•Director, accountant, four others quizzed
The thirty-five year old National Metallurgical Training Institute (NMTI) Onitsha is currently enmeshed in fresh trouble following the investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) into colligation of alleged fraud perpetrated by the school authorities to the tune of over N95million.
Already the Director/Chief Executive of the institution, Mr. Fakuade O.D has been quizzed by the commission over the alleged fraud and has been granted administrative bail. The Commission has also questioned the Assistant Director Accounts, Assistant Director of Works, Head of Training, Head of Procurement and the Head of Curriculum and Academic Planning. Similarly the Nigeria Board of Technical Education (NBTE) and the Council for the Registration of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) have also commenced preliminary investigations into the appointments of principal officers of the institution and why the school lost accreditation of some of its courses.
According to the petition made available to ICPC, Fakuade, a geology graduate was accused of misappropriating funds belonging to the institution and operating two separate bank accounts with the account name MTI Consult where all the funds made from NPower training and other short-term training organised by the Institute are being paid into in contravention of the Federal Government’s Financial Policy Single Treasury Account (TSA). Though Fakuade had pleaded not guilty to the allegations levelled against him before the ICPC, investigation and probes are still on going.
During a visit to the institution by the executive members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Anambra State Council, Fakuade described the allegations against him as a plot by enemies of the institution to malign his image; adding that all projects executed followed due process in line with the Federal Governments’ guidelines. But the anti-corruption agency (ICPC) has insisted on looking into the petitions brought before it which it described as weighty promising to ensure fair hearing. According to the petition, Fakuade and members of the school management were accused of: ‘Award of fictitious intervention contract’.
The petition claims that: “In 2017, a fictitious contract was awarded to VUCO Consult Limited through Metallurgical Training Institute and it was never executed while the contract fee of forty one million, six hundred and eighty five thousand Naira only (N41, 685,000) was paid in full. “The payment of this money from government coffers into VUCO Consult Limited’s account on December 28, 2017 was facilitated by the Director of the Institute, Pastor Fakuade O.D with the pretence that the contract was completed.
“Thereafter, VUCO Consult limited was directed by Pastor Fakuade O.D to transfer the money into an unknown account and raise the receipts for intervention jobs claimed to have been done by VUCO Consult Limited totalling forty one million, six hundred and eighty-five thousand naira only. “No part of this contract was executed.”
Another allegation by the petitioner captioned: ‘Completition of rehabilitation of erosion ravaged interntal roads and contrustruction of reinforced contrete box culvert phase 1’, says: “This project was awarded three times to his brother’s company, BLUE FORTUNE LIMITED IN 2016, 2017 at the cost of fifty four million and seventy-five thousand naira only (N54, 075,000.00) and finally in 2018 without due process. The contract fee was paid in full in 2016 but it was abandoned, he rewarded it to the same company in 2017 without revoking it and the contract fee paid in full but was again abandoned.
“The Director re-warded it to the same company again in 2018 without revoking it and the contract fee was also paid in full and his brother-contractor made away with the money and abandoned the contract half way. He then blacklisted the company. “He paraphrased the same contract into phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 just to have his way.”
The petitioner similarly levelled other allegations against the school’s principal officers including the fact that they claimed that the school had completed a flood and erosion site, when in fact the contract, which was awarded in 2016, was abandoned half way after full payment of the contract fee; while the Director/Chief Executive also allegedly diverted the project fund meant for the training of engineering teaching staff among other allegations.
Go suck a lemon
Debola could not believe her ears.
Aunty prophetess was pregnant! So, she was hunting for a man too?
“You’ve been praying for me for over five years and nothing happened despite my despiration,” Debola said.
“That is the problem. That desperation has cost you a lot. Let me tell you, everything we achieved in the past five years has been wiped away by your desperation. Do you know for how long I prayed and waited before I got this man? Do you know the number of trips I made to the wise ones? Do you know how much I spent?” She asked a dumbfounded Debola.
“Wise ones? You consult the wise ones while I consult you?” She asked her.
“Have you not seen a doctor being treated by other doctors?” Prophetess asked.
Debola sighed audibly and suddenly, her face lit up.
“Can you take me to the wise ones?” She asked.
Aunty prophetess observed her for a while and said slowly, “If you are ready, I’ll take you. But, have it at the back of your mind that you’ll spend a lot of money.”
“I’m ready. I’m ready to do anything. I can’t allow Jay to slip out of my life. I can’t start looking for a man all over again. Moreover, I’m pregnant for him. He’s wealthy. He’ll give me the kind of life I’ve always desired,” Debola said.
They had discussed some more and agreed on a date. The wise ones lived in a village in a neighbouring state. Prophetess promised to get Debola an appointment with the wise ones. After four days, she called Debola and told her what it would cost her to see them. She was more than ready.
On the set date, they set out very early in the morning. They were in the bus park before 5am. After more than two hours of steady bus ride, they alighted at a motor park in a sleepy village. They boarded two bikes which took them through footpaths to a compound set well back in what appeared like a bush. An old bungalow stood in the middle of the large compound. Debola was scared but prophetess assured her that no harm would come to her.
The wise ones were five old men who looked Debola up and down, as if sizing her up. They were seated on stools under a leafy tree few metres away from the gate. There were two empty benches facing them. The visitors knelt down in greeting. One of them, he appeared the oldest, asked them to sit down on a bench. Debola made to sit but the prophetess drew her back to her knees. She then thanked the wise ones and tabled Debola’s case before them, her face cast down.
The oldest of them, with rheumy eyes, cleared his throat and spat on the sandy ground, between his legs. With his left shrivelled foot, he mixed the phlegm with the red sand.
“See men all around you. A crowd of men are all over you. You wonder why none has married you? You have a spirit husband that is chasing them away. Unless you settle your spirit husband, no man will dare marry you,” he said in a somewhat calm, tiny tone.
Debola stared at the prophetess. She dared not look at the pairs of ancient eyes which she was sure were boring into her.
“Baba, she came prepared sir,” prophetess said in a low tone.
“Your prayers are answered,” the baba said.
“Amen,” Debola and the prophetess chorused.
“Sit down,” the old man said.
Only then did the prophetess draw Debola up. They sat on the stool.
“You need a goat, a live goat, which you will kill and use the meat to prepare vegetable soup and pounded yam for the gods,” the baba said.
Debola was confused. Kill a goat? Where would she get that one?
“Thank you baba. She’s ready to do it,” the prophetess said.
“Remember, she must not wipe off sweat from her face while she pounds the yam and her sweat must not drop into the mortar,” the old man said.
Debola was almost not breathing again. She didn’t know if she was scared of the chore before her or in awe of the old men. She stared at the ground. Even when she felt that the old men were leaving, she didn’t look up.
When the prophetess drew her up later, both the old men and their stools were not in sight.
“Where do I get a goat? Where do I get the foodstuff to prepare the food? Who will kill the goat?” The questions tumbled out of her mouth.
“Relax, you’ll get everything in this compound,” prophetess said, leading her to the back of the building.
Debola stared in amazement as they turned the corner and then, fear gripped her…
Jay didn’t know whether to dance or cry. The business deal he pitched for about eight months ago had finally scaled through. That was the new lease of life he needed. Once he was able to complete it, he would swim in dizzying wealth which would run into multiples of millions of naira. That was the biggest deal he had ever dreamt of. He scattered the documents on his bed and danced round them. All the documents were intact. Once this money got into his bank account, he could to go on vacation for many years. Once again, he went through the details again, this time, meticulously. Everything was perfect. It called for celebration. He pulled out a bottle of fizz and popped it. The Brut tasted so sweet in his mouth! Of course, he knew it was the sweet taste of success. He was halfway through the bottle when the thought hit him: it was Adele’s bank details they’d used to pitch for the job! He felt the sour taste of the Brut immediately. Payments for the deal would be made into her bank account, not his. He sat down, thud! Adele had him where it would hurt most. He would have to go crawling to her or he’d be doomed forever! After what he did to her? Could he be under a curse? Why would sadness dog his every joy? Then it hit him! One night many, many years ago, he was still living in the village with his paternal grandparents, that night…
He shivered and broke out it cold sweat. His palms became clammy…
Adele was on the phone with her children. It was a conference call. They were talking politics.
Adele listened to them but her mind was mulling another issue. A large amount had been paid into her account. It was payment for a contract she helped Jay to secure. Without her efforts, he wouldn’t have gotten that job and she funded more than eighty per cent of it. As much as she knew that Jay didn’t deserve her mercy, going by all the pain he had inflicted on her physically, emotionally and psychologically, he needed that money to survive. How would she sleep peacefully, knowing she was holding on to another man’s joy? She dared not tell her children about it. Going by the way they were feeling right now, they would not support her extending any help to their father.
After the convo with her children, she hopped to the private dining room to join Bolan at breakfast. There were two entrances to that dining room -from the corridor and from Bolan’s room.
“Oh no! I told you to call me so I could come and carry you here, my woman,” Bolan said as he sighted her.
He was up and beside her immediately. He made her comfortable on the chair and kissed her deeply.
“I’m becoming a big liability to you and I don’t like it,” She said, kissing him back.
“Hey love, my desire is to turn you into my master and I’ll be your slave for the rest of our lives. I love you with everything in me that can love a woman. Believe me, you don’t have to work for the rest of your life. I’ll take care of your needs, including those of your children, if you’d allow me,” Bolan whispered into her ears.
Adele closed her eyes as joy washed over her. Gawd, she loved this man. Everything about him spelt joy to her. They could talk for hours and laugh; they could be in each other’s arms without saying a word for hours and be so happy. They could communicate with their eyes. She felt wetness in her cave of wonder and smiled. It’s either she ate her breakfast right now or it would turn cold while she was being eaten.
Suddenly, she had an urge to live her secret desire. With Bolan, she could let go and be the seductress that she secretly wanted to be behind closed door.
“Lock the door, my Prince,” she told him.
She could not recognise her voice; it was low and sultry. Bolan stared at her a moment and went to do as she wished. She slipped out of her one-piece dressing gown. She had nothing under it. Bolan’s eyes were like an owls. This was a new Adele he was seeing. She indicated he did same. He did in seconds. His man was already turgid.
“We’re going to have breakfast in our birthday suit and you’re gonna feed me,” she said with a smile.
“Yes ma’am,” he responded and drew two dining chairs a little away from the table.
They sat, facing each other, their knees touching. With shaky hands, he fed her until she was good. Then she told him she was going to feed him. He smiled and waited, but she had other ideas.
“Mom wants to nurse her baby,” she told him.
Wide-eyed, Bolan smiled. He was happy. He felt that somehow, he had scaled whatever hurdle and destroyed whatever wall that stood between them.
“Close your eyes,” she instructed.
He did. Almost immediately, he felt her hands on him and felt her heave herself on him. He relaxed.
Adele smiled. She was juicing so much and could feel her wetness oozing out. She felt him shudder as she lay her hand on his very turgid man. He sat up. She played with it a bit, teasing the excitement spot just under the inner cap and felt him gasp. She teased him a little more and raised herself a bit and guided him into her slippery wet receptacle. Bolan moaned loudly and his body began to tingle. This was the first time he went into her unsheathed. The feeling was indescribably different. He felt like he was encased in a slippery wet velvety cocoon. He felt something on his lips and opened his mouth to take it in. He sucked without being told to. He needed not be told.
“Suck it. Hmmmmmmm suuuuckkkkkkhmmmmmm,” she moaned.
She was riding him as one possessed, murmuring and shouting almost at the same time. He grabbed one bobbing mountain while he sucked the other one. She held his neck as she grinded and pounded at intervals. Bolan was surprised. He openen his eyes and stole a glance at her. She was shouting with her eyes closed. She looked like one demented. He understood, she was gripped in the throes of passion. He was at the brink too because he had never felt this way before. She was driving him mad. He grabbed her waist with his two hands and raised her up a bit. Then he brought her down gently on him. He repeated that a number of times.
“Don’t stop…Don’t stop… dooooooon’t….,” she screeched.
Bolan felt like he would erupt in volcanic lava. He felt it rising to the tip. He tried to keep it in check but couldn’t. It would overrun him and drown them.
“My woman…my baby…baaaaby….” He screamed.
“My priiiiiiiiiiiiiiinceeeeee,” she screamed, adding, “Bring it oooooooon….lemme feeeeeeel you….”
Then, they quaked as waves and waves of passion washed over them. They felt the chair bouncing and held on to each other, afraid that the flood of passion would sweep them away…
Let’s continue this journey on Sunday!
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Ladies who rose to limelight with BBNaija platform
The fourth season of the hugely popular reality TV show, Big Brother Naija is back on our screens and fans are eager to see the housemate who will be propelled to instant stardom from this season. This year’s season is already generating a lot of excitement and frenzy among viewers who are anticipating the next star that will emerge from this competition in few months’ time. BBNaija is a great talent factory where stars are made. Over the years we have seen ex-housemates who are thrust into stardom by just being on the show. It has helped a lot of ex-housemates achieve their career trajectories which would have taken years to achieve. The platform has indeed propelled some to heights unimagined and to gain fame and fortune that seemed impossible before entering the Big Brother house.
From zero to unimaginable, here are ladies who used the BBNaija platform to make a success of their careers and achieve fame and lifelong dreams as VANESSA OKWARA reports
Cynthia Nwadiora aka Cee-C
Cynthia Nwadiora, a lawyer, worked as an outdoor advertising practitioner and was relatively unknown before going into the BBNaija house. Cee-C was unarguably the most controversial housemate ever to get in to the Big Brother house. She was outspoken and didn’t care whose ox was gored as she made her views and opinions known on subject matters including picking issues with her fellow housemates.
Her fights with fellow housemate, Tobi Bakre during the season 3 was quite legendary and this earned her both foes and friends alike from across Africa. She was dubbed the actual ‘Double Wahala’ which was the theme for that year. After 85 eventful days in the house, she came in second place
Today, with 1.8million followers on Instagram, Cee-C has become a fashion influencer, award winning brand influencer and has worked with brands like Nairabet, Amstel Malta, Huawei Mobile and House of Lunettes. She recently launched her sportswear line, Cegar, which has so far been a major hit among her fan base. Hate her or love her, you cannot deny her presence on the social media influencer space.
She reportedly charges an average of N500, 000 to advertise for brands on social media. She is forever grateful to the platform BBNaija presented to her.
Uriel Oputa was an upcoming musician who needed the big platform that Big Brother Naija presented. During her time in the BBNaija season 2 ‘See Gobbe’, Uriel was popular for her melodramatic yet entertaining diary sessions. After finishing in 9th position, Uriel bagged several endorsements and hosting gigs for some big brands such as Maggi, PayPorte, Pedini – Bosch Nigeria, Peak Milk, Indomie etc. Today, Uriel has a cooking TV show and her own food outfit, ‘UU Kitchen’. During the visit of Anthony Joshua, the legendary boxer to Nigeria recently, she was contracted as the caterer for some of his projects for children living in the slum. She currently has over one million followers on Instagram, a thriving wig business and is still a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry.
Oluwabamike (BamBam) Olawunmi is a multi-talented young lady who was part of the BB Naija 2018. No one expected Bam Bam to become an overnight sensation after spending weeks at the Big Brother house. Well, her steamy and romantic relationship with fellow housemate, Teddy A kind of aided in showcasing the beautiful woman. That romance has progressed dramatically and today they are engaged to be married; therefore increasing her popularity and also the BBNaija platform as a place where stars and dreams are actualized.
Since leaving the BBNaija house, Bam Bam has been busy conquering the world with her beauty products and bagging several awards as well.
Ifu Ennada was already a rising star before going to the Big Brother Naija house. She was already a budding actress before entering the Big Brother House and since leaving the house, Ifu’s acting career has received tremendous boost and leaps and she’s acted in blockbusting movies and trends. She has been really busy trying to use her BBNaija experience to cash out. From hosting events to starting her own cosmetic line and hair wig business, she has indeed soared higher standing on the BBNaija platform.
Nina Chinonso Onyenobi practically rose from nothing to unimaginable stardom from the BBNaija season three. She was just an ordinary housemate fans didn’t think will make it past the first few weeks in in the Big Brother House but she surprised everyone when she emerged 5th in that season. Her beautiful and passionate relationship with Miracle who won the competition endeared her to the hearts of many. She became one of the last women standing at the last edition of Big Brother Naija. She graduated from the Imo State University after leaving the Big Brother House and her fan base on social media has increased to 1.4 million followers.
Since then, it has been from one endorsement to another with different cosmetics and fashion brands. She also owns her own cosmetics, fashion and wig brand.
Asogwa Alexandra Amuche Sandra, popularly called Alex went unnoticed at the Big Brother house until the first Saturday at the house when it was time to party. We got to see a very bold and free-spirited young beautiful lady showcase her dance moves. She was also among the last five in the last season of the Big BrotherNaija. Since coming out of the show, she has used the platform to grow her fan base to an amazing 1.8 million followers. This has earned her lots of brand endorsements worth millions. Today she is a known dancer, TV personality and event host. She recently joined the acting world as she was seen in a movie production with AY comedian.
Tokunbo Idowu, popularly known as TBoss was tagged the most controversial Big Brother Naija housemate and second runner-up of the Big Brother Naija season two. Tboss is hard to forget once you see her. She brought spark and dynamism to the show as she generated both likes and dislikes from lots of fans across Africa. She has generated over 700, 000 fans base on her Instagram page.
She also caused a stir for her male fans by showing her breasts on live TV and fighting with almost everyone in the house.
Since she left the Big Brother Naija house, TBoss has hosted several shows including AFRIMA 2017 and Funny Bone Untamed.
The Edo State beauty has also signed ambassadorial deals with several brands and made her acting debut in several movies and TV series such as ‘AJoche’.
Believe it or not, she seems to be one of the most successful at least commercially from season two of the Big BrotherNaija show.
Bisola Aiyeola was not a stranger to reality TV shows. She contested in the 2008 edition of Project Fame West Africa and she is very talented. Bisola became the first runner up of Big Brother Naija season 2 and has been tagged the most successful from that season. She acts as well as she sings; she used the Big Brother platform to showcase her acting and singing skills which endeared her to the hearts of many Nigerians.
She has dropped singles that made waves since leaving the Big Brother house. She is signed to Pan-African record label, Temple Music.
In 2018, she won the AMVCA Trailblazer Award at the 2018 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards.
The talented actress was one of the most popular housemates during the Big Brother season two, especially with her romantic relationship with a secretly married housemate, Thin Tall Tony.
Since she left the Big Brother Naija house, she has featured in movies and TV shows such as ‘Glimpse’, ‘Ovy’s Voice’, ‘Picture Perfect’, ‘Skinny Girl in Transit’ and so many others. She has also bagged so many awards and endorsements with top brands across the country.
Why I advocate against domestic violence –Emmanuel Ikubese
Fast rising actor and model, Emmanuel Ikubese, is no doubt a hot sensation in the movie industry today as he has featured in many block buster movies including ‘Fifty’ and ‘Suga’. He broke into limelight after winning a Pop Idol Competition held in Kenya, and later on emerged the winner of Mr. Nigeria 2014. He also became the first runner up at Mr. World competition held in England that same year. The handsome dude speaks with ABIOLA ALABA PETERS on why he started a campaign against domestic violence
Give us a brief background of your career and why you moved from Kenya to Nigeria?
I started my career in Kenya. I was into entertainment during my stay there; I was into modelling, music and acting. So I was a celebrity in Kenya because I had done a lot and performed at A-class parties in East Africa. I had performed not just in Kenya but different countries as well. But coming to Nigeria, it was a different ball game. I tried pushing my music but it did not go through. What really helped me was when MTV aired season 3 of ‘Shuga’, the one that had Tiwa Savage, so I came from Kenya to film that season and it created a bit of buzz. Also that period, I realised there was going to be a Mr. Nigeria competition and to cut the long story short, I did it and won. With that, I got the big break into the movie industry.
You are always advocating for justice when it comes to domestic violence and abuse, was that passion born out of personal experience?
Not at all, no personal experience whatsoever, but I have some university days based experiences. I have lots of friends who were killed during domestic violence. The more I get involved in spreading the message against such, the more I get more personal with it. I have met a lot of victims. When I see them in such a pitiable state, it gets to me so much that I just want to do more.
What are the responses so far, if any?
Yes, I have loads of response. But there’s still a lot of stigmatization that victims of domestic violence go through. Our campaign is trying to put an end to people keeping quiet. We are encouraging them to speak out against all forms violence, be it rape, abuse, etc. We want them to come out and tell their stories.
Once they open up and tell their stories, what happens next?
I partner with a lot of agencies that help. I create awareness and the agencies follow up on the victims who speak out. Right now, I don’t have the funding to take responsibility for victims. So, the agencies do the needful for the victims that need help.
Running such time consuming campaign and at the same time shooting lots of movies in different locations, how do you cope?
It hasn’t been easy, I must tell you. But once there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s something that I’m very passionate about, both my career and my pet project.
What are the aims and objectives of your foundation and why was it set up?
The Emmanuel Ikubese Foundation is a charity oriented organisation. Ever since it was established, I have done a couple of charity projects. But the main project that I focused on was on domestic violence against women. It’s called Project RAW – Respect a Woman; it was launched with a charity ball on 29th of November 2015. We have also had a charity football match, a short film and celebrities lent their voices to the project such as 2Face, Banky W, Ali Baba etc. My goal wasn’t just the awareness campaign; my goal was to create help but honestly, I won’t lie, it’s been a tough job because funding it has been challenging. The ideal is to bring in a team of lawyers to help prosecute abuse cases and set the women up in businesses but it’s not being easy I must say.
You displayed a very raunchy role in the movie ‘Fifty’, how have you been able to manage some of the backlashes that came with it?
One thing about me is that, I always try to bring in depth in every character I play. Though I understand our kind of society; they would not receive it with smiling faces and that got me worried. But funny enough, I didn’t really get the kind of backlash I had expected. So people understood what we were trying to display. People didn’t criticize me as much as I had expected.
What’s the secret, how have you been able to maintain the perfect shape and look of a lady’s man?
It’s been crazy and intense because a lot of times I find myself on set for months, shooting in funny places where there is no equipment for me to observe my daily exercise. If I find time in the morning, I go for a jog and sometimes I shoot till 2-3am but if I finish on time, say 8/9pm, I find myself jogging, doing pushups. It’s not easy but I try.
Tell us why you cannot date or marry an older woman?
I respect people’s choice and opinion. I don’t think love is about age, as long as two people understand themselves, love each other and willing to be together; age shouldn’t be an obstacle. Once there’s love, respect and communication, then they are good to go. But personally, I don’t think I can do it. Maybe someone that I am older than with 2-3 years, that’s the much I can do. I’m not against those that marry younger lover; that’s women or men that date older women. It’s all about choice after all.
Have you ever received nude pictures from a fan, especially, the female ones?
No! I’ve not received such. I don’t think any female fan in her right senses would want to send me a nude picture. I know they do send though, but not to people like me. My image is not that corrupt for someone to try such. The craziest they do is slide to my DMs to tell me how much they love me, how they desire to kiss me and make love to me, but not sending nude pictures.
To what extent do you go with your female fans?
To me, I always see them as friends and people who admire what I do and I reciprocate by just saying ‘hi, thank you’ and that’s it. It’s not like all the ladies who say, ‘hi’ to me want to get down; they’re just admirers of my work or fans.
To young people out there, who are looking forward to be successful in their careers, what do you have to say to them?
To the young people out there, I would say believe in whatever you want and go for it; it might take a while but be patient. But remember, put God first. I believe I am where I am today by God’s grace so be patient, pray, set your mind to it and it will happen. Never give up, never give up, and never give up!
We’ll do things differently in Kogi and Bayelsa governorship polls –Okoye
The November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states are just over three months away. Festus Okoye, National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, speaks to ONYEKACHI EZE on the commission’s preparation for the elections in the two states and sundry issues
Now that we are done with the 2019 general elections, INEC is faced with Kogi and Bayelsa governorship polls fixed for November 16, how prepared is INEC for them
The Commission is gradually getting ready for the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. We have delivered all nonsensitive materials required for the conduct of governorship election in Bayelsa State. Before this week runs out, we will deliver all nonsensitive materials required for the conduct of Kogi governorship election. So we don’t have challenges in delivering nonsensitive materials required for elections in this two states.
Secondly, we have started training of some of ad hoc staff that will be involved in the conduct of the two governorship elections. Our alternative dispute resolution officers have also gone to these two states to conduct trainings. We are going to do things differently this time around in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
In terms of lessons learnt from the 2019 general elections, some of the positive lessons in the general elections will be devolved into the conduct of Kogi and Bayelsa governorship polls. Some of the loose ends in the conduct of the 2019 and some of the challenges we had in certain things, we are going to do things differently in Kogi and Bayelsa this time around.
You will notice that we are yet to announce the date for the collection of permanent voter’s cards in this two states. Within the next one week, we are going to announce the resumption of collection of PVCs for these two states. We are going to train the ad hoc staff that will conduct these elections very well. Previously we had complaints with the timeline for the training of ad hoc staff, which most of the trainers said were inadequate. We are going to make out adequate time for the training of ad hoc staff so that those who are going to be in charge of smart card readers will be trained well; those who are going to conduct the elections as presiding officers will also be well trained. We are taking the issue of training very seriously.
We are also collaborating with critical stakeholders in these two states to do voter education and sensitisation programmes so that when we get into the elections the quantum of ballot papers that will be spoilt due to people’s inability to recognise logos of political parties, and so on, will be reduced to the barest minimum.
Usually, INEC test run some technologies to be used in general elections during off-season elections. Are we expecting any new technology during the elections?
We are not going to use any new technology for the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. Definitely, the Commission will deploy smart card readers for the conduct of these elections. And the Commission will not, under any circumstances and under any guise, allow or tolerate any presiding officer to arbitrarily and without authorisation, jettison the use of smart card readers for the accreditation of voters.
We are going to make it very clear to all presiding officers that they are under a statutory obligation to conduct the elections in the manner prescribed by the constitution, the Electoral Act, our regulations, guidelines and manuals. So we are going to use smart card readers for the conduct of 2019 off-season governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
Secondly, we also noticed that we have challenges and problems with some of our collation officers during the 2019 general elections. In terms of recruitment of collation officers, we are going to do things differently this time around. We are going to screen, authentic, the quality, the competence, the neutrality and non-partisanship of the collation officers that will be deployed for the conduct of elections in this two states.
We believe that the technologies we are using presently are adequate for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. So we are not going to deploy any new technology. We are going to insist is that the technologies that we are going to use should be used in the manner as prescribed by the commission. The commission will not tolerate where any individual or group of individuals will bye pass this technologies and do things not in accordance with the prescribed guidelines and the regulations.
INEC had expressed concerns over the security situation in these two states given what happened in 2015 when elections were conduct there. What assurances that there will be adequate security to men and materials during the elections?
The Commission has met severally with the leadership of the various security agencies at the level of Inter-Agency Consultation Committee on Election Security. The Commission has in consultation and conjunction with these security agencies, reviewed the conduct of the 2019 general elections. We have noticed the areas where we have positives and also the areas where we have negatives. We are working with these security agencies to make sure that this off-season elections that adequate security is going to be provided for voters, election officials and election materials.
Bayelsa has a very peculiar terrain. That presupposes that we are going to hire gun boats to protect our personnel and materials on the high seas. We have started discussing with the navy both at the state and local government levels for their services in this area.
But ultimately, the political elite must accept responsibility for some of the security challenges we have during elections. INEC does not have security outfit of its own. We rely on the professionalism and the ethical conduct of security agencies recognized by the constitution for the conduct of elections.
Our appeal to the political parties is to conduct the primary elections in the way and manner provided for, and recognised by section 87 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Political parties should also conduct the primary elections that will lead to less acrimony because INEC will use its constitutional and statutory power to monitor the conduct of those primary elections. INEC will not accept list that would be generated by any political parties that does not emanate from the conduct of credible primary elections as envisaged by the law.
Secondly, it is against the democratic spirit and the democratic values for any political party or individual or group of individuals to arm political thugs for the purposes of disrupting the electoral process. The conduct of elections is the ordinary constitutional responsibility of INEC while voting is a civic responsibil ity of the individuals. We appeal to the political parties that are going to contest this elections to allow the will of the people to be the only major determinant of who gets elected and who does not get elected.
The political parties should allow voters to go to the polling units unmolested. In other words, they should not arm political thugs to go and disrupt the elections or to compromise INEC officials. If political parties conduct themselves well, INEC will conduct elections everybody will be proud of. We are going to deploy election materials and personnel on time, and we are going to make sure that nobody takes control of any the collation centre to do things that are unethical.
The conduct of elections is a cyclical thing. It involves political parties conducting themselves well, it involves security agencies acting professionally and ethically, it also involves the civil societies and organizations to conform with their code of conduct in observing the elections. It also beholds traditional rules and religious leaders and institutions of government to carry out robust voter education for our people. It also involves the media in sensitising and enlightening people on the best practices in the conduct of elections and in democratic practices and procedures.
The 2019 general election was conducted some few months ago now. Definitely, there are some lessons INEC learnt from the conduct of the elections. What are the lessons learnt and how does INEC going to apply it for the conduct of Kogi and Bayelsa polls?
One of the things we are going to do differently is that we are going to commence the distribution of permanent voter’s cards to the people of Bayelsa and Kogi states. And when we commence, we are going to bring new approaches and new innovations to the distribution process. At the end of the day we are going to ensure that any individual who wants to collect his or her permanent voter’s cards do so.
Secondly, we are going to ensure that our officers who are well trained are sent to monitor the conduct of party primaries, and their report will be acted upon. So we assure the Nigerian people that we are going to act on the reports of our monitors who are going to monitor the party primaries.
The third issue is that we are not going to have any challenge with the procurement of sensitive materials. We are going to procure the materials for the conduct of this elections on time, and we are going to make sure that we energies our registration area centres and make sure that we deploy our personnel and materials on time. The moment you don’t deploy on time, you create security challenges at the polling units.
We also noticed that the political parties and their candidates are paying too much attention to our collation centres. We are going to make sure that we secure our collation centres in such a way that no individual will take control of our collation centres, and no individual will hold our collation officers hostage to declare a results that are not part of the polling units and from our registration areas.
One other thing we are going to do differently, we are going to make sure that we harvest our collation officers from places political parties cannot reach them. Since we harvest our collation officers from universities and tertiary institutions within the state, some political parties have also go to this institutions to compromise them. I’m not going to reveal what we are going to do but our resolve is that we have learnt good lessons from the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Some of these lessons are from our own internal review from the conduct of our electoral officers in the 774 local government areas in Nigeria, election observers, the media and also from the documents and recommendations made to us by both domestic and foreign observers.
We are going to act on the ones we can act on, the ones that are actionable, we act on them. The ones we can implement administratively, we will implement them, and the ones that need legislative intervention will meet with critical agencies that can either altering the law or amend the law.
Kogi and Bayelsa are peculiar states. For instance, Bayelsa State in riverine. About 80 percent is covered by water, while Kogi State has a large land mass. Last time INEC postponed elections was because materials could not reach the polling units on time. What effort is INEC making this time around to make sure that materials reach polling units only?
We have had several meetings with the Resident Electoral Commissioners and with the Administrative Secretaries. On the 5th of August we had a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners and Administrative Secretaries of this two states. All this meetings are aimed at fine-tuning preparations for the conduct of this two elections. They have given us the figure of the number of personnel that they need to deploy for the conduct of the elections.
For Bayelsa State, we have a figure with which to hire gunboats. We are also meeting with officers from the Navy who are going to assist in security our officers and materials. We assure the Nigeria people that we are going to move the sensitive materials to the locations on time. Bayelsa has eight local government areas, so the methodology of deploying materials and personnel to polling units in Bayelsa may likely be different from the methodology we will use in deployment in Kogi State. So we are taking into consideration the issue of landmass in Kogi and the riverine nature of Bayelsa. We are doing deferential appresial of this two states.
We have conducted elections in this two states before, then we had inconclusive elections on account of violence. So, based on this, the Chairman of INEC will begin robust consultations with the political parties, traditional and religious leaders, professional groups and organisations in this two states in October. We are going to conduct elections that everybody will be proud of.
INEC has received reports of the observers who monitored the 2019 general elections. Some of them did not give INEC a pass mark. Has INEC accepted its shortcomings?
Before we received the report of some of the domestic and international observers, the commission on its own, decided that it needed to review its conduct of the 2019 general elections. We started this review at the state level. Every National Commissioner went to the state where he or she is supervising, to go and review the conduct of the elections. And we met with so many of our presiding officers; we met with some civil societies and organisations; we met with members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers because they are the ones who provided the bulk of the vehicles we use to transport election materials and personnel. We also met with the security agencies at the base level to understand some of the things that happened at the polling units – some of the challenges that they have and some of the positives that were recorded in some of the states.
Thereafter, we brought all the 774 electoral officers in all the local government areas to Abuja in two streams. We reviewed the conduct of the elections with them.
So, some of the things pointed out by the local and foreign observers, we are already aware of some of them, because some of them were pointed out by our own officials during our own internal assessment.
We have taken some of the recommendations of domestic and international observers into consideration. The critical ones that we believe that are honest, the critical ones we believe we made out of genuine intention to improve our electoral system, we have taken them on board. Those that require legislative intervention, we are going to work with critical stakeholders to make sure that we get a very good law. Some of the recommendations that require administrative intervention, we are going to input them into our administrative framework.
There are some of the recommendations that do not take into consideration some of the improvement, some of the accountability and openness made by INEC before the 2019 general elections. For instance, it was not part of the law or part of any regulation when we designed a form that enabled every presiding officer at a polling unit, to record the result and paste at a conspicuous place, for the purposes of accountability and transparency.
Secondly, it was the innovation introduced by the commission to get two collation officers for the first set of elections – the Presidential and National Assembly.
The Commission has conducted its internal evaluation, the different political parties that contested this elections should also do their own internal review and evaluations, both at party and inter-party advisory levels, and admonished themselves on some of the things they did during the elections.
INEC is not a vote buyer and not a vote seller. It is the political parties that do those things. INEC does not train and deploy political thugs. It is the political parties that do that. Let them do their own evaluation and commit to a new electoral and democratic process.
We also called the security agencies to do their own evaluation and see whether their men did the right things during the elections. There were some security agencies that acted professionally and ethically. There were also some that crossed the line.
If all of us do our own internal evaluation we will know where we have positives and where we have negatives, and when we harmonise all these things we will have a new Nigeria and a new political and democratic order.
This particular Commission accept criticisms and we accept our mistakes, and where we make mistakes we have no problems in accepting that.
Is INEC worried with the number of petitions at the tribunals, compared to the number we had after 2015 general elections?
No. If you look at the figures, for pre-election matters, involving the conduct of party primaries, we have 809 matters in court. For election petitions, we have 800 matters in court. So the challenge is the conduct of party primaries by political parties.
So we have less number of election petitions arising from the conduct of election generally than preelection matters arising from party primary elections. So, I think we did well with the conduct of the 2019 general elections. We conducted elections that were credible, and we conducted elections that reflected the voting patterns and the wishes of the Nigerian people. But that does not mean we didn’t have challenges in the elections. We have accepted these challenges, and one of those challenges was the rescheduling of the elections. We have addressed the Nigerian people and we made the necessary amends so that we don’t have such time of postponement this time around. But in terms of number of election petitions in court, we are not worried about that.
Some of this election petitions also revolved around whether the person declared as a winner was even qualified to contest the election. So have of this 800 has nothing to do with the conduct of the elections. Under the law, the issue of qualification is both the preelection matters and postelection matter.
Those who promulgated our electoral act and those who designed the constitution know that there will be problems, and based on this, they designed a mechanism for the resolution of this problems and some of these challenges.
Deplorable state of Onitsha, Nkpor feeder roads: We’re ready to support Obiano if…
•We pay heavy tax yet our roads are deplorable –Residents
Despite the strides recorded by successive governments in Anambra State in the area of road networks, the inability to fix the feeder roads connecting Onitsha, Nkpor and Obosi, we erode the enviable achievements that earned Anambra State, the state with the best road networks. CHIJIOKE IREMEKA reports
esidents of Nkpor, Obosi and Onitsha in Idemili North and Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra State respectively, are currently calling on the government of Chief Willie Obianor to fix the feeder roads connecting the high rising buildings in these communities in order not to erode the long-standing achievements of the state as the best with good road networks in the country.
The residents said Onitsha, Nkpor and Obosi are typical example of communities built by private individuals without government involvement hence there is a need for the government to show some concern by fixing these roads which have become impassable and consequently prevented mororits from driving their cars home.
Many of them have resorted to parking their vehicles on the roads as well as nearby fuel stations instead of struggling to drive their vehicles home on a rugged and slippery roads, the vehicles which occasionally end up in a ditch or deep pothole.
The residents said if the government will show interest in reconstructing the roads, they will give it all the financial and moral support to ensure that they drive their vehicles to their respective homes, saying the effect of the bad roads is worse during the raining season.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that the indigineous Anambra traders were the reason for such massive development and investment in the high rising buildings one sees in these communities and were never government’s efforts.
No, the weekly gathered that lack of government’s involvement in this level of development also made it possible for the majority of the landlords of these high rising buildings to build a house without making provision for borehole for the tenants as a number of the residents have to go down stairs to buy water.
Unlike what obtains in the Federal Capital Territory, where Sunday Telegraph learnt that the FCT government made it mandatory that any landlord who builds more than three storey building must install a lift and ensure water supply, tenants living at the six floor to come down to buy water in jerrican.
According to a resident of Nkpor, Barr Emeka Ndukwe, despite the huge revenue they contribute to the government, the government is yet to reciprocate by fixing their roads and even portable water, saying that he wants Governor Obianor to tar the roads as his departing legacy.
“Outside these estates and high rising building areas, Anambra State has fantastic road networks and it seemed as if there is nothing else to do. Former administrations of Dr. Chris Ngige and Mr. Peter Obi did well in the areas of roads constructions. And others and they are known for these achievements. We also want this administration to give us this as a parting gift,” he said.
He urged any potential governor to the state, as a matter of priority, reconstruct these roads to make the cities and estates envy of other states across the country and pride of the state as has always been the case.
He continued: “There is no state in Nigeria where there are concentration of such high rising buildings on a stretch except for Lagos State to an extent. These are private traders efforts. If government should come in and help them plan, regulate and maintain their roads, properties around these places will appreciate for the good of the state.”
During Sunday Telegraph’s visit to Ata Road, Nkpor, it was discovered that the majority of these residents park their vehicles some distance away from their houses as the bad roads prevented them from driving their vehicles home. Some of them by vehicles but have never entered their compounds.
In some places, erosion has almost washed off their gate and with the ban of commercial motorcycle operators (Okada) in Anambra State, it makes it more difficult. Prior to the ban, okada was the choice option as it manoeuvre the rugged roads with slippery red mud.
It was learnt that one of the successive governors in the state paid attention to the plights of the residents except the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo, who in his governorship campaign previously showed concern even as he went ahead saying that he will use the high rising buildings to obtain foreign loan to build the state.
At Uke Street by Transformer, Mr. Chima Obiojor said everybody is on his own here, adding a typical Anambra man does not look on the government when he wants to do anything, the reason Anambra men build houses, pay for electricity poles and transformer, yet provide their own security irrespective of what the government is offering.
He said: “We have fine buildings here but there are no roads to pass. You know my house and the simple way to follow is Idemili bus-stop but you can see me go through the Nkpor Junction. Not as if the junction is okay but it’s manageable.
“I change shock absorbers on regular basis. I am planning to pack out from there and go to house in Ogidi so that my motor will last. With this, I will end the unnecessary stress. Obianor’s administration should do something. He is trying but there is a need for him to give these axis a face lift.”
While in a commercial tricycle, a woman who introduced herself as Mama Junior, a primary school teacher, told our correspondent that some time, the residents and some good landlords organised themselves to do the roads independent of the government but some indigenous people demanded money from them which stalled the work.
She said, “Our government is not interested here because nobody sees the roads, rather they went and spent money on other roads that are seen by people. Now that there are no major roads to build in the state, we want the government to fix these roads so that we can enjoy what others are enjoying.
“Apart from Peter Obi, Anambra has been a state built by private individual efforts of indegineous traders and others. People of Anambra do not wait for government to do anything for them. They find solution to their problems. Anambra State is a solution state.
“They build empires of their own without anybody’s support and the reason they feel nothing is impossible with money. They believe that once there is money, with government or without the government’s support, they can achieve anything they want. They feel that since you don’t want to support them also don’t be an obstacle to them.
“If the government can fix the roads, there is no estate in any part of the country that can beat anambra state in the area of development and infrastructure.”
According to Engineer Chibuzor Udokwu, with what Peter Obi did in Anambra State, other governors of this state may end up spending Anambra money on white elephant projects, thinking there is nothing to do in the state again.
“There are feeder roads in Onitsha and Nkpor that you can’t even pass on foot how much more vehicles yet these are very good link roads that connect to one major community or the other. For long, these roads have not been done and this is the time to do that,” he said.
He noted that Anambra State has woken up and never to return to the days of slumber and will not support anybody who will want to return the state to pre-Chris Ngige era.
He insisted that greater industrialisation of Anambra State in view requires good road, water supply and the ultimate electricity, adding that the state government must rise up to its responsibilities according to the social contract theory.
On the other hand, Sunday Telegraph learnt that apart from the issue of bad roads, lack of government policy and involvement in these high rising buildings brought about a major structural defect in Nkpor and Onitsha as landlords build houses without provision of water supply.
It was learnt that some of them are waiting for the government to provide them with pipe bore water even as Onitsha Greater Water Scheme, Nkisi went morribund many years ago.
“The landlords here are very mean. How can somebody build four story building and without water. They will expect you to go down and buy water and carry it up stairs. I live on the penthouse, the fifth floor, so you can imagine what I face every day fetching water,” said Obiora Chukwunulu, who lives on Obosi Road.
“In most cases, I have to pay water vendors to bring water for me. One jerrycan is between N50 and N100; by the time you get the quantity that will be enough for you and your family, you would have spent some fortunes,” he said.
“We have affordable accommodation here apart from what I have explained and roads leading to inner streets which nobody is concerned about. Obosi is a good place to be and do business. We have good security as well but we need roads and potable water. Everybody depends on boreholes as there is nothing like reliable public water,” he added.
Meanwhile, according to Izueke Edwin Madu of Department of Public Administration and Local Government Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, urban centres throughout the world exhibit an incredible diversity of characteristics, economic structure, levels of infrastructure, historical origins, patterns of growth and degree of formal planning.
He said: “Yet, many of the problems they face are strikingly familiar. But in developing countries, particularly in Africa, urban residents suffer to a great extent from severe environmental and health challenges associated with insufficient access to clean drinking water, inadequate sewage facilities and solid waste disposal.
“One of the most visible and disturbing characteristics of the urban areas in Nigeria is the decline of their infrastructural base. As urban populations grow, and as available resources decline, public infrastructure is being degraded to the point where cities are seriously losing their capacity to operate as productive entities.
“Solid wastes are uncollected and piles of decaying wastes are allowed to rot in the streets; schools are overcrowded; urban roads have deteriorated into quagmires in rainy seasons; Public telephone is an impossible dream; public transport systems are becoming severely overloaded; and more and more people are obliged to live in unserviced plots.
“Not only is little new infrastructures constructed, but existing infrastructures are poorly maintained. Poor urban planning in the face of rapid urbanisation is therefore regarded as one of the major problems confronting many urban areas in Nigeria with special reference to Onitsha Urban area.
“The filth and infrastructural degradation that have over taken Onitsha, NKpor and Obosi among others, is as a result of poor urban planning. The failure of land subdivision and servicing programmes to keep pace with rapid urban growth has led to widespread illegal and informal developments, hence the growth of squatter settlements or slum areas, for instance, the housing clusters at Okpoko, Fegge, Woliwo and Odoakpu.”
In the same manner, and corroborating him, Eme Innocent of the same department, said many development projects carried out in these areas were without regard to the environment and this poses potential health problems and other hazards such as flooding, congestion and confusion.
“This has hindered the extension of not only of water, electricity and solid waste collection services, but also adequate sanitation arrangements and road networks to such areas,” he said.
He noted that deficiencies in infrastructure provision and waste management, environmental problems in Onitsha also arise from the inability of public sector authorities like the Onitsha Town Planning Authority and the Onitsha Local Government councils to enforce regulations governing land development, and industrial emissions.
However, there are other areas of these communities that have received one facelift or the other but the fact remains that Anambra State government has to do something about these roads linking one community or the other within Onitsha, Nkpor and Obosi rising buildings.
Security situation in Nigeria is frightening, says Para-Mallam
IFEST Ambassador and Peace Advocate, the Revd. Gideon Para-Mallam, slams the Buhari-led government as he X-rays current issues in Nigeria, in this no hold barred interview with TAI ANYANWU
What is your opinion about the state of the nation’s security?
There are two dominant narratives. One is pro-government which suggests that the security situation is a normal challenge. Therefore, with this normative view, people should not be exaggerating the security situation in our country. Some even go to the extent to suggest that some Nigerians are portraying the country in a bad light both in and out of the country.
The recent statement in May by our Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, in the US, over the hue and cry about the security challenge in Nigeria, which was followed by a more audacious statement by the Nigerian High Commission in the US – which went as far as to call Leah Sharibu’s mother and others liars regarding the security situation of Nigeria falls into such a narrative.
More recently, is the statement released by the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria on the need for the government to take a tougher stand in addressing the problem of insecurity which is creating fear in the nation.
I was deeply concerned, when President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, issued a statement suggesting that the Catholic Bishops are instead creating fear in the minds of Nigerians by their statement and not the government’s handling of the security challenge. This is both shocking and painfully embarrassing. Are we back to the days of Abacharism and the Chukwumerije’s press shenanigans? The issue of security is too serious to be politicised in the way the government is doing.
The other narrative comes from other Nigerians who say that all is not well with Nigeria and that the security situation is frightening. Making travels and even living in your own home unpredictable. Therefore, Nigeria is very unsafe. Our citizens could be kidnapped either at home or on the roads; in the city or in the village, on the farmlands, no one is safe.
Our citizens are killed every day. Life is valueless today in Nigeria. The Nigeria of 2019 is worse than the Nigeria of 1999, that’s 20 years down the line. The government may deny this for all it wants but the Nigeria of today is in a sorry state – security-wise.
A government living in denial of its citizens’ security is a government which is abdicating its social contract with the people and either intentionally or unintentionally, acting as a rogue state. The government is sounding as though they have become apologists for the criminal elements in our midst especially the Fulani herdsmen. The herdsmen are literally on a rampage today. Invading university campuses just like Boko Haram. I have heard some people argue that criminality should not be racialized in order to avoid profiling. The issue is not about profiling but our collective resolve to find a way to deal with those causing these pains. Let’s act wisely and responsibly to make such attacks history in Nigeria.
Today, such lingos as Islamophobia, Christianophobia, Fulanization are showing up. Let’s call a spade a spade. If someone hates Muslims, condemn it as such. It is not right. Similarly, if someone hates Christians, condemn it. It is also not right. Naming it sometimes leads to shaming it. If you value your ethnic identity, then work to promote the right values and not insist on political correctness which only hurts us all as a nation. Those who live to protect the interest of these attackers and kidnappers today will leave to regret in future. So, call criminality out and its drivers, so that we can collectively, with wisdom and love, deal with it according to the laws of our land and the forgiveness of God. Government’s impunity and apologists posture, over the security challenges of our nation, is the most bizarre thing I have seen in 21st Century Nigeria.
This present government should cover its face in shame. The way they are dealing with our collective security as a nation so far shows an abysmal failure. There is a need for a change of attitude on the part of the government in the way our security challenges are handled. Frankly, this government is becoming a real liability unless they intentionally choose the noble path of changing for the better. Otherwise, we may still have four more hellish years to contend with.
But guess what; this too (the cup of political affliction and emotional torture) shall pass away! I sincerely pray Nigeria will survive to make it. Everything is not all about politics. Is it any wonder they are seeking to re-define the word revolution? The patience of Nigerians can only go so far. One day there will be a mass uprising if things don’t change in this country. It is very sad.
Some ethnic groups have resorted to self-help to tackle insecurity. What is the import?
I will rather rephrase this to be self-defense. This is what failure of government has inspired! Unfortunately, unless something drastic is done, President Buhari and his government may turn out to be the most ethnicised in the history of Nigeria. Is this the best the North can offer to rest of Nigeria as a President? I am perplexed and really weeping inside.
From the Southwest, the Yorubas are thinking of how to protect themselves as they are no longer sure of what the government will do. Judging from what has been happening in the Middle Belt, the Northeast and Northwestern Nigeria people are really thinking of how to protect themselves from these marauding attackers. The Middle Belt has long been talking about self-help in the face of constant violence. It’s only a matter of time this will become a reality if things continue this way. The South-South guys are talking of protecting themselves as well – if, in fact, they are not already doing so. The Southeast is similarly crying and seeking to protect herself. In the Northeast, the Civilian JTF and vigilantes are complimenting what our soldiers are doing. I salute those innocent boys and girls in the military who are daily paying costly sacrifices and some with their lives to keep Boko Haram at bay. May their souls’ rest in peace and may God continue to comfort their families and provide for their loved ones.
But one must ask, for how long? The killings have become unconscionable, unbearable and unacceptable. A responsible government should never allow this to linger on for so long while they keep generating fake narratives in explaining away what is happening. Some of us are unimpressed because what we hear from the government is untenable. There is a disconnect between what is said and what is happening. To believe that people will fold their hands and allow themselves to be killed on a regular basis as we see in Nigeria is untenable. Added to this, is to believe that their ancestral lands will be grabbed, or they will be forced to vacate their homes, only God knows till when. Even if you drive people away and forcibly take away their lands, 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years from now, they will fight their way back to reclaim their land. If the present generation does not do it, future generations will act. Rwanda is a case in point.
Let’s learn from history. All we keep getting from the government is one narrative after another and this keeps changing with almost every attack. I am into peace building and as an ordained reverend and Peace Advocate, I believe in the peace that is predicated on justice. I believe in promoting justice in any peace building journey. Peace building is a process. Any peace agreement which is not predicated on justice is an injustice. You simply cannot machete people into subjugation, gun-them into submission; and neither can you bomb them into extinction. It won’t work. Those dreaming such are failed 21st Century narcissists. Time will tell!
Therefore, the yearning for self-help in the context of self-defense can hardly be faulted. If the government does what she should do for the protection of all, these sorts of conversation won’t be necessary. But this is a matter of life and death. I challenge all the people in government to give up all their security details, protective armoured cars, hidden bunkers and travel our roads just like all citizens and let’s hear their argument regarding self-defense. They are living in a false paradise so they can afford to see self-defense in a negative light.
Buhari is slamming those who are critical of his government, accusing them of not being patriotic. What is your take on that?
To the best of my knowledge, freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This aspect should actually help to celebrate our diversity as culturally diverse people. In fact, the last time I checked, Nigeria remains a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation. I am not aware that being critical of our government or her policies is a criminal offence either in our constitution or the penal code of Nigeria.
Therefore, the most recent pre-emptive arrest of Sowore, the self-acclaimed leader of the RevolutionNow group because of the protest marches on August 5th is a bad signal both locally and internationally. If the government thinks that by doing this they will succeed in sending shivers down the political spines of Nigerians then they are making a BIG mistake. It won’t deter people not because of Sowore’s popularity or acceptability but because it is simply wrong to try and silence people or voices of dissent in this way.
People will continue to dare government and government should come off the illusion that they can scare people into political surrender. It won’t happen. President Mohammadu Buhari should simply chat with Muammar Ghaddafi, the anger of the people does not simply disappear because of scare tactics however brutal. Unfortunately, Ghaddafi the self-acclaimed strongman of Libyan politics is no more. Let our President chat with ‘Uncle Bob’ Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Let him consult President Deng Xiaoping of China as Tiananmen Square could be child’s play in Nigeria. Our President should learn something more positive from the present Chinese President Xi Jinping. The government needs to remember that there is always that one day. A simple spark and it becomes a catalytic moment and that’s it. Nigeria is beyond any single person. No leader should be deceived. There is no absolute power either by one leader or those he or she surrounds themselves with. It takes just one day.
So, I will rather suggest that Mr. President thinks more about what positive impact he will make through the APC programs his party has for Nigerians than this political grandstanding with despotic zest. The government sometimes by some of its actions and inactions has shown itself to be very unpatriotic.
Look at the massive corruption on display in Nigeria. The recent global rankings of Transparency International says it all. Look at Nigeria’s position between 2016 to date. What is there to celebrate about patriotism? Who are the worst road traffic lawbreakers in Nigeria today? Government officials drive through with reckless abandon. Is this being patriotic? Victory at the ballot box is not a license to do as you please whether as governor, NASS member or minister. Are these acts of intimidation in the name of national security, right? Who are those who eat up and deplete our pension savings; the protesters or government workers? In fact, it is the government’s political appointees. Yet the same government does not want to be criticized?
If they do what is in consonance with the wishes of the citizens, won’t we commend them? Let them secure the release of Leah Sharibu, Alice Ngaddah, the Chibok girls and more recently Grace Tuka; and countless nameless others – both Christians and Muslims in captivity. If these are released from Boko Haram and ISWAP captivity, there will not just be commendation but jubilation in support of this government. Let them deliver these captives and see what will happen.
Let them end the killings, let them promote social justice and treat all Nigerians with fairness. Let them provide gainful employment to our teeming youths and graduates and see. Let government free several Nigerians in kidnappers’ den. We are hearing now that paying a ransom is not enough for you to regain your freedom. You could still be killed even after your ransom has been paid! Yet, people should not cry out and protest? Where is the government in power which claims to be in charge?
The real people criticizing the government are those who show the government to be powerless in their daredevil kidnappings as and when they choose. In those who invade villages and our farms and kill freely? Those who create disorder in our society and make the government look helpless. These are unpatriotic elements in our midst and these are the people government should be going after with their State might and not harmless protesters.
I just read that a Federal High Court has ruled that Sowore be remanded in prison for terrorism reasons? Why? This is very curious. IPOB, terrorism. IMN, terrorism. Sowore another case of terrorism or just what again? And yet the Fulani herdsmen? What’s this about? Isn’t this nother dance of shame in the public square of the comity of nations? These are the sorts of actions which makes injustice so glaring. It stinks and stings the conscience!!! Sadly, instead of striking fear, it will only embolden people in the long run.
The President took some time to submit the list of ministerial nominees to National Assembly; but failed to assign portfolios as expected. He has set up a committee to do that. Isn’t this time-wasting an indication that Mr. President is unprepared for governance?
I recall that six months passed by before the Ministerial nominees were submitted in 2015. The excuse we had was that the President needed more time to put his cabinet together. The list eventually came out; practically nothing seems to have justified the needless wait; nothing radical among those nominated and later appointed to serve. Before the ministers’ names were submitted to the Senate for screening, a major decision was taken and billions of naira was voted in to prospect for oil by the NNPC, in Northern, Nigeria. I understand that nothing came out of this rather wasteful exercise. This time around, the President has been in power for four years – one would have expected a much speedier approach but we have had to wait for another three months. Why this is the case again remains to be seen. Now, what is lost by many Nigerians is the fact that even before the Ministers were approved, a major decision was taken to implement RUGA. The begging question is – who approved this decision without the Minister of Agriculture in place to oversee the implementation? The massive outcry from Nigerians against this ‘smuggled decision’ forced the government to beat a tactical retreat. Before we could recover from that suspension, some Northern Group issued a 30-day ultimatum for the same government to reverse the decision to suspend RUGA. Does this show a government in full charge?
Citizens are now issuing ultimatum to a sitting government. Yet some Nigerians wanted to protest the social conditions in our country today and they are picked up and charged to court? What selective system of justice or injustice are we seeing before our very eyes – in a country that is adjured a leader in Africa and regional power? Now RUGA misstep took place even before the Minister of Agriculture is sworn in? As at the time of this interview, we do not know who the Minister of Agriculture will be. Yet, RUGA saga, though suspended, was to have been executed during a so-called ‘waiting’ period when a decision of this magnitude was to have been implemented? Something is surely amiss.
The bill seeking to transfer control of water banks to the Federal Government has been resubmitted to the National Assembly for consideration. Do you agree with those who think there is a hidden motive?
This government is almost turning into a control freak! RUGA, unless it is revisited, redefined and subjected to rigorous healthy national conversation is sadly pointing in this direction. How does the government seek to solve some problems by creating more social combustion? How could our government appear so insensitive in strategic decision making?
This government seems to me suffers from a colonial mindset which requires an urgent reset. Do I see any hidden motive in the executive bill? Well, I haven’t read the bill so it’s difficult to say. However, I dislike the smell of it. Coming so soon on the heels of the ‘suspended RUGA’ saga is needless overheating of the polity by the same government. What’s the rush for? We will just have to wait and see if the National Assembly members will serve the interest of the nation or not.
Political party interest may not always align with our collective national interest. Worst still, an individual interest which is predated on parochial interest will only end up creating distance and alienation among the populace. Nigeria can do better but lack of 21st Century creative problem-solving leadership is so glaring. Let the government humble itself and invite constructive ideas from well-meaning Nigerians to help guide this nation in such a turbulent moment. Crisis moment if well managed by the leader could result in transforming the nation.
Equipment-free exercises for sexy arms (1)
While many upper-body exercises involve equipment like dumbbells and barbells, arm exercises without weights are a solid way to put your muscles to the test, too. After all, the weight of your body is equipment in its own right—you can use it to load your arm muscles and make them work. There’s no heavy lifting required, and a gym membership is totally optional.
To be totally clear, it’s hard to work all of the muscles in your arms without weights, so equipment-free arm exercises are only going to be able to target certain areas, primarily the tops of the shoulders (the deltoids) and the triceps. Other arm muscles, like your biceps, typically need some external resistance to work against. But the exercises listed here are definitely useful for hitting some key muscle groups when you don’t have access to equipment.
Below are some of our favourite arm exercises for women that will help you tone your arm muscles and lose arm fat without weights — on your time. Say goodbye to flabby arms!
1. Arm circles
This arm exercise targets your triceps, biceps, and shoulders.
While standing straight with your feet flat on the ground and arms extended out to the side at a 90-degree angle to your body, start moving your arms in small, fast circles forward.
Do as many rotations as you can and then reverse the motion, doing as many circles as you can in the reverse direction.
Take a break and repeat two more times.
If you need to sit, make sure your feet are flat on the ground and your back is straight.
You will feel this exercise in your shoulders. You’ll be able to do more revolutions if you keep your abdominal muscles pulled in and tight. If you are just getting started, we recommend using our Restore Stretch & Massage Kit to help relieve tight, knotted muscles in the shoulders and improve flexibility.
2. Tricep dip
While sitting on a chair, grip the edge of the seat with your hands and stretch your legs out in front of you.
Move your body forward so that your feet are flat, your arms are bent behind you holding you up, and your body is extended above the ground.
Slowly raise and lower your body using your triceps.
Do three sets of 15.
3. Inverted row
This exercise targets your biceps. I do this exercise on breaks in my office while at work.
For this exercise, you need to have something to grab onto that is within your reach while lying flat on the ground. I recommend lying under a coffee table or a sturdy chair.
While gripping the edge of the table or chair, pull your upper body up off the ground, hold for a few seconds and lower yourself back down.
Do as many as you can, then repeat twice.
This one feels a little unorthodox at first, but, after a few repetitions, you will be able to feel your biceps working.
Women’s summit: In celebration of Anambra amazons
he year 1929 has continued to remain ever green in the annals of Nigerian history as a day the women in Aba, now in the current Abia State, took to the streets when the colonial Paramount rulers ordered that women should start paying taxes and other forms of levies.
Apparently unhappy with this development the women in Aba brought the ancient commercial town to a stand still protesting that there cannot be taxation without representation.
The protest became a watershed in the struggle for Nigeria’s Independence and also made a strong statement about the position of women in the polity even before the Women’s Conference in China some years ago where affirmative action on women came to be.
This also rubbed off on the various churches in the country giving impetus to Christian Women Organisation (CWO) of the Roman Catholic Church and their Anglican counterparts to commence the yearly August meetings.
As it were, the August meeting was an opportunity for the women to appraise themselves and also chart a new course in the interest of the women as well as embark on developmental projects in the respective parishes.
But the advent of the Willie Obiano administration brought a novelty and fresh tonic to the annual August meetings by the women and injected fresh ideas and motivation to the celebration.
Anambra’s First Lady, Chief Mrs Ebele Obiano introduced the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) which she used as the platform to empower women both married and widows and in the last four years over 50 homeless families are now comfortable owners of their homes while so many physically challenged men and women have benefited from the project.
Today the usual August meetings have metamorphosed into the Anambra Women Summit, which still takes place every August and this year’s event which has as its theme “Gender Balance and Social Balance”, also showcased a celebration of accomplished women in the state.
Among those that received award of recognition include the wife of Nigeria’s first President, Prof Uche Azikiwe and first female governor in Nigeria, Dame Virginia Etiaba as well as Iyom Josephine Anieneh
On the whole, a total of 18 women of Anambra extraction were honoured at the occasion which according to Mrs. Obiano was a way of encouraging women in the state to stand and be counted in the nation’s hall of fame.
Continuing the First Lady noted that it is not only the men in Anambra who have made the state proud. The women have also contributed to the socio economic development of the state.
“I am very proud of our women who toil every day to ensure that our future is secured. If you look around every sector you will find a proud Anambra daughter excelling. We therefore decided to start the process of recognising them as a way of appreciation and encouraging the budding ones to aspire and excel. Moreover, we will also empower various women groups,” she said.
Explaining further the programmes of 2019 Mothers’ Summit, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue, whose ministry is collaborating and organising the event in collaboration with the Wife of the Governor, said that the theme of this year’s summit will guide the discussion led by a keynote speaker.
Speaking also Governor Obiano announced that the state government will be holding a special award reception which would include those that were honoured during the summit.
Obiano further explained that if not for the peace in crime free Anambra State the summit would not have been successful recalling that in the past people were holding traditional wedding receptions outside the state due to the poor security.
Speaking shortly after receiving her award Dame Etiaba noted that this is the first time Anambra women are being recognised specially adding that the wife of the governor has taken the annual August meeting to another level.
Prof Uche Azikiwe urged Anambra women to strive to be successful in their various fields of endeavour contending that they should not see their status as women as a disadvantage to sell themselves but to complete favourably in the society.
The Anambra Women’s Summit is a one month beehive of activities which has commenced with the tour of the 21 local government areas in the state.
Fabulous natives for Eid-el-Kabir
igeria is a country blessed with diverse cultures and this is also reflected in our native attires and in the various religious celebrations we love to engage in. This week is the Eid-el-Kabir holidays and it’s time to rock fabulous natives you have in your wardrobe.
Nigerian fashion designers are front liners when it comes to creating amazing contemporary native designs for men from different ethnic backgrounds. They craft these designs to fit perfectly with modern tailoring techniques that give form and fitting to the client.
Theses designs are created using various fabrics such as brocade, cotton and linen materials. Designers mix and matches fabrics with intricate designs or embroidery to make each creation unique.
What makes you stand out in any native attire is the fitting. You have to make sure your tailor has your perfect measurement to avoid making clothes for you that are either too tight or too loose.
So during this Eid Kair, insist on looking good in natives that reflect your African background.
The beauty of native attire is that the designs are exclusive to you, making you to stand out at any occasion.
It does not matter which tribe you belong; step out in amazing native designs and represent any ethnic style of your choice.
Kidnapping: We’ve paid N300m ransom so far, CAN cries out
hairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna, Joseph Hagan, has said churches in the state spent over N300m to secure the release of members kidnapped in the last four years.
Hagan made the revelation during an interview with TheCable on Friday.
He said over 500 members of CAN had been abducted in the state between 2015 and 2019, adding that more than 20 churches especially those located in communities along Kaduna-Abuja Road, had been shut as people living in those areas had relocated as a result of the activities of kidnappers.
He said, “In the past four years, Christians in Kaduna State have suffered a lot.
“Generally, people in Kaduna have paid kidnappers a lot of ransom to ensure the release of either their family members or church members or neighbours or someone they know.
“It is sad to know that the church in Kaduna has paid over N300m to kidnappers in the last four years.”
Hagan said the most embarrassing of such ransoms is that of a pastor whose kidnappers insisted that the N600, 000 ransom must be accompanied with cigarettes worth N10, 000.
According to him, in Kachia, a reverend father was abducted and a ransom of N1.5m was paid but he has not been released after three months, an indication that he might have been killed.
He added, “We don’t collect our offerings to give kidnappers, our offerings are supposed to be used for evangelism and catering for the needy.
“Now the money we are supposed to use for evangelism so that evil in the society would be reduced is being spent on paying ransom to kidnappers.”
Spokesperson for the Kaduna Police Command, Yakubu Sabo, was not available for comments as of the time of filing this report.
He neither answered calls nor responded to a text message sent to his mobile number.
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