I most humbly and sincerely congratulate every one of you that has emerged as the senator-elect from your different senatorial districts from different states of the federal republic of Nigeria, to give your different constituents good representation, I hope and pray that God Almighty shall give you the wisdom and power to give the much needed, people –oriented representation by God’s ample grace. Dear distinguished senators-elect, sirs, writing you this humble letter becomes important having followed the political developments in our dear nation, Nigeria. By Tuesday June 11, 2019, you shall be carrying out the constitutional duty of electing those of you that shall pilot your affairs for the next 4 years as bestowed upon you under section (50) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended)
“There shall be: – a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves” to enable you make laws that shall bring adequate peace, unity, love and better living standards for all Nigerians which is also a duty imposed on you under Section (4)(1),(2),(3),(4)and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended). With most profound respect sirs, please refresh your minds on the fact that equity and justice to all manners of persons and tribes are the fundamentals of true and sustainable peace in every nation of the world, especially those that are heterogeneous in nature, like our dear country, Nigeria.
Dear sirs, as you carry out this national assignment, please do not forget that every geo-political zone in this country needs to be given an opportunity to serve at the apex leadership of this nation to uphold the doctrine of national integration and the principle of federal character, these should not be downplayed as they checkmate any divisive tendency and propel the unity and oneness of this nation. Sirs, please remember that it is pur suant to ensuring equity in the administrative structures of the country and to curb political frictions and ensure a stable Federation that the federal character was captured under Chapter II, the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, under section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) to give it not just a persuasive but a binding force, which by the operation of Section (1)(1) of the same constitution is also binding on your distinguished and respectable selves.
Please as you cast your votes, sirs, I most warmly and humbly appeal to you to allow equity, natural justice and good conscience to guide your conducts by casting in favor of the Southeast for the position of the Deputy President of the Senate and Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, one of you, whom you all know very well is the candidate. We, your brothers and sisters in one Nigeria from the southeast are humbly appealing to you to do this to demonstrate that same love and unity upon which the foundation of Nigeria was built, please do this to vanquish the feelings of marginalization which is painfully beating in the heart of every progeny of the region, it is this feeling that has led to the recent agitations coming out from the region, please do demonstrate brotherly love and reinvoke the genuine spirit of one Nigeria which the Igbos stood for, hence our massive investments and co- inhabitations of every part of Nigeria.
Distinguished Senator-elect, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, we all know, in all circumstances had never and shall never compromise his patriotism, nationalism, vigorous support and commitment in building the Nigeria of our dreams, he was massively voted by our people not just to speak for Abia North alone but for the whole Igbo nation as he represents the face of the Igbo nation in national politics as it is today, on this premise not voting him into the office of the deputy president of the senate may be viewed as absolute isolation and a deliberate and technical political partitioning of the geo-political zone known as Southeast out of Nigeria which shall continue to keep certain memories that are supposed to be jettisoned afresh.
Sirs, please recall that the principle of Federal Character in Nigeria draws its validity from the foundation upon which this nation succeeded in getting her independence and her citizens living together as one, recall the Willink’s Commission of 1958 as ordered by Her Majesty’s Government which testified in its 1959 report that the fear of domination was the reason why some components showed disinterest in the entity known today as Nigeria. Dear distinguished senators, please do not allow that fear to resonate from any part of this great country anymore.
To our distinguished Senators-elect under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), please remember Article 7(i) of the APC Constitution
“To promote and foster the unity, political stability and national consciousness of the people of Nigeria” and uphold same, remember also that Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu worked for the party with everything in him to the extent that APC scored almost 30% of the total votes cast in the presidential election which qualifies Abia state to be counted among the states where President Buhari came out successfully, it is also worthy to put it on record that APC won the State House of Assembly seat, House of Representatives seat as well as the Senatorial seat in Dr. Kalu’s home constituencies and it passes the test of reasonableness not to ignore the man who made this happen in favor of the party.
To our distinguished senators-elect under the umbrella of the PDP and other political parties, you all know Kalu very well, it has been established over time that he is a true democrat, renowned nationalist and friend of all at all times not minding political party affiliations, please support him to become the Deputy President of the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is a common knowledge all over the world that Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu is a man of high leadership and political dexterity, sagacity and doggedness to be relied upon wholeheartedly from all perspectives, he delivers any task that comes to him with great commitments that yield perfect results. We therefore most respectfully urge you, sirs, our distinguished Senatorselect to do the needful by giving Dr. Kalu the opportunity to serve this nation as the Deputy president of the Senate to strengthen the unity of this nation by giving our national leadership a national outlook, geared towards having the Nigeria of our dreams.
Our love for the person of Dr. Kalu and the objective clamor for an opportunity for him to serve is premised upon the facts that he is a man of his words and lover of Nigeria, who is fit and proper to stand in for the people of southeast to cure the defect of the feelings of marginalization or the agitations flowing from it, for a more united one Nigeria. Dear Distinguished Senators-elect, the people of Southeast are rationally asking for justice that brings social consciousness to make our dear nation internally harmonious and good and it is our expectations that the 9th Senate shall do this justice, to the glory of God Almighty. May God continue to bless and guide you all to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
●Agbaeze wrote in from Abuja
The other side of BBNaija
First things first, I am a late convert to Big Brother Naija reality TV show. I started watching the show this year having followed, passively, the previous editions on social media platforms which can be relied upon to be unreliable in rendering the true picture of things. The other admission I want to make is that my interest in Big Brother Naija or BBNaija – to use the circumcised version of its name – is to stay in tune with the current flow of trend, so I can have something to talk about whenever a conversation about it occurs when socializing.
I am usually embarrassed at being unaware of what is hip or not. In my second week of watching the show, the religious group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), called on the government to ban BBNaija, claiming it promotes moral debauchery among “our children”.
The group, obviously, believes the show is of no value. Its position (which I respect but disagree with) was supported by a segment of the population but was derided by those who derive entertainment and other values from the show. It is basic that the show’s soar-away popularity, year after year, is based on the perceived value it delivers to its fans, participants (housemates, as they are called) and other interested parties. I will get to that later.
Positions like MURIC’s have been canvassed in the media, most recently by Mr. Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). Runsewe, according to a report in the PUNCH, disclosed that the Federal Government is planning to produce a counter- BBN show, which will promote Nigerian culture and ideals – whatever those are – in collaboration with a pay television operator. I believe this is a fantastic idea, one that should deliver a show of another hue.
I hope it happens soon, giving us variety and an opportunity to gauge its appeal and most importantly, its high production standards. That part of Runsewe’s proposition is the way to go, not that of people seeking to make their ideas of entertainment, culture and morality into a constitution for the rest of humanity. I understand that tastes differ and as such, a show like BBNaija would be seen through a prism of divergent perspectives.
It is normal to watch the show and have different perspectives but to demand a ban on the basis that the show is wholly un-Nigerian is a position I cannot agree with. Those who complain that the running edition of BBNaija is anti-Nigerian culture, I believe, have seen only what they want or have been conditioned to see on the show. Should they take their blinkers off for a minute, they would see that the show is exposing some of the housemates to Nigerian culture.
Through the show, Khafi, Ike and Mike, all of whom came in from the diaspora, are having firsthand experience of the Nigerian culture. Similarly, the cultural tasks to which housemates are assigned expose them huge diversity of Nigeria’s cultural heritage.
The coronation of Seyi, the in-house “Tor Tiv”, which was one of the tasks assigned to the housemates recently, is a demonstration of this. It was clear that prior to the task, many of the housemates had little or no knowledge of the culture of the Tiv people of Benue State. Some also knew next to nothing about prominent historical and traditional figures such as Queen Moremi, Queen Amina, the Emir of Kano and the Obi of Onitsha.
The unfamiliarity of some of the housemates with such figures has been addressed through such tasks. In addition, cohabiting with people from different backgrounds for the duration of the show, I believe, has the potential to aid housemates’ understanding of people of other cultural backgrounds, especially at a time when ethnic division is rife. In addition to this, the housemates get exposed to new things through the various endurance and creative tasks assigned to them. These test their physical and mental capabilities.
The last edition of the show caused a firestorm because it was shot in South Africa. This year, the house is situated in Lagos, with an overwhelming percentage of the production crew and providers of logistical services being Nigerians. The contribution of the show to the economic well-being as well as creative growth of those involved cannot be dismissed. For the housemates, there are other socio-economic benefits. The overall winner gets a prize totaling N60million, including a Sports Utility Vehicle.
BBNaija also offers a platform for fame within a very short time; a springboard to other things they may wish to do. Joe, who spent two weeks before he was evicted from the current edition of the show, had ample opportunity to show his skills in painting, calligraphy and drama.
These are things, aided by the exposure via BBNaija, which will fetch him gigs in the creative space. Many housemates in previous editions benefited from similar opportunities provided by the show. Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, who was on BBNaija Season 1, kicked on from there to become one of the most sought-after comperes in the country. He is currently host of the show.
Bisola Aiyeola, an actress and singer, has become a celebrity in her own right, featuring in a series of commercials. Also, Cynthia Nwadiora (a.k.a. Cee- Cee) and Tobi Bakre from BBNaija Season 3 are experiencing an upward trajectory in their careers, with both individuals securing roles in Nollywood and appointed as ambassadors for various local and international brands. I cannot dismiss the concerns of those who view the show as somewhat sexually explicit, but I think parents and guardians are the ones with the responsibility to ensure their wards watch age-appropriate television content.
Prelaunch, MultiChoice, organizers of the show, repeatedly informed viewers that BBNaija is rated 18. This was succinctly emphasized by Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, wife of the Ekiti State governor, in a recent article about the show. “In the interest of protecting our collective human rights, those calling for the scrapping of BBN should take it easy.
We cannot mount surveillance over what is appropriate for consenting adults to watch. The show is rated 18 and people should learn how to operate the Parental Guidance controls on their televisions. If we go down this road, one day some people will call for the banning of all those indigenous Africa Magic Movie channels full of witches, Juju men and the like.
Then we will have a full blown war on our hands,” she wrote. Furthermore, in acknowledgement that there might be sensual activities on the show, the organisers have taken the necessary preventive steps to ensure that explicit scenes are not broadcast live on television. By choice, I did not watch for many years until now. The freedom to choose not to watch, I am certain, has not been taken from anyone. Promoting the idea that steamy content is available only on television, as many seem to do, is one I cannot understand. The internet is a trove of this all year round. So what do we do? Ban the internet?
•Dike, a public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos
Wadume: Wicked soldiers, gallant policemen
Every photo tells a story so is the photo of the re-arrest of the alleged kidnapper kingpin, Alh. Hamis Bala aka Wadume. In the photo below used by most major newspapers on their covers on Wednesday, there are four men in it. Three of them are policemen while the man who is sandwiched between the two of the policemen is Wadume, the suspect.
The policeman on the right of the suspect beams with a smile on his face. The smile, I believe, was not as a result of the barrage of flashes coming from the cameras of photojournalists. It is a smile of victory, and contentment that the chase for Wadume has come to a glorious end. Or better still, the triumph of good over evil.
The policeman on the left of the suspect, however, wears a stern look. Perhaps, to depict the seriousness of the situation. The said policeman who places his right arm on Wadume’s shoulder, also points the index finger of his left hand towards the chest of the suspect . This nonverbal gesture could be interpreted to mean: ‘Yes, we got him!.’ Yet, the policeman behind Wadume flashes the victory sign with his fingers.
Yes, it’s a worthwhile victory for the Nigeria Police Force, a victory that has brought out the gallantry of its men and shamed the men of the Nigerian Army as wicked,liars and perhaps criminals in this Wadume saga, who have no reason to wear the green Army uniform of the Nigerian Army.
Re-arresting Wadume has confirmed that criminals can only hide, they cannot run from the long arms of the law. It has also corroborated the axiom that everyday is for the thief but one day is for the owner. Expectedly, Wadume wears a forlorn look, the look of a man who will soon face the consequences of his actions. It’s not surprising that he has been singing like a bird since he was caught. Such men don’t like to go down alone, especially if they have accomplices, those who feathered their criminal nest while they were into crime and criminality. Without prejudice to the outcome of the ongoing investigation, there is no point wasting time on the matter again. Justice must be done on time.
We needlessly lost three of our best investigators to this saga. We lost gallant policemen in a premeditated attack allegedly spearheaded by a Captain who is allegedly on the payroll of Wadume. What a shame! We have erroneously assumed for too long that it is only among the police that we can find bad eggs. But we now know better. The humiliating manner in which the policemen were killed is nauseating and those who carried out such despicable act deserve no mercy.
They have murdered sleep and don’t deserve the comfort of their beds again. Years of military rule have relegated the police to lowest rung of the ladder among military and para-military groups in Nigeria. Right from training school, the policemen are regarded as worthless and when they are on the job, they are treated with disdain even by the government. This could be one of the reasons they release their pent-up emotions on hapless citizens at times.
The worst military barracks will compete favourably with the best police barracks. The average soldier goes about with a sense of superiority and sees the average policeman as a “bloody civilian.” Our policemen had suffered in the hands of our soldiers in the past without any consequences borne by those soldiers who always believe that might is right. From the video that went viral showing how the policemen were killed, it’s safe to conclude that the gallant policemen were premeditatedly killed by the wicked soldiers acting on the instruction of their officer.
Even while flashing their identity cards to reveal their true identities and while begging that their lives should be spared, they were shot at close range and killed in a humiliating way. One of the policemen even defecated on his body after he was shot. What a painful way to die. The civilians who took part in this show of shame should not be spared either.
They were part of this conspiratorial gangup and should bear the consequences of their actions as well. When people who are supposed to cooperate and forge a comonn front see one another as competitors, sad things like the Ibi killings are bound to happen. Now that Wadume is in the custody of the police, it is in the interest of the police that nothing untoward must happen to him. The police now have a big catch hitherto freed by the soldiers and I expect them to guard him jealously.
Not all policemen can be trusted with his custody. The pendulum of public opinion is still swinging in favour of the police as far as this saga is concerned. In this instance, the police are good but the soldiers are bad. So, the police cannot afford to squander this goodwill they are enjoying for now Wadume being alive will reveal how the plot against those gallant policemen was planned and executed.
Who are those that are on the payroll of the suspect? How much did Wadume pay to ensure the soldiers foribly freed him after he was arrested by the police? This is the only way we can ensure justice is done to the memories of the slain policemen and it will encourage others. We need gallant policemen and members of the armed forces now more than ever before in view of the ernomous security challenges facing the country at the moment.
With the re-arrest of Wadume, it is no longer a case of ‘unknon’ soldiers. Nigerians are already aware that a Captain allegedly gave the order to the soldiers to kill the policemen. So, identifying the men who actually pulled the trigger should not be difficult. They should be named and shamed. In a matter of days, we need to see faces of these wicked men. Our gallant policemen should not die in vain. They died so that we can be free from kidnappers and bandits. They could have compromised when they got Wadume.
But they chose a part of honour and needlessly paid with their lives. They could have toed the same path with those soldiers who lack modicum of honour in them. It is given that they will be given decent burials befitting of the gallant policemen they were. But the police must ensure that the families they left behind do not suffer so that the gallant policemen will not be turning in their graves.
For Wadume and his co-travellers, they should bear full consequences of their actions even if more superior officers either from the army or police directly or indirectly knew one or two things about how these courageous policemen were killed, they should not be spared. Nobody involved in this show of shame should be spared.
The blood of those killed including two civilians will continue to cry until justice is done. We don’t need too much ceremony before we finally end this saga. I forsee that a lot of lies will be told in the days ahead. Some dogs will be given bad names just to desperately justify why they deserve to be hanged. The Army will fight back. But painstaking efforts should be made to separate the wheat from the chaff. To avoid a recurrence, we also need to know if our policemen still go for such high profile operations without making necessary preparations that will limit their risk to exposure and dangers.
‘Nigerian leaders lack capacity to sustain peace’
The National President of Igboezue International in Nigeria and the Diaspora, Chief Pius Okoye speaks with OKEGWO KENECHUKWU on sundry issues.
What is your view on the state of the nation?
The Nigerian nation is already at crossroads and the only solution strongly canvassed by Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora is restructuring. It is our strong view and contention that the leadership of the country lacks the capacity to sustain the peace and unity. So the answer is restructuring and nothing else.
Do you agree with South East governors on the establishment of forest guards to checkmate the excesses of herdsmen?
It is a welcome development if actualised with concrete ideas and principles backed by law. However, Ndigbo should also think beyond that, and make sure they are ready at any point in time to defend themselves. The issue of herdsmen attack would no longer be tolerated. We have had enough of bloodshed of innocent citizens in their own father land. Igboezue as a cultural organisation condemned in its entirety the killings of the Enugu Catholic priests, lecturers, raping of our women, etc. I am therefore, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently set up a powerful panel of inquiry to unravel the recent killing in the zone. Members of the National Assembly from the zone should not have any excuse to give if the Federal Government fails to address the menace of these herdsmen terrorising our communities. They should wake up from their slumber and address these ugly developments.
Do you think the arrest of Omoyele Sowore would stop the #Revolution Now protests?
In any organised society, peaceful protests are allowed. It is a way of expressing anger. I think what was wrong is the name #Revolution Now. And as a politician who expressed interest to contest election into the office of the president, the APC government sees it as an affront on the part of the leader to overthrow the government in power. However, we condemn outright the arrest and detention of Sowore. He is a Nigerian and has his fundamental right to a peaceful protest
There is tension over the alleged killings of three police officers in Taraba State by soldiers. How do you see this incident?
I am sad, my heart bleeds. This nation is sitting on a keg of gun powder and it might soon explode. The entire thing is like a set up. The authorities of the Nigerian Army should not fail to tell Nigerians the truth. Nigerians demands justice in this incident. The perpetrators and the kidnap kingpin must face the full weight of the law otherwise Nigerians should see it as a confederacy. We commend the Chief of Staff for rising to the challenge. We are watching and until we get to the root of this incident there should be no sacred cows. The police should resort to dialogue in this trying period rather than confrontation.
Do you think the Buhari administration is capable of completing the 2nd Niger Bridge as promised?
Let me use this opportunity to thank the present administration for the massive work going on at the 2nd Niger Bridge project. This is one federal project in the South East geo-political zone that had been politicised by the past leadership of this country. The Igboezu International will ever remain grateful to President Buhari for that singular project. He is also constructing the Enugu–Onitsha expressway and according to report one of the service lane of the project is nearing completion.
Dr. Julius Ibukun Agboola: His life, works
The cloud busted with heavy rain on August 15th, 2016, when my friend and beloved brother, Julius Ibukun Agboola, succumbed to the cold hands of death. Lagos and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, where he breathes his last was engulfed by floods precipitated by torrential rainfall.
The irony is that he was the ultimate herald of humankind’s eternal battle with the devastating effect of climate change on the coastal urban cities like Lagos. His prescient essay along with other scholars on the theme “Vulnerability, Resilience and Transformation of Urban Areas in the Coastal Megacity Lagos: Findings of Local Assessments and a Household Survey in Highly Exposed Areas,” exemplifies his insight and erudition. To say that Julius was a genius is simply inadequate to describe the breadth of his polymathic talents and interests. Indeed, he was unquestionably a rising star in the marine science world.
Julius Ibukun Agboola was born on the 28th of January 1972 in Kano, Nigeria, to Isaac and Comfort Agboola. He lived as child with his teacher-parents and his elder brother at 32 Middle Road, Sabon Gari area of Kano before soldering work took his dad to Lagos. Despite his father’s desire for Julius to enter into a medical career, it seems Julius’s curious mind had developed a fascination with the aquatic early in life. Acquiring the nickname “IBK” from his friends and class mates. Julius appeared restless during early education at Imoye High School, Mile Two, Lagos, Nigeria. Julius rarely paid attention to his studies at this time. He was in the middle of his class. However, the defining moment for Julius was an encounter he had with Professor Peter Okebukola in his early days as an undergraduate student of Fisheries and Aquatic Science at the Lagos State University, LASU. He engaged him and turned out to be Julius’s greatest inspiration for the academia. He further obtained two Masters’ degree (M. Sc. Fisheries science 2000 and MSc. Environmental Resource Management 2005) from the same university respectively before proceeding on a scholarship to Hokkaido University, Japan where he completed his PhD in Marine biogeochemistry in 2009 on Professor Peter Okebukola’s recommendation.
Marine Science contributions
Dr. Julius Ibukun Agboola (January 28th, 1972, to 15th August 2016) was one of the foremost leading academic giants on marine biogeochemistry and coastal management in Africa. He was a recipient of several awards which include the Japanese Government Scholarship Award, Global Centre of Excellence (GCOE) university travel award and United Nations Postdoctoral fellowship Award amongst others.
Julius Agboola, who was a member of American Geophysical Union (AGU) and Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) was a Fulbright scholar who won lots of grants, awards and scholarship to travel 28 countries within 10 years conducting researches, speaking at conferences and seminars on global environmental change and also working with other professionals, physicists, engineers, and IT specialists on the development of innovative submersible spectrofluorometer sensor at the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable development.
With over seventy (70) scientific publications to his credit, Julius Ibukun Agboola, the author of the book “Relevant Perspectives In Global Environmental Change” was also the principal investigator, research team leader and overall Co-lead of one of the most significant scientific Belmont forum funding project on Transformation and Resilience on Urban coasts (TRUC) where the vulnerabilities of five major cities (New York, London, Tokyo, Kolkata and Lagos) to flooding and rising adverse climate change were revealed.
He was a Marine Environmental Scientist, an Ecosystem and Resource Management Specialist and an experienced University Senior Lecturer. As one of the scientific steering member committees of Future Earth Coast, an international research agency, he concluded his Postdoctoral Fellowship programme with the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU IAS), having worked and conducted research with the UNU IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/ Kanazawa on Marine Governance and Coastal Management and Satoumi related studies. He also lectured and conducted researches at the Department of Fisheries and the Centre for Environment and Science Education (CESE), Lagos State University, Lagos, Nigeria before he proceeded to the University of Lagos, Department of Marine Science where he was a senior lecturer and won the award for the Most friendly lecturer in the department before his demise.
Dr. Agboola’s research interests cover several aspects of global environmental change, including the biogeochemical cycle of carbon and nitrogen in coastal ecosystems, land-ocean interaction, primary productivity, biodiversity, and examining the gradients and responses of physical, chemical and biological components of the aquatic ecosystems to environmental change. Over the years, Dr Julius Agboola was able to develop excellent research aptitude, advanced interpersonal, communication and managerial skills.
He was also competent in the field of natural sciences where he worked independently and as part of a team to achieve project goals. His professional expertise was four-fold- teaching, research, consulting and management. It spanned several aspects of global environmental change, including biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen in aquatic systems in relation to phytoplankton biomass and productivity; linking land-use in watersheds to coastal ecosystem productivity/ degradation; coastal zones and biodiversity including mangroves and other wetlands; water resources and water quality management; examining the gradients and responses of physical, chemical and biological components of the aquatic ecosystems to environmental change; marine policy and, integrating social and biophysical issues for sustainability and climate change research. He was also competent in aquatic resource (fisheries) production and management.
He was involved in projects on Environmental Safeguards and Socio Impact Assessments, Ecosystem Services, Resilience and Vulnerability on Urban coasts, and Ecological Restoration. As a coastal biogeochemical scientist and an ecosystem and resource management specialist, Julius Ibukun Agboola enjoyed smooth interdisciplinary working relationship with social scientists in integrating social and biophysical issues for sustainability and climate change research in the ECOSMAG project of the Global Land Project (GLP), Sapporo Nodal Office, and research projects in analysing socio-ecological systems variation, governance and integrated management in coastal zones, and Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit studies at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU IAS), Japan.
He had a budding interest in the application of GIS in coastal ecosystem dynamic studies, integrating social and biophysical issues for sustainability and climate change research. Julius was also a representative of Nigeria and West Africa and a plenary session speaker at the International Atomic Energy Agency Summit on Studying Ocean Acidification and its Effects on Marine Ecosystems held at Cape Town from 2nd November to 6th November 2015. He was able to initiate a partnership between Future Earth Coast (LOICZ) and the University of Lagos before his demise. Dr Julius Ibukun Agboola was also one of the guest speakers and conference panellist at Adaptation future Conference of Global Programme of Research on Climate change, Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA) organized by the European Commission (EU) and the Government of the Netherlands at Rotterdam in May 2016 with over 2, 000 participants from 103 countries in attendance.
Stephen Hawking said, “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.” Julius was not all work. He was a devoted Christian with a great sense of humour and a lover of music. He played keyboard, guitar and drums in his spare time. At every International forum he made it a point of duty to attend music concerts. Julius was trilinguist —English, Hausa and Japanese. He was also a staunch supporter of human rights and devoted an innumerable amount of time and resources to orphanages and the less privileged, which he chose to do anonymously.
Julius Ibukun Agboola was a mentor to many and a father. Though his stay here on earth was brief, he did so much for humanity that generations yet unborn will live to benefit from the wealth of his contributions to knowledge. His works still serve as an academic and political treatise in national dailies and policy formulations in governmental parastatals. .
- Israel Tope Agboola writes from the UK.
When will we have strong institutions?
‘Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions’ –Former US President Barrack Obama, Ghana in 2009
Events that have unfolded across the country in recent time have further shown the decadence the nation is sliding into primarily because of our failure to build strong institutions as harped upon by former US President Barrack Obama some 10 years ago. Firstly let me take the most recent happening.
On Tuesday reports filtered in that operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had swooped on two homes belonging to the immediate past governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, ostensibly as part of their investigations into an alleged financial malpractice running into the billions – N9.9billion to be exact.
A couple of weeks ago, the anti-graft agency said it was looking into an account belonging to Lagos State which was opened by the past administration and which some “suspicious” financial transactions had occurred. According to the EFCC some of the transactions had been linked to a close associate of the former governor. Of course predictably Ambode brushed aside whatever insinuations were being made insisting that he had nothing to hide and the account belonged to the state.
So Tuesday’s action was clearly a follow up on the investigation being conducted by the Commission into the affairs of the former administration, which only vacated the Government House, Alausa, Ikeja barely 90 days ago. However, on getting to the country home of the former Lagos State governor, the EFCC officials were, according to some versions of the report, allegedly prevented from carrying out their lawful duty by residents of the area! Even though they (EFCC operatives) were with a valid court order allowing them go into the house, people of Epe refused to allow them entry into the property.
Of course when the situation was becom- When will we have strong institutions? TS from the Sidelines 08050498544 (sms only) email@example.com 20 SATURDAY TELEGRAPH 24 august 2019 ing very heated with the people vehemently refusing to budge from their position, the EFCC operatives wisely made a hasty exit rather than insisting on carrying out their lawful duties – thus clearly adverting what could have turned into a bloodbath had they opted to use force. On that same day, a video clip emerged on the Internet, capturing EFCC’s operation at Ambode’s house in Epe.
The video shows scores of presumably Epe residents surrounding a minibus and a white pick-up van, with at least two armed personnel, parked in front of Ambode’s residence. Amid chaos, some of the residents attempted to open the vehicles without success. Moments later, one of the residents was heard shouting in Yoruba language: “burst their tyres.” As the commotion continued, the vehicles were forced to drive away with the armed officers shooting intermittently into the air. The back windscreen appeared broken.
While the action of the people (dubbed ‘hoodlums’ by the EFCC) is very condemnable, it also shows the way the populace now view government and its various agencies. In times past it would have been virtually unthinkable for citizens to dare a person lawfully employed to carry a weapon acutely aware of what fate befell him. But sadly because many government agencies have become willing tools for “ogas at the top”, or those in power, people have equally come to see them as being merely extensions of those who do not see eye-to-eye with their benefactors.
In the minds of many of those who stopped the EFCC operatives from carrying out their duty on Tuesday, they (EFCC) would not have done so had their “son” (Ambode) still been in the good books of the “powers that be”. And it was primarily for this reason that they denied the anti-graft agency entrance into the former governor’s compound.
Thankfully, Ambode quickly waded in and appealed to his “supporters” not to do anything rash. Ironically a comical side to the whole saga, which only exposed the shoddy manner of our government agencies in carrying out their statutory functions was exposed when the EFCC first denied that they had raided the former governor’s home only to back track a few hours later to admit they did and it was only after Ambode himself had said so. “This morning, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission visited the Epe country home and Parkview, Ikoyi residence of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, a former governor of Lagos State, with warrants to conduct a search. These searches were carried out extensively and the operatives left without any incident,” was the statement released by the former governor’s media aide, Habib Aruna. It was only after this that the EFCC in a late statement by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said three operatives of the commission were allegedly injured during the operation.
The commission said the officers were injured by “hoodlums loyal to the ex-governor who also vandalised a white bus.” Uwujaren said: “The commission’s operatives were attacked and prevented from executing the search warrant in Epe by irate youths who injured three officers and damaged EFCC official vehicle.”
The other example I want to cite is the shooting of three policemen and a civilian in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State early this month by soldiers ostensibly at the behest of a captain who appeared to be in cohorts with the now recaptured suspected kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume.
The incident happened on August 7 and rather than both the Force Headquarters and Army Headquarters immediately initiating a probe of the incident to find out what actually transpired, both government agencies were busy throwing brick backs at each other in effort to grab the moral high ground in the eyes of the general public. It took the intervention 24 hours later of the Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari to wade in and order an inquiry into the incident.
The President’s move, while commendable, however, only further exposed the weak nature of our institutions. Had proper structures, independent of the whims and caprices of those in power, been in place; then without waiting for the Commander-in-Chief’s directive, the protocol for handling such incidents would have immediately kicked in. Thus such agencies like the EFCC, ICPC, police and others are perceived to be unable to move against any influential person being given the green light to do so from superior powers.
Yet if it is someone without any clot in society such a person can be easily picked up without ruffling any feathers at the “top”. It is because of such things that people no longer trust them (government agencies) to carry out their functions free of being teleguided by the “powers-that-be”. And from all indications, the situation of our weak institutions is set to continue as those that have the ability to change the narrative by making such agencies truly independent are not willing too because they are often the greatest beneficiaries of the status quo. Sadly, unless something drastically changes, we will continue to have such incidences occurring on a regular basis with our nation only becoming the worse for it.
When ‘all your mates’ are married (part 2)
There is nothing happening to you that takes God by surprise. There are many people in worse situation that yours. Every situation is for a purpose. Most bad situations are from the devil but God permits them for a purpose. See Job chapter 1. So, your delay in getting married or having a child is not news to God. What you need to do is to trust and obey him and “pray without ceasing” (2nd Thessalonians 5:17). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways, acknowledge him and he shall direct your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Above all, you must drop yourself. You imagine suicide when two things happen. The first is when you become too full of yourself. Jesus said: “If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
If you see more of yourself and less of God, you will give up at some point. If you see more of God and less of yourself, you will always draw fulfilment from God and his word (Mathew 5:8). Secondly, you imagine suicide when you buy the lie that everything about existence ends in this world.
So, when you are unable to achieve things like material wealth, marriage certificate and so on, or experience disappointment by a fellow mortal, you feel there is nothing else left. It is not true. There is life beyond the things and physical achievements you see in this world. There is eternity in heaven or hell, determined by your spirituality.
There are gifts of the Holy Spirit you can enjoy in Christ Jesus here on earth. They are riches in Christ Jesus that can even give you physical benefits and fulfilment. There are talents and skills that can never be taken away from you if you have them.
Their potency and existence are not determined by mortals in this world. You just have them and marriage has little or no role in determining their manifestation. Many single ladies are in courtship with the wrong guys because of fear. There are different kinds of fears.
The most prevalent are the fear of rejection and the fear of never getting married. Maybe you are entering or you entered a pre-marital relationship and you are fighting to keep it alive amidst abuse and pain you might be suffering.
Because you are afraid of breaking up, you have stayed in it despite the torture. To you, breaking up means you are not good enough for that your partner. You are now struggling to be accepted by your partner in spite of the flaws and weakness in his or her character.
If you are this person, Please do not dwell in a premarital relationship that is driven by fear of “all my mates are getting married and I fear I may never get married.” A major factor that the devil has used to steal the joy of many singles today is the four-word phrase: “What will people say?” Because of this phrase, you have become so restless, unhappy, depressed and discouraged because “all your mates are married and you are not. What will people say about this?” Don’t get desperate because of marriage.
There is somewhere you can draw strength and hope from-Jesus Christ. Negative desperation can lead to destruction. The truth is that you could display signs of desperation to get married without knowing it. When this happens, you begin to perspire.
When you perspire, with time, you begin to stink. Then, at that point, no guy or lady will be interested in premarital relationship with you, because no responsible and wise person wants to marry a stinking fellow. It is what happens inside of you that is displayed outwardly for people to see.
The displayed content inside, can overshadow physical appearance, beauty or attraction in the eyes of a responsible and wise guy or lady that beholds you. After assessing your exhibition or attitude, he or she cannot see any future in both of you being joined. This is why sometimes, you see a very beautiful lady that no guy is approaching for a premarital relationship. A brand new car with a bad engine cannot take you anywhere.
It is what you are inside, that carries you into successful relationship, and then, successful marital life. There are several symptoms of desperation. When as a lady, you keep your life under suspension because you are waiting for someone to marry you, you are desperate. As a single career lady, working class or business lady, the idea or suggestion of buying a car, a landed property or furthering your education comes. You respond: “No! Let me get a husband first.” You are desperate.
When you get jittery about your annual birthday party and instead of celebrating and appreciating God for keeping you alive and healthy, you cry (secretly or openly) on your birthday because somebody of the opposite sex has not come to marry you, you are desperate. Some even go silent about their birthdays that they initially cherished. The feeling is that what is my joy in celebrating birthdays as a single person when all my mates are married? My dear! Next time the devil or his agents attempt to mock you about marrying or not marrying someone, resist the devil and he will flee from you. If you give the devil attention, he will give you direction.
Taraba killings: Time to invoke esprit de corps
On Tuesday, many Nigerians were aghast on hearing the news of the shooting deaths of three police officers, and a civilian, by men of the Nigerian Army.
Ideally, the incident which happened in Taraba State, where men of the Nigerian Army are involved in counterinsurgency operations, might not have ever happened but for the perilous state of insecurity across the nation, which has now meant that the military has had to be drafted in to help their fellow uniformed personnel, in the form of the police, carry out their own duties.
Had the situation not degenerated to such appalling levels, the police, who have the statutory function of handling internal security, would not have been shunted aside for the better equipped and trained khaki uniform wearing soldiers. In truth, it was only a matter of time for what in military parlance is called ‘friendly fire’ to happen, especially since dating back to the time the military called the shots at the center, the police had always played second fiddle.
Repeated efforts by Inspectors General of Police to beef up their force had always been stonewalled by the military, who according to reports were afraid of having another force that could rival them.
Thus, over time, while the Army had been readily able to train her men and officers to an appreciable level, the same cannot be said of the police force, which directly deals with civilians.
Even just looking at the barracks from which both operate from shows the vast dichotomy between the two – most police barracks are completely run down, while those of the military, while not ideally what they should be, are still in the main much better than their police counterparts’ own.
Equally, the uniforms worn by the two security arms of the government cannot be compared. While it is very common to see policemen in tattered or threadbare uniforms with equally battered shoes or even no police shoes at all; hardly would one see the same thing amongst army personnel. What is, however, of big surprise is that while the men in uniform have handed over power more than 20 years ago, the situation for the police had barely improved in all this time!
Now back to what happened in Taraba, according to the police account, an undercover team of the Inspector General’s crack Intelligence Response Team (IRT) had gone to successfully effect the arrest of a notorious kidnapper, one Alhaji Hamisu Wadume and were taking him to the state headquarters in Jalingo when they were attacked at a military checkpoint.
The police officers had no time to react as the bus they were riding in was riddled with bullets from their assailants, who sadly were supposed to be on the same side with them. By the time the smoke had cleared, three of the IRT team lay dead while some of them managed to escape with bullet wounds; while the kidnap suspect was released by the soldiers!
A video of the incident makes for very painful watching showing the depravity to which we have descended as a people as one of the surviving police officers were then attacked and killed by the blood baying mob.
But the army swiftly disputed the Police Force’s version of events, insisting that they had received a “distress” call that kidnappers were making away with someone they had abducted, which prompted the men of the 93 Battalion to swing into action and “stop” them from carrying out their operation.
I am yet to see where the army also explained how the notorious kidnapper in question was not only able to escape being hit by the bullets fired by the army personnel, but also had both his handcuffs and leg chains removed, and later disappear into thin air!
Another question floating around is, even if they (army) thought the bus conveying the occupants belonged to the “suspected kidnappers” would it not have been more proper to have demobilised the bus and capture the occupants in order to interrogate them?
But of course, we all know the popular adage “dead men tell no tales” so killing them would ensure that they would not be alive to tell the whole world what had truly transpired on that faithful day.
Predictably the police hold the moral high ground having clearly been victims in this case, although they too have often left “sorrow, tears and blood” in their wake as last Saturday’s incident in the Ijegun area of Lagos shows when a bullet fired by one of them struck and killed an innocent woman, Busayo Owoodun, in her shop.
The simmering anger, people have towards them (police), exploded into violence which left an Assistant Superintended of Police (ASP), Victor Ugbegun dead and two others brutalised after they were attacked by people in the victim’s neighbourhood.
However, although the back and forth between the two government outfits have been going on for a time, it is the alarm raised by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai that should send shockwaves through government and ginger them to take more decisive steps to put a lid on the face-off. Although President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the Taraba incident, with passions running high, the move has obviously not done anything to stop it. Buratai’s fear that his men could become the victims of reprisal attacks from policemen add a new frightening dimension to the whole sordid saga.
The President needs to deal decisively with this latest problem since if the COAS’ fears do come true there is every chance that civilians may again be caught in the crossfire between two weapon-carrying government agencies. Already they (citizens) are dealing with a lot on their plates, including general insecurity, poor economic among other issues to now become cannon fodder for the rampaging men in uniform. As Commander in Chief, Buhari just has to reign in both parties before it blows into a full-blown crisis of which no one will know how it will end.
Besides, with so many things he is already contending with, he should know that this is one more problem he must avoid.
How silent is the silence of the silent killer? (1)
The scene Mr JJ is the Executive Director of a multinational corporation, he’s had about 20 years experience on the job and he’s been happy doing it because it’s been very rewarding.
He sits an average of 9-10 hours at his desk, seldom visits a hospital because he always has this overwhelming feeling of wellness.
A day came like every other, he was active at his desk as usual, but suddenly…suddenly, he felt a coldness/heaviness on the left side of his body, he tried to lift the left hand and leg, alas! he could not. He moved the entire body to get up but fell since there’s no functional ‘’left body’’ to balance the movement.
Then, he tried to shout, but his speech was slurred with saliva drooling, the mouth having been deviated to one side.
The hard working JJ just suffered a Stroke! For him, this was the first and only indication of being hypertensive (the blood pressure was severely high when checked).
Why is hypertension a “silent killer”? Most of the time, high blood pressure ( or hypertension) has no obvious symptoms to indicate that something is wrong. But why the ‘’silent killer’’ appellation?
• Many people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. Often the signs and symptoms are misunderstood.
• High blood pressure develops slowly over time and can be related to many causes.
• High blood pressure cannot be cured. But it can be managed effectively through lifestyle changes and, when needed, medication. Is hypertension an absolutely silent killer?
Though most patients with high blood pressure have no symptoms to alert them to the elevated pressure, over time, high blood pressure jettisons its silence by displaying tell tale signs on its victims such as ones of stroke, congestive heart failure, heart attack, and kidney failure.
What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force that a person’s blood exerts against the walls of their blood vessels. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries .
This pressure depends on the resistance of the blood vessels and how hard the heart has to work What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. Classification of blood pressure for adults Blood Pressure SBP DBP Classification mmHg mmHg Normal <120 < 80 Pre hypertension 120–139 80-89 Stage 1 Hypertension 140–159 90-99 Understanding blood pressure readings
Two numbers create a blood pressure reading:
• Systolic pressure (SBP): This is the first, or top, number (numerator). It indicates the pressure in the arteries when your heart beats and pumps out blood.
• Diastolic pressure (DBP): This is the second, or bottom, number (denominator). It’s the reading of the pressure in the arteries between beats of the heart. Key facts (WHO)
• Hypertension – or elevated blood pressure – is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
• An estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension, most (twothirds) living in low- and middle-income countries.
• In 2015, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women had hypertension.
• Fewer than 1 in 5 people with hypertension have the problem under control. • Hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide.
• One of the global targets for noncommunicable diseases is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025 (baseline 2010)
Types For about 95 percent of people with high blood pressure, the cause of their hypertension is unknown — this is called essential, or primary hypertension.
When a cause can be found, the condition is called secondary hypertension.
• Essential hypertension. This type of hypertension is diagnosed after a doctor notices that your blood pressure is high on three or more visits and eliminates all other causes of hypertension. Usually people with essential hypertension have no symptoms, but you may experience frequent headaches, tiredness, dizziness, or nose bleeds.
Although the cause is unknown, researchers do know that obesity, increasing age, smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, diet (junk and high salt intake), and heredity all play a role in essential hypertension. • Secondary hypertension. The most common cause of secondary hypertension are diseases of the kidneys.
Other causes include airway obstruction during sleep (sleep apnea), diseases and tumors of the adrenal glands, pregnancy, hormone abnormalities and thyroid disease, congenital heart disease and long term alcohol consumption.
Drugs can also cause secondary hypertension; cocaine, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, steroids etc Diagnosing hypertension It is done mainly by measuring the blood pressure.
Measurement technique Poor technique is the main cause of misdiagnosis. Blood pressure measurement should be done in a quiet room (applies to both manual and electronic measurement) so the medical professional checking the blood pressure can hear the appropriate sounds;
• Proper blood pressure measurement requires the person whose blood pressure is being measured to sit quietly for at least five minutes which is then followed by application of a properly fitted blood pressure cuff to a bare upper arm.
• The person should be seated with their back supported, feet flat on the floor, and with their legs uncrossed.
• The person whose blood pressure is being measured should avoid talking or moving during this process.
• The arm being measured should be supported on a flat surface at the level of the heart. The blood pressure cuff should be deflated slowly (2-3 mmHg per second) while listening for the appropriate sounds (applies to manual measurement).
• The bladder should be emptied before a person’s blood pressure is measured since this can increase blood pressure by up to 15/10 mmHg.
• Multiple blood pressure readings (at least two) spaced 1–2 minutes apart should be obtained to ensure accuracy.
When ‘all your mates’ are married (part 1)
These days, some unmarried person is always depressed and discouraged when reminded by the inner self that all his or her friends, associates, age-mates, or colleagues are married while he or she has remained single.
The other person has had broken engagements or courtships several times and is devastated. The inner voice now says: “Look at yourself. Of what use is it living this life? You are a failure and life is useless.
Why don’t you just find a way of packing everything up?” Are you this person? If yes, listen! A guy woke up in the morning and went jogging. On his way back, he saw someone ahead of him and made up his mind to overtake the guy. But the more he pursued the guy, the farther the guy’s distance from his went. He kept pursuing this guy to overtake him. At some point, he came back to his senses and discovered that he had long passed his house, his destination without knowing it. If you perceive life as a competition, you will lose focus and miss your destination. This is the kind of life that many people are living today. One of them is you who is depressed because most of your contemporaries are getting married while you are not. In Jeremiah 1: 5, God said: “Before I formed thee in the womb. I knew thee.”
In 29:11, he said: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The Message Translation of Jeremiah 29:11 says “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you; plans to give you the future you hope for.” When God sent you into this world, he gave you a definite assignment and specific timing for each activity. It is so for every individual.
This is why it is not everybody that will eventually get married and bear a child even when they do everything to achieve this. The voice that tells you to kill yourself because you have not married anybody belongs to somebody. If you obey that voice, then, you have fallen into the description that Jesus gave in John 8:44. “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of all liars.”
The devil is the father of all liars but you must not accept him as your father because he hides truth from people. He will not give you any encouraging words. He will not tell you that many of the people born on the same day you were born never lived to enjoy what you have enjoyed so far in life. There are too many people that do not have what you have. Are you a school graduate? Many people tried to achieve it and even had all means to achieve it but could not do so, even after getting married.
The fact that you can read this article and understand it is a testimony because many of your mates are mentally deranged or have lost their minds. So, marriage is not even the topic for discussion concerning such people. Some millionaires are currently on admission in the hospital. After being on a hospital bed for years and spending a lot of money without getting healed, what is on their minds right now is far from marriage. Just last night, some of your mates went to bed just the way you did but they are no more.
Tell me! How is their marriage to be discussed now in their absence? Some of your mates that married earlier, are today wishing they were you, still single. Why? Joy, peace and happiness are very far from their lives.
If getting married and having children are the only determinants of how joyful and fulfilled one can be in life, the, Catholic priests and Nuns would have all committed suicide. None of them would have been fulfilled enough to be preaching and encouraging people with troubled marital relationships. It is a good thing to aspire to get married and have children. As a matter of fact, it is scriptural.
However, these are not the only things that define your success as a human being. They don’t even determine God’s approval of your spirituality to give you a license to heaven. There is more to life than getting married and having children. God’s expectations are much more than that. Stop losing your self confidence and seeing yourself as a lower mortal just because all your mates are married and you are not. Imagining suicide because of that is even a foolish act that can annoy God the more. So, my dear! Next time the devil or his agents attempt to mock you about marrying or not marrying someone, resist the devil and he will flee from you. If you give the devil attention, he will give you direction.
Governors to ex-governors: ‘You be thief, I no be thief…’
You be thief (I no be thief) You be rogue (I no be rogue) You dey steal (I no dey steal) You be robber (I no be robber) You be armed robber (No be armed robber) Argument, argument, argue Them argue Everybody dem argue Dem dem argue Up and down them argue nonsense – Fela Anikulapo-Kuti – Authority Stealing (1980)
The above headline and lyrics below it were first written by me in an article published on April 14 last year, but I’m reproducing part of the article today because of what is happening between many of the new governors and those that they replaced in the various Government Houses dotted across the country. 0Many of the new helmsmen are accusing those that they replaced of some sort of financial scandal or the other. Of course it is more in states in which the incumbent is from a different party than the former state chief executive; although it is also not unusual to have people from the same party having issues as I will enumerate later.
However, I want to reproduce part of what I wrote back in April last year. “When the late great Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti released his monster hit ‘Authority Stealing’ way back in the early 80s, little did he realise that 38 years after, it will leap from just being a song to becoming a major topic of discussion across the land. “For those not privy to have listened to the track, let me summarise what the late ‘Abami Eda’ said in the album. In the track, the late musician accused those in authority of being worse than armed robbers, and deserving of hanging because the impact of their stealing is felt more than those of armed robbers.
“According to him, those who steal courtesy of their positions in authority take from the collective commonwealth of the people while armed robbers just rob a few.” In the past couple of weeks, Nigerians and indeed the whole world have been treated to the theatre of the absurd as our state governors have exposed their dirty linen in public by revealing alleged “shady deeds” of their predecessors. I will cite just a few of which Imo State stands out with Governor Emeka Ihedioha or his aides directly accusing his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha of financial indiscipline and running the state to the ground, leaving huge debt liabilities for the new government to settle.
Some of the accusations levelled against the former governor, who now sits in the Red Chamber of the nation’s legislator as a Senator, include an accounted N20billion, poorly constructed roads, bridges and other infrastructure, the “purchase” of choice properties in the state by Okorocha and his family. The malaise was so bad and rife that Governor Ihedioha set up a special committee to recover assets allegedly taken by the former government.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the committee on the recovery of stolen movable assets belonging to the Imo State government, Jasper Ndubuaku, said that the committee had recovered over 70 vehicles since its inauguration, including two asphalt plants! The governor’s aide said that the committee had recovered properties worth N1billion. Ndubuaku, who served as a lawmaker in the state between 1999 and 2007, said the committee was not on a witch-hunt mission against anybody as being alleged by the immediate past governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha.
According to him, not all the recovered properties belonged to the members of the Okorocha family. Before this latest revelation, the Committee had alleged that about N50 billion worth of property belonging to the state was discovered to be missing after the former governor left office. The state also announced that they have taken over the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, after investigations proved that the former governor allegedly used state money to acquire the property, and not his own. Okorocha’s woes are not just limited to the state level as the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also waded in and have shut down the Rochas Foundation College, Owerri, belonging to the former Governor.
The EFCC has also sealed the East High Primary and Secondary school, Owerri, belonging to Okorocha’s first daughter, Uloma Nwosu. The anti-graft agency also shut down the All-In Supermarket, Owerri, said to belong to a member of Okorocha’s family. The EFCC, after sealing the properties, placed a notice of warning, saying, “under investigation by EFCC, keep off.” Up north in Gombe State, the same scenario is playing out with the present government of Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya having issues with the immediate passed administration of Ibrahim Dankwambo. In fact, right from his inauguration on May 29, Yahaya had left no doubt that he had issues with his predecessor, when he immediately cancelled all projected awarded by Dankwambo from March 10.
Two weeks later, Yahaya set up the Gombe State Recovery Committee, which immediately swung into action and urged the immediate past governor of the state, Dankwambo, and his aides to appear before it. According to the Chairman of the committee, Group Capt. Peter Bilal (rtd), the invitation was for the past administration to account for alleged billions of property, illegally disposed of during their tenure.
In Ogun State it has been no love lost between Dapo Abiodun and Ibikunle Amosun, the former occupant of Government House – even though both are members of the same All Progressives Congress (APC) party. Of course this can be traced back to the last election when Amosun, who is now back in the Senate, did everything possible to truncate Abiodun’s guber ambitions in favour of his own anointed candidate, Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
However, in spite of this Abiodun triumphed, and has repeatedly accused the past administration of a lot of misdeeds, including awarding contracts indiscriminately towards the tail end of Amosun’s tenure, leaving the state broke. Abiodun subsequently set up a committee to review the appointment, installation and promotion of traditional rulers by the Ibikunle Amosun administration and another one to review the contracts and projects embarked upon by the immediate past government in the twilight of its administration.
Of course the former governor did not take the accusations laying low, as he fired back, insisting through his then Commissioner of Finance, Adewale Oshinowo, that his government had left more than N18billion in the treasury when their tenure ended on May 29. In all these allegations and counter allegations the million naira question is “so what’s next?” It’s one thing to accuse a person, it is another thing to have enough evidence to follow the matter to the logical conclusion of meting out punishment to the culprits.
Unfortunately in this country a lot of our officials love grandstanding without taking the necessary action, which is the major reason why lawlessness reigns supreme. And where there is no law anything goes! It’s time we as a people decide if we want to continue to live like this or some sort of sanity to be brought into the system, so that it will not continue to be business as usual. So, over to you Abiodun, Ihedioha, Yahaya and the other governors with such issues; what are you all going to do to the former occupants of your government houses? Take the cases to its conclusion which may see former state chief executives going to jail or sweep it under the carpet until the next election when the people will be treated to another “you be thief I no be thief” show, which almost always just fizzles out?
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