More often than not, it is the woman that moves out of her matrimonial home in case of separation. It became a norm because she moved into her husband’s house to make a home; so it behooves her to move out when the marital contract is either suspended (separation) or terminated (divorce). This practice became entrenched through the ages because the man owns the house or the apartment as the case may be. From the ages past, the man customarily gets married into his father’s home. This makes it difficult for the woman to enforce any right or lay claim to anything other than her children in the family.
In our modern day, women still suffer the same fate as of old. They have conditioned their mindset to quitting either for other women their husbands are dating or because they want to give space for peace in the case of domestic violence, deprivations or abuse. I think this norm should be challenged and possibly reviewed especially from the legal point of view. This becomes needful as more women are daily losing their matrimonial homes for sundry reasons: whether on genuine or flimsy reasons. They squat with family and friends under inconvenient conditions. Conducive accommodation is the prime need of single mothers. A safe and peaceful environment where children can be nurtured without fear of danger or negative influence is germane to their healthy growth.
Meanwhile, the man is most likely to have moved on with his life immediately without missing his estranged wife. In some cases, it would be ‘celebrated’ as a good radiance to bad rubbish. He would only miss his children if he’s the type that loves and plays with children; but unfortunately, many men are not. They will lay with other women on their matrimonial beds, violate the sanctity of their marital vows and commitments without sparing a thought about their actions. Men naturally are hornier than women. I know women who have remained for years without having romantic relationships with men but such are not so common among men. Men are physiologically wired differently from women. While an average man enjoys sex merely as fun or bedroom exercise, a woman, after a sexual encounter will begin to see her bedmate differently. She would begin to build a castle in the air around him; addressing him as her “boyfriend” or “fiancé” or possibly “husband” as she relishes in the world of fantasy! Her emotions will run riot immediately she notices divided attention from the man. In a confirmed case of double-dating, she will break down in tears, claiming another “disappointment” or “heartbreak” from a man who never proposed either dating or marriage to her. Habitually, women do allow self-deceit, fantasy and misconception to inflict emotional pains, as it were, on themselves while they conveniently heap the blame on men.
Back to the issue at hand. In a case where the couple already owns a building or has bought over the apartment wherein they live, must the woman be the one to move out if there’s any cause for separation? Since the union has produced children, can’t the man quit the house for the wife and her children? Legally speaking, he’s obliged to provide for the upkeep, feeding, schooling and shelter for the children. And in most cases, despite court rulings to that effect, men do flagrantly violate the order. And rather than throwing the innocent children into quandary and vulnerable atmosphere because of their mom, I think it is much safer, reasonable and fatherly as well if the woman, courtesy of the children, is allowed to stay while the man finds his own level. After all he is just one person in a family of about four or five or more people.
Let’s be honest here, since the man never doubted the paternity of his children, obviously his estate would eventually be bequeathed to his children. Even if he has other children outside, his Will should fundamentally favour his children, notwithstanding the number of other possible beneficiaries. So, why not be man enough to walk away selflessly in the interest of the children? I propose this idea because it is sheer wickedness and act of injustice to send a woman packing with children while the man alone stays back in the house. Many men don’t care about how decent or convenient is the place their children live in. The issue here is not about the woman but the children. Even the few men who undertake to pay rents because of the children often pay irregularly; and in several cases, they default. They can decide to stop paying the rent anytime; in fact, it’s the last item on their budget. It is such a parlous condition for the products of broken homes and the unlucky woman.
I think the law courts and welfare offices should enforce compliance with the welfare package for children. It is obligatory for men to be so responsible. And men, too, should not hesitate to report mismanagement of money meant for the upkeep of the children by their estranged women. Many women do divert school fees, rents, even feeding allowances to their businesses and daily or weekly thrift contributions while the children suffer hunger or stay out of school until they are able to recoup the money. This is also callous and unmotherly attitude.
The silent need of grandmas
I received some messages last weekend sequel to the last two editions on sex matters. A 67-year-old woman lamented the plight of aging or older people especially women in loneliness and their sexless life in retirement. In a telephone conversation that lasted about 32 minutes, she explained how her ilk waited for so long for companions without getting any.
“It’s very thoughtful of you, Michael West, to have spared the time to write pointedly on a knotty and coded issue like sex. There’s no gainsaying about it, many homes are in storms today as a result of incompatible or dismal sex life. Some of us got to know better and appreciate the sweetness of sex when it was almost late. I quite agree with you that the only place where a legitimate sex should take place is in marriage; but the parental failure to talk to their children about sex ahead of time has wrecked irreparable damages to many promising homes.
“For the young women, they still have the ample opportunity to make the most of their time by managing their men in a way that they will stay together till the evening of their lives. I appreciate young women who persevere to keep stable homes while I dislike the nonchalant attitude of some other women to marriage. They will realise the harm they’re doing to themselves in their old age. I’m aware that some men are monsters in their homes. Women that are unfortunate to marry those brutes as husbands should be ready to endure or quit. Such men are difficult to relate with. However, I have seen two of such violent men become loving and faithful husbands after they encountered Christ.
“West, widows and single women in their 60s and 70s need love. Many of us are being consigned to becoming nannies or abandoned to fate. We still feel lonely. We need companions too. I have heard some people say ‘what do those grandmas need men for?’ I laugh because someday it will be their turn. Those who think a 70-year-old woman does not need cuddling or sex because of her age should know that we (Grandmas) still feel horny like they do.
“Have you wondered why White women scout for men even on the internet? We have witnessed younger men in their 20s and early 30s marrying White women who are old enough to be their grandmas. You may criticize the guys but they’re serving a crucial purpose for some women who are ready to pay their way through to happiness. But here in Africa, Nigeria in particular, culture and environment won’t encourage older women to do such a thing. Therefore, a ‘big mummy’ will remain lonely and sexless to her grave at an age she should still be her man’s sweet sixteen.
“Our children don’t help our situation. They’re fond of criticizing us whenever we share our feelings and desires with them on the need of companions. Conversely though, there are some considerate ones who do encourage their aging moms to find love or companions to make themselves happy and fulfilled. Even at that, where are the men?
“West, candidly, there are few, if any, available men that can truly fill in the void in our lives. Men who are our mates don’t look in our direction. They chase about the younger women. Incidentally, those girls also prefer the ‘daddies’ to their mates. This inverted pairing leaves us out of the equation. And if you decide to consider mature younger men maybe in their 40s or 50s, distractions and sundry pressures won’t allow them to give deserved attention.
“As for me, I don’t encourage married men to engage in extra-marital affairs. It’s sacrilegious to the sanctity of matrimony but there are many single men out there who are widowers, separated or divorced. I do discourage my friends who date some of these younger men to avoid married ones in order to keep their homes. However, the problem with many of the single men or single dads is that there are several women available to them as options. The unfortunate thing is that such men think they’re doing you a favour rather than appreciating the older women for who they are.
“I like to subscribe to your hook-up platform because I trust your judgement and diligence in handling relationships. Keep up the good work going, Mr. West. God will soundly bless you in return. I appreciate you. Thank you.”
Apart from the needful companionship, lack of warmth or prolonged abstinence from sex do have some health challenges as repercussions on the aging women. A healthy sex life will keep immune system humming, boosts libido, improves women’s bladder control, lowers blood pressure and reduces heart attack risk, lessens cramps, nourishes body skin and shapes, makes prostate cancer less likely while it is also considered as an exercise.
I know a 70-year-old woman who had been complaining of various kinds of ailments one after the other for over two years. Her nurse was almost running out of ideas to manage her condition. One day, her neighbour told her to stop “killing her system” with drugs she took every now and then. She advised the ailing woman to go for sex instead. The woman in question had been separated for about seven years and she remained sexless ever since.
Initially she discountenanced the counsel, thinking how sex could be the answer to her sickness that kept moving from one part of her body to another. In summary, after a reluctant date with a man, she allowed the fun to sustain until she no longer complain about ill-health. In a matter of months, she looked radiant, bubbling with life and excitement. That’s a practical way to keep ‘big mummies’ or grandmas healthy, happy and fulfilled.
The judgement, the fallouts
“It takes a long time to learn that a courtroom is the last place in the World for learning the truth” – Alice Koller
How agreeable are we with William Weld’s assertion that the courts are the least dangerous of the three branches of our government? Many Nigerians bemoaning the September 11 ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal will not agree with that view rather they will see it as even more dangerous given their last line position in decision making. For once ahead of the ruling many Nigerians thought that Nigeria judiciary was going to prove predictors wrong and come up with uncommon judicial pronouncements which would have been a turning point in the nation’s democracy. Some of them were expecting the type of landmark ruling that would have consigned electoral frauds in Nigeria to the trash can.
But as it turned out political prognosticators were proven right in their insistence ahead of the tribunal ruling that the crop of judicial officers in the fold now lacked what it takes to produce an outstanding judgement, the type that made Justices Chukwudifu Oputa, Kayode Esho or Niki Tobi etc. in that class thick in their days. Moreover they also noted that aside being sufficiently cowed, petrified and bruised, the current judicial officers in Nigeria have been so enmeshed in the corruption endemic in our society today that it would be rare if not impossible to see a Justice who would stand up for truth just for truth sake.
That would be searching for a saint in the devil’s abode. So when the Justice Mohammad Garba led five Justices that composed the Presidential Election petitions Tribunal started reading their ruling last week sounding more like defence counsel than an unbiased and neutral adjudicators, many Nigerian discussants were merely saying, ‘we told you, are you surprised, what do you expect,’ all indicating that otherwise in the ruling would have been very much unlike Nigeria.
Such unlikely thing rarely happens in this country especially in our polity. Perhaps the most outstanding memorable unlikely Nigeria thing that happened in our polity lately was in 2015 when an incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan against all predictions relinquished political power to the opposition and went further to conduct a seamless transition of power to them. Before then nobody ever thought it was possible in Nigeria that someone who has the power equivalent of the literary life and death will give in just like that. If that is what they want why not let it be Jonathan would say.
Even when some belligerents’ cohorts of his tried to do otherwise he distanced himself from them. Godsday Orubebe is in our mind here. Ever since that ruling the political space has remained divided whether what Jonathan did was the right thing. Did he really provide leadership and genuinely wanted to respect the dictates of democracy or was he harassed out? Either way, Nigeria and global democracy were the huge beneficiaries from that exceptional showing.
That was the last uncommon outing in our polity which political pundits had predicted was going to take our electoral growth to the next level but it never did. Rather poor governance delivery in the last four years added to the outcome of the 2019 general election have all coalesced to make political watchers return conversation to Jonathan era? If Jonathan’s electoral behaviour was such excellence that the global community stood still for it and made it look like the finest hour for Nigeria’s democracy, why has the same democratic World kept mute at the display of the exact opposite ever since? As the World watched the Osun State gubernatorial election fraud that was capped by the Supreme Court’s technicality ruling and now to the bizarre election of 2019 what did they do? Also overlooked was the strange but strategic action that preceded the elections like the unilateral removal of the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen on the eve of an election by President Buhari, a candidate in the election, an action that could be classified as the forerunner to the eventual electoral fraud that was massively witnessed.
As the picture is showing now if democracy collapses in Nigeria God forbid the fingers should point at the insincerity of the political elite as well as the civil society groups who claim to be policing democracy yet undermining it by dinning with both the saints and the mammon to protect selfish interests. In various other ways, elite are seeing the truth and looking away, lacking the necessary liver to defend democracy. We like it when we see on the social media nations that are claiming victory against injustice by standing up to it but we remain unwilling to thread the path that leads to it. Biddable and credulous Nigerians wants to be saints but are not ready to die yet there is no living saint, not even the Pope. Since the September 11 ruling the media space has been crammed with reactions on it.
The first major reaction came from the greatest beneficiary of the ruling, the Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), President Buhari who said he was never disturbed at all because he was guided by clear conscience and really was not afraid.
If the President is a student of history may be he would have avoided using the word conscience because the revolutionary Islamic teacher and founder of Sokoto caliphate, ‘Uthman dan Fodio reminds us that conscience is an open wound that can only be healed by one drug called truth. Can the President sincerely say that he actually won the election and that he was really qualified by the demands of the law? But even despite the President’s bullishness every indicator shows otherwise, the entire apparatchik of both the ruling party and the Presidency were so charged and mobilized in a manner that has never been seen since the regime came to being four years ago. Even the invincible and indestructible cabal members who have held this country in her jugular since 2015 operating from behind masked had to unveil themselves and appear live to generate all the heat on the Justices. Their presence alone not to talk of the ministers and party faithful were enough to mirror the real mood of the government as jittery and uncomfortable.
Those who worked extremely hard to produce the result we all saw at the court especially those whose efforts will remain hidden certainly deserve some accolades from those who sent them or those in support of their mission but definitely the damage to the nation would be far reaching. Even the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who excitedly said that they are ready to meet Atiku at the World Court where they hope to defeat him still knows too well that he is not being sincere as the party is still seriously working behind the scene to avert the matter going to Supreme Court if they can.
The biggest fallout perhaps from the Presidential election petition ruling is the declaration of President Buhari as being ’eminently qualified’. It has turned upside down the country’s quest for education as it made no sense of certificates.
If a President of a country has court affidavit as equivalent to certificate and got endorsed by a court of law and the Chief Justice in the same regime is saying that termites ate up his own certificates, God help our children whose cost of educating is even skyrocketing.
Finally, as Nigerians remain stunned at the turn of events arising from the September 11 ruling of the Appeal Court Justices and await although not enthusiastically the outcome from the Supreme Court, Mahatma Gandhi’s words appear very suiting at this time: “there is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience it supersedes all other courts.” God help Nigeria.
Now that SA has apologised…
ow South Africa has apologised for the xenophobic attacks that saw to the death of many African compatriots in the hands of South African mobs, have we seen the end of a sad chapter in the history of Black Africa? Nigeria was one of many African countries caught in the xenophobic web that the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent special envoys to apologise for earlier in the week as well as given assurances that all is now well – or, more appropriately – that all will be well. Can we take his assurances for it? Cyril himself was a fire-eating Labour leader in the last days of the armed struggle against apartheid; so he should know the mentality of his people. A facade of hope that normalcy has, indeed, returned to SA was the fledgling anti-xenophobic movement in SA itself where “wives” of victims of xenophobic attacks were summoning up courage to come out of their cocoons to decry their own losses.
A few other conscionable South Africans have joined in their rank. Will these be enough to stem the tide? Is the SA Government sincere with its apology and can it do the needful? Are the xenophobes now tired, remorseful, been won over by superior argument or they are simply on recess, waiting for the next opportune occasion to strike? Time, as they say, will tell!
As the repatriation of the endangered Nigerians proceeds apace, it is safe to conclude that only a few will venture to return. Many will stay put, the dangers to their life and livelihood notwithstanding, while others will relocate to other countries. The reasons for this are not far to fetch: The situations and circumstances that ran them out of their fatherland have not abated; instead, they have become more pronounced in the last four years of the APC/President Muhammadu Buhari administration. While APC leaders have been creating millions of jobs by words of the mouth, the real unemployment situation has gone from bad to worse. Not only are new jobs not being created as claimed by government, those in employment are losing their jobs at an alarming rate. Absence of jobs, especially among the youth, has led to high rate of criminality, such that government now begs criminals to sheathe their sword, having lost the moral right, the wherewithal as well as the will power to fight crimes. Nigerians leave the shores of this country in droves in search of better living conditions. “Better life”, which was nothing to write home about before, has deteriorated progressively since 2015. Inflation and devaluation have robbed the Naira of close to half of its purchasing power, if not more. Education, health, power supply, and infrastructure have decayed beyond acceptable levels. Corruption today is more mind-boggling than in times past; if in doubt, compare what Buhari spends as fuel subsidy with what Jonathan spent. To make matters worse, the state of insecurity today – with Fulani herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers, ritualists and cultists rivalling Boko Haram – have left Nigeria worse than Buhari/APC had met it.
Recent reports said 60 doctors leave Lagos hospitals every six months (10/month) while 700 (appro. 61/monthly) doctors dump Nigeria annually. The Yoruba would say “Orisa boo le gba mi, fi mi s’ile boo se ba mi”. If you can’t help, don’t make matters worse for me! Not so Buhari/APC!
South African returnees would therefore be returning to a Nigeria worse than the one they left behind. For those who left when PDP/Goodluck Jonathan was in power, they will have the added pains and humiliation of “Operation Crocodile Smile” to contend with. The war of attrition between APC/Buhari and their allies on the one hand and pro-Biafra forces on the other is yet to abate. Ask Ekweremadu! Ask South-East governors! Few South-easterners, who form the bulk of the South Africa returnees, are proud of Buhari: The president’s bare-faced sectionalism, tribalism and nepotism have not helped matters! Expect a visibly embarrassed South Africa to put obstacles in the way of repatriation to try and squeeze the returnees, make their return difficult if not impossible as well as buy time while mending fences. Only reason why SA pretends to be remorseful is because it risks isolation. It is doubtful whether Nigeria has made adequate preparation for the returnees. For those returning with empty hands, how do they start life afresh? Shame and fear of disgrace is another reason why some will be unwilling to return. “Iku ya j’esin”, our people will say. Better die than suffer ignominy! The politics of the repatriation, though, is not as much as doing a good job as giving an impression something was done. It is less of substance but more of appearance.
FUOYE: Two deaths too many
What is beyond dispute now is that two students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) died during a peaceful protest that went awry last week. Except for those who still have the milk of human kindness running in their veins in a Nigeria that had since lost all sensibilities and feelings but now has scant regard for human life, this is mere statistics – “only” two lives lost! Yes, “only” two! Since the advent of APC/Buhari, our attitude to living and dying has become cavalierly. But consider that one of the “only two” were your own son – let our men and women of power consider that “just one”, not the entire “only two” of the FUOYE dead were their own son or daughter! If you do not appreciate what belongs to others, someone is coming who will not appreciate what belongs to you. If you pay scant regard to the life of the other person, someone is coming who will pay scant regard to your own life or the life of someone you hold so dear. That is the Law of Karma and the import of Prophet Nathan’s message to King David after he had killed “good man” Uriah and appropriated his wife Bathsheba.
The least that Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi can do is to unearth the killers and ensure they are brought to justice. As governor, Fayemi is the chief security officer of Ekiti and the buck stops on his table. It is his duty to get justice for those whose life, like Abel’s, Uriah’s and Nabot’s, was snuffed out in cold blood. Failure, he will account, like Dele Giwa minced no words in telling us, if not now then later; if not before man, then, before God.
Fayemi must follow up his instructions to the CP, Ekiti State to unearth the killer-cops. The death of the two FUOYE students, for now, has been woven around the legs of Fayemi’s wife, Erelu Bisi; unless Gov. Fayemi is able to shift the guilt elsewhere, that is where it will remain – and that is where justice shall be served.
Having first driven away the fox, let us now return to speak a word of truth to the FUOYE students: But for the fact that students will always be students, why demonstrate and risk your life over an occurrence as common in today’s Nigeria as power outage? For those of us not students and who also suffer power outrage – and have to pay rapacious estimated bills to boot – where do we carry our own protests, peaceful or violent? But, then, like they say: “Agba wa bura pe ewe o se o ri!”
As an undergrad at Ife, I, too, demonstrated on a countless number of occasions, storming Lagos and screaming “Obasanjo na goat o, na goat o, (Shehu Musa) Yar’Adua barawo ni, o omo eran”. On one occasion we vandalised a posh car belonging to Oloye Olusola Saraki, the then Senate President, within the premises of the then Senate Building at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos. Thank God, we were not shot by errant security details of power-drunk politicians! It is likely that the Fayemis also demonstrated while on campus at Ife. What if they had been shot?
What is left of VP Osinbajo?
On Monday, the Buhari administration stylishly, even if in characteristically deceitful manner, admitted to the failure of policy and personnel when it disbanded its Economic Management Team headed by VP Yemi Osinbajo and instituted another called Economic Advisory Council (mere semantics!) headed by one Prof. Doyin Salami. The new EAC got rid of Osinbajo as both head and member. Who does not know that this is an indictment and that Osinbajo is being held responsible for the many astounding economic failures of the Buhari administration?
Osinbajo as VP is not allowed into security meetings; ministers and other political appointees report to the president through the Chief of Staff; civil servants and parastatals report to the president through Secretary to the Government of the Federation; and now, the economic team bypasses the same VP who has the statutory responsibility of chairing their meetings! What is left for – and of – Osinbajo in the Buhari administration? Pity!
Nigeria’s leadership quagmire
After the infamous verdict of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) on Wednesday, 11th September, 2019, there was palpable quiet and lull in the land. It was as if majority of Nigerians were bathed with cold water. No noise was heard. No playlets were rehearsed. No toasts were scripted. No celebrations were anchored nor were there any spontaneous jubilations in response to the judgement, which returned victory to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari as validly elected at the polls.
Before now, under the APC-led Federal Government, the country has sustained a leadership atrophy that has become lazy, unproductive, laid back, with visible signs of incompetence, incapacity and under-performance. The end result is a rising profile in kidnapping, armed banditry, killings, insurgency and armed robbery.
It has reached a crescendo, making some governors become regular visitors in the bramble forest in their domain, in search for Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and other agreements with armed bandits.
It beats my imagination trying to rationalise a scenario where a governor will wake up, assemble a team of Police personnel and other security details, hopped into his vehicle in a long convoy drive deep into the forest, to strike a deal with bandits. And the bandit at the other end is feeling on top of the world, waiting to receive the almighty governor and his coterie of aides in his rickety conclave, where sirens are forbidden under strict protocols.
The bandits, looking unkempt, armed with AK47, posed for reassuring photographs with the governor smiling away his folly, as if he has just won a visa lottery to God’s own country. And you see the security operatives in military and police fatigues, also smiling in ecstasy, to their collective follies in the forest of so many demons and bandits. The bandits called the shots in their jungle. There are boundaries not to cross.
There are limited number of persons permitted within the precinct of the bandits’ palatial conclave in the forest. Another industry has just been officially commissioned by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, the President’s home state. It is the industry run by the bandits in a trade by barter system where abductors are exchanged from both the side of the government and the bandits.
When Governor Masari successfully returned to base from his journey to the forest, a few transactions were struck. It was reported that some persons who have been captured before now were released while the government also opened the prison doors to set free bandits who have earlier been arrested.
It is possible that after series of transactions by barter system, the parties to the MoU may choose a date for their Annual General Meeting (AGM), whether in the Government House or in the familiar forest, to re-assess the ‘growth’ and ‘performance’ of this ‘business enterprise’. But reports of other abductions may simply put spanners in the work. And that has already set the awful tone to this barbaric engagement.
When questions are asked at closed quarters, the information is that state governors have become helpless in the hands of bandits and kidnappers. As Chief Executives of their state, they have no power to give directive to the security agencies in their domain, but when the trip to the forest was consummated, operatives of the Nigeria Police and Military, accompanied the governor. Does any state governor have the capacity and freedom to initiate a security architecture that would be a response to the insecurity challenges confronting him in the state? Irrespective of what the narrative might be from the presidency down to the states, the indices of our national development are essentially in the negatives.
Growth rate is appalling, our GDP growth is becoming ridiculous, investment is rapidly dropping, the population of unemployed, able-bodied youths, is growing in geometric proportion, interest rate is still at two digits, inflation rate is alarming, while the gains earlier recorded in agriculture pre-APC era, has nosedived owing to kidnapping activities and farmers/herders clashes.
The farmlands have become endangered zones because of herders and farmers clashes, coupled with kidnapping activities. Added to this is the huge figures of returnees from South Africa and Libya, as a result of xenophobia and its associated virus. Nigeria has never been this troubled.
Nigeria has never been this agitated in contending with its developmental challenge. The hunger in the land is alarming. The deprivation is debilitating. The poverty of ideas in government circle has compounded the poverty in the homes of Nigerians. Education is in shambles, health sector is in comatose, road infrastructure is decayed, while the economy is awkwardly struggling to walk straight.
Insurgency has eaten deep into the fabric of the populace in the North-East, while the military formations appear overstretched because of the plethora of engagements they are compelled to undertake. Frustration has taken over enthusiasm, while despondency has overtaken patriotism that should fire the adrenaline of national development. Killings and hopelessness have become the operative nuance in a country with rudderless leadership and its pliant followership.
There is anger in the land. There is frustration in the land. There is poverty. There is hopelessness. There is hunger and street begging has dominated our streets more than ever before. The country is appearing to be a rudderless ship battling to remain afloat. All the visible indices of a failed state are becoming instructive on a daily basis in Nigeria.
While President Buhari talked about bailing out 100 million Nigerians from poverty in 10 years, the Vice President reduced the figure to 10 million Nigerians, contradictions that spoke volume of the internal disconnect of a presidency that runs in circles. Despite assurances of a bailout, job losses are on the increase amid a growing unemployment figures that should worry any serious government in a new world order.
It is in recognition of these ills and failings in this government that the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal should have quashed the victory of President Buhari for a breath of fresh air. Rather, the tribunal went forum shopping for evidences that do not exist to rationalise and ratify its unpopular verdict, ignoring very copious evidences that were tendered before it. Nigerians are becoming refugees in their own country.
The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across the country has never assumed this huge figure. Yet, the circus continues unabated with each geopolitical zone, finding meaning with self-help measures to combat crimes and criminalities. Nigeria needs urgent help.
The president needs help, urgently too. The easiest and only way to ease out this non-performing government is for the Supreme Court to speak to the issues of electoral fraud, the merit and not technicality that has taken the shine off the Court of Appeal verdict. Visuals of little kids holding plates in their hands in search for food only breeds emotional trauma and sense of nostalgia in the minds of the people. With Nigeria’s abundant resources coupled with our human capital development, we should have no reason to continue to agonise and lament in the face of plenty.
But when a leadership has acquired a feudal status, the courage to caution the leadership in the face of wanton demolition of the nation’s moral fibre, for the love of country, becomes a matter of self-judgement.
It is a statement of fact that Nigeria is bleeding on all fronts. The APC is lost in the middle of nowhere, trying to make meaning with its political power. Its chieftains are more interested in what happens in 2023 than getting its acts together presently to chart a road map. The contestation for 2023 election is more attractive to a party of supposed progressives than contestation of ideas that could generate the uncommon initiative to bail out the country. Just like I did tell a few friends last week after the PEPT verdict, this is the era of affidavit than certificate.
It is a verdict that has given me the leeway to acquire the title of a professor, backed up by an affidavit. Since the tribunal says there is no need to show evidence of certificates obtained, insofar there is an affidavit, it is as good as saying INEC should eradicate form CF001, to save taxpayers’ money in preparation for elections.
In a country of different tribes and tongues, it will be difficult to attain homogeneity of purpose, when different standards apply to different geopolitical zones in the leadership recruitment process. What is F9 in some zones, is a pass mark in others. That is what you get when ethnic emotions override national emotions. Indeed, “Affidavit Pass Certificate”, APC, such ingenious coinage that says it all.
To curb xenophobic attacks, tell the truth
he recurring decimal of xenophobic attacks in South Africa would have been nipped in the bud if the truth had been allowed to prevail. Since the end of apartheid rule in 1994, South Africa had experienced escalating xenophobia because of the failure by the governments to be decisive in nipping the crisis in the bud by sitting on the fence. Many deaths and uprising could have been averted had the appropriate authorities acted promptly and honestly.
Over the years, the assault and hostilities had continued as black South Africans continue to kill fellow black Africans. In 2017, South African security agents were openly blamed for looking the other way as a Nigerian was molested while the police were implicated in extrajudicial killings. Two years earlier, the Zulu king, Goodwill Swelithini had derogatorily described foreigners in a hate speech as ‘lice’ that ‘should be plucked out and left in the sun’ and ‘requesting those who came from outside to please go back to their countries.’
The Chief Executive Officer of newly-established Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri, said that in 2016 alone, 118 Nigerians were killed extra-judicially in South Africa. Some of the celebrated murder cases include that of a former Deputy Director-General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu, who was mysteriously found dead in her hotel room. Before Ndubusi-Chukwu’s attack was the killing of Dennis Obiaju, a 17-year-old high school student, who was fatally shot dead. Life of black foreigners had become so cheap that they are being slaughtered like animals in South Africa. Many casualties are not recorded officially.
Even though, the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa and other African leaders of having condemned the mayhem, what cannot be wished away is the fact that the unending attacks can be said to represent a monumental failure to stop the maltreatment of Africans by Africans. Ramaphosa and other South African leaders never agreed that their citizens were doing the wrong thing by killing and looting shops and business interests of other nationals. They are sitting on the fence and not telling the bitter truth by condemning the violence and the perpetrators.
The Nigerian government has equally been accused of being slow or failing to provide enough protection for its citizens whenever they are unjustly treated abroad, using all available diplomatic weapons. To counter the criticism, the Nigerian government, this time around, took swift action by boycotting the last World Economic Forum on Africa, sending a special envoy to the South African leader and summoning the country’s High Commissioner to Nigeria. There have also been intensified calls by individuals and corporate interests suggesting that South African businesses should be nationalised in the country. Despite the big-brother role Nigeria had played in the past, as a frontline country, to end racial segregation and bring down the white-minority apartheid regime in South Africa, it is curious and unacceptable that Nigerians are now targets of attacks from its benefactor.
No amount of diplomatic rigmarole can abate the carnage until and unless parties agree to stop sitting on the fence and tell each other the truth that xenophobia is evil. The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Monroe had denied reports of any xenophobic attacks in his country. The envoy simply described the attacks as “sporadic acts of violence,” adding that businesses belonging to other South Africans were also affected in the violence. In the usual manner, the import of Monroe’s statement is that there is nothing special or spectacular about the tragedy against Nigerians. This is being economical with the truth and would end nowhere other than worsening the problem.
Telling the truth is what would bring about justice. Denials, passing-the-buck, and trading blame would not yield anything positive. Doing the needful, Catholic Bishops of South Africa have boldly disclosed that the claim by South African authorities, suggesting that the attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners were not xenophobic, was mischievous, incorrect and misleading. Archbishop Buti Tigagale of the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference Office for Migrants and Refugees had boldly stated that what happened was xenophobic. Acting as the voice of the voiceless, Tigagale said the bishops were dismayed and condemned the violence.
“Once again, we receive reports of the authorities doing very little to protect the victims. We received the report of police standing by idly in Pretoria while shops were looted and people attacked. Not a single arrest was made on that day. The authorities resort to the old explanation that this is not xenophobia, but the work of criminal elements. Let us be absolutely clear; this is not an attempt by concerned South Africans to rid our cities of drug dealers. And this is not the work of a few criminal elements. It is xenophobia, plain and simple. If it was about drugs, why are South African drug dealers not being targeted as well? Are we really to believe that there are none? And why are drug addicts, who rob people in our city centres to get money to buy drugs, not being targeted? If it is the work of a few criminal elements, why are South African owned businesses not being looted as well?” the bishops said.
The move by the Federal Government in the evacuation of stranded Nigerians and the rare show of patriotism and generosity by Mr. Allen Onyeama, who fully sponsored the airlifting of stranded Nigerians, is commendable. The South African government must address the unending hostility fueling the deprivation of its citizens such as insecurity, education, hunger, unemployment, and housing. The reality is that the restive youths expect succour from the state, following the end of apartheid, but were neglected. Rather than looking inwards, they became envious of fellow black African foreigners that were doing well in business and more prosperous through hard work, thereby appealing to female suitors. African governments should be up-and-doing by improving their economic fortunes that is fuelling illegal migration of their citizens from home in the quest for greener pastures. For the huge loss, the government of South Africa should be made to pay compensations for the losses and killings while culprits should not be shielded, but apprehended and punished.
The government needs to go a step further by enforcing a state of emergency and red alerts whenever foreigners are being attacked. They should stop sitting on the fence, tell the truth and face the issues squarely. Our continent would continue to lag as long as governments continue to sit on the fence; a situation deplored in Lenrie Peters’ poem titled, The Fence, “Where the body ages relentlessly and only the feeble mind can wander back there I lie in open-souled amasement.” According to Peters, there is an endless battle between the ‘truth and untruth’ because human beings are naturally inclined to tell lies when only the truth is called for, especially if truth-speaking would not be to their advantage. That is where the role of Catholic bishops everywhere becomes indispensable as the real voice of the voiceless.
By always telling the truth and avoiding sitting on the fence in promoting good governance, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) admits that Nigeria and Nigerians are deeply sorry for the wrong use of divine and naturally endowed gifts and blessing through acts of injustice, bribery, and corruption, as a result of which many of our people are hungry, sick ignorant and defenseless. Not only that, it is trite that we are weighed down not only by uncertainties but also by moral, economic and political problems that spur many people to flee our dear country. Getting xenophobia behind us requires one strong thing; stop sitting on the fence and telling the truth!
λKupoluyi writes from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) via firstname.lastname@example.org
The leadership lessons from the life and times of Robert Mugabe
The life and times of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe present very interesting lessons for despotic, authoritarian, absolutist and dictatorial African leaders.
That life is vanity upon vanity, all equals to vanity. That no leader transports to heaven or hell, when he dies, brute force, greed, avarice, power, money, influence, body guards, siren-blaring, motorcade, property, wealth, women, mistresses, opulence, bootlickers, praise singers, etc.
That a leader, like any other person, dies and leaves this world empty-handed, desolate, deserted, lonely, and as poor as a church rat, in the same poor state he had come into this world. He is buried alone six feet in the ground, forgotten by all, detested by the unfortunate recipients of his misgovernance, cursed by his traduces, or praised, euologised and canonized by all, if he governed well. That it is a leader’s positive impact on his people, especially the vulnerable, the poor, hapless and hopeless peasants, the rejected hoi-polloi and the denied and dejected Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth”, that determines his place and space in history. Some are remembered for the vilest of historical misdeeds and misgovernance.
Some are remembered for the greatest deeds of nobility. Late President Mugabe, who had started well and zoomed into the consciousness of his people and the world from the latter angle, when he helped save his beleaguered people, ended up consigned into the ignoble pantheon and historical oblivion of the former. Such is life. Such are the lessons for our African leaders who play tin gods, who believe that their imperiousness and power inebriation will last forever. No, it will not. Power is like the vapour of the sky. It apparent now and disappeareth the next moment. A word is enough for the wise. To say more will be otiose.
XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS ON NIGERIANS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THE INACTION OF NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT (Part 1) INTRODUCTION
The apartheid era in South Africa saw Nigeria as one of the foremost supporters of anti-apartheid movements, including the African National Congress.
It is on record that Nigeria spent well over sixty-one billion US dollars in fighting apartheid in South Africa. Nigeria has since been in the fore front in peace keeping operations in South Africa and other African countries with devastating effect on her human and material resources.
The Nigerian government issued more than 300 passports to South Africans seeking to travel abroad during the apartheid era. Sunny Okosun, the late popular Nigerian musician, wrote the hit song “Fire in Soweto” in 1977 to commemorate the 1976 Soweto uprising against apartheid in South Africa.
He waxed others for our brothers and sisters in Southern Africa: “Which Way Nigeria”, “Papa’s land”, “No More Wars”, “Tire Ni Oluwa”, etc. In fact, all Nigeria’s Civil Servants and public officers made a 2% donation from their monthly salary to the Southern Africa Relief Fund (SAFR).
These donations were widely known in Nigeria then as the “Mandela tax”. Nigeria even boycotted the 1976 Olympics and Commonwealth Games in 1979 to protest against this hideous apartheid system. The Nigerian government and her people contributed over $10.5m to the SARF.
These included students. In 1960, the Nigerian government set up the National Committee Against Apartheid (NACAP). It provided about $5 million to the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) annually. Nigeria later founded the SAFR in 1976 to enable her bring relief materials to Apartheid victims.
When apartheid eventually ended in 1994, several South African businesses sought for Nigerian professionals to immigrate and help build their battered economy.
Over 24,000 Nigerians are estimated to be currently living in South Africa. Much of South Africa’s good will towards Nigerians for supporting the ANC during apartheid suddenly disappeared due to wrong perception by most South Africans as a result of activities of some Nigerian organised crime in their land. Truth be told, many Nigerians have engaged in criminal activities. But, this can never be justification for taking it out on all Nigerians, most of whom are innocent, clean and hardworking.
THE TERM, XENOPHOBIA
“Xenophobia” is a singular term used to describe the irrational fear developed against foreign elements, which manifests in hatred, discrimination and violence against such foreign elements. The recent horrific and agonizing wave of xenophobia which has swept through South Africa is mostly directed at Nigerians.
The tragedy of Elizabeth Ndubuisi- Chukwu marked the commencement of a reign terror against Nigeria. She was murdered in cold blood through xenophobia anger, and strangled in a hotel room in Johannesburg. Elizabeth’s only crime was being a Nigerian, a non-South African.
Till date, the culprits are still walking freely on the streets of South Africa. Businesses of non-nationals, especially Nigerians, have been vandalized, looted and burnt in areas around Johannesburg, including the Central Business District and the township of Alexandra.
The glaring failure of the government of South African to deal with the rampaging blood-thirsty crowds is seen by many as a tacit endorsement of the advocacy. South Africans have been attacking foreign nationals, particularly Nigerians, whom they scapegoat as the reason for rising rate of crime in their society and diminishing jobs and social benefits.
One wonders how Nelson Mandela would be feeling in his cold desolate grave. His idea of a truly democratic and free South Africa anchored on a society where all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities, is furlong and distant.
The increasing competition between the two countries for positions at multilateral organisations across the globe appear to have worsened relations between Nigeria and South Africa. Nigeria has been championing the course of South Africa without corresponding benefits to her national interest.
Nigeria’s foreign policy should be “Nigeria! Nigeria!! Nigeria!!! No more, no less.
As we speak, Nigerians are being cheaply maimed in large number. Our government cannot forestall same. Many have been killed. By way of mutual retaliations, some South African brands and interests are currently facing attacks as their shops are being closed in fellow African nations such as Nigeria and Zambia. More worrisome is that just between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 people died in South Africa in identified xenophobic attacks. In May, 2008, a series of attacks motivated by xenophobia left 62 people dead.
In 2015, another nationwide spike in xenophobic attacks against immigrants in general prompted a number of foreign governments to begin repatriating their citizens.
The Nigerian government led by President Buhari has been virtually helpless about these gruesome and unprovoked killings, looting, and arson of properties belonging to Nigerians. Most Nigerians were shocked by the irrational action of authorities at the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, when they locked the gates against our compatriots in the face of bloody attacks. This left them to the cruelty and savagery of their assailants.
A report credited to the CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri, said as at 2016, 118 Nigerians had been killed extra-judicially in South Africa, while an additional 88 had been killed since then.
These orgies of violence against Nigerians have been continuous because the Nigerian government has been too weak in defending Nigerians and Nigerian interest. The glaring failure of government to run an economy that provides jobs and reduces poverty has also greatly contributed to the mass exodus of Nigerians abroad where they are faced with human carnage. If our government were to be alive to its responsibilities, the government of South Africa would have been made to pay heavy and deterrent compensation and make restitution for the killings of Nigerians, This would have awaken the South African government to their responsibility to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians and other Africans in that country. (To be continued).
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people.”
(Nelson Mandela). LAST LINE I thank numerous readers across the globe for always keeping faith with the Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project, by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb., Ph.D, LL.D. I enjoin you to look forward to next week’s bumper treatise. We must revive our history. It helps us renew and rediscover ourselves and eschew past mistakes.
• Follow me on twitter @ MikeozekhomeSAN
Solving sexual problems in marriage
Last week, I promised to address some challenging issues of sexual condition of many adults. This is a common problem that is ravaging many homes and tearing apart quite a number of promising relationships. Unfortunately, it is one issue that people shy away from discussing in the open on the pretext of moral or religious grounds. Sex education has over the years been advocated that it should be incorporated into elementary school curriculum in order to equip the mind of children and teenagers for the future. Considering the alarming rate of paedophilia and misconstrued notion of sex in our society, I think now is the time for teaching sex education as a moral subject in schools.
Many homes have broken up primarily on the issue of sex. Some religious organisations do not help matters either. Sex is coded in conversation as if it’s a taboo. In the years gone by, some conservative counsellors do scare dating couples from the issue of sex. It’s almost a shame for a woman to complain if her husband starves her with sex. Such women were being derided for behaving like sluts or nymphomaniacs. Except for child bearing, women of yesteryears were schooled and conditioned to believe that sex had no other benefits.
A sexless marriage will ultimately fail. Couples that keep their sex life active regardless of moments of quarrel or disagreement will last till death comes. I know a great couple that drew a line between their personal issues and bedroom duty. They do quarrel, sometimes hotly, too. In the bedroom at night, even if the wife feels hurt or angry with her husband for whatever the issue might be, the man often demand for his right. That ends the face-off. A woman had argued that the couple did not actually quarrel. If they did, “they might not greet or like to interact with each other for days.” My response was that it was once like that with them but incidentally both of them share demanding traits for sex. One day, the man told his wife that “we are bound to disagree and quarrel; it’s normal with humans but it must never be allowed to affect my bedroom duty. I can’t take it any longer.” Thank God the couple didn’t buy into the “rape” madness where the husband could be standing trial for raping his wife. The decision didn’t allow acrimony to have a foothold in their home. Unfortunately, the woman passed on recently.
No matter how responsible and loving a man is, he has to complement with a satisfactory sex life. Ideally, between the ages of 18 and 40, men, naturally, shouldn’t have issues with their sex life. Using sex pills to enhance performance within this age bracket is abnormal. Erectile dysfunction, quick ejaculation and waning libido are indications of poor health or early genital abuse like masturbation. There are four major factors that account for weak sexual performance in men at 50 and above. They are: infections, enlarged prostate condition, poor diet and sedimentary lifestyle (lack of regular exercise). Likewise, women have frigidity, infections and psychological conditions to grapple with.
For men, the higher percentage of poor sexual performance is traceable to infections. Apart from commonly diagonised urinary tract infections, others like candidiasis, herpes and staphylococcus often deal severe blows to a man’s sex life. Half-treated infections are more dangerous. They could ruin a man’s virility completely. Therefore, men suffering from sexual weakness should consult their doctors who will prescribe the types of tests to be done. The treatment should be total and completed.
Prostate enlargement is a killer of sex life. Irrespective of sex enhancement drugs being used, it will be of a very low effect, if any, in a man with enlarged prostate. I do warn men against trying to impress women like porn stars. Sex, like a race, is at individual’s pace. The most important thing is to be satisfied. Going three or six rounds when it’s not a competition is unnecessary. Young men could do that, maybe those in their 20s and 30s could go any length using their natural energy but not so for men in their late 40s, 50s or 60s.
Women on their part need to tap energy from their men. An active sex life make the woman younger, healthier and stable emotionally. Such women do think straight, clearer and relaxed. A highly temperamental woman needs more of her husband to balance her mood. Haughty, saucy women scarcely enjoy the warmth of men. Men feel safe in the bosom of mother-like women.
I want to advise that some of the sex enhancement drugs (herbal supplements or pharmaceutical products) do not work as loudly advertised. You will realize that the hyped drug is not as effective as you were told; surprisingly, you will be encouraged to buy more to truly feel the impact. Again, many of the imported drugs have grave effects on human system on the long run. Even some foreign herbal products don’t work for our men here due to climatic conditions and herbs species.
The most annoying thing is the outrageous price tags attached to the drugs. It is a rip-off! Most of the products are sold at N15,000 whereas their unit cost might be about N5,000 or less. I have taken my time to investigate and trace the supply sources of some of these products. You will be shocked that a product that was released at N4,500 is being advertised at N16,000 online. In fact, our local herbal drug makers have joined the fray. It is argued that Nigerians only value products according to the market prices. Get yourself treated by professional and qualified healthcare providers. Herbs are much more lasting in treatment but it must be prescribed by experts. Get your life back on track by reactivating your sex life for healthy living and successful marriage.
As judiciary casts its own vote
“Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The primary function of a judge is to interpret and apply the law not make it. The making of law is reserved for another arm in the doctrine of separation of powers which runs conspicuously in a democracy. Nigeria has been in this democratic journey epileptically since 1999. The three arms of government were actually institutionalized to compliment and check one another for growth and development bearing in mind that a deficiency in one automatically robs off on the other.
Since 1999 the three arms of government, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary have all performed below average. In all, judiciary is seen more as the conscience of the rest because of its revered and strategic position that allows it take the final decision when there is a dispute in the system. What it means is that the judiciary more than the other two is supposed to be above board, no wonder it’s regarded as the last hope of the downtrodden in the society. A nation with a sick judiciary is a ruined nation.
Yesterday September 11, 2019 was a special day for the country’s judiciary. It was the day the nation’s judiciary took one of the most critical decisions in country’s political life. Before yesterday, September 11 had emerged as an international date although from negative point of view. On this day in 2001 the world was visibly shaken to its foundation as the then emerging new brand of crime called terrorism took a strange and dangerous dimension. A group of religious fundamentalists led and directed by a Saudi Arabian terror kingpin Bin Ladan coordinated four terrorist attacks on the United States that brought down the twin building housing the World Trade Centre in New York, easily the tallest building in that country killing over 3,000 persons drawn from over 50 counties of the globe. Since then 18 years down the line the date has remained a day to remember
For Nigeria yesterday became a significant day not for any act of terrorism but for judicial rascality that has stood the nation’s polity on its head. The five-man 2019 Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) headed by Justice Garba Mohammad delivered its ruling on the petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in February 23, 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party, the PDP against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his own party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Before Wednesday’s ruling the lead counsel of Atiku and PDP, Dr. Livy Uzokwu (SAN) had told Nigerians through the media that the outcome of the tribunal was going to affect the country’s jurisprudence significantly one way or the other. Which way for you readers will depend on how you perceive Wednesday’s ruling of the Presidential election tribunal.
Earlier also the 88-year-old nation’s constitutional law icon, Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN) who made brief appearance for Atiku and PDP had told the tribunal that the outcome of the deliberations and rulings of the tribunal was going to define the place of democracy in this country. All democratic watchers both home and in diaspora are in agreement that yesterday’s ruling was going to have far reaching effect on the way future elections are to be conducted in our clime.
In the last 24 hours the social media, the crazy platform for discourse courtesy of modern means of communications has been awash with varying reactions from the tribunal ruling. Social media warriors on these platforms had even been threatening possible political apocalypse should the outcome from the tribunal not be reflective of the public opinion and the position of the law. Not a few are in agreement that the outcome of yesterday’s tribunal will go down in history as a day to remember given the sombre mood that enveloped the nation. Pundits had maintained that the importance of the tribunal ruling lies in the fact that what was at stake was Nigeria and its democracy not just Atiku or Buhari or APC or PDP.
The ruling generated all the interests, anxiety and expectations because of so many variables, what was at stake being the highest job in the land. Now that the ruling has come and gone where do we go from here? Did the judgement agree with the public perception? If no why, if yes why?
What is it that informed the Justices arriving at their various decisions, is it law, ethnicity, religious or group political interests or what? Were they induced or intimidated by whom and for what purpose? Fact remains that this appeal level is not the final as the case is certainly going to the final court in the land, the Supreme Court. To what extent will the ruling of yesterday at this level affect the final decision of the apex court? All these permutations and even more will continue to dominate the public space until the Supreme Court puts the final nail.
But my concern which is at the centre of this week’s musing is the consequences of yesterday’s ruling on the nation’s electoral behaviour.
Judiciary as electoral ombudsman has been noticeable in mitigating and lessening the gravity of the do or die politics in the country since 1999. To what extent can we say that Wednesday’s ruling measured up to the expectations? Was the ruling able to establish the age long holding that judiciary is the last hope of the deprived in our society?
Some of the questions being raised here may never get an answer immediately because they would require some theories or philosophy of law to properly decode it, but there are some pertinent areas that does not require any technical knowledge of the law to determine. Any ruling on political matter that fails to reflect the public feeling of the matter is not going to provide the anticipated service.
Even though APC and PDP have been reacting based on their biased interests as ruling and opposition parties, there exists some aspects of the ruling that stood out beyond the technicalities.
A court ruling on sensitive political matters is supposed to be in tandem with vistas of majority of the populace. That explains why Suzy Kassem, an American of Egyptian origin writing in her book Rise Up and Salute the Sun cautioned that “if we want truth and justice to rule our global village, there must be no hypocrisy. If there is no truth, then there will be no equality. No equality, no justice. No justice, no peace. No peace, no love. No love only darkness.”
Many political watchers had expected the Justices on Wednesday to stand up and be counted among the great jurists in history but to many it did not happen but others they did their best. Charles Evans Hughes of US Supreme Court perhaps captured it well when he said “when we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.”
No matter how much long we can continue to pretend that injustice can strive in certain circumstance, an American social reformer and US Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story here lays bare the implications of undelivered justice in a society and I totally align my views to his in this circumstance. “Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected. And if these, or either of them, are regulated by no certain laws, and are subject to certain laws, and are subject to no certain principles, and are held by no certain tenure, and are redressed, when violated, by no certain remedies, society fails of all its values; and men may as well return to a state of savage and barbarous independence.”
A word they say is enough for the wise and we should also not forget that wisdom is a virtue that comes to us as grace from God if we ask and work towards it.
Lessons from South Africa
n the “xenophobic” response to the xenophobic attacks on foreigners by black South Africans, useful lessons which ought to have been learnt, first to prevent a reoccurrence and, secondly, to avoid and or avert a tragedy of greater monumental proportions here in Nigeria, will be lost if care is not taken. “Sunkun muus, riran muus”, as they say! It sounds like Latin but it is not! It is a slang which means that even though we are weeping, we must still make efforts “to see road”; otherwise, tragedy will become double. That will be akin to what Fela called “double wahala for deadi bodi and the owner of deadi body”!
Xenophobia simply means fear/hatred (phobia) for foreigners/strangers (xeno) by citizens or owners of the land. There are citizens and foreigners in every country or community of the world, hence the saying that a slave somewhere is a free born elsewhere. So many factors cause a free born or bonafide citizen to become foreigner/stranger in another land. There is the phenomenon called emigration, in which citizens move from their country to another country to pursue some objectives which may include tourism/holidaying/visiting, schooling/studying or search for the proverbial “golden fleece”, running away from persecution/asylum-seeking; and search for the proverbial “greener pastures” or better living conditions.
There are two types of immigrants – legal and illegal. A legal immigrant stays in a foreign country with the consent and permission of the host community. He has all his papers and therefore enjoys the protection of his host community. He has virtually the same rights as a citizen for as long as his papers are okay. These papers are renewable periodically. After a period of time and having met some conditions as set by the host country, a legal immigrant can even acquire the status of a citizen through a process called naturalization. On the other hand, an illegal immigrant is a criminal in the eyes of the law and does not enjoy the pleasure of his host community or the protection of the law. Many enter legally but soon become illegal immigrants because they overstay; because they convert brief stay to permanent stay, in order words, they knew right from the time they were applying for short stay that they had no intention of returning home, so on getting to a foreign country, they just “miss”, as they say; and others because they work when they have no work permit. Some immigrants run into trouble when they engage in criminal activities, that is, when they break the law. There are also those who “stow away” by various means and who, from day one, are illegal immigrants.
Try as the xenophobic South Africans may, they will never completely eradicate immigrants from their country. There are immigrants who just must be there, such as members of the diplomatic corps and employees of international organisations. Every country is home to multinational corporations that reserve the right to recruit their staff from countries of their choice; ditto businesses legally owned by foreigners and lawfully established and run by those foreigners. It is, therefore, plausible to say that when the nationals of a country are up in arms against immigrants, some categories of lawful immigrants must be excluded. Those usually at the receiving end are illegal immigrants and legal immigrants engaged in illegal or criminal activities. It need be said, however, that in xenophobic attacks, legal immigrants can also be victims, even where they are not necessarily the target; they can also be part of the target as the divide between the legal and the illegal is often blurred in mob attacks. It is therefore advisable for everyone, both legal and illegal, to be security conscious and stay out of sight when mobs are on parade. Even where the authorities embark on well-structured efforts to clean the society of illegal immigrants, as Trump is presently doing in the U.S., legal immigrants often find themselves in the web until the wheat is separated from the chaff.
Many factors cause xenophobic attacks, chief of which is economic. When a country faces economic problems, the first scapegoats are usually immigrants who are seen as having taken jobs meant for citizens. Usually, this is just an excuse because such jobs are mostly menial, which citizens snub but which immigrants, far away from home and desperate for survival, grab with both hands. Nigeria has sent illegal immigrants packing in the past, hence the popular “Ghana-must-go” saying. Ghanaians, too, have sent Nigerians packing. There is a house in the Sabo area of Ogbomoso with the inscription “Olorun se nwon le mi ni Ghana”; meaning, “Thank God I was driven out of Ghana”! Usually, immigrants whose country’s economy is on the downward slide get derided by their more prosperous hosts. Immigrants do all sorts of menial jobs and are paid peanuts. Ironically, however, immigrants over time usually get more prosperous than their arrogant hosts. Jealousy sets in. It is exacerbated where the immigrant community is not humble but boisterous and loud. The Yoruba say “If your yam is very succulent, make sure you cover it with your hands while eating it”. Don’t expose yourself for your hosts to see how greatly you have been blessed. Abraham and Isaac suffered this kind of fate in foreign land. Jacob suffered similarly in the hands of Laban. The same Jacob chided his sons who insisted on avenging the harm done their sister in foreign land because he feared a backlash from his hosts. Lousy, arrogant, uncultured, uncivil immigrants bring ruins upon themselves.
Where an immigrant community grows to the extent that it swarms their hosts, there will be problem; as happened to the Israelites in Egypt when a Pharaoh that knew not Joseph mounted the throne. Statements emanating from South Africa reveal fears that the immigrant population in some South African cities has overgrown the citizens in their own land! Where an immigrant population is noted for crimes and criminal activities, be sure they will soon run into trouble. It is not enough, like some commentators have said; that the hosts themselves are also into the drugs trade. It is their country; if they like, let them ruin it! They do not expect you as immigrants to join or even overtake them in that enterprise. Only legal immigrants should be encouraged to travel out of any country – and it should be impressed on them to be law-abiding, humble and respectful of the sensibilities of their host communities. No country has the right to insist that its nationals must behave willy-nilly or ride roughshod over their host communities. Illegal immigrants must be punished and repatriated home. Law-breakers and the criminally-minded must also be similarly treated. Then, of course, we must fix our own country. It is because our country is hopelessly broken that our people are “Andrewing” out.
Many have reacted sharply to the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa because of the gory details of some of the killings. Sheer hypocrisy! More gory killings have taken place here on a daily basis and for years and we have taken them all in our strides. Are we suddenly discovering our “humanity” simply because a foreign country, learning from our bestial ways, now treats us as we have treated ourselves? Many are also miffed because of the help we gave South Africa during the dark days of apartheid. I must admit that, in this, we did so well! Unfortunately, however, we did not build on that foundation but eroded it; not only in Southern Africa as a whole but elsewhere. Always, we make monumental sacrifices but fail to reap commensurate dividends. Failure of leadership is why Nigeria is a laughing stock everywhere. With Robert Mugabe dead, we can have some respite from his wicked, cruel, and malicious jokes – and whether David Cameron, Putin, the Chinese leader or Donald Trump, the story is the same! Gradually, one step after another, we lost the respect South Africa had for us – with the vile dictator Sani Abacha’s treatment of Olusegun Obasanjo (the darling of South African leaders) and the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and others despite Mandela’s pleas. We also worked against South Africa at the AU and in Cote d’Ivoire, among other foreign policy debacles. Mandela himself led the campaign for Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth for two years over Saro-wiwa.
Rather than cry over spilled milk in South Africa or shed crocodile tears over happenings in a foreign land while same storms are gathering at home, let us address the swarming of the South by illegal/foreign immigrants before it is too late. Let South-West leaders also urgently address the taking over of their land, commerce, and, slowly, politics by “foreigners”. Already, there are rumblings underneath. A stitch in time, as they say, saves nine!
Last week’s “Like Buhari, I love cartoons” was brilliant. I read it from beginning to the end. It was unputdownable! You wove humour, satire and realism into such an interesting and compelling read. Well done! – Reno Omokri.
Buhari and the burden of leadership
Nigeria has been in socio-political and economic turmoil since 2015 as a result of the under-performance of the APC-led Federal Government. There are several dislocations across the country. There are several Nigerians living in Internally Displaced Camps, there is poverty in the land, there is hunger everywhere, there is hopelessness, there are deprivations all over, the psyche of an average Nigerian has been badly affected because of the inability of the leadership to deliberately create stop gap measures that could arrest the prevalent drifts across the country.
Our image has been badly affected as a result of the released list of 77 Nigerian fraudsters and the copious allegations of drug business by Nigerians in South Africa. This has sustained the xenophobic attacks in a manner that has brought Africa and Africans in very bad light to the entire world. It has thrown up the leadership question and foreign policy agenda of Nigeria nay Africa in the global arena, in a new world order that dwells on the development of the continent.
Within the Nigerian Federation, trust is broken down, mutual suspicion reigns supreme, ethnic bigotry prevails, nepotism has occupied a prime place in the scheme of things, while there is near absence of nationalistic vision to drive the narratives of a new Nigeria built on equity and fair representation. The anti-corruption agenda of the government has lost steam because of perception crisis. People are seeing the crusade more as a witch-hunt than any serious interrogation of the processes that could yield any positive outcomes in our collective effort to chart a roadmap for a holistic appreciation of the challenges confronting us as a country. There are too many contradictions in the system. Hypocrisy has become second nature to a government that loves praises for doing virtually nothing. We hear sounds without sounds. The sound bites we get are made up of empty rhetorics and high sounding sweet nothings. The nation is at a crossroads and the need to begin the process of national conversation is more urgent than ever before.
President Buhari does have a huge moral burden on his hands as a result of discrepancies on his claimed secondary school certificates. There have been too much hoopla hovering around the issue in the last five years and the discourse has refused to peter out because certain revelations have come to the fore. Prior to 2015, chieftains of the party, the APC, have argued that the president did have a certificate, but that it was misplaced and could no longer be found. Rather than own up to the certificate item and lay the issue to rest once and for us, further interrogation on the matter has exposed several contradictions. The issue now borders on lying on oath and under our laws, it carries a huge penalty if found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. It has also become one of the grounds against the outcome of the 2019 presidential elections. It has gotten to a time that the president, in line with his “integrity” claim, must speak out on this issue and finally lay it to rest once and for all. The process is simple; accept the flaws, apologise to the country, and resign your position as President of the country and forever remain a statesman built on integrity. But once we are still rotating on this circus show of travelling from Cambridge, through WAEC to School A or B, searching for attestations to prove what seemingly appears non-existent, it will tell on the acclaimed integrity of the President.
Leadership carries a huge burden of trying to live above board. Leaders should not be found wanting in every sense of the word. Leaders are expected to behave differently from the ordinary man on the street. Leaders are chosen because they possess certain credentials that distinguish them from the maddening crowd. Leaders are problem solvers. They possess the cutting edge knowledge that spices up their leadership roles. They give a sense of direction to all concerned and offer solutions to problems and challenges. But when a leader becomes part of the problem rather than the solution, it becomes cumbersome to create the right temperature to dispense with leadership essentials. The certificate question has continued to be a pain in the neck of President Buhari and the opportunity of the tribunal would have been a veritable platform for him to resolve the issue once and for all. But he bungled the opportunity. The same narrative has refused to go away. A nation that desires moral healing must be prepared to confront the challenge than sweeping every item under the carpet. This is why it is extremely important for the president to own up to this certificate issue and throw in the towel for the sake of posterity.
It is ridiculous for us as a country that in a 21st century Nigeria, we are still talking about certificate or no certificate of the number one citizen of Africa’s most populous country, especially in a country with massive human capital and huge intellectuality. This age of ideas is one that is knowledge-driven if any country aspires to catch up with globalisation. In a new age, with massive investment in information technology, we need leaders that have the capacity to create the right synergy to pull together all centripetal and centrifugal forces to get the right momentum that could stimulate enterprise and productivity. We are in an era of ideas and intellect. An era where creativity and innovation become handy tools to drive a new narrative that would engender a harmonious inter-relationship amongst all the competing forces. This is not an age for weather beaten rhetorics of searching for result or certificate that doesn’t exist anywhere. The president must come with clean hands. Aside from washing his hands clean, he must be seen to be above board. A nation in crisis must not have a president in crisis with his certificate. Rather than setting agenda for the country, his certificate crisis has now become an agenda unto itself. The distraction caused by this nagging issue has the potency to derail national consciousness desirously needed to build bonds and uncommon relationships across ethnic divides in the country.
The President of Nigeria as giant of Africa must not be an individual that will become a butt of jokes for other African countries, but one who possesses unquestionable credentials in his trajectory through the four walls of knowledge-based institutions. The president of Nigeria must be a leader with a hands-on approach to leadership and governance. He must possess a broad mind to accommodate all manner of persons from across a broad spectrum of the country. He must not be ethnic biased or seen to be nepotist in his conduct. He must possess a pan-Nigeria orientation and be seen to be for all irrespective of creed, religious inclination or geo-political considerations. The country needs moral healing and rearmament, and a man whose certificate has become a thorny issue cannot market hope and moral suasion.
A country that is poised to regenerate its moral fibre cannot possibly rely on a man who is burdened by his own past in terms of his academic certification. We must be bold to declare without fear of contradiction that this is a new age that comes with a different approach to doing things to meet up with the high expectations of a country that is seriously encumbered by insecurity, unemployment and gloomy economy. The present leadership of the country has shown a manifest disdain for performance and its certificate burden remains a minus for him and for the country.
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