Ordinarily, one would have readily applauded President Muhammadu for signing an Executive Order banning possession of guns, having regard to the unbridled proliferation and possession of small and medium scale politically motivated and banditorily-induced arms currently in circulation. However, Buhari’s sectionalistic perceptions of governance from the opaque prism of ethnicity and religious nuances do not give one such euphoric comfort of nationalistically induced decisions.
It seems to me a panicky measure meant to forestall the threats by Niger Delta militants to declare their Republic by 1st of June, and also for the now historic struggle by IPOB for self-determination. Whatever be his reasons, the president and his handlers appeared to have lost the larger picture of the citizens’ rights to life and self defence. Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution provides for the right to life. Section 258 of the Criminal Code which operates in the Southern part of Nigeria and sections 59- 60 of the Penal Code that operates in the North, all guarantee the right to self defence and the defence of one’s property. What the Executive Order has unwittingly done is to leave honest and innocent Nigerians most vulnerable to the unrestrained murderous and blood-letting activities of marauders, herdsmen, terrorists, armed robbers and kidnappers. People may now decide to possess these arms illegally and under cover as guerrilla tactics, since even a legitimate licence cannot guarantee same, after thorough screening by law enforcement agencies. After all, self-preservation is the first law of nature.
The Executive order is also gravely flawed in the sense that those known and notorious to illegally possess these same arms, like herdsmen, were not even named at all. There now appears to be two sets of laws for Nigerians. Recall that the same government had incredibly set up a special radio network station for this over pampered set of “superior” Nigerians. No thought was given to the equally illiterate Nigerians of those communities whose wives are daily raped in their homes, children murdered in cold blood, farmlands invaded, crops eaten and such farms then set ablaze. I always wonder who advises Mr President. But as Harry Truman once declared: “the buck stops here”.
GANIAT FAWEHINMI AND BASH ALI: TWO OF A KIND
Women may not always be given the accolades that they deserve other than the ephemeral remark that “behind every successful man is a successful woman”. Even then, many are quick to point out that a truly successful man would have a woman standing alongside or beside him. That is just the story of the first wife of my late mentor, the iconic and legal luminary, Chief Gani Oyesola Fawehinmi, SAN, SAM. Her name? Mrs Ganiat Ibukun Fawehinmi. Today, we shall x-ray the exploits of Mrs Ganiat Ibukun Fawehinmi. Thereafter, we shall take on Bashiru Lawrence Ali, next week. Both Ganiat and Bash Ali are two of a kind in resilience, doggedness, perseverance, courage, tenacity, patience, resoluteness and determination to succeed in the face of all odds.
MRS. GANIAT IBUKUN FAWEHINMI (NEÉ OREBELA)
Ganiat was born on Thursday, 26th May, 1949, to the family of Orebela. She is a native of Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State. She is the first wife of late Chief Gani, for whom she bore seven children, namely: Mohammed, Saheed, Basirat Biobaku (nee Fawehinmi), Dr. Haufsat Oni (nee Fawehinmi), Kudirat, Simbiat Osho (nee Fawehinmi), and Mubarak. These are great children to make parents happy forever.
HER EMERGENCE AT THE NATIONAL SCENE
Ganiat is not as often mentioned as her late husband, Gani. However, it is no small feat to have stood proudly beside the confrontational and sometimes unconventional Gani through all the years he spent, warring against the powers that be, through his constant arrests, detentions, harassments, beatings and humiliation. Knowing the daring life lived by Gani during perilous times, it is undoubted that fear hung over his family like the sword of Damocles. That was not publicly manifest because of the reassuring and fortifying presence of this amazon of a quiet, behind-the-scene woman.
She has been a great source of succor to downtrodden Nigerians. Whilst her late husband, Gani, was fighting for defenceless Nigerians in the court rooms, on the streets, in prisons and at detention dungeons in DSS and Police, defying tyrants’ guns, manacles, shackles, tortures and violence to his person, she was the silent pillar, housekeeper and encourager.
She remained largely in his shadows, quietly enduring, but managing the loneliness, the anguish, pains, pangs and cries of her children who longed to see their beloved father. In those locust days of military dictatorships, she was valiant, bold, courageous, yet maintained the noblest virtues of a good housewife.
Ganiat stated in one of her many interviews with Nkrumah Bankong-Obi and Simon Ateba of PM News, one of the guerrilla media houses to emerge during the dark days of military juntas, that she has to be a “sheep” as Gani was a “goat”. She was ever the peace maker, always asking for forgiveness from Gani whenever an argument arose, even if she was right. Hear what Ganiat said:
“When he was angry, I calmed down. Yoruba people say when there is an argument, one party should be agutan (sheep) and the other ewure (goat). The sheep is calm, while the goat is unruly. So, anytime he was angry, I just withdrew and sat somewhere or took a newspaper and read. When he calmed down, I’d go to him and apologise. Sometimes, I knelt down. People said I was a bush woman for doing that. I don’t see it that way. Each time I did that to him, he felt I understood that he was the head of the family and he was happy with me. He was someone who had a forgiving spirit. If you apologised, he accepted it and that was it”.
I agree with these words, as Gani was a human volcano, a moving tornado.
Ganiat’s love, support and belief in her husband through thick and thin never swayed, despite the numerous threats, disgrace and mental and psychological trauma serially forced on the family by successive military tyrants.
Even after Gani’s death, Ganiat Fawehinmi has remained relentless in the fight for true democracy and good governance. She is a critic of the government, always sharing her experience, insights, knowledge and wisdom on how the society can be made better. She is a role model to many and a woman’s symbol of loyalty, strength and will power. She has inspired many to continue the fight for the greater good of humanity.
GANIAT AT 70
On 26th May, 2019, Ganiat clocked 70, to roaring celebration and festivities. There is always much to say about a virtuous woman. About Gani’s widow, the Buhari Presidency released a glowing tribute, as follows:
“The President believes the matriarch of the Fahewinmi family epitomizes the resilience, wisdom and loyalty that drives every nation to greatness, particularly carrying on with the work of charity and sacrifice, and standing by reason, justice and truth that characterized her husband’s life.
“As Mrs Fawehinmi turns 70, President Buhari affirms that her zeal to see a better life for Nigerians, especially the poor and underprivileged remains indelible, underscoring the many risks involved, pains suffered and the frustrations she has endured in seeing that the country turns out greater.”
The life of Mrs Fawehinmi is truly worth celebrating. Through this iconic woman, the legacy of the late Gani Fawehinmi certainly lives on. Truer words have never been spoken. She is a complete embodiment of the fighting spirit not only of late Chief Gani, but also of all Nigerians who strive to achieve a better country that secures and safeguards their interests.
(Next week, we shall continue our discourse with Bashiru Lawrence Ali)
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“It should be remembered that the president cannot, by Executive Order, do things that affects the public at large unless there is some Congressional basis for it”. (Edwin Meese).
Nigerians, thank you for keeping faith with the Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., Ph.D, LL.D, even as you await the next explosive dissertation.
Women as instigators of rape
The spiralling cases of rape in our society is worrisome and condemnable but in some cases, the victims – women – are found to be instigators or causes of some or few of these criminal acts. I have many instances at my disposal that could serve as data for this claim.
The percentage of rape incidents inspired by women is low compared to the ones committed by sex predators but I think we should also look in the direction of some of the victims in the collective quest for solution. I decided to come up with this angle though it may not be palatable to some feminists or gender issues campaigners, howbeit, we should put things in the proper perspective.
There are a number of tricks some women use (either shrewdly or surreptitiously) to tempt some weak or violent men that eventually assault them sexually. One of the difficult cases to prove in court is sex related allegation. This is because it is done behind locked doors. It happens only between two people without a third party. Most of the time, reliable evidences in rape cases are usually based on tore dresses or under wears and/or scars sustained in the process of struggle. Another evidence is medical examination to ascertain if there is any forceful penetration into her vulva by the accused.
I know a woman who passed a night with a man she met on a dating site based on mutual understanding as lovers. But throughout the night, she didn’t allow the man to touch her. The man, a single father of two children at the time, endured her action calmly, behaved like a gentleman he is. While she was about leaving the next day, she demanded more money than what he gave her. The man smiled and warned her never to try that with some other men who might not be tolerant of her daring attitude. Thus, they parted ways. He’s now married.
In 2017, a secondary school teacher proposed to his colleague for a relationship. Both of them were single at the time but she declined. The guy had moved on searching for love elsewhere but this female teacher kept hanging around him. Sometimes at the weekend, she would come to his place to relax, yet, she insisted that nothing could ever bring them together as lovers.
The guy now called me for counselling saying, “Sir, what can I do about this woman before I misbehave?” I told him to tell her to stop visiting his place. She is sending a wrong signal to any other woman he may want to date. In the school environment, he should reduce their closeness so as to disprove the raging rumour about them. He found it hard to say because he really loved the lady but eventually he did and the woman was aghast that he could have the courage to utter such a statement to her. The following month, he met the lady he married early this year.
I know a married woman who declined overtures for an extra-marital affair with a single dad but chose to keep the man as a friend. I’m aware of two occasions she had passed the night in the man’s house without permitting sex on the ground that they were mere friends. The first time, her husband travelled and she didn’t want to stay at home alone. Her children were in boarding schools. The second time, she had malaria while her husband was on another trip. So, she went there for two days to treat herself.
You might think that something actually happened that I didn’t know about, not at all. He vacated his bedroom for her on the two occasions and shared the same bed with his younger brother who was living with him at the time. I actually stopped the woman from coming to the house uninvited. Apart from other stories I was told, I know of several other cases that I can’t exhaust mentioning.
Supposed the men I mentioned their cases forcefully had their way with these women, would it be right to allege rape? A woman becomes an instigator of rape through any of the following:
λ Hanging around a man she does not desire sexual intimacy with probably for pecuniary benefits
λ Sleeping in a man’s house without an intent of having sex
λ Insisting that a man should exercise self-control while provoking his sexual urge within his domain
λ Turning ‘sex by consent’ to rape just to blackmail or exploit the man
λ Dressing seductively in order to trap the man
At the heat of COZAgate three weeks ago, a good governance activist sent a video clip of Pastor (Mrs) Ifeanyi Adefarasin of House on the Rock Church, Lagos, to me. I really appreciate her rebuke for indecent manner of dressing to the house of God. She was on point just like Rev. Funke Adejumo, Pastor Bimbo Odukoya (of blessed memory) and a host of other ministers in the crusade for decency in the Body of Christ as well as in the society at large.
People often cast aspersions on the ministers of God found in error of sexual immorality. Yes, it sounds right but I think we should appreciate the burden of intimidating temptations they face on daily basis. I think the society is harsh on the ‘fallen’ ministers of the gospel simply because they are expected to be “blameless.” 2 Tim 3: 3.
A man of God that is sleeping with his members is committing a breach of trust. A man bearing the mark of Christ in whatever form should not condescend to defiling his seamless relationship with the Holy Spirit by partaking in filthy lucre or falling for momentary pleasure of sexual sin. If it happens, it is a spiritual tragedy to the Body of Christ.
It is more calamitous if he fails to seek help, repent and be quickly restored. Relaxing in the ‘fallen state’ often lead to uncovering his secret sins that would heap ignominy upon him, his family and his ministry. That’s why the Word warns that we should distant ourselves from every APPEARANCE of evil (emphasis mine). Appearance means anything that could easily be construed to be sinful, uncouth or immoral even if indeed, he is practically innocent of the deed. Loitering in the corridor of lustful indulgence could turn out scandalous!
As the storm clouds gather…
The madmen with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security”
– Olusegun Obasanjo
Great American composer, Irving Berlin wrote a lyric which he copyrighted in the 60s to the God bless America Fund International and the opening reads thus: “While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us swear allegiance to the land that’s free, let us all be grateful for a land so fair as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.”
What does that tell us, that storm clouds gather far away from a nation that is fair as they raise their voice in prayers? The lyric also shows that allegiance is actually due and could easily be sworn to a land that is really free from injustice.
When a nation like ours crowds the churches and mosques daily in prayers and vigils and is not free and fair in their dispositions to their citizens, it would never stop the clouds from gathering and the weather man tells us that when clouds gather what follows will always be stormy.
Undoubtedly, the indicator signs are apparent showing that cloud is gathering in Nigeria and men of vision and experience are telling us that we need to make haste and look for rain coats because soon it’s going to drench us.
The first person who brought the metaphoric cloud gathering into the country’s current awful situation is no less a person than the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan. “As we all gather here in this peaceful environment, we cannot but draw attention, with grave concern to the ominous and dangerous clouds of destabilization hovering on the horizon of our nation,” the foremost cleric screamed. The Archbishop was actually referring to the tensed situation created by Federal Government’s plans to appease the nuisance Fulani herdsmen by creating havens for them in the states of the federation amidst protests from citizens over their ancestral land. The vexed project called RUGA is an Hausa term called cow settlement.
Since the conclusion of the general election in March this year nothing has preoccupied President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration more than trying to satisfy the cattle breeders operating under the umbrella body called Miyetti Allah. All the policies of government for this body have not gone down well with the rest of the country, but government’s commitment to it remains unhidden amidst general insecurity mostly arising from the herdsmen like rape, kidnapping and killings.
Nigeria’s only Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka was also on line to express his distraught over President Buhari’s handling of the menace of Fulani herdsmen. Prof. Soyinka who backed the President during the last election was so frustrated that he had to declare that Nigeria’s problem are beyond Buhari and that the President’s failure to tackle the activities of marauding herdsmen has wiped away the positive achievements of his administration.
According to the literary giant, “The problems of this nation are beyond the solution that can be offered by this government, that’s the first admission. There is a minimal level which any government, which has been elected to power, must achieve to be considered a true representative of the people.”
Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all the reactions to the embarrassing security situation in the country occasioned merely by the ineptness of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, is last Monday’s open letter to the President by the former Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In the letter very characteristic of Obasanjo everything was laid bare. The nakedness of this regime all along camouflaged by propaganda and lies was unconcealed in the letter. “Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage.
“Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times,” Obasanjo said.
For Obasanjo, if the President refuses to stand up to confront the security challenges frontally, one or all of the four calamities itemized below will befall the nation under his watch.
“To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:
1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;
2. spontaneous or planned reprisals against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.
A nation that makes a 94-year-old nationalist to bury his 58-year-old daughter killed due to the inability of the government to provide security really need not be told before it realizes that all is not well. And to show that such nation has lost any sense of sorrow their leaders in the name of sympathizing have been embarking on photo showing.
What a dance on the grave it has been since the weekend’s mindless murder of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, on the Benin-Ore Road by suspected gunmen was made public.
Yoruba leaders and other Nigerians including the Vice President of the federation who should be mourning and sympathizing with the old man has turned his abode into a political ground to settle scores. Lagos strong man Bola Tinubu found the mourning place a platform to show his love to the Fulani and to demonstrate his no love lost on Ndigbo for daring to thwart his popularity in Lagos in the last election. The media themselves have instead of sending social sorrowful writers to the man’s home to capture the grief-stricken mood have instead despatched political reporters and photographers for the needless and heartless after sympathy press conference.
I am one of those who believe very strongly that any new crime will flourish in the land so long as its victims remain the ordinary people. Imagine the hullabaloo over this death because a big iroko is involved but this is what goes on across the land daily.
Late Nigeria military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha couldn’t be more right when he said on the marble that any insurgence or massive violent crime that lasts beyond 24 hours uncrushed by the nation’s security forces, then the government must have some questions to answer on the possibility of culpability.
Have you bordered to wonder why and how the Fulani herdsmen suddenly turned from their timid nomadic business to potent terror group? Could this abrupt transformation been possible without some drumming from critical areas? In between the line reading of Obasanjo’s letter one could find some answers to some questions all pointing to the fact that all is not well with our nation and that the storm is indeed gathering.
Politicians kill, judges bury…
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice – Proverbs 21: 3
How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? – Psalm 82: 2
If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice… marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they – Ecclesiastes 5:8
Let justice run down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream – Martin Luther King Jr. in “Letters from the Birmingham jail”
No evil deed will go unpunished; any evil done by man to man will be redressed; if not now then certainly later; if not by man, then by God; for the victory of evil over good is temporary – Dele Giwa.
Nineteen-ninety-nine (1999) till now (2019) is the longest unbroken span of democratic governance at a stretch that this country has experienced. Self-rule preparatory to Independence for the Eastern and Western regions (1957) and the North (1959) pre-dated independence on October 1, 1960. Up till January 15, 1966, the country enjoyed a spell of democratic governance before series of military interregnum, after which we moved again to July 1979, when the then military Head of State, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, handed over power to Alhaji Shehu Shagari. That experience lasted till December 31, 1983. It was, thereafter, rigmarole after rigmarole under different military dictators until the return to civil rule on May 29, 1999. Reasons commonly adduced for the truncating of civil rule by the men on horseback, as Samuel P. Huntington calls the military adventurists, are bad governance epitomised by corruption, ostentatious living, profligacy of the few on one hand and dearth of basic necessities of life on the side of the suffering majority on the other; and the perversion and subversion of the people’s will epitomised in the rigging of elections. Since 1999, the alibi for soldiers’ incursion into politics has not abated; if anything, it has assumed monstrous proportions; meaning, then, that there must be other reasons keeping the soldiers within their barracks. An argument often canvassed is that military rule has become anachronistic and untenable and, thus, has lost its allure and gone out of fashion. The international community, we are told, has lost its patience for military rule and is vigorously opposed to military take-overs. Through training, the right indoctrination and political education, the military are also said to have become more professional and less inclined to stepping out of their barracks at the least promptings to take on roles they are not trained or cut out for. Plausible as these arguments may seem, we have, nonetheless, seen military take-overs in a few places such as Egypt and Sudan. One point which is often glossed over in Nigeria is the decisive action taken by Obasanjo when he assumed office in 1999.
He made a list of military officers who had eaten the forbidden fruit of political office and promptly retired them from service. Those with the most likely urge to topple a civilian government thus lost the much-needed pedestal. It also sent an unmistakeable signal to others of the dangers of professional imperilment should they fall out of line to seek filthy political lucre.
If corruption and election-rigging alone determine the survival or otherwise of any nation’s democracy, Nigeria’s would have long ago come to a disastrous end; for at no time in the history of this country has corruption become so rampant. Even the government that pretends to fight corruption is itself whacked by corruption. In its ranks are fabulously corrupt Nigerians who are protected by their membership of the ruling party and government while a mockery is made of the anti-corruption war running after opposition figures. The brains behind the country’s first coup, Major Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu et al, who bellyached about First Republic politicians’ corrupt tendencies, describing them as “ten-percenters”, would turn in their graves to see that, today, the whole 100 per cent of project and contract sums are spirited away without contractors visiting the project site or turning the sod. In those days, however, the country had something going for it; there were fearless and upright judges despite the authoritarianism of military dictators. We had judges who were bold; who looked the military adventurers straight in the face and told them bitter truths. We had judges who were minded to do justice regardless of whose ox is gored. We had the likes of Akinola Aguda. We had philosophers and Socrates who sat on the Bench and made pronouncements that made Britain’s Lord Denning green with envy; we had the like of Chukwudifu Oputa and Kayode Esho. But, no more! The few upright judges that remain are hounded and side-stepped via forum shopping.
Today, politicians kill our democracy; judges bury it! Both work hand in glove. They are arrayed in tandem in an unholy alliance that makes the conscionable distraught. We have never had it this bad. Not only are men of conscience in short supply in the Bar and on the Bench, little or no effort is made at all these days at pretence. It is like the Nigerian policemen who collect their bribes in broad daylight without caring a hoot about who is watching or passing by. The other day, some policemen were caught by the Inspector-General of Police himself; the errant officers had demanded bribe from their “Oga at the top” without knowing who he was! These days, powerful litigants and big-cat lawyers have their favourite judges and courts that would do their bidding. It is no longer the law you know or the “justness” of your cause. Once the list of judges is made known in a case or the court is mentioned, you know the likely outcome. Some judges are known as “client” of this or that; the names of judges who act as consultants and go-between between judges and politicians are open secret. How did we get to this sorry pass? If a judge proves stubborn or is not amenable, you can quickly pack your bag and baggage and relocate to a pliant judge, regardless of the provisions of the law. The law here is an ass that panders to the wiles of the powers-that-be – and they are riding it to its death.
Why the judges do not care – or are yet to notice – that they are losing self-respect and relevance is baffling. The Judiciary is treated like scum by the Executive, yet, it does not care. Judges behave like Samson before Delilah; and like the proverbial foolish cock which exposed its joker to the wolf. Baron de Montesquieu, widely acknowledged as father of the theory of separation of powers, would turn in his grave. Judges are treated as trifle; they are treated as rags; their orders are spurned; yet, they remain chummy with the vile offenders. They loath to fight for their rights and dignity! The Judiciary is co-terminus with the Executive and Legislature; being the third Estate of the Realm, independent and possessing equal powers. Judges ought to fight back and possess their possessions – but they acquiesce. It beggars belief how they display such a huge propensity to cringe and be servile. What has become of judges? Spineless! Wole Soyinka said in “The Man Died”: In those who keep silent in the face of tyranny, the man dies. Not only do judges keep silent in the face of tyranny meted out unto others, they themselves have become victims of self-same tyranny that whacks the entire citizenry. Judges lose their voices – and balls – when their corruption is exposed and waved in their face. It is flagged and brandished to intimidate and compromise them. How can a judge do justice when his hands are tied behind his back? They become caricatures and impostors profaning the temple of justice!
Mercifully, there is nothing hidden (today) that will not be made known (tomorrow). Corrupt judges should know that we know them. Oh yes, we see you! Your wheeling-and-dealing is not unknown. You who dispense technicalities in the place of justice; vermin and vampires devouring the truth and upholding falsehood: when a Daniel shall come to judgement, you will come under the full weight of the law you have so shamelessly, wilfully and whimsically perverted. It is travesty when the so-called last hope of the common man becomes his last scourge; consenting to the rape of our democracy and putting justice, their very raison d’être, to the sword. Theirs, like Brutus’, is the unkindest cut of all on the bleeding body of Caesar; nay, Nigeria!
LAST WORD: Aftermath of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin’s killing in Ondo State by suspected Fulani herdsmen; I wondered what had become of the security summit the state organised with fanfare on Thursday, January 17th this year in Akure, to which I was invited. Responding, Jones Ogunmusire, chair of the organising committee, dispelled my suggestion that it was mere jamboree, adding that soon, we shall see action. Adekola Olawoye, SAN, Ondo’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said government was “still studying the recommendations (and) government position will be made public very soon”. How soon is “very soon”, Sir? Not after we are all dead! A snail will move faster than the Ondo State Government!
Our misplaced worries worry me
admit there’s a reason to be worried, in fact many reasons to be worried. I just don’t understand why Nigerians are worried about all the wrong things, why we are not worried about what we should be worried about. In Bible parlance, we are worrying amiss. Our worries are misplaced. Don’t get confused or even start worrying about my worries.
It’s the season of worry alright, but we must see through our fears, tears and trepidation. We must worry carefully so we can worry effectively.
Take for instance the bandying of words with bandits on the tragic death of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin at the weekend instead of calling the spade by its true name. If herdsmen, Fulani or Igbo herdsmen decided in their evil coven to hunt down the daughter of an Afenifere leader, our worry should be: ‘why would herdsmen block the road to kill a Yoruba leader’s daughter?’ Our worry should not be the language the killers speak or how they dress. Our concern should be the soreness of our national psyche right now and the motive of those who find this an auspicious time to pose like herdsmen to kill in the heart of Yoruba land. Do we not have enough trouble? Did Pastor Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God not just warn us of a looming plague because the Nigerian soil is blood-soaked and that the blood of the innocent has a voice and it is speaking against us? Shouldn’t we be worried about fifth or sixth or seventh columnists trying to set Nigeria on fire just to see if their lighters are working?
All this talk about whether the killers of Fasoranti’s daughter were bandits, armed robbers or demons even, do not make sense to me, really. I think some people are plotting against Nigeria. They are determined to start an ethnic war. They are evil enough to prove whatever their evil plans are by throwing our land into doom and gloom. That is what should worry us. That they may decide to dress some men in herdsmen garb to blow up oil pipelines in Port Harcourt or dress some almajiri boys up in Niger Delta militants garb in Kaduna and tell them to blow up mosques or kill cows. That is my fear. That is the danger we should be worried about. All the ‘nearest in meaning’ grammatical exercise are dumb, dumb, dumb.
Unfortunately, our misplaced worries did not start last Friday on Ondo-Ore road.
Why the dickens are we worried about Nura Dahiru, the customs officer who promoted himself to Deputy Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service. Dahiru, a lowly Assistant Superintendent of Customs took a good look at himself in the mirror, one morning, and decided he’d had enough of his rank. He shook his head, tapped his nose and decided to do something about it. He decided to use his own two hands to fix his problem. He bought himself a new uniform, ironed it to an inch of its life and then did the shocking thing – Dahiru somehow found all the epaulettes of a DCG of customs, and pinned them all on his chest and shoulders. Abasi Mbok!
‘DCG’ Dahiru then proceeded to the office of the CG, Hammed Ali, where he sat in all his ‘majesty’. Some of his ‘normal’ superior officers even saluted him. I can see them in my mind’s eye standing at attention, hands raised in smart respectful salute.
If it wasn’t such an embarrassing scenario, I’d be rolling on the floor still, laughing, even one week after. But it’s not funny, really. Good comic relief but very very worrisome.
Look at it this way: these new ranks, those colourful things on his chest, the dapper embroidered decorations on Dahiru’s shoulders, are they that easy to come by? Does the Nigerian Customs Service have them on display in a ‘Tuck Shop’, like the one in my church where we buy chin-chin and soft drinks after service?
Can I also buy some for myself and use it to go terrorize people especially in Lagos traffic? Who gave or sold those things to Dahiru?
Have you also asked yourself the real meaning of ‘porous security’? Porous security, according to me, is a man of unstable mind marching through the ‘security men’ (they are just mai-guards, truth be told) right into the office of Nigeria’s Number One Customs’ Officer and being allowed to sit and wait for the CG, just because he said he had orders from the Presidency to take over from CG Hammed Ali. Dahiru had no letter, no papers.
The so-called security men did not hear the directive on radio, television or read it online. No newspaper reported the purported change of guard. They simply believed Dahiru. They simply forgot their security training and brief.
My people, what if Mr. Dahiru was a suicide bomber deployed to bring that building down? What if he had that ‘Oyinbo’ demon that makes nine-year-olds shoot their classmates and teacher in moments of demented affliction?
Just imagine the number of customs officers he would have gunned down and wait for it, he’d most likely would not have been convicted for premeditated murder because he and his lawyer would have pleaded insanity.
What if CG Hammed Ali was in his office and Dahiru had just shot him in-between the eyes!
I shudder to think of the kind of headlines CNN, Channels, AIT, TVC would have had scrolling within minutes.
“Nigerian Deputy Controller-General of Customs bombs Govt. Building,
That is, before they realise that Mr. Dahiru bought his rank in a roadside kiosk and smiled his way into the CG’S office.
Ah, and then they said he was mad, sorry, of unstable mind.
I disagree, totally.
It is we, all of us, worried about Dahiru’s mental state that I’m worried about. How did we end up paying so much for security that is non-existent? If we are not all sick somewhere, how is it that one man can buy a DCG’s rank, wear them and walk into the CG’s office? Is that the way it is in Immigration, Prison Service, even in the Police. Any demented folk desirous of promotion can buy those colourful things and gum them on a well-ironed uniform and trample all over our national dignity?
Again, if we were not a nation of people who worry amiss, how would we have gotten to this point where the Shi’ites have now budgeted 21 million lives to protest the continuing detention of Sheikh El-Zakzaky. Yeah, 21 million Shi’ites are ready to die in this protest. They mean business and they are prepared. And I’m wondering how do you threaten someone who wants to die with death?
If we won’t worry amiss, we should see this Shi’ite protest as a metaphor for something bigger than religion or the incarceration of one influential cleric. We need to see it for what it is, a symptom of a disease that could end up being terminal. This is not an itch. It’s a god-awful leprosy. This is not a cough, it’s tuberculosis. While we’re going about our lives, believing that the Shi’ites would soon run out of steam and abandon El-Zakzaky, the group moved from the outskirts of Abuja into the main FCT, then into the Three Arms zone. They invaded the National Assembly, forced lawmakers to remove their flowing gowns as they fled. Shi’ites, the stone-throwing group is now a gun-totting one. They are now shooting live-bullets?
And Shi’ites came to Lagos during the week. No, they didn’t go to the cinema. They came to protest. Imagine what that can mean if they decide to lock down Third Mainland Bridge or block all routes leading to the airports. They already locked down Ikorodu road on Thursday, so don’t accuse me of putting ideas in their heads. We’d do well to fix this migraine quickly before it fixes us. I don’t know if you are scared or not, but I’m trying to remember how the Arab Spring started.
And to think so many Nigerians are worried about the ministerial list! How is the existence or non-existence of that list even affect the price of fish! Our poor President is being pressured, tremendously even, by those who think the presence of ministers will disarm Shi’ites, cure madness of uniformed men and even provide jobs.
We have real problems, life threatening ailments, a looming plague. Staring into space, picking our goddammed noses and worrying about synonyms of killer herdsmen, armed robbers and bandits is a major sickness in itself.
Oba Ewuare II: Giant strides within a short time
Oba Ewuare II (N’ Ogidigan), Uku Apkolokpolo, the 40th Oba of Benin, is the scion of Oba Ewuare the Great (1440-1473), who reigned after Oba Uwafiokun (1443-1473) and was succeeded by Oba Ezoti (1473-1475).
Ewuare the Great, it was, who developed the Edaiken title for the eldest son of the Oba, to stamp succession authority in the royal lineage. A warrior par excellence, who built city walls, moats and boulevards within Benin City and led his army to conquer many cities and towns, up to Owo and the Niger Delta area, Ewuare the Great no doubt reincarnated in the present Oba of Benin, Ewuare II.
The handsome quintessential diplomat illuminated the dark crevices of locked diplomatic channels during and after the military years, as Nigerian envoy to Angola, Italy (with concurrent accreditation to Albania), the Kingdom of Sweden (with concurrent accreditation to the Scandinavian countries of the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Denmark and Norway). Since his ascension to the throne of his forefathers two years ago, Oba Ewuare II has achieved so much within a very short time on the throne.
He is development conscious for his people. SOME IMPRINTS He has since strongly called for the repatriation of all Benin artefacts carted away during the mindless and punitive British expedition and invasion of Benin Kingdom in 1897. He has implored the Federal Government to have more federal presence in Edo State.
He has called upon Edo State government to introduce Benin language and history in the curriculum of schools. Using what he coined as “cultural diplomacy”, Oba Ewuare called for cultural renaissance as a great tool to promote harmonious relationships, respect traditional institutions, unify the people and resolve communal and individual disputes through the principles of social justice and equity.
DISBANDMENT OF CDAs
One of his earliest actions on being crowned on 20th October, 2016, was to order the immediate disbandment of the notorious and parasitic Community Development Associations (CDAs).
This was a platform used by unemployed youths in virtually all the communities within Benin Kingdom, to perpetrate heinous crimes. Potential investors were serially chased out with machetes, clubs and guns, whenever they refused to pay huge sums of extortionist money to them. Private homes and property developers were not spared this anguish and nightmare.
The Oba immediately set up a committee of intellectuals, professionals, security gurus and traditional chiefs to map out a roadmap towards elimination of this anti-development menace. Yours sincerely was privileged to be part of this historic platform.
The result was the Oba’s forging of a close alliance with the Edo State executive and legislative arms of government to promulgate a law criminalizing and out lawing CDAs and their ill-wind deleterious effects.
Today, Edo State, especially the Benin Kingdom axis, is seen by investors that troop in, as a safe haven for investment. Inspite of this, His Royal Majesty, during his thank you visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso villa, emphasized the strengthening of security in Edo State and the dire need of infrastructural development in Edo State.
ADVOCACY FOR GELEGELE SEA PORT DEVELOPMENT
One project quite dear to the heart of the Oba, who has since modernized the royal palace and vicinity, is the Gelegele seaport. He implored President Buhari to help develop it, to open up the state to commerce and industry.
Perhaps, the most ambitious project so far embarked upon by the Oba, and indeed any royal father anywhere in the world, is the proposed satellite town to be established at Ugoneki, in the Uhunmwonde L.G.A. of Edo State, along the Benin – Agbor road. The proposed town to be known as “Oba Ewuare II Satellite Town”, is to be self-sufficient, with sundry basic amenities of life and 24 hours of security and power supply.
OBA EWUARE II FOUNDATION
His focus on development led him to set up the Oba Ewuare II Foundation, which, in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), has since organised skills acquisition programmes, training over 50 youths, including returnees from Lybia.
The Foundation is geared towards eradicating poverty amongst youths and the most vulnerable of the society. It is to halt social vices, illegal migration and human trafficking of Edo indigenes to foreign countries, in the vain hop of greener pastures; and to provide empowerment through scholarships, skills acquisition and total liberation and reorientation of the “get-rich-quick” mentality of the new generation.
The Foundation seeks to develop Edo language and provide free feeding for the needy, with over 1000 already fed. The revered Oba has even placed many Libyan returnees on salary. He retired into the sacred realm of his ancestral abode, came out and placed a curse on human traffickers who prey on young, vulnerable and innocent ladies, with the words, “our gods will destroy you”.
He even cursed native doctors who administer oath of secrecy on unsuspecting victims.
ALL HAIL A ROYAL TOUCH
Thus, within the short span of two years, Oba Ewuare II, like his forebear, Oba Ewuare the Great, has changed the face of traditional institution in Nigeria, striving for development and modernism, even as he jealously guards our prime culture, customs and traditions. Oba gha to kpere, isee.
AN INTERIM BLUEPRINT OF GOVERNANCE FOR PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI UPON BEING SWORN IN AFTER AN ELECTION THAT IS STILL BEING HOTLY CHALLENGED AND CONTESTED AT THE TRIBUNAL
President Muhammadu Buhari is still battling with his election mandate. I will therefore not comment on it, being one of the lead counsels in the Atiku Abubakar legal team. However, before the much awaited Election Petition Tribunal judgment, Buhari must quickly take Nigeria out of the social, economic and political doldrums he and his APC government have plunged it. He should be more nationalistic in his outlook and approach to governance; less sectional, functional, partial, nepotic, cronystic and prependalistic.
He should drop his stiff garb of suffocating military Louis XIV imperiousness and jackbootism and know that he is supposed to be a democrat, subject to due process of law, with the attendant democratic safeguards. Buhari should allow Rule of Law to flourish uninhibited, learn to obey court orders and respect citizens’ cherished and inalienable fundamental human rights. Buhari must, as president of a whole nation, drop his 97%-5% bellyaching mantra of those who did not vote for him and endeavour to be less divisive and vindictive.
He should treat all Nigerians equally and as one, whether they presumably voted for him or not. He must stop promoting the superiority, suzerainty and sovereignty complex of his ethnic group, over and above the other more than 350 ethnic groups in Nigeria.
He must give democracy dividends to the Nigerian people, through the provision of adequate security (section 14 of the 1999 Constitution), robust economy and infrastructural development. He should think outside the box of how to fight corruption, as his performance in this regard has been woeful, selective, exclusionary and favouritism-based. Nigeria is more corrupt today than ever before (according to latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index).
Where corruption could be said to have been “democratized” by previous governments before him, corruption under Buhari has been greatly “privatized” by a few highheeled cabalistic elements.
Thus, corruption money, unlike before now, no longest circulates, or sips down to the common people. It has been hijacked privatized and held down by the jugular by these few elements at the precincts and corridors of temporary power.
More importantly, Buhari should dust up the over 600 ground- breaking recommendations of the 2014 National Conference scripted by 492 delegates drawn from across Nigeria (wherein I was a Federal Government delegate, and voted “Cicero of the 2014 National Conference”) and implement them.
Some of the most important amongst them is the vexed, but overdue issue of devolution of powers and restructuring of the unworking Nigerian contraption, to become a truly fiscal and federal system of government.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power.” (Seth Berkley).
I thank Nigerians for always keeping faith with the Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project, by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., Ph.D, LL.D. I enjoin you to look forward to next week’s treatise.
- Follow me on twitter @ MikeozekhomeSAN
Super Eagles vS Desert Foxes: Chukwueze: another chance to da zzle
Rave of the moment, Samuel Chukwueze, will once again be on the spotlight when Nigeria confront Algeria as the Super Eagles continued their quest for glory at the 2019 AFCON, which has now hits its homestretch. The 20-year-old Villarreal player has been one of the revelations of the 32-nation tournament in Egypt, a fact highlighted by his emergence as the Man of the Match in last midweek nail-biting encounter against South Africa – a match he opened the score to put him on the record book as the youngest scorer so far in Egypt 2019.
The last one year has been memorable for the left-footed winger whose dribbling runs have light up the attacking strength of the Super Eagles who are just two wins shy of reclaiming the title they won on their last appearance at the biennial championship in 2013 before their unanticipated absence at the last two editions.
The Abia-born Chukwueze undoubtedly knows his value such that he declined an invitation to Nigeria’s Under 20 team to the last FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Poland opting to fight for his place among players the star-studded senior national team. Now that decision is justified as he has been constantly linked with top European clubs such as Liverpool, Man City and Man United to mention a few. For a football-mad country like Nigeria, Chukwueze, like his colleagues, reckons the need to keep a top performance in Egypt.
The player who was on the brink of joining Arsenal a couple of seasons ago expressed his delight at Wednesday’s game and is fired up for more explosive outings. ”This is my first major competition for Nigeria, and I scored my first goal in a very, very important championship like this.
I am happy. “I thank my teammates for standing by me and encouraging me. I am very young, but they encourage me. “They all congratulated me for this very important goal in my career. I hope to score more,” he said.
There is no denying the fact that Chukwueze’s valuation has appreciated further due to his exploits in Pharaoh’s land. He puts up a flashy display in his first match against Burundi but he was overlooked for the games against Guinea and Madagascar.
German Gernot Rohr was forced to call on him when Nigeria was facing elimination against Cameroon in the round 16 clash and he made telling impact on the match, which eventually led to a 3-2 win in Alexandria exactly a week ago. Algeria, so far, has been the in-form team in this tournament posting a 100% record in the group stage before seeing off Guinea and Cote d Ivoire but now, the onus lies on Chukwueze to unleash his awesome skills against the Riyard Marhez-captained Desert Foxes. Chukwueze’s potential couldn’t well have been summed up by Eagles’ vice captain Ahmed Musa who declared that with time, he is going to be the best player in the Super Eagles and another mesmerising display at the Cairo International Stadium will see him soar to the tag of the new golden boy of Nigerian football.
Sex predators on the prowl
Some minutes after 10a.m. on Tuesday, a reader of this column who is also a university lecturer, called in a bewildered tone to tell me about a rape attempt on her on Monday, by her co-lecturer in their office. This is incredible, you might say. “Michael West, it’s like a movie scene. I didn’t know his intention when he locked the door to our office immediately he came inside. I actually called him to the office so we could discuss the courses we are to teach. When he came in, he ought to simply close the door because of the air conditioner and to lock it.
“While we were discussing the outlines of the courses and the teaching methods that would best suit the students’ pedagogical assimilation, he suddenly pounced on me like a cat pounces on a mouse and began to act like a ruffian. I felt like what exactly was going on here? What are you trying to do? I asked him, he didn’t say a word as he kept on trying to reach for my under. I forcefully pushed him off and he staggered, almost falling down. I quickly reached for the door. As he attempted to get hold of me, I swiftly unlocked the key, jerked the door open and stormed out of the office, panting.
“Incidentally, this guy is very close to me. Everybody in the department knows us together as brother and sister. We teach in the same department, share the same office for over two years. Both of us are married. He’s much younger to me in age though we address each other as ‘Dr. … and Dr. ….’ I began to sweat, shivering after the ugly incident. I couldn’t believe this is real. He didn’t bother about people all around our office. So, this was how cheap and swift rape incidents do happen, even in a revered academic environment and among lecturers? I considered screaming to exposing the incident to be utterly disgusting.
“He has since been begging and sending SMS to apologise claiming he didn’t know what came over him. ‘This is the handiwork of the devil. I’m awfully sorry please,’ he pleaded. It was really a struggle in the splits of seconds it lasted. Both of us have been working in the fairly spacious office for almost three years without any problem.”
COZA’s Pastor Fatoyinbo and Busola Dakolo
Since the COZA’s presiding Pastor’s alleged rape scandal broke out, not a few readers have sent messages to me asking to know my opinion on the case as well as the spiralling disheartening cases of rape and paedophilia.
My take on this issue is simple. Both of them are yet to tell the world the whole truth about their story. Both of them know better than the ‘wailers’ over the alleged rape saga. To be candid, I suspect that Busola is a reluctant whistleblower on Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’s alleged sexcapade. Yes, quite a number of his alleged “victims” are coming out of their shells through the social media to lend credence to Timi Dakolo’s wife allegation. The story is yet to begin.
Busola Dakolo’s narrative is suspect! I say so because at age 17, you can only be raped once, subsequent ‘editions’ were by consent. I concur that the first rape that reportedly took place in her parents’ home was the real rape. But the other ones inside his car and the doggy style on the car’s bonnet, in my own thinking, were not rape.
According to other sources, her family members were fully aware of her closeness to the Pastor. As some point, according to the online gist, her mom warned her against undue intimacy with then ‘Brother Fatoyinbo.’ She shrugged and kept on hanging around him. The veracity of this statement I cannot confirm though it emanated from those who claim to know her better.
I suspect that both Fatoyibo and Busola started dating at some point. Perhaps because his levels had changed in which Busola felt ‘used and dumped,’ she waited for the right time to take her own pound flesh. Howbeit, I still believe Busola was ‘ordered’ to peal the bean by her husband consequent upon Timi Dakolo’s vitriolic attack on the pastor about a month ago wherein he accused the stylish pastor of sexually molesting young girls in his church. In order to add biting to his barking, Dakolo must have either encouraged or threatened Busola to speak out. Left to Busola alone, the Fatoyinbo’s issue is in her past which does not worth revisiting again. As it is now, I pray the Dakolos will survive this phase unhurt.
On Pastor Fatoyibo’s side, it appeared he took the grace of God for granted. He stayed too long in lustful indulgence without the consciousness of urgency for spiritual restoration, revival and restitution. I’m not judging him but as a co-brother in the Body of Christ, I’m equally affected and concerned in this matter.
Our brother appeared to have massaged his weakness for too long rather than firmly deal with it. He must have been getting signals that something damning and ignominious was coming his way but he chose to ignore them. Such warnings usually come through dreams, prophetic messages from the outside or through reflective moments either in his private study as quiet time or convicting thoughts during praying sessions. He needs to be broken! That someone is a pastor or born again does not guarantee his express victory over temptations especially in the areas of his weakness like sexual enticement.
I also feel he should check his background if, peradventure, there’s any curse operating in his life. Better still, I sense he has not completely severed the link with the erstwhile lifestyle of his boyhood or school days. Fatoyinbo has stories to tell but who is ready to listen? He’s already pronounced guilty without trial. The society easily admits allegations that bother on sexual abuse from women against men even if it happened by consent. These days, most of the rape allegations, incest and paedophilia are not only true but proven.
On COZAgate, sooner or later, we shall hear the untold story. In the meantime, let the sleeping dog lie in peace!
Osun verdict: Questions for the Supreme Court
“A good lawyer knows the law; a clever one takes the judges to lunch” – Mark Twain
A onetime associate Justice in United States’ Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis once said that “If we desire respect for the law we must first make the law respectable”. Following from that saying I strongly believe that Nigeria’s Supreme Court will desire that all its judgements should enjoy some respect from the populace. To achieve that it’s natural that the court’s judgements must be respectable.
I am not a lawyer but I was taught in press law at mass communications class that while you cannot offer opinion in a matter before the court to avoid contempt, you are free after judgement has been delivered to do a critique of it especially if the case is of public interest like elections.
It’s against that backdrop that the recent ruling of the nation’s Supreme Court on Osun State gubernatorial election petition attracts my interest. In doing a review my interest really is not too much on the possible motive behind the ruling, not at all, my interest is on why persuasive logics were not offered as the cause of the action.
I believe very strongly that when implausible explanations are offered as a reason for court ruling in a case especially from apex court of the land, its consequences on the entire judicial system will be far reaching. Nothing can be as frustrating as when a commuter is unable to get a bus ride at the last bus stop, he would be deeply upset and frustrated with his last option not being available. That is always the case with Nigerians when Supreme Court delivers judgements that they find hard to add up.
Last week’s majority judgement of the Supreme Court on the last year’s Osun State gubernatorial election is one of such curious situations when so many questions stand seeking answers. By that judgement the will of the millions of Osun State people is being tied to a junior judge refusing or forgetting to sign his own ruling. Nothing can be more snooping. Even more fussing is the fact that those who relied on it are senior Justices. But as Africans when we do not like what we get from an elder we are not expected even in our distraught go attacking him publicly. Rather we turn to God who has a reason for everything and that is what the people of Osun State have done in this case. Who says that bad judgement has no consequences?
At the Appeal Court level, the world was told that the Judge who delivered the majority ruling at the election petitions tribunal level did not seat at all the proceedings and couldn’t have been privy to all the sides of the case. Is that the fault of the petitioner or his lawyers?
If his judgement had tallied with the others or gone the other way, it may not have been an issue at all. Judiciary watchers are very much aware of instances where cases are returned for retrial by another Judge by the Supreme Court when technical issues are trying to block the main justice of a case. Why was the Osun case different? We have also seen at appellant level how judges are discouraged from using technicalities to throw away cases. Why was Osun case different?
What if a Judge chose not to sign his judgement to deliver negative consequences, should a petitioner be the victim? Who can hear from the Judge in his secluded world to ascertain why he did not sign? And if it was a gross professional error should the petitioner suffer or the Judge?
It’s important that these questions are raised for the revered Justices to know how discerning minds view their cataclysmic ruling on Osun State gubernatorial election petition.
We are certainly not oblivious of the fact that the country’s apex court is manned by human beings not saints. We know as a fact that the Justices are not Pope, therefore they are fallible, but given the inviolability that surround their profession, in their tendency to make mistake as humans, they should strive not be too obvious as the Osun case tends to portray to rational minds.
Nigerians know as keen watchers of activities around and within the judiciary in the last four years that the harassment and intimidation from the Executive arm of government that started in the midnight arrest and detention of some Judges and Justices by state operatives in 2016 and climaxed with the unilateral removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen early this year, that it would be difficult if not impossible to still get Justices who could stand without being nervous especially at the point of delivering Justice on political cases.
The implications of this development is that what either President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), or Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may need to do to turn the table in their favour if they lose their case at the ongoing Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal is to get one of the Justices to forget to sign his ruling.
When the 89-year-old erudite first academic Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Prof. Ben Nwabueze told the Justice Mohammad Garba-led Presidential election panel at the Court of Appeal last week that rulings from these election tribunals will go a long way in determining the future of elections and democracy in Nigeria, he was just underscoring an obvious point. The Ambassadors of United Kingdom and the United States of America who led other international election monitors to declare in a press conference that Osun rerun was a charade will just be imagining what we as a country do with the will of our people freely and voluntarily expressed via elections.
That perhaps explains why non-lawyers like me and other discerning minds are concerned because when the last man standing in a battle is showing signs of panic and absence of confidence, hope of victory is going to be distant in coming. Operating democracy in an atmosphere where Judiciary is timid and shell shocked from harassment is like getting involved in a sport manned by a referee that is panicky and lacking in self-confidence. The outcome of such game is going to be unbridled and uproarious.
Too young to run: Bello and Abbo as bad market
Nigerian youths worried about the continued dominance of old men in the political leadership position of this country and how the situation was keeping the country’s progress permanently at analogue, began a campaign about not too young to run.
The campaign was turned into a bill to the National Assembly who also quickly passed it into law.
In March last year President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill into law meaning a reduction in the age limits of political positions across the country.
After President Buhari had abused Nigeria youths as lazy lots, he was quick in signing the bill as a way of cementing a frayed relationship.
But the success recorded in bringing up the bill is being imperilled by the manifest destitute performance and behaviour of the young who ran and are holding strong political positions.
At 44 the Governor of Kogi State Yahaya Bello is the youngest governor in the country. His performance in governance delivery and general attitude have been anything but good.
Ditto, Senator Elisha Abbo from Adamawa State who at 41 recently emerged as the youngest Senator in the 9th Assembly but his sex toy shop drama which landed him in Police net has portrayed his youthfulness in the negative.
The duo are clearly bad market for this laudable not too young to run idea making the old begin to feel vindicated.
Is power supply rocket science?
Last Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a veiled thumbs-down on his immediate past Minister of Power, Babatunde Raji Fashola; it was on the occasion of the visit of the Edo monarch, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Ewuare II, leading a delegation to the Presidential Villa to protest the epileptic power supply in his domain. The president was quoted as admitting that, whereas his government was doing its best to ensure constant power supply, its efforts were “not good enough yet”. That cannot but pass as a subtle “end-of-term” report on Fashola.
As the Lagos State governor that was widely believed to have given a good account of himself while in the saddle, many had expected that Fashola would shine like a million stars in the firmament in his new job at Abuja. That, also, must have been the expectations of his employers who saddled him with the triple-barrel portfolios of power, works and housing. The controversy is still on whether or not Fashola, like the late Chief Bola Ige before him, boasted of making a mince-meat of the power debacle that has worsted all previous administrations in six months. Billions of dollars have been spent – remember Obasanjo spent about $6 billion; yet, no light. Jonathan spent his own billions, no dice. Buhari has added his own billions of dollars in expenditure; yet the verdict from the horse’s mouth is as appalling as what we got from the previous administrations.
I hope one Hon. Ndidi Elumelu, who was in the thick of bribery scandal arising from this same power scam probe, is not the one they said was recently appointed PDP Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. Have you forgotten? Nigerians must qualify as the easiest people to slap and get away with it in the whole wide world!
I pity Fashola! He must have worked himself natty on this power problem – not to talk of the unending saga of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Fashola has no single black strand of hair on his head any more. He looks haggard and worn-out. He must have really worked hard – but what has he got to show for it? And if he cannot get a “thank you” from a man he worked so committedly for but a public rebuke, what should he expect from the public? It was the same unhappy ending for Uncle Bola Ige who, actually, boasted he would fix the power problem in six months. He did not! Grapevine sources said he was sabotaged right from inside. There are powerful people eating from the darkness that NEPA or PHCN spins. They are within and without the system. Bola Ige was moved from the Power Ministry after these combinations of forces had thoroughly messed him up; not long after, he met his untimely death in the hands of assassins yet to be unravelled. It is like the Boko Haram insurgency problem, just like the militancy problem of the Niger Delta before it: How can those smiling to the bank as a result want an end to it? The insurgents want the insurgency to continue; what with the billions they were/are raking in through ransom payments, government pay-offs and foreign “aids”? Those “fighting” them; I mean those in charge of the budget for the fighting and not the canon-fodders, will also want no end to the flow of the largesse. How can generator merchants and those creaming off the budget on power want the country to have stable power supply?
It all boils down to leadership problems: The lethargy and wastefulness of the past combined with the lack of seriousness and kid gloves with which a gargantuan problem is being tackled at the moment. Witness how they sold NEPA to themselves – I mean the big cats! Yet they don’t have the resources needed to bring about the much-needed turnaround! They then began to mop up funds from local banks, causing the collapse and or distress of such banks, compelling the apex bank to wade in again, as in times past, with public funds that, eventually, will be written off as bad debt as had been done again and again. We are too wasteful here! Corruption rules the waves from top to bottom. It is leadership problem in the main. Small countries like Rwanda have solved their power problem. Others like Ghana are making more progress than we are doing. Those who say size is the issue should ask China how it has done it. A Yoruba adage says “iwon eku ni iwon ite e”; meaning that the size of the rat necessarily determines the size of his nest.
We wait to see the next Minister of Power! If the thinking in government and the orientation in leadership circles remain the same, nothing will change, especially now that debt servicing is crippling the Federal Government. Because what ought to have been done incrementally over the years were left undone; trees had fallen on trees, as it were. This is one area where no magic wand can be waved to evaporate all the problems at once. And because priorities are not being rightly set at the moment, the attention that the power sector demands – and deserves – will most likely be hijacked by, say, RUGA! That is how flimsy we are as a people. And that is how selfish and sectarian interests override national interests! God, the Creator of heaven and earth, wasn’t foolish when He gave priority attention to the creation of light.
COZA, Senator Abbo: Osun State is next!
Of truth is the Yoruba adage that says 20-year-old pounded yam can still steam really hot as if it had been freshly prepared. Ask ‘Pastor’ Biodun Fatoyinbo of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly. The “pounded yam” he allegedly “ate” 20 years ago is steamy hot in his mouth right now! Rapists, paedophiles, child-and women-abusers should not be given an inch but must be smoked out of their “close places” as the Bible calls it. So also must those who abuse their position and privileges like the errant PDP Senator Elisha Abbo. I watched his apology; it was the right thing to do. Still, he must be brought to book; his remorse and penitence may count but for no reason must he escape punishment for his dastardly act. He should also be made to pay compensation to his victims. I hereby appeal to social media, civil society groups, organisations and individuals who combined to bring COZA and Abbo on their kneels to move to Osogbo, Osun State, and focus attention on the case of the alleged defilement a four-year-old girl by the driver (Oyelakin Oluwatomisin) of a politically-connected private school (Charleston Group of Schools, Kelebe, Osogbo).
Osun State Government appears to be dragging its foot on the matter. I personally took the matter up with the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Charles Akinola; I have also repeatedly written about it as well as called the attention of civil society organisations to it. The powerful people involved in this case are even said to include a first-class traditional ruler in the state and they have all been piling undue pressure on the family of the victim. On one occasion, Akinola made me speak to “someone” I suspected could have been Governor Gboyega Oyetola himself, who denied that the state was on the side of the vile rapist and paedophile. He promised to get justice for the victim. But the case has suffered diligent prosecution. The magistrate almost threw it out. The accused was released from Ilesha prison and now not only walks about a free man but also, together with his gang, terrorises, intimidates and mocks the family of the victim.
The case came up again on Monday, July 8th. At the previous hearing, which was two months before then, they said the case file would have left the DPP’s office for onward transmission to the High Court. But, again last Monday, they foot-dragged! I have enough “locus standi” in this case; apart from being pubic-spirited, the victim’s mother is my niece and the entire family is gutted. While I congratulate Governor Oyetola on his mint-fresh victory at the Supreme Court, he should please see to it that justice is done in this matter. The case was adjourned to October 21st.
LAST WORD: Congratulations, Oluwadare Aragbaye, on your well-deserved appointment as Head of Service of Ondo State. Not only was Dare my junior at Owo High School, he is also unassuming, humble, courteous, respectful, and dutiful. His elder brother, “Brother” Bola Aragbaye (who translated lately), was instrumental to my starting my journalism career at the Sketch newspapers, Ibadan. Dare, may your tenure be fruitful!
I wish to congratulate you after I read your article of 26th June. It is very imperative as you are alive to tell the story (of June 12). Congratulations! – Major Mbanasor Valentine.
Your article of 26th June was a great deal of courage – but you did not tell us who Moji is!
El-Rufai’s tale of two countries
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, is a man who courts controversy like a hobby. He does not only attract undue attention to himself, he enjoys throwing tantrums at any point in time to make himself relevant in contemporary political discourse. From the day he was discovered by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to the time when Alhaji Atiku Abubakar facilitated his participation in public service, El-Rufai has become an attention unto himself. He loves criticizing people but abhors people criticizing him. He gets easily paranoid when people take him up on issues. Each time he steps into the arena, he unleashes diatribe that controversially underpins his true state of mind. He does not run away from contradiction. His political excursions are dictated by his penchant for controversy to sustain his relevance. He can switch loyalty at the speed of light once he discovers that the political pendulum moves in the opposite direction.
A man who once reportedly demonised General Buhari as not fit for president, is today one of the factorisers of President Buhari’s complex leadership equation.
No doubt, El-Rufai is brilliant and bold in taking decisions no matter how unpopular. He tries to be the gadfly in a government that has remained perpetually underperforming. Were El-Rufai to be the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, he would have been the alternate president. He does not only love power, he knows how to cultivate power. Having lost out in his quest and permutations to succeed Chief Obasanjo in 2007, he went on self-exile to avoid late Yar’Adua’s long stick. As a Minister of the Federal Capital Territory during Obasanjo’s administration, he wielded enormous power that made him stepped on many toes in trying to restore the Abuja Master Plan. He ended up being accused of flouting what he set out to correct. A lot of his friends and cronies were accused of profiting from his land bazaar. But typical of a dinosaur that he is, he enjoys such attention grabbing engagements. And he often comes with such messianic posture that can easily make the unsuspecting members of the public to think that ice cannot melt in his mouth.
From being an “accidental public servant”, he contested for Governor of Kaduna State and rode on his record of performance in the FCT to be elected in 2015. He exported his controversies from Abuja to Kaduna State, from one trouble to another, and has succeeded in brazenly altering the political calculations in the state for his own good. From teachers sack that generated too much hoopla, to the law recently passed which attempts to ban public preaching in the state, Governor El-Rufai has become one controversy too many. Only recently, he reportedly gave a speech in an event in Lagos, where he told his audience how to dislodge political godfathers ostensibly making reference to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s octopoidal grip on the political pond of Lagos State. He stirred the hornet’s nest and that became another ding-dong. Before the elections of 2019, El-Rufai threatened observers with “body bags” if they dared interfere with the process of elections. That was one statement too many. It was a threat that was meant to prevent any foreign observer from making incisive comments of an election that later became massively flawed both in Kaduna and some other states in the North.
Only last week, he told a befuddled nation that Nigeria lives in two worlds; one is the North that is endemically backward and poor, and a Southern Nigeria that is educationally advantageous and wealthy. It is a statement of fact except that he has been part of the problems in the North rather than being the solution. In his native Kaduna State, I am yet to be fully educated on what he has put in place in the last four years to alter this ugly narrative. Aside from recruiting teachers to replace some moribund teachers who have refused to meet up with the compelling upgrade of knowledge, many of those recruited have been allegedly working without being paid. The programme is as haphazard as the man who is promoting it. Schools in Kaduna State are still in their decrepit state. Road infrastructure are still in their parlous state.
Rather than devote so much time in addressing insecurity in the state, his utterances are part of the reasons why the state appears to be under siege. Killings and communal clashes are routine in a state that once represented the capital of the North. Those who expected to see Governor El-Rufai repeat his FCT performance in Kaduna are taken aback that the man plays more of Aso Rock politics than governing the state. From Southern Kaduna through to Birnin-Gwari in the state, it is one killing after another. From Kaduna to Abuja highway, the kidnapping became so notorious and ubiquitous that El-Rufai was shown in an amateurish video, assisting his security aides to go after bandits and kidnappers who laid siege to the road.
Agreed that the North is educationally backward, a fact which is incontestable, what has Governor El-Rufai done to change the ugly narrative? Beggars are still roaming the streets in Kaduna. Street urchins are a regular feature in the state that once enjoyed the cognomen of being the headquarters of Northern Mafia. Infrastructure is still a huge challenge. Poverty walks on the streets in Kaduna state. Joblessness has converted able-bodied men to become loiters and roamers along road pavements across the state. Rather than settle down to confront the huge challenges confronting the state, El-Rufai prefers to roam the corridors of Aso Rock looking for presidential attention and trying to be one of the inelegant members of the cabal that has held Nigeria by the jugular. The public is swathed with whispers of his 2023 presidential ambition to succeed President Buhari amid a growing concern that the North are not going to relinquish power without a fight. We are surely going to witness a litany of political horse-tradings, gerrymandering, and movements as we inch towards 2021 when the countdown begins.
The historical and political leadership of Nigeria favours a Northern domination from 1960 till date, when put into proper perspective. It is a contradiction that despite this domination, what has dominated the North are a plethora of unsavoury realities that tend to promote hero-worship at the expense of clear-headed governance essentials. What has the North done for the North? What has been their roadmap to recover the region from its self-inflicted malady? What has President Buhari brought to the table to help the North recover itself from its debilitating realities in the last four years? What has President Buhari put forward as governmental framework to address the precarious situation the region finds itself despite the fact that it has had more presidents than other regions of the country? Drug abuse is rife. Insecurity is perennial. Armed banditry has become the order of the day. But it favours the leaders to keep its growing youth population in poverty so that they can continuously remain politically subservience for opportunistic use.
For example, what has been the response of the Northern Governors nay El-Rufai to the open threat by the Northern youths led by one Azeez Suleiman that handed down a 30-day ultimatum to the Federal Government on the RUGA stalemate? Some Northern political leaders, for want of cultivating the support and patronage of the youth, would prefer to maintain a conspiratorial silence in the face of such threats than to deliver an open condemnation of statement that touches on the very soul of the nation.
The governor made reference to the “demographic superiority” which according to him is a powerful tool for political negotiation in the country, except that time and time again, those 80% of the youth are largely uninformed, illiterate and unemployed, despite Northern political hegemony. While El-Rufai failed to chart a roadmap for the teeming youths in the North who have now taken to open threat, he also failed to inform them of what he has been able to do in the last four years to address their plights. Beyond mouthing empty platitudes of saying the Northern youths are not involved in “yahoo-yahoo”, he also credited the North as being the home of the richest Nigerian in Aliko Dangote, even though he failed to state how much of Dangote’s investment is in the North.
What El-Rufai should have told his army of Northern youths is how to recover them from tramadol and codeine. Some of the Northern youths have grown to become time-bomb at a time when there is national disarray and disconnections by a government that has shown minimal impact in its set objective. Aside from growing dissent across the country, the body language of the presidency on the vexed issue of Fulani settlements in the country has assumed another time-bomb waiting to explode. Drug abuse is worse than ‘yahoo yahoo’. Armed banditry and kidnappings are worse than ‘yahoo yahoo’. Modern day slavery and mindless killings cannot be a recipe for development. Rather than uttering threats in a boastful manner, the Northern youths should learn to appreciate the delicate balance in the country as well as its ethnic configurations. History has shown that Nigeria has become a theory of contradiction. Out of our contradictions, we have been able to sustain this unholy marriage for over 100 years. To openly threaten a people is to open old wounds which will not augur well for a country in search of result-driven leadership. El-Rufai may have outlined some of the ills in the North, he has failed to provide a roadmap. He has simply played to the gallery, a stuff that he is made of.
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