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.