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The return of president Buhari after 2019 elections: What is the fate of our democracy?

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The return of president Buhari after 2019 elections: What is the fate of our democracy?

Is our democracy in shackles? Is there any plot to further rape, destroy and finally bury our democracy? These are questions we never thought we would be asking after the 2015 general elections, when PMB was sworn in as the new President of Nigeria.

After all, even though we know democracies are always fragile, the one in which we live in has somehow managed to defy gravity. When a government in power begins to treat their rivals as enemies, intimidate the free press, try to weaken the institutional buffers in our democracy, including the courts, the legislature, and then like flies are to wanton boys, so are (the courts system, the legislatures, political opponents or any former crony of this government who falls out with them) they to the security and anti-corruption agencies of this government, they use them for their sport. Majority of Nigerians are concerned that our democracy may be under threat.

THE RETURN OF PMB IN 2019; WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

A President with 4 years democratic experience, little observable commitment to constitutional rights and clear authoritarian tendencies (cases of illegal and continued detention of Col. Sambo Dasuki, Elzakzaky, Maazi Nnamdi Kanu, persecution of the activists and opposition parties etc. are few examples).Will PMB’s second term be another era of decimation of the opposition in the name of fighting corruption, political paralysis, social unrest and economic crisis? Democratic institutions (the courts and the legislatures) in Nigeria have been assaulted in the past. During and after the cold war, democracy dissolve in spectacular fashion, through military power and coercion. That was how democracies used to die at the hands of men with guns. PMB was among those who has benefited from such coups d’état.

More recently, on 15th July, 2016, a coup d’état was attempted in Turkey against state institutions including the Government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was toppled in 2013, while the Thai Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was toppled in 2014. These analysis are not in any way an attempt to sideline or bury the history of coup d’états in Nigeria, but its illustrating or bringing more recent coups to bear in this write up. During coup d’états, the death of democracy is immediate and evident to all. The President is either killed, imprisoned or shipped off into exile. The Constitution is suspended or scrapped.

CONTEMPORARY MEANS OF EXECUTING COUP D’ETAT IN DEMOCRATIC NATIONS WITHOUT GUNS

It is important to note that in contemporary democracies, blatant dictatorship in the form of military rule has disappeared much across the world. Military coups and other violent seizures of power are rare, yet democracies are still in shackles, raped, destroyed and buried. Nigeria has mourned the death of democracy several times, however, with the resurrection of democracy in Nigeria, in1999, all hope was kept alive. Most democratic breakdowns these days have been caused not by Generals or soldiers, but by elected government officials themselves.

Democratic institutions have been subverted by elected leaders in countries like Georgia, Hungary, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Ukraine.

Nowadays, most leaders in trying to subvert democracy and democratic institutions try to cloth it with a veneer of legality in the sense that the legislative are cowed into approving it or the courts are intimidated to accept it. They may even be portrayed as efforts to improve democracy, making the judiciary more efficient, combating corruption, or cleaning up the electoral process. Media houses might still be publishing but some are bought or bullied into self-censorship. Activists or citizens who continue to criticize government often find themselves being challenged or be facing tax issues or other legal troubles/persecution. The likes of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, (my jurisprudential grandfather), Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, (my mentor, father and my boss), Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Monday Ubani, Esq, Senator Dino Melaye, Deji Adeyanju, political opponents etc. are within those categories.

Surprisingly, people do not immediately realize what is happening, that a tyrant has taken over and is gradually subverting democracy and democratic institutions. People do not immediately realize what is happening, due to the shadow of legality that follows such persecution and because there was no official coup, no declaration of martial law or direct suspension of the Constitution, Legislature or the Courts but a nicodemous constant and frequent use of executive orders which automatically renders the legislature legally impotent (such executive orders will be used more in this PMB’s second tenure. Nigerians should watch out).
Consequently, nothing may set off society’s alarm bells that there is a democratic coup and those who denounce government abuse may be dismissed as exaggerating, crying wolf or anti-government.

HOW VULNERABLE IS NIGERIA’S DEMOCRACY?

Answering such a question requires drawing lessons from the experiences of other democracies around the world and throughout history, which the remaining part of this write up will frequently and constantly x-ray. Studying other democracies in crisis allows us to better understand the challenges facing our own democracy. We can learn from the mistakes that past democratic leaders have made in opening the door to would-be authoritarians and conversely, from the ways that other democracies have kept extremists out of power. No doubt, extremist forces or potential tyrants emerge from time to time in all societies, even in healthy democracies. The United States is not left out, having experienced the likes of Henry Ford, Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, and George Wallace.

The political antidote is not whether such figures exist, but whether political leaders and especially political parties, work to prevent them from gaining power in the first place, by keeping them off the mainstream party tickets, refusing to endorse or align with them. Isolating or retiring extremist forces requires political courage, but when fear, opportunism, or miscalculation leads established political parties to bring extremists into power, democracy is castrated and imperiled.

IDENYTIFYING WOULD-BE AUTHORITARIAN DEMOCRATS

For potential autocrats to be kept out of power, they have to be identified. Many authoritarians can be easily recognized before they come to power. Most of them have a clear trademark or pattern of behaviour. For instance, Adolf Hitler, a former Head of State (President of Germany) led a failed putsch, Hugo Chavez, former President of Venezuela, led a failed military uprising, Benito Mussolini, former Italian Prime Minister, engaged in paramilitary violence; Juan Peron, former President of Argentina, helped lead a successful coup two and a half years before running for President. Our dear PMB has similar trademark with these autocrats listed above. At some point, PMB had to confess that he is a reformed democrat. It is important to note that most of these autocrats do not normally reveal their full scale authoritarianism before reaching power. Some adhere to democratic norms early in their careers, only to abandon them later. Consider Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who governed democratically initially, only for him to start exhibiting his autocratic tendencies after returning to power in 2010.

SOME INDICATORS OF AUTHORITARIAN BEHAVIOUR

According to eminent political scientist, Juan Linz, a professor at Yale in his book ‘The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes’, enumerated certain indicators of authoritarian behavior.

1. Have they supported laws or policies that restrict civil liberties, such as expanded libel or defamation laws, or laws restricting protest, criticism of the government, or certain civil or political organizations?
2. Have they threatened to take legal or other punitive action against critics in rival parties, civil societies or media organizations though clothed in a veneer of legality?
3. Have they tacitly endorsed violence by their supporters by refusing to unambiguously condemn it and punish it?
4. Do they have any ties to armed gangs, paramilitary forces, militias, guerrillas, or other organizations that engage in illicit violence?
5. Do they reject the Constitution or express a willingness to violate it?
6. Do they suggest a need for anti-democratic measures, such as cancelling elections, violating or suspending the Constitution (directly or indirectly through constant use of executive orders), banning certain organizations or restricting basic civil or political rights?
7. Do they seek to use (or endorse use of) extra-constitutional means to change the government, such as military coup, violent insurrections, or mass protests aimed at forcing a change in the government.

FILTERING OUT AUTHORITARIAN POLITICIANS

Keeping authoritarian politicians out of power is more easily said than done. Democracies, after all, are not supposed to ban parties or prohibit candidates from standing for election and such measures should not advisedly be advocated for. The responsibility for filtering out authoritarians lies, rather, with political parties and party leaders, who are mainly party and democracy’s gatekeepers except maybe if there is any advent of individual candidacy much later in our Constitution.

In a political system, gatekeepers are individuals, groups and institutions which control access to positions of power and regulate the flow of information and political influence. Successful gatekeeping requires that mainstream parties to isolate and defeat extremist forces. Pro-democratic parties may engage in distancing/gatekeeping in several ways:

1. Keeping potential authoritarians off party ballots during primaries which entail resisting the temptation to nominate these extremists for higher office even when they can potentially deliver votes.
2. Parties can root out extremists in the grass roots of their own ranks. For instance, the Swedish Conservative Party (AVF) whose youth group called the Swedish National Youth Organization grew increasingly radical in the early 1930s, criticizing parliamentary democracy, openly supporting Hitler. The AVF responded in 1933 by expelling the Organization.
3. Pro-democratic parties can avoid all alliances with anti-democratic parties and candidates. Such alliances were what gave birth to the All Progressives Congress (APC). As we saw in Italy and Germany, pro-democratic parties are sometimes tempted to align with extremists on their ideological flank to win votes or, in parliamentary systems, such alliances can have devastating long term consequences. As Christopher Paolin rightly stated “They may fight with us, but they don’t fight for us.” Linz also rightly stated that the demise of many democracies can be traced to a party’s greater affinity for extremists on its side of the political spectrum than for (mainstream) parties close to the opposite side.
4. Pro-democratic parties can act to systematically isolate, rather than legitimize, extremists.
5. Finally, whenever extremists emerge as serious political contenders, mainstream parties must forge a united front to defeat them.

HOW AUTHORITATIANS SHATTER DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS

Assault on democracy begins slowly. For many citizens, it may be imperceptible at first. After all, elections continue to be held. Opposition politicians are still in Congress, independent newspapers still circulate. Indeed, the Government moves to subvert democracy frequently and in baby steps enjoys a veneer of legality. They are approved by parliament or ruled constitutionally by the Supreme Court. Many of them are adopted under the guise of pursuing some legitimate or even laudable public objective, such as combating corruption, cleaning up elections, improving the quality of democracy, or enhancing national security.

This subtle nature of capturing democratic institutions could be equated to a football match, where the extremist forces or the authoritarians in trying to consolidate powers, captures the referees, sidelines at least some of the other side’s star players, re-writes the rules of the game and is in effect filling the playing field against their opponents. Capturing the referees provides the government with more than a shield. It also offers a powerful weapon in allowing government to selectively enforce the law, punishing opponents while protecting allies. The authorities may be used to target rival politicians, businesses and media outlets. The police can crack down on opposition protest while tolerating acts of violence by pro-government thugs. Intelligence agencies are used to spy on critics and dig up material for blackmail. This seems like the political atmosphere within the Nigerian political space for the past four years. I remember vividly when the phone conversations of two governors, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and Former Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose were tapped and even published in various online media

Most often, the capture of the referees is done by quietly firing civil servants, judges and other non-partisan officials, and replacing them with loyalists. In Hungary, for example, Prime Minister Viktor Orban packed the nominally independent prosecution service, State Audit Office, Ombudsman’s Office, Central Statistics Office, and Constitutional Court with partisan allies after returning to power in 2010.
In Peru, under the directive of Alberto Fujimori’s intelligence advisor, Peru’s National Intelligence Service videotaped hundreds of opposition politicians, judges, congressmen, businessmen, journalists and editors paying or receiving bribes, entering brothels, or engaging in other illicit activity, and then used the videotapes to blackmail them.
Fujimori also maintained three Supreme Court Justices, two members of the Constitutional Tribunal, and a “staggering” number of Judges and public prosecutions on his payroll, delivering monthly cash payments to their homes.
On the surface, Peru’s justice system functioned like any other, but in the shadows, Fujimori was consolidating power. Judges who cannot be bought off may be targeted for impeachment. The Nigerian judicial system as the last born of the three arms of government has suffered series of intimidation and persecution in our political history especially in the past four years till date and there is hope of any cease fire soon.
When Peron assumed the presidency, four of Argentina’s five-member Supreme Court were conservative opponents. Peron’s allies in Congress impeached three of the justices on grounds of malfeasance (a fourth resigned before he could be impeached). Peron then appointed four loyalists, and the court never opposed him again.
Likewise, when Peru’s Constitutional Tribunal threatened to block President Fujimori’s bid for a third term in 1997, Fujimori’s allies in congress impeached three of the body’s seven justices on the grounds that, in declaring Fujimori’s effort to evade constitutional term limits “unconstitutional,” they themselves had breached the Constitution.

COURT PACKING

WHAT DOES THE TERM COURT PACKING MEANS

The Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 (frequently called the “court-packing plan”) was a legislative initiative proposed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to add more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Roosevelt’s purpose was to obtain favorable rulings regarding New Deal legislation that the court had ruled unconstitutional. The central provision of the bill would have granted the President power to appoint an additional Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, up to a maximum of six, for every member of the court over the age of 70 years and 6 months.
Court-packing is what autocrats do as they begin to consolidate their power. And it’s been a particularly popular method in the past couple decades. Huq and Ginsburg noted that court-packing is a frequently used tool in the toolkit of would-be authoritarians.
Government that cannot remove independent judges may bypass them through court packing.
In “How Democracies Die”, Harvard comparative politics scholars Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt characterize 1937 as one of America’s close calls with democratic backsliding, along with Richard Nixon’s attempts to evade justice at the end of his presidency.
Levitsky and Ziblatt write. “The failure of Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme and the fall of Nixon were made possible when key members of the president’s own party … decided to stand up and oppose him.”
INSTANCES OF COURT PACKING IN MOST COUNTRIES
• In 1801, before the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson, the outgoing Federalist Party passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, shrinking the court from six to five members by providing that the next member to die or resign would not be replaced. Saylor describes this as “undoubtedly an attempt made by the Federalists to keep the Court wholly Federalist.”
• In 1802, Jefferson’s Democratic – Republican Party repealed the 1801 law and returned the court to six members.
• In 1807, the Jeffersonian-dominated Congress expanded the Court to even members, to accommodate a new judicial circuit covering Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, then new additions to the union.
• In 1837, two new circuits were created and the Court’s size increased to nine; Saylor credits this to the geographic pressures of America’s westward expansion, but notes that Andrew Jackson quickly took advantage and appointed two new justices the day before he left office.
• In 1863, Congress increased the Supreme Court’s size to 10 members in the midst of the Civil War. Saylor explains, “There was a widespread suspicion that Lincoln wanted another man on the Court on whom he could depend lest the body invalidate some of the crucial and doubtful wartime legislation which was coming before it at that time.”
These histories are not one of politically disinterested policymakers negotiating impartially as to the Court’s size. It’s a history of political manipulation with an eye toward partisan advantage.
• In 1999, the Chavez government called elections for a constituent assembly that, in violation of an earlier Supreme Court ruling, awarded itself the power to dissolve all other state institutions, including the court. Fearing for its survival, the Supreme Court acquiesced and ruled the move constitutional. Supreme Court President Cecilia Sosa resigned, declaring that the court had “committed suicide to avoid being assassinated. But the result is the same. It is dead.” Two months later, the Supreme Court was dissolved and replaced by a new Supreme Tribunal of Justice. Even that wasn’t enough to ensure a pliant judiciary, however, in 2004, the Chavez government expanded the size of the Supreme Tribunal from twenty to thirty-two and filled the new posts with “revolutionary” loyalists. That did the trick. Over the next nine years, not a single Supreme Tribunal ruling went against the government.
• In 1946-47, Argentina’s populist President and former military coup conspirator Juan Perón successfully impeached four out of the country’s five Supreme Court justices in a bid to consolidate power.
• In 1989, Argentine President Carlos Menem, fearing Supreme Court opposition to his privatization schemes, expanded the court from five to nine members and packed it with sympathetic judges.
• As part of Viktor Orban’s rise to power as Hungary’s dictator, in 2010 he and his Fidesz party amended the rules of Supreme Court appointment so that the opposition no longer had to assent to nominees; in 2011 they expanded the number of judges from 11 to 15; in 2012 and 2013 they expanded terms on the bench from nine to 12 years and eliminated the 70-year age limit previously in place. These moves, together, resulted in 11 out of 15 judges being Fidesz loyalists. The Orban government expanded the size of the Constitutional Court from eight to fifteen.
• Among many other attempts to weaken the judiciary, Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then the prime minister, in 2010 pushed through a referendum increasing the Constitutional Court’s size from 11 to 17 and enabling him and his loyalists to fill the new vacancies.
Nigeria is not left out in the court packing system, with the recent sting operation in the house of most Judges at the middle of the night, and also with the recent suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, all clothed with the tag of fighting corruption without following due process, most Nigerians believe our democracy as at the brink of collapse.
One of the great ironies of how democracies die is that the very defense of democracy is often used as a pretext for its subversion. Would be autocrats often use economic crises, security threats, wars, corruption, armed insurgencies, or terrorist attacks to justify antidemocratic measures. That was why PMB asserted that security and national interest should be elevated above the rule of law, while forgetting the immortal words of the Supreme Court in Military Governor of Lagos State v Odumegwu Ojukwu (2001) FWLR (part 50) 1779, 1802, coram erudite Obaseki, JSC:
“The Nigerian Constitution is founded on the rule of law, the primary meaning of which is that everything must be done according to law. Nigeria, being one of the countries in the world which professes loudly to follow the rule of law, gives no room for the rule of self-help by force to operate”.

May God bless and heal Nigeria.

Kasiemobi Oranugo, Esq,
Senior Counsel
Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers
tomyikaba@gmail.com

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Perspectives

P&ID’s $9.6bn judgement: ‘Who Done It?’

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P&ID’s $9.6bn judgement: ‘Who Done It?’

 

 

F

or those not only old enough to know, but also fans of television series; they will immediately (or not so immediately) recall that the above headline I am using for my piece this weekend strikes a chord – stirring up something that might had receded in their memories because it happened a fairly long time ago!

 

 

So let me end your struggle to recall where you had come across it – it is the headline of the one of the episodes of the television series, Dallas.

 

 

It was one of the 1980 episodes of the very popular series than ran on the American television network, on CBS from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991; and was syndicated all over the world including Nigeria.

 

 

In fact this particular episode still remains the second highest rated prime-time telecast ever and got viewers scratching their heads trying to find out who actually shot one of the main characters, J.R. Ewing before finally revealing the culprit.

 

 

But what is the title of one of the longest lasting full-hour prime time dramas in American TV history, which in 2007 was included in TIME magazine’s list of “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time”, doing in a very recent event which has captivated the headlines and been the main talk around town?

 

 

The answer is very simple: Because millions of Nigerians want to know how those in government and who are to protect the interests of the citizens have allowed the nation to get into this mess involving British engineering firm, Process & Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) and its $9.6billion judgment against the country in the first instance!

 

 

While not in a position to apportion blame on anyone directly, from what has been gleamed about the case, it is clear once again how inept those saddled with the responsibility of looking after our collective commonwealth have been – either naively or deliberately.

 

 

It also raises the spectre of which other contracts are lurking out there that we do not know off until they come out of the shadow to haunt the nation or some other shoddy decisions have been taken without being properly thought through.

 

 

A classic example of the later is the decision of authorities to allow the siting of various tank farms around Apapa without proper environmental impact assessments being carried out.

 

 

And because of this failure on the part of our bureaucrats and politicians, the once tranquil Apapa, which used to be home to many upper middle and rich class, has been turned into a living hell for the residents.

 

 

Even businesses that were already in the vicinity before the arrival of the tank farms have been impacted negatively.

 

 

John Holt, Niger Biscuits, banks and many others have been forced to relocate or have been squeezed almost to death.

 

 

I remember many occasions, when I was still with This Day Newspapers, of not being able to take my car to the office because tankers waiting to load at the tank farm located on Creek Road would have taken over all the three lanes leading to both the farm and Apapa port proper.

 

 

There were times, on the occasions we were are able to take our vehicles to the office, that we were forced to sleep in the premises after finishing production because the truck drivers would have totally blocked the company’s entrance.

 

 

On a number of occasions a frustrated Publisher, Nduka Obaigbena in a classic case of the “baby wey say him mama no go sleep, himself no go sleep” would use his SUV to block the road leading to the tank farm.

 

 

Members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum & Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) would come to beg and appeal to him to allow their members get to the tank farm and in return he (Obaigbena) would squeeze concessions from the NUPENG officials that they would not use theirs to disturb his own business by taking over the road thereby preventing newsprint from getting to the press or even allowing the printed paper leave for distribution because of the antics of their lawless members.

 

 

Of course for the next couple of days after the “truce meeting” we will enjoy some semblance of normalcy with the trucks keeping to one side of the road allowing other road users ply the road before total confusion returns and we are back to the bad old ways.

 

 

A number of people living in Apapa that I know have finally thrown in the towel packed up and left fed up of government’s inability to safe guard their own rights to living in a decent environment.

 

 

What makes the Apapa situation even more poignant is the fact that despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s order of more than two months ago to get the issue fixture it is still business as usual. So if a President’s directive cannot be enforced in this country, then what hope is there for the ordinary man?

 

 

But if one can genuinely argue that this Apapa problem affects just a “few” Nigerians and is limited to just a “small” section of the country; the same cannot be said of the mammoth $9.6billion judgement the nation is now facing and which is enforced will affect everyone living in the country called Nigeria!

 

 

Although moves are already on to find a way out of the logjam, it is also very imperative for government to get to the root cause of how the nation got into the mess in the first instance.

 

 

All the dramatis personnel and the roles that they played in the infamous contract scandal must not only be exposed but must be severely dealt with in order to serve as a deterrent to others who might want to put their selfish interests above those of the collective good of the nation.

 

 

The investigation should not end up like the Halliburton scandal in which the company paid Nigerian officials some $180 million in bribes between 1993 and 2004 in order to secure a construction contract for a liquefied natural gas plant in Bonny Island in the Niger Delta.

 

 

After making headlines for a couple of weeks just like this P&ID scandal, ostensibly because of the “big names” involved, the case quietly blew over without any Nigerian being made to pay for their indiscretions even though a number of foreigners involved in the scandal were prosecuted.

 

This act of impunity by our so-called “big men” is one of the reasons for why we have found ourselves in another messy situation 15 years after that one.

 

 

Thus unless a number of these “big men” are made scape goats; it is clear that such scandals will continue to be a reoccurring decibel in the nation’s history.

 

 

Speaking to the media in Abuja on the issue, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said: “We will find those involved in this scam, either inside or outside government.”

 

 

Well, Nigerians and indeed the world is waiting to see if for once this will actually be the case and we will not end up being treated to another episode of the now rested “Dallas”! 

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Perspectives

Marriage in The GAME OF THRONES (Part 2)

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Marriage in The GAME OF THRONES (Part 2)

P

lease, understand that the devil is not winning this GAME OF THRONES as is being perceived. Making many believe that he is winning, is part of his strategies being employed in the game. If you are among those who believe or have been deceived to believe that the devil is winning this GAME OF THRONES, “you are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

 

 

One of Satan’s lies is that no one is reliable for marriage anymore. My dear! Don’t fall for this lie. There are dozens and dozens of faithful and reliable young men and ladies out there.

 

 

Because of media reports about church leaders whose marriages are in crisis, many are being deceived by the same attacker to believe that successful marriages hardly exist. He is even painting a picture of “all men of God have become suspects. After all, we hear reports of those indulging in adultery, fornication, rape, sodomy, etc.”

 

 

Satan’s projected VERY BIG LIES are attempts to win THE GAME OF THRONES. The big question (the truth) is “what percentage of men of God ever have their activities reported on the pages of the newspapers? Secondly, what percentage of priests, pastors and other church leaders are actually interested in having their private activities in public domain? Thirdly, who conducted a census of Christians and achieved a scientifically researched evidence that a significant percentage of church leaders have fallen into such sins?

 

 

Please, don’t fall for cheap lies and error of generalization. There are millions of clergy out there with exemplary successful marriages.

 

 

The media reports that husbands and wives, including church goer couples now all kill each other, is part of Satan’s exaggeration and engineering strategies to expand fears for the marital institution, while promoting sexual intercourse outside marriage, so that more people will join him to suffer in hell fire after rapture and white throne judgement.

 

 

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

 

 

Dear reader! Ask God to open your spiritual eyes to see that there is a GAME OF THRONES going on. Satan wants to secure by all means, your loyalty to his throne. So, he makes you believe that money alone is requirement for marital success. May I deflate this lie by informing you that many millionaire couples file for divorce every day? Divorce is not usually an overnight decision. It is the absence of Christ at the centre of a relationship that pilots the relationship towards divorce. Satan knows that your marriage wields a great influence over your personal relationship with God. So, there is currently, a massive satanic attack against Christian marriages, including those involving public figures. This also, is a gimmick being applied to contend for victory in the GAME OF THRONES.

 

 

It is the devil that tells you as a wife never to submit to your husband as scripture commands. Society applauds your errors as of course, sin is sweet and the road to hell fire looks easier to glide through.

 

 

It is Satan that tells you to forget about the Bible when it comes to marital issues. Your true enemy is not your spouse. Your true enemy is Satan who is doing everything to win more loyalists to his throne in this game. Jesus Christ warns you again not to switch camp in John 8:34-35.

 

 

Loyalty and faithfulness to your spouse is loyalty to God’s heavenly throne. Doing the contrary is to leave the winning team that the world thinks is losing (God’s team).

 

 

Avoiding premarital sex is loyalty to God’s heavenly throne. Doing the contrary is to denounce the winning team of godly people, loyalty to the heavenly throne.

 

 

There are millions of faithful, loyal and happy marriage partners in your society. Don’t fall for the devil’s gimmicks to get you, by forming analysis based on frequency of negative media reports. Publishing a church leader’s sin of adultery is fun and helps media houses to sell their products, especially when that church person is popular. That cannot become a representation of a larger silent population of loyalists to God’s heavenly throne.

 

 

Right from the day of your wedding where you were taking your marital vow, Satan was busy swearing to ensure that your marital vow never comes to fulfillment. His permanent focus is to ensure that your loyalty to the heavenly throne is broken (John 10:10).

 

 

What you are reading now is intended to help you ensure that you do not conform to this world’s standards but be transformed by the renewing of your mind to know the perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).

 

 

So, if you are a born again Christian, when next you go to the social media or any medium and receive an intimidating or tempting message from Satan’s throne, remember there is an ongoing GAME OF THRONES, and that you belong to, and must retain your position in the wining team. It can take just one second to give up your loyalty to the heavenly throne. Be careful that you do not sell your divine entitlement for the sweet pot of portage that is being shared by the father of all liars.

 

 

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

 

 

 

 

God’s heavenly throne is, and will forever remain the winning throne in the GAME OF THRONES. Don’t be deceived or lured out of the winning team.

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Perspectives

The yellowness of a fever

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The yellowness of a fever

 

 

T

he colour yellow relates to acquired knowledge. It is the colour which resonates with the left or logic side of the brain stimulating our mental faculties and creating mental agility and perception.  Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, the color psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun.  In the meaning of colors, yellow inspires original thought and inquisitiveness.  But it can be critical and judgmental, being overly analytical, being impatient and impulsive, being egotistical, pessimistic, an inferiority complex, spiteful, cowardly, deceitful and non-emotional.

 

 

When a fever is labeled yellow, it’s devoid of all the bright sides but entirely the negatives. This recent outbreak is linked to the death of four students of the College of Education, Waka-Biu, Borno. They had gone on a field trip to Yankari Game Reserve, in Bauchi State as part of their course work.

 

 

What it is

 

 

Yellow fever (also called Yellow jack, Yellow plague or Bronze john) is a serious, potentially deadly flu-like disease, it is an acute viral haemorrhagic (bleeding) disease (like Ebola and Lassa fever) transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they bite an infected human or monkey. The disease cannot be spread from one person to another. It’s characterized by a high fever and jaundice. Jaundice is yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is why this disease is called yellow fever. This disease is most prevalent in parts of Africa and South America. It is not curable.

 

 

How is it transmitted?

 

 

Yellow fever virus (an RNA virus) is mainly transmitted through the bite of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, but other mostly Aedes mosquitoes such as the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) can also serve as a vector for this virus. Like other arboviruses which are transmitted by mosquitoes, the yellow fever virus is taken up by a female mosquito when it ingests the blood of an infected human or other primate. Viruses reach the stomach of the mosquito, and if the virus concentration is high enough, the virions (the infective form of a virus) can infect epithelial cells and replicate there. From there, they reach the haemocoel (the blood system of mosquitoes) and from there the salivary glands. When the mosquito next sucks blood, it injects its saliva into the wound, and the virus reaches the bloodstream of the bitten person. The transmission of the yellow fever virus from a female mosquito to her eggs and then larvae, are indicated within A. aegypti.  This infection of vectors without a previous blood meal seems to play a role in single, sudden breakouts of the disease. The disease cannot be spread from one person to another. However, large numbers of cases (epidemics) can also occur in urban areas when a human with yellow fever infects the local Aedes mosquitoes (mainly Aedes aegypti) resulting in transmission from human to human via infected mosquitoes.

 

 

What may give it away

Yellow fever begins after an incubation period of three to six days. Most cases only cause a mild infection with fever, headache, chills, back pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting. In these cases, the infection lasts only three to four days.

 

 

In 15% of cases, however, people enter a second, toxic phase of the disease with recurring fever, this time accompanied by jaundice due to liver damage, as well as abdominal pain. Bleeding in the mouth, the eyes, and the gastrointestinal tract cause vomit containing blood, hence the Spanish name for yellow fever, vómito negro (“black vomit”). There may also be kidney failure, hiccups, and delirium.The toxic phase is fatal in about 20 to 50% of cases, making the overall fatality rate for the disease about 3.0 to 7.5%. However, the fatality rate of those with the toxic phase of the disease may exceed 50%.

 

 

Surviving the infection provides lifelong immunity, and normally no permanent organ damage results.

Laboratory catch

 

 

Yellow fever is most frequently a clinical diagnosis, made on the basis of symptoms and the diseased person’s whereabouts prior to becoming ill. Mild courses of the disease can only be confirmed virologically. Since mild courses of yellow fever can also contribute significantly to regional outbreaks, every suspected case of yellow fever (involving symptoms of fever, pain, nausea and vomiting six to 10 days after leaving the affected area) is treated seriously.

 

 

If yellow fever is suspected, the virus cannot be confirmed until six to 10 days after the illness. A direct confirmation can be obtained by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction where the genome of the virus is amplified. Another direct approach is the isolation of the virus and its growth in cell culture using blood plasma; this can take one to four weeks.

 

 

Serologically, an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) during the acute phase of the disease can confirm yellow fever.

 

 

Treatment

 

 

There’s no cure for yellow fever. Treatment involves managing symptoms (in a hospital setting) and assisting the body (immune system) in fighting off the infection by:

getting oxygen

maintaining a healthy blood pressure

getting blood transfusions if necessary

getting treatment for other infections that may develop

Prevention

Yellow fever is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine, which is safe and affordable. A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against yellow fever disease and a booster dose of the vaccine is not needed. The vaccine provides effective immunity within 30 days for 99% of persons vaccinated. Vector control taking measures to avoid mosquito bites (active in the day) are equally important.

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Judiciary was good in Zamfara but bad in Abuja?

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Judiciary was good in Zamfara but bad in Abuja?

The outcome of judicial pronouncements are usually two sides of the same coin. This, perhaps, explains the praises and criticisms that have trailed the outcome of the tribunal’s judgement that affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari and threw away the petitions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for their inability to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. The onus of proof lies with whoever alleges to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt if the pendulum of justice must swing in his favour, especially in matters that are criminal in nature. Law is what it is and not what it ought to be.

 

As a result, judges are not expected to act like Father Christmas and can only adjudicate based on evidence before them. However, we have seen situations where judges brought opprobrium to themselves by soiling their hands in iniquities. Year 2016 was a very bad year for our judiciary.

 

The judiciary was thoroughly bruised and broken. That arm of government was like a hen with broken beak. In October of that year, the Department of State Security (DSS) in “sting operations” raided the homes of some judges and arrested seven of them including two from the highest court in the country- the Supreme Court. It was unprecedented. During the operations, the DSS claimed it recovered N363 million from houses of three of the judges, a sad reminder of the alarm raised by a former Supreme Court Justice, late Kayode Esho, that there were dirty men and women in the temple of justice. The late justice described them as “millionaire judges.” The raid and its attendant consequences confirmed the suspicion that not all our judges come to equity with clean hands and confirmed the level of rot in the system.

 

While there was argument on the rightness or wrongness of the action of the DSS, there was a consensus that a corruptfree judiciary is a necessary ingredient if our democracy and the rule of law must thrive. There was also a general agreement that judicial rascality and recklessness must be tamed if found as a guarantee that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man. For those who felt the judiciary should be left alone even if corrupt so as to maintain its independence.

 

Then, I reminded them of the evocative words of late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa that: “If you are a judge and you are corrupt, where do we go from here? Then everything has come to a halt. If the legislature is corrupt, you go to the judiciary for redress.

 

If the executive is corrupt, you go to judiciary for remedy. If the judiciary itself is corrupt, where do we go from here?” Themis, the statue of woman of justice, found in courthouses and some law books, represents the Greek goddess of divine justice. Even those of us who are not “learned” as the lawyers call us, know that the statue has a very deep meaning beyond a mere symbol. The scale on Themis’ left hand symbolises fairness and balance. The black ribbon she is blindfolded with is a constant   reminder to judges that judicial pronouncements should be guided by evidence and law. In other words, judgements and rulings of court should not be determined by mere sentiments. Any court’s pronouncement that is not based on evidence and law is a travesty of justice.

 

However, some of our judges have shamelessly removed Themis’ blindfold so that they can see the faces of litigants and give judgements and rulings based on social and economic status of the parties before them. As a result of which, parties with higher monetary offers sure carry the day in courts. When people lose hope in the judiciary, they will resort to self-help, which can come in the form of people taking laws into their hands.

 

This is not good for the polity. It is an invitation to anarchy when people lose hope in the judiciary to find solace in self-help. Just as there are bad people in the temple of justice, there are also good people in the system.For this reason, it is extremely wrong to make sweeping statements that the entire judiciary is corrupt just because of a few bad eggs.

 

It’s a cause for concern when we bad mouth our judges each time the pendulum of justice does not swing in our favour or the way we expected it to be. While those of us who are not learned could be pardoned when we are aggrieved over courts’ judgements and rulings, how do we explain situations where lawyers who are learned lampoon judges on national television and on the pages of newspapers just because they disagreed with courts’ positions on some matters? This has been the case since the tribunal gave its judgement on Atiku/PDP’s petition. Some of us have gone back to the narrative of how the Buhari administration has ‘caged’ the judiciary.

 

‘The judiciary is now on trial.’ But when the same judiciary made pronouncements that put all elective political offices firmly in the hands of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) just because the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not conduct its primaries according to its own rules in Zamfara, the judiciary was okay and not caged then. Perhaps, the judiciary forgot then that the president belongs to the APC when it gave final verdict on Zamfara that in the eyes of the law, APC had no candidate in the election and could not have won any election as such would amount to building something on nothing. I am a firm and unrepentant believer in the rule of law.

 

This is what informed my position that Atiku should seek redress in court if he feels strongly that he won the February presidential election. I maintained that asking him not to seek redress so as not to heat up the polity is a bunkum talk that won’t fly. My insistence on Atiku to go to court was based on the fact that the outcome, irrespective of whatever it is would strengthen our jurisprudence and in turn help our democracy.

 

 

On Wednesday, the tribunal did affirm that Atiku has the right to petition against Buhari’s victory. The court said it was not a pre-election matter as claimed by the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The court hinged its position on the provisions of the Electoral Act, specifically Section 138 (1) (a), which allows for filing of petition relating to allegation of false information. We may never have known this if Atiku had not gone to court.

 

The same court said the former vicepresident is not a Cameroonian as claimed by the APC and that tradermoni is not for vote-buying. Imagine if the court had said tradermoni is being used to induce voters, of course that would have been the end of the programme until a more superior court pronounced otherwise. More importantly is the aspect of the judgement, which laid to rest the qualification of the president as the court insisted that “there’s no doubt that he (President Buhari) is not only qualified BUT EMINENTLY QUALIFIED (emphasis mine) to contest the election as shown by the EVIDENCE (emphasis mine) presented by the petitioners.

 

 

“No evidence that Buhari submitted false documents to the INEC,” the tribunal declared. We have also known that when criminal allegation is raised against someone or agency, the person or agency must be joined in the suit as failure to do so will negate the principle of fair hearing or akin to shaving someone’s head behind him. The tribunal said the PDP/Atiku should have joined security agents accused of rigging for Buhari if they feel strongly about such weighty allegation. Also of importance is the aspect which says the use of card readers and other electronic devices are valid component of the electoral process but there was ” no provision for electronic transmission of results.” All we need to do is to strengthen the process as such is capable of giving us credible polls in the future.

 

Just like I was happy when Atiku approached the court to register his disatisfaction with the outcome of the presidential election, my mood has not changed when I learnt that he is going to the Supreme Court to upturn Wednesday’s outcome. It is his right to do so. He should not be put under pressure or blackmail to rescind his decision. Whoever asks Atiku not to go to Supreme Court is definitely not a lover of democracy. The fact that that Nigerian court has not upturned presidential election victory does not mean it is impossible to do it. If there is need to do so. But the court won’t do it if it’s not approached by aggrieved party or parties. In everything, there is always the first time. Whatever the outcome is, at the Supreme Court, our jurisprudence and democracy stand to benefit immensely.

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So, how did Osun prepare Rauf Aregbesola for Nigeria’s stability?

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So, how did Osun prepare Rauf Aregbesola for Nigeria’s stability?

Trust Nigerians, hardly had he rounded off his first visit to the Ministry of Interiors than cartoonists, graphic artists went to work. In a jiffy, the tweeting facebooking and instagramming generation had gone to work to serve us different interpretations of what the new Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said shortly after his oath taking. “Interior Ministry for Beginners, Hard Copy, Soft Copy, Digital Editions Available” was one of those satirical pieces that got me laughing. And as usual too, the Nigerian media went out with different headlines: Buhari Has put me in a strange ministry-Aregbesola (Daily Post); “I don’t know Much About Interior Ministry” (PUNCH), “Except for Newspapers, I Have No Knowledge of my New Ministry” (Vanguard).

If you are one of those who had followed Aregbesola and his trajectory, you would have no qualms taking in these variants of interpretations of just one statement. For me, I laughed my head off. Don’t blame me! If I survived Aregbesola with all the possible darts he had received in his capacity as Governor of Osun, I doubt it any such blitz ( no matter how negative) could get my feet off grounds again. Just an example will do. Do you recall the former Governor after his famous interview at the Presidential Villa where he said the salary challenge in Osun was beyond him? Oh! Hell knew no worst media fury ever since.

A harmless opinion, genuine and critical to getting over the bad weather the national economy had run into was twisted to a campaign that Aregbesola must immediately vacate office because, according to the interpretations his critics would want to settle for, he had simply given up and had lost control of how to navigate out of the stormy financial weather in the state.

Such is the way, especially these days of gatekeeper-less media, any word, no matter how harmless, could easily become your greatest undoing by the time it passes through the crucibles of antagonistic wordsmiths. After eight good years, one should know better than being perturbed by the whimsical inclinations of ‘public affairs analysts’ bloggers, and writers who think first of traffic rather than truth. And the truth is that Aregbesola spoke the truth.

But the question here should be: How has Osun prepared Aregbesola for the tasks involved in internal security and other matters so interior to Nigeria? By the time the National Bureau of Statistics rated Osun as the safest state in Nigeria, it was obvious that certain government policies had impacted greatly on the state prompting others to look in the direction of the strategic approaches to solving societal problems. For security challenges, we are all more inclined to think that in guns and deployment of armed personnel to the field lie the solutions to national instability.

The experiment in Osun has proved that some more strategic policy frameworks are needed to create the atmosphere of peace and security required for smooth development to take place across the land. The pre-2010 Osun was fraught with insecurity, youths idleness and above all, despondency.

The ability to identify which segment of the society needed to be taken care of as a matter of priority became critical. Being able to achieve that, it then showed that creating opportunities for such segments such as the youths, the women and children and then the elderly would go far in eliminating elements that induce tension within the society. A scheme that took off 60,000 youths for some community engagements in three batches did more than reduce the lure into crimes in Osun.

The overall effects of re-orientations, value regenerations, skills acquisitions, realization of selfworth and potential were far more than token in effect on the psyche of the people. In addition to this were those specific programmes that engaged women such as the school-feeding programme for which women food vendors spread across the local governments were taken away from idleness.A number of Nigeria’s internal security challenges stem from vanishing values and good orientations.

Specifically, leadership programmes of the yore, which formed and baked future leaders from teen stages of their lives were practically lost. Characters became less important in dealings, culminating in criminal activities such as robberies, murders, suicides, rapes, advanced fee frauds, rituals, smugglings, bunkering, arsons and their ilk. And with those listed above, the challenges increase for the authorities to provide for internal security, which is threatened to the detriment of the law-abiding citizenry.

The society itself needs some review of its past with a view to bringing back some of the value-adding practices of old. A look at how leadership training strategies of the decades before now prepared citizens to be of good behaviours should give Nigeria the initiative that it is not only when security personnel are armed to their teeth that the people can sleep with their eyes full closed. Osun knew peace. Younger generation of the citizens in the state came under some new forms of re-orientations helping to produce the new man.

Apart from producing job opportunities, the Osun youths empowerment scheme reawakened the need for social responsibility. And in the same way, programmes such as calisthenics for younger minds willy-nilly, taught younger generation of Osun residents the beauty of collaboration, focus, concentration, commitment and dedication.

Were all these not to be missing in Nigeria’s national life, the issues that challenge us all today over internal security as listed above would have been halted at their manageable proportions. To sum it up, value re-orientation is pivotal to a new society where there is order and less criminality. Agencies such as the one for National Orientation, Ministry of Youths and Sports Development stand in very critical and good steads to help the Ministry of the Interiors step up engaging and positive youths activities to lure them away from crimes and other anti-social behaviours.

Even to be sure that no soul lived in Osun without being captured in the data base of the state, Aregbesola’s introduction of the Kaadi Omoluabi, a mode of identification for all in Osun with specific features went a long way to add to the overall task of securing the state.

Those saddled with leadership responsibilities must spot where the strengths lie in human capital resources. Of course, failure to do this has always in the past resulted in poor service delivery to the people. But where this is done, the people are always at the benefitting end. Aregbesola no doubt, left the workers in Osun with a lasting impression that a political office holder came and demonstrated an unrivaled penchant for spotting the best within the bureaucracy; motivating them to bring out the potential in them.

Even before Osun, it is on record that while Engr. Ganiyu Johnson served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure in Lagos State, it took Aregbesola’s eagle eye to spot Johnson’s competence, prompting him to ensure that rather than quit after his civil service years, he was headhunted to become a Special Adviser in the same ministry. Johnson later served as the Commissioner for Works in the state.

The current Senator representing Osun West district, Adelere Oriolowo, was Permanent Secretary, Rural Development before his retirement. Convinced of his vast experience in engineering and project management, Aregbesola did not hesitate to pull him back to serve as Project Coordinator for the Osun Rural Accessibility Mobility Programme (RAMP) a World Bank-funded development programme. In the same vein, at least, two permanent secretaries who had attained the peaks of their civil service careers – Fatai Kolawole and Lawrence Oyediran in the Ministry of Education were not allowed to go. While Kolawole was pulled back to head the State’s Universal Basic Education Board, Oyediran was pulled back to work at the State’s Education Quality Assurances Agency, an office created by his government specifically to monitor quality teachings and learning in the state’s public schools.

Whatever made Osun’s statistics to be such enviable in spite of the enormous financial challenges that administration faced must provide guides towards solving some of the national questions. Nigeria must rework her education policies such that the products are people who become assets, and not burdens to the society. It is only when peace is guaranteed internally through the combined strategies of the right value orientation, addition and focused social protection schemes that the economic potential of the country could be harnessed for the good of all.

 

Semiu Okanlawon, Communication and Strategy Consultant writes via sokanlawon67@gmail.com

 

 

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What exactly is the problem, South Africans?

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What exactly is the problem, South Africans?

Ask me which country is an ingrate; I will readily point to South Africa. Ask me which country lacks a modicum sense of history; South Africa will again fit the description. How can South Africans forget so soon the pivotal role played by Nigeria at a time when black skin was subjected to hatred, discrimination and even death when their country was enmeshed in apartheid? This is the thinking of average Nigerians, particularly those who remember the roles played by Nigeria when South Africa was an enclave of apartheid.

Surprisingly, old adversaries are now treated as beautiful brides and old friends are now treated with disdain and belligerence. If South African youths don’t have sense of history, have their elders who saw it all also lost their memories so soon that they cannot call their recalcitrant youths to order that biting the fingers that fed in your darkest hour is the worst kind of ingratitude? The recent xenophobic attacks whereby brutish South African youths who unleashed mayhem on Nigerians and other black Africans after the one that happened 2015, have shown that they harbour deep hatred and animosity towards Nigerians and will release their pent-up emotion at the slightest opportunity.

From 1960 to 1995, Nigeria spent billions of dollars to support the blacks who were strangers in their own land. The South African Institute of International Affairs at a time acknowledged that Nigeria was the highest donor to the anti-apartheid struggle.

It was as if Nigeria was waiting for its independence as the country immediately spearheaded the campaign to end apartheid just after October 1, 1960. At every given opportunity, Nigeria never hesitated to register its displeasure that apartheid was inhuman and degrading. It took risks and was dauntless in the face of backings given by the superpowers which endorsed apartheid and promoted minority whites against the majority blacks. On Apr 4, 1961, Nigeria under the leadership of the late Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, wrote a letter to the African National Congress (ANC) assuring the then foremost anti-apartheid group of Nigeria’s unwavering support.

The ANC was an orphan ostracized and despised by the western world but encouraged by Nigeria and a few other African countries. For those who have a sense of history, they will understand the disappointment of former president Olusegun Obasanjo who in 2017 blamed the South African government for the bestiality of its youths who take delight in killing and maiming fellow Africans. Under ex-president Obasanjo as a military ruler, Nigeria contributed $3.7 million to the Southern Africa Relief Fund (SARF), which it established in 1976 basically to give support to black South Africans and promote their general wellbeing. Besides, the former president made a personal donation of $3,000.

Each member of his cabinet contributed $1,500 while all the civil servants and public officers in Nigeria donated two per cent of their monthly salary to the fund and Nigerian students skipped meals to contribute to the fund because they were determined to free South Africa from the white predators.

By June 1977, the fund better known by the sobriquet “Mandela tax” had reached $10.5 million. The will to contribute to the fund was a direct response to the 1976 Soweto uprising against apartheid in South Africa in which at least 700 black students were felled by callous white policemen who shot them during a protest against the changing of their education language to Afrikaans. Late Nigerian music icon, Sunny Okosuns, released a hit song, ‘Fire in Soweto’, a lyrical detail, on the massacre of the students described as one of the crudest and saddest chapters of the apartheid era.

The fund paved the way for the first set of 86 South African students to arrive in Nigeria in 1976 following the disruption of the education system in South Africa then. Hundreds of students also came into Nigeria to enjoy free education financed with the fund. Many others were welcomed here including the likes of former president Thabo Mbeki, who lived in Nigeria for seven years, from 1977 to 1984. At a time when the only thing that made apartheid government to seize the passports of over 300 blacks, was just the colour of their skin, Nigeria again came to their rescue by providing passports for hundreds of black South Africans to travel abroad.

It was also under the late Gen. Murtala Mohammed-Obasanjo regime that Nigeria nationalised British Petroleum and renamed it African Petroleum (AP) for supplying oil to the then South Africa’s apartheid regime. How can South Africa forget so soon how Nigeria spearheaded the boycott of the 1978 Commonwealth Games in protest against New Zealand over its sporting contact with the apartheid regime and in 1986, Before then, Nigeria, under Obasanjo, recalled its athletes from the Montreal Games, Canada,in 1976 because New Zealand maintained sporting contact with South Africa, and had undertaken a Rugby tour of the country just before the games. How about the secret military training and support that Nigeria’s Kaduna First Mechanised Army Division provided for the military wing of the ANC? Nigeria, with the support of other African countries, also lobbied for the creation of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid and chaired it for over 30 years, doing all it just to end apartheid.

The list is endless. But it seems all these efforts no longer matter to the South Africans. The argument that the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans are being carried out by a few may not really fly as there are no genuine and sincere efforts by the government to stop the perennial problem, which started in 2015, recurred in 2017 and now in 2019.

There were even cases where police were part of the conspiracy against the Africans by these unruly South African youths. Agreed that there are criminals among Nigerians living in South Africa, using crude and extra-judicial methods to deal with the situation cannot be an option in such a situation.

The average South African will rather give a clap to a Briton despite the atrocities Britain committed and the support it gave the minority white rulers while apartheid lasted even if such Briton committed a grevious crime in today’s South Africa. If there are evidences that Americans committed infractions in South Africa, would South Africans use jungle justice to deal with the Americans? Of course they won’t because they know how American government will react to such.

My assertion will be buttressed by a story told by a colleague, which was related to him by his friend. A Nigerian lady was in a queue at a supermarket in South Africa and when it was her turn to make payment for her purchase, the cashier, a black female South African, beckoned on a white man who was directly behind the Nigerian lady to jump the queue. Perhaps, what qualified the white to jump the queue was just the colour of his skin, a vestige of colonialism.

Of course, the Nigerian resisted the discrimination and stood her ground that it was her turn. Her resistance attracted a deafening silence at the supermarket, according to the story. A black who did that to a fellow black will jump at any opportunity to attack a fellow black. Unfortunately, the majority of Nigerians in South Africa or outside the shores of Nigeria will rather endure whatever insult comes their way even at the risk of their lives.

To such Nigerians, it is better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. They prefer to die in South Africa where basic amenities are available compared to their Nigeria where such amenities are a luxury. To such Nigerians and truly to a large extent there are no facilities at home, an attestation to the persistent failure on the part of successive Nigerian governments. I won’t be surprised if many Nigerians decline to board the plane sent to pick those who want to return home from South Africa on account of nothing to attract them home in terms of basic amenities. The dust of the on ongoing xenophobic attacks will settle albeit temporarily. The dog will always go back to its vomit.

The South Africans carry in their hearts a deep animosity, hatred and jealousy. They are only interested in looking for whom to blame for their ineptitude and mental laziness to work. In order to proffer a final solution to this recurring problem, we need to find out why black South Africans hate fellow black Africans. How sensitive are the foreigners to the plight of South Africans? A friend who is married to a German and lives in Germany once told me about how African migrants in Germany are attracting hatred and opprobrium on account of their ostentatious lifestyle, which they rubbed in on the indigenes. She said once the refugees get their allowances they go on shopping spree buying luxury items, which the indigenes cannot afford to buy and pay for the items at a go.

She said some Germans begin to develop hatred for such refugees wondering why the German government is giving them ‘so much support beyond what they need. We need to know exactly the grievances of black South Africans. However, there can’t be justification for the perennial xenophobic attacks and killings of Nigerians and other Africans just as it will amount to self-deceit that some Nigerians are not into crimes in South Africa just the way we have many Nigerians doing great and legitimate things there. Pretending that some Nigerians are not living large on crimes is like begging the issue. The Ozubulu killing was an eye opener to what some Nigerians do in South Africa.

No country will close its eyes to such nauseating occurrence. After these attacks, it is a matter of time before they will rise up again against their fellow Africans because there won’t be final solution until we know what exactly is the problem..

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The disease burden on the naira; N100 denomination as the most debased!

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The disease burden on the naira; N100 denomination as the most debased!

The CBN recently requested the general public to return mutilated naira notes to their banks. This is a vindication of the position of my humble self having twice highlighted the sorry state of the medium of exchange via this platform.

 

Scene 1

bus conductor calls out to passengers with a hemp/ethanol distorted voice at Iponri bus stop, Surulere, Lagos.

“Leventis, CMS! Leventis, CMS!!

As he does this aggressively, a discharge flew out from one of the nostrils!

Right there, he wiped the mucus with one hand and in turn wiped the implicated hand with a stinking N 100 naira note!!

Scene 2: A street hawker ran along to catch up with a potential patron in a yellow bus “ danfo” around Apogbon bridge

As she ran, she coughed at the same time. Unable to catch up, she gave up and coughed repeatedly, holding a naira note to her mouth!

Lamentations of the Naira

1. Fresh from the Mint I came,

     Embraced like a newborn,

     Smiles heralded my Coming,

     I am the Naira.

2. Found my way to a Castle,

Handled with care I was,

Neatly arranged in a wallet,

With Confidence I stroll.

3. The trader went in a bus,

Out he gave me to the bus man,

Breathless I in his stinking pocket,

Somebody help me!

4. Nature called,

To a corner the Conductor ran,

Assaulted me with befouled hands,

I’m still…….the………Naira

5. The hawker through me aground,

In the sputum laced mud I swam,

The filth turned my regalia,

Am I still the Naira?

Definition: 

The Naira is a medium of exchange for goods and services in Nigeria.

Re -Definition: The Naira is a medium of exchange for opportunistic pathogens, viruses, fungi/ fungal infections and parasites in Nigeria!

A Naira note could carry more germs than an average toilet seat!

Studies in Nigeria have shown that Currency counting machines yielded six different bacterial species (Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus sp, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus sp, Enterococcus sp and Proteus sp) and four genera of fungi (Aspergillus sp, Mucor sp, Rhizopus sp. and Penicillium sp (Elumalai et al 2015)

Why Is Naira (Paper bills) a Reservoir of Infection?

It offers a large surface area for organisms and organic debris to collect.

Folds and/or deliberate depressions or projections specifically engineered into the bills’ design as anti-counterfeiting measure serve as settling sites for both organisms and debris which allow the microorganisms to live longer (Nepal Journal of Sc/Tech, 8; 161-166).

Bank notes weave their way through the population for many years before they come to rest.

The level of contamination depends on how long the notes have been in circulation and the place & activity the previous handler was involved in.

Listed below are some pathogens found in Bank notes

Staphylococcus spp:

The main species of medical importance is Staph. aureus.

Staph aureus

This species causes:

Abscesses, boils, styes, and impetigo

Conjunctivitis, especially of the new born.

Cross infections in hospitals.

Septicaemia, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis.

Pneumonia and empyema.

Mastitis.

Antibiotic associated enteritis.

Food poisoning from enterotoxin B produced by S. aureus in foods such as cooked meats and milk and milk- products (e.g.ice cream).

Scalded skin syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome 

Bacillus spp

Bacillus cereus cause:

Food-poisoning

Occasionally pneumonia, bronchopneumonia, and infection of wounds.

Endocarditis

Meningitis

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Streptococcus pneumoniae causes:

Lobar pneumonia, bronchopneumonia, and bronchitis.

Meningitis

Endocarditis and pericarditis.

Middle ear infection, sinusitis, and conjunctivitis

Shigella spp:

Shigella species are found only in the human intestinal tract

Shigella species cause bacillary dysentery in humans

Escherichia coli:    

E.coli causes:

Urinary tract infections including cystitis, pyelitis, and pyelonephritis.

E. coli is the commonest pathogen isolated from patients with urinary infection involving the bladder.

Wound infections, appendicitis, and peritonitis.

Infection of the gall bladder, bacteraemia, and meningitis especially of the new born.

Diarrhoeal disease especially in infants but also in adults.

Vibrio spp:

Vibrio cholerae causes cholera in humans

Vibrio parahaemolyticus causes food poisoning.

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Perspectives

Marriage in The GAME OF THRONES (Part 1)

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Marriage in The GAME OF THRONES (Part 1)

The word ‘Throne’ is “a special chair used by a ruler, especially a king or queen.” It is equally “the state of being a ruler.” The GAME OF THRONES started a long time ago. At the inception, “there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven, And the great dragon was cast out; that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the account of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore, rejoice ye heavens and ye that dwell in them.

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelations 12:7-12). The rebellion of Satan and his being chased away to have his throne was reflected also in Isaiah 14:12-15. “How you are fallen from Heaven O Lucifer, son of the morning. How you are cut down to the ground. You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into Heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation. On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.

I will be like the Most High. Yet, you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit.” There is no throne without a king and every king protects his territory and contends consistently to ensure that none of his subjects are lost to another kingdom or king of another throne.

“A large population is a king’s glory” (Proverbs 14:28). So, the GAME OF THRONES in this world today is a battle of loyalty to either of the two controlling supernatural thrones- The throne of God Almighty and the throne of Satan, the devil. Unfortunately, one of these two thrones is headed by a liar, who presents photocopy as original, lies as truth, make-beliefs as reality, and so on (John 8:44). What is the occupation of this throne’s occupant? “The thief cometh not but to steal, kill and destroy…” (John 10:10).

His objective is to ensure that every loyalist to the heavenly throne denounces that loyalty, leaves the heavenly team with marvelous light and joins the loyalists of his kingdom of darkness. Satan’s presentations are easier to believe and he always has a gullible noisy crowd (Exodus 23:2). He is behind the evils that occur in the world today. He is where love for God waxes cold. He is responsible for broken homes, marriages and increased irresponsible acts of a husband or wife. Most visible occurrences today don’t happen by mistake.

They are controlled by either of the two spiritual powers. Now, the agents of the father of liars are likely to challenge this position or write-up by asking me why I should blame the devil for unsolicited problems. If you are one of them, you are also a victim of his captivity. Those who fight against devil’s enemies are loyal to the devil’s throne but fail to realize that there is a GAME OF THRONES going on. They have been hypnotized into slavery to the devil, who they think is winning this game and therefore, should be followed as “majority opinion looks like God’s opinion.” Jesus says: “verily verily I say unto you. Whosoever committed sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34-35).

I define the word ‘TRUTH’ as “the root of every fruit.” Devilish and ungodly acts are motivated by the devil. “By their fruits, ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:16). Your refusal to accept Biblical truth is an expression of Satan’s captivity. So, those who claim to be atheists and naturalists are Satan’s blind captives who actually deserve pity and need deliverance. Unfortunately, rather than contend for loyalty to the heavenly throne they ought to defend, many ignorant church goers and religious propagators betray the master they profess by joining those of the Satanic Throne to castigate God’s loyalists. It is not their fault. They don’t know about the ongoing GAME OF THRONES.

Please, understand that it is Satan that tells you to hearken to your ungodly friends and restrict your love for your spouse. It is Satan that tells you to dupe or deceive your spouse. It is Satan that tells you to betray or kill your spouse. He is the one that tells you to go enjoy sex outside marriage.

He is responsible for the sudden disdain you have developed for your spouse after loving him or her for some time. “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility, so your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:2-4). To find joy or peace in your premarital or marital relationship, you must refuse to for any reason, deny your loyalty to God’s heavenly throne. When you do this, your marriage shall be a blessing and a testimony in Jesus name.

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Xenophobic attacks: A wake up call for our leaders

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Xenophobic attacks: A wake up call for our leaders

The pursuit of wealth is not a bad thing in itself because without the food and comforts which wealth provides, life will be penurious and drab. But always remember that any wealth accumulated on a selfish basis, at the expense of the State in defiance of social justice helps to create a disorganised society in which everybody will eat everybody, and no one person can be safe.’ -Chief Obafemi Awolowo

 

 

He may have left us more than 32 years ago, but the above quote from the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo is still profoundly relevant in Nigeria as recent violent events in some parts of the country have shown. Incidentally, what triggered off, which was clearly pent up frustration amongst the people, was not anything here in Nigeria; but events some 4,644 kilometres away in South Africa.

Last weekend a fresh round of xenophobic hysteria began in the Rainbow nation with foreigners being on the wrong end of frustration with lack of jobs and decent living conditions for millions of South Africans, which their government had failed to provide. And thus it has become easy for the citizens to take out their anger on non-South Africans with Nigerians often being on the receiving end. Although xenophobia is not really a new scourge in South Africa having even existed when apartheid was still the order of the day, however, after majority rule in 1994, contrary to expectations, the incidence of nationalism increased. According to Wikipedia, between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 people died in what were identified as xenophobic attacks.

In May 2008, a series of attacks left 62 people dead; although 21 of those killed were South African citizens. In 2015, another nationwide spike in xenophobic attacks against immigrants in general prompted a number of foreign governments to begin repatriating their citizens. In fact in the run up to the 2010 World Cup, many had expressed fears over a possible outbreak of xenophobia during the tournament proper, and some even appealed to world football governing body, FIFA to move the competition away from South Africa – a plea FIFA flatly rejected. And despite assurances from the government of then President Jacob Zuma that teams and visitors would be safe, many who travelled to South Africa did so with a lot of trepidation.

This writer was opportune to have been one of the journalists from Nigeria to have covered the 2010 World Cup and I still vividly remembering how even before leaving we had counselled ourselves not to move about, alone but to go out in groups (‘strength in numbers’ I guess). Luckily the tournament held without any major untoward incident that would have embarrassed the organisers and FIFA.

But the six weeks or so that we were in South Africa afforded us to see first-hand the wide gulf between the Rainbow nation and the so-called “Giant of Africa” in terms of virtually everything – hotels, roads, communication, infrastructure, you name it they are light years ahead of Nigeria. Sadly it is this advancement that has acted like a magnet in attracting migrants from not only their immediate neighbours like Zimbabwe and Mozambique but from virtually all over the continent to South Africa in search of a better life. According to reports, between 2010 and 2017 the immigrant community in South Africa increased from 2 million people to 4 million people. It is only natural that such an influx is bound to cause resentment, especially amongst the locals, who wrongly or rightly will blame the migrants for whatever woes they are enduring.

A Pew Research poll conducted in 2018 showed that 62% of South Africans viewed immigrants as a burden on society by taking jobs and social benefits and that 61% of South Africans thought those immigrants were more responsible for crime than other groups.

While the hard working nature of many Nigerians and other foreigners meant that they were able to make themselves an important part of the productive workforce in South Africa, it is only human nature that those that do not have jobs (for whatever reasons) will view the migrants as being the ones denying them work –especially if the economy is struggling! After all that is what happened in 1983 when the then government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari told immigrants without proper immigration documents to leave the country. Most of the immigrants were West Africans and mainly Ghanaians. Over 2 million men, women and children were affected. Incidentally, in 1969 Ghana also expelled Nigerians from its country.

In 1969, Ghana enacted the Aliens Compliance Order in which hundreds of thousands of immigrants, most of which were Nigerians, were forcefully expelled from the country. So disdain towards foreigners is not a new thing on the continent, although the manner they are attacked and often killed in South Africa is a new low.

But what is happening now shows how far we have fallen as a nation of choice that people loved to flock to, to now one in which its own citizens are leaving in droves having lost all hope of a better life. So much so that South Africa has supplanted us as the new honey pot on the continent. Unfortunately the latest orgy of violence in South Africa was the final straw that broke the tolerance level of Nigerians who resulted into attacking South African business concerns in the country.

But in doing so it, is a classic case of our spiting our face in order to cut off our nose, because most of those majorly affected by the assault on Shoprite, MTN, Pep and other South African businesses are actually Nigerians! Yes, while the investors will equally feel the pinch the main burden will be on the everyday folk that wake up in the morning to go and work at Shoprite or MTN and at the end of the month get paid. Now there may be no money to pay them this month because of the actions of a few.

Ironically had our leaders gotten their acts together it should have been the other way round with Nigeria protesting attacks on her business concerns in South Africa. But rather than develop the nation, our leaders have been mainly busy feathering their individual nests to the detriment of the collective good of Nigeria. We should be ashamed that a nation that only gained “independence” in 1994 is now showing us the way in terms of how to operate successful businesses.

Many will recall that in the 70s and 80s we had our Shoprite in the form of Kingsway and UTC – but what happened to them? They were run aground. For those who do not want to travel so far back in time, what about the other satellite station that birthed in 2007 to the delight of many of us who were happy that at last Multichoice/DSTV now had a rival? On November 8, Multichoice will be celebrating her 26th birthday while its rival went bust barely after just four years of operations.

One can only hope that our leaders will look beyond recalling our High Commissioner to South Africa and boycotting the World Economic Summit (WES) and look at truly holistic ways of empowering their own citizens so that the need to “flee” the country will reduce. After all the former Premier of the old Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo had already said what might eventually happen if they do not!

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100 days of achievements: Abiodun redefines governance in Ogun

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100 days of achievements: Abiodun redefines governance in Ogun

It is now a convention in Nigeria’s evolving democracy for new government at all levels to celebrate 100 days in office. Ogun State is not an exception. In a few days’ time, precisely on September 6, the new administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun will perform the ritual ceremony of taking stock of its achievements. Coming at a time when the economy of the country is on a downward trend, the government has no doubt had its own share of the financial challenge.

But learning from elementary economic theory of scarcity, the governor has been able to strike a balance between the competing needs of the people and the available resources at his disposal. Despite the myraid of problems inherited from the immediate past administration, it is the resolve and commitment of the new APC-led administration to ensure that existing projects do not suffer neglect, regardless of who takes the credit.

In addressing the problems, the administration has come to terms with intents to ensure that abandoning such inherited decay in infrastructure would amount to waste of the meagre resources and management of the tax payers’ money. And in tandem with the philosophy of the new administration, it is poised to maintaining and upgrading the existing infrastructure.

While lending credence to the commitment of the administration, Abiodun, at a recent “Governor’s Dialogue with the Business Executives”, underscored the importance of the enablers and pillars that, existing infrastructure should not be made to suffer neglect, especially when it was discovered that most of them, like roads, health and school facilities, among others, were in bad shape.

At the back of the mind, with the mantra, “Building our future together”, and with a clear vision predicated on commitment to service, the focus of the administration encapsulates both the enablers and pillars respectfully.

They are good governance, security, ICT/Digital transformation, enabling business environment, agriculture and food security, health, education, power, housing, sports development, road infrastructure and environmental and physical planning, among others. All these are driving forces for effective, efficient and smooth service delivery. At a maiden parley with both the civil and public servants held at the Arcade Ground, shortly after his assumption of office as the fifth democratically elected governor of the state, Abiodun, who in his inauguration speech underscored the importance of the state workers as the prime resource, pledged that his administration would make do with available resources at the disposal of the state to be fair, open, just and equitable to all the workers and pensioners.

True to type, he has inaugurated a “committee on the review of appointments and promotions in the state civil service and enterprises between February 1 and May 20, 2019, a development which is aimed at repositioning both the civil and public service for effective and efficient service delivery. The Committee is chaired by Mr Dipo Odulate, erstwhile Head of Service (HoS) in the state.

Having been inundated with a torrent of requests, ranging from regular payment of salaries and leave bonuses, defrayment of the outstanding deductions, a total halt to partial and selective promotion exercises among the cadres, to regularisation of the dichotomy between HND and Bachelor degree holders, among others, the governor animated the day when he promised to live up to expectations with the regular payment of salaries.

“As parts of my social contract between me and the workers, whether the Federal Allocation Account (FAAC) or the Joint Allocation Account (JAAC) comes or not, we are going to ensure that your salaries are paid regularly on/or before the last working day of the month”, said the governor. To date, N4.8 billion pension arrears have been paid, while workers have equally enjoyed the same treatment of regular payment of their salaries.

The new administration has also offset salary arrears, remitted deductions to the Pension Funds Adminis-trators (PFA). In line with its commitment to prudence and frugality, the new administration has also blocked all leakages. In addition, in the health sector, the governor has approved the immediate recruitment of all categories and cadres of healthcare professionals, including resident doctors, nurses, pharmacists among others; rehabilitation of the State Hospital, Ilaro, Yewa South Local Government; free medical outreach at Ilishan-Remo, in Ikenne Local Government, while in terms of the social welfare, 1,000 widows have been empowered by the First Lady, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun and the launch of “Ok’Owo Dapo” loan empowerment programme for market women.

Knowing the importance of security as an enabler for safety of lives and property, the government recently launched the State Security Trust Fund as a clear demonstration of its commitment to ensuring that the people have a good life and pursue their legitimate businesses in a secured environment. Essentially, the aim of the Fund, according to the governor, is to have a private sector-driven programme that would support the state government in addressing various security challenges facing the state.

The Fund has Mr Bolaji Balogun, an investment banker and Managing Director, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc, as chairman, while Mr Yomi Agbaje would serve as Executive Secretary (ES) of the Fund. To this end, the administration has procured 1,000 patrol vehicles and 200 motorcycles for the police and other sister agencies; sourcing of helicopter from the Presidency for aerial surveillance; and the signing of the State Security Trust Fund bill into law and Board Inauguration.

In the area of investments, the governor has established the Investment Promotion Agency (IPA)/Ogun Investment Bill; Executive Order for the establishment of Ogun State Enabling Business Environment Council; Executive Order for the establishment of the Enterprise Development Agency (EDA); and the Executive Order for the Ogun State Economic Transformation.

Not left out, in the financial transparency, accountability, due process, efficiency and cost management, the new administration is placing premium on a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEM); Executive Order for the establishment of the fiscal responsibility Commission; Prudential financial management of the state resources; efficient allocation of the public expenditure, revenue and debt management; long-term economic stability of the state; Public-Private Partnership Bill; Staff Biometrics and payroll audit; implementation of the Treasury management solution for single review and efficiency in treasury and payment processing; financial sustainability assessment; and the establishment of the Bureau of Public Procurement Council. On the incomes that are accruing into the coffers of the state, the administration is deft in introducing reforms in the Ogun State Internal Revenue Service (OGIRS), automation and transformation; and informal sector enumeration and Residents registration. Employment opportunities and your empowerment programmes are key to sustaining economic growth and development.

The administration has established and launched a job portal; Ogun tech hub; and Agriculture Anchor Borrowers’ programme. By and large, as a pillar for driving economic growth and development, the administration is equally poised to ensure that all critical inter-state roads are fixed.

Hence, the government, through the Public Works Agency (PWA) has begun the immediate rehabilitation of the following abandoned road projects, Oru/Iperu, 4.5 kilometre Ijebu-Mushin/Ikija, 3.7 Kilometre Ogbogbo/Igbeba, 1.4 kilometre Balogun Kuku/Aje-Alapo, 7.65 Kilometre Ejirin/Imowo/Oluwalogbon, Ijebu-Ode/ Idowa/Ibefun/Itoikin, Sango/Abeokuta dual carriage ways, 32 Kilometre Sango/ Akute/Ajuwon/Ojodu-Abiodun, Osi/ Ita/Awolowo/Navy/AIT/Kola and a host of others. Others include the construction of Opako bridge at Adigbe, Abeokuta, culverts and gutters in certain parts of the ancient Ijebu-Ode community ravaged by the recent flood disaster.

Through a joint collaborative effort, Ogun and Lagos State Governors, Abiodun and Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, have received the blessing of the Presidency to undertake rehabilitation of the Lagos/ Sango/Abeokuta dual carriage ways (undertaken, but abandoned in 2001) and Sagamu/Ogijo/Ikorodu road to serve as alternative routes and also ease the traffic congestions often occasioned along Lagos/ Ibadan expressway. In the education sector, primary schools located in each of 236 ward wards have undergone rehabilitation to enhance conducive learning environment for the pupils.

The governor has also restored normalcy in the protracted crisis that engulfed the state-owned Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Ojere, Abeokuta. For well over two years, the institution has been enmeshed in crisis over the attempt by Amosun to convert the institution into a University status and the subsequent relocation of the students to Ipokia.

The same feat is equally being replicated in the state-owned Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu-Ijebu, where a committee has been inaugurated to beam searchlight into the crisis rocking the institution. Also, as the wise saying goes, “health is wealth”, rehabilitation works have commenced in earnest in each of the primary healthcare centres that are spread across the 236 wards in the state.

Equally, the governor who shortly after, upon assumption of office, precisely on June 9, 2019, paid an unscheduled visit to the state-owned Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, to assess the deplorable conditions of the structural and obsolete equipment decay, had set up an administrative panel headed by Dr Yemi Onabowale, Chief Medical Director (CMD), Reddington Hospital, Lagos, to look into the numerous challenges facing the institution.

Consequently, the panel had submitted its report of recommendations to the governor on Thursday, September 5. In order to empower the youths through job creation, the government has opened a portal to help prospective applicants seeking employments, be it in the formal or informal sector of the economy.

Essentially, the rationale behind the scheme is to take stock of the data base of the unemployed youths in the state and to also afford them an opportunity to load vacancies free of charge. So far, no fewer than 75,000 prospective applicants have registered through the job portal. Also, no fewer than 100 companies domiciled in the state have resorted to the job portal to out-source for qualified unemployed young applicants to fill in vacant posts in their respective organisations.

Pursuance to its agricultural revolution, the state government through the “Ogun State Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme” the government has inaugurated a committee-led by Prof Peter Okunneye to oversee a programme designed to enhance self-sufficiency in food security, employment generation and poverty alleviation.

The primary target of the scheme is to produce enough food to attain self-sufficiency both in the short and long-term. The governor, Abiodun, noted that 10,000 farmers would benefit from the initial pilot scheme for the first one year, translating into having 40,000 beneficiaries in the four years tenure.

To serve as an incentive, each beneficiary will be alloted an hectare of farmland for a value chain of rice, cassava and maize and also placed on a regular upkeep allowance till the first harvest season. Other incentives, include the free provision of seedlings for the planting season and off-takers for the farm produce. According to Abiodun, at an official flag-off ceremony of the “FADAMA Graduate Unemployed Youths Scheme”, also known as “FADAMA Guys”, the 200 beneficiaries were offered automatic slots, thus, making the first set of the farmers to benefit from the grants from the Ogun State Anchor Borrowers’ programme.

Thus, the window of opportunity affords prospective applicants easy access to the scheme, while logging on into the “Ogun State job portal” for applying. However, in a bid to instill confidence and accord due respect to the traditional institution, the governor, on June 17, 2019, set up a “Chieftaincy Review Committee” led by Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, the Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland. After eight weeks of its submission term, the committee made recommendations for the reversal of the last minute appointments of well over 75 Baales who were elevated as Coronet Kings by Senator Ibikunle Amosun, at the tail end of his administration.

“We used to be first over the years, but soon afterwards, the traditional institution nosedived. We lost respect and dignity as a result of the politicisation of the traditional institution by political interference by political leaders. History is replayed there that bastardized the institution.

I will not mention names and those that decided to descend on the traditional rulers are either alive or dead. I want to admonish political leaders to leave the traditional rulers out of politics”, declared Oba Olugbenle. Of course, the race is not for the swift, but the monumental development and growth recorded in the last 100 days can’t be over-emphasised, as it is a clear testimony of the determination of the current administration to improve the lots of the people of the state with its welfarist programmes.

 

Ogbonnikan is Media Consultant to the Ogun State Governor, Prince (Dr) Dapo Abiodun, MFR.

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