never extended such courtesy a day earlier. It is expected that those imported “okada” riders and thugs would naturally accompany their leaders to Oshiomhole’s residence chanting 4+4, in full obeisance to the salutary lure for second term. Expectedly, there is already a “home-grown” crowd at the entrance to the residence of Comrade Oshiomhole. Only naivety would think otherwise. You are bound to have contestation or “balance of terror” between the imported and the home-grown crowds. Any security conscious person on advance duty ought to have properly communicated this situation to the governor and his entourage, knowing full well that both actors have not been in the best of terms for sometime now.

The personal security details of the governor failed in their responsibility of proactive trouble-shooting. The simple doctrine in VIP movement is to think ahead of your principal and see if any intending atmosphere is suitable enough to accommodate a hitch-free entry for your principal. The governor’s security details ostensibly became part of the crowd and part of the problem, thus making the entire situation uncontrollable. It is one thing for you to mobilise crowd to an event, managing them to behave in a most civilised manner, often times, becomes herculean. Did the Deputy Governor depart the scene on “okada” the same way he came with them? The answer is no. He was reportedly inside the bus that conveyed other dignitaries to the residence of Comrade Oshiomhole. He left the imported crowd in the hands of the “home-grown” crowd and zoomed off with his principal. The end product was the battering and smashing of windscreens that later became relics of the encounter. Lowering the standard of public office as exhibited by the Deputy Governor is morally reprehensible, given the assignment of that day. If what the Deputy Governor wanted was a show of political strength and bravado in Oshiomhole’s domain as a mark of political independence, he got his fingers burnt and thoroughly embarrassed his boss, the governor, the state and other invited dignitaries. By the time the security agencies profile and analyse those amateur videos, they would be able to place their hands on the jar.

I am enthralled by Comrade Oshiomhole’s reported phone calls to the governor and other dignitaries few minutes after the ugly incident was brought to his attention. The only sore thumb was Oshiomhole’s declaration that he didn’t actually invite the governor. That was off the mark. Not responding to Comrade Oshiomhole’s calls was another off the mark on the part of the governor. In the african tradition, the visitor or guest is the head of the house because of the respect we accord those who visit us. I am sure that was the motivation for Oshiomhole’s calls to the governor to extend his apologies. He didn’t stop there, he also personally apologised to the governor and other dignitaries including the revered Oba of Lagos, through press interview, over the untoward behaviour of the errant youths. That apology, to me, was the hallmark of humility against the background of the love lost between the two major actors. Going further to join issues with his political son was another off the mark chronicle. He should simply have called for the State Commissioner of Police and the Department of State Services to investigate the matter and come up with a report, after all, both agencies have their men on duty on that fateful day. 

Talking seriously, as a student of power, ingratitude has its own consequences. The addictive properties of power often make its distribution suffer certain deprivations and end up creating frictions between godfathers and godsons. In the Edo scenario,  I have read a couple of very misleading, ill-informed commentaries as the rationale for the seed of discord that has germinated between Governor Obaseki and Comrade Oshiomhole. They called it “refusal to share money”, a cheap blackmail, loaded in baloney, a banality that is neither here nor there. The Edo debacle is purely a function of ego, pure and simple. As a muslim who believes in the efficacy of my five times prayers, it is becoming a motto on the lips of people to offer this prayer line: may your case never be like that of Oshiomhole and Obaseki. Often times, you hear a deafening sound of A-M-E-E-E-E-N. Why is the prayer that instructive and disturbingly so? It is because of the robust relationship that hitherto existed between the two of them for eight solid years when Godwin Obaseki served as Economic Advisor to Oshiomhole and the level of decay it has suffered just within three years.

No one would have contemplated that Governor Obaseki would derive the balls to confront an Oshiomhole whom he often offered the honorific salutation of “yes sir”, “yes sir” in those years. Coupled with this, is the current role of the Deputy Governor, Phillip Shuaibu, a once political son of Oshiomhole, who has now chosen power in place of long held relationship. They say you do not know the true depth of a man’s character until power and money are thrust upon him. Power! Power!! Power!!!. What a crazy aphrodisiac that makes men blind to their real intentions and derobe their sense of humanity when faced with the lure of high office. I am yet to reconcile in retrospect why Comrade Oshiomhole would have to withdraw Phillip Shuaibu from the House of Representatives and made him Obaseki’s running mate, when there were better, intellectually mobile and cerebral minds from Edo North who could have filled the opportunity. Power, they say, works in an uncommon fashion.

If the opportunity presents itself, would Oshiomhole be willing to do same? That is the lesson of history and experience. I now hear the unprintable names Oshiomhole is being called by those beneficiaries of his compelling lobby and argument. Some say it is the law of karma at play, others say it serves him right, yet some say, it is a lesson for those who tend to serve power ala carte. Obaseki got his hands on power ala carte, right from the oven of Oshiomhole’s kitchen. Having been fed with the menu of some ideological precepts, he has now built his own army of praise-singers and colony of clapping youths who deafen our ears with suffocating chants of 4+4. In the inner recesses of power, especially in Nigeria, sustaining the drive becomes a distraction and money guzzling adventure, but from Obaseki’s body language, he seems ready to break the till to prove a point that he indeed is the real King on the throne. Power and its allure presents intoxicants for those who wield it and gives ingratitude a new meaning….

To be continued….

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