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Constitutional implication of President Buhari’s travel abroad without transferring power to his Vice-President

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Constitutional implication of President Buhari’s travel abroad without transferring power to his Vice-President

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

It is no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has embarked on a 10- day “private visit” to the United Kingdom (UK), without informing the National Assembly and delegating presidential powers to the Vice President, since leaving on Thursday, 25th April, 2019. PMB is supposedly expected to be back on Sunday, 5th May, 2019.

 

This is not the first time the President has travelled out of the country both for official duties and for vacation since June 3, 2015. However, this is the first time PMB will be leaving the country not on an official duty, but for a ‘private visit’, as claimed by his handlers. Today, I shall be looking at the legal implication of his recent ‘private visit’ to UK, vis-à-vis the legal position of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The starting point here is that the position of the President is enshrined in our 1999 Constitution.

 

And as such, the President is not expected to do or act contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. This is well encapsulated in section 1 (1) & (3) of the 1999 Constitution.

 

By virtue of Section 5 (1),

“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation: (a) shall be vested in the President and may subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the public service of the Federation; and (b) shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters with respect to which the National Assembly has, for the time being, power to make laws”.

 

Barely few days into his ‘private trip’ to UK, PMB came under serious backlash, when it was discovered that there was no letter from him to the Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representatives transmitting power to his Vice- President, Yemi Osibanjo, for his inability to perform his official functions as the President for the duration of his absence.

 

This is the position of Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.

 

Section 145 states:

 

(1) “Whenever the President is proceeding on vacation or otherwise, unable to discharge the functions of his office, he shall transmit a written declaration to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to that effect, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, the Vice President shall perform the functions of the President as acting President.’

 

(2) In the event that the President is unable or fails to transmit the written declaration mentioned in subsection (1) of this section within 21 days, the National Assembly shall, by a resolution made by a simple majority of the vote of each House of the National Assembly, mandate the Vice-President to perform the functions of the office of the President as Acting President until the President transmits a letter to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives that he is now available to resume his functions as President”.

 

The presidency was swift to respond that PMB has not breached any section of the Nigerian Constitution for failing to transmit power to his deputy, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, before embarking on a 10-day private visit to London, United Kingdom (UK). Hellooooooo, Avid readers and history pupils, do not forget that the same PMB had earlier visited UK in one of his visits, in June 6, 2016, where PMB had handed over to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo after notifying the Senate of his 10-day visit to UK, where PMB claimed he would be seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist over a persistent ear infection.

 

What has changed? Nothing! Fast forward. The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, while making reference to Section 145 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, stated that “the President’s action did not contravene the law”. Shehu also averred that “Buhari had the capacity to preside over the affairs of the country from ‘anywhere’”.

 

Shehu went further to say that “the President can exercise authority from wherever he is as he is currently doing. This is a relatively short absence. If you check Section 145 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, you will see that the law is only infringed upon when such absence extends to 21 days”.

 

Furthermore, Shehu said: “The President can operate from wherever he is; if you are a Permanent Secretary and the President calls you from Abidjan and says you go and repair that road, are you going to tell him, ‘Mr. President, you are not in Nigeria, you are in Abidjan’ and because of that you are not going to do the work? Do you think you will have your job waiting for you?

 

There is absolutely no stress surrounding this because in the last three days of Mr. President being in the UK, we are in touch with him. We are aware he met with the Foreign Minister, two days ago, and advised him on engagement with the West African coast.”

 

“PMB was also in touch, watching over incidents happening in Gombe State and other places in the country. The president is in charge.” Can someone wake me up please???

 

I beg to disagree with Garba’s opinion on the above provisions of Mallam Garba. It is not correct, legally, constitutionally or even morally, that the president of about 200 million populated country can simply disappear on a so called “private visit” without the citizens being apprised. It is also wrong to say the president can rule Nigeria from any part of the world.

 

 

This argument does not seem to realise that the president loses his anonymity and utmost privacy the very day he took the oath of office as Nigerian president. His actions, both in and out of his official government quarters are subject to total public scrutiny. It becomes more serious when the visit is outside Nigeria, to another sovereign country like UK.

 

It has implications concerning security, self-pride, national consciousness and   responsibility of a government to its citizens. Nigerians did not elect a president-at-large, in cognito and plenipotentiary. He can only rule us from Nigeria.

 

 

When he is incapable of doing this, he must resort to section 145 by transferring power to his Vice. He did this in 2017 and I praised him to high heavens for avoiding the need for invocation of the doctrine of necessity, which had to be invoked in the Yar’Adua health saga.

 

I think at this point it is imperative to know the meaning of ‘private’ and ‘vacation’.

 

According to Wikipedia, ‘private’ means, ‘something is inherently special or sensitive to them’. Again, Wikipedia defined ‘vacation’ to mean, ‘a leave of absence from a regular occupation, or a specific trip or journey, usually for the purpose of recreation or tourism’.

Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the controversial ‘private visit’, PMB is deemed in the eyes of the law to be on vacation or leave of absence for 10 days. 10 days cannot be regarded as a “relatively short absence”, as argued by Shehu, but a vacation simpliciter! NOW THIS Shehu’s above view that Buhari has not breached the above provision of Section 145    (1) (2) above, particularly, PMB has not spent up to the required number of 21 days, without transmitting power is misleading and not the true intent and purport of the said provisions.

 

The purport and intendment of the subsection 2, is to cure the defect that occurred during Yar’Adua tenure, where Yar’Adua left the country without transmitting power to his then Vice-President, GEJ. It took the intervention of the National Assembly to restore the country back to her position. The sub-section 2 above is not a yardstick to act or behave anyhow.

 

AND THIS

 

Can someone please tell the presidency, especially Shehu, that there is a huge difference between embarking on an official assignment that lasts for days, or even weeks and merely leaving the country for reasons best known to him only, but termed “private”. The former cannot be treated as vacation and no letter is required to the National Assembly. But, in the latter, a letter must be written to the National Assembly and constitutes vacation.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country”. (Franklin D. Roosevelt).

 

LAST LINE

 

Hope Nigerians are reading, digesting and awaiting the next explosive discourse of Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, LL.D.

Follow me on twitter @ MikeozekhomeSAN

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Why and how history defines who we are (part 2)

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Why and how history defines who we are (part 2)

 

 

INTRODUCTION

In part 1 of this write up, I strongly discussed the importance of history and why it must be introduced into Nigerian schools’ syllabi. It is with great nostalgia I recall our history lectures in most primary and secondary schools.

Can you believe that in the primary school (St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, now Athekhai Primary School, Iviukwe, my home town, near Agenebode), we were already taught deep history concerning important world affairs.

In primary school in the rustic village environment of Iviukwe, we were taught by renowned primary school teachers like Dakpokpo, Iboi, Eshiebor, Obagidi, Mayaki Elomhi, Agwanyeokhai, Kadiri, Akpeokhai, Ikhane, Onemhegbai, Aipoh, etc. One teacher usually took all the subjects, ranging from Arithmetic, English, Civic Education, History, Handwriting, to Nature Study. We started with chalk on black slates; graduated to using wooden pen holder and later, in primary six, to fountain pens.

We would fetch firewood for our teachers; carry out work in their farms; went through the caves and hills to fetch stagnant spirogyra-infested water for them, which would then be treated with allum. To be a class monitor was a special honour and privilege. And for at least three of my six years in the Primary School, I was one. It was a great honour (to the envy of other pupils), to carry the table, with the class bell on top, from the classroom to the teacher’s house during holidays. What honour was greater than being the class monitor who kept time, rang the bell for morning assemblies, closing times, prayer times, and recesses.

In primary school, we acted drama, participated in debates, recited poems, quoted memorised history, etc. Guess what? We acted “The Trials of Brother Jerro” by Wole Soyinka, in my final year (1969) in primary school!

SOME DEFINING HISTORICAL FACTS AND FIGURES

Can you believe we were taught about the 300-year-old Slave Trade (1856 – 1915), Booker T. Washington, an African-American Educator, orator, author and advisor to many Presidents of America. We were taught that Mary Slessor (1848 – 1915) was a Scottish Presbyterian Missionary to Nigeria, who arrived Calabar, learnt the Efik language and taught the native people Christianity, in their native language. The most famous act Slessor is remembered for is that she stopped the then prevalent practice of infanticide of twins among the Ibibio people. By the time she died in 1915 at a mere 66, she had become famous for Christian missionary working Africa, women’s rights and rescuing children from infanticide.

LADY FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE

Were we not taught about Lady Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910), the English Social Reformer and founder of modern day Nursing Profession? She organised training courses for Nurses during the Crimean war, caring for wounded soldiers. One of her most famous quotes that we were taught was that “it may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm”.

GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER

We studied the history of George Washington Carver (1864 – 1943) in primary school. A professor at Tuskegee Institute, USA, the African-American Agricultural Scientist and inventor actively promoted alternative crops to cotton, and developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated planting of cotton.

You can see from my reminiscences and recollection of history we learnt about 50 years ago, why I was deeply pained about the deletion of history from Nigerian schools syllabi?

THE SLAVE TRADE

We were also taught about the Atlantic or Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which for about 300 years, led to enslavement and transportation of Africans from their various settlements to mainly America. From the 16th to the 19th centuaries, we witnessed this inhuman, degrading and heinous triangular trade route merchantilism which involved indigenes of mostly of Central and West African countries. Started by the Portuguese in 1526, they completed the first trans-atlantic slave voyage to Brazil, promoting other European countries to follow immediately.

These human slaves were regarded by the transporting ship owners as cargo to be sold in America, to work in coffee, tobacco, sugar, cocoa and cotton plantations. They also worked in gold and silver mines, rice fields, construction industry, etc. They hewed timber for the building of ships. They were used as skilled labour and as domestic servants. The evils of slave trade were perpetrated by the British, French, Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish Empires. Many of these countries established outpost on the African continent where they purchased slaves from local African leaders and merchants.

While awaiting shipment, packed like sardines, slaves were first kept in factories. Over 12 million people were involved in this inhuman exploitation for over 300 years.

We were taken through the trajectory of Abolitionists of slave trade. We read about Thomas Clarkson (1760 – 1846), William Cowper (1731 – 1800), Olaudah Equiano (1745 – 1797), Alexander Falconbridge (1792), Elizabeth Heyrick (1769 – 1831), Toussaint Louverture (1743 – 1803), John Newton (1725 – 1807) and Mary Prince.

Serial campaigns, especially by William Wilberforce, led to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. Wilberforce died just three days after hearing the good news of passage of the Act through Parliament.

It was Abraham Mauri Lincoln, American President, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation. On 1st January, 1863. The passage of the 13th Amendment (ratified in December, 1865) finally abolished slavery in America, with over 50,000 slave freed in Kentucky and Deware.

HENRY THE NAVIGATOR

Let us examine in details the life, times and contributions of Henry the Navigator, another great historical figure we were taught in the Primary School.

Henry the Navigator was born in 1394 in Porto, Portugal.

 

In 1415, Henry, his father and his older brothers led an attack on Ceuta, a town in Morocco, along the Strait of Gibraltar. The attack succeeded, and Ceuta fell under Portuguese control. Henry became fascinated with Africa, a continent about which the Portuguese knew little. He thereafter developed a desire to learn about the Muslims who lived there, primarily in hopes of conquering them and spreading Christianity. And he became aware of Africa’s many resources, which he hoped to exploit for Portugal’s gain.

Under his patronage, Portuguese crews founded the country’s first colonies and visited regions previously unknown to Europeans. Henry is regarded as an originator of the “Age of Discovery” and dubiously, of the Atlantic slave trade.

NOW THIS

 

HENRY THE NAVIGATOR’S SIGNIFICANCE IN HISTORY

 

Henry is often credited with beginning the Age of Discovery, the period during which European nations expanded their reach to Africa, Asia and the America. Henry himself was neither a sailor nor a navigator, his name notwithstanding. He did, however, sponsor many exploratory sea voyages, along the West African Coast. In 1415, his ships reached the Canary Islands, which had already been claimed by Spain. In 1418, the Portuguese came upon the Madeira Islands and established a colony at Porto Santo.

 

In addition to sponsoring exploratory voyages, Henry is also credited with furthering knowledge of geography, mapmaking and navigation. He started a School for Navigation in Sagres, at the southwestern tip of Portugal, where he employed cartographers, shipbuilders and instrument makers. It was from Lagos, near Sagres, that many of his sponsored trips began.

 

AND THIS

Henry has the dubious distinction of being a founder of the Atlantic slave trade. He sponsored Nuno Tristao’s exploration of the African coast, and Antao Goncalves’s hunting expedition there in 1441. The two men captured several Africans and brought them back to Portugal. One of the captured men, a chief, negotiated his own return to Africa, promising in exchange to provide the Portuguese with more Africans. Within a few years, Portugal was deeply involved in the slave trade.

Henry died in 1460 in Sagres, Portugal. By the time of his death, Portuguese explorers and traders had advanced as far as the region of modern-day Sierra Leone. It would be another 28 years before Vasco da Gama, under the Portuguese flag, would sail clear around Africa and complete an expedition to India. (To be continued).

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.” (Victor Hugo).

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.

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Women as instigators of rape

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Women as instigators of rape

The spiralling cases of rape in our society is worrisome and condemnable but in some cases, the victims – women – are found to be instigators or causes of some or few of these criminal acts. I have many instances at my disposal that could serve as data for this claim.

The percentage of rape incidents inspired by women is low compared to the ones committed by sex predators but I think we should also look in the direction of some of the victims in the collective quest for solution. I decided to come up with this angle though it may not be palatable to some feminists or gender issues campaigners, howbeit, we should put things in the proper perspective.

There are a number of tricks some women use (either shrewdly or surreptitiously) to tempt some weak or violent men that eventually assault them sexually. One of the difficult cases to prove in court is sex related allegation. This is because it is done behind locked doors. It happens only between two people without a third party. Most of the time, reliable evidences in rape cases are usually based on tore dresses or under wears and/or scars sustained in the process of struggle. Another evidence is medical examination to ascertain if there is any forceful penetration into her vulva by the accused.

I know a woman who passed a night with a man she met on a dating site based on mutual understanding as lovers. But throughout the night, she didn’t allow the man to touch her. The man, a single father of two children at the time, endured her action calmly, behaved like a gentleman he is. While she was about leaving the next day, she demanded more money than what he gave her. The man smiled and warned her never to try that with some other men who might not be tolerant of her daring attitude. Thus, they parted ways. He’s now married.

In 2017, a secondary school teacher proposed to his colleague for a relationship. Both of them were single at the time but she declined. The guy had moved on searching for love elsewhere but this female teacher kept hanging around him. Sometimes at the weekend, she would come to his place to relax, yet, she insisted that nothing could ever bring them together as lovers.

The guy now called me for counselling saying, “Sir, what can I do about this woman before I misbehave?” I told him to tell her to stop visiting his place. She is sending a wrong signal to any other woman he may want to date. In the school environment, he should reduce their closeness so as to disprove the raging rumour about them. He found it hard to say because he really loved the lady but eventually he did and the woman was aghast that he could have the courage to utter such a statement to her. The following month, he met the lady he married early this year.

I know a married woman who declined overtures for an extra-marital affair with a single dad but chose to keep the man as a friend. I’m aware of two occasions she had passed the night in the man’s house without permitting sex on the ground that they were mere friends. The first time, her husband travelled and she didn’t want to stay at home alone. Her children were in boarding schools. The second time, she had malaria while her husband was on another trip. So, she went there for two days to treat herself.

You might think that something actually happened that I didn’t know about, not at all. He vacated his bedroom for her on the two occasions and shared the same bed with his younger brother who was living with him at the time. I actually stopped the woman from coming to the house uninvited. Apart from other stories I was told, I know of several other cases that I can’t exhaust mentioning.

Supposed the men I mentioned their cases forcefully had their way with these women, would it be right to allege rape? A woman becomes an instigator of rape through any of the following:

λ Hanging around a man she does not desire sexual intimacy with probably for pecuniary benefits

λ Sleeping in a man’s house without an intent of having sex

λ Insisting that a man should exercise self-control while provoking his sexual urge within his domain

λ Turning ‘sex by consent’ to rape just to blackmail or exploit the man

λ Dressing seductively in order to trap the man

At the heat of COZAgate three weeks ago, a good governance activist sent a video clip of Pastor (Mrs) Ifeanyi Adefarasin of House on the Rock Church, Lagos, to me. I really appreciate her rebuke for indecent manner of dressing to the house of God. She was on point just like Rev. Funke Adejumo, Pastor Bimbo Odukoya (of blessed memory) and a host of other ministers in the crusade for decency in the Body of Christ as well as in the society at large.

People often cast aspersions on the ministers of God found in error of sexual immorality. Yes, it sounds right but I think we should appreciate the burden of intimidating temptations they face on daily basis. I think the society is harsh on the ‘fallen’ ministers of the gospel simply because they are expected to be “blameless.” 2 Tim 3: 3.

A man of God that is sleeping with his members is committing a breach of trust. A man bearing the mark of Christ in whatever form should not condescend to defiling his seamless relationship with the Holy Spirit by partaking in filthy lucre or falling for momentary pleasure of sexual sin. If it happens, it is a spiritual tragedy to the Body of Christ.

It is more calamitous if he fails to seek help, repent and be quickly restored. Relaxing in the ‘fallen state’ often lead to uncovering his secret sins that would heap ignominy upon him, his family and his ministry. That’s why the Word warns that we should distant ourselves from every APPEARANCE of evil (emphasis mine). Appearance means anything that could easily be construed to be sinful, uncouth or immoral even if indeed, he is practically innocent of the deed. Loitering in the corridor of lustful indulgence could turn out scandalous!

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As the storm clouds gather…

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As the storm clouds gather…

The madmen with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security”
– Olusegun Obasanjo

Great American composer, Irving Berlin wrote a lyric which he copyrighted in the 60s to the God bless America Fund International and the opening reads thus: “While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us swear allegiance to the land that’s free, let us all be grateful for a land so fair as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”
What does that tell us, that storm clouds gather far away from a nation that is fair as they raise their voice in prayers? The lyric also shows that allegiance is actually due and could easily be sworn to a land that is really free from injustice.
When a nation like ours crowds the churches and mosques daily in prayers and vigils and is not free and fair in their dispositions to their citizens, it would never stop the clouds from gathering and the weather man tells us that when clouds gather what follows will always be stormy.
Undoubtedly, the indicator signs are apparent showing that cloud is gathering in Nigeria and men of vision and experience are telling us that we need to make haste and look for rain coats because soon it’s going to drench us.
The first person who brought the metaphoric cloud gathering into the country’s current awful situation is no less a person than the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan. “As we all gather here in this peaceful environment, we cannot but draw attention, with grave concern to the ominous and dangerous clouds of destabilization hovering on the horizon of our nation,” the foremost cleric screamed. The Archbishop was actually referring to the tensed situation created by Federal Government’s plans to appease the nuisance Fulani herdsmen by creating havens for them in the states of the federation amidst protests from citizens over their ancestral land. The vexed project called RUGA is an Hausa term called cow settlement.
Since the conclusion of the general election in March this year nothing has preoccupied President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration more than trying to satisfy the cattle breeders operating under the umbrella body called Miyetti Allah. All the policies of government for this body have not gone down well with the rest of the country, but government’s commitment to it remains unhidden amidst general insecurity mostly arising from the herdsmen like rape, kidnapping and killings.
Nigeria’s only Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka was also on line to express his distraught over President Buhari’s handling of the menace of Fulani herdsmen. Prof. Soyinka who backed the President during the last election was so frustrated that he had to declare that Nigeria’s problem are beyond Buhari and that the President’s failure to tackle the activities of marauding herdsmen has wiped away the positive achievements of his administration.
According to the literary giant, “The problems of this nation are beyond the solution that can be offered by this government, that’s the first admission. There is a minimal level which any government, which has been elected to power, must achieve to be considered a true representative of the people.”
Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all the reactions to the embarrassing security situation in the country occasioned merely by the ineptness of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, is last Monday’s open letter to the President by the former Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In the letter very characteristic of Obasanjo everything was laid bare. The nakedness of this regime all along camouflaged by propaganda and lies was unconcealed in the letter. “Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage.
“Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times,” Obasanjo said.
For Obasanjo, if the President refuses to stand up to confront the security challenges frontally, one or all of the four calamities itemized below will befall the nation under his watch.
“To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:
1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;
2. spontaneous or planned reprisals against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.
A nation that makes a 94-year-old nationalist to bury his 58-year-old daughter killed due to the inability of the government to provide security really need not be told before it realizes that all is not well. And to show that such nation has lost any sense of sorrow their leaders in the name of sympathizing have been embarking on photo showing.
What a dance on the grave it has been since the weekend’s mindless murder of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, on the Benin-Ore Road by suspected gunmen was made public.
Yoruba leaders and other Nigerians including the Vice President of the federation who should be mourning and sympathizing with the old man has turned his abode into a political ground to settle scores. Lagos strong man Bola Tinubu found the mourning place a platform to show his love to the Fulani and to demonstrate his no love lost on Ndigbo for daring to thwart his popularity in Lagos in the last election. The media themselves have instead of sending social sorrowful writers to the man’s home to capture the grief-stricken mood have instead despatched political reporters and photographers for the needless and heartless after sympathy press conference.
I am one of those who believe very strongly that any new crime will flourish in the land so long as its victims remain the ordinary people. Imagine the hullabaloo over this death because a big iroko is involved but this is what goes on across the land daily.
Late Nigeria military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha couldn’t be more right when he said on the marble that any insurgence or massive violent crime that lasts beyond 24 hours uncrushed by the nation’s security forces, then the government must have some questions to answer on the possibility of culpability.
Have you bordered to wonder why and how the Fulani herdsmen suddenly turned from their timid nomadic business to potent terror group? Could this abrupt transformation been possible without some drumming from critical areas? In between the line reading of Obasanjo’s letter one could find some answers to some questions all pointing to the fact that all is not well with our nation and that the storm is indeed gathering.

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Politicians kill, judges bury…

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Politicians kill, judges bury…

 

 

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice – Proverbs 21: 3

How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? – Psalm 82: 2

 

 

If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice… marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they – Ecclesiastes 5:8

 

Let justice run down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream – Martin Luther King Jr. in “Letters from the Birmingham jail”

 

 

No evil deed will go unpunished; any evil done by man to man will be redressed; if not now then certainly later; if not by man, then by God; for the victory of evil over good is temporary – Dele Giwa.

 

 

Nineteen-ninety-nine (1999) till now (2019) is the longest unbroken span of democratic governance at a stretch that this country has experienced. Self-rule preparatory to Independence for the Eastern and Western regions (1957) and the North (1959) pre-dated independence on October 1, 1960. Up till January 15, 1966, the country enjoyed a spell of democratic governance before series of military interregnum, after which we moved again to July 1979, when the then military Head of State, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, handed over power to Alhaji Shehu Shagari. That experience lasted till December 31, 1983. It was, thereafter, rigmarole after rigmarole under different military dictators until the return to civil rule on May 29, 1999. Reasons commonly adduced for the truncating of civil rule by the men on horseback, as Samuel P. Huntington calls the military adventurists, are bad governance epitomised by corruption, ostentatious living, profligacy of the few on one hand and dearth of basic necessities of life on the side of the suffering majority on the other; and the perversion and subversion of the people’s will epitomised in the rigging of elections. Since 1999, the alibi for soldiers’ incursion into politics has not abated; if anything, it has assumed monstrous proportions; meaning, then, that there must be other reasons keeping the soldiers within their barracks. An argument often canvassed is that military rule has become anachronistic and untenable and, thus, has lost its allure and gone out of fashion. The international community, we are told, has lost its patience for military rule and is vigorously opposed to military take-overs. Through training, the right indoctrination and political education, the military are also said to have become more professional and less inclined to stepping out of their barracks at the least promptings to take on roles they are not trained or cut out for. Plausible as these arguments may seem, we have, nonetheless, seen military take-overs in a few places such as Egypt and Sudan. One point which is often glossed over in Nigeria is the decisive action taken by Obasanjo when he assumed office in 1999.

 

He made a list of military officers who had eaten the forbidden fruit of political office and promptly retired them from service. Those with the most likely urge to topple a civilian government thus lost the much-needed pedestal. It also sent an unmistakeable signal to others of the dangers of professional imperilment should they fall out of line to seek filthy political lucre.

 

 

If corruption and election-rigging alone determine the survival or otherwise of any nation’s democracy, Nigeria’s would have long ago come to a disastrous end; for at no time in the history of this country has corruption become so rampant. Even the government that pretends to fight corruption is itself whacked by corruption. In its ranks are fabulously corrupt Nigerians who are protected by their membership of the ruling party and government while a mockery is made of the anti-corruption war running after opposition figures. The brains behind the country’s first coup, Major Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu et al, who bellyached about First Republic politicians’ corrupt tendencies, describing them as “ten-percenters”, would turn in their graves to see that, today, the whole 100 per cent of project and contract sums are spirited away without contractors visiting the project site or turning the sod. In those days, however, the country had something going for it; there were fearless and upright judges despite the authoritarianism of military dictators. We had judges who were bold; who looked the military adventurers straight in the face and told them bitter truths. We had judges who were minded to do justice regardless of whose ox is gored. We had the likes of Akinola Aguda. We had philosophers and Socrates who sat on the Bench and made pronouncements that made Britain’s Lord Denning green with envy; we had the like of Chukwudifu Oputa and Kayode Esho. But, no more! The few upright judges that remain are hounded and side-stepped via forum shopping.

 

 

Today, politicians kill our democracy; judges bury it! Both work hand in glove. They are arrayed in tandem in an unholy alliance that makes the conscionable distraught. We have never had it this bad. Not only are men of conscience in short supply in the Bar and on the Bench, little or no effort is made at all these days at pretence. It is like the Nigerian policemen who collect their bribes in broad daylight without caring a hoot about who is watching or passing by. The other day, some policemen were caught by the Inspector-General of Police himself; the errant officers had demanded bribe from their “Oga at the top” without knowing who he was! These days, powerful litigants and big-cat lawyers have their favourite judges and courts that would do their bidding. It is no longer the law you know or the “justness” of your cause. Once the list of judges is made known in a case or the court is mentioned, you know the likely outcome. Some judges are known as “client” of this or that; the names of judges who act as consultants and go-between between judges and politicians are open secret. How did we get to this sorry pass? If a judge proves stubborn or is not amenable, you can quickly pack your bag and baggage and relocate to a pliant judge, regardless of the provisions of the law. The law here is an ass that panders to the wiles of the powers-that-be – and they are riding it to its death.

 

 

Why the judges do not care – or are yet to notice – that they are losing self-respect and relevance is baffling. The Judiciary is treated like scum by the Executive, yet, it does not care. Judges behave like Samson before Delilah; and like the proverbial foolish cock which exposed its joker to the wolf. Baron de Montesquieu, widely acknowledged as father of the theory of separation of powers, would turn in his grave. Judges are treated as trifle; they are treated as rags; their orders are spurned; yet, they remain chummy with the vile offenders. They loath to fight for their rights and dignity! The Judiciary is co-terminus with the Executive and Legislature; being the third Estate of the Realm, independent and possessing equal powers. Judges ought to fight back and possess their possessions – but they acquiesce. It beggars belief how they display such a huge propensity to cringe and be servile. What has become of judges? Spineless! Wole Soyinka said in “The Man Died”: In those who keep silent in the face of tyranny, the man dies. Not only do judges keep silent in the face of tyranny meted out unto others, they themselves have become victims of self-same tyranny that whacks the entire citizenry. Judges lose their voices – and balls – when their corruption is exposed and waved in their face. It is flagged and brandished to intimidate and compromise them. How can a judge do justice when his hands are tied behind his back? They become caricatures and impostors profaning the temple of justice!                

 

 

Mercifully, there is nothing hidden (today) that will not be made known (tomorrow). Corrupt judges should know that we know them. Oh yes, we see you! Your wheeling-and-dealing is not unknown. You who dispense technicalities in the place of justice; vermin and vampires devouring the truth and upholding falsehood: when a Daniel shall come to judgement, you will come under the full weight of the law you have so shamelessly, wilfully and whimsically perverted. It is travesty when the so-called last hope of the common man becomes his last scourge; consenting to the rape of our democracy and putting justice, their very raison d’être, to the sword. Theirs, like Brutus’, is the unkindest cut of all on the bleeding body of Caesar; nay, Nigeria!

 

 

LAST WORD: Aftermath of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin’s killing in Ondo State by suspected Fulani herdsmen; I wondered what had become of the security summit the state organised with fanfare on Thursday, January 17th this year in Akure, to which I was invited. Responding, Jones Ogunmusire, chair of the organising committee, dispelled my suggestion that it was mere jamboree, adding that soon, we shall see action. Adekola Olawoye, SAN, Ondo’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said government was “still studying the recommendations (and) government position will be made public very soon”. How soon is “very soon”, Sir? Not after we are all dead! A snail will move faster than the Ondo State Government! 

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Our misplaced worries worry me

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Our misplaced worries worry me

I

admit there’s a reason to be worried, in fact many reasons to be worried. I just don’t understand why Nigerians are worried about all the wrong things, why we are not worried about what we should be worried about. In Bible parlance, we are worrying amiss. Our worries are misplaced. Don’t get confused or even start worrying about my worries.

 

It’s the season of worry alright, but we must see through our fears, tears and trepidation. We must worry carefully so we can worry effectively.

 

Take for instance the bandying of words with bandits on the tragic death of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin at the weekend instead of calling the spade by its true name. If herdsmen, Fulani or Igbo herdsmen decided in their evil coven to hunt down the daughter of an Afenifere leader, our worry should be: ‘why would herdsmen block the road to kill a Yoruba leader’s daughter?’ Our worry should not be the language the killers speak or how they dress. Our concern should be the soreness of our national psyche right now and the motive of those who find this an auspicious time to pose like herdsmen to kill in the heart of Yoruba land. Do we not have enough trouble? Did Pastor Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God not just warn us of a looming plague because the Nigerian soil is blood-soaked and that the blood of the innocent has a voice and it is speaking against us? Shouldn’t we be worried about fifth or sixth or seventh columnists trying to set Nigeria on fire just to see if their lighters are working?

 

All this talk about whether the killers of Fasoranti’s daughter were bandits, armed robbers or demons even, do not make sense to me, really. I think some people are plotting against Nigeria. They are determined to start an ethnic war. They are evil enough to prove whatever their evil plans are by throwing our land into doom and gloom. That is what should worry us. That they may decide to dress some men in herdsmen garb to blow up oil pipelines in Port Harcourt or dress some almajiri boys up in Niger Delta militants garb in Kaduna and tell them to blow up mosques or kill cows. That is my fear. That is the danger we should be worried about. All the ‘nearest in meaning’ grammatical exercise are dumb, dumb, dumb.

 

Unfortunately, our misplaced worries did not start last Friday on Ondo-Ore road. 

 

Why the dickens are we worried about Nura Dahiru, the customs officer who promoted himself to Deputy Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service. Dahiru, a lowly Assistant Superintendent of Customs took a good look at himself in the mirror, one morning, and decided he’d had enough of his rank. He shook his head, tapped his nose and decided to do something about it. He decided to use his own two hands to fix his problem. He bought himself a new uniform, ironed it to an inch of its life and then did the shocking thing – Dahiru somehow found all the epaulettes of a DCG of customs, and pinned them all on his chest and shoulders. Abasi Mbok!

 

‘DCG’ Dahiru then proceeded to the office of the CG, Hammed Ali, where he sat in all his ‘majesty’. Some of his ‘normal’ superior officers even saluted him. I can see them in my mind’s eye standing at attention, hands raised in smart respectful salute.

 

“Shon Sir”

 

“Morning Sir”

 

If it wasn’t such an embarrassing scenario, I’d be rolling on the floor still, laughing, even one week after. But it’s not funny, really. Good comic relief but very very worrisome.

 

Look at it this way: these new ranks, those colourful things on his chest, the dapper embroidered decorations on Dahiru’s shoulders, are they that easy to come by? Does the Nigerian Customs Service have them on display in a ‘Tuck Shop’, like the one in my church where we buy chin-chin and soft drinks after service?

 

Can I also buy some for myself and use it to go terrorize people especially in Lagos traffic? Who gave or sold those things to Dahiru?

 

Have you also asked yourself the real meaning of ‘porous security’? Porous security, according to me, is a man of unstable mind marching through the ‘security men’ (they are just mai-guards, truth be told) right into the office of Nigeria’s Number One Customs’ Officer and being allowed to sit and wait for the CG, just because he said he had orders from the Presidency to take over from CG Hammed Ali. Dahiru had no letter, no papers.

 

The so-called security men did not hear the directive on radio, television or read it online. No newspaper reported the purported change of guard. They simply believed Dahiru. They simply forgot their security training and brief.

 

My people, what if Mr. Dahiru was a suicide bomber deployed to bring that building down? What if he had that ‘Oyinbo’ demon that makes nine-year-olds shoot their classmates and teacher in moments of demented affliction?

 

Just imagine the number of customs officers he would have gunned down and wait for it, he’d most likely would not have been convicted for premeditated murder because he and his lawyer would have pleaded insanity.

What if CG Hammed Ali was in his office and Dahiru had just shot him in-between the eyes!

 

Iya miii!

 

Osanobua!!!

I shudder to think of the kind of headlines CNN, Channels, AIT, TVC would have had scrolling within minutes.

 

“Nigerian Deputy Controller-General of Customs bombs Govt. Building,

 

Scores dead”

That is, before they realise that Mr. Dahiru bought his rank in a roadside kiosk and smiled his way into the CG’S office.

 

Ah, and then they said he was mad, sorry, of unstable mind.

 

I disagree, totally.

 

 

It is we, all of us, worried about Dahiru’s mental state that I’m worried about. How did we end up paying so much for security that is non-existent? If we are not all sick somewhere, how is it that one man can buy a DCG’s rank, wear them and walk into the CG’s office? Is that the way it is in Immigration, Prison Service, even in the Police. Any demented folk desirous of promotion can buy those colourful things and gum them on a well-ironed uniform and trample all over our national dignity?

 

Again, if we were not a nation of people who worry amiss, how would we have gotten to this point where the Shi’ites have now budgeted 21 million lives to protest the continuing detention of Sheikh El-Zakzaky. Yeah, 21 million Shi’ites are ready to die in this protest. They mean business and they are prepared. And I’m wondering how do you threaten someone who wants to die with death?

 

If we won’t worry amiss, we should see this Shi’ite protest as a metaphor for something bigger than religion or the incarceration of one influential cleric. We need to see it for what it is, a symptom of a disease that could end up being terminal. This is not an itch. It’s a god-awful leprosy. This is not a cough, it’s tuberculosis. While we’re going about our lives, believing that the Shi’ites would soon run out of steam and abandon El-Zakzaky, the group moved from the outskirts of Abuja into the main FCT, then into the Three Arms zone. They invaded the National Assembly, forced lawmakers to remove their flowing gowns as they fled. Shi’ites, the stone-throwing group is now a gun-totting one. They are now shooting live-bullets?

 

Sonpongelete!!!

 

And Shi’ites came to Lagos during the week. No, they didn’t go to the cinema. They came to protest. Imagine what that can mean if they decide to lock down Third Mainland Bridge or block all routes leading to the airports. They already locked down Ikorodu road on Thursday, so don’t accuse me of putting ideas in their heads. We’d do well to fix this migraine quickly before it fixes us. I don’t know if you are scared or not, but I’m trying to remember how the Arab Spring started.

 

And to think so many Nigerians are worried about the ministerial list! How is the existence or non-existence of that list even affect the price of fish! Our poor President is being pressured, tremendously even, by those who think the presence of ministers will disarm Shi’ites, cure madness of uniformed men and even provide jobs.

 

We have real problems, life threatening ailments, a looming plague. Staring into space, picking our goddammed noses and worrying about synonyms of killer herdsmen, armed robbers and bandits is a major sickness in itself. 

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Oba Ewuare II: Giant strides within a short time

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Oba Ewuare II: Giant strides within a short time

INTRODUCTION

 

Oba Ewuare II (N’ Ogidigan), Uku Apkolokpolo, the 40th Oba of Benin, is the scion of Oba Ewuare the Great (1440-1473), who reigned after Oba Uwafiokun (1443-1473) and was succeeded by Oba Ezoti (1473-1475).

 

Ewuare the Great, it was, who developed the Edaiken title for the eldest son of the Oba, to stamp succession authority in the royal lineage. A warrior par excellence, who built city walls, moats and boulevards within Benin City and led his army to conquer many cities and towns, up to Owo and the Niger Delta area, Ewuare the Great no doubt reincarnated in the present Oba of Benin, Ewuare II.

 

The handsome quintessential diplomat illuminated the dark crevices of locked diplomatic channels during and after the military years, as Nigerian envoy to Angola, Italy (with concurrent accreditation to Albania), the Kingdom of Sweden (with concurrent accreditation to the Scandinavian countries of the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Denmark and Norway). Since his ascension to the throne of his forefathers two years ago, Oba Ewuare II has achieved so much within a very short time on the throne.

 

He is development conscious for his people. SOME IMPRINTS He has since strongly called for the repatriation of all Benin artefacts carted away during the mindless and punitive British expedition and invasion of Benin Kingdom in 1897. He has implored the Federal Government to have more federal presence in Edo State.

 

He has called upon Edo State government to introduce Benin language and history in the curriculum of schools. Using what he coined as “cultural diplomacy”, Oba Ewuare called for cultural renaissance as a great tool to promote harmonious relationships, respect traditional institutions, unify the people and resolve communal and individual disputes through the principles of social justice and equity.

 

DISBANDMENT OF CDAs

 

One of his earliest actions on being crowned on 20th October, 2016, was to order the immediate disbandment of the notorious and parasitic Community Development Associations (CDAs).

 

This was a platform used by unemployed youths in virtually all the communities within Benin Kingdom, to perpetrate heinous crimes. Potential investors were serially chased out with machetes, clubs and guns, whenever they refused to pay huge sums of extortionist money to them. Private homes and property developers were not spared this anguish and nightmare.

 

The Oba immediately set up a committee of intellectuals, professionals, security gurus and traditional chiefs to map out a roadmap towards elimination of this anti-development menace. Yours sincerely was privileged to be part of this historic platform.

 

The result was the Oba’s forging of a close alliance with the Edo State executive and legislative arms of government to promulgate a law criminalizing and out lawing CDAs and their ill-wind deleterious effects.

 

Today, Edo State, especially the Benin Kingdom axis, is seen by investors that troop in, as a safe haven for investment. Inspite of this, His Royal Majesty, during his thank you visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso villa, emphasized the strengthening of security in Edo State and the dire need of infrastructural development in Edo State.

 

ADVOCACY FOR GELEGELE SEA PORT DEVELOPMENT

 

One project quite dear to the heart of the Oba, who has since modernized the royal palace and vicinity, is the Gelegele seaport. He implored President Buhari to help develop it, to open up the state to commerce and industry.

 

SATELLITE TOWN

 

Perhaps, the most ambitious project so far embarked upon by the Oba, and indeed any royal father anywhere in the world, is the proposed satellite town to be established at Ugoneki, in the Uhunmwonde L.G.A. of Edo State, along the Benin – Agbor road. The proposed town to be known as “Oba Ewuare II Satellite Town”, is to be self-sufficient, with sundry basic amenities of life and 24 hours of security and power supply.

 

OBA EWUARE II FOUNDATION

 

His focus on development led him to set up the Oba Ewuare II Foundation, which, in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), has since organised skills acquisition programmes, training over 50 youths, including returnees from Lybia.

 

The Foundation is geared towards eradicating poverty amongst youths and the most vulnerable of the society. It is to halt social vices, illegal migration and human trafficking of Edo indigenes to foreign countries, in the vain hop of greener pastures; and to provide empowerment through scholarships, skills acquisition and total liberation and reorientation of the “get-rich-quick” mentality of the new generation.

 

The Foundation seeks to develop Edo language and provide free feeding for the needy, with over 1000 already fed. The revered Oba has even placed many Libyan returnees on salary. He retired into the sacred realm of his ancestral abode, came out and placed a curse on human traffickers who prey on young, vulnerable and innocent ladies, with the words, “our gods will destroy you”.

 

He even cursed native doctors who administer oath of secrecy on unsuspecting victims.

 

NOW THIS

ALL HAIL A ROYAL TOUCH

 

Thus, within the short span of two years, Oba Ewuare II, like his forebear, Oba Ewuare the Great, has changed the face of traditional institution in Nigeria, striving for development and modernism, even as he jealously guards our prime culture, customs and traditions. Oba gha to kpere, isee.

 

AND THIS

 

AN INTERIM BLUEPRINT OF GOVERNANCE FOR PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI UPON BEING SWORN IN AFTER AN ELECTION THAT IS STILL BEING HOTLY CHALLENGED AND CONTESTED AT THE TRIBUNAL

 

INTRODUCTION

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is still battling with his election mandate. I will therefore not comment on it, being one of the lead counsels in the Atiku Abubakar legal team. However, before the much awaited Election Petition Tribunal judgment, Buhari must quickly take Nigeria out of the social, economic and political doldrums he and his APC government have plunged it. He should be more nationalistic in his outlook and approach to governance; less sectional, functional, partial, nepotic, cronystic and prependalistic.

 

He should drop his stiff garb of suffocating military Louis XIV imperiousness and jackbootism and know that he is supposed to be a democrat, subject to due process of law, with the attendant democratic safeguards. Buhari should allow Rule of Law to flourish uninhibited, learn to obey court orders and respect citizens’ cherished and inalienable fundamental human rights. Buhari must, as president of a whole nation, drop his 97%-5% bellyaching mantra of those who did not vote for him and endeavour to be less divisive and vindictive.

 

He should treat all Nigerians equally and as one, whether they presumably voted for him or not. He must stop promoting the superiority, suzerainty and sovereignty complex of his ethnic group, over and above the other more than 350 ethnic groups in Nigeria.

 

He must give   democracy dividends to the Nigerian people, through the provision of adequate security (section 14 of the 1999 Constitution), robust economy and infrastructural development. He should think outside the box of how to fight corruption, as his performance in this regard has been woeful, selective, exclusionary and favouritism-based. Nigeria is more corrupt today than ever before (according to latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index).

 

Where corruption could be said to have been “democratized” by previous governments before him, corruption under Buhari has been greatly “privatized” by a few highheeled cabalistic elements.

 

Thus, corruption money, unlike before now, no longest circulates, or sips down to the common people. It has been hijacked privatized and held down by the jugular by these few elements at the precincts and corridors of temporary power.

 

More importantly, Buhari should dust up the over 600 ground- breaking recommendations of the 2014 National Conference scripted by 492 delegates drawn from across Nigeria (wherein I was a Federal Government delegate, and voted “Cicero of the 2014 National Conference”) and implement them.

 

Some of the most important amongst them is the vexed, but overdue issue of devolution of powers and restructuring of the unworking Nigerian contraption, to become a truly fiscal and federal system of government.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power.” (Seth Berkley).

 

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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Super Eagles vS Desert Foxes: Chukwueze: another chance to da zzle

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Super Eagles vS Desert Foxes: Chukwueze: another chance to da zzle

Rave of the moment, Samuel Chukwueze, will once again be on the spotlight when Nigeria confront Algeria as the Super Eagles continued their quest for glory at the 2019 AFCON, which has now hits its homestretch. The 20-year-old Villarreal player has been one of the revelations of the 32-nation tournament in Egypt, a fact highlighted by his emergence as the Man of the Match in last midweek nail-biting encounter against South Africa – a match he opened the score to put him on the record book as the youngest scorer so far in Egypt 2019.

The last one year has been memorable for the left-footed winger whose dribbling runs have light up the attacking strength of the Super Eagles who are just two wins shy of reclaiming the title they won on their last appearance at the biennial championship in 2013 before their unanticipated absence at the last two editions.

The Abia-born Chukwueze undoubtedly knows his value such that he declined an invitation to Nigeria’s Under 20 team to the last FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Poland opting to fight for his place among players the star-studded senior national team. Now that decision is justified as he has been constantly linked with top European clubs such as Liverpool, Man City and Man United to mention a few. For a football-mad country like Nigeria, Chukwueze, like his colleagues, reckons the need to keep a top performance in Egypt.

The player who was on the brink of joining Arsenal a couple of seasons ago expressed his delight at Wednesday’s game and is fired up for more explosive outings. ”This is my first major competition for Nigeria, and I scored my first goal in a very, very important championship like this.

I am happy. “I thank my teammates for standing by me and encouraging me. I am very young, but they encourage me. “They all congratulated me for this very important goal in my career. I hope to score more,” he said.

There is no denying the fact that Chukwueze’s valuation has appreciated further due to his exploits in Pharaoh’s land. He puts up a flashy display in his first match against Burundi but he was overlooked for the games against Guinea and Madagascar.

German Gernot Rohr was forced to call on him when Nigeria was facing elimination against Cameroon in the round 16 clash and he made telling impact on the match, which eventually led to a 3-2 win in Alexandria exactly a week ago. Algeria, so far, has been the in-form team in this tournament posting a 100% record in the group stage before seeing off Guinea and Cote d Ivoire but now, the onus lies on Chukwueze to unleash his awesome skills against the Riyard Marhez-captained Desert Foxes. Chukwueze’s potential couldn’t well have been summed up by Eagles’ vice captain Ahmed Musa who declared that with time, he is going to be the best player in the Super Eagles and another mesmerising display at the Cairo International Stadium will see him soar to the tag of the new golden boy of Nigerian football.

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Sex predators on the prowl

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Sex predators on the prowl

Some minutes after 10a.m. on Tuesday, a reader of this column who is also a university lecturer, called in a bewildered tone to tell me about a rape attempt on her on Monday, by her co-lecturer in their office. This is incredible, you might say. “Michael West, it’s like a movie scene. I didn’t know his intention when he locked the door to our office immediately he came inside. I actually called him to the office so we could discuss the courses we are to teach. When he came in, he ought to simply close the door because of the air conditioner and to lock it.

“While we were discussing the outlines of the courses and the teaching methods that would best suit the students’ pedagogical assimilation, he suddenly pounced on me like a cat pounces on a mouse and began to act like a ruffian. I felt like what exactly was going on here? What are you trying to do? I asked him, he didn’t say a word as he kept on trying to reach for my under. I forcefully pushed him off and he staggered, almost falling down. I quickly reached for the door. As he attempted to get hold of me, I swiftly unlocked the key, jerked the door open and stormed out of the office, panting.

“Incidentally, this guy is very close to me. Everybody in the department knows us together as brother and sister. We teach in the same department, share the same office for over two years. Both of us are married. He’s much younger to me in age though we address each other as ‘Dr. … and Dr. ….’ I began to sweat, shivering after the ugly incident. I couldn’t believe this is real. He didn’t bother about people all around our office. So, this was how cheap and swift rape incidents do happen, even in a revered academic environment and among lecturers? I considered screaming to exposing the incident to be utterly disgusting.

“He has since been begging and sending SMS to apologise claiming he didn’t know what came over him. ‘This is the handiwork of the devil. I’m awfully sorry please,’ he pleaded. It was really a struggle in the splits of seconds it lasted. Both of us have been working in the fairly spacious office for almost three years without any problem.”

COZA’s Pastor Fatoyinbo and Busola Dakolo

Since the COZA’s presiding Pastor’s alleged rape scandal broke out, not a few readers have sent messages to me asking to know my opinion on the case as well as the spiralling disheartening cases of rape and paedophilia.

My take on this issue is simple. Both of them are yet to tell the world the whole truth about their story. Both of them know better than the ‘wailers’ over the alleged rape saga. To be candid, I suspect that Busola is a reluctant whistleblower on Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’s alleged sexcapade. Yes, quite a number of his alleged “victims” are coming out of their shells through the social media to lend credence to Timi Dakolo’s wife allegation. The story is yet to begin.

Busola Dakolo’s narrative is suspect! I say so because at age 17, you can only be raped once, subsequent ‘editions’ were by consent. I concur that the first rape that reportedly took place in her parents’ home was the real rape. But the other ones inside his car and the doggy style on the car’s bonnet, in my own thinking, were not rape.

According to other sources, her family members were fully aware of her closeness to the Pastor. As some point, according to the online gist, her mom warned her against undue intimacy with then ‘Brother Fatoyinbo.’ She shrugged and kept on hanging around him. The veracity of this statement I cannot confirm though it emanated from those who claim to know her better.

I suspect that both Fatoyibo and Busola started dating at some point. Perhaps because his levels had changed in which Busola felt ‘used and dumped,’ she waited for the right time to take her own pound flesh. Howbeit, I still believe Busola was ‘ordered’ to peal the bean by her husband consequent upon Timi Dakolo’s vitriolic attack on the pastor about a month ago wherein he accused the stylish pastor of sexually molesting young girls in his church. In order to add biting to his barking, Dakolo must have either encouraged or threatened Busola to speak out. Left to Busola alone, the Fatoyinbo’s issue is in her past which does not worth revisiting again. As it is now, I pray the Dakolos will survive this phase unhurt.

On Pastor Fatoyibo’s side, it appeared he took the grace of God for granted. He stayed too long in lustful indulgence without the consciousness of urgency for spiritual restoration, revival and restitution. I’m not judging him but as a co-brother in the Body of Christ, I’m equally affected and concerned in this matter.

Our brother appeared to have massaged his weakness for too long rather than firmly deal with it. He must have been getting signals that something damning and ignominious was coming his way but he chose to ignore them. Such warnings usually come through dreams, prophetic messages from the outside or through reflective moments either in his private study as quiet time or convicting thoughts during praying sessions. He needs to be broken! That someone is a pastor or born again does not guarantee his express victory over temptations especially in the areas of his weakness like sexual enticement.

I also feel he should check his background if, peradventure, there’s any curse operating in his life. Better still, I sense he has not completely severed the link with the erstwhile lifestyle of his boyhood or school days. Fatoyinbo has stories to tell but who is ready to listen? He’s already pronounced guilty without trial. The society easily admits allegations that bother on sexual abuse from women against men even if it happened by consent. These days, most of the rape allegations, incest and paedophilia are not only true but proven.

On COZAgate, sooner or later, we shall hear the untold story. In the meantime, let the sleeping dog lie in peace!

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Osun verdict: Questions for the Supreme Court

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Osun verdict: Questions for the Supreme Court

“A good lawyer knows the law; a clever one takes the judges to lunch” – Mark Twain

onetime associate Justice in United States’ Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis once said that “If we desire respect for the law we must first make the law respectable”. Following from that saying I strongly believe that Nigeria’s Supreme Court will desire that all its judgements should enjoy some respect from the populace. To achieve that it’s natural that the court’s judgements must be respectable.

I am not a lawyer but I was taught in press law at mass communications class that while you cannot offer opinion in a matter before the court to avoid contempt, you are free after judgement has been delivered to do a critique of it especially if the case is of public interest like elections.

It’s against that backdrop that the recent ruling of the nation’s Supreme Court on Osun State gubernatorial election petition attracts my interest. In doing a review my interest really is not too much on the possible motive behind the ruling, not at all, my interest is on why persuasive logics were not offered as the cause of the action.

I believe very strongly that when implausible explanations are offered as a reason for court ruling in a case especially from apex court of the land, its consequences on the entire judicial system will be far reaching. Nothing can be as frustrating as when a commuter is unable to get a bus ride at the last bus stop, he would be deeply upset and frustrated with his last option not being available. That is always the case with Nigerians when Supreme Court delivers judgements that they find hard to add up.

Last week’s majority judgement of the Supreme Court on the last year’s Osun State gubernatorial election is one of such curious situations when so many questions stand seeking answers. By that judgement the will of the millions of Osun State people is being tied to a junior judge refusing or forgetting to sign his own ruling. Nothing can be more snooping. Even more fussing is the fact that those who relied on it are senior Justices. But as Africans when we do not like what we get from an elder we are not expected even in our distraught go attacking him publicly. Rather we turn to God who has a reason for everything and that is what the people of Osun State have done in this case. Who says that bad judgement has no consequences?

At the Appeal Court level, the world was told that the Judge who delivered the majority ruling at the election petitions tribunal level did not seat at all the proceedings and couldn’t have been privy to all the sides of the case. Is that the fault of the petitioner or his lawyers?

If his judgement had tallied with the others or gone the other way, it may not have been an issue at all. Judiciary watchers are very much aware of instances where cases are returned for retrial by another Judge by the Supreme Court when technical issues are trying to block the main justice of a case. Why was the Osun case different? We have also seen at appellant level how judges are discouraged from using technicalities to throw away cases. Why was Osun case different?

What if a Judge chose not to sign his judgement to deliver negative consequences, should a petitioner be the victim? Who can hear from the Judge in his secluded world to ascertain why he did not sign? And if it was a gross professional error should the petitioner suffer or the Judge?

It’s important that these questions are raised for the revered Justices to know how discerning minds view their cataclysmic ruling on Osun State gubernatorial election petition.

We are certainly not oblivious of the fact that the country’s apex court is manned by human beings not saints. We know as a fact that the Justices are not Pope, therefore they are fallible, but given the inviolability that surround their profession, in their tendency to make mistake as humans, they should strive not be too obvious as the Osun case tends to portray to rational minds.

Nigerians know as keen watchers of activities around and within the judiciary in the last four years that the harassment and intimidation from the Executive arm of government that started in the midnight arrest and detention of some Judges and Justices by state operatives in 2016 and climaxed with the unilateral removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen early this year, that it would be difficult if not impossible to still get Justices who could stand without being nervous especially at the point of delivering Justice on political cases.

The implications of this development is that what either President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), or Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may need to do to turn the table in their favour if they lose their case at the ongoing Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal is to get one of the Justices to forget to sign his ruling.

When the 89-year-old erudite first academic Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Prof. Ben Nwabueze told the Justice Mohammad Garba-led Presidential election panel at the Court of Appeal last week that rulings from these election tribunals will go a long way in determining the future of elections and democracy in Nigeria, he was just underscoring an obvious point. The Ambassadors of United Kingdom and the United States of America who led other international election monitors to declare in a press conference that Osun rerun was a charade will just be imagining what we as a country do with the will of our people freely and voluntarily expressed via elections.

That perhaps explains why non-lawyers like me and other discerning minds are concerned because when the last man standing in a battle is showing signs of panic and absence of confidence, hope of victory is going to be distant in coming. Operating democracy in an atmosphere where Judiciary is timid and shell shocked from harassment is like getting involved in a sport manned by a referee that is panicky and lacking in self-confidence. The outcome of such game is going to be unbridled and uproarious.

Too young to run: Bello and Abbo as bad market

Nigerian youths worried about the continued dominance of old men in the political leadership position of this country and how the situation was keeping the country’s progress permanently at analogue, began a campaign about not too young to run.

The campaign was turned into a bill to the National Assembly who also quickly passed it into law.

In March last year President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill into law meaning a reduction in the age limits of political positions across the country.

After President Buhari had abused Nigeria youths as lazy lots, he was quick in signing the bill as a way of cementing a frayed relationship.

But the success recorded in bringing up the bill is being imperilled by the manifest destitute performance and behaviour of the young who ran and are holding strong political positions.

At 44 the Governor of Kogi State Yahaya Bello is the youngest governor in the country. His performance in governance delivery and general attitude have been anything but good.

Ditto, Senator Elisha Abbo from Adamawa State who at 41 recently emerged as the youngest Senator in the 9th Assembly but his sex toy shop drama which landed him in Police net has portrayed his youthfulness in the negative.

The duo are clearly bad market for this laudable not too young to run idea making the old begin to feel vindicated.

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Is power supply rocket science?

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Is power supply rocket science?

Last Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a veiled thumbs-down on his immediate past Minister of Power, Babatunde Raji Fashola; it was on the occasion of the visit of the Edo monarch, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Ewuare II, leading a delegation to the Presidential Villa to protest the epileptic power supply in his domain. The president was quoted as admitting that, whereas his government was doing its best to ensure constant power supply, its efforts were “not good enough yet”. That cannot but pass as a subtle “end-of-term” report on Fashola.

 

As the Lagos State governor that was widely believed to have given a good account of himself while in the saddle, many had expected that Fashola would shine like a million stars in the firmament in his new job at Abuja. That, also, must have been the expectations of his employers who saddled him with the triple-barrel portfolios of power, works and housing. The controversy is still on whether or not Fashola, like the late Chief Bola Ige before him, boasted of making a mince-meat of the power debacle that has worsted all previous administrations in six months. Billions of dollars have been spent – remember Obasanjo spent about $6 billion; yet, no light. Jonathan spent his own billions, no dice. Buhari has added his own billions of dollars in expenditure; yet the verdict from the horse’s mouth is as appalling as what we got from the previous administrations.

 

I hope one Hon. Ndidi Elumelu, who was in the thick of bribery scandal arising from this same power scam probe, is not the one they said was recently appointed PDP Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. Have you forgotten? Nigerians must qualify as the easiest people to slap and get away with it in the whole wide world!

 

I pity Fashola! He must have worked himself natty on this power problem – not to talk of the unending saga of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Fashola has no single black strand of hair on his head any more. He looks haggard and worn-out. He must have really worked hard – but what has he got to show for it? And if he cannot get a “thank you” from a man he worked so committedly for but a public rebuke, what should he expect from the public? It was the same unhappy ending for Uncle Bola Ige who, actually, boasted he would fix the power problem in six months. He did not! Grapevine sources said he was sabotaged right from inside. There are powerful people eating from the darkness that NEPA or PHCN spins. They are within and without the system. Bola Ige was moved from the Power Ministry after these combinations of forces had thoroughly messed him up; not long after, he met his untimely death in the hands of assassins yet to be unravelled. It is like the Boko Haram insurgency problem, just like the militancy problem of the Niger Delta before it: How can those smiling to the bank as a result want an end to it? The insurgents want the insurgency to continue; what with the billions they were/are raking in through ransom payments, government pay-offs and foreign “aids”? Those “fighting” them; I mean those in charge of the budget for the fighting and not the canon-fodders, will also want no end to the flow of the largesse. How can generator merchants and those creaming off the budget on power want the country to have stable power supply?

 

It all boils down to leadership problems: The lethargy and wastefulness of the past combined with the lack of seriousness and kid gloves with which a gargantuan problem is being tackled at the moment. Witness how they sold NEPA to themselves – I mean the big cats! Yet they don’t have the resources needed to bring about the much-needed turnaround! They then began to mop up funds from local banks, causing the collapse and or distress of such banks, compelling the apex bank to wade in again, as in times past, with public funds that, eventually, will be written off as bad debt as had been done again and again. We are too wasteful here! Corruption rules the waves from top to bottom. It is leadership problem in the main. Small countries like Rwanda have solved their power problem. Others like Ghana are making more progress than we are doing. Those who say size is the issue should ask China how it has done it. A Yoruba adage says “iwon eku ni iwon ite e”; meaning that the size of the rat necessarily determines the size of his nest.

 

We wait to see the next Minister of Power! If the thinking in government and the orientation in leadership circles remain the same, nothing will change, especially now that debt servicing is crippling the Federal Government. Because what ought to have been done incrementally over the years were left undone; trees had fallen on trees, as it were. This is one area where no magic wand can be waved to evaporate all the problems at once. And because priorities are not being rightly set at the moment, the attention that the power sector demands – and deserves – will most likely be hijacked by, say, RUGA! That is how flimsy we are as a people. And that is how selfish and sectarian interests override national interests! God, the Creator of heaven and earth, wasn’t foolish when He gave priority attention to the creation of light.          

 

COZA, Senator Abbo: Osun State is next!

 

Of truth is the Yoruba adage that says 20-year-old pounded yam can still steam really hot as if it had been freshly prepared. Ask ‘Pastor’ Biodun Fatoyinbo of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly. The “pounded yam” he allegedly “ate” 20 years ago is steamy hot in his mouth right now! Rapists, paedophiles, child-and women-abusers should not be given an inch but must be smoked out of their “close places” as the Bible calls it. So also must those who abuse their position and privileges like the errant PDP Senator Elisha Abbo. I watched his apology; it was the right thing to do. Still, he must be brought to book; his remorse and penitence may count but for no reason must he escape punishment for his dastardly act. He should also be made to pay compensation to his victims. I hereby appeal to social media, civil society groups, organisations and individuals who combined to bring COZA and Abbo on their kneels to move to Osogbo, Osun State, and focus attention on the case of the alleged defilement a four-year-old girl by the driver (Oyelakin Oluwatomisin) of a politically-connected private school (Charleston Group of Schools, Kelebe, Osogbo).

 

Osun State Government appears to be dragging its foot on the matter. I personally took the matter up with the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Charles Akinola; I have also repeatedly written about it as well as called the attention of civil society organisations to it. The powerful people involved in this case are even said to include a first-class traditional ruler in the state and they have all been piling undue pressure on the family of the victim. On one occasion, Akinola made me speak to “someone” I suspected could have been Governor Gboyega Oyetola himself, who denied that the state was on the side of the vile rapist and paedophile. He promised to get justice for the victim. But the case has suffered diligent prosecution. The magistrate almost threw it out. The accused was released from Ilesha prison and now not only walks about a free man but also, together with his gang, terrorises, intimidates and mocks the family of the victim.

 

The case came up again on Monday, July 8th. At the previous hearing, which was two months before then, they said the case file would have left the DPP’s office for onward transmission to the High Court. But, again last Monday, they foot-dragged! I have enough “locus standi” in this case; apart from being pubic-spirited, the victim’s mother is my niece and the entire family is gutted. While I congratulate Governor Oyetola on his mint-fresh victory at the Supreme Court, he should please see to it that justice is done in this matter. The case was adjourned to October 21st.         

 

LAST WORD: Congratulations, Oluwadare Aragbaye, on your well-deserved appointment as Head of Service of Ondo State. Not only was Dare my junior at Owo High School, he is also unassuming, humble, courteous, respectful, and dutiful. His elder brother, “Brother” Bola Aragbaye (who translated lately), was instrumental to my starting my journalism career at the Sketch newspapers, Ibadan. Dare, may your tenure be fruitful!

 

FEEDBACK

 

I wish to congratulate you after I read your article of 26th June. It is very imperative as you are alive to tell the story (of June 12). Congratulations! – Major Mbanasor Valentine.

 

Your article of 26th June was a great deal of courage – but you did not tell us who Moji is!

– John.

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