One of the vital information required before engaging in marital relationship for instance, has to do with difference in variables in behavioural patterns, even in areas of economics. No two individuals in this whole wide world are the same in everything.
Let us look at family economics for instance. If a man grew up in a home where his father did nothing but left his mother to shoulder all financial responsibilities of the family, the man is likely not to contribute a penny to the financial upkeep of his family when he gets married. You cannot accuse him of not loving his wife and family based on that character because he sees that lifestyle as a norm. If it was his father that shouldered all financial responsibilities when he was growing up, he is not likely to expect any financial contributions from his wife when he marries.
If it was a girl that grew up seeing her father shoulder every single financial responsibility, she is not likely to contribute anything financially to her family when she marries, even when her husband’s income is a peanut when compared to hers.
Don’t accuse her of not loving her husband because she is doing what she believes is right. On the other hand, if it was her mother that shouldered financial responsibilities when she was growing up, she is likely to aspire and actually do the same thing. It is only education, positive social interactions, informal exposure to learning or change of orientation along the path of growing up that can make things happen differently.
These are some of the background checks that ought to be made during courtship. This is why I wonder whether those who get mar- ried without courtship actually understand the meaning and implications of marriage. Wrong orientation about marital relationship is a huge challenge. As a guy or lady, you have a friend of same gender.
You are so close, love each other so well, and you have been able to successfully maintain this relationship for years, even as wretched people. In fact, people have even forgotten that you are mere friends rather than blood brothers or sisters.
The relationship has remained sweet with or without affluence. Now, you have married someone of the opposite sex that you supposedly love.
Because of a minor offence, probably related to money, you are already contemplating separation or divorce. Would you say you are serious with life? For decades, you loved and lived with your parents and blood relatives who frequently offended you and you forgave them.
In fact, as you read this write-up, you know they will still offend you tomorrow. Are you contemplating divorcing them? Is it possible to do away with them? No, of course! So, why are you so embittered that your spouse of a few years relationship offended you? You are already contemplating divorce, forgetting that you made a covenant before your creator as marriage vow.
Development of warped values has also become a huge challenge. As I said in previous editions for instance, the notion that once there is plenty of money, success in marriage is guaranteed, is a wrong notion. I am still waiting for someone to prove me wrong on this stand by explaining to me why divorce rate among popular billionaire couples has continued to increase.
In the midst of growing number of divorce cases today, there are couples in our environments whose level of sweetness and love in marriage have continued to grow, with or without affluence. The truth is that marrying someone is a journey into discovering who the person is. Before you discover someone else however, have you discovered yourself?
There are many people that were ‘very good’ and happy as singles. Their problems started when they got married to someone. In many of such cases, issues of compatibility were not addressed by the couple before choosing to get married to each other. So, the problem cannot be the relationship itself. Relationship is a good thing. In fact, relationship is everything.
The problem is with the operators of the relationship. The ‘relators’ as it were, have a problem.
Today, you can have a happy marriage and family if you want. If your marriage has a challenge, you need to approach the right source for solution. Seeking counsel or a solution from a wrong source can be likened to seeking the services of a carpenter to mend your faulty dress or car.
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1st Corinthians 3:11).
If your marriage is approved of God, the solution to any challenge in that marriage is not in any other way, than the way and method of God as reflected in his word. Marriage is so important to God that the very first miracle that Jesus performed in Cana was at a wedding ceremony in John chapter 2.
If you have a marital challenge and someone is counselling you, that counsel must be weighed with the word of God.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
The day you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal saviour, there is no longer a YOU. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 5:20).
I hope you know that your prayers may never be answered when you mistreat your spouse? (1st Peter 3:7). Your personal relationship with your owner and maker is priority.
Where is the lion’s owner?
The story of Kevin Rene Richardson, a South African, who is better known as “Lion whisperers,” has never stopped to amaze animal behaviourists and wildlife experts. I remember how I held Richardson in awe, the first time I watched him on DSTV’s Nat Geo Wild station in the midst of a Pride of Lions in a forest. He was obviously at home with the pride comprising at least five big lions who have accepted him as a member of the pride.
If I had seen that video as a young boy, I would have either come up with a myth to explain what Richardson does with the pride or thought the South African used “juju” to tame the lions. As I was watching the video, I also recalled the case of one cleric, who was later named as “Brother Daniel” by the students of the University of Ibadan.
The story of “Brother Daniel” happened in the ’80s and was well captured by the then “Evening Times,” an evening paper as the name suggests, a publication of Daily Times.
Armed with a Bible, a long rope and a bell, “Brother Daniel,” who had boasted to visitors at the UI Zoo, claimed that he had divine power to tame the lion who was sleeping at the time. To convince the onlookers that he was not a joker, he scaled the cage of the lion and even had the audacity to continuously ring the bell until the Lion woke up. I can still recall how the reporter dramatised the encounter between “Brother Daniel” and the lion using descriptive power and imaginative prowess to explain to the readers how the lion devoured the cleric.
I remember the reporter writing that if “Brother Daniel” had come out of the cage alive, religious bigots would have been fooled that the Biblical Daniel had reincarnated in Nigeria and the country might have experienced the influx of religion zealots from different countries. The lion was eventually killed by the zoo authorities. Most people were unhappy that the lion was killed and blamed the cleric for his foolishness.
But the authorities had a good explanation for its action. Ordinarily, a lion is a wild animal and once it tastes human blood, it becomes more dangerous and wilder.
Having tasted human blood, its taste had changed and would yearn for more human blood. It won’t be satisfied with the live goat he was being fed with. So, it would be dangerous to keep such a lion even though it was restricted to a cage. So, such lion must be cut down. This is how dangerous lions are.
Yet, a foreigner kept this kind of animal in a residential area in Nigeria for a while until November 19. Nigeria is a fertile land and will always attract foreigners despite our obvious downside.
But it is not good when we allow foreigners in connivance with our people go away with the impression that ours is a like a Banana republic where anything goes. I recall a day I was driving on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, two foreigners were being chauffeur-driven in a nice car. One of them sat behind the driver while the other one sat beside the driver in the front.
The one who sat beside the driver wound down and was pouring banana peels and some dirt right on the road. I wondered what sort of human being this was.
I quickly increased the speed of my vehicle so I could catch up with them and yelled at the animal in human skin and asked him a rhetorical question: ‘Can you do that in your country?’ By the time I caught up with the vehicle, I guessed he had poured all the dirt on the road and wound up again. I honked the horn to attract them. But they all kept straight faces. I strongly suspected they knew I wanted to register my resentment and didn’t want to give me the opportunity.
As the head of Punch Metro Desk some years back, we had cause to report cases of exploitation and inhuman treatment of Nigerians who worked in factories owned by Chinese, Indians and Lebanese. Some of those who worked in some of these factories narrated to us how they were often exploited and treated like animals.
Some of the girls working in some of these factories were sometimes asked to report to the residents of their foreign employers to perform household chores not captured in their letters of employment. And did it at no cost except what the master gave out something extra out of his “generosity.” In some cases, some of the girls would be invited to satisfy the libido of their masters.
Most of such girls suffered in silence because of fear of losing their jobs. It was worse for the girls, most of who were from poor homes and had assumed the role of breadwinners in their families on account of what they earned as salaries. I recall the case of a guy who suffered a permanent dis ability while working in one of these slave camps called factories.
His employers abandoned him and he approached me to help publicise his plight. In line with the principle of fair hearing and balancing, I asked the reporter assigned to cover the story to get response from the company concerning the allegations brought by an employee. But to my chagrin, the company was more interested in “killing” the story than seeing to the welfare of the injured worker.
Subsequently dealings with some of these factories indicated that perhaps as a deliberate policy, their human resources departments were usually headed by Nigerians, who were often used as chief tormentors of fellow Nigerians.
No matter how bad Nigerians were treated, fellow Nigerians would swear to high heavens to defend these foreign owners of these sinister factories.
Back to the issue of the lion allegedly owned by an Indian and kept at 229, Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, a residential building. It was the grace of God that the lion didn’t get out of its cage before it was tranquilised, evacuated and taken to a zoo by officials of the Lagos State government.
Imagine the damage the lion would have caused if it had escaped from its cage. Since the issue became public knowledge, the whereabouts of the owner remain unknown. The fact remains that the lion did not stray from a zoo to the residence. It has been established that someone actually brought it to the residence. Perhaps, the owner might have fled Nigeria.
If that is the case, how did it happen? Between November 19 and December 7 is long enough to know how the man developed wings and flew out of the country or at least tell us his name and a few things about him.
After all, the apartment he rented, paid for and kept the lion was not paid for by a ghost. I learnt some of those working for the man were arrested. Are we going to use them as scapegoats and allow the main culprit to go with the intention that anything goes here?
It’s high time we named and shamed the man who put the lives of hundreds of his neighbours at risk for at least two years by keeping a lion as a pet. Another person may try a similar thing and we may not be this lucky. This is the danger of bad precedence.
World Bank warning: Will anything change?
n Monday, global financial institution – the World Bank, released a very damning report, warning that as Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declines, poverty will be on the increase.
According to the international financial institution, headquartered in Washington DC, United States, and which provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects, the main problem the world’s most populous black nation is facing, is that uncontrolled population growth is outpacing economic growth.
In its Nigeria Economic Update (NEU) report released by the global financial institution in Abuja on Monday, the World Bank said: “With economic growth expected to remain below the estimated population growth of 2.6 per cent through 2021, per capita real GDP will decline from $2,485 in 2018 to $2,460 by 2021, pushing more Nigerians into poverty.”
“Population growth is expected to continue exceeding economic growth, undermining Nigeria’s prospects for poverty reduction.”
Incidentally, in the late 80s former military President Ibrahim Babangida was aware of this problem for the nation and consequently came up with a simple solution – encouraging families to limiting them to just four children!
Unfortunately, a serious backlash from conservatries both religious and traditionalists meant that the suggestion never really gained traction.
Our failure to take action then has led to the situation we have found ourselves in now, which has further been highlighted by the World Bank.
The situation has become so dire that in June Nigeria was officially dubbed “the poverty capital of the world” by ‘The World Poverty Clock’, which said we have overtaken India in that dubious regard.
The report said then: “The struggle to lift more citizens out of extreme poverty is an indictment on successive Nigerian governments which have mismanaged the country’s vast oil riches through incompetence and corruption”.
Since then, nothing concrete has been done by those at the helm at affairs to stem the slide or even show that The World Poverty Clock writers that they would put them to shame.
Instead, it has been business as usual with government officials not seemingly bothered by the tag.
In fact, Monday’s World Bank report further showed the kind of people we are when it said that money in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) had almost “been exhausted, rendering Nigeria more vulnerable to shocks.”
The NEU report stated that “the account balance on June 30 was $0.1 billion, down from $0.6 billion at the end of 2018 and $2.5 billion at the end of 2017.”
The World Bank lamented that the “ECA has rarely operated as envisaged; when it was established in 2004.” It explained that that the account “was to be drawn on only when the actual crude oil price falls below the budget benchmark price for three consecutive months.”
Ironically, state governments had kicked against the creation of ECA on the grounds that the Federal Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) of 2007 was not binding on them and local governments.
In 2011, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Act came into being, thus, establishing the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) as the oil savings fund for the country. It has three ring-fenced funds (future generations, infrastructure, and stabilisation), jointly owned by the three tiers of government.
The stabilisation fund, like the ECA, is to support federation revenue in times of economic stress. It was envisaged that the balance in the ECA in 2011 would be transferred to the fund. Instead, in 2012, seed capital of only $1.5 billion was transferred. In addition, another $0.5 billion in 2017 and another $250 million recently.
But like most things in this country it has been repeatedly abused as noted by the World Bank, which said savings had drastically dwindled.
Incidentally, Norway, which is also a major oil producing nation, and with a much smaller population than Nigeria’s, 5.2 million compared to the West African nation’s 200 million, started her own fund in 1990 to invest the surplus revenues of the Norwegian petroleum sector.
It now has over $1 trillion in assets, including 1.4% of global stocks and shares, making it the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.
This means that in the event that their main natural resource eventually runs dry they (Norway) have more than enough funds to continue to enjoy the way of life they have become used to.
Sadly, if our previous records are anything to go by, nothing is expected to change here because ironically some of the most vociferous opponents of the Sovereign Trust Fund and who often pressurised the central government hand over money to them when they were governors are now the ones formulating policies in government.
And with such mind-set will certainly not have suddenly become proponents of financial discipline.
Desolately, had the monies they armed twisted the federal government in releasing to them from the (SWTF) had been put to good use, the people would have been the major beneficiaries of better hospitals, roads and other social and infrastructural amenities.
Instead, we have been treated to continued reports of the massive sleaze that many governors, past and present, have been accused of carrying out.
The same government that has been touting its successes in the agric sector, especially with the direct intervention of the Central Bank, have also been called into question by the World Bank report.
“CBN financing schemes for the agriculture sector and forex restrictions designed to reduce imports of staple foods will continue to support the sector, but will affect the quality and increase the price of agricultural produce,” it said.
The report warned that “with little growth in agriculture and few opportunities elsewhere, agricultural labour productivity is expected to stagnate, failing to improve the living standards of the 40 million Nigerians it employs.”
Government and politicians have refused to show that they are not only worried by the reports but are ready to tackle the issue head on by setting examples by cutting down on wastages and their humongous salaries and allowances.
The present government has said that it is committed to lifting more than 100 million Nigerians out of poverty without explaining in concrete terms, how they intend to make this happen.
On Wednesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, once again insisted that poverty eradication as key to attaining sustainable development, saying that it is an issue the Federal Government will remain committed to.
Mohammed, who made this known in Abuja at the Quarterly Public Lecture of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), said: attaining sustainable development is in line with fulfilling Buhari’s promise to lift “100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years”.
Since 1999 every successive civilian government has been promising the people El Dorado and yet leave them worse off than how they met them.
As things stand, it is clear that unless a miracle happens, or the people finally decide that they have had enough and will ensure that their votes do ultimately count, things will not change any time soon.
Where is honour in marriage?
he word ‘Honour’ according to dictionary refers to something that is morally right, has respect, honesty, dignity and pride.
If we agree that God is honourable and that everything he created is good, then, we must admit that marriage, (his creation) is an honourable thing.
Marriage is not man’s idea. It was a creation of God in Genesis chapter 2. After originating marriage, God provided the rules of engagement in the Holy Bible, the word of God. Every brand new car comes with a manufacturer’s manual. Any attempt to operate the car outside the guidelines of the manual can create problems. In the same vein, any attempt to operate marriage outside the provisions of the word of God leaves you with a marital crisis to contend with.
The fact that you were born a few decades ago and you are alive today is a miracle. There are many people that came into this world with you and aspired to get honoured by getting married to a life partner. They did not live to see it happen. So, if you have gotten someone to marry and you are about to do so, or you are already married to someone, you are honoured.
When you get admitted into the marital institution, you become a socially and spiritually honourable person. If the admission was gotten through malpractices such as fornication, coercion, unwanted pregnancy and so on, the honour gets deflated and a seed of uncertainty and possible marital crisis is sown.
“Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).
“Man that is in honour and understandeth not is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20).
How I wish you appreciate the great honour God has done to you by giving you someone to marry. Please, take good care of your spouse.
When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. Ignorance and wrong perceptions about marriage is largely responsible for the growing failure rate in the marital institution. Ignorance and wrong perceptions have been more destructive to this institution than economic situations. Today, most of our young men and ladies take marriage for granted and jump into this lifetime journey based on naive judgements, without any enquiries or even mental preparedness, as if it is a joke. They then, jump out shortly afterwards or stay in a problem that is avoidable in marital relationship, throwing away the honour in marriage.
As a single person that aspires to get married someday, if you want your marriage to be outstanding, you must seek some level of understanding of this honourable institution before you enrol in this university that has no graduation date.
Today, many young people have the ambition or desire to get married and be successful in marriage. Ironically, many of them are not interested in gathering information or researching on this subject. If you are single and intend to have a joyful marriage but you are not interested in reading marriage books, attending marriage seminars or even interacting with the married, to gather experiences, you are deceiving yourself. You don’t even want to know what the Bible says about marriage? Sorry!
There are too many things you need to understand about marriage before you embark on premarital relationship. You need to understand God’s prescribed procedures and processes of choosing a life partner. Is courtship and engagement possible without sin of fornication? How? What about the viruses that can ensure failure in marriage such as wrong orientation or mentality, addiction to public opinion, disobedience to God’s word, bad habit, religious ignorance and so on?
What kinds of development could possibly turn an honourable wedding into a dishonourable marriage or marital life?
If you jump into marriage without understanding, you will distort your destiny, deny yourself of the associated honour, gains and favour that God has packaged for you, and expose yourself to unnecessary hardship.
As a married person, you must begin to see your spouse as an honourable gift that God has in his mercy, given to you. A lot of things that your spouse could do that offends you, might not annoy you or mean anything to you if you have understanding that he or she is an honourable gift from God.
If you are a wife and you are not submissive to your husband as expected by God, you are playing the beast in the marital institution. If you are a husband and you are not showing love to your wife, you are playing the beast in the marital institution.
“Man that is in honour and understandeth not is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20).
“Nevertheless, man being in honour abideth not is like beats that perish” (Psalm 49:12).
This implies that seeking to break your marital vow is a beastly act. If you are not abiding, it is a beastly act. If you are maltreating your spouse physically, spiritually or emotionally, where is honour in your marriage? If you are operating in the marital institution outside the biblical instructions that guide marriage, where is the honour in your marriage?
You might have made up your mind not to get married for simple reason that you saw marriages collapse, or tried marriage before and it failed. Now, you may have to explain to me whether you will resolve not to build a house because people’s houses collapsed. Will you abstain from buying a car because cars have recorded road accidents? You will have to tell me whether you will stop investing money in business just because businesses failed in the past. Will you commit suicide because other people are dying every day?
Marriage is full of honour. Discover and understand the honourable nature and features before going into the marital institution. If you are married, maintain the honour that God has given to you in marriage and your marriage shall be a blessing and a testimony in Jesus name.
When a blood clot block lung arteries (Pulmonary embolism)
The scene Miss UV had to embark on a 12- hour automobile ride to the nearest local airport due to the turn around maintenance being embarked on at one near her residence.
It was indeed a stress laden journey aggravated by the poor state of the roads.
She was to catch a 10-hour flight to another part of the world. She went through about 22 hours of restricted mobility!
Just minutes after disembarking she felt a sudden chest pain, shortness of breath and cough, then a blackout.
Paramedics came to the rescue…their efforts paid off and she was eventually resuscitated at the hospital, several others are not that lucky as they lose their lives in the process.
What it is A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot in the lung. The clot usually forms in smaller vessels in the leg, pelvis, arms, or heart, but occasionally the clot can be large.
It prevents oxygen from reaching the tissues of the lungs. This means it can be life-threatening.
The word “embolism” comes from the Greek émbolos, meaning “stopper” or “plug.”
In a pulmonary embolism, the embolus, forms in one part of the body, it circulates throughout the blood supply, and then it blocks the blood flowing through a vessel in another part of the body, namely the lungs.
An embolus is different from a thrombus, which forms and stays in one place.
When a clot forms in the large veins of the legs or arms, it is referred to as a deep venous thrombosis (DVT).
The pulmonary embolism occurs when part or all of the DVT breaks away and travels through the blood in the veins and lodges in the lungs.
The clot travels through the vessels of the lung continuing to reach smaller ves sels until it becomes wedged in a vessel that is too small to allow it to continue further.
The clot blocks all or some of the blood from traveling to that section of the lung.
These blockages result in areas in the lung where the disruption of blood flow does not allow the carbon dioxide waste to be delivered to the air sacs for removal (ventilation).
• Immobility: A stroke, broken bone, or spinal cord injury can result in confinement to bed so that clot formation can occur in either the arms or legs.
• Travel: Prolonged travel, such as sitting in an airplane or a long car trip, allows the blood to sit in the legs and increases the risk of clot formation.
• Recent surgery; it is often associated with immobility and sometimes vessel damage depending on the surgery
• Trauma or injury (especially to the legs)
• Heart disease (such as an irregular heartbeat)
• Previous history of blood clot in the legs (DVTs) or pulmonary embolism Conditions that increase clotting of the blood
• Estrogen therapy and oral contraceptives Symptoms
• chest pain, a sharp, stabbing pain that might become worse when breathing in
• increased or irregular heartbeat
• difficulty catching breath, which may develop either suddenly or over time
• rapid breathing
• a cough, normally dry but possibly with blood, or blood and mucus More severe cases may result in shock, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, and death.
Recognizing Pulmonary embolism Doctors may suspect a blood clot if any of the above symptoms occur in someone who has or recently had a swollen or painful arm or leg or who has any of the risk factors listed previously.
Check your legs for any signs or symptoms of DVT, such as swollen areas, pain or tenderness, increased warmth in swollen or painful areas, or red or discolored skin.
In addition, several other tests are requested by the doctor to back up the definitive diagnosis of a suspected case.
When to seek help If a person experiences any type of chest pain, he should go or have someone take him/her to the nearest hospital’s emergency department immediately; this is the way to go.
It is better to be too careful than being care free! Treatment Doctors prescribe medications and other supportive measures. In some cases, surgery may be indicated.
Prevention You can reduce your risk of pulmonary embolism by doing things that help prevent blood clots in your legs.
• Avoid sitting for long periods. Get up and walk around every hour or so, or flex your feet often.
• Get moving as soon as you can after surgery.
• When you travel, drink extra fluids, but avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
• Wear anti-embolism compression stockings to compress the legs when on a long trip.
• Physical activity, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and giving up or avoiding smoking tobacco. Advice
• Take all medicines as prescribed, and have tests done as your doctor advises.
• Discuss with your doctor before taking blood-thinning medicines with any other medicines, including over-the-counter products.
Over-the-counter aspirin, for example, can thin the blood. Taking two medicines that thin your blood may increase the risk of bleeding.
• Foods rich in vitamin K can affect how well the drug works. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and some oils, such as soybean oil.
It’s best to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.
• Once you’ve had Pulmonary embolism (with or without deep vein thrombosis (DVT)), you’re at higher risk of having the condition again.
During treatment and after, continue to take steps to prevent DVT
Before you exonerate or throw Onyema under the bus
At the threshold of his airline business: Air Peace Airline, rumour was rife that the Chairman of the airline, Chief Allen Onyema, was fronting for some people in government who are actually the owners of the business. The need to dispel the rumour and affirm the ownership of the business prompted Onyema to organise a business luncheon with some senior journalists. I attended the parley.
The question that kept recurring was the ownership of the airline that within a short period became the most dominant in service delivery and business expansion buoyed by acquisition of new aircraft running into millions of dollars. For a man who has no known business antecedent before he became a major player in a capital intensive business like aviation, the insinuations were not about ‘bad belle’ as we say in our local parlance. This was not about ‘pull him down at all costs,’ as we sometimes see in harsh business competitions.
There was also concern that the aircraft were left on the tarmac for a while before they started flying. Who does that was the rhetorical question fired at Onyema then? The feeling was that it was only a matter of time before the bubble will burst. Aviation business is such that you cannot afford to tie money down. Investors know the high risk involved and will commence business immediately they buy aircraft. The Air Peace brand was obviously the biggest and brightest then. It became the reference point on what a national carrier should look like. Yet, it’s owned by an individual.
Some of those who are experts in aviation sector were not convinced about the genuineness of Air Peace. But they had nothing to hold against the airline beyond mere suspicion. In fairness to Onyema, he answered all the questions asked him at the parley to the best of his ability. But whether his answers added up and sounded convincing enough is not something I will dwell on for now. From then on, Onyema and Air Peace enjoyed positive comments in the news. This climaxed when he used one of his aircraft to airlift Nigerians from South Africa free of charge following the xenophobic attack a few months back.
This singular gesture shot the profile of Onyema. He became the face of patriotism. Many Nigerians garlanded him with their mouths, some festooned him in their hearts. In the hearts of many, Onyema was the best thing since sliced bread. Many urged the government to give him a national honour. Forlorn returnees sang his praises to high heavens for delivering them from the valley of the shadow death in the former apartheid enclave. The name Onyema was on the lips of many Nigerians. His magnanimity was unprecedented. We found in him a true keeper of his brothers.A church honoured the Air Peace boss.
Many are willing to honour him for his gesture. But this may never be at least for now until Onyema clears himself of this mess after he had been indicted by the US agencies, which accused him of money laundering and falsification of documents and a court went ahead to issue a bench warrant for his arrest.
The burden of proof is no longer with the US. It has shifted to Onyema. In other words, the ball is in his court to prove that those allegations are not true. No matter how stoic Onyema might have been in his life, I will be shocked if he still sleeps with two of his closed since the saga broke out last week.
What will be uppermost in his mind is how to come out of this mess using the laws and strong alibi. He wears the shoes and knows where they pinch. Expectedly, Nigerians have been reacting. Even the man in the eyes of the storm had reacted and assured Nigerians that this is like the proverbial bird of passage. But what got me worried are Nigerians who are never tired of imputing religious and ethnic sentiments to important issues no matter how sensitive the matters are. To throw Onyema under a bus is uncharitable just as it’s wrong to say he is as right as rain in this saga.
The fact that people are entitled to their opinions should not be an excuse for bunkum talks or silly comments. Whipping up sentiment or resorting to emotional blackmail won’t change the narrative. Renting a crowd to protest against the US or for the embattled businessman is not even an option. The only way out of this quagmire and what looks like a cul de sac is a strong alibi backed with evidences. I can imagine what would have been the comments of some Nigerians if the indictment had come from our Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It would have been the usual case of ‘we’ versus ‘them.’.
Both President Muhamnadu Buhari and the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, would have been accused of pursuing ethnic agenda. But there is a lesson to be learnt by the EFCC here, none of the agencies that investigated Onyema engaged in media trial and were not in haste to conclude investigations.
The statement credited to one of the president’s aides, Laureta Onochie,was unnecessary. She should have stopped at exonerating her boss and the government as a reaction to the insinuations that the Buhari administration gave Onyema out to the US. In my heart, I wish Onyema comes out clean in order not to further lower our battered imagine into abyss in the eyes of the international community. For this reason, I am of the opinion that the Federal Government should not abandon Onyema. Where necessary and if necessary, the government should give him legal support especially if he’s not averse to such.
I can imagine this is what America will do if one of its citizens got his back against the law in a foreign country. We need to think before we exonerate Onyema or throw him under the bus. If he is found guilty, he will carry his can. It is not the duty of the Federal Government to exonerate him. Onyema knew what he did and what he did not do on the one hand, the US, on the other hand, will go to any reasonable length to prove that its systems cannot be penetrated and compromised and whoever does it can run but can’t hide from the laws for a long time.
The saga may even go beyond what we have seen so far. Maybe the shit will soon hit the fan and mess up many more people. Maybe Onyema will carry this cross alone. Maybe he will get a clean bill of health. There are so many ‘maybes’ in this saga as it unfolds. But I would rather we keep our fingers crossed rather than exonerate Onyema or throw him under a fast moving bus.
Who will save us from ourselves?
Not too long ago in a piece titled: “We versus them!” I pointed out how the selfishness of most of us has played a big role in the kind of country we have now found ourselves living in.
While many of us cast envious eyes at other countries and marvel at how much better off their citizens are, we often forget to also realise that the countries we crave to be like were not made by people from others climes; but rather by the citizens themselves who, although are ready to cut some slack with their politicians and other government apparatus, still hold them to a minimum code of conduct that they must not fall below.
Thus while cases of corruption, nepotism and other anti-social vices do exist in such countries, however, because a majority of the citizens are mainly law abiding, those saddled with the responsibility of governing them know they cannot take the people for granted.
In fact over time the wishes of the majority have been imbibed by the institutions, which keep the political class and the bureaucrats in check ensuring that that in the case of the politicians he or she cannot spend public money as if it his/her pocket money while the bureaucrats know that the wheels of governance must continue to provide the services for the citizens and the country in general even if the political leaders are inept.
Both know that should they be found wanting, there are immediate consequences they will face – and because they do not want to lose their jobs or be disgraced out of office – to a large part, they conform to the wishes of the people.
The elections conducted a fortnight ago, clearly shows how far we are from having the acceptable norms play out in this our great country.
While there were many election breaches in both the Kogi and Bayelsa states’ elections, the winners saw absolutely nothing untoward in the exercise in which there were many reports of vote buying, ballot boxes being snatched and electorate being denied the ability to carry out their legitimate civic duties do to various reasons, including lack of voting materials/officials and outright intimidation.
These reports were also backed up by a lot of videos showing the rape of the electoral process being carried out without any fear that they would be recorded because the culprits and those that sent them to carry out the dastardly acts know that no one will be punished.
And where no one is ever held accountable – anything goes!
Although the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu made a strenuous defence of his men and officers, insisting that those caught on camera were “fake” police officers, the fact that that such things were even conceptualised and carried out at all boils down to the impunity that rules the land.
Early in the year such incidences occurred during the general elections – and yet months later no one of note has been hauled before a court of law to answer for his indiscretions as a deterrent to others.
Had this been happening since the return to civilian rule some 20 years ago, by now the nation would have seen much better and more credible elections. But since no one has been brought to book, what we have seen over time is a worsening situation at every election.
Just like they did after the February general elections, international observers who observed the Bayelsa and Kogi elections expressed concerns about the conduct and conditions under which the elections held.
The observers in a joint statement issued under the auspices of the Diplomatic Watch raised alarm over the reports of widespread incidents of violence and intimidation, some of which were witnessed by the teams in Kogi.
The Diplomatic Watch comprises of observers from Austria, the European Union Delegation, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
As long-standing friends of the country, the Diplomatic Watch has been present at every major election in Nigeria since 1999. As such, these countries according to the regular practice during the election had deployed teams to monitor the governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
According to the press statement tweeted on the UK twitter handle, @UKinNigeria and the EU handle @ EUin Nigeria on Sunday, the Diplomatic Watch decried the level of violence perpetrated by thugs in both states, the evidence of vote-buying by some politicians, the killings in some of the polling units, and credible report of ballot box snatching in both Bayelsa and Kogi states.
And just like back then (February) the major actors (especially those that benefitted from the results) were all quick to dismiss the views of the international observers with President Muhammadu Buhari largely echoing the views of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, whose party won, in advising that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties that were not satisfied with the results of governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to seek redress in court.
Buhari, in a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina, congratulated Yahaya Bello and David Lyon, for winning the governorship polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states respectively.
While he described Lyon’s victory as “impressive”, the President said Bello’s election was “a race well run and a victory well won.”
The President commended the APC and the people of the states, who exercised their civic rights in a peaceful manner, “notwithstanding the pockets of unrest recorded in some locations.”
He stated: “Violence during elections vitiates our commitment to demonstrate to the world and upcoming generation that we are a people capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner”, the statement quoted him as saying.
While the nation is still trying to digest the fallout from the Kogi and Bayelsa state polls, the political class again showed their selfish side again when a former governor, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar wrote the Zamfara State government, demanding the payment of his upkeep allowance, which according to him, has not been paid for some months. He is demanding payment for the months of August, September, October and possibly November.
According to Abubakar, he is entitled to N10million monthly, which is backed by law.
He reminded the state government that the pension and upkeep allowance are not in the category of privileges that can be truncated without any justifiable reason.
And this is when many states, including Zamfara are battling to pay the new minimum wage of just N30, 000 a month!
Abubakar is trending because he just went public with his attempt to get his entitlements – although his swish has been ended with the repeal of the law by the House and subsequent endorsement by the governor.
Our Senators and House of Representatives members have all remained mum over the minimum wage issue and have equally kept quite over the humongous amount allocated to them in the budget from where they get their salaries, allowances and other perks of office.
Sadly the situation will remain the same until the day we collectively decide enough is enough and insist that we hold them accountable to us the voters and not the other way round.
Husband as God’s wife
To understand this piece if you are a Christian husband to a Christian wife, you need to understand God’s attitude and perception about you.
“…for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5).
When you discover that a fellow man is attempting to stalk your legally married wife, take advantage of her or even make her unhappy, how do you feel? You feel very jealous and angry. Right? This is how God feels whenever anyone is being used by Satan to try to harm you. He feels very jealous.
Brother! You are more than who you think you are when you are a Christian husband to a wife. The Bible says: “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called” (Isaiah 54:5).
This means that as a Christian husband, you are God’s wife and just as you have expectations from the wife you married, God (your husband) has a lot of expectations from you. If you have been harassing your wife to deliver biological children for you, God equally expects you to deliver spiritual children for him as his wife. As a Christian husband, God’s heartbeat is that you deliver spiritual children for him after he has adopted you as spiritual son at salvation experience (Galatians 4:4-7).
So, “…be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth…” (Genesis 1:28) does not only apply to biological children from your wife. God expects you to reproduce your godly kind across the earth, if you are a godly person. If you are not reproducing your kind as a Christian, you are not a fruitful wife to God, your husband. Check your ways.
Marrying wife is a spiritual matter. It is a great mystery. How do I know this? “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY…” (Ephesians 5:31-32).
So, if you limit this divine calling to physical, biological and scientific expectations, you may end up as a failure, especially in the eyes of God.
Secondly, spirituality has to do with the heart. So, your state of heart determines your ‘husbandhood’. Your heart capacity with God speaks louder than even your prayers. It is not your penis that makes you a husband. It is more about your heart. The capacity of your heart to love your wife and the capacity of your heart to confront marital issues the way God expects it, are the things that make you a God-approved husband.
Maybe you are a young man that has all it takes to get married. Because of the stories of marital unfaithfulness and challenges that you hearing everyday, you are either afraid to marry or you have decided never to marry someone. You are not a man until you understand that you are a wife to your maker. You have nothing to fear because your husband is behind you and has capacity to give you all it takes to succeed in marriage. If you are yet to get married to Jesus Christ by surrendering your heart for him to take over as your Lord and personal saviour, your marital success lacks insurance. Sorry.
God is more interested and uses men who believe him and his word. If you are an unbeliever, you are far from marital success.
“And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6)
He does not work with people who run away from challenges. If you are thinking about suicide because of the challenges you are facing in marriage, you are not standing up to your responsibility as a wife that God Almighty has.
If you are thinking about separation because of a marital conflict that does not in any way involve threat to your life, you are not pleasing God as your husband.
Even when there is threat to life that leads to separation, the separation has to be temporal because the Bible does not make provision for divorce. So, face your marital challenge and fix it.
Naturally, a man loves the God that he serves and the wife below that serves him. This is God’s order. When either of the parties decide or attempt to break this order, God, the husband of husbands gets offended.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hateth his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Ephesians 5:25-29 KJV).
Love your wife by being a good wife to Almighty God, your husband. Your marriage shall be a blessing and a testimony in Jesus name.
Mrs OB is a teacher of Etiquette, she came to take her class as usual, but the now familiar stench accompanied her, the students cringed as usual, some hissed, some chuckled, some covered their nostrils, some took the exit door…it was a case of ‘’teacher, don’t teach me nonsense’’, one of ‘’teacher, where is thy etiquette’’? It was indeed one of ‘’physician, heal thyself’’…
What it is
Body odour, is the unpleasant smell that can occur when one sweats. The sweat itself does not smell. The unpleasant odour is produced by bacteria on the skin that break down the sweat into acids.
There are 3-4 million sweat glands on the human body. The two types of sweat gland are:
eccrine glands – which are spread across the skin and regulate body temperature by cooling the skin with sweat when one gets hot
apocrine glands – mainly found in hairy areas of the body, such as the armpits and genital area; apocrine glands develop during puberty and release scented chemicals called pheromones
Sweat produced by the eccrine glands is usually odourless, although it can smell if bacteria start to break it down. It can also take on an offensive odour if one consumes certain food and drink, such as garlic, spices and alcohol, as well as some types of medication, such as antidepressants.
However, it is the apocrine glands that are mainly responsible for body odour because the sweat they produce contains high levels of protein, which bacteria find easy to break down.
People who sweat excessively from their apocrine glands, or have a lot of bacteria on their skin, tend to have worse body odour.
Being overweight. Skin folds can hold sweat and bacteria, making a more hospitable home for body odor.
Eating spicy, pungent foods. These don’t actually make your sweat any smellier, but the scents of pungent foods can permeate through your skin, making body odor seem worse.
Excessive sweating. A condition called hyperhidrosis can cause you to sweat a lot, as can menopause. And some people just naturally sweat more than others.
Certain medical conditions. Diabetes, kidney or liver problems, overactive thyroid, and (extremely rare) genetic conditions can cause a change in the normal body scent. In some cases, an odd body odor can be a sign of something more serious. For example, a bleach-like or urine-like smell may mean kidney or liver problems. If you notice an odd change in your normal body odor, or feel something is just not right, contact your doctor.
Stress. Stress causes your appocrine glands (the glands that cause smelly sweat) to work overtime. So, you may notice a sudden breakout of body odour right before your interview, a presentation or after a particularly hair-raising event.
Genetics. Some people are just morprone to developing body odor than others.
Sweet Tooth ;If you are guilty of indulging in sugary sweets, it could cause you to smell…well, not so sweet. Eating too many sugary snacks causes the body to overproduce yeast, which turns the sugars into alcohols, which contributes to odor.
What to do
Shower at least once daily. Use soap or shower gel and lather up thoroughly, especially in areas prone to body odour In especially hot, humid areas, a twice-daily shower may be in order. It goes without saying—shower as soon as possible after working out or sweating.
Use an anti-bacterial soap. If regular showers aren’t doing the trick, use an anti-bacterial soap or body wash. These washes can help reduce the number of bacteria on your skin so there is less to turn sweat into stink.
Get the right underarm product. Did you know there are differences? Deodorants make your underarms a less hospitable home for bacteria. They also help mask body odour with fragrance. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, block the sweat glands to reduce perspiration. If you don’t sweat much but get body odor, deodorants are the way to go. If you’re a sweater, make sure you get a product that is labeled both an anti-perspirant and deodorant.
Wear breathable fabrics. Natural fabrics, like cotton, are better than polyesters, nylon, and rayon at keeping body odour at bay. Natural fibers breathe, allowing the sweat to evaporate away. Avoid fabrics that trap sweat against the skin. These allow for a better breeding ground for body odor to develop. When working out, opt for moisture-wicking fabrics.
Eliminate or reduce spicy or pungent foods from your diet. Strong smelling foods like curry, garlic, spicy peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and onions can cause a more pungent sweat. Even alcohol can even have an effect on the smell of your sweat. If you eat these types of foods regularly, try reducing them or eliminating them altogether and see if that doesn’t help sweeten your sweat.
Shave or wax. Appocrine glands (the glands that cause smelly sweat) are concentrated in areas covered by hair, namely the armpits and the pubic area. The hair holds sweat and makes a good environment where bacteria can thrive. Removing hair can go a long way in controlling body odor. Yes, guys, that means you may want to consider shaving your underarms. If you prefer not going completely bare in any area, trimming the hair up short can also help reduce body odour.
wash your armpits, groin and feet at least twice a day with soap and dry thoroughly
shave your armpits regularly
use antiperspirants and deodorants
change and wash your clothes regularly
wear natural fabrics like cotton, wool and silk
wear antibacterial socks
do not eat too much strong smelling or spicy food
do not drink too much coffee or alcohol
See your doctor if none of these works.
Queens’ College? No, not again!
There are laws concerning the establishment of schools and there are still extant laws on conduct on school premises either by teachers or their pupils. In other words, schools are legal entities. They can be sued and can as well sue. These laws are without prejudice to the ethics and ethos of teaching, as a noble profession. However, most parents are not even aware of their rights and the rights of the children they entrusted in the care of schools especially during school hours. Worse still is the brazen ignorance sometimes displayed by some school owners/school authorities who know nothing about their limitations under the laws despite the fact that they are the investors who established the schools or got appointed as custodians of schools.
There were cases where pupils’ rights were breached on school premises and school owners and teachers got away with them since parents were not even aware that such rights exist. In cases where knowledgeable parents asked questions, schools often resorted to threats and intimidation. This assertion is based on my participation in some schools’ parents/teachers’ associations either as an active member or a member of the executives.
I did not know the import of these rights until I attended a workshop as a youth corps member in the ’90s. It was organised by Shell Petroleum Development Company for youth corps members under its ‘Science Teachers’ Scheme. A professor from the Faculty of Education, Delta State University, Abraka, was one of the resource persons at the one-week workshop, which was held at the Federal Government College, Warri. The professor, whose name I cannot remember now, was an orator. His understanding of the Nigerian education system, laws on setting up of schools and conduct of teachers, school owners, parents, pupils as well as the expected relationship between teachers on one hand and their students on the other hand was deep. Even those who had background in education among us acknowledged that the professor’s brilliance and pedagogy were unique.
I later found some of the things he taught us quite useful as a parent who attends PTA meetings. Interestingly, some court cases he cited were backed up with reading from the Nigerian Weekly Law Report, a compilation of decided cases by the late legal icon, Chief Gani Fawehinmi. Among the cases, he cited, two have refused to leave my memory. The first was the case of three pupils that were sent home after they were brought to school by their parents on account that they had not paid their school fees. On their way home, they were killed by a hit-and-run driver. This, the professor said, happened in Calabar in the late 80s.The school proprietor was charged with manslaughter and was subsequently jailed.
The parents of the pupils knew their right; they asked for it and got it. The court established that the school had no right to send pupils brought to school by their parents home except if there are adults to accompany such pupils home who must in turn hand them over to their parents. This is to ensure nothing untoward happens to such pupils between the school and their homes. In case parents of such pupils are not at home, schools were advised to hand them over to a responsible adults in the neighbourhood or get in touch with the parents of such pupils and act on the parents’ directive regarding who to leave the pupils with- the bottomline is to ensure the safety of such pupils. The second was the case of a teacher who flogged a pupil to ‘death.’
The said teacher was said to have flogged a girl on the school premises for indiscipline. When she got home, her father was infuriated not because she was flogged but because she was injured with canes, which left marks all over her body. He went to see the teacher who could not control his anger to register his resentment. But when he got to the school, the parent’s anger was said to have subsided. He rather pleaded with the teacher to control his anger whenever he wanted to discipline any errant pupil. But as far as the teacher was concerned, it was an insult for a parent to give him unsolicited advice and he could not take it in his stride. Immediately the girl’s father left, the teacher reportedly sent for the pupil. He gave her another merciless beating with his cane for reporting him to her father and asked her to kneel under the scorching sun. After about two hours, the girl became exhausted, collapsed and died on the spot. The teacher was put in the dock and after months of trial, he was also found guilty of manslaughter and subsequently jailed.
These cited cases still happen in both private and public schools except that they may not often result in deaths. Teachers are kings esand queens and deserve to be revered. But reverence should not turn teachers into bullies. They should rather serve as a bulwark against bullying in schools. Bullying can come in various forms. When Queens’ College was in the news for the wrong reason in 2016 following alleged sexual harassment against one of the male teachers, I did warn in my column titled: ‘The ugliness of Queens’ College’ that asking the pupils to carry placards with various inscriptions exonerating the alleged teacher was another form of bullying. I likened the act of the protesting pupils to ‘Rent-acrowd’, a despicable act, introduced into our polity by politicians.
The only difference is that in the realm of politics rented crowds are always given financial inducement but in the case of the pupils, I strongly suspected that the pupils were cajoled to protest in order to provide an alibi for the teacher. I argued then that the countenance of the pupils was not convincing enough that the protest was natural or their own initiative. I had asked if the pupils used their pocket money to buy those cardboards and markers used in writing those inscriptions. Some reporters who were at the so-called protest said they only saw pupils who had been tutored on what to say during the sham protest? Allowing the pupils to embark on the so-called protest is the height of irresponsibility and unbecoming of a prime school like Queens’ College . If my suspicion about the so-called protest by the pupils then was right, then the saga involving a pupil that came to the school with fixed eyelashes and long nails should not be a surprise then.
Discipline had broken down in that school long ago and there may be worse cases of indiscipline than the one, which involved a pupil that came to school with long nails and fixed eyelashes recently. While I won’t pretend that I have the details of what happened beyond the video that went viral, I won’t also doubt that the school rules would not have allowed a pupil to appear as a model preparing to do Salsa Catwalk on the runway. In my days even as a primary school pupil, there were days when we were asked to stretch the back of our palms and those who had natural long nails would be asked to move out of the queue we had formed while some teachers would use rulers to hit the long fingernails of the pupils found with such repeatedly. The reason why we were never allowed to keep long nails was because; they could appear unkempt and harbour germs, which could endanger our health.
The rules were many and most of the pupils knew them by heart and knew the implication of going against any of those rules. When errant pupils were punished, their parent won’t come to school to fight teachers as we often see nowadays.
However, parents have the right to ask question if their children are wrongly punished because some teachers can hide under indiscipline to bully pupils and find justification for their actions. But even at that, parents need not be indecorous in their approach when confronting teachers who were not fair in dealing with their pupils. Bad parents will end up raising badly brought up children. We have seen cases where parents procure question papers for their children.
Some parents out of desperation connive with authorities of highbrow government-owned schools like Queens’ College to ensure their children are admitted to such schools even if they do not merit them. When such thing happened, such parent already have the impression that they can get away with anything from such school. The Economic and Financial C rimes Commission (EFCC) shocked us some weeks ago when it revealed that mothers of “Yahoo boys” have reportedly form an association, perhaps to give backings to their children who are doing wrong things. Queens’ College cannot afford to always be in the news for wrong reasons.
The comments of some Nigerians most of whom don’t have all facts on the issues have shown the kind of people we are truly. Some comments show that moral decadence has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society and moral rectitude has lost its meaning. As far as some are concerned, the girl and her mother should be given a clap while the security men are the gate should be thrown under a fast moving bus. The issue is still nebulous and only the school authorities can shed light on the matter. We need to know what exactly happened beyond the social media thing. We need to know the exact role played by the security men. For instance, did they act outside their brief? If the school finds itself in a similar situation, how best can it be handled? This is the only way, the school can avoid a recurrence of that ugly situation.
Sorrow, tears and blood elections in Nigeria
…Demonstration of craze
If it no be craze
Why for Afrika?
As time dey go
Things just dey bad
They bad more and more
Poor man dey cry
Rich man dey mess…
-Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (Teacher don’t
teach me nonsense – 1986)
Last weekend, elections were held in two states of the federation – Kogi and Bayelsa – and the exercise once again brought to the fore the fact that 33 years after the late Afro Beat musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti sang those words in his hit tune, ‘Teacher don’t teach me nonsense’ not much has changed in this country when it comes to voting. In fact like the musician, who died on August 2, 1997, unerringly predicted then –the whole process has even gotten worse with the major actors taking part as if they are fighting a war! Sadly the “field marshals” have found willing foot soldiers in the small minority of people ready to subvert the will of the majority for a pittance. These people are ready to carry guns, axes, planks and other dangerous weapons to be used to terrorise the law abiding majority who troop out to the polling booths dotted all over the place to carry out the civic duties.
Unfortunately for them, these “army generals” along with their marauding “troops” do not give a hoot about the hopes of the people, and instead unleash terror on them in order to ensure that either their candidate wins or their opponent loses – as long as the outcome, whichever way, suits them. And this is what played out again last weekend, with reports of at least six people being killed in Kogi State, one of the victims being Olorunjuwon, the nephew of Senator Dino-Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who is battling hard to retain his seat at the expense of his All Progressives Party opponent, Senator Smart Adeyemi.
The senseless murder of Olorunjuwon and the others shows to what extent our politicians will go too in order to triumph in an election – for them life means virtually nothing so long as at the end of the day they are declared winners. Incidentally a new scare tactic was introduced in Kogi State over the weekend with the reports of a police helicopter swooping on a polling zone to disperse those who had lined up to cast their votes and allow unscrupulous elements make away with the ballot boxes. Of course the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu had a defence for what happened insisting that they (police) had waded in to stop confrontations between opposing supporters of the two main candidates.
He also argued that those in uniform seen in multiple videos first shooting to scare away voters before carting away the ballot boxes were not his men but imposters decked in the uniforms of the Nigeria Police and Army, also driving vehicles associated with them.
As is the tradition, despite the widespread incidences of violence and intimidation, the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) carried on with the exercise it was supposed to midwife and announced Yahaya Bello as the winner in Kogi State, while APC’s David Lyon defied all odds to finally end the PDP’s 20-year grip on Bayelsa State by trouncing Senator Douye Diri of the PDP. As has become the pattern in the country, the winners were full of praise for the exercise insisting that the outcome was a true reflection of the wishes of the people, while the beaten candidates cried foul! The PDP’s Musa Wada rejected the Kogi results, describing the election outcome as fictitious and false.
He spoke at a media briefing in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, while INEC was still announcing the results. Wada said he won the election and described the result from the Okene Local Government Area, where INEC said the APC polled 112,764 against PDP’s 139 votes as fictitious. The PDP candidate said the results as announced by INEC represented a dark day in the history of democracy in Nigeria.
He also alleged that the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, who is the candidate of the APC, used state apparatus to compromise the outcome of the election. “As I speak, results were being written all over the collation centres. I think they just allowed people to come out just to tell the world that elections were holding. To me, it was just mere formality to rob the people. As I speak, the wish of the people of Kogi State is not what is prevailing in the so-called collation going on. “A situation in which the Commissioner of Police in Kogi State would have to go to the collation centre in Dekina, my own LGA, to stay in the collation centre from 11pm till this morning, his mission was not known. He was going into the collation centre and coming out with his car. I think his mission was not unknown, of course he was there to do the wishes of the power that be.”
On his part, Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday said the just-concluded governorship election in the state was free and fair despite damning reports to the contrary by election observers. The re-elected governor insisted that a level-playing field was provided and that it was free and fair. “In every election, there is bound to be one issue or the other and you can’t take a pocket of issues to judge the general conduct of the election,” he said. Down south the same scenario panned out with the winner hailing the exercise while the losers condemned it. Unfortunately this has been the pattern since Nigeria’s early forays into the democratic process in the 60s with the West going up in flames courtesy of the infamous “Operation Wetie” in which politicians and their properties were set ablaze with petrol. The “operation” was only finally ended when the military took over on January 15, 1966. In normal climes the politicians should have learnt their lessons by the time the “khaki boys” finally returned to the barracks in 1979.
But of course Nigeria is not a normal country and the intolerance and winner takes all mentality again continued in the Second Republic with the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) coining the phrase “moon slide” after it won a very contentious election in 1983.
The inability of the political actors get their acts together prompted a return of the military in December of ’83. The Fourth Republic kicked off in 1999 with the same age-long election malpractices still being prevalent and even getting worse at every election. One can only appeal to the major actors to sheath their selfish interests and think of the overall good of the country. Because despite the battle for control of elections, things have only gotten worse for the millions of Nigerians, the so-called politicians are claiming to be fighting for. There is also need for the majority to decide enough is enough and demand for elections to be conducted in a proper manner so that at the end of the day the will of the people will actually count. Until this happens, this is the kind of election cycle we shall be witnessing every four years – characterised by sorrow, tears and blood!
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