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EDITORIAL

As Nigeria’s World Cup hope dims

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NIGERIA’S World Cup hope is on the verge of collapsing, and it would take a miracle to salvage it. Having played four games, amassing only three points from a possible twelve, it would have to depend on the outcome of other games in the group, apart from winning its remaining games for it to progress.

SINCE 1994, when Nigeria took the world by storm by breaking the jinx of not being able to participate in the World Cup, the Green Eagles have not been able to permanently stamp their authority on the round leather game. Clemence Westherhof, the Dutch tactician who masterminded Nigeria’s success, assembled a team that has come to represent the golden era of Nigerian football. The Green Eagles, captained by Stephen Keshi, had earlier on won the Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Tunisia in 1994 and the male Olympics football team went on to win gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

AFTER producing that masterclass, Nigeria has not been able to replicate the feat and the Green Eagles have had their wings clipped in almost all the major tournaments. Indeed, since winning its third AFCON tittle in 2012, coached by the charismatic Stephen Keshi, Nigeria has wobbled and fumbled at tournaments just as Coach Fanny Amun had propounded.

WHAT have been the reasons for this dip in form? So many reasons can be adduced for our lackluster attitude to Nigerian football. The organizational structure that is supposed to help grow football in the country is completely absent. The Nigeria Football Federation is run by a cartel that knows next to nothing about the game. Football is seen as a cash cow that should be milked for the enjoyment of the administrators.

IN FACT, Nigeria legend, Daniel Amokachi, while reacting to the problems of the Super Eagles, has said that changing the coach will not solve the team’s problems. He believes that Nigeria can only get right if the larger structural issues militating against the progress of football in the country are solved. “Focusing too much on the coaching is like building a house from the roof downwards instead of starting with the right foundation and build upwards,” Amokachi told BBC Sport Africa.

HE went on to ask, “Do we have a solid developmental programme for our young footballers, a proper long-term plan for our national teams or develop a football identity for the game in our country? I am a product of the Nigerian league. But have we sorted all the issues around our domestic game, from players’ welfare to the lack of television rights and the chaos around the organisation of local football?”

JUST like THE NIGERIA STANDARD, many other former Nigerian footballers share Amokachi’s sentiments. Emeka Ezeugo, a member of the 1994 winning team, took a swipe at stakeholders whose perceived ineptitude has kept Nigerian football prostrate: “The backdoor is left open for anyone willing to cooperate. We have been giving the job to the wrong people, and that is why we have been having the wrong backdoor coaches, players, sports administrators, technical committee members, technical advisers, etc.”

TO grow Nigeria’s football, therefore, stakeholders must set a template for the wholistic development of the country’s local league. With the resources available in the country and by putting square pegs in square holes, things will begin to take shape. We cannot wait on other countries to develop our talents on our behalf and expect them to give us hundred percent attention when called upon to represent the country. Truly, the indiscipline often exhibited by some of these so-called stars stem from their feeling bigger than their coaches.

ALSO, Nigeria must take advantage of the advances so far made in the sports to develop its own football. This means that football administrators must work assiduously to give football a Nigerian character, as advocated by Amokachi.

IF a coach is given an assignment, he must be supported to succeed. Thus, a more favourable environment must be created and global best practices adopted to attract the best to ply their trade in the country. Employing a coach and putting unnecessary roadblocks on the way for him to fail can only be counter-productive.

NOW that Finidi George has thrown in the towel as Head Coach, Nigeria’s soccer administrators need to do a deep soul searching to assuage the feelings of citizens of this soccer-loving nation. Missing out on two world cups in a row would not be palatable at all.

THEREFORE, something drastic must be done to redeem the image of the country by at least winning the remaining six games and hoping that our opponents falter in their games. This will give Nigerians a glimmer of hope.

 

Democracy day

(An editorial of THE NIGERIA STANDARD newspaper, Wednesday, June 12, 2024)
That there are subsisting litigations arising from by-elections that were the outcome of the general elections conducted more than a year ago is not a good sign about the health of our democracy. For the avoidance of doubt, a national and state houses of assembly by-election petitions tribunal is currently sitting in Bauchi, the Bauchi State capital.
Although seeking redress in the court of law is an integral part of the democratic process, the waves of court cases that followed last year’s general elections shook the confidence of Nigerians in our democracy and the ability of the Temple of Justice to uphold the sanctity of the electoral process.
No doubt, at the dawn of the current democratic dispensation in 1999, Nigerians were very hopeful that the exit of the military would usher in a new beginning for the country. Deeply embedded in democracy are values and ethos that enhance the physical, emotional and spiritual lives of citizens, even the nation itself.
Twenty-five years down the line, can we truly say that the dreams, aspirations and expectations of Nigerians have been met?
There are growing concerns all over the country about galloping inflation which currently stands at 33.69 % and shows no sign of slowing down. To worsen matters, the value of the Naira against the US Dollar has continued to plummet, thereby making the prices of goods, which are mainly imported, astronomically high.
And even though the International Monetary Fund has forecasted a drop in inflation to 16% in 2026, some economists say that the Bretton Woods financial institution is simply trying to allay the fears of Nigerians and assuage their pains which have mainly been caused by the Tinubu administration’s harsh economic policies, most of which are IMF-inspired.
Instead of growing, the nation’s economy is progressively regressing. The Central Bank of Nigeria has revealed that debt servicing in the first five months of this year amounted to a whopping $2.19 billion, almost doubling the amount spent last year.
Fitch Ratings predicts that Nigeria’s foreign debt servicing would rise to $5.2 billion next year.
These figures paint a grim picture of the very circumstances in which citizens presently live. For the common man on the streets, the economy has become a huge burden. And the ripple-effects have significantly affected all aspects of their life.
The hardships are simply too real and painful to ignore or, worse still, deliberately swept under the carpet for reasons of political correctness.
But even as living conditions continue to deteriorate, the cost of governance has kept on rising. This is most visible in the country’s bicameral national parliament.
Forward-looking Nigerians have suggested a return to the one-chamber alternative to cut costs, which, they posit, would make it more trim, robust and more attuned to the yearnings of the masses.
The protection of the lives and property of citizens is the first constitutional responsibility of government. Our constitution places so much premium on this fact because, without peace, all of the benefits democracy promises would amount to naught.
In the last decade or so, Nigerians have been buffeted by Islamist insurgency, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, herdsmen’s attacks, etc.
These have largely been driven the devilish compulsion towards forceful religious conversion, land-grabbing, changing demographics in favour of certain religions and tribes and man’s sheer wickedness to his fellow man.
Citizens in some parts of Plateau State and most of the Middle Belt have borne the brunt of these bloody onslaughts in a way that has become very unbearable.
In order for democracy to have the desired effects, the basic freedoms of citizens to life, religion, free movement and protection in their ancestral lands, among others, must be guaranteed.
Religion and tribe must not determine the extent to which citizens enjoy these and other fundamental human rights.
Furthermore, there is an urgent need for the constitution to be reviewed to allow state governments to form their own police. That is the standard practice in any true federation.
It is the current warped practice where the entire security apparatus is controlled by the president that has made the entire country unsafe for ordinary citizens.
All said, however, the gains of the last 25 years of uninterrupted democratic rule cannot be discountenanced. With all of its imperfections, warts and all, democracy still remains the best form of government, especially for a country brimming with so much diversity such as Nigeria.
But, most times, it is the practitioners that nurture its most edifying fruits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One year into the Governor Mutfwang era

WHILE he waited to be sworn in following his victory in the gubernatorial polls of March 18, 2023, one of the seemingly intractable problems that has wreaked havoc on parts of Plateau State for decades reared its ugly head in a most bloody manner.

ON May 15, 2023 (two weeks to Barrister Mutfwang’s inauguration as governor), suspected herdsmen struck his homeland – Mangu. Over 100 innocent people, mostly women and children, were murdered in cold blood as they slept in their homes.

AND almost one year and a week later, yet another tragedy occured. It would further accentuate the kinds of obstacles that Governor Mutfwang has had to contend with in the onerous task of cleaning the state’s Augean Stables he inherited from his predecessor.

 ON May 22, 2024, a police officer attached to the enforcement team of the Jos Metropolitan Development Board, JMDB, was accidentally struck by a stray bullet fired by his colleague. This resulted in his death. The security personnel were deployed by the state government to enforce the law against street trading in the Jos city centre. They were trying to disperse traders that had continued to defy that order.

AT the heart of the latest incident is the fact that certain individuals and groups have constituted themselves into clogs in the wheels of the progress of the state for political, ethnic and religious reasons.

AND although these two unfortunate incidents appear to be unrelated, they share the same broader, sinister, motives of subjugating Plateau people to the control and whims of extraneous forces and interests. However, it is to the governor’s credit that he has been able to navigate these hostile waters so far.

THE Mangu massacre and the events that led to the accidental death of the policeman and many other equally unsavory situations he has had to struggle with in-between would have ordinarily weakened and demoralized another leader.

BUT not this governor. Rather, these provocations and distractions only served as impetus to work harder and make even more sacrifices to change the terrible narrative he inherited.

FROM the beginning, he had left no one in doubt about his firm resolve to bring life to an almost prostrate state. On inauguration day, exactly one year ago today, he had declared: “I understand clearly the enormity of the task before me and I have no illusions that it is going to be an easy ride. The state is presently under a huge debt burden of over 200 billion naira, the healthcare sector is in need of urgent attention, our school system requires a comprehensive overhaul, our infrastructure is decayed and inadequate, and practically, every sector requires urgent redress.

“I must mention that there are no quick fix solutions to these challenges, but one thing is certain, we are prepared to take the challenges head-on and we will hit the ground running immediately.”

REMINISCENT of the Governor Jonah Jang days, Plateau roads are wearing a new sparkle. In an extraordinary move, the administration has built and renovated roads in the most remote parts of the Jos/Bukuru metropolis and outlying areas. Also, the very strategic Akila Machunga flyover/ underpass to Abattoir, which was abandoned by the last administration, has almost been completed.

BECAUSE insecurity has brought so much pain, misery and underdevelopment to the state, the administration adopted the twin strategies of employing new game plans for ending the herdsmen’s violence while at the same time working towards returning the tens of thousands of displaced people to their ancestral homes.

THE governor has continued to put this decades’ old problem in proper perspective by declaring that the conflict is not between Plateau indigenous peoples but a deliberate attempt by outside forces bent on using terrorism to facilitate land-grabbing. He has also revealed to the world that the blood-letting on the Plateau, and indeed other parts of the Middle Belt, is not the result of a so-called farmers’/herders’ conflict. This new understanding is a giant step towards finding a sustainable remedy.

HE has likewise partnered with both President Bola Tinubu and the heads of the key security outfits in the country to curb these attacks. One of the positive outcomes of this engagement has been the Federal Government’s decision to locate an army barracks in Bokkos, one of the epicentres of these horrendous atrocities.

THE cost of transportation sky-rocketed as a result of the sudden removal of fuel subsidy. Proactive and responsive, the Mutfwang administration speedily set in motion strategies to alleviate the resultant pains in a most pragmatic and viable way. Today, the state metro bus service is fully functional. It is made up of a fleet of 15 MAN-Diesel buses which move commuters within the Jos/Bukuru metropolis and adjoining areas. The Plateau Riders Bus Service has been given a new lease of life through an injection of 20 18-seater Toyota Sienna vehicles which are plying intra and inter-state routes.

 THE state government’s plan to revive the rail system to further ease the strains of travelling within the capital city and environs has gained a lot of traction and will soon come on stream.

BECAUSE the administration believes that only a wholistic development of all sectors can bring about the overall and sustainable development of society, it has given equal attention to education, agriculture, tourism, sports, mining and mineral development, health care delivery, water supply and financial options, among others.

ON this first anniversary of this administration, it is pertinent to point out that constructive criticism should neither be discountenanced nor viewed as undue attacks on the governor, government officials and institutions. This is even more so if the criticisms come from opposition parties. Being finer attributes of the democratic process, dissenting and critical voices of groups, individuals and opposition political parties should be respected.

WITHOUT constructive criticism, the leader or government is easily lured by hangers-on and sychophants into thinking that they are doing well while in fact they may be unwittingly acting the script of a selfish few.

POLITICAL analysts say that there is a strong feeling among members of the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress, APC, that the government does not consider them as partners in progress. That they are perceived as enemies while in actual fact they should be taken as co-travelers working for the progress of the state.

CRITICS also say that the beautification of the Jos/Bukuru metropolis was hastily carried out and that the restriction on the movement of articulated vehicles was implemented without providing specific alternative places for them to park while waiting for the allotted time for them to enter the city centre.

HOWEVER, as we have pointed out previously, government should look into genuine concerns and address those that will not jeopardize its strategic plans.

THAT said, on the whole, there is no doubt that the last one year of the Mutfwang administration has been full of ups and downs. But it is very clear that it has been able to adroitly surmount the odds while charting a new course for the state.

AND the people look forward to the next three years with greater hope. This is because they believe that, if the governor has been able to perform incredibly well in the face of all the odds ranged against him in the first one year, he will certainly do even more in the years to come.

WELL aware of the enormity of the task that lay before him and the need to have the people on his side to be able to chart a new course during this new era, he had solemnly stated on that inauguration day: “I want you to trust me to be there for you in the next four years.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Relocating the Bukuru  cattle market

TO underscore his commitment towards driving a pro-environment agenda, which is one of the pillars of his administration, Governor Mutfwang’s first official engagement on assumption of office was  personally supervising the monthly environmental sanitation exercise, which had lost steam before his advent.

AT the time, the state’s once famous serenity, order and scenic beauty had been overtaken by mountains of rubbish and traders who had spilled from the shoulders onto the middle of major township roads. Also, illegal motor parks had sprang up at the most unlikely places while articulated vehicles, which tormented other city road users and caused fatal accidents that claimed lives and property of innocent commuters and other citizens within their homes, had a field day.

THUS, it was not a misplaced priority for government to beam its searchlights on these sectors. It was in the light of this that the state government moved to clear the Jos/Bukuru metropolis of illegal markets that had constituted serious hazards to the health of the people and the safety of the environment and went ahead to issue Executive Order 003 which regulated the movement of heavy trucks within the  metropolis.

IN furtherance of that overall objective, the Jos Metropolitan Development Board, JMDB, issued a two-week ultimatum to traders at the Bukuru cattle market to relocate to alternative sites in the outskirts to make way for the construction of a stadium that has been in the works for many years.

BUT the traders have kicked against that decision. During a press conference on May 17, 2024, they contended that the new sites located at Gero and Sabongida were not safe for them considering the ethno-religious crisis that have characterized the state.

THE traders’ spokesman said, “The people of Bukuru still hold fresh in their minds the horror of the discoveries made by the Nigerian Army when they uncovered a shallow grave containing the remains of missing Maj. Gen. Idris Alkali (rtd), cattle vans, motorcycles, and other belongings of our members, which were found alongside the General’s car in a pond at Dura Du.

“WE have not forgotten what happened at our former graveyard in Gero Community a few years back, when those attending burials were beaten, some killed, and corpses were exhumed and mutilated. These incidents are casting doubts in our minds as regards our safety if we relocated to the mentioned areas.”

THEY appealed to the state government to rescind its decision and allow them continue their business in the present location.

IT is very unfortunate that the traders are whipping up ethnic and religious sentiments over an issue that has to do with the overall development and health of society. At a time when the state government, Christian/Muslim religious and traditional leaders and  well-meaning citizens are working round the clock to ensure that the existing peace in the state is maintained, stoking such tensions would do no one any good.

MOREOVER, opening such old wounds for the sake of simply gaining sympathy for a cause that is self-serving says a lot about the way certain individuals and groups perceive and misrepresent actions such as the relocation of the market which are in the public interest.

SADLY, this is the same attitude being displayed in Jos, the state capital, where traders who had been cleared from the roads have continued to defy the authorities. They deceive the outside world into believing that they are being persecuted for their religious and ethnic orientations. But in in truth, they are pursuing ulterior motives that are detrimental to the overall progress, peace and development of the state.

THESE policies are not peculiar to Plateau State. All over the country, governments are continuing to adopt the same strategies aimed at making the business and physical environments more conducive for their citizens. In fact, people who flagrantly flout these laws in Plateau State obey same with reverence in other parts of the country. So why must Plateau State be an exception?

WE appeal to government to consider genuine concerns with all seriousness and make amendments or concessions wherever necessary. Ample security should also be provided in these markets to allay the fears of both the traders and the indigenous communities of Gero and Sabongida. Be that as it may, it must be stressed that no groups or individuals should be allowed to disobey government laws using pretexts that are entirely self-serving and not in the common good. Government must be firm and decisive in upholding the laws it promulgates and act without fear or favour. That is the only way it can earn the confidence of citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Towards a cleaner, safer Jos/Bukuru metropolis

IT is often said that a healthy society is a wealthy one. This, no doubt, has informed governments’ pursuit of ways and means of ensuring that basic facilities are provided for the enjoyment of the citizenry.

TO achieve cleaner, safer societies, governments have overtime built institutions to help them attain this goal. That is why Donald Duke of Cross Rivers State won national acclaim when he made Calabar not only the cleanest city in Nigeria but the hub of tourism. Sadly, after he left office, his predecessors were not able to sustain the momentum and the once beautiful city lost its place as the cleanest to its next-door neighbour, Akwa Ibom.

IT is in this regard, that THE NIGERIA STANDARD commends the Jos Metropolitan Development Board, JMDB, for relentlessly pursuing the restoration of the Greater Jos Masterplan and the return of the lost glory of the city. The distortion of that original plan had resulted in the springing up of many slums, thus denying tourists the opportunity to appreciate the picturesque and captivating landscapes of the city and environs.

WE urge JMDB and her sister agencies to go the whole hog and ensure that the city is given a facelift so that we can truly earn that sobriquet of being the Home of Peace and Tourism.

A situation where virtually all our streets are turned into motor parks is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue. The streets must be organized in such a manner that all and sundry would enjoy plying them without having to look over their shoulders.

IT would not be out of place if JMDB liaises with the authorities of the local government areas that make up the Greater Jos Masterplan to create local markets so that the streets are cleared of traders who do their business on the roads, thus putting their lives in danger.

INDEED, the restrictions placed on heavy duty vehicles from plying the streets during the day is a welcome relief to all. It has not only reduced the number of accidents on our major roads and streets but would certainly ensure longevity of some of our road and other infrastructure.

THE manner in which some of these drivers conduct themselves seems to confirm the widely held view that some of them take drugs before setting out on their journeys. Once upon a time, the Joseph Gomwalk way to the Polo Roundabout had become a dead trap so much so that the House of Assembly had to make a pronouncement on the usage of that road by articulated vehicles.

THE JMDB, therefore, needs to create special areas for these vehicles so that their drivers would have places to freshen up before they continuing on their journeys. That way, JMDB would be attracting the much-needed revenue into government coffers.

IN addition, government should acquire buildings in adjoining streets to the Ahmadu Bello Way to build modern parking lots so that parking of vehicles on that ever-busy street would be stopped. This can be achieved through some kind of partnership with private individuals or corporate bodies. This will also increase the state government’s Internally Generated Revenue.

INDEED, JMDB must start thinking of planting trees on our streets to provide shades like it used to be in the past. Jos city used to have trees lining the major streets comparable to what obtains in Dakar, Senegal.

BUT, sadly, that is no more the case. These trees not only gave shades but help in restocking the oxygen needs of the city, thus contributing to the health of the ozone layer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Mutfwang: Another milestone

THE transportation of goods and services from one place to another is not only a commercial and business venture but an integral part of the developmental process of society and humanity generally. This is more so in the present era where the movement of people and ideas are expected to happen at great speeds to meet the needs and yearnings of the digital age.

IN view of the above, yesterday, Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State took one more step in his efforts towards at once meeting one of the people’s most pressing needs of the moment and keeping his own part of the social contract with them.

HE launched the Tin City Metro Urban Transportation Initiative, a unique system of massively moving commuters at very subsidized rates within the areas of the Greater Jos Master Plan. It has in its fleet 15 state-of-the-art MAN-Diesel buses fully equipped with latest equipment such as Near Field Communication (NFC) and secure card payment systems.

NO doubt, coming at this critical point in time when Nigerians are groaning under the heavy strain of astronomically high transportation costs, these buses could not have come at a more auspicious period.

FURTHERMORE, and as the governor himself pointed out, “We are ushering in an era of digitized travel, aligning with the global shift towards cashless transactions for the convenience of our passengers.”

IN addition, these iconic buses are set to immensely boost economic and social activities of the people of the state. This is because transportation has multi-dimensional and ripple effects on society generally, especially now that individuals, commuters and businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to commute and transport goods from one place to another.

AND, to boot, only one week ago, the state government unveiled 20 ultra-modern 8-seater Seinna buses that are now plying intra-state and national routes. The Plateau Riders Bus Services, which had almost gone under in the last eight years, has now been given a new lease of life. No doubt, the Mutfwang administration is easing the current pains of transportation even beyond the borders of the state.

AND on a more general note, these buses have come with the added blessings of the beautification of the Jos/Bukuru metropolis aimed at creating standard stations and a conducive environment for businesses and human traffic to cohabit with ease and flow seamlessly. Anyone who has been in these areas in the last one year will certainly attest to the fact that an extraordinary transformation is unfolding.

RIGHT from the day he personally supervised the state-wide environmental sanitation exercise (one of his first assignments after assuming office), Governor Mutfwang has left no one in doubt about his avowed commitment towards radically bringing sanity to the state’s erstwhile dirty physical environment.

JOS Terminus, Ahmadu Bello Way, Rwang Pam Street and other nooks and crannies of Jos and Bukuru metropolis are beaming with a splash of well-tarred roads, complete with wide shoulders and drainages.

IT is with this same determination and zeal that the governor is confronting the problem of transportation in the state. As a man who deeply believes in the wholistic development of society, he is well aware that abandoning one sector in preference for another would never give room for all-pervasive and sustainable progress.

THUS, roads construction, building terminals for the new buses, regulating street trading, beautifying the city, etc, are all being carried out at the same time so that they can have a more enduring and impactful effect.

SOME of these radical transformations on the landscape of the state capital and environs have come at a heavy price to many citizens. There have been obvious pushbacks here and there. But these pains are as temporary as they are very necessary in order to ensure sanity, ease of movement and doing business and the general wellbeing of society.

THE onus is now on citizens to take full responsibility for these new buses, roads and physical infrastructure. Nigerians are notorious for misusing government property. We call on citizens to utilize the buses with care in order to safeguard the huge investments government has made on them.

AND, going forward, Plateau people have no doubt whatsoever that this is only the beginning of even better things to come. In fact, preparations are in top-gear towards the revitalization of the rail system within the Greater Jos Master Plan area to give more impetus to these lofty innovations the state government is making.

CERTAINLY, the Governor Mutfwang administration is on the road to taking the state to greater heights in this and other areas of human development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marking May Day, sparing a thought for farmers

THIS year’s Workers’ Day is coming at a time of great economic turmoil in Nigeria. Those who toil day and night to produce the goods and services that sustain our lives are bearing the greatest brunt.

COINCIDENTALLY, the 2024 event is happening as the federal and most sub-national governments are planning to celebrate their first year in office. The near-convergence of both occasions affords workers, the political elite and the citizenry the opportunity to collectively assess the current state of our nation.

ALTHOUGH the Naira has continued to make unprecedented gains against the US Dollar, Nigerians are yet to see or feel the impact. With inflation at an all-time high (31.70%) and unemployment hitting the ceiling (at 5%) in the third quarter of 2023, up from 4.2% in the second quarter, the suffering of Nigerians is becoming almost unbearable.

THESE exert undue pressure on the Spartan minimum wage the few workers in the labour market draw. It was last reviewed on September 1, 2023, since 2019. Economic analysts posit that the much-vaunted gains from the naira’s recovery are being eroded even before they become manifest.

BUT President Tinubu’s economic team remains upbeat, insisting that the positive outcomes of this and other economic policies (such as the removal of petrol subsidy and hike in electricity tariff) would come gradually. Nevertheless, some cynics and experts alike say the naira’s rebound cannot be sustained as it is caused by the manipulation of the currency to deceive citizens that the government is succeeding where their predecessors failed.

WHATEVER the case, Nigerian workers yearn for a robust wage that would meet their basic needs and improve the quality of their lives. Therefore, the new minimum wage must reflect the prevailing double digit inflationary trend which has seen food prices, the costs of transportation, education, health care, and more, continue to soar.

IT is widely believed that the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and their affiliates have not lived up to the expectations given the dire straits in which the country finds itself. The perception is that the top echelons have merely barked without doing much biting as the Tinubu government continues to churn out policies that have significantly added to the misery of Nigerians.

MEMBERS hope that the stalled minimum wage negotiations would immediately resume with renewed vigour and commitment from both sides.

TODAY, it is also crucial to spare a thought for Nigerian farmers. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Nigeria has an estimated 34.5 million farmers, which is about 70% of the country’s labour force. About 80% of them engage in subsistence farming. Regrettably, we forget this critical mass of Nigeria’s informal workforce in our May Day rituals.

IT’s imperative to reflect on them because they are facing an existential threat of epic proportions. From the North East and North West down to the Middle Belt, farmers have become victims of banditry, kidnapping for ransom, herdsmen’s and Islamists’ terrorism, etc.

ALL of these have combined to force millions of them from their ancestral lands, most of which have been forcibly occupied – as has happened in parts of Plateau State.

ACCORDING to the United Nations, there are about 2.1 million displaced persons in Benue State alone, most of them farmers. It is as a result of these widespread displacements and decimation of entire communities that the FAO has warned that about 14.4 million Nigerians currently face food crisis.

THESE farmers live from hand to mouth. But frenzied gangs impose illegal taxes and levies to allow them cultivate their lands and harvest their crops. These hapless citizens’ homelands have become ungoverned spaces left at the mercy of purveyors of violence.

AS governments at all levels consider ameliorating the plight of workers, they must also make concerted efforts to solve the lingering security challenges threatening this critical pillar of our economy – farmers.

ON the occasion of this May Day, THE NIGERIA STANDARD strongly emphasizes the importance of both the formal and informal sectors of the economy in all strategies to confront the prevailing economic and security challenges bedeviling Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Against electricity tariff hike

ON May 29, 2023, when the mantle of leadership was handed over to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he announced, through a presidential fiat, that fuel subsidy was gone. And, without much consultations, it has come to pass. And today Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, sells for between N617, N730 and N800 per litre.

THAT was not all. The Naira was also floated. As a result, it depreciated and fell to an all-time low causing serious inflation and the consequent pauperization of the citizenry.

IN the same manner, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Management Commission, NERC, jacked up tariff rate for consumers of electricity on band “A” who, according to the Commission, make up only 15% of Nigeria’s total population yet consume about 40% of the electricity distributed by the Distribution Companies, DISCOs, in the country.

HOWEVER, it should be noted that in the last eight years, electricity tariffs have increased by over 168%. This has led Nigerians to pay between N16 and N31 kilowatt per hour (kWh) in 2015 to between N55 kWh to N71 kWh and in 2024 N225kWh, depending on the tariff class.

YET, these increases have not solved the challenges bedeviling the sector. The supply gaps remain so huge that the country’s homes and commercial and industrial sectors rely on self-generated power. Small-scale businesses, such as boutiques, cyber cafes, salons, tailoring and grocery shops, which are mostly serviced by small-scale petrol generators, are some of the most affected.

SADLY, the DISCOs, whose responsibility it is to supply the consumers, have hardly lived up to expectations. For the most part, they have reneged on some of the provisions in the agreement they entered into with government on the sale of various distribution networks in the country.

AS part of the agreement, they were required to retool the power distribution equipment and facilities in their jurisdictions in order to improve service delivery to customers. But cases abound where it is the customers that often purchase transformers, poles and undertake other repairs like wiring the distribution networks with little or no input from the DISCOs.

SECONDLY, the DISCOs are required by law to provide meters to every consumer in order to justify the supply of power and billing system. But even with the resolution of the National Assembly compelling them to implement this provision in their operating agreement, they have hardly complied.

BESIDES, the frequent collapse of the national grid has become a source of worry to consumers. According to ESI Africa, the continent’s leading power and energy journal, in the last nine years, Nigeria’s national electricity grid has collapsed more than 200 times, resulting in widespread blackouts. In 2022, the national electricity grid collapsed 17 times. It collapsed three consecutive times – September 14, 19 and December 11 – in 2023. In 2024, 6 collapses have so far been recorded.

THESE, indeed, are dire and incredibly frustrating situations that need to be addressed by the government so as to curb the already bad environment for a people who are struggling to make ends meet. What with the infrastructural decay without concrete commitment on the part of government to address them? As a matter of fact, the high cost of food and the general cost of living does not warrant the sudden rise in electricity tariff which is a very important component in the manufacturing sector.

ON their part, the people need to organize themselves in such a manner that government would be forced to take measures to mitigate their pains. Government must build institutions that would stand the test of time in the fight against corruption and other vices. The media should also be effectively utilized to bring to the fore activities of those saddled with the responsibilities of running the affairs of the state.

AND now that electricity generation has been decentralized, state governments and other non-state players should capitalize on the other abundant sources of power that nature has endowed our country.

THESE sources, such as wind and the sun, also have the advantage of being clean and environmentally friendly. Abia State has blazed the trail through the establishment of the Geometric Power Plant, Osisioma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dangerous trend

THE July 16, 2022, conferment of the Sarkin Fulani traditional title on the repentant kidnap kingpin and terrorist, Ado Aliero, by the Emir of Birnin Yandoto, Zamfara State, Aliyu Mafara, sparked nationwide outrage. The traditional ruler had reportedly taken that step to prevent his subjects from further attacks by the dreaded Aliero and his criminal gang.

BUT an angry Governor Matawalle promptly suspended the emir. In 2021, the governor had taken a similar measure against not less than three traditional rulers for alleged involvement in banditry. Sadly, the situation remains the same till today.

AND although the emir was later exonerated and subsequently reinstated, it emerged that Ado Aliero had been declared wanted by the Police in Katsina State for alleged homicide, terrorism, armed robbery and kidnapping. He was said to have killed over 100 residents of Kadisau village for which the police had put a N5 million bounty on his head.

THAT terrorism, banditry, mass kidnappings for ransom and imposition of illegal levies and taxes on innocent citizens by these hoodlums have persisted in both Katsina and Zamfara states (and indeed the entire North-East) is a pointer to the counter-productiveness of the emir’s action.

IN fact, conferring traditional or any other titles on such elements who do not value human life or obey any lawful authorities only emboldens them and their ilk into indulging in even more horrendous acts because they know that, rather than punishment, only rewards await them. 

THAT is why Nigerians where horrified when, on April 7, 2024, the convicted kidnapper and gunrunner, Hamisu Bala, aka Wadume, was accorded a hero’s welcome at his home town, Ibbi, in Taraba State, after serving a 7-year prison term. He was driven in a long convoy of vehicles round town as a mark of respect.

BUT as could be gleaned from reactions on the social and other conventional media, most Nigerians were scandalized that a criminal in whose hands security agents and other innocent citizens had lost their lives was being feted by a community some of whose members must have been his victims.

THAT is the depth of the moral depravity into which some of our societies have sank in order to pamper apparent criminals simply because they peddle power, affluence and wealth, albeit dubious.

BUT, as if that moral turpitude was not bad enough, Wadume was hosted to a special reception by the traditional ruler of his home town, Alhaji Garba Salihu.

IT is worthy of note that this same Wadume made this confessional statement in 2019: “I am Hamisu Bala also known as Wadume. The police came to Ibbi and arrested me. After arresting me, they were taking me to Abuja when soldiers went after them, opened fire and some policemen were killed. From there, the soldiers took me to their headquarters and cut off the handcuffs on my hands and I ran away. Since I ran away, I have been hiding until now that the police arrested me again.”

IT was before this individual that an entire community and its traditional ruler were groveling and competing with one another to please and win his acceptance.

BUT these are not isolated cases. All over Nigeria, traditional titles are bought by people with questionable character because it confers a semblance of prestige on them. This is because we put wealth and affluence before morals.

IN a world where the pressures of modern life have worn ethical values thin, our traditional institutions have become our most valued moral compass. But when the custodians of these ethos are seen to be hobnobbing with the elements threatening the very existence of our country, where else should society look to for guidance?

THIS dangerous trend brings to question the much wider issues of the core values that underpin our existence as a people and country.

THAT the ignominious celebration of a high profile kidnapper was coming just a few days to the tenth anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok girls, 89 of whom are still unaccounted for, is highly symbolic of the way our society views such crimes – which have left countless families and communities traumatized forever.

IT has been suggested that these traditional rulers resort to such desperate and unwholesome practices to placate the criminals in order to safeguard their domains from attacks. This is, therefore, a wake-up call to governments to take the responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of citizens more seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Mutfwang’s date with destiny

DURING the first board meeting of The Nigeria Standard newspapers on October 31, 1972, its founder, the legendary Joseph Dechi Gomwalk, stated: “I believe that it is in the interest of good government and healthy society that a variety of organs are available for the effective enlightenment of our people on matters affecting their lives locally, nationally, and internationally.”

MORE than 51 years later, those very aspirations have been echoed by Governor Caleb Mutfwang as he continues to express a deep commitment towards pursuing those lofty ideals. But, sadly, the fortunes of the newspaper and its subsidiaries have today plummeted to an all-time low.

WHEN he inspected the Plateau Publishing Corporation, PPC, on April 4, 2024, the governor stepped onto the corridors of that once bustling media hub where renowned journalists like Razak Aremu, Sale Iliya, Chris Anana, Gideon Barde, Ezeoke Odi, Clem Oluwole, Dan Agbese, Rufa’i Ibrahim and Jonathan Ishaku plied their trade with so much relish.

SOME of the finest journalists in Nigeria once proudly walked these famous hallways into their offices to pen and produce some of the most remarkable works in the print media industry.

BUT what Governor Mutfwang met on ground was not good. He was not a happy man as Labaran Maku, Nuhu Gagara, Harris Dawurang, Emma Gogwim, Matthew Kuju, Gideon Mitu, and those other mercurial journalists had been in the heyday of The Nigeria Standard when they practised their craft with great love and devotion.

TODAY, the few remaining journalists in the newsroom sit on plastic chairs and write their stories on furniture supplied more than 30 years ago. Some administrative staff use wooden benches in an abandoned clinic-turned-offices. All over, the threadbare carpets are relics from the early 1970s.

THE newspaper, the main product of PPC, comes out only once a week – printed at a private commercial facility on bond paper because we cannot afford the cost of utilizing the state of the art Cityline machine.

NIGERIANS still recall with nostalgia when all the three titles of the newspaper were on the newsstands daily in most parts of the country. They set the tone for national discourse and influenced government policies at all levels.

GOMWALK also constructed the iconic nine-story edifice, once the dominant landmark on the Jos city skyline, boasting one of the few elevators in northern Nigeria at the time. It was a means of boosting the revenue base of the organisation and indeed the entire state. This same vision inspired the setting up of the paper conversion plant, today the only remaining one in the north. It produced the once famous Cactus Exercise Book, typing and duplicating papers. There was also a bustling commercial printing press.

ALL of these have either literally collapsed or are in various stages of decay due to sheer neglect by past leaders to whom economic independence, history and legacy mean nothing.

BUT rather than dampen his morale, these challenges have strengthened Governor Mutfwang’s resolve to revive the PPC. He finds it incumbent upon himself to undertake this Herculean task so as to re-connect with the past and restore the pride and glory it confers on the state. This is because PPC is deeply embedded in the Plateau and Middle Belt identity.

ALTHOUGH the governor’s visit resonated well with most staff, as they see it as a mark of good things to come, others are taking it with a dose of skepticism. This cautious optimism is quite understandable. In the last three decades, successive governments have reeled out ample promises that have largely amounted to naught.

BUT 2005 marked a turning point when the state government turned PPC into a scheduled entity, finally making its staff pensionable. That was mainly due to the untiring efforts of then Governor Joshua Chibi Dariye, who had once served as PPC Chief Accountant.

AND in 2014, the Jonah Jang administration installed the Cityline printing press, a 500kva power plant and supplied circulation and other vehicles. The contract he also awarded that year for the complete renovation of the Gomwalk House was stalled during the next government by intrigues that led to a lingering litigation.

THOSE laudable interventions should have been complemented by his predecessor through staff recruitment, provision of consumables, continuation of work on the Gomwalk House and revamping the exercise book production plant and commercial printing press in order to have the required, wholistic, impact. But that was not the case.

THAT is the vacuum Governor Mutfwang plans to fill. He has, therefore, espoused comprehensive short and long-term goals towards the total restoration of the PPC to make all of its arms, especially The Nigeria Standard, viable once again.

OVERJOYED by the sheer novelty of that inspection visit, the PPC management, staff and indeed the entire people of the Middle Belt resolutely stand with Governor Mutfwang as he takes on this historical assignment. For it’s not by accident that destiny placed him here and at this moment in time, saddled with the burden of salvaging Gomwalk’s legacy.

THAT much he firmly declared in these words he wrote in the PPC visitors’ book: “I decided to visit this Legacy Building to see things for myself. It is unfortunate that the legacy of our founding father has been left in ruins.

“BY the grace of God we shall put in our best efforts to ensure that the labour of our heroes past are not allowed to waste. Restoring J.D. Gomwalk House is therefore a task that must be done!

“THE new management is showing great determination to restore The Nigeria Standard newspaper. Kudos.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Senegal, a breath of fresh air

From prison to The Presidency. This sums up Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s travails and ultimate climb to power as Senegal’s new leader. The 44-year-old president, the youngest in that country’s annals, was released from prison on March 14, 2024.

Ten days later, he swept to victory on a popular wave of change – largely driven by equally youthful voters who had become disenchanted with the status quo.

The West-African sub-region, the Sahel and Northeast Africa have witnessed disruptions in democratic governance for close to a decade now. The military coups in Mali in 2020 and 2021 were followed by those in Chad, Guinea and Sudan in 2021, with two more in Burkina Faso in January and September 2022. The army also struck in Niger and Gabon in 2023.

These grim statistics left little room for hope as the military suffocated democracy and trampled upon all forms of human rights. But coming on the heels of the January 22, 2024, peaceful hand over of power to the democratically elected government of Joseph Boakai in Liberia, the latest transition from Macky Sall to Faye in Senegal is indeed a very invigorating breath of fresh air.

Despite the fact that he never held any political office in the past, Faye beat former Prime Minister and candidate of the ruling coalition, Amadou Ba, in the first-round. His predecessor, Macky Sall, had incurred the wrath of citizens when he ordered the arrest of hundreds of opposition supporters in 2021 when their veteran leader, Ousmane Sanko, started his standoff with the authorities.

Those nationwide unrests led to some fatalities as security forces cracked down on protesters. That chaos precipitated Sall’s decision to shift the presidential vote to December, which plunged the country into its worst political crisis in decades. Political commentators believe that he sought to hold on to power after the expiration of his two-term tenure.

There were also growing concerns that he could be taking an egregious cue from sit-tight African leaders such as Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, who has been in power for 43 years; Paul Biya of Cameroon (who has ruled with an iron fist for 40 years); and Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo (whose 38 years’ autocratic rule has virtually silenced all opposition). Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is still tenaciously clinging on after his 36-year reign has foreclosed all hopes of any youth succeeding him – whenever he chooses to quit.

Therefore, President Sall’s tinkering with the election time-table was seen as a big minus for a country that had stood as a leading bastion of democracy in the region and Africa as a whole since it gained independence from France in 1960. African leaders such as Mbasogo purport to abide by the tenets of democracy but are essentially depots of the highest order.

Thus, the pushback in Senegal was swift, overwhelming and widespread. Hundreds of thousands of citizens, especially the youth, took to the streets, and persisted, for months. The Constitutional Court finally saved the day by ruling that the elections must hold as scheduled – within 2 weeks.

There are two poignant lessons here: First, the demonstrations displayed the fact that peaceful protests could still yield positive results even in the most oppressive conditions. That is, if they are peaceful and the goals well-defined and in the overall national interest.

Second, the judiciary, being one of the most critical pillars of democracy, must strictly ensure that all other arms government and stakeholders, no matter how powerful, are brought under the ambits of the rule of law.

It is, however, praiseworthy that even after the bitterness and acrimony that greeted Mr. Sall’s actions in the run-up to the vote, he was among the first to congratulate Faye as soon as it emerged that he would win. He described Faye’s win as “a victory for democracy.”

This should serve as a huge lesson for Nigerian politicians. Most of them find it very difficult to concede defeat – even when the outcomes of elections are obvious and reflect the general feelings and yearnings of the majority of the electorate and citizenry. We must move away from the culture where accepting the sacrosanct verdict of the electorate is seen as anathema.

On a continent where the older generation finds it almost impossible to willingly bow out in favour of the younger folk, the emergence of a 44-year-old as president has generated a lot of controversy, especially in Africa. At 90, Paul Biya of Cameroon is the oldest president in Africa and has not indicated whether or not he will still contest in the next election due for February 2025. He is closely followed by Alassane Quattara of Ivory Coast, who is 81. Most of their other colleagues are either their peers or just slightly younger.

Alarmed by this trend, Nigerian youth and rights groups had launched a robust campaign to ensure a much larger space for Nigeria’s millenials on the leadership turf. This led to the signing of the Not Too Young to Run law by then President Buhari on May 31, 2018.

But as if to reinforce the futility of his own very action, Mr. Buhari had instructed the youth from the 36 states of the federation who had gathered to witness what they believed was an historic event at the Presidential Villa: “You can aspire for President but please postpone your campaign till after [the] 2019 [presidential] election.”

He was gunning for a second term in 2019 – which he eventually got. Unfortunately, little has changed since then. The current president (who is 72), and indeed most other politicians who won the last elections, are still predominantly of a relatively older stock.

But statistics show that Nigeria has the largest number of youth in the world: about 70% of the population is 30 while 42 % is below 14 years.

It is instructive that Faye rode on the shoulders of the about 50-yearl old veteran opposition leader, Ousmane Sanko, to clinch that historic win. They had formed the Pastef political party in 2014 but it was dissolved in 2023. Faye was imprisoned in April of that year. Sanko joined him in July charged with, among others, calling for insurrection.

Following their release on March 14, Sanko killed his own long-standing personal ambition to further the national interest by giving the much younger Faye the opportunity to lead their nation.  Selflessness and patriotism at their best, no doubt.

In a country where 75 % of the 18 million population is under 34, Sanko’s decision was also a clear reflection of the urgent need to give power to the true, active, majority.

With an unemployment rate of 25%, the new president, who belongs to the new generation of politicians who wish to establish a fresh order away from what obtained in the past, has promised to fight corruption, lower the cost of living and restore national sovereignty by abandoning the CFA franc, which is widely seen as a vestige of French colonialism, among others.

However, analysts say that his greatest challenge would be bridging the unemployment gap (which stands at 25%). This has led many youth into undertaking the perilous journey to Western Europe – most of which have ended tragically on the Mediterranean Sea.

The successful Senegal election and the peaceful transition have boosted the credentials of an otherwise disreputable African democracy.

Above all, these political events present an opportunity for African leaders, the political elite and their followers to reflect on such gains and find ways of consolidating on them for the overall development and progress of the continent.

Certainly, Nigeria and Africa can learn a lot of lessons from this relatively tiny country. Sometimes big, profound, lessons can emerge from even the smallest, most unlikely, places.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bandits’ audacious demand: A call to action

ANOTHER tragic chapter unfolded on Thursday, March 17, 2024, as bandits brazenly raided a primary school in Kuriga, Chukun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria. Their callous act resulted in the abduction of 287 innocent pupils and some of their teachers, leaving their community in anguish, pain and despair.

AS if that was not bad enough, the bandits’ audacious demand for a staggering N1 billion ransom, coupled with their ominous threat to end the lives of the victims, if not met, underscores the gravity of the situation we face. It is the inability of state actors to curb the activities of such criminals that has emboldened them into making such callous demands to already traumatized parents.

SADLY, this harrowing incident is not an isolated one; it mirrors a disturbing trend that has plagued our nation for far too long. Each occurrence leaves scars on our collective psyche, yet the response from authorities remains alarmingly inadequate. Despite government’s consistent rhetoric condemning such acts, tangible actions to deter future occurrences have been conspicuously absent.

GOVERNMENTS at all levels must confront the root causes of this menace with unwavering resolve. Therefore, it is imperative to dismantle the infrastructure that sustains these criminal enterprises and hold perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent of the law. The culture of impunity must be replaced with a system that prioritizes justice and the protection of innocent lives above all else.

INTELLIGENCE gathering and coordination among security agencies must be bolstered to prevent such atrocities from occurring. The failure to preemptively address threats emboldens perpetrators and erodes public trust in the capacity of our security apparatus.

FURTHERMORE, the blame game between authorities and school administrations must cease. While accountability is crucial, it is counterproductive to engage in finger-pointing while lives hang in the balance. Instead, a unified front must be forged to ensure the safe return of the abducted children and the restoration of peace to this and other affected communities.

AS we continue to interrogate the underlying factors that contribute to the persistence of such heinous crimes, it is pertinent to ask this question: Is it a shortage of manpower, inadequate resources, or a combination of both? This question demands honest answers and decisive action from those entrusted with safeguarding our nation and its citizens.

THE international community looks upon us with dismay as we grapple with this crisis. Our credibility as a nation that champions liberty and security is undermined when we fail to protect our own citizens, especially children. It is incumbent upon our leaders to translate rhetoric into tangible results and restore faith in our ability to confront adversity.

THE abduction of schoolchildren is not just a local tragedy but a national disgrace that demands urgent attention. We cannot afford to be desensitized to such atrocities or allow them to become the new normal.

THE time for action is now. History will judge us harshly if we fail to rise up to the occasion. We must stand united in our resolve to ensure that every child can pursue their education without fear, and every community can thrive in peace and security.

Ending the sale, consumption of illicit adulterated drinks

Illicit adulterated drinks have emerged as a perilous concern in Nigeria, posing grave threats to public health and safety. The increasing production and distribution of counterfeit alcoholic beverages, often laced with toxic substances such as methanol, have reached alarming levels.

Consuming these adulterated drinks can lead to severe health consequences, ranging from nausea and blurred vision to organ failure and death. The lack of stringent regulations and enforcement has allowed this illicit trade to thrive, jeopardizing the well-being of unsuspecting consumers.

The production and sale of illicit, adulterated drinks has become so rampant even as it is on the increase in Nigeria. It has become a stock in trade so much so that the unsuspecting public is not even able to differentiate between the original and counterfeit in the markets as they use original labels to deceive buyers though the drinks are adulterated.

Perpetrators of this dastardly act in the name of doing business have caused so much havoc especially on the consumers as adulterated drinks are not good for the health of humans and has been medically identified as a major cause of ailments such as cancer, kidney failure and some other terminal diseases and conditions.

As we approach the yuletide season where there is an expected increase in the purchase and consumption of drinks for the celebration, people are advised to watch out for the kind of drinks they purchase.

It is sad and worrisome that reports have it that people are now producing and selling these illicit and adulterated drinks right in their backyards in the comfort of their homes without checks by relevant authorities and it is being churned out to the markets in droves.

Meanwhile unsuspecting public are buying and consuming the products because they are being lured by the prices as they come cheaper than the original.

Reports have it that there are allegations that some security personnel look the other way and encourage the act by compromising, as well as some traditional, community and youth leaders also who abate the illicit production and supply of the drugs and adulterated drinks which is happening right in their domain. In some cases even parents are sometimes found wanting.

Security agencies and other relevant agencies such as Nigeria Agency for Food Drug Control, NAFDAC, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Standard Organization of Nigeria, SON, should sit up and monitor the activities of these merchants and ensure what is in the market is genuine and fit for consumption by the public. They need to step up their game and ensure that culprits are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.

It is worthy to note that
addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach, strengthening regulatory frameworks, increasing law enforcement efforts, and implementing stringent penalties for offenders are essential steps.
Also, community leaders, traditional rulers, youth, women and religious groups, government agencies and other stakeholders have a very key role to play in the fight against illicit adulterated drinks
.
Simultaneously, public awareness campaigns must be intensified to educate consumers about the risks associated with consuming unregulated alcoholic beverages.

By tackling the danger of illicit adulterated drinks head-on, Nigeria can safeguard the health of its citizens, enhance its global standing, and foster a more resilient and prosperous society.

Stop this reckless spendings

NIGERIA is indeed a country of contradistinction. Amidst the abundance of both human and natural resources Majority of the Nigerian populace wallow in abject poverty, wants and deprivation. Medicare has gone out of the reach of the ordinary Nigerian, school fees for the education of wards and relations have skyrocketed to high-heavens, unemployment of Nigerian youths have become the norm rather than the exception, amongst many other economic, social and even political misnomers plaguing the country.

YET, a negligible few Nigerians particularly the political class and other men and women of means, chance and opportunity swim in unbelievable opulence, displaying their wealth with all the gusto they can muster. Nigeria is no doubt a paradox-one country, two nations.

WE noticed ugly, if not despicable scenario recently when Nigeria’s President Ahmed Bola Tinubu signed the N2.17 tr. SupplementaryBudget. Amongst the items listed as “needs” was purchase of a yacht for Mr. President, purchase of vehicles for senators and renovation of the Presidential Villa. We find these bizarre, unreasonable and therefore uncalledfor from all intends and proses.

TO put it point blank, it is the height of irresponsibility and insensitivity to the Nigerian people and the Nigerian nation. Demands for such items is patently wrong, while the timing is equally callous. Are our leaders living in another clime? Are they really with the mass of the people? If the answers to these posers are in the affirmative, then something must have gone awry because, if they are with the people in this country then, they should know, even sense that, there is inexplicable suffering in the land.

LITTLE wonder, Nigeria is being alluded as the poverty capital of the world. This is simply unacceptable and smarks of leadership failure in all its ramification. How can we claim to be the giant of Africa and the fastest growing economy in the country when a huge number of Nigerians go to bed on empty stomachs? When another majority cannot afford to pay its bills-hospital, rent, school fees and even transportation?

WITH the hardships increasingly becoming unbearable, something must give way. Government must act decisively and equally proactively to ameliorate the plight of Nigerians. The people are equally humans,flesh and blood and should have access to all the needs enunciated by Abraham Maslow in his Theory of needs. We should also be mindful of the age-long adage that “a hungry man is an angry man”.

WE urge government to drastically cut the cost of governance. It does no good for our economy nor our democracy. As a matter of fact it has proved counter-productive as most times we depend on borrowings to meet our needs. Indeed, caution should be the watchword in whatever we do as a nation at this critical time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On FG to pay 500m for release of inmates

RECENTLY, the Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunde-Ojo said that the ministry intends to clear over N500 million fines slammed on inmates at the Correction Centres by judges and magistrates in various custodial centres nationwide.

ACCORDING to the Minister, a committee was setup with the aim of reviewing the situation of correctional centres, vis-à-vis the inmates as they are, and discovered that over 4,000 inmates are still in custody due to their inability to pay fines.

THE decision of the minister to decongest the correctional centres is quite commendable. We call for a review of the plan or alternative decongestion plans or policies are considered.

IT is on record that the federal government had released 7,813 inmates from the Nigeria Correctional Centres across the country during the outbreak of Covid-19 to curb the spread of the virus among the inmates. The convicts and awaiting trial were granted amnesty and released on the orders of former president Muhammadu Buhari as part of the prison decongestion policy of the federal government.

SPECIFICALLY, the minister should request the president and various governors to exercise their prerogative of mercy by granting pardon to the 4,000 convicts on ground of impecuniosities to facilitate their immediate release from custody.

ACCORDINGLY, the minister may also wish to request the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chief Judges of all the states and the Federal Capital Territory to visit the correctional centres and exercise their powers under the criminal Justice Release from custody Special provision act by ordering the release of the inmates whose detention is either manifestly unlawful or who have been in custody, whether on remand or otherwise, for periods longer than the maximum period of imprisonment which they could have served had they been convicted.

ACCORDINGLY, using the N500m on improving the welfare of inmates, improving the structures of the centres, educating or training the inmates is a better way of judiciously spending the money.

HOWEVER, it is pertinent to draw the attention of the minister to the plight of the scores of inmates who are languishing in all  Correctional Centres as their case files were burnt during the #EndSARS protest. The immediate release of such inmates since the state can no longer prosecute them as their cases have been burnt.

CONSEQUENTLY the mechanisms for reducing prison congestion should be considered.  In order to reducing the number of offenders in prisons, shortening the time of offenders and increasing system capacity.

ALTERNATIVELY, inmates should, as part of punishment, be made to pay through community services instead of spending such amount of money to pay for their crimes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whither Nigeria @63

Nigeria’s modern history is a story replete with stories of conflicts, corruption, simmering ethnic tension and a combustible mix of religious differences which have often led to the outburst of violent and often virulent conflicts. Despite these complexities, however, which have sometimes caused serious strains, the country always seems to find a strand of thin thread which in the end holds it together and brings it back from the precipice leaving it united in the face of all the contradictions.

Since securing independence on October 1, 1960 from Britain, the country had struggled with one form of conflict or the other. The challenges which greeted the early independence period were sign posts that our march to nationhood began on a rather faulty and shaky foundation. Our leaders were not, or, ill prepared for the ominous tasks of galvanising the disparate groups together and weaving them into a nation state.

Right from the early days, our leaders did not show they truly understood what it meant to pursue nationalistic and integrative goals. Instead, they dwelt more on things that served to promote their regions at the expense of the whole country.

This was typified by the emergence of regional political parties. Ahmadu Bello was for instance, able to have his Northern People’s Congress capture the entire Northern part of the country. So too was Awolowo in the South West and Nnamidi Azikiwe in the East. This not only instigated unhealthy rivalry amongst the political parties but also led to infighting in the parties. The operation “wetin in the South West was a clear testimony to the dangerous path towed by the  political gladiators and parties when Akintola felt he needed to upset Awolowo in whichever way possible to grab power.

The confusion resulted into civil disobedience and political protest, thuggery and a host of unsavoury actions leading to the breakdown of law and order and consequently bringing to an end the First Republic. This in turn led to the civil war and the many coups and counter coups which characterised the country until recently.

Fast forward 1999, when the General Abdulsalam Abubakar regime handed over to the democratically elected Obasanjo administration. A glimmer of light was shone at the end of the tunnel. However, it did not turn out to be so. The Niger Delta debacle that was handed to the democratically elected Obasanjo government was the first litmus test for our democracy. When we were not able to get it right and handle it properly, it opened the doorway for other agitations. Because justice was not served, others felt the best means to attract attention was to resort to self- help. And by self -help, it meant forcing the attention of the state by causing it to notice their activities, albeit forcefully. The language of force became the norm as if we were all waiting for the military to retreat so that we unleash and vent our bundled- up anger on ourselves.

This, however has been so because we have failed to serve justice and fairness at the right time. Some people have been treated as unequal partners in the enterprise called Nigeria while other have had to struggle to make life worth living without safeguards being provided for them to thrive. Resources meant to serve the generality of the public were cornered by a few leaving the majority to wallow in abject poverty and want. State funds were and, are still being used to the advantage of a few. The rest are considered as the dregs of the society, who deserve nothing but suffering.

The enterprise of governance has been cornered for the enjoyment of a few. And if nothing is done to correct this contradiction by those whose business is managing the resources of the state on behalf of the majority then we are in trouble. It is these contradictions that have brought the country to this pass where everyone seems to be on their own and God for all of us. We are at the point where brutish force seems to be the only way to survive. This jungle we have deliberately created is a sure path to perdition for us as a country and a people unless we retrace our steps.

How can we return to the path of growth and unity? Justice must be served to all manner of people. The people must be treated as equals not one tribe lording it over others. Our leaders must rise to the protection of the people whenever an injustice is done to anyone not just their own. They must not allow people to begin to agitate before doing what they are paid to do nor should they be compelled to do what they should have ordinarily done without promptings.

But has our democracy paid off? No is the emphatic chorus that would greet such a question. Our infrastructure is in shambles. Our education is on life support and our health facilities is comatose. Our doctors and other health professionals have japad to other climes and we are not doing anything to breath life back to these facilities.

Venture engaging in road travels to anything part of the country and if you come out alive you would live to tell a story. The roads are not only death traps but insurgencies and kidnappings have taken over them and would not allow safe travels. Railways which could have provided an alternative are in themselves no safe. And to cap it all, air travels is way out of the reach of the common man.

Apart from the obvious disregard for the plight of the ordinary person, government needs to look again at some of its policies. The fuel subsidy removal for example might have been well intentioned but the way government went about it was reckless and unwise. If measures were put in place to cushion its effects, maybe things might have turned out differently.

At 63, therefore, we cannot afford to be where we are today. We should be able to stand our own in the comity of nations. If Malaysia took palm seedlings from us and are today world leading producers of palm oil products, then we have no business importing palm oil products. We should be ashamed of telling the world that we are the giant of Africa when in actual fact we cannot refine petroleum products for our local consumption.

The present administration must, as a matter of policy work at changing the narrative and indeed, the attitude of Nigerians. We must believe in our country and make it work for all of us. Running to other countries to become second class citizens would not help our cause neither would it make us any better. We owe generations yet unborn the debt of making Nigeria, a country blessed with abundant resources work and become the pride of our continent. This should be our goal from now going forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FG must improve strategies on distribution of palliatives

RECENTLY, the Federal Government announced the approval of N5 billion to each of the 36 states of the federation as a palliative measure to cushion the effects of the petroleum subsidy removal.

ALTHOUGH such could be seen as a commendable development, yet the decision has raised more questions on the modalities to be used in ensuring effective monitoring and distribution of the palliatives across the country with a huge population of over 180 million of its citizens living in abject poverty.

In time past, especially during the Covid-19 palliatives distribution, there were challenges of logistics, administrative bottlenecks and wild allegations of sharp corrupt practices which became a largesse for family and friends of some of the people saddled with the responsibility to distribute palliatives in different parts of the country. This was on a larger scale seen as an abysmal failure. It has now cast a shadow of doubt as to whether this one could be anything different.

UNFORTUNATELY, the palliatives are coming at a time when the pains of the subsidy removal has already spread into every fabric of the Nigerian society with dire consequences like a cancerous tumor that is life threatening and deferring any meaningful solutions.

SUFFICE IT TO SAY, it is like providing medicine to a dying patient because, the announcement came without first laying the proactive measures that would have eased the ripple effects of the petroleum subsidy removal. For instance, fixing the ailing refineries back on stream, putting necessary economic policies that would absorb the chain effects on the living conditions of the entire populace. For instance, coming up with social security policies to take care of the vulnerable and less privileged as well as ensuring general food sufficiency nationwide.

RATHER, the haste by the federal authority to gain political capital out of the mess created by the subsidy regime and its ugly past should have been handled with utmost caution. Going by the trend of events necessitated by anti-people policies in the past, coupled with the hash economic realities unleashed on the citizens, going by the Naira scarcity that paralyzed the economy, as well as the torment caused by terrorists activities, kidnapping and banditry to the extent of bringing the entire country on its knees.

THE SHAME Is, Nigeria with its vast human and natural resources is now a full member of comity of poverty stricken nations who share grains and petty cash to its people not because it is poor, but because a negligible number of the nation’s elites have decided that nothing good will come out of this nation.

HOWEVER, and going forward, the Federal Government must as a matter of serious concern, with the pains caused by the fuel subsidy removal, come up with new strategies that would effectively monitor the distribution of the palliatives in collaboration with stakeholders such as Civil Society Organisations, religious organisations and traditional institutions in partnership with relevant government agencies in all the states. This is so that the impact can be felt by the intended beneficiaries.

Our stand is, governments at all tiers must resist any attempt to divert the allocated funds for other projects outside this area of priority. States must therefore be guided by good conscience, backed by a strong political will to walk the talk for the common good of humanity, sacrifice, display of empathy and good governance in the interest of all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nigerians’ expectations for new ministers

The Presidency recently confirmed designation for the ministers that will work with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Consequently, on Monday 21st August 2023, President Tinubu swore in 45 ministers to serve the country in their different assignments towards achieving the ‘Renewed Hope’ of the president’s agenda to meet the expectations of all Nigerians.

The ministers took over at their various ministries/offices some 85 days after the administration of President Bola Tinubu assumed power. Fortunately, all claimed to understand the weight of the ministerial assignment handed them and said “we’re determined to succeed”.

While they largely thanked the president for considering them worthy for the task ahead, some of them have started on a tough note, saying that the work at hand demanded such a tough start.

The one common denominator however, by practically all the ministers, was that they all claimed that the president gave them specific mandates which formed the fulcrum of their agenda -selling upon , reporting at their various desks.

The assignment before the ministers entails that they must hit the ground running immediately, if they are to meet the expectations of Nigerians. And also reorienting themselves that they now serve Nigerians and not their various states or region.

Furthermore, the new cabinet members are the ones to deliver the administration, ‘Renewed Home Agenda’ of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Unfortunately, the country is currently battling with daunting challenges such as rising unemployment, inflation, insecurity, poverty, banditry and terrible shocks of subsidy removal which has made many Nigerians life unbearable.

Nigerians will soon begin to judge the administration by the performance of the ministers and if the change that Nigerians are expecting turns out to be a ruse. It will be largely due to the failure of the ministers in living up to the expectations of being a round peg in round holes.

The ministers however, must deploy long overdue and sustainable reforms in order to restore the country’s beliefs in government and commitment to the president’s renewed hope agenda.

The Nigeria Standard believes that the ministers on their own cannot deliver on the expected promise. The right skills must be put in place to map out realistic paths through which the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu can be attained. This is particularly important because the critical task of social engineering requires expertise in meeting the expectations of Nigerians.

More so, Nigerian Standard opines that the task before the new cabinet of Tinubu include: the naira versus dollar exchange rate, which is affecting the standard of living of a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the death traps that our roads have become, education and epileptic nature of power supply, issue of Niger coup amongst others.

They need to hit the ground running rather than those who might need to learn on the job before being able to swing in to action within a time frame.

Our view stands out that the present cabinet of President Bola Tinibu is the largest since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999. And given Nigerians’ current economic situation, this is somewhat disappointing as it signals a resort to “big government” with heavy cost implication.

Nigerians want ministers who are ready to serve, not ministers that are appointed as political jobbers. They should know that Nigerians are watching and waiting as the president and his cabinet navigate and steer the Nigerian ship. Hence, they must be responsible and responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians in other to do the job that they were hired to do.

Our ministers must dare to be different. This is a new epoch and time to get it right if Nigeria would achieve a sustainable economic emancipation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tackling spontaneous security agents killings

A few days ago, more than 102 persons mostly community residents and vigilante group members were massacred by terrorists in Bakori Local Government Area of Katsina State. Though the Nigeria Police claimed that about 41 people were killed, residents subsequently disclosed that the number of those actually killed during the ambush more than doubled the figure released by the security agency.

REPORTS further revealed that communities affected had retrieved and buried more than 72 people while many others yet to be found were still being sought after by relevant authorities in the area. About two weeks earlier, seven personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC) were also ambushed and brutally killed alongside five victims from a sister security agency and local security service. The deceased security agents were killed by bandits while on official duty at a mining site in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the state.

SO far, a report recently released indicates that in the first half of 2022, about 157 slain security personnel were amongst the thousands of people killed in the first half of 2022 with about 3,000 people killed in the first three months. Accordingly, the reports notes that the killing spree were mostly carried out in the South-East, North-West and North-Central regions of the country.

MOST of these killings were attributed to intelligence failure and lack of capacity agencies hierarchy to provide modern hard and software components required to combat crime and criminalities. Added to this complex reality is the availability of sophisticated weapons in the hands of non-state actors in the past couple of years in the country.

IT is also on record that since 2017, rampaging terrorists classified as bandits have been killing thousands of persons including security agencies in the North-West with impunity. As it is today, many security agencies have become vulnerable and infiltrated by many terrorist elements thereby truncating any meaningful efforts aimed at finding lasting solutions to this menace.

IN most cases, the breadwinners of several families have been killed leaving their surviving family members at the mercy of the society. With the insurance cover beyond the reach of relations of victims, their exposure to practicably hostile environment this country stands to offer has continued to generate concerns in many quarters.

CONSEQUENTLY, this unabated killing of security personnel by non-state actors in the country has not only continued to demoralize serving security officers while discharging their anticipated obligations but also continued to paint this country in bad light amongst comity of nations. Indeed, aside the decline in morale of entire security officers, many of these personnel do not think that Nigeria is worth dying for.

THEREFORE, we strongly believe that the time has come for the Federal and State government to have a rethink as tackling insecurity should not be handle with kid gloves.  Fundamentally, the protection of security agents should be a definitive priority even as efforts should be intensified at improving the welfare of all service men and women in the country.  Beyond this, a more comprehensive strategy must be employed towards ensuring that the excesses of security forces as well as significant improvement in the relationship between security agencies and communities across the country. This, if done will go a long way in ensuring accurate intelligence gathering to serve as early warning signals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matters arising from PVC collection

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had after its retreat in Lagos last month finalised the procedure as well as the timetable for collection of PVCs across the 36 states of the federation.

THE Commission said it has devolved PVC collection to the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards from 6th January to 15th January, 2023 after which the exercise will then revert to the local government offices of the Commission until the 22nd of January, 2023.

IN line with this, Nigeria’s electoral umpire, INEC, had announced that individuals can collect their PVCs between 9am and 3pm daily including Saturdays and Sundays.

THE exercise has since been kick-started across the country but reactions show that the PVC collection has been a mixed bag of success as well as problems. In some places, it has not been a smooth sail with numerous complains emanating from some of the collection centers. Some of the challenges range from people not getting their PVCs, long queues as a result of the turnout of people, and a host of others, while in some places it has been seamless.

ALTHOUGH there are challenges here and there, INEC has said it has been on its toes and is coming up with mechanisms for interventions as the problems arise. For instance, in order to see that more people are being attended to, the Commission has in some instances extended the time of operations to 5pm as against 3pm. Also, the electoral umpire had disclosed that the Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, have been empowered to be proactive.

ONE notable fact that has been observed across the country is the fact that there has been a massive turn out of people at the collection centres which is quite commendable, particularly the youth who have not only registered but are struggling to collect their PVCs which is a departure from what was obtainable in the past.

INEC, however, needs to step up its game and ensure they right all the wrongs if the January 22, 2023 deadline is to be maintained.

SOME stakeholders have said some very critical areas they need to find solutions to as soon as possible is in the area of the collection process being clumsy, and not organised. There are also calls from different quarters on the need for INEC to engage the services of ad hoc staff to enable them meetup with the deadline.

FOR exercise to be successful therefore, the electoral body should deploy more resources both human and material so as to nip the challenges in the bud, which include inadequate officials to manage the mammoth crowd, among others, being experienced at the moment in the collection centres.

ALSO, it is hoped that just as there is a massive turn out of people to collect their PVCs, that the same will be seen on election days, that people will not just struggle to collect the PVCs but will actually put them to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blame game must stop

The Federal Government recently accused state governors for being partly responsible for the rising rate of poverty in the country. It blamed the state chief executives for prioritizing the construction of bogus infrastructure such as bridges and airports in cities rather than improving the lives of the people in rural communities.

This unfortunate blame game started when members of the Senior Executive Course 44 of the National Institute of Strategic Studies, Kuru submitted the report of their findings in a comparative study on strengthening local governance in Nigeria, which discovered that local governments are not allowed to operate as they should. The report stated in very unequivocal terms that until local governments are given free hands to operate, they will continue to remain underdeveloped.

Buttressing the allegation, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba attributed the poverty rate to governors’ misplacement of priority at the State House shortly after a recent Federal Executive Council meeting. Agba noted that 72 per cent of the nation’s poor reside in rural communities but that governors had abandoned that critical demography, preferring to spend state resources on the capital cities instead.

As if to confirm the obvious, state governors are basically functioning in their state capitals and are not working in the rural areas. And, the democracy that we preach about is delivering the greatest goods to the greatest number of people. However, from our demography, it shows that the greater number of our people live in rural areas yet governors focus less on these areas. With about 70 per cent of the people live in rural areas, producing 90 per cent of what we eat something urgent needs to be done. What is most annoying is the fact that 60 per cent of what they produce is lost due to post harvest loss and it does not get to the market.

The Minister also lamented that despite the federal government’s intervention to alleviate poverty, the results does not reflect the amount of investment made in the area. He said, “In the course of working on the national development plan, we looked at previous plans and asked why they didn’t do as much as expected. We also looked at the issues of the National Social Investment Programme.

However, it is our submission that as much as the Federal government blames the governors for not fighting poverty in the country, they too share in the blame. For when the head is sick, the whole body is affected. We also recognize that the governors have consistently complained about the over-centralization of power in the exclusive functions. For the federal government to be spending humongous sums of money with little to show for it speaks volumes about its activities.

  The truth of the matter is that the local governments need autonomy to function properly because if the local communities and not effectively governed, we will continue to complain that bandits have taken over our communities. It is the absence of government in the local communities and the ungoverned spaces that allow bandits the free rein to operate.

 Therefore, both the Federal government and state governors should own up, take responsibility and functions effectively and stop apportioning blames. Rather, there should be serious supervision and checks henceforth as duties are delegated. Our Houses of Assembly members should also rise to the occasion by diligently performing their responsibilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kolmani oil field as blessing to Nigeria

HISTORY was made recently when sixty- six years after crude oil discovery in the Niger Delta region, President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the drilling of crude oil at the Kolmani Oil Prospecting Lease (OPLs) 809 and 810, Kolmani field site located at the border of Bauchi and Gombe. The ground breaking event was very symbolic being the first oil field to be discovered in the northern part of Nigeria.

UNDOUBTEDLY, the discovery has broken the notion that oil can only be found in the Niger Delta region. Every Nigerian has a reason to celebrate because it is a blessing to Nigeria and will better our lot just as oil in the Niger Delta has.

NIGERIA National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC made the discovery two years ago that there is over one billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 cubic feet of gas within the Kolmani area of Gombe and Bauchi states. It is remarkable that this is the first discovery of commercial quantity of oil after several crude oil exploration in the upper Benue Trough.

AS to be expected, it has already attracted over 3 billion dollars investments to the state.Very promising for an area that has suffered from the activities of insurgents like Mai tatsine and Boko Haram.

THE KolmaniOil fields will be developed by Sterling Global Oil, New Nigeria Development Commission (NNDC) and NNPC Ltd. There is no doubt that this development promises better living conditions for the host communities, infrastructural development, social amenities, foreign direct investments, income generation, employment opportunities and boost to the internally generated revenue for the two states among so many advantages.

IT is also a plus to Nigeria because it will open up a lot of opportunities and benefits. Firstly, it will ensure energy security.  In addition, it is a plus to financial security,food security as well as overall socio – economic development for the country as pointed out by President Buhari. Further more, it will increase Nigeria’s oil reserve and reduce poverty in the region.

IT is, indeed, necessary for the government to learn from its mistakes and do everything possible not to repeat the mistakes of the past. An important point is for NNPC and its partners is to do everything within their means so as not to degrade the soil of the host communities as obtained in the Niger Delta. They should follow international best practices which will be beneficial to them all in the long run.

WE add our voice to that of the president and advise NNPC and its partners to ensure and sustain harmonious relationship with the host communities. They should guard against isolating them.Give them a sense of belonging   so that they will own the project too and work for its good. This strategy is for the avoidance of crisis, pitching themselves against the locals and to discourage oil bunkering. By all means, they should take their Corporate Social Responsibility serious.

IN line with the observation of Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, that a lot of oil was yet to be discovered in the country, we throw our weight behind him to urge the Federal Government not to relent in embarking on exploration in the country as more oil would be discovered. If it had not taken a step of faith, to explore, Kolmani Oil field would not have been discovered.

KUDOS to the Federal Government for its determination that has yielded fruits in Kogi. They have proudly joined oil producing states and has stated enjoying derivation fund.

GOMBE and Bauchi are known to be agrarian in nature. Not for any reason should they down their farm implements for the glow and promise of the black gold. Let’s not forget that food security is threatened and it does not hurt to have several sources of income. Bear in mind that the government is working assiduously towards diversifying the economy to reduce dependence on oil.

THE Federal Government on its part must swing to action to ensure the necessary infrastructure are put in place to kick start the process of exploration. This is capital intensive and needs the commitment of the FederalGovernment.

GOVERNMENT should be aware that this pleasant news will attract both the good and the bad to the axis. It behoves on them to beef up security and be well equipped for any eventually.

WE congratulate Bauchi and Gombe states who are our neighbours for this windfall. And wish them well as the exploration of oil commences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2023 and the leadership questions

THE 2023 elections are around the corner and the various political parties have unleashed on Nigeria and Nigerians the full arsenal of their campaigns. A day, therefore, scarcely passes by without one of the political parties launching its campaign in one of the states that make up the federation. At such campaigns, beautiful and well-crafted campaign promises, which  never see the light of day are made just to attract the sympathy of unsuspecting and gullible members of the public.

ON getting elected and sworn in, these crop of political leaders hardly remember these promises they had earlier made but carry on as if they owe nobody anything.The present and past crop of leaders of Nigeria thus seem to have failed to provide quality leadership capable of addressing numerous challenges confronting the country. These leadership challenges are evidenced in political, social and economic instability and the prevalence of ethnic, communal and religious crises, which have bedeviled Nigeria’s socio economic development. The reverberating effects of the failure of leadership, corruption and bad governance are visible and being felt across all sectors and segment of Nigerian society. Leadership and good governance are crucial and critical to realizing any giant stride taken in pursuit of development.

AS a result of this lack of  leadership qualities, we have not been able to build institutions that would stand the test of time. Leaders  view these institutions as instruments that are supposed to be at their beck and call rather than ensuring that they do what is right. It is this attitude that has stood in the way of the growth of the country and the resultant emasculation of the creative energy of the talented who are not often allowed to express themselves and add value to society thereby contributing to its growth.

AND because we lack integrity, the followership has not been able to speak truth to power allowing all manner of characters to do as they please without feeling that it is the society that employed them in the first place and that they owe their loyalty to it. The inability of the followership to hold to account these leaders has contributed in no small part to taking us to the crossroads where everything seems lost and hopeless.

TO restore hope and fashion a new path, therefore, Nigerians need to do away with those sentiments that have held us back. We need to shed tribe, religion, region and all those other draw backs that have served no purpose in enhancing the growth and development of our country. We must insist as they approach us again to seek for our votes that they must put in place certain basic minimums and show that they mean it before we invest our trust in them.

FINALLY, too, we must insist that political offices are made unattractive and service-oriented. This is to allow those with creative capacities to access them instead of allowing money bags to continue to lord it over the rest of the people. If those who run for political offices know that there is no free money to dip their hands into, there is the likelihood that people of ideas would be given the space to flourish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why we need presidential debates

ALL over the world, presidential debates are considered as an essential source of assessing candidates of political parties that are vying to lead the government of their country. This  to many is a way of making sure that right candidates are given the public mandate of leading that country.

IN  the case or Nigeria this widespread views of the public especially in the source media seem to agree that it is necessary to assess the candidates and help citizens make informed decision in the 2023 presidential elections. The debates which sometimes is also organized at the state level allow those seeking position of political leadership woe voters that are still contemplating who to vote for.

The first televised live presidential debates since the returning to democracy in 1999 was organized by Nigeria Election Debates Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria in 2019 gave Nigerians the opportunity to make a choice among the candidates through their presentation. Though not all of them responded to the call which they are expected to showcase to Nigerians, what they have in stock for them if given the mandates to rule.

NONETHELESS, with the history of the major contenders not showing up during any organized presidential debates like when it started in 2019 and the recent ones, it is essentials to ask if presidential debates are an essential means to assess presidential candidates? Can the debates influence election outcome and should it be mandatory for the candidates?

FROM past presidential debates, it has been observed that the debates have little influence on voters decision and electoral outcomes over the years. However, in the run up to the 2023 general election, there has been increase in citizen demand for debates amongst candidates. Organizing debates for candidates would go a long way in enlightening and assisting the electorate to make informed decisions on who to choose as the next president who will determine our future for the next four years.

AS a result of the challenges Nigeria is passing through now in its history as a nation and as we count down to the 2023 polls, it is critical like never before to education Nigerian towards making decisions that will change their fortunes’ as a nation that is blessed with what it takes to make it great. And that is what we are expecting to hear from all the candidates during the debates.

THE recent debates that was televised by Arise TV for which the major two political parties sent in their Wase vice presidential candidates to represent them is not a welcome development as the position of Vice President in Nigeria’s constitution is ceremonial which means he cannot take a decision on behalf of the government until he is given the go ahead by the president.

IT is important that the 8 presidential candidates show up for the debate to tell Nigerians what they have to offer and to convince Nigerians on how their intend to go about doing it.

WE consider it is an insult for somebody that want, to run the affairs of the country not to participate in an organized debate intended policies help Nigerians understand the policies they intend to pursue to better the lot of people.

ALSO, we have observed that the debates especially the last one organized by Arise Television was marred by unpalatable statement against opponents. What we are calling for is issue base debate not attack on personalities that do not add up to our development as a nation.

IT is important for all candidates that want to run the affairs of this country to have a complete knowledge of the country and how to turn the deplorable state of our infrastructural development around. Though past presidential debates had maximal impact on who won the elections, but it helped influenced undecided voters who had not made up their minds. The debates are therefore an opportunities for them to sell themselves again. We call on Nigerians to listen or watch the debate of all those contesting for political office as that will give them room to take informed decisions when voting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-emerging fuel scarcity and oil theft

The challenges bedeviling Nigeria on all fronts today seem to be waxing on unabated, even with the assurances by those in authority that they are on top of the situation. One of such reoccurring challenges is the issue of fuel scarcity which appears to be a reoccurring decimal in our nation, always coming with its attendant consequences on the operations of other sectors and indeed the economic life of the common Nigerian. Fuel scarcity is no longer news in this part of the world as oil theft and bunkery is adding more harm that Nigerians are suffering as a result of this phenomenon.

Over the past few weeks, Nigerians woke up to witness the scarcity of fuel again in most filling stations, with the attendant long queues in some major cities and Jos among others. This has forced many Nigerians to ask this probing question as to whether the Nigerian government is not always speaking from both sides of its mouth when it says that government is on top of the situation, yet “the discovery of the illegal four kilometers pipeline through which crude oil was being siphoned showed that oil theft was being perpetrated by criminal mafias, with the connivance of some officials of the oil Industry.

“It is dangerously incredible that crude oil theft, in spite of all the securities around, has assumed wider dimension to the extent that the quantity of crude oil we export today is less than the quantity being stolen by a gang of thieves of various designations.” without any significant impact being felt by the masses of the people within the time given by the authorities.

Indeed, the Federal Government through the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, had in a recent interview assured that the government had no plans to remove fuel subsidy because of the catastrophic consequences that may follow but yet, the supply of the product is epileptic and inadequate to this day for the consumption of Nigerians.

Worthy of note is the fact that even with the subsidy by government, things are not working well, will it then be available when it is removed, even as the products are not refined in Nigeria? Furthermore, who will be able to buy the product when subsidy is removed and left to be determined by the forces of demand and supply in the free market economy, with the current galloping inflation that is being experienced in the country? Only recently, the Managing Director of NNPC, had assured that the product will be available to Nigerians within one or so weeks, but to this day, this is appearing to be a repeat of such assurances that hardly see the light of the day.

From all indications, it is safe to say that the economic recession in Nigeria is far from being over. The economic indices are not confirming anything that is otherwise. The recession can only be said to be over when the common man on the street can be able to put food on his table with some level of ease. Since the activities of NNPC has multiplier effect on the performance of the entire economy, there is the need on the part of government to always put on the needed eagle eyes on their operations, as corruption is on the increase. If our refineries had been the economic challenges being experienced in the country would have been reduced.

It may interest those in authority to know that even when these products are supplied, the major marketers, same is being diverted and sold to smaller marketers who dispense them at very exorbitant rates to ordinary Nigerians. In view of this, government must act fast to save Nigerians from experiencing a re-emergence of another scarcity of fuel in the country as our challenges are too many, sending many of the less privileged to their early graves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFA: As Gusau mounts the rostrum

Nigeria as a nation is undoubtedly blessed in all spheres of life including the world of sports, with talented men and women who have done the country proud in the last 62 years of her Independence. The game of football in particular has attracted Laurels   and goodwill to the nation, with some young Nigerians doing the nation proud in renowned club sides around the world. There is no doubt, the game of football has not only come to stay but it is an economic spinner when property administered by those vested with such responsibilities.

The Nigerian Football Federation is the organ vested with the management and administration of this leather game in the country which is loved and cherished beyond boundaries of religion or tribes. One of their responsibilities is to ensure the welfare of players and the growing of grassroots football for young men and women that will grow to be the future stars representing the nation. However, those who have found themselves in this glass house piloting the affairs have seemingly failed to live up to their expectations.

The game of football in Nigeria as elsewhere is a serious business that warrants putting not just the solid structures but must also be run by seasoned administrators with the requisite professional knowledge and a sincere love for the country. It must be run by visionaries who can see into the distant future because of the need to make some returns on the nation’s investment at the appropriate time.

The just concluded NFF elections which has produced Gusau as President was a last resort after a lot of foot dragging and political interplay that had the consequence of attracting the penalty of FIFA, the world Football Governing Body. There is no doubt, the interplay of politics among other things has largely been responsible for the nose diving of football in the nation of recent. Indeed, before the elections, Amaju Pinnick who was the immediate past President of the body, wanted to rewrite the history of the Football Federation by trying to go for a third term as President of the glass house. This development had left much to be desired as these internal wrangling were even taken to the law courts.

Worthy of note is the sad commentary that these wrangling have produced dismal performance of football in the country. Evidences about that the performances of our national teams have not been encouraging of late. Recently they failed to qualify for Quarter, with the Falcons also showing dismal performance in most of their outings in recent times. Power tussle and corruption have been the twin brothers visibly at play in this glass house.

Nigeria has grown beyond the era where people would measure the game of football by how fat their personal bank accounts have become. The NFF needs a breath of fresh air and a change in the current narrative and the Gusau Led administration must strive to achieve this.

The total reliance on government for sponsorship of all football activities in the country and the scrabble for shares into private pockets have been the unseen magnet pulling down the performance of this organization. It is equally sad to note that this has also affected the standard of domestic leagues in the country.

It is worth recommending that no member of the current cabal who has frustrated football administration in the country be allowed to be part of the new system, rather, the altar of football be left to merit based professionals.

Government must take a holistic look at the problem facing the NFF and approach them with corresponding solutions. Nigerians are a very passionate people about the round leather game, always forgetting about their political and ethno- religious differences during such events. Nothing should be allowed to distract this. Given the significance and acceptability of football in this country, privately owned clubs by Nigerians must be encouraged and be given the free hands to make some returns on their investments.

As Nigerians watch keenly the Gusau led NFF for fresh ideas that will meet global standards, it is worth stating that the era where things are done the same old way expecting new results are gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2023 elections: Role of religious leaders

IF there is any admonition worth of undertaking, it is that which has been directed at religious and political leaders, particularly as we head into  election year. This warning comes with the seriousness it should be taken given that unguarded and inflammatory utterances often characterize the electionnering period in Nigeria.

THE co-chairmen of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakari, and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Daniel Okoh are well placed to understand the severity of the use of unsavory words by political leaders in the course of seeking for votes during campaigns.

A peaceful election is a pride to a people, therefore, when deliberate efforts are undertaken by organizations, religious leaders and the civil society to engender peaceful conducts during election period; it is the responsibility of all who are engaged in the process, particularly, INEC, the media to play roles expected of them in order to achieve the goal. Peace accords do not only put political leaders on their toes, they serve as reminders of their responsibility to the electorate.

EXPECTEDLY, while it is desirable that politicians should be held accountable for their actions, the role religious leaders play in conscientizing their followers often leaves much to be desired. Some often serve as purveyors of the wrong actions by the choice of words. This often influences   on who they should vote for during elections.

GIVEN all that has been said over time and the need to maintain decorum during electioneering period, there is need to keep emphasizing for issue-based campaigns by the parties. They are essential for safe elections, even as the role of the media to maintain neutrality during the electioneering period would help the electoral umpire achieve a level of success.

NIGERIANS are desirous of delivering a hitch-free election in 2023. If, as the NIREC leadership has emphasized, all have a responsibility to maintain a course that could lead the country to having an election devoid of rancor and leaders that are willing to sacrifice for the nation.

AS has been reiterated; whether they are religious or political leaders, if they are just and fair, the people’s trust can be earned; much less in an election year, where much is expected of us all as we create avenues for confidence in our capacity to live as a united nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the campaign kicks off

RECENTLY, INEC declared 28th of September, 2022 as the date for the commencement of campaigns for the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections. While the 12th of October is scheduled for that of the governorship and states houses of assembly.

ALREADY the final list of candidates vying for national electoral positions for the 18 registered political parties have been released and those of the states are expected to be released on the 4th of October, 2022.The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has advised political parties to pay critical attention to the provisions of the Electoral Act, the Police Act and Public Order Act, for proper peaceful conduct of political campaign rallies and processions. Political campaigns and rallies in Nigeria have been a sort of jamboree characterized by reckless spending of money on the production of T-shirts, billboards, posters, media adverts etc.

WE admonish political parties to make a difference by departing from what used to obtain in the past and restrict their campaigns to issues that would bring about development to the nation and not the to be insensitive to the feelings of others. Nigerians want to hear how candidates can help solve their problems not those who would bore them with rhetoric.

ON their part, the media be they private or government must endeavour to be balanced in their coverage. Every political party should be given equal access so as to ensure fairness. The media, therefore, must not allow itself to be used to propagate and promote the ambition of one candidate to the disadvantage of others.

ALSO, all through the campaigns, political parties must helm-in their supporters so as to bring to a halt thuggery. The system where hirelings are made to stand as security or body guards for political gladiators during campaigns or rallies should be checked by law enforcement agencies and INEC. And, any party or candidate found wanting should be sanctioned. This is to curb unrest and mayhem often unleashed on innocent citizens through no fault of theirs. Already bugged by so many problems, Nigerians do not need added burdens. All they want are practical solutions to their problems.

THOUGH the electoral body has warned parties to desist from the use of abusive languages, derogatory statements or hate speeches during the campaigns, it must go further to punish perpetrators so as to serve as deterrent to others.

ONE the whole, we advise that youths should be guided and avoid statements capable of creating disunity amongst the electorate. We call on the electoral body to strictly deal with whoever is found wanting in accordance with the Electoral Act. We also call on the EFCC to be on the alert so as to stop illicit funding from being used during the campaigns.

ALL security agencies sharpen their skills so as to nip in the bud any likely skirmish and must strive to be non-partisan to ensure law and order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris Club refund debacle

THE back and forth that has characterized the Paris Club refund issue between the Nigeria Governors Forum, the Minister of Justice and the consultants has stretched to its limits the glue of relationship.This has blurred to an extent the arguments being propounded and Nigerians do not know who to believe anymore.

ON the one side, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the chief law officer of the federation, is vociferous in pushing forward the position of the consultants for reasons only him can say. On the other hand, the NGF has said it did not enter into any agreement with these consultants and vowed to resist any deduction being made on their resources on behalf of the consultants.

IT is sad and unfortunate that a matter such as this would generate so much bad blood. One would have thought that since the matter had been taken to court, the reasonable thing to do would have been allowing the process to run its course. Embarking on media trial, to say the least is unnecessary and should not have been contemplated at all.

INDEED, for the chief law officer of the federation to engage in the brickbats is itself sad and uncalled for. He should have been the one calling both parties to order, knowing that issues that are still in court should not be discussed in the media until they are vacated. Trying to enforce a judgement that has been appealed is tantamount to truncating a process that is still ongoing and the Attorney General should know that.

UNTIL and unless the process runs its course, there is no reason for the media war and the unnecessary salvos being thrown at each other. What Nigerians expect at the moment is for the various tiers of government to work together in synergy and smoothen out whatever grey areas they have without rocking the boat and creating further confusion in an already tense economic atmosphere.

THAT Nigeria has suffered untold hardships from the activities of political actors and scavengers in the recent past is evident in the rot that has come to characterize our society. No one needs to keep punishing innocent Nigerians because of their ego.Making Nigerians suffer unduly for no fault of theirs is unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue.

THE NGF, Attorney General and the consultants must work out ways to reach an agreement that would not distract Nigerians from focusing on pursuing their daily living. Besides, fleecing the coffers of the government in whatever guise should be discouraged at all cost. A situation where government money is seen as free money is long past. The consultants must therefore provide empirical evidence that they did anything at all to warrant them being given the humongous sums they are claiming.

SO long as the Attorney General does not demonstrate neutrality, he is bound to be suspected of conniving to benefit from the heist that the consultants are laying claim to. He, as the Chief Law officer should be the chief defender of the government not the other way round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buhari’s impeachment: Myth or reality?

The recent threat by Nigeria’s legislators to impeach President  Muhammadu Buhari, according to Bulkachuwa, an All Progressives Congress (APC) senator, representing Bauchi North, is the last and necessary option left for the lawmakers to remind the President that the legislature still has the constitutional power to “pull his ears and show that he still cares.”

The senator   noted that he and his colleagues had tried in many ways to help the executive and by extension, the President   to tackle insecurity in the country but to no avail.

Earlier, another APC senator from Adamawa State, Elisha Abbo, had publicly backed the impeachment plan, principally being driven by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in the Senate.

The Constitution of Nigeria empowers the National Assembly to remove the president when it considers the President’s conduct to be gross misconduct. Gross misconduct means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of the constitution or as defined by the National Assembly.

Unfortunately, the level of Nigeria’s economic, social, religious and insecurity situation is pathetic. It does not show that we have rulers, not to talk of leaders.  Hence, the move for impeachment comes on the heels of attacks across the country and security threats in the federal capital.

The legislators expressed disappointment at how the options had not worked and security in the country had only gotten worse as they had also tried to engage service chiefs and other security personnel to find out what their problems were.

However, following these developments and the impeachment threat against the President by the   lawmakers, the National Assembly leadership expressed fears over the worsening insecurity in the country. It has deteriorated to a level that the administration is unable and unwilling to do anything about it, and is, indeed, incapable of doing so.

Needless to say, Nigerians cannot sleep with their two eyes closed and the entire country is under siege. The first job of a president and Commander-in-Chief is to protect his country; it is, even more, to protect his capital city. Above all, it is to care about his people

We believe that democracy is a contract, which is why the candidate puts up a manifesto and on the basis of that manifesto; they are either accepted or rejected.

Hence, the need to stop the abuse of democratic process. And we urge Nigerians not to focus on the faults of the Federal Government alone, but also ensure state governments do their bit to bring democracy dividends to the people.

We call on the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, find sustainable solutions to the lingering spate of insecurity in the country which is also threatening to consume the present administration especially the current threat issued   by the     bandits on kidnaping the president and Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State.

Our position is that lawmakers should synergize with the executive, security agencies and all critical stakeholders as a matter of urgency, to put in place proactive mechanisms in order to deter these   terrorists and bandits from unleashing violence on innocent citizens who go about their lawful businesses to cushion the hard effects of economic and social problems bedeviling the country.

We believe the current challenges bedeviling the country is surmountable if the right thing is done. And, when this is done, Nigerians and other nationals residing in the country can sleep with their two eyes closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buhari, charity should begin at home

FROM all indicators of development, Nigeria as a country is not doing well in all aspects of development, going by the level of poverty, insecurity and other issues that are ravaging Nigerians that have made them easy prey to many unholy activities of criminals. It is gross insensitivity for the government at the center to suddenly become a Father Christmas. It is very ironic that while its citizens are going through hell despite the abundant resources that the country is blessed with, of recent, the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, came under intense criticism over its benevolence of car gifts to neighboring Niger Republic.

THIS cost Nigeria over a billion naira of tax payers’ money. The revelation was made by an investigative journalist, David Hundeyin who tweeted that he

obtained a documents from the Budget Office in Nigeria which showed that the President made the approval for the purchase of the vehicles to Niger

Republic. While defending the purchase of the vehicles; the federal government through the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said it is not the first time Nigeria was supporting her neighbours. Ahmed buttressed that the president had a responsibility to take such decisions, in the best interest of the country.

However, the gesture of the federal government is coming at a time that our universities are closed due to disagreement with lecturer over issues that border on finances.

DISBURSING funds to purchase vehicles for another country amid other pressing needs, including the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Unions of

Universities, security challenges and harsh economic realities in the country is not a welcome development. The act is a reflection of lack of priority from the

government which is facing lots of challenges from all corners of the country in different aspects of human endeavours.

IMPORTANTLY, Nigeria and Niger are members of the multi-National Task Force that was established to fight the insecurity that is bedeviling Chad and

Cameroon. But within Nigeria, challenges of insecurity are everywhere. This is consuming innocent lives every day and the military and police are complaining about lack of equipment to face the dare devil insurgents. Indeed, there is nothing wrong in assisting a sister country in their time of need but this is wrongly timed. Considering the peculiarities of the times, this not the time to play Father Christmas or Big brother Africa, as charity begins at home. Nation interest supersedes parochial sentiments when the national is under siege and its territorial integrity violated with impunity by terrorists, insurgents, bandits and militants as if there is no constituted government in place.

IT is also intriguing that while Nigerians are still angry from the use of their resources to construct a controversial railway from Kano to the Niger

Republic, an official decision that many read different meaning to it, as it is of no economic importance to Nigeria. They are now being confronted with yet

another questionable donation to Niger.

THE presidency is enjoined, to stop forth with, its questionable donation because the country is seriously indebted both at home and abroad. The

presidency must be wary of taking decisions that will not be of any importance or add value to Nigeria and Nigerians. This can generate tension among its

impoverished citizenry who do not sleep with their two eyes closed due to security challenges.

IT is condemnable that while Nigerians grapple with so many challenges including poverty, unemployment, terrorism, amongst others that need financial intervention, the presidency has placed Niger’s problem on the top of its priority list. At a time that our universities and other tertiary institutions have been on strike for a very long time due to lack of funding and other related issues. National interest must be given prominence.

WE call on the president to fix his house first before stepping out to assist other members who may be in need. As the saying goes charity begins at home but it

should not end up there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arresting the rising cost of living

Nigerians have been going through a very difficult time with prices of staple foods and other goods and services being at their highest as a result of the over 100 percent price hike. This has unleashed untold hardships on Nigerians.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2020 when the prices of goods and prices rose astronomically blamed middlemen for it saying that they were responsible for the rise because they were buying and hoarding essential commodities. The story today has not changed and we all know that the reasons are completely at par with what the president said.

The government therefore needs to put on its thinking cap and put in place measures to curb the escalation of the already bad situation so as to bring succour to the citizenry.

The reasons being advanced for the situation in Nigeria at the moment as it concerns the hike in prices range from fuel scarcity which has continued unabated for some time now. Another is electricity shortage which has resulted in added costs for the production of some goods and services, exchange rate in which the value of the naira has continued to plummet and, the Russia-Ukraine war which devastating impact is being felt the world over and the incessant insecurity situation in the country which has become a daily occurrence.

The federal government of Nigeria needs to step up its game and find a lasting solution to the myriad of problems confronting the Nigerian nation before it gets out of hand and consume us all.

Nigeria already bears the title of the poverty headquarters of the world largely due to inequality in the distribution of resources with a large chunk of the population living below the accepted 200 naira per day average.

The Nigerian government must take the bull by the horn and act fast in coming up with measures to either arrest or mitigate the spiralling prices of goods and services and, in fact, declare a state of emergency on prices of food and other items.

Nigerians’ penchant and overdependence on imported goods needs to be curtailed. Stakeholders across board have lent their voices and advice that government agencies such as the Consumer Protection Agency needs to be strengthened. Also, of utmost importance is to divert from the usual seasonal farming as is obtainable now and go into all season farming so as to boost food production.

Also notable is the building of agricultural clusters around dams as seen in the case of the Kano state. But there are concerns too about the fact that most the dams have dried up. There is therefore, the need for government to ensure the dredging of these dams so they can be put to good use.

Worrisome also is the activities of bandits and Fulani herdsmen who have either not allowed the farmers to go to their farms or have grazed their cattle and destroyed farmlands. Government must as a matter of priority curb insecurity once and for all if they are serious about solving the myriad of problems confronting us as a country else Nigeria will be brought to its knees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On bandits threats to Buhari and el –Rufai

It is no longer news that Nigeria has been battling with banditry in the country. At the same time, it is not surprising to many Nigerians that the terrorists have extended their abduction threats to President Buhari and el Rufai. This twist in events could not be far from the fact that the Federal government has kept mum even over celebrated abductions carried out like the Kaduna bound train abduction.

Barely 24 hours after terrorists threatened to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna Governor Nasir el-Rufai in a viral video, troops of the Guards Brigade were ambushed by armed bandits in Abuja resulting to three soldiers being killed. The situation has thrown residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) into a panic.

The same group of terrorists also threatened to kill some of the passengers and sell off others as slaves. A serious threat by every standard that Mr President and Nigerians should not take lightly. Unfortunately, the statement by the President’s Senior Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu threw caution to the wind. At such precarious times, he was instead patting his principal on the back instead of proffering solutions. He said the President had done the needful for the Armed Forces and was waiting on them to deliver to Nigerians.

The happenings within Bwari area of Abuja shows that the terrorists are actually within the location and could possibly carry out their plans of attacking the Law School in Bwari as was allegedly reported. Report had it that the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Guards Brigade, Captain Godfrey Abakpa, confirmed that soldiers were attacked by suspected terrorists but were repelled successfully. Is that enough efforts?

The video, which showed the terrorists flogging the male captives while the women and children amongst them wept, elicited outbursts, especially by some relatives of the victims. The angry and worried relatives vowed to occupy public properties in Abuja over what they described as government’s tardiness in freeing their loved ones.

The Presidency said “security forces are not relenting” in their efforts to defeat criminal elements yet terrorists activities is on the rise. Most Nigerians do not sleep with their eyes closed nor would like to travel like they used to for fear of the unknown.

Yet government has out rightly refused the bombing of the hideouts of bandits, knowing also that it could lead to the deaths of their victims.

Suffice it to say that though the security forces are not relenting, they lack the hardware to perform their duties responsibilities and what the nation expects of them. Therefore should they allow the President and el Rufai to be abducted? It would be a huge slap and shameful to the country which claims to be the giant of Africa.

No wonder the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) faulted the Federal Government over the country’s grave security situation, lamenting glaring failure on the part of government to address the growing national threats. What is happening today in Nigeria is a huge embarrassment not only to this government but all Nigerians at home and in diaspora.

Government cannot afford to watch her citizens suffer and deliberately refuse to protect their lives particularly in the current situation. It must rise to the occasion and do its constitutional responsibility of protecting its citizenry. Anything short of this is unacceptable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASUU strike: Let the needful be done

Determined to show its solidarity with the striking workers in the public tertiary education sector and lend its voice to the call on the Federal Government to speedily resolve the issues ASUU is advocating for the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) and its affiliate unions decided to embark on a nationwide protest on the 26th and 27th July, 2022.

This solidarity protests according to reports is also intended to showcase Nigeria’s labour union’s strength and resilience to stand against laissez-faire attitude of the government to the lingering industrial action in Nigeria’s universities, polytechnics, and Colleges of Education and research institutions. This protest is coming on the heels of the recent activation of “no work no pay” policy on striking university workers. The stoppage of salaries of the striking workers is regarded by many stakeholders as not only unwarranted but draconian, especially since the government has continued to show a nonchallant attitude towards resolving the issue.

The 2009 agreement which was reached after two years of negotiation between the lecturers and government included conditions of service for university lecturers, funding of universities, university autonomy and academic freedom and issues that required legislation to implement. Also included in the agreement were the breakdown of lecturers’ salary structure, staff loans, pension, overtime and moderation of examinations.

Unfortunately, the inability of both parties to reach amicable resolution of this matter has continued to cause significant havoc to the educational sector in the country. This development has forced the National President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Prof Emmanuel Osodeke to take a position that if the government does not meet their demands,  the protest would continue.

As the strike lingers, the children of the common man have always been at the receiving end as the children of these government officials and their cronies are enjoying lucrative scholarships while schooling abroad or in expensive private universities where their academic activities are never interrupted. These are no go areas for average Nigerians who cannot afford to send their children to such places or pay the exorbitant tuition fees.

It is on record that ASUU is on its 16th strike since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, shutting down academic activities in public universities for more than four years within twenty-three years. A duration that is sufficient to complete a whole four-year degree programme. In 2020, ASUU went on 9 months strike, which accounts for the longest since 1999. This epileptic system has made it very difficult for undergraduates of Nigeria’s public universities to graduate within 4, 5 or 6 years which they are originally supposed to spend for their courses.

While universities are on strike, students mostly remain bored and idle at home. Such boredom and idleness sometimes lead to mental health challenges which include depression and anxiety, thus taking toll on the students’ mental health. Some of these students eventually end-up perpetrating social vices very detrimental to the existence of our nation.

We believe that its high time the Federal Government ends these consistent strikes in our educational sector to save the system from total collapse. Our striking lecturers must also shift grounds knowing too well that it is our future leaders’ future that such acts do truncate.

Therefore, all stakeholders must do the needful towards ensuring that we restore the lost glory of Nigeria’s educational sector.

 

Stemming the rising air fare hikes

THERE is no denying the fact that air travel all over the world remains the fastest and probably, the safest. Apart from some occasional mishaps, air travel still remains one with guarantee in the transport sector.  People use it to engage international business men and women who make use of this mode of transportation to transact their businesses. It gives comfort to other categories of traveller’s citizens of the world, students from one country to the other and even sportsmen and women going for competitions.

IT is therefore sad and unacceptable that media reports indicate that Nigerians are groaning as both local and foreign airlines hike fares. It is not fair and smacks of national embarrassment that Nigeria which hitherto in the not too distant past, had a robust and sufficient air carrier, the Nigeria Air ways is suddenly facing this mess.

MORE annoying too, is the revelation by Air travel experts that most foreign carriers have stopped selling the lower fare inventory in Nigeria, leaving travellers with expensive fare options described as the highest in the sub-region. Foreign airlines who stopped selling low fare tickets include, Virgin Atlantic which now charges N2,353,200 for economy and N5,345,700 for business class on the Lagos-London route.

FOR Turkish Airlines, the economy class ticket from the Lagos-Istanbul route has risen to N874.661 while the business class ticket goes for now N1,980.896. This is the same situation Nigerian travellers are experiencing with other carriers like British Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Luthansa, KLM. Air France, Air Maroc and Ethiopian Airlines.

WE find it shameful, if not despicable and unacceptable that Nigerian air travellers have to go to neighouring countries like Ghana, if they must purchase the lower fare inventory. Indeed, something is amiss as everything is not working. The hardship Nigeria air travellers are now facing amidst the economic crunch is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.

REPORTS indicate that before now, the economic class ticket on Nigeria-UK route was between N400,000 and N650,000 depending on the booking period. While business class was between N800,000 and N1.2 million.

INDEED, government needs to be told in very clear terms that  the exorbitant foreign airlines fares are taking a monumental toll on the citizenry. What about parents with their children schooling abroad? What about the businessmen and women always on the move abroad? With time, can they afford the fares?

WE believe that, government must act urgently and do the needful in order to stem this precarious situation. Already, some of the foreign carriers have even warn of the situation becoming worse and making Nigerian travellers pay even more unless the Federal Government begins to settle the outstanding N450 million that has been trapped in the country.

AGAIN, the issue of Forex has become very problematic for foreign airlines. We are of the opinion that the Federal Government should have a synergy with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) towards confronting head long this problem.

WE believe that the present problem many look monumental. It is equally not insurmountable. With the right political will, determination and resilience, it may just be a thing of the past. Nigerians can ill-afford to be embarrassed this way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This voter eligibility question

Professor Josiah Mutihir

SCANNING through the constitution for eligibility to vote in the Nigerian elections seems to be very deficient. This deficiency makes one to wonder if this is indeed the correct thing in a developing country where development is hampered by ignorance, illiteracy, religious bigotry and the like. Where eligibility is not enforced by law, it negates national development.

The right to vote has changed over the years in modern democracies the world over. Before the 2nd world war, the minimum age at voting was 21 years or more. This was reduced by Czechoslovakia to 18 years which was soon followed by many countries of the world.

 

Nigerian constitution set its lower arbitrary voting age at 18 years. The Nigerian electoral act, 2010 holds in section 12(2) that a person shall be qualified to register as voter if such a person has attained the age of 18 years. Section 117(2) of the 1999 Constitution provides that every citizen of Nigeria who has attained the age of 18, residing in Nigeria at the time of registration of voters for the purposes of election to any legislative house, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter for that election.

The argument in this debate is that if a 16-year old young person in Nigeria can be fully employed in industrial and commercial activities, and then pays tax to government. It then makes sense to extend the voting rights to him or her. The aim of this brief being to canvas and advocate some reasons for extending the voting rights to 16- and 17-year olds.

The Nigerian Labour Act section 60(2) also allows young persons over the age of sixteen to be employed for night duties in industrial activities providing 24-hour services. Thus, reasons for extending the voting right to 16- and 17-year olds, are that they are legally employable, collect wages and pay tax to the nation.

No mention, however, is made of an upper age limit for voting! Though senility is subjective, I dare to say that above a certain age, senior citizens be exempted from the rigors of voting. Additionally, they are unlikely to be in touch with current world trends and requirements of their country. They may still be in the analogue era while the world has moved on to digital age. In this case, development of the country would be compromised as being analogue is no longer relevant in all spheres of life including governance. Eligible voters should therefore:

Be in the appropriate age-group of 16 to 80 years of age and resident in Nigeria for at least 6 months prior to the said election(s) and has a valid Nigerian identity.

Tax is the compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by government on workers’ income, or business profits; or monies added to some goods (VAT), services or transactions. Payment of these levies signify commitment to the land or state. All prospective voters should be responsible enough to pay tax if they feel obliged to vote for a President, Governor, member of Senate, member of House of representatives, members of State House of Assembly or even a local government Chairman or Councilor. It is inappropriate to vote when you have no commitment whatsoever to the land. Evidence of tax payment since the last election should be presented along with the voter’s card to be allowed to vote. This will eliminate persons that are imported to vote and thereafter disappear to where they came from.

Prospective voters should also be literate, at least formal education as from senior secondary school. There is wisdom in all persons whether literate or non-literate. But the art of governance and dividends of democracy dictate that a literate person is more likely to comprehend and understand what he is voting for. It is expected that voters vote for individuals who have clearly presented their manifestos with details of what they intend to achieve if elected to office. Anything outside literacy to understand this is a ticket for voting along religious, ethnic, party or other lines. Only literate persons can independently ‘vote’ without interference by anyone purported to be assisting them in voting. During such assistance, the voter’s opinion and wishes may be taken away by the helper.

It is true that every individual has some form of mental disorder, but there are some that are incapacitated by the disorder.  Only a sane persons should be in a right frame of mind to vote. Why must an insane person vote for me to get into an elective position?

This group of persons is assumed to have income to fend for themselves, particularly the youth. Desperate un-employed youth are the ones easily recruited to perpetuate violence, ballot box snatching, participate in vote-buying and other ills plaquing the voting process. A hungry youth can go to any length to get money to feed for that day. This is harmful to the electoral process.

The World Bank defines extreme poverty as those living on less than $1.90 (about N874 or less than N1,000) per day. It also observed that because of the general increase in food prices between June 2020 and June 2021, the population of Nigerians living below the poverty line increased from 40.1 to 42.8%. (November 2021).

Extreme poverty, also referred to as ‘deep poverty’, ‘abject poverty’, ‘absolute poverty’, ‘destitution’ or ‘penury’, is the most severe type of poverty. It is captured by the United Nations as ‘a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services (UN 1995 Report of the World summit for Social Development). Nigerians living below the poverty line should not vote as they are highly gullible to politicians who use food or materials to coerce them to vote for them. The poor in all communities are gullible during every election time. Desperate political office holders go down so low to distribute mundane but necessary things to disadvantaged voters like salt, Maggie cubes, rice, beans, palm-oil, and the like. This being a vote buying using non-cash means. Only the poor and downtrodden can exchange their mandate to vote for these types of things. The truth being that they truly cannot afford these things. Surprisingly, this is the only time these things are brought to them; and when the voting process is over, their ability to develop the capacity to afford the things is again stolen or taken away from them by those elected to power. They are given no jobs; favorable, enabling or conducive environments are not created for them to work to earn a living even in private work including subsistence farming to say the least.

Until provisions are made for those challenged by sight, that is the brail form of writing and reading, those who cannot see for now should be excluded from voting. Where there is assistance by someone else gives room for some form of rigging. The ticked box is most likely going to be that of the persons assisting the physically challenged person.

Mutihir is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Jos.

 

 

Ritual killings by youth for money

LATELY, the news has been replete with the crime of ritual killings carried out by the youths for money making purposes. These are young men in between the ages of 16 and 25 and  their targets are mainly gullible young women. How did we get here?

It is not that there have not been ritual killings in the past. What is shocking about this is that it is becoming popular among the very young who wish to have and display great wealth or who want to escape the shackles of poverty. This phenomenon is fast becoming a norm and if we do not do anything strategic about it, our society will soon become a very fearful place to live in. This fear will surpass the one we have for terrorists because it is closer home than we think.

The first instance that came to my attention was the killing of a student of the University of Jos by her boyfriend for money making rituals. Then I saw a video of a young man that had dug a grave in his room. He wanted to bury his neighbour’s child in the grave after using the child for money making ritual. I saw another video of three young men who killed and decapitated the girlfriend of one of the three and were burning her head for money making ritual then the Police were alerted. It is one too many because it has become a daily occurrence. How did we get here? What is going on with our young men? Are these the leaders of tomorrow? What are we doing wrong? How do we sleep at night?

For a young man of 17 to 25 to be brazen enough to take a life so that he can become rich is beyond frightening. The ritual being carried out by mature adults, is frightening enough. The cold fact is that these boys kill those they know so our daughters and sons are at risk. Young girls in this age bracket are mostly the victims.

I have tried to analyze this problem and search the angles. What could possibly be the cause of this? I have looked at this from the angles of poverty and then the show-off factor that so many Nigerans are guilty of coupled with the colossal depreciation in our value system. The earlier we all contribute in stopping this rise in ritual sacrifices of young girls and children, the better for our collective safety and sanity.

Poverty and Corruption: The poverty in our society now, has fangs and it is biting very viciously. Some households can hardly afford three square meals a day. In fact, some are not lucky enough to be able to eat just once a day. Parents are barely able to provide for their children like they use to. Our Society was already battling with poverty. However, the Covid-19 era has killed many small business. Joblessness is the order of the day. These young people had a place to go and hustle for a few bucks to compliment what their parents could provide but with the closure of most small businesses as are a result of the lockdowns and the ensuing unfriendly business climate for small businesses, the possibility of staving off poverty has become impossible. Now abject poverty is the new norm and as a result, many young people have turned to crimes ranging from kidnapping, stealing to yahoo and yahoo plus and yahoo plus plus. Yahoo is the advanced fee fraud that we know. However, the new yahoo plus requires rituals and the shedding of human blood. This is what a lot of young men are embracing today as a way of surviving ing poverty or as a way of joining the league of the wealthy.

The earlier the Government starts to fight poverty, tooth and nail, the better for this society as far as our values and our safety are concerned. TOOTH AND NAIL. Poverty has given birth to unprecedented levels of crime and criminality and they  are growing by the day. Are we going to fold our hands and watch the coronation of our youth who gain wealth through murder thereby encouraging the trend?

Let us look at the correlation between extreme poverty and violent crime. According to an article in restlessstories.com:

“Poverty and crime combined together leave people with two choices: either take part in criminal activities or try to find legal but quite limited sources of income – when there are any available at all”.

It means that the Government should start to ANXIOUSLY jack up its efforts at poverty alleviation and business development and skill acquisition amongst the youth.Restlessstories.com goes on to say that:

“But most importantly, what reveals the unmistakable connection between poverty and crime is that they’re both geographically concentrated – in a strikingly consistent way. In other words, where you find poverty is also where you find crime. Of course this doesn’t include “softer” crimes such as corruption which causes massive damage to people’s lives but in a more indirect type of violence”.

The forgoing goes to show the correlation between poverty and crime. So, it is no surprise to see that while some people are becoming stupendously rich at the expense of others, the boomerang effect is that the society at large is experiencing unprecedented proportions of crime in the same geographical area called Nigeria. I however differ on one point. I do not consider corruption to be a “softer crime” but the mother of all crimes. If tax payers money does not end up in the pockets of a few and jobs are created, infrastructure is made available, business incentives are  adequately provided and evenly distributed amongst the active population, the crime rate will not be this high and young men will not  be turning to designer crimes such as ritual killings in other to survive or level up with the corrupt, who make it a point to show off their ill-gotten wealth or encourage their children to do so, thereby emphasizing the poverty of the poor, which brings me to my next point

The Show-off Phenomenon and the worship of wealth: The culture of show-off that Nigerians have embraced will destroy us sooner than later, If we do not stop it!. Last week I spoke about the Dorime Phenomenon where young men in their early 20s buy drinks in our clubs in millions. This boys have no obvious source of clean income and yet they are celebrated as wealthy and poverty is derogated at such events. Any poor young man in this environment, will surely feel intimidated and may want to join the trend of ritual killings for money or kidnappings and the likes, in other to level up with his age mates.

The culture of show-off did not start with the young. When politicians and business moguls go for events and use “machine gun” to “spray” the celebrants at events, it is the ultimate public show-off of wealth. This is the type of thing we venerate in Nigeria and because we worship money and respect wealth even when it is ill-gotten money, we encourage the young to learn our poor value and poor behaviour. Since a man’s weight is measured by the size of his pocket and not the content of his character and a good life style, consciously or unconsciously, we have instituted corruption and crime as a way of life in our society. Wallahi, if I was the President of Nigeria, I will criminalize the spraying of money at any event and I will criminalize Dorime. You spray money at any party, you go to jail for five years with no option of bail or fine. You do Dorime in your club, we close the club down for five years and the “celebrant” goes to jail for five years with no option of bail or fine.Unfortunately or fortunately, I am not the President. I am a hard person abi? I agree.. with no apologies because everything we do in this society that emphasizes one person’s wealth publicly, will only serve to sow seeds of crime amongst the poor and encourage ill-gotten wealth acquisition. It is particularly important to come down hard on these because the ripple effects created by this corruption and show -off is inspiring our young men to turn into blood sucking demons in the  name of money. We Nigerians do not have one humble bone in our bodies when it comes to show-off. The “pepper dem geng” is another phenomenon. If you have money, you flock together and oppress any group of “poor people” of your choice. Why are we like this?.

Bad Parenting: In many parts of this country, the worship of money and wealth has become a tradition. Someone told me that somewhere in the East, if two men go to see their parents in the village, if one has a car and the other does not, or if one has built wealth and the other has not, the parents of the disadvantaged man will ask him if it not the same city the two young men are coming from. They would tell him to go and do as his mate has done to become rich, no questions asked. On the other hand, the parents of the rich young man hardly ask for the source of his wealth. There is a very popular proverbial saying: “leave the name of the moto and enter the moto”. Meaning that there is no need to ask too many questions about the source of wealth but to enjoy the benefits therein.

We cannot over-emphasize the role of bad parenting in this matter. Just yesterday, I heard yet another story of a woman in Ikorodu who connives with her eldest son to kill his younger brother for money ritual. She bought the otapiapia herself. Her poor son died twenty minutes after eating her food. After he died, her first son and her, harvested the boys body parts and proceeded to take the body to the mortuary. When they got to a police check point, she started wailing that her son was dead. The Police found it strange that she should be the one to take her son’s body to the mortuary in company of his brother. They asked her if she had no husband, relatives, or neighbours. Her response was not satisfactory, So the police insisted on seeing the wrapped body of the dead child. They were shipped to the police station. It was at the station that the first son confessed to what he and his mother had done to this late brother under the tutelage and guidance of his own mother. WHAT MANNER OF A MOTHER!. Imagine what her partner in crime would have become in this society if the police had not caught them. When a parent validate crime and initiate her off-spring, that child becomes a supersonic criminal.

Sometimes I wonder. When parents go for women’s meeting or men’s gathering, what do they discuss? Do they teach each other better parenting skills or they just enjoy the moment and leave? I think that Association meetings, village meeting, tribal meeting, NGOs, Government Agencies concerned with children and youth development, should begin to meet separately and together to discuss and find a solution to this problem of poor parenting and corruption that is leading to all varieties of crime. Parents should be ashamed of themselves for collecting money from their children without knowing and validating their children’s source of income. Many have encouraged prostitution and kidnapping because of this habit. Is it the duty of the child to provide for his or her parent? Na him born you.  Na she born you? It is shameful to see how some parents do not connect with their children in order to know what is happening in the child’s life but celebrate his ill-gotten wealth privately and publicly. If we cannot use the  Tribal Associations and other associations to begin to address this rise in ritual killings, kidnapping will soon become child play.

The Ministries of Women Affairs and all ministries in charge of Youth and social development across the country should begin to put in place, strategies to stop this catastrophe. The girl child has become a target for these young ritualists. Most times, it is the girlfriend that is the sacrifice.

Lastly, any song that glorifies wealth and the display of the  lavish lifestyle in this society should be banned. If we have to start borrowing some communist laws to put crime in check, then we better do so, otherwise, anyone who has a young daughter or son that are psychologically pregnable should start sleeping with their eyes wide-open. We do not know whose daughter is going to be the next victim on the alter of ritual sacrifices for money making.All daughters, including those of corrupt members of society, club owners  and the hypemen who encourage the show-off of wealth and the deprecation or disparaging of poverty. It is better to be poor than to commit heinous crimes in other to be rich.

When last did you have a heart to heart conversation with your young child?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift Plateau State a Christmas tree

 

Jos the beautiful. It is another harmattan season and the cold is like we know it. All I keep thinking about is how we can transform Jos and Plateau State into a little London so that people can go there and spend good money to create jobs and improve our economy. Lagos will not see our break lights in terms of revenue. We can even have our very own Plateau EcoTourism Airline and Transport Company or Partner with another Airline oriented towards tourism. Why not? It is true that one can only exchange value for value so let us use what we have to get what we want. Let us use our Ecotourism to generate wealth for our state and let each of us play a civic role in preserving the weather and the beauty of Plateau State.

The Eco-tourism potentials on the Plateau are enormous. This is what we have. We do not have electric trains and yachts. We do not have sky scrapers and infrastructure that would wow the world. What we have is Mother Nature, the mountains, the hills and our beautiful beautiful weather. I am happy that the cold is back but it is nothing compared to what was in the 80s when the sun barely showed her face in the afternoon. It was like winter. So, what happened between the 80s and 2021? Global warming happened and yet the topography of the Plateau has kept this Plateau sometimes cool even during the hot seasons, and sometimes cold. It is a blessing and a gift to us the on the Plateau yet, sometimes we take it for granted. We forget that we all have a role to play in keeping the State beautiful and cold.

The beauty of having something beautiful is preserving and embellishing it. Let us say that the Jos Plateau is a woman. A woman of great natural beauty. A woman of artificial beauty always has her works.She spends money to fix her hair, her skin, her clothes, jewelry, shoes and anything and everything that would embellish and pronounce her beauty. If I tell you how much we spend on wigs and weave-ons, you will go into shock. The cost of “straight bone” will make you faint. Some of the wigs can buy two plots of land in Jos.

A woman can buy one beauty cream for N20,000 and that is just one cream. There are designer creams too that can cost an arm and a leg. There is cream for the face and cream for the body and a cream for the leg and cream for the hair and cream for the armpit and a cream for the hands….the list goes on. Did I say anything about the risks we take and the excruciating lengths we go to just to look beautiful? Fixing our eyelashes, piling up chemicals on our finger nails, sewing wigs onto our hair and wearing extensions. Plastic surgeries abound for the face, breasts and belly and we transfer belly fat to the back so that we can have astounding backsides.

These cost a lot of money and harbours the risk of death or deformity. Have I said anything about pedicures and manicures and how much we spend on that? This is all in the quest for finding or preserving and keeping beauty in order to attract and keep the men of our choice. Beauty takes work and pain. Nothing makes a woman happier than having her man admire and appreciate her beauty. In light of the struggle for beauty, we often get jealous when we see naturally beautiful women who do not have to raise a finger to look beautiful or to attract a man extrinsically or intrinsically.

The Jos Plateau is a great natural beauty but even with natural beauty, we have to maintain and preserve what we have to keep the wrinkles at bay. Other parts of the country do not have ecotourism and are jealous. They wish for what we have on the Plateau. We can generate ECO-dollar and reduce our dependence on petro-dollar as another way of diversifying the economy on the Plateau. We can divert passengers going to Heathrow Airport to land in Heipang Airport and take them to our beautiful hotels. They will fly our Plateau Eco-Airline and come and enjoy their holidays here in the United State of Plateau. Why not? If we dream it, we can achieve it. Yes nah.

However, the era of global warming is upon us. In the same vain, the population of Jos and Plateau has doubled or tripled. What are we doing to keep the environment beautiful and cold? I personally think that it is the civic duty of everyone living on the Plateau to plant a tree and some flowers in and outside their immediate abode. Look around you. We do not have many trees, green and lush except in areas like Apollo crescent. Even the high-brow areas such as Rayfield are not well greened. There are two reasons why we need to plant trees and flowers in front of our houses, on our streets and inside our houses. First and foremost, we beautify the Plateau and adorn her like a woman and make her even more attractive with colourful flowers and trees. Secondly, for environmental purposes. We mitigate the effects of global warming on our environment when we plant trees and flowers. Thirdly, for health reasons. We purify the air when we plant trees and flowers because they use the carbon dioxide we expel as waste in their productive processes and release oxygen to us without which we die.Anti-snake plants also keep snakes away.

Let us travel to Abuja for a minute. When Governor El Rufai of Kaduna State was Minister of the FCT, one of the vital projects he initiated and sustained was his greening project of Abuja. He planted many flowers and trees that not only beautify Abuja but also make it a healthier environment to leave in. When the Foreigners come to Abuja, they are not only wowed by the building infrastructure but also by the greenery. Today, the flowers and trees miss Governor El Rufai. The trees have all grown and are providing the much needed environmental support. The current Minister of the FCT is also doing his best in planting trees and flowers to sustain this culture. The inhabitants of Abuja are also not left behind. The Gardens in the green areas of Abuja, run by business owners and residents in communities, the well-manicured lawns are all attestations of the participation of inhabitants in the beautification of Abuja. The trees and flowers in their homes is a testimony…yet Abuja’s natural beauty pales in comparism to the great natural beauty of Plateau the Beautiful.

Everyone on the Plateau who has embraced the flower and tree planting culture is a pride to his and her environment because greening is not only the responsibility of Government but the responsibility of all of us. We the inhabitants of the Jos Plateau, during this festive season must start to consider tree and flower planting as a civic duty and as the role we have to play to preserve our Eco-system not only to attract more tourists who love eco-tourism but also to mitigate the effects of global warming. Big up to the garden tenders. It is important to protect our weather and environment against global warming. What are the effects of global warming on the eco-system and how can trees and flowers play a mitigating role? According to the European Commission: “Humans are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth's temperature by burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests and farming livestock.

If we infer from the foregoing, we can say that global warming is what has transformed the weather in Jos from a winter-grade weather to what we have now. Last year was not so cold. The weather is progressively moving  from what we use to know it. This is why I am happy that this year is quiet cold… albeit the shaky shaky, I am loving the freshness of it. The Temperature has taken a real nose dive and we can compete with the London weather on some days. We wear winter jackets in Jos. It is that cold. Nigerians and other nationalities do not have to queue up for UK Visas anymore O. They can come to Jos for their Holidays far away from their hot, humid, and sweltering and sweaty, burning weather for a paltry sum, thereby injecting their hard earn money into our economy instead of creating jobs for the tourism industry in the UK. What do they even go to do there for tourism sef? Look at double –decker buses and visit Trafalgar square?….artificial eyelashes and wigs….( na joke o. Make Queen no vex).But seriously, we have much more on the Jos Plateau. We have Ecotourism. We can go hiking and mountain climbing and have lavish picnics on our hill tops and by our water falls….The entire United Kingdom is welcome to Jos in particular and Plateau State in general. Taste and see.

When I was growing up in Jos, I did not know what Air conditioners were. I never saw any in my environment, even during the hot seasons. However in recent years, I have been seeing air-conditioners in Jos and I attribute this to the change in weather. I also attribute this also, to the absence of trees and abundant vegetation. We have cut down quite a number of trees. Just look back at what Jos was and what Jos is today in terms of vegetation. Tree and vegetation will not only continue to preserve the weather on the Plateau and purifier our air, they will also protect our soil from erosion. I am not talking about planting a forest as this has its own security implication and requirement. I am talking about planting trees interspersed with flowers or medicinal plants.

This Christmas, most of us have Christmas trees in our homes. A few of us, the J Town oyinbos, will have real Christmas trees cut from the tree in their gardens. It is in the spirit of Christmas that I urge us, the inhabitants of the Jos Plateau during this festive season, to take the time to plant one tree in our compounds and one along the street where we live or work. If we cannot plant a tree. Let us plant a flower. Place a flower pot in your office, in your church, in your school in a public place and make it your civic duty to keep it growing. This should be your Christmas gift to Jos, to Plateau State, wherever you are, lower or upper Plateau.

Like we say it on the Plateau: HAPPY KRISMAS !!!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plateau to implement white papers on crises

BOLD steps being taken by the present administration in Plateau State to fully implement the reports  of the white papers of the various Commissions of Enquiry into the various conflicts that took place in the state in the past.

The state Governor , Simon Bako Lalong represented by his deputy, Prof. Sonni Tyoden  during a 2 Day stakeholders round table discussion on the implementation of peace agreement and government while papers in previous crises in the state said, the approach adopted by successive government to the incessant outbreak of violent conflicts was limited to the setting up of commissions of inquiry and deployment of security agents during and or aftermath of the  unrests  which has failed to arrest the vicious circle of violence that has persisted for over a decade.

The governor explained that, his administration has shifted its response to the conflict in the state from a reactionary pattern to a proactive one with the primary hope of preventing any conflict from degenerating and escalating.

The government meant well in its approach of handling the conflict in the state when it started in 2015 and it adopted one of the recommendations of most of the commissions of equiries by establishing a Peace Building Agency which is a  recommendation of past commissions.

Before now, the issues addressed by most of the  judicial commissions of inquiry into the civil disturbances in Jos and its environs in April 1994 (Ferbirissioma reports), Niki Tobe Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the civil disturbances in Jos and its environs in September 2001, to the Judicial Commission, of Inquiry into the conflict in Namu town, Qua’an Pan Local Government area.

Justice Ajibola commission of 2008 to Justice Rakiya Constance Momoh report, are almost in common which is to the ownership of the land and Namu.

The failure of previous governments to implement the different reports encouraged individuals and groups to behave in a manner they perceive will please the people. Their respective communities.

It turned out to be a game of “if you hit me, I will hit you” that continue to put the state in a very bad light among other states. This is more so that, those that were indicted by previous inquiries are moving freely and have not been punished according to the crime they committed to detered potential conflict brewers.

Though it is believed in some quarters that government inaction was a way of  pacifying and calming both sides, the failure of previous governments to push is also seen as looking for political solution and a way of consolidating on the gains of peace realized at the eruption of any violent conflict inspite of the above assumptions, the conflicts have continued unabated  especially  in rural areas who are mostly agrarians  and lives also continued to be lost.

Many recommendations have been made as to the way forward from the persistent crises but hardly are such considered even when government accepts them despite spending lots of public finance the commissions’ assignment which experts believe is a fundamental solution to the unending conflicts in the state when fully implemented.

It is important for the committee that will be shouldered with the responsibility of implementing the reports of the various commissions to adhere to the advised by Dr. Babatunde Afolabi, Director, Anglophone and Lusophone Africa, Center for Humanitarian Dialogue to be honest and sincere. He is of the opinion that the best place to start is to undertake a review of the various peace agreement and white papers, that were the expression of the people aspirations in order to move the conflict to peaceful coexistence.

Expression of the people aspirations in order to move the conflict to peaceful coexistence.

The effort of the present government in Plateau State to listen to the cry of  many that was transmitted through the various Commissions by putting on motion the machinery of implementing the recommendations of these Commissions of Inquiries is a beautiful development for the state that is trying to explore all avenues humanly possible to put a stop to the incessant crises that have derailed the state of its peaceful atmosphere and loss of human and malarial resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infant Jesus academy celebrates anniversary

WITH the springing-up of more private schools in Plateau State, it is obvious to allude that, the education sector is without doubt receiving tremendous support of private school’s contribution from individuals, communities and faith-based organizations, who placed their priority on establishing schools, since education is a place where knowledge is impacted on people, both young and adult at different levels of education.

Therefore, the vision and mission that established Infant Jesus Academy Jos, was not a misplaced one, considering the significant contribution the school has made in moulding students.

However, Infant Jesus Academy, which is located along Rukuba Road, Jos, Plateau State was established September 6, 1996 by Pastor, Innocent Uzoji who founded the academy as a humanitarian aid approach to missions.

With a little over twenty pupils, the school took off  with academic activities at the nursery and primary school cadre. While in 1998, the Academy got government’s approval to offer education at the nursery and primary school levels.

As a matter of progress in this journey, the secondary arm of the school took off formally in the year 2000 and by 2002, it received government’s final approval, which enabled it to settle down for serious business to train the young ones in Plateau and beyond.

The Academy in it efforts graduated its first set of final SS3 students in 2006, ten years after its establishment. The Academy’s focus is no doubt to provide qualitative and affordable education to the less privileged in the society.

With this laudable effort, the Academy in its God’s given wisdom, thought it wise to lower the cost of tuition fees whereby, some orphans and children of single parents are on full scholarship in the school.

Worthy of note, is the fact that, the Academy provides both seculars religious and morally tatored  pupils and students.

What is so unique about the school is the fact that, the Academy is well staff with seasoned, experienced and qualified administrators, teachers and instructors who give out nothing but the best to the pupils and students.

The vision statement of the Academy is to be a leading academic institution in Plateau State and Nigeria, where character and knowledge are molded for the development and growth of the nation.

While the mission statement of the school is to also raise displined, intellectually sound and God fearing future leaders who will in turn impact on  their generation positively.

It is against this background that, Infant Jesus Academy organized its 15 graduation ceremony and Silver Jubilee with a theme: “Grace”.

The  epoch making event which took place on October 8, 2021 would continue to remain fresh in the minds of management, staff, students, parents, relations, friends and well wishers who all came together to celebrate such a wonderful memorable day.

Guest Speaker on the occasion, Professor, Ishaya Y. Longdet who presented  a paper title “Suicide by installments: Losing the future in the present”, said that every year 703,000 people take their own life and there are many people who attempt suicide.

Prof. Longdet opined that, every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire nation saying that, it also has long lasting effects on the people left behind.

He explained that, among the frequently reported factors include being a male gender, younger age, poor economic status, unemployment and parental deprivation (broken home), lower education level and peer group influence.

The Guest Speaker stressed the need for parents to educate their children early enough on the risks associated with drug abuse, urging parents to always monitor their children closely, so as to enable them to know the kind of friends they  keep.

Prof, Longdet while speaking on school based programme, encourage healthy practices and lifestyle among adolescents would help in preventing substance use, periodic review of the curriculum in schools to introduce topics centered on dangers of drug abuse.

He added that, drug abuse is a social ill that requires the attention and contribution of all in order to combat its effects on individuals, families and the society.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Director of the school, Dr Emmanuel Uzoji expressed happiness and said that, the occasion was to give glory to God who has brought them this far in the last 25 years of the academy’s existence.

Dr Uzoji noted that, despite the challenges witnessed in the education sector, particularly in private schools. Infant Jesus Academy has been able to graduate 1,117 students from 2006 to 2021, saying that, what began like a dream 25 years ago, has birthed many graduates who are doing well in various fields of endeavours in Nigeria.

He thanked,  Sir Peter Ajik Agwom, who was the first Chairman, Parents Teachers, Association (PTA) of the school for painstakingly working hard during the teething stage of the school in ensuring that all the three arms of the Academy receive government approval.

The Director while speaking on extra-curriculum activities maintained that, the school has been in the hall of fame for the period it participating in the various match-pass parade to celebrate the National Day, children and youths days.

He added that, the school’s football team has also made a name for itself in the state by competing with other schools at various levels, saying that, one of such outing was the National Association of Proprietors of Private School (NAPPS) Plateau state chapter football competition where it won the first prize trophy in 2004.

According to him, this feat saw the team being selected by the Plateau State Football  Association to represent the State in the Nigeria Football tournament for under 13 boys in 2006, adding that, the same team put up an impressive performance reaching the quarter finals where it got eliminated through penalties by River State.

Dr. Uzoji also disclosed that, the students of the Academy have excelled in quiz, essay writing contest and National Art competitions among others.

PTA Chairman of the school, Rev. Gabriel Adamu, showered praises on both management and staff of the Academy for impacting positively in the life of the younger ones, and also appreciated all parents for investing in education of their children. He also  admonished the graduating class to be good ambassadors of the school and equally thanked the management for providing quality and affordable education for the children.

Speaking on behalf of the graduands, the out gone senior prefect of the school, Gabriel Blessing Chiamaka expressed gratitude to God for seeing them through within the 6 years of their studies and promised to be good representatives of the Academy wherever they found themselves in the society.

THE NIGERIA STANDARD reports that, the occasion featured cutting of the anniversary cake, award of prizes, cultural dance unveiling of the special anniversary year book and presentation of awards to some deserving individuals among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And GOSA visited

WITH a planned itinerary to celebrate the Boys Secondary School at 70, members of the Gindiri Old Students Association (GOSA) could not have kick-started their weeklong events without first of all visiting the seat of power to intimate the Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong of their intentions.

Therefore, stakeholders of the Association were received by the Governor  and his executive at the twin theatre, new Government House Rayfield Jos. GOSA President Prof. Rotgak Gofwen and his executives, Chairman BSS @ 70 Planning Committee  Gen. John Temlong Rtd, state executives of GOSA and other stakeholders of GOSA intimated the governor of their activities in a very interactive but humorous session.

GOSA had taken over the social media space weeks before the event with posts and reposts of the anniversary celebrations.  They were clad in their uniform, among those on the team was a GOSA ancestor Prof  Ochapa Onazi, former Univetsity of Jos Vice Chancellor who is of the first set (1955).

When the protocol started from the government side of the groups, it became clear that many GOSA members were a part of the governor’s rescue team, starting from his deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Gwanle Tyodden, to his Head of Civil Service, Engr. Sunday Hyat, some commissioners, President Plateau state Customary  Court of Appeal, Justice Blessing Lyop Dalyop, special advisers, many permanent secretaries, and even in his political cycle. In his speech GOSA President Gofwen appreciated the Governor for giving their members prominence in his administration.” From one GOSA member as your state APC Chairman to the another GOSA member, we thank you sir”, said Gofwen as he called names  of GOSA’s like JD Gomwalk, General Bisallah, and others who have left indellible marks in the state, country and international level.

Lalong said he is not intimidated by the Alma-mater who are always intimidating other alma maters with their presence and achievements in all spheres of life. “I had been your associate member more than 3 years ago, you guys keep oppressing us anytime you come, but the only thing you have not produced is a politically elected  governor”, said the humour filled governor.

He continued with his humour side “I was well harassed by your Planning Committee Chairman Gen. Temlong on this event. But how did I get many of you on my cabinet? Everywhere GOSA, if we are not careful Plateau people will protest and insist we start observing federal character rules in appointments because it looks like you have taken what looks like 80 percent”, and the group chorused with laughter. The Governor, however glowingly praised the alma-mater for being a force to reckon with everywhere and making Plateau state proud at the national and international level.

Among the many activities lined up for the celebrations was free medical surgery for the General public at JUTH Gindiri by a GOSA Medical Team and experts headed by Prof Caleb Mpyet, Commissioning of GOSA Secretariat Complex @ Dogon Karfe, award night dinner, commissioning of projects at Gindiri @ BSS Gindiri, Convention @ Gindiri, Anniversary Lecture, Anniversary Dinner, a Reunion Service, and town Hall meeting. Projects commissioned to commemorate BSS @ 70 included the new modular science laboratories, equipped with smart boards, internet service link with fiber backbone, Microsoft 360 for international collaboration commissioned by Governor Lalong, a remodelled expanded assembly hall commissioned by Taraba State Governor, Darius  Ishaku, a remodeled dining hall, commissioned by Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker House of Representatives.

During the dinner and awards night organised by Verbatim Magazine, among GOSA members who received merit awards for their contribution to the alma mater and career were Prof Suleiman Elias Bogoro Executive Secretary Tertiary Education Trust Fund ( Tetfund), Engr. Sunday Hyat, Head of Service Plateau State,  Prof. Ochapa Onazi, former Vice Chancellor (VC), University of Jos  Dr David Abifarin, Dr. Obed Ikwebu, Prof Abubakar Gundumi, past VC Federal University Wukari, Prof. Rotgak Gofwen, outgoing GOSA President, Prof Hayward Mafuyai, Former VC University of Jos, Prof. Clement Dakkas, Garba Pwul SAN. Post Humous awards was also given to Joseph Dechi  Gomwalk, and Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro.

With a few members of the first set of the boys school founded in 1950 still alive, Prof Gofwen said he had also given titles of ‘Ancestors’ to the most Senior GOSA’s alive;  Living ancestor one to Prof Ochapa Onazi, Dr Ayo Abekoro living ancestor two and Yohanna Sarki, living ancestor three. After the National convention, Engr Sunday Hyat, the Plateau state Head of civil service emerged the new GOSA President.

Inauguration of the  7-man Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle inspection Committee

For a long time, Plateau people have been yearning for sanity on roads especially in the state capital and its environs. The way and manner vehicles and trucks park ply the roads, sometimes causing accidents became a truly worrisome trend to citizens who called on government to act. To bring  sanity to transport management, Governor Lalong last week inaugurated  a 7-man Interim Management Committee on Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection at Government House Jos with a charge to work with relevant security agencies to ensure public safety and order is maintained on roads in the state.

Members of the Committee are made up of Mr. Noel Pirinkwap, Chairman, while Engr. John Dayah is the secretary. Other members are Mr. Bulus Darwang, Engr. Stephen Nyam, Alh. Babangida Maihula, Alh. Muhammad Isa and a representative of the Federal Road Safety Corps. The Governor had signed into law the bill for the establishment of the Plateau State Road Traffic Administration and Vehicles Inspection Authority (PLASTRAVIA) law in 2020.

Plateau people expect a lot from the committee now that the yuletide season is around the corner.  Provisions of the road law creates better management of road transportation that enables government to collect revenues accruing from the sector more effectively particularly within the Jos and Bukuru metropolis.

Among other things, this Committee is to prohibit vehicles waiting or parking on any specified highway within the Jos-Bukuru metropolis and regulate the conduct of persons driving, propelling or in charge of riding any vehicle or animals on highways within the metropolis.

They are also to prohibit illegal loading and off-loading of passengers or goods, other than at designated lay-bys and parks within the city, and also restrict movement, parking,  loading and off-loading of trailers and articulated vehicles on the highway between 6am to 6pm, tow all abandoned vehicles on highways, identify and prohibit tricycles not registered within the Jos-Bukuru metropolis and impound same, identify persons and vehicles using unauthorised Government plate numbers and identify suitable places for conversion to motor parks and truck terminals.

Lalong had called on the committee to swing into action immediately for the necessary results promising to monitor their progress by himself. Much is expected from the Committee, it is indeed a time to end the incessant accidents, illegal truck and vehicle parking, and other unruly activities of motorists on Plateau roads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four major hindrances to receiving from God (26)

NOW, remember we left off last week talking about unbelief and how it hinders us from receiving from God as well as how we can get rid of it. We also noted that a heart does not get into unbelief overnight but rather builds up overtime, one thought unchecked upon another unchecked.

Today let us begin by turning to Psalms 78:1-4. These verses say, give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

When you do not make up your mind to believe God so that you get testimonies to show for believing, what will you give to your children? The best thing you can give to your child is not a BMW or a Mercedes neither is it a Bentley or a Jet. The best thing you can give your children is not billions of dollars in their account. The best thing you can show and give to your children is a walk with God.

Show them while you have them how they can connect to God by themselves directly because in their generation, they will have their own levels of adversity to deal with from which no man without the help of God is immune. Your children in their generation will have adversities that your private jet will not solve for them. Therefore, show them instead how to pull God’s power into their lives. Show them how to walk in the covenant; show them how to walk in love and not retaliate when they are hurt. Show them what preserves a man in this world; show them how to believe God.

That is what Abraham, Isaac and Jacob gave to their children. They gave them the blessing, not just the blessing by word of mouth but they showed them the principles to get it. Where do you think Jacob and Isaac learnt to sow in times of famine? Where did Isaac learn to go and re-dig his father’s wells? So that even when they fought him over his father’s wells, he kept on digging other ones because he knew that there would be a time he would dig and there will be rest.

Whenever he met opposition while digging the wells, he never questioned God but rather he kept at it until he found his rest. Who taught him how to be tenacious? It was his father Abraham. Thus the Psalmist is admonishing us too saying showing to the generations to come the praises of the Lord, his strength and his wonderful works that he has done, Hallelujah!

I believe that every child in my church (Covenant Word International Center Int.) ought to have a good education and that is why I am believing God to set up some form of schooling facility, even if it is just day care, but hopefully may include higher levels; so that we start influencing these kids at an early stage so they have a chance in life. I want to see kids having confidence and carrying themselves well in life.

My desire is that it will be free for all members of Covenant Word Christian Centre International. The facility will be a mission house where the children can get the confidence necessary to start life.

I say all this to say that though I believe children ought to have all the education they can get, but I also believe that one thing that is most needed above any other is that children have to have the knowledge of how to believe and walk with God. They need to know what to do when sickness comes on your body and medical science has no cure for it. They need to know what to do when you have done everything, operated all the financial and economic principles that you know and still there seems to be famine in your life.

Children need to know how to believe God. They need to know His wonderful works that he has done, for he has established a testimony in Jacob and has appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children. That the generation to come might know them, even the children who should be born, who should arise and declare them to their children, that they might set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. (Psalms 78:4-7).

This is the way to fight unbelief. People need to know that this thing works. People need to know that when you sow your life to serve God He blesses you. The blessing may not come exactly the way you want, according to your own time table but when God’s pay day comes, God will see to it that every tear you have ever shed in His name is rewarded. In that day, God will see to it that every faithfulness you have put in the ground for His name sake is rewarded.

God does not want to pay you in a way that you will get just a single harvest and that is it. He wants to give you a tree that you can harvest from over and over again all the days of your life from which you can plant and make more trees till they become an orchard which you will hand over to your generations after you. God wants it that you will not only hand over orchards to the generations after you but that you teach them also how to grow more orchards.

For some of you reading this, this is what is happening to you. So do not err in your hearts not understanding His ways because you sowed a seed two years ago and have not seen the result of it yet. I tell you the truth, my church is going to be known in these regions of the world for wealth; that is part of our commission. This church is also going to be known in this region for excellence but to attain that we need to decide if we are a maize stock or if we are an oak tree?

For me, I chose to be an oak tree because when you start producing fruits that’s the end of it; the fruit never seizes. Also, out of that seed you plant more trees; you grow more orchards so by the time you are leaving this earth you should be able to hand down to generations after you, equity and the knowledge of how to handle orchards.

Psalms 78:7&8 that they might set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep his commandments that they might not be as their father’s a stubborn and rebellious generation. Unbelief is a manifestation of stubbornness and rebellion. You must come to a place in this life that you are willing to trust God with completely. You must come to a place where you trust God with your life.

Working in ministry is teaching me these truths and also molding me into what God will have me be. The Dunka Gomwalk that started this ministry is not the same Dunka Gomwalk today because if you are walking with God in sincerity and truth you will be changing every day. For example, I used to be someone that was careful about my reputation, but now I have came to understand that sometimes, care for reputation can simple be a guise to hide an ego.

I therefore learnt that if you are going to be a servant of God, you must put your reputation in God’s hands and set yourself to serve God. You must risk being misunderstood and so on. You must search your heart before God and do God’s will only; believing on Him.

…to be continued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Thieves’ in FCDA, estate sector should face prosecution

IT is becoming so disheartening the way and manner some greedy Nigerians have unrepentantly continued to milk this country at the detriment of the rest of us. The increasing rate of acts of direct stealing and deliberate acts of personal aggrandizement perpetrated by many corrupt and evil-minded citizens of this country has left the rest of us in the middle of nowhere at this very moment.

Just this week, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) disclosed that it had recovered about 241 houses from a single public officer including another 60 luxurious houses from the second suspect in the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja alone.  These findings came up through the efforts of the commission while unraveling the shoddy deals of owners of the ever-increasing unoccupied luxury estates in various parts of the nation’s capital city.

When the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanye who appeared before the  House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on the Operations of Real Estate Developers in the FCT, was also emphatic that public officeholders top the list of fraudulent investors in the real estate sector in the nation’s capital adding that they are well involved in illicit financial flows in the country.

Investigations further revealed that some of the major criminals and culprits encouraging this problem were staff of the Federal Capital Development Authority. (FCDA) and their land collaborators. Also accused were some members of the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria, (REDAN) who access funds from the Federal Mortgage Bank, (FMB) for mass housing and diverting same to construct private estates.

Certainly, before now, an eagle’s eye had not been fixed in the area of estate management sector in the country which has led to an increase in such irregularities. Of recent however, the uncontrollable springing-up of luxury homes coupled with the financial austerity experienced in the comity has kept these institutions on toes particularly as regards the need to check such acts of sabotage devastating our collective progress as  a developing nation.

All these unscrupulous and unspeakable practices are coming on the heels of the housing deficit in contrast with the overwhelming population affecting this country. At this very moment, Nigeria as a developing nation is yet to boast of providing housing facility to less than half of its ever-increasing population.

Statistics rightly indicates that there is a traumatizing housing deficit in Nigeria. Sad enough, this development has worsen in most recent times with the statistics showing a deficit of at least 17.0 million. However, records have also indicated that there has been a steady rise in housing deficit from 7.0 million in 1991 to 14 million in 20210.

Interestingly, from the report of the World Bank in 2018,  Nigeria requires about 700,000 housing units annually spanning through 20 year period to accommodate its rising population. However, there are scholars who have already opined that this  would not be realized considering the current economic indices coupled with the sluggish growth of the housing sector in the country.

As it is, with a growing population of over 200 million necessitating a much higher demand in the housing sector, nothing much had been achieved in the area of sustainable policy framework towards addressing this issue in the past decade.  This can also be attributed to the widening gap between the rich and the poor in the nation.

Worse hit are the civil servants whose entire lifesavings is never enough for any of them to own a personal house before retirement. Many of our civil servants end up homeless in the aftermath of their meritorious service to the nation.

Even in the midst of this ugly development, one cannot conclude that the incumbent administration has not gained grounds on the issue of ensuring efficient policy framework to meeting housing deficit in the country. In the few years, yours sincerely has perused several documents indicating a more appreciable contemporary approach to dealing with housing deficit in the country. Though we may not be comfortable with many of these unfriendly policies at the moment, it is hopeful that with consistence pressure mounted on the Federal Government and other stakeholders, little modifications could restore the integrity of such projects in no distant time.

It is however quite unfortunate that while everything is being done to transform our housing policy framework for the better, a syndicate within government circle is trucncating such an effort in its entirety. Even when the government has acknowledged with great importance the need to providing adequate housing for the population of the citizenry, this unpatriotic elements through their nefarious activities have conspired not to let this significant policy work.

In other words, their acts of personal aggrandizement with impunity is from all indications threatening the efficiency and efficacy of this project which if care is not taken would jeopardize it in total. That is the more reason why urgent steps must be taken by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) in getting to the root of this act of sabotage and economic crimes perpetrated by the staff of the Federal Capital Development Authority. (FCDA) and their collaborators.

This is because, our citizens cannot be allowed to be homeless for no fault of their while a collective few are deciding their fate in such a callous and inhuman manner. If for anything else, these alleged thieves must never be allowed to jeopardize the objective of  providing shelter to millions of vulnerable citizens of the country.

Me think that further investigations must be carried out to ascertain the depth of this heinous act and all those involved so as to save the entire project from going down the drain. Even though agencies investigating financial crimes have foot-dragged many of such cases in the past, it is incumbent on them to with all sense of responsibility come to terms with the peculiar nature of this particular case.

Beyond this, it is needful that the entire staff of the FCDA, members of the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria(REDAN) including other stakeholders within the system are held to account on this matter. We must as a country begin to sanction all these criminals to serve as deterrent to others in our desire to utilizing our potentials for socio-economic and political integration and nation buildin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Nigeria Police can perform better if…

AN unpleasant incident occurred over the weekend affecting one of  my professional colleague which prompted yours sincerely to begin to ask more questions on the capability of the Nigeria Police to perform better in our contemporary society. This incident resonated more unanswered questions even as my mind kept playing tricks on me as to the nature of the strategies and  intrigues the police in Nigeria has been using without producing much convincing impact in the country in most recent times.

It all started while I was perusing my messenger posts. I eventually humbled on a distress of Save My Soul message which rammed up from this colleague of mine’s platform and after reading it; I discovered that he needed some cash to solve some urgent pressing private matters.

Though it has never being in his character to request for money on public platform, it didn’t  occur to me that it may be a fluke so I quickly asked for his bank account to enable me wire my widow’s might to him.  Just as I was about doing so, on a second thought however; I called one of my senior colleagues in my office who was also close to make some inquires. He immediate confided in me that the platform was hacked by scammers. I couldn’t believe it even as I kept blaming myself for falling over this little and cheap trap. A couple of hours later, we met with the victim and he was quick to disclose that, one of his sisters; a police officer fell into the hands of the scammers and had wired about three thousand naira already. Unfortunately for the scammers who reside in Akwanga in Nasarawa State my colleague disclosed that the three of them had successfully been arrested by the police.

“You mean just within this little time, the police was able to get them?” was all I could utter so flabbergasted over the turnout of events. As we went into deep deliberations; my senior colleague noted that “ Look Bulus, if the Nigeria Police means business, they can within the shortest possible time arrest any criminal in the country. Many of these criminals are known by these policemen but at times; either deliberately and or due to lack of proper logistics, it hinders their efficient  operational activities. In most cases, some of these policemen and women have a dossier of all these criminals including other new comers into town.”

It then dawn on me that the exploits of the Head of IG’s Intelligence Response team, DCP Abba Kyari could be as a result of this same enabling environment created by his superiors couple with his passion for his job. The way and manner DCP Kyari operated when he held sway tempted some of us to conclude that he was either a super-cop and or a jazzman to the core. This could have basically enhanced his outstanding performance.

At a point, it became more obvious to many  that the fear of DCP  Abba Kyari was the beginning of wisdom for criminals in Nigeria. A senior police officer also confided in me that with the kind of sophisticated equipments at the disposal of DSP Kyari, he would not have let the police down.

Today, the challenges facing the Nigeria Police this country is indicative of the fact more needs be done to make the police more responsive and proactive. In the real sense of it; dealing with the dwindling operational obligations of the police is not what can be resolved in a very short while.

In the past few months, the citizenry have been held hostage following the nefarious activities of men of the underworld in various states of the country. As it is today; the agonizing and traumatic experiences of kidnappings, banditry and armed robbery are enough to cripple the  citizens of the nation.

Many communities have been ransacked and chased out of their ancestral homes, their lands taken with impunity. Consequently, there is no place in this country which can be said to be safe. As each day passes-by, many criminally minded elements are taking over our streets due to our vulnerability to create consistent havoc.

Regrettably, our susceptible women and children are at the receiving end in most cases. The ferocity of what is consuming to our younger ones is yet to abate even as drug peddlers are also derailing them by luring them into excessive drugs abuse.

It is quite perturbing that hoodlums have found the guts to attack not only government strategic institutions but various police stations. In most cases, when such attacks take place, security personnel are killed with impunity.

Therefore, we must come to the reality of the fact that everything should be done to restore the integrity of the Nigeria Police Force. This must start by ensuring proper funding of the security outfit for proper performance. Beyond this; measures should also be taken to ensure that all monies released for the police are specifically channeled to areas concerned.

If the Nigeria Police must have a headway in its anticipated obligations, stakeholders must equally ensure that all bad eggs in the system are flushed out. This is because, the bad eggs in the system have been the ones denting the image of the system in public glare.

On the whole, we must acknowledge with sincerity of purpose the sacrifice of all  deceased policemen and women who in the midst of dilapidated operational equipments paid the ultimate supreme prize for us to continue to live.  In the midst of all these hiccups however, the fact still remains that with successful provision of all required equipment and passion to serve, the Nigeria Police Force can do even better towards tackling any act of criminality and banditry bedeviling this nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katdapba: As another guru bows out

DON’T be taken aback, Katdapba Gobum, yes our own Katdapba is hale and hearty. In fact, we were with him just yesterday in his usual self, working strenuously towards ensuring that our Nigeria Standard newspapers comes out with a bang as anticipated.

As he moved cautiously ensuring that we lived up to our routine obligations, yours sincerely was deep in thought knowing too well that in no distance time; our Managing Editor would bow out of service. Yes, you must have read me right, time has come for our Managing Editor, Katdapba Gobum to finally bid good bye to civil service.

I must stress that Mr. Gobum and yours sincerely have come a long way. Though he was my senior in the profession, history and more definitively fate brought us together in the journey of life. When I came on board in 1992 through the vernacular newspaper Yancin Dan Adam, Gobum was already an established journalist on the stable of the Nigeria Standard.

I can soberly recall with great nostalgia how I used to sneak into the office of the Saturday Standard to read the latest news of the happenings in the entertainment industry. While handling the paper eventually, he was always on the road covering the Benson and Hedges events which catapulted him into tremendous reckoning.

I can boldly say without any intimidation that in that era, Plateau Publishing Company was blessed with the best of hands. Though the fortunes of the organization had starting dwindling, staff resilience really helped in no small measure towards encouraging some of us to hang on for better days to come.

Mind you, the corporation then a company was not pensionable, created a euphoria of great anxiety and uncertainty in the system. Consequently, those who were leaving on retirement at that time only fall-back on percentage contribution which was not commensurate with their life-long efforts.

In the midst of these difficult challenges however, it was never a dull moment with many of our seniors at the editorial department. Though as hard as some of them were; some of them still left an opening for upcoming and much younger ones to acclimatize.

Therefore, our baptism of fire was not only euphoric by any and every determining factor. Some of us who endured  carrying the cross, it eventually paid us well. Certainly, meeting Kadapba alongside Emmanuel Gogwim, Mathew Kuju, Sunday Andong, Patricia Akawu, Nehemiah Gagara, Allahnanan Attah, Cyril Oga, and the incumbent NUJ Chairman of Plateau Council, Paul Jatau, added to our quest of becoming better journalists.

Then, the newspaper held sway and I was determined to learn which was not that easy considering the complex nature of journalism practice then. The emergence of Katdapba Gobum as the Chairman of the Plateau State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists redefined our relationship for the better. Throughout his tenure, though many saw him as quite intimidating, for some of us, he was easy going. I recall on several occasions, Katdapba would call me to inquire whether I had some time to spare for us to travel. As socialized as he was back then, he never took for granted, the ultimate need to always be pragmatic to the core.

Without mincing words, the tenure of Katdapba as the NUJ Chairman was also impactful on the members. In fact, before the expiration of his tenure, he was able to secure a bus from the Chairman of Kanke Local Government Area of Plateau State. It was also during his tenure that the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists began to establish itself as an organisation to be reckoned with.

Aside the fact that Katdapba was good at entertainment writing, the column he has continued to hold dear to his heart on Sunday Standard has also been of tremendous blessing to our society. In most of his write-ups, he loves and always intends to add value to human existence. Be it a personality profile or crucial issues analysis, the tone of his writings are always captivating.

For some of us, Katdapba will leave a legacy in the media industry as  one media guru who loves writing and picking on issues which all these years have been on the side of solution journalism than anything else.

Be that as it may however, it was not all rosy with Katdapa even as the adage goes, “the tongue and teeth must sometimes pick-up quarrels to consolidate on their fate in life”. I can recall one day i walked out on Katdapaba during a congress meeting of the NUJ which he was chairing. The following day, though my boss, he extended his pleasantries first and never let that experience smear our relationship.

Even though many others have left the scene either through retirement and or the obvious, we had jolly good moments together at the Plateau Publishing Corporation. After long years of meritorious  service, time has come for our Managing Editor, Katdapba Gobum to take a bow.

Time has come to spend the better last lap of his life with his family which is  inevitable. The truth is that though it is hard under this circumstance to face the reality of life, we are obliged to say that some of us will miss our oga. We wish our former Managing Editor a fruitful retirement even as we anticipate our turn to eventually come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women and the journey for Independence

AS Nigeria clocks 61st years of independence and coming of age from a lot of conflict and trying to get the system right in all spheres of life, one thing has remained difficult to attain and that is the role of women in taking the center stage in political governance of the nation. However, women marginalized and little recognition is given to roles they have played in nation development. Ordinarily, when names like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Anthony Enahoro etc are mentioned, the likes of their female counterparts like Margret Ekpo, Hajia Gambo Swaba are forgotten despite the impact they have made in their different spheres of pursuit.

While many developed nations have seen the advent of women being leaders in their country and making remarkable testimonies with disparity being shown even to some developing nations within the African Setting giving opportunity for women as equals to the men folks. This nation with its declaration of seeing women as worthy equals has not brought to bear the dream of women’s active participation in governance.

Since women involvement in active and equal pursuit of career in Nigerian society, we have seen them in some areas such as the banking sector, civil service societies etc. But this form of equality is not what women want, because it’s not total. Society has not embraced the fact that women can even be better leaders than men.

Socio-cultural, religious ego has relinquished absolute leadership to women but partial in taking over of the stage. The orthodox way of life still sees women as only helpers to men. While many women group are arising to give a voice to the agitations for governance or the opportunity to be allowed to participate and seek increase in allocation of political office, yet none is seeking equal right to vying for the highest office in the land. Many women have not been seen to pursue the governorship position even as 2021 is around the corner. The question is do women have what it takes to rule in all areas of governance? If so, then what stops women agitating and mobilizing to prove their worth Women must break away from the way men have viewed them and take the initiative or remain the second fiddle always.

Men have ruled this nation but have not yet seen how women rule, perhaps solution to woes we are facing lies in the hands of women.

In Nigeria most men view it as error when women are in leadership position such as being governors, president and the men’s folk being subservient to them. This is from the perspective of religion and culture. They believe women should not have a say above the men but relegated to the background with the ideology it will be difficult to allow women participate in certain political or elective positions, or public life except if the women take the bull by the horns and garner support for themselves. With their population advantage they stand to make impact.

 

 

Women still agitating for inclusive governance

DEVELOPING nation continually give voices to its citizens and a sense of belonging as parties in nation building, erasing parochial beliefs of one’s sexuality and dominating the other in terms of governance positive contributions and impact.

As Nigeria celebrates 61st Independence many women who also share their birthday with Nigeria’s independence share their opinions of women in Nigeria and how it feels like celebrating their birthday on 1st October every year. These women lament the relegation of women at the background when it comes to active participation in nation building and politics. These are the views of some Nigerian women on how they feel as Nigeria clocks 61years of independence and the journey of women so far.

MRS. HALIMA ISANDU, who is also celebrating her birthday with Nigeria, said she is glad and expresses gratitude to God for the successes recorded so far in Nigeria and hopes for a better tomorrow for Nigeria.

She said women have been marginalized in politics by men who are not capable of standing to assume the quest of leadership which denies the right of women in inclusive governance.

She said women have not achieved their purpose in representing their people in governance.

Adding that her message for women across the country is to remain focused and determined in order to achieve their goals in good governance.

MRS. GRACE IBRAHIM said being born during the independence of Nigeria as a it’s amazing and is something she cannot forget in a hurry.

She admitted that the failure of women achieving their goals in governance is due to negligence and societal values. She pointed out the need for women getting involved in effective governance since the 35% affirmative action is not totally achieved.

She advised Nigerian women to get involved effectively and set a good example of good governance.

MRS TABITHA AYUBA MATHEW said Nigeria was in a state of rapid development and the period of civilization was an uprising prospect. She said, she is honoured to share her birthday with Nigeria.

Having been patriotic I wanted to vent are into politics but my husband and marital obligations did not permit me. She expressed her sadness, saying women are yet to achieve their zenith in the field of governance as they are being marginalized by ethics and not allowed to explore themselves.

She said women should remain positive and advance in their quest for inclusive governance.

MRS. PATRICIA MOSES of Tudun Wada Park said Nigeria is in progress having the opportunity to be one of the people who witnessed the transition of the country from independence.

She noted, Nigeria is still in surge to being a developed country due to the diverse cultures and traditions limiting women in several ways from participating fully in the role of governance, thus slowing the country’s development, giving no allowance for women to achieve their goals in politics.

Her message to Nigerian women is to get involved and do their best in governance; they should rise up to their feet and make Nigeria proud.

Also adding her voice MRS ESTHER DUSU said she is grateful to God that she witnessed Nigeria’s transformation to its current status in Africa its time of independence, stated that she is proud to testify.

She said we have neglected the fact that women are the bed rock of the society many women have grown cold in actualizing their dreams to ascertain credible positions in governance, hence the society’s perspective of inferiority towards women.

My advice to women is to raise our standard and assume responsibility in governance without fear and doubt, let us show the men we can do it.

MRS. MARY LAZARUS said, the feeling is good because it feels like Nigeria came to welcome me on my birthday because its independence. She said women are better than men even though we have not really achieved the 35% affirmative action. Because women are regarded as not capable of handling some positions in governance. They see the woman folk as incompetent. But women have proved them wrong. An example is Pauline Tallen, the former Deputy Governor of Plateau State and she did well. So we can do better if we are given positions occupied by our male counterparts. I want Nigerian women to wake up from their slumber, they should take care of the country, in fact no man is better than a woman because when a woman handles a position, there is great tendency and achievement in it.

MRS. ANNA WOKJI said its nice sharing my birthday with Nigeria because anytime they are celebrating Nigeria’s independence am also being celebrated. Just few women are involved in politics than before. If we check the list of ministerial appointees only 3 of 20 nominees were women. But the 35% affirmative action has helped women gain employment in different spheres of life. We can do better, we can become bigger we only need a chance to prove that we can testify that women have done well in past representation.

With MRS. LUCY MICHEAL said it’s a coincidence some people share their birthdays with others. Nigeria is a great country, so there is this feeling of excitement about it. Only few women are participating in politics and governance. They have forgotten about the woman, they see it as something ill for the woman to participate in politics, though there are some women that have risen up, held specific seats in representation, so we need more of them. Women should try to participate more in politics. When a woman holds a seat, things go down well.

GAROS CHUWANG said its great sharing her birthday with Nigeria and feels honoured, so for every time 1st October comes. I know its not just independence for Nigeria but independence for woman hood.

Women are trying their best to see that there is great achievement than previous representation with the help of the 35% affirmative action. Women are still not satisfied with their representation in politics. We want provision of women in gender equality we are in the process of achieving that. The Nigerian woman is strong. Don’t give up because we are rising so fast. Just like we want the 35% affirmative action, we want a better policy that will benefit both, young and old. We should never give up on our aspiration.

MARTHA HASSAN said, Nigeria is known worldwide on this significant day, that Nigeria is being celebrated, I feel celebrated too. Nigeria has achieved a lot, but more needs to be done for a better Nigeria. The 35% affirmative action is on implementation though not fully. We want more women in both elective and appointive positions which should be fair enough. In recent times, some countries in Africa have produced women as head of states etc. This is good because it shows women are beginning to gain more relevance on governance and also do more. We are aiming higher grounds and are optimistic that we are going to achieve that. So we should strive harder, we want to represent and to be represented only. So we should be given a chance to do so.

 

 

A visit to CSS farms

HE had just returned from a trip but notwithstanding, on his way back to Jos by road on Friday morning of September 24, 2021 Governor Simon Bako Lalong had made a stop at the 1200 hectares CSS farms located at Gora, Keffi, Nassarawa State.

He visited The International Skill Acquisition Centre (ISAC) which houses the CSS Group of companies ranches, fisheries, factories for milling production and packaging rice, chicken feeds, and egg crates, and various green houses for organic and genetically modified crops, and many other agri-businesses.

The tour of the facility was hectic and covering the over 1000 large hectare farm which was said to have started with a vision of just a hectare piece of land was like a herculean task, sometimes with walks or drives to cover the distance and see first-hand the kind of technologically driven agricultural activities going on in the farm.

Incidentally, during the visit, he met a batch of 1000 youths from Oyo State who were on ground for training at the centre, sponsored by the state government, although 300 of them that were initially sent had already graduated.

The cheering and excited youths, who were in solidarity with the Governor for having his presence doffed their caps, chanted songs in Yoruba  to hail him when he addressed them. Apart from stressing they should strive to put to use what they have learnt to become millionaires, Lalong encouraged them to set the pace and be role models to other youths in the country. He also made a promise to tap the highly technological agri-businesses centre to train youths from his state to also turn its fortunes around.

Governor Seyi Makinde had earlier said during the graduation of the first batch of 300 Trainees under his state’s Youth Entrepreneurship in Agri-business Project (YEAP) that his administration had embarked on the training to lift youths from poverty into prosperity and he would empower them to train and empower others. Makinde said he believes in the richness and capacity of the agribusiness programme to turn his state economy into a multi-billion naira economy through the graduates who will return after acquiring various skills in fields like agribusiness, irrigation farming, Information Communication Technology application in agribusiness, fishery farming and management, hydroponics farming, cassava and rice value chain and poultry farming, factory production and processing of eggs, rice, egg crates, chicken feeds and storage among others to be empowered to take off. Makinde said with such investment, his state can become over a 100 billion economy in just a few years.

After taking over two hours to tour the farm and see firsthand the kind of facilities and activities going on, Governor Lalong said he will send a team to come and tap into modalities for accessing the opportunities. He expressed his innate desires to make the youths to become young billionaires in agribusiness as he identified agriculture as the fastest booming economically sustaining and job creation venture in a world where jobs are scarce as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on economies. Lalong said he is interested in taking opportunities that creates Jobs for youth.

During the about two hour tour, he was excited when he saw some of the female trainees driving tractors and said “I have seen a lot of potentials here today and I am excited that I saw young women trained to drive tractors, I will bring the youths and the girl-child to come for training in Agribusiness”. The Governors advice to Nigerians is to put in and access structures like the CSS farms so that so that it will employ youth, since agriculture has become the biggest means of employment in modern times. 

Founder of CSS farms John Kennedy Okpara and pioneer Executive Secretary of Nigerian Christan Pilgrims Commission was quite receptive and eager to showcase his investment. He said the Governor surprised him with an August visit and had only called to inform him he is already on his way. “It was quite dramatic, I expressed surprise and I was not prepared so had to rush to take my bath and come out for the early morning visit to receive him. Have you ever seen this?” said the excited CSS Farms founder and CEO Okpara. He said leaders are measured by what they say and do and appreciated the gesture. 

He also said his vision for the farm stemmed when he realised that Nigeria, like the country of Isreal is blessed with large land masses and natural geographical endowments. And on the realisation that his country is not putting to use its own potentials like Israel is doing, to become a world leading agribusiness nation he saw a vision to replicate an agribusiness that will be rated first class like what obtains in Israel.

He said CSS Global Integrated Farms is a leading technology driven agribusiness company in Nigeria that develops full scale merchandised agricultural system through sustainable corporate initiatives programs and global partnerships. He expressed optimism that with the highly merchandised and modern agricultural technological facilities and practices his organisation has, CSS is set to change the face of agriculture in Nigeria.

Shendam agog for APC rally

The next day, Saturday 25th, Governor Lalong, Leader of the All progressives Congress (APC) party in the state led party faithful, stalwarts and aspirants to the flag off of the local government elections campaign rally held at the Shendam Mini Stadium. The local government elections in the state is billed to take place on October 9, 2021 across the 17 local government Areas.

The mammoth crowd that filled the stadium to welcome him was overwhelming. They chanted party slogans as he arrived the venue in company of his wife Regina, Deputy Governor, Sonni Gwanle Tyodden, Deputy Speaker House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Ahmad Idris Wase and other stakeholders. Party faithful were seen in groups, clad according to their respective political interests as they displayed the candidates of their choice. They had all come from across the 17 Local Government Areas, and each of the Senatorial Zones with their candidates for the official Flag-off of contestants for the chairmanship, deputy chairmanship, councillorship posts.

The Masters of Ceremony (MC’s) who had a hard time controlling the unprecedented population at the stadium gave each Local Government a chance to do a display after calling out the chairmanship candidates one by one  to identify themselves and give a shout of recognition as they passed the podium, accompanied by drums, dances and chants by their supporters to display their clout and political charisma.

Lalong in his speech did not only assure that his party will sweep overwhelmingly in the polls but called for inclusion of women, and physically challenged in the political structure and outing to give everyone a fair play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emmanuel pulls Liquorose and Cross to finals

The Big Brother show became more interesting when Big Brother gave Nini a  secret task to leave the house without telling anyone for 24 hours. Viewers were left with fears, suspicion and curiosity whether Nini will be able to execute the task successfully. However, Nini tried her best and the rest remains stories. FRANCISCA ADIDI writes.

WHITEMONEY, Queen, Angel, Pere, Nini and Saga are up for possible eviction today. Big brother came up with the Ultimate Veto Power game and Emmanuel won the Ultimate Veto power.  The Veto Power holder has the power to choose the Head of House and Deputy head of house. He nominated Liquorose as Head of House and Cross as DHOH.   Emmanuel, Liquorose and Cross might have made it to grand finale, except if Big Brother should bring in another twist. It also depends on how many people will leave today.

Nini has been given a top secret mission to exit the house through the secret emergency exit for 24 hours without telling anyone. She needs to carry a bag with her important items.

When the door opens, she must walk through the door. She must not tell anyone in the house when questions are asked, she must feign ignorance

Will Saga survive this prank?At midnight, she left the House using a secret emergency exit in the Games Lounge. She stayed in a designated room for 24 hours, while her fellow  Housemates wonder where she went.

No one saw anything, which means she has pulled off the Secret Task successfully. She will be in the White Room for 24hours and will observe her fellow Housemates via a television monitor.

Nini successfully sneaked into the secret room without anyone seeing her.

Biggie has summoned Nini to the Diary Room and the Housemates all rushed to the Lounge to see if she will make an appearance.

What do you think went through their minds?

Big Brother gave the housemates 20 minutes to search for Nini.

And if by 20mins they can’t find her they should pack her luggages and put in the storeroom.

And they could not find her.

“Big Brother Where is Nini? Saga asked. What kind of nonsense is this one? What am I suppose to use my life to do now?” Saga asks frantically, knocks on Biggie’s diary room door after Nini secretly left the house

Saga went through a hard time, he cried and was helpless…..awwww…don’t cry” Nini said after she watched Saga cried over her disappearance. Nini has fallen in love with Saga.

After 24 hours, she sneaked back into the house and laid on her bed before Pere and Saga came to Peep her.

Nini came back and lied about her disappearance, claimed that she was in the blue room.

Meanwhile, Saga is back to life after Nini came back. He is now a happy man. See how love can turn people into. It seems Saga came to find love and not about the 90million.

The question is, what will happen outside the house since Nini is always talking about her boyfriend? How will Saga look like when Nini reconciles back to her boyfriend.

Today’s eviction will take us to the final and only Big brother will tell us how many people are qualified to reach the final. Next week, a winner will emerge.

More highlights will come up this week  being the week to crown the winner of the show. Keep looking out for a copy of the Sunday Standard.

‘It almost feel like not playing’

US Open champion Emma Raducanu says it felt like somebody else was playing as she watched Saturday’s final for the first time on returning home.

The 18-year-old celebrated the historic win in New York before arriving back in London on Thursday.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Friday, she said being the first British woman in 44 years to win a Grand Slam singles title is “gradually sinking in”.

“I watched the final and tried to remember how it felt,” she added.

“It’s still such a whirlwind of an experience. I’ve loved every moment of it but it is something that is difficult to comprehend.

“When I was watching it [the final] it almost feels like that’s not me whose playing and pulling off some of those shots.

“I was really proud of how I came through some tough moments.”

The straight-set victory against Leylah Fernandez made Raducanu the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam and raised her to world number 23 and British number one.

Despite the amount at stake, the teenager said she “didn’t feel any stress” when stepping out in front of a packed Arthur Ashe stadium.

“I was just having a lot of fun out there,” she explained.

“That’s what helped because I wasn’t thinking at all about anything that was out of my control or that was going on off the court.

“I think that’s the key that helped me have the run I had because I wasn’t distracted, I was just focusing on what I had to do and I executed.”

After captivating the New York crowd, Raducanu was invited to celebrate at various events across the city.

But immediately after the win, she took time to reflect with her team as they headed back to their hotel on “a sort of party bus”.

“There was a lot of music and we were all just singing along,” said Raducanu, adding that Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and The Killers’ Mr Brightside were two songs of choice.

“Then we had a really nice night just talking until early in the morning, reflecting on the whole experience and what an amazing time it’s been.”

Sandwiched between appearances on prime-time American breakfast television and a visit to the Stock Exchange, Raducanu was invited to the star-studded Met Gala.

 

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