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Making community sanitation priority

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IT has often been said that health is wealth and that a healthy nation is a wealthy one. This cliché had defined our society and lives in the past so much so that the fear of sanitary inspectors was the beginning of wisdom.

Growing up in those days, one witnessed the arrival on monthly basis of this once important personalities to our various communities to ensure that every community met the basic conditions of healthy living. Our young and impressionable minds then often wondered why sanitation should be enforced. Now grown up, I understand why it had to be enforced. Nigerians do not on their own follow simple and basic instructions unless someone forces them to do it.

That explains our stunted development. We do everything in total disregard of what is right. Take open defecation, for instance. This is still being practiced in our society despite the health challenges this practice present. Our towns and villages are often littered with faeces so much so that cholera has found a permanent home in our localities.

We have often had to wait on the international community to help us out each time we are faced with preventable calamities such as this. It is to curb the above that we call on government to bring back the sanitary inspectors of old. This would not only ensure a healthy and thus wealthy society but would serve as a source of employment for our teeming youth.

There is no gain saying that our communities are in dire need of creativity on the part of the leadership. Ways, albeit creative ones, need to be sought to bring back our society to the path of growth and development. This is even more so that present day realities have made it so hard to exist in our communities. How for instance, can we wriggle our way out of the drug problems that have infested our society?

Our youth are on a mission to destroy themselves and the whole community in the process unless something fast and quick is done. Because they do drugs, cultism has become a norm. And as a result, our social and collective well- being is threatened and is on the verge of total collapse. Indeed, bringing back sanitary inspectors would add to the IGR of the state as defaulters would have to pay for defaulting.

Because of our society’s penchant at committing wrongs, we have failed to make our mark as a nation, often running to other climes to enjoy what they have sweated to build over the years. We must look inwards and reawaken the creative talents in us and begin to rebuild and reconstruct our society so that posterity would judge us kindly.

Our roads are crying for attention

Driving on our roads these days is not only risky but it is dangerous. Apart from banditry and kidnappings that have taken over and are defining our relationships, our roads are not in the best of shapes. We lose so many man hours doing journeys that should ordinarily be done in very short time. The wear and tear on our vehicles is another cost that is incurred because of our bad roads. As a matter of fact, the lifespan of our vehicles are shortened. And, in a depressed and an unhealthy economy such as ours, it is often not funny. Government, therefore, needs to bring back the toll gates so as to have a source of funding for the maintenance of our road infrastructure. After all, it is standard practice the world over to have road taxes. Parks should also be built for heavy duty trucks at various locations to provide safe corridors for such vehicles and put money into the pockets of government. This too would enable government carry out its task of providing social infrastructure.

The period when we sit back and lament is over. Everyone needs to be up and about to ensure that our society works. Government cannot do it alone as we all owe our society the responsibility of developing it. When we put on our creative thinking caps, the many problems we encounter on daily basis will begin to be dealt with and we would have started on the part to recovery and reclamation of our society and our country.

Our states too must take advantage of the opportunities inherent in creative thinking. The era of waiting for largesse from the centre has come to an end. This was made even more evident by the Covid-19 pandemic which exposed our soft underbelly. We must, therefore, seek options and alternatives if we are to make headway as a society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praying our way out of poverty

Nigeria is a very funny country. We do not work, yet expect God to bless us. We think we can bribe God. We bind and cast out all manner of evil out of our lives. We cast out poverty without working to create wealth. We cast out death without taking care of our health. We do all manner of casting out without really doing anything concrete to follow up and ensure these so-called bindings and castings work. The only industry that thrives in our country is religion.

Go to Lagos and other capital cities of the country and you will understand what I mean. Churches and mosques compete for space. They welcome and bid you farewell each time you embark on a trip. Despite the fact that Nigeria is a multi-religious and diverse society, God is so far away from the country. Look at our daily lives and you would agree with me that all is not well. The stamp of poverty is on everything we do. We pretend that all is well when in actual fact poverty is killing us. We wait on God for miracles forgetting that He only helps those who help themselves. That there is no more free lunch anywhere is an affirmation of the fact that you have to work so as to eat.

Sadly, that is not our case here. We waste precious man hours going to prayer houses. Spend whole days praying. But, at the end, we end up not having it easy with everything that concerns us. Insecurity has become a part of our daily lives, food is scarce and difficult to come by. Yet, we do not seem to find ways round our problems. How can we find ways of solving our issues when we are not looking in the right places for solutions?

In a recent write-up titled, Religion as an albatross (published in THE NIGERIA STANDARD), I stated: “Least I am misunderstood, religion practiced properly, keeps us in check. It is the moral fibre that holds the society together. It points us in the right direction whenever we miss the point or veer off the moral radar. But religion is not an industry. You cannot pray your way to development neither can you do same to success. No matter how hard you pray, the era of miracles is long gone there are no longer free manna falling from heaven. Even our holy books are replete with directives on the need to work and use whatever talent one is endowed with for one to succeed in life.

“Ours is a religious society yet nothing works. We start every event by calling on God to take charge of proceedings yet our prayers seem not to go beyond the ceiling of the building in which the events hold. Muslims and Christians seem to be in competition with each other not to bring dividends of development to the society but to outdo each other in soiling their hands in the public till. When they hit the brick wall, they resort to religion. And the gullible followers fall for their antics.

“Religion to Nigerians is a means to an end. However, you manage to use it to your advantage, is all that matters. People steal and when they are found out, they say they are being persecuted because of their faith. We do things that are completely at variance with our faith yet we claim that we are guided by that faith. We feel no qualms taking refuge under falsehood and lies and carry on as if nothing is wrong.”

Instead of building institutions that will add value to life and ease our multi-faceted problems, we are busy building churches and mosques that cannot provide employment for the growing number of young people who are forced to leave the country in search of greener pastures elsewhere. Government on its part has failed to address the gap created by this unemployment by taking advantage of the country’s large population to grow the country. All we hear is that all is being done to provide a conducive environment for growth. Imagine a seventy-five year old establishment and several other institutions packing out of the country because they find the Nigerian environment difficult to do business. These business establishments are supposed to complement government efforts by providing employment for our teeming youthful population.

Therefore, government must take decisive steps to deal with the myriads of problems impeding the country’s industrial growth and deliberately implement policies that will make them survive. Government must also deal with the issue of insecurity in a manner that will convince citizens that it is serious. It should and must ensure that farmers go back to their farmlands so as to produce food to feed the people. It should also provide farm inputs at subsidized rates to farmers and follow up by buying the excess produce and storing them for the rainy day.

Religion can only make sense when it leads people to satisfactorily live fulfilling lives, not the other way round. A situation where so-called men of God live lives of luxury yet make unnecessary demands on their adherents is unacceptable and should not be condoned. Nigeria is so blessed that it has no business wallowing in abject poverty and want. If countries like Switzerland can have a large cache’ of gold which it does not mine, what reason have we not to find local solutions to our own problems?

Your answer is as good as mine.

 

 

Is Nigeria going the way of Kenya?

There are ominous signs all over the place that Nigeria is sliding towards chaos and towing the path that was recently treaded by Kenya. Life is so difficult and hard that Nigerians are not finding it very hard to eke out a living. The basic essentials that used to grace the menu of almost every household have become totally unavailable and Nigerians have to make do with that which they can lay their hands on.  Food, an essential for daily living, is hardly available in many homes. In addition, there is a growing army of the unemployed who has gone to school but has nothing to do. These unemployed graduates are discontented and angry.  They are very active on social media and use it to vent their frustrations. This set of people of angry people must be worked on to assuage their frustrations. If not, they are likely to start a protest that government will find hard to contain.

Only recently, a Former Deputy Chief of Defence Administration at the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), retired Commodore Kunle Olawumi, in Abeokuta sounded the alarm bell that Nigeria may witness large-scale insurrection like the one that happened in Kenya unless the government takes urgent steps to assuage peoples’ immediate societal needs. In a lecture titled: “The Nexus Between Governance and Societal Needs and Peace in Nigeria”, he warned, “Nigeria is in a state of anomie. The Nigerian state is today facing its worst economic crisis. Poor Nigerians are experiencing deprivations in basic necessities of life with multidimensional poverty. Money politics has derailed societal wellbeing. Currently there is what I call hopes dashed whereby a few people have held Nigeria to ransom and have left the country underdeveloped with little hope for redemption. The country is so unsafe, so unsecured that you wonder whether there’s actually any government in Nigeria.”

The Tinubu administration since taking over power seems to be on a mission to pauperize Nigerians. Since day one when he declared that fuel subsidy was gone, he set the stage for Nigerians to sweat profusely before they eat. If he had been systematic and proactive, he would have avoided some of the suffering his pronouncement caused the people. He did not stop at removing fuel subsidy but went on to raise taxes to the extent that the poor pay through their noses for basic items. This has not only brought untold hardships to the people but eaten up whatever they have kept as savings. People can hardly afford to pay their children’s school fees leading to an army of frustrated street children who are readily available to anyone with little resources to give them to cause mayhem to the society.

Today’s Nigeria perfectly reflects the symptoms of a failed state as propounded by political scientists: widespread corruption, impunity in governance, mass unemployment and the celebration of criminality. Indeed, serious economic decline, free fall of the nation’s national currency and unchecked criminality, country wide banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and kidnappings all add up to the nation’s woes. Also, massive election rigging, transgression of the people’s mandate is obvious through the imposition of unpopular candidates on the people. The justice system is commercialized as the highest bidders take all. There is also the bastardization of education, widespread moral bankruptcy and the commercialization of religion. All these have led to a highly impoverished and frustrated citizenry with very low morale.

It is unfortunate that our leaders have not been able to chart a prosperous pathway for the country. They have always relied on the Bretton Woods institutions to draw our development plans. These plans have not been favourable towards the development of any African country. Instead of taking lessons from the unsuitability of these development plans for our countries, we continue to stick to them as if we do not have our peculiar situations.

Leaders must begin to draw up local, suitable and practical plans to push growth instead of relying on strategies that are alien to us. The Tinubu administration must as a matter of urgency fashion out alternative blueprints to push Nigeria’s development. Failure to do that portends grave danger for the country and its people. What happened in Kenya should be a wake-up call to our leaders to start looking inwards to mitigate the potential menace that is staring the country in the face.

Nigeria must do everything possible to create jobs, secure its people, provide food and look at the tax system again so that citizens can have some reprieve and avert the Kenya-like revolt.

What subsidy?

I want to start by making a confession. I have difficulty in understanding basic Economics. I didn’t do very well in the subject when I wrote GCE back then. Came out with a C6. Since then, I have deliberately steered clear of anything that has to do with figures and Economics. And each time there is a discourse in that area I simply apply my native intelligence to make my point.

Since the Babangida era, Nigerians have been told that unless subsidy on fuel is removed, our country, Nigeria, will continue to stagnate. Indeed, for the Babangida government to access a World Bank facility at that time, one of the conditionalities was for it to stop paying subsidy on fuel. As a result, fuel prices were jacked up and motorists were forced to pay more for it. Abacha too removed subsidy. Obasanjo, Yar’adua, Jonathan and Buhari followed in the footsteps of their predecessors. This led the Bretton Woods institutions to forgive Nigeria some of its debts and monies were returned to help the states develop their infrastructure.

Over time, different administrations have added to the cost of fuel in the name of subsidy removal. Since the Tinubu administration came on board, the sufferings of the citizens have been multiplied. He, without consultation, used executive fiat to remove whatever was left of the amorphous subsidy. This has led to the skyrocketing of the prices of goods and services and the citizenry exposed to hardships. Only God knows when things will stabilize. We have been told that subsidy removal will allow market forces to determine the cost of the commodity and grow the economy. Yet, there are no indications that there is a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. Poor Nigerians are told to keep sacrificing for a tomorrow that is bleak and far off.

In fact, for some of us who do not understand the dynamics of economics, is the subsidy endless and amorphous? After several claims were made with regards to its removal, the thing keeps reoccurring. Can’t it be dealt with once and for all?

Certainly, something is wrong somewhere. I think that the more you look at this thing, the less you understand it. If over the years, subsidies have been removed, for how long will we have to contend with it? Is somebody not playing games with the lives of the people? Maybe someone is not being sincere and it is being buried in some subsidy that we cannot understand?

Over the years, we have been told that subsidy removal will make allowance for rebuilding decaying critical infrastructure. But what do we have on ground? Are our leaders, who have been mandated by us to run our country on our behalf, been completely sincere? Have they been honest? Have we as a people not been tossed around as if we are in a game of football or chess?

Can our leaders come clean when they are asked to account for their deeds while in the driver’s seat? Can they in all sincerity tell the people and God that they did their best in running the country? Can the followership also sincerely say they have held the leadership to account? It is no wonder then that Okonjo Iweala, Jonathan’s Finance Minister, alluded to the fact that fighting corruption is dangerous in Nigeria in her book, Fighting Corruption is Dangerous.

Our refineries have suffered neglect over time. Turn around maintenance has become a veritable route to stupendous wealth for those lucky to be saddled with the responsibility of running them. Nepotism has become our greatest undoing. Competence has thus suffered. If you are not my brother you are not qualified. We destroy our institutions. We put deliberate clogs on their ways and refuse to allow them function and grow. We delight in growing other economies rather than our own. Imagine Abacha servicing the country even in death. Several million dollars have been returned as stolen monies kept in bank vaults in other climes.

Once you are appointed into public office, you become the rallying point of your locality. Everybody gathers in your house to pay homage. This in itself kills initiative. People become lazy and dependent.

Nigerians lack character. We are not a nation that punishes wrong doers. We celebrate thieves. We own them. If someone from my locality steals, I should not frown at it. He is my own. He has just taken a bit from the national cake on behalf of his community and, therefore, should not be punished. How can there not be subsidies that cannot be explained? When we finish eating our common patrimony and keep sacrificing on the altar of nepotism, ethnicity and regionalism we will one day wake up to a country that can offer us nothing.

The time to wake up from our long slumber is now. We have all that it takes to be a great nation. What we lack is good leadership and followership. We, therefore, need to change. Character is fundamental and central to this process of national transformation. You disobey the law; you must get punished. That way, we might start being accountable. Leaders must be elected based on competence and not sentiments. That should be the bottom line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let not our children go mad

SINCE the year 2000 when it was posited that the world was coming to an end, so many things have taken a turn for the worse. We have continued to witness the depreciation in the value of our currency, the rise in crime and criminality, the abuse of our culture and values and the outright revolts against the many norms that had come to define us as a people. It has been said that we are in an era when the things we were used to must give way to those things that have been fashioned by the millennials or what they call disruptive technology. At once, our social fabrics have been completely disorganized and disoriented and, in fact, flushed down the drain yet alternatives have not been constructed to replace them.

Towns and communities that were hitherto closely knitted became war zones and our living patterns changed overnight. Neighbours became sworn enemies and could no longer relate to themselves with the usual conviviality. Things that were shared during festivities across religious and ethnic divides were no longer sent to even neighbours who shared the same faith and lived in the same communities. Overnight everybody built a prison wall around themselves and everybody was no longer a part of the society in which they lived.

Our millennial children, because of the exigencies of their births, did not have the luxury of relating with their peers like we did and therefore, grew to see the world differently. They never saw and still do not see the extended family as meaningful. They rather see their immediate families as all that there is. But it is not their fault. We created the conditions, the monsters that have shaped them. Because they scarcely relate with their peers, television and the social media became their companions and teachers. And because parents had no time to devote to their children because of the pursuit of daily livings, they did not notice the harm they were inflicting on the minds of these young and impressionable lot.

Cultism, which was something unheard of in our society has become the norm. Our streets these days are strewn with corpses as a result of their activities. The streets are no longer safe neither are those who live on them. Fathers dare not speak to their own children for fear of being targeted and dealt with. Mothers cover their faces in shame each time the names of their children, who have decided to waste their lives by joining cult groups, are mentioned. Something needs to be down to arrest this unfortunate descend to chaos and doom. We need to again look at our value system and try to sort ourselves out. We cannot continue sliding down this dangerous and slippery path that is obviously leading our society to crash and self-destruct.

Some parents who gave birth and threw their children onto the streets have created a ready- made army for our politicians who use coercion to secure their political positions. These street urchins have not only constituted themselves into a nuisance to the society but have succeeded in entrenching a culture of violence and destruction on it. This has made their generation to see violence as normal. It is no wonder then that the crises which have bedeviled our society have refused to go away. These crises keep mutating from one form to another.

Our religious leaders need to look at themselves again and determine whether the theology they are teaching is what our forefathers taught them. The leadership must also share in the blame. They have used public offices to pauperize the masses who in turn at every opportunity grab whatever comes their way. The elites have a lot of work to do if we are to truly fix our society. They cannot continue to live in the illusion that whatever they steal would be able to take care of their families when they answer the ultimate call.

They must note that even those prison walls they have built around them cannot provide the needed protection when the poor and hungry decide that enough is enough. Our country has more than enough resources to provide the basics of life for everybody. What needs to be done and is undone, is for those entrusted with managing these resources to be sincere, frugal and honest. And nepotism, ethnicity, regionalism needs to be helmed and ostracized from our society to allow everybody realize their potentials. When we keep promoting mediocrity, we would continue to wallow in the wilderness and will never get it right.

 

Ethnicization and religionization of politics

NIGERIA, our country is going through one of its most trying periods. Religion and ethnicity are serious albatross that are being contended with and there seems to be no moral voice willing and ready to call the society back from tottering on the brink of the precipice. Gone are those days when religious leaders speak truth to power. They would rather say what the politicians want to hear so that they get fat envelopes from them at the end of the day.

Truly, Karl Max was not far off when he posited that religion is the opium of the people. What we see in our society not only confirms the postulation but affirms the fact that if something is not done fast and quick, our country is going to break up sooner than we can think of. It is only in our country that some preachers would mount the pulpit and utter words that would cause division amongst the people rather than unite them. Preachers no longer minister to the spiritual needs of the people; they are neck deep into politics. They, as a matter of fact, seem to be trying to outdo one another in their attempt to curry favours from politicians. The use of vulgar and uncouth language seems to be the order of the day. They tell their followers that they are more Nigerian than adherents of other faiths and religions and that God has placed them in the country to rule for however long they want.

Some, in fact, incite their followers to take up arms against the state and claim their religion gives them the latitude to defend it whenever they feel shortchanged.  They fight and kill on behalf of their God. If God is omnipresent and all powerful and is, indeed, the creator of all things and everything, do you need to fight for Him? With a single word, we know God can destroy all of the world yet we are also aware that He does not act like humans with their uncontrolled emotions. If He did, He would have destroyed the world long ago because of our shortcomings.

It is no wonder, therefore, that even our pattern of living has been defined along ethno-religious lines. Take Jos, the capital of Plateau State, for instance, there are areas Christians and Muslims cannot live together like they used to in the past. The interaction which used to foster unity and oneness has been removed by the definition of where one lives. Friends no longer relate like they did in times past and a deep gulf has been created and is doing a lot of harm to the society.

On the other hand, ethnic cleavages are the norm and are adding salt to the injuries already created by the many problems faced by our developing society. It is very easy to create the impression that particular ethnic nationalities are targeted for destruction. Each time there are political spoils to distribute, ethnic champions masquerading as protectors of the heritage suddenly arise just because they know that emotions would be charged when they resort to such base sentiments to get what they want.

The obvious divides that have continued to stare us in the face and remain a constant in the discourse that often arise seem to portray us as a people deeply divided. We have never agreed to forge common fronts to pursue goals that would further strengthen our relationships. We look for fault lines instead of repairing what has been damaged by infractions that our leaders past had to contend with. The gory tales of the 1967 civil war have become a point of reference each time we talk to ourselves. Instead of taking positive lessons we dwell on the negatives and open wounds that had started to heal.

We hear some saying that our South East brothers are not to be trusted with the leadership of the country. This does not make sense at all. If they can succeed in commerce and industry, they can as well succeed in governance. We cannot continue to hold a sin which was committed long ago against them. They have not been able to ascend to the highest position in our country because of stereotyping and ethnicism. The South West has been called names just as others have been accused of one sin or the other. We need to depart from this attitude of continuous blame and start being positive and forward looking. We are too religious yet everything we do speaks of us as a people who do not believe in God.

Our value system needs to be re- evaluated and a change in attitude and approach to issues made to occupy centre- stage. Capacity and capability must be what we pursue when we seek to engage those who would run our affairs. If we are to succeed, we must always present our first eleven not just anybody who does not have what it takes to do the job. Ethnicism and giving verve to religion above capacity would do us no good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing phases of Jos

Many years ago, as a young and adventurous man, one wondered about the streets of Jos without being afraid of any form of molestation. Walking home late in the evenings after leaving UJ through Angwan Rogo to Ali Kazaure was, indeed, pleasurable and refreshing. During the weekends, it was customary to either visit friends or attend one ceremony or the other in different parts of the town and have fun without thinking of hurrying home before dark.

Fast forward to the 90s, things were still better, we interacted with each other across the many divides and still did not have any reason to fear that you might come in harm’s way. Having finished NYSC and was job hunting, traveling and coming back to Jos late at night was fun. Because then, night life was fantastic and you could trust a complete stranger to help you get home safely when you were stuck at night.

Tribe, religion and whatever world view one held did not matter at all. Jos was a closely knit society where everyone looked out for the other. Then, humanity mattered more than anything else and communality was the order. Young people, not minding their backgrounds interacted as one big family. Nobody cared what tribe or religion his neighbour professed. All that mattered was that we were all humans and friends.

Then came the return to democracy when the floodgate of all manner of agitations were opened. Several pressure groups began to flourish and new relationships began to define our neigbourhoods. The once peaceful and serene society took an entirely new form, and things began to fall apart. Our once peaceful city lost its innocence and friends became foes. Our living patterns were now defined by our tribe, religion and other considerations. No more was it convenient to enjoy night life without watching your back. No more were we our brother’s keeper. The warm embrace that used to be the magnet that attracted people to the city was lost.

That opened the door to the barrage of problems that is being faced by our society today. Stealing which used to be manageable soon became a source of concern and worry. Children born during the crises that plagued the society in the early 2000s did not have a sense of what obtained before they were born. They responded to the crises without a sense of history and that further polarized the society. No one was welcomed to certain parts of the city because he was considered not one of their own.

When it seem the various crises were being brought under control, new problems reared their heads. People who had lost sources of livelihood had to device ways to survive. Apart from robbery which became rampant, street urchins took over most of the space that law enforcement could not cover or neglected to patrol. Knives became ready weapons used by these young people to rob and sometimes kill or maim their victims. Residents had to resort to self- help to protect themselves from the menace of these hoodlums.

A lot of their victims have very gory and heart wrenching stories to tell. They are ruthless and do not pity their victims at all. Maybe because they are often under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As a matter of fact, they have now resorted to using tricycles to further the frontiers of their trade. They pick innocent passengers, take them to dark alleys and rob them of their possessions. They steal phones and other valuables. They often times rape ladies who are unfortunate.

This must not be allowed to continue. Law enforcement must up their game and ensure that they curb the menace. Parents and guardians too have a role to play to ensure their wards do not give in to peer pressure too easily. We must all inculcate the virtues of hard work and drum it into the heads of our wards.

Governments must do all they can to provide the right environment for industry to flourish. They might not be able to provide all the employment, but they can create the right environment for the private sector to thrive and work for the good of all. We have witnessed so many deaths already because of our seeming neglect. We must work to stop this new menace of using knives and other cudgels to rob people of their possessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Security as key to development

FOR any society to grow and realize its potentials, it needs to be secure. The population of any territory cannot achieve anything when chaos is the order of the day. You cannot attain your full potentials when you are not sure of your safety. You cannot grow food to feed the population when you live in perpetual fear of being attacked when you go to farm. Living in a secure and peaceful environment is, therefore, key to growth and the attainment of societal goals.

Since the return to democratic rule as a result of the withdrawal of the military from governance, Nigeria has been plagued by one problem or the other. There was crisis in the Niger Delta area of the South South which was later followed by the problem of the so-called political Sharia in the North. Indeed, the East and the West have also had their fair share of the crises as IPOB laid siege to the society and held it captive. That is not to talk of the decimation of the Middle Belt and other parts of the country by Fulani militias.

These crises have created bigger monsters that have not only threatened the stability of the country but cost it so many years of stunted growth despite its huge potentials. The leadership of the country seems not to be unable to find a way around the crisis or has simply refused to proffer enduring solutions so that they can continue to perpetuate themselves in power to the detriment of the poor.

The crisis that has engulfed the North Eastern part of Nigeria has not only defied solutions but further held the country back and led to the arrested development of not only the area but the entire country. The Boko Haram crisis has led to one of the most devastating humanitarian crisis in the history of the country. It has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and made them refugees in their own country.

The slaughter of about 43 rice farmers who had gone to harvest their crop in Zabarmari in Borno State attest to the fact that the state had failed in its primary responsibility of providing security for its citizens. It also confirms that long-held notion that those saddled with the responsibility of protecting the people have run out of ideas. Therefore, something drastic needs to be done if the country is to return to the path of peace and development.

It has been alleged in many quarters that members of the Boko Haram have and are using more sophisticated weapons than the Nigeria Army. Yet, the leadership has not accepted and worked to change this impression. Nigerians have been told times without number that Boko Haram, kidnapping gangs and their ilk have been technically defeated. However, each time they strike, it is done with so much devastating precision.

This goes to confirm too that conflict entrepreneurs have taken advantage of and are making a living out of this unfortunate situation. Indeed, a senator from Borno State had alleged that arms meant for the Nigerian Army had been diverted and given to the insurgents. But nobody gave him any attention, neither were his allegations, which were weighty, investigated.

There is, therefore, the urgent need to effect some changes in the security high command of the country. This will allow for the introduction of fresh ideas and perspective into the fight against the insurgency and the other challenges that have besieged the country.

The training of the army also needs to be restructured. Since the training they now receive has not been able to contain the insurgency, they must also find new ways of responding to the challenges. Because the insurgents do not use normal war tactics, the army on its part must, and should, also adopt the asymmetric method in fighting the insurgency.

Thankfully, northern elders who had hitherto seen nothing wrong in the war that was ravaging other parts of the country have suddenly found their voices. They had often said that local troubles should be dealt with locally. Now that they have turned the corner and seen the dangers insurgency poses, it is hoped that they would work towards ending the crisis. This insurgency must have driven home the fact that no society develops when there is no peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, not our Senate!

NIGERIA’S woes have continued to multiply and pile up as if the country and its people are cursed.  From one problem, we transit to another without finding solutions to the first. The ever-present Boko Haram crisis which has left several body bags in its wake is a constant reminder of government failure as it has refused to deal with it so as to bring the scourge to an end. Having been allowed to have a field day, these insurgents have dealt so much devastation on the North East and North West parts of the country that people had to abandon these areas putting pressure on other parts of the country.

Food, which should never have been a problem, has continued to be scarce in spite of the vast and fertile land at Nigeria’s disposal.  As if that was not enough, there have been several hikes in the costs of fuel since the Yakubu Gowon era. And, the amorphous subsidy has continued to be an issue till date.

Having failed to deal with the aforementioned, new problems keep rearing their ugly heads even as many institutions have been built to deal with them. Despite their feeble and lacklustre attempts, our leaders seem not to have the capacity and capability to deal with these challenges as they arise.. Neither have they come to grasps with the fact that leaders are hired to solve problems on behalf of the people they govern.

Some of these issues that have continued to plague our society should have occupied the attention of our Senate, however, they have chosen to engage in affairs that are anti- people. Fuel queues have literarily taken over our streets and productive man hours are lost trying to get that essential commodity, yet our senate prefers to engage in frivolities. Food is scarce and costly making most Nigerians go to bed without eating anything yet our senate would rather waste precious time fighting themselves over where to sit.

Nigerians are being killed on daily basis but that is not good enough to attract the attention of our law makers to enact laws that would bring about a secured society. They would rather expend their energies engaging in small fights over who sits where as if sitting positions would help in stopping these unwarranted killings. As we go to press, a lot of Nigerians are held in kidnappers-den and are not able to pay ransome so that they would be free, but that is not a source of worry for our Senate. Indeed, Abuja, the capital city has not been spared the wrath of these daredevil persons. Several persons have been kidnapped for no fault of theirs and made to suffer humiliation and even death yet our Senate would rather fight over sitting positions. Our distinguished Senators are not worried by the men of the underworld and cultists who have turned our country into a killing field neither are they bothered by the many poor school children herded into unknown destinations like cows led to the slaughter by heartless and wicked persons.

The story of Leah Sharibu is a constant reminder of the failure of government to provide security for the citizenry. So too are the stories of several Southern Kaduna school children taken hostage by Fulani militias who have turned kidnapping into a lucrative business. To add to the painful lists of our problems, the Abuja/Kaduna road has become a no go area for motorists just as has been the train services between the two cities. No where is safe any longer as kidnappings have been extended into our capital cities and nothing is being done to stem the tide.

The Middlebelt area which used to pride itself as the food basket of the nation can not live up to its billings. Fulani militias have taken over large swarths of the land rendering the people homeless and hungry and nothing has been done to return the displaced persons to their ancestral land.

These and several more are what the Senate should concern itself with not the issue of sitting space. They must know that they were hired to solve problems on behalf of Nigerians not to fight themselves over trivialities. The needless infighting among these senators who belong to the ruling party is not what they have been sent to the Senate to do. If they must be told, they were sent to make laws for the smooth running of the country, whether they sit on the floor or stand on their feet.  Nothing less is expected from them.

Is neutrality possible?

BEING neutral signifies not being involved and clearly not taking sides. It means not aligned, not being part of and not participating in an event that would probably shape a particular situation making the non-participant look at the whole process from the standpoint of someone capable of making dispassionate and clear judgement about the situation. But is it possible for a grown adult to stand aloof and watch his society drift away and do nothing to stem the tide?

True, it is often very difficult to stand by and watch without doing anything or contributing, no matter how small, especially in contemporary Nigerian politics. This is because most political actors have shown a lack of capacity to lead. Yet, the responsibility of reporting the society lies squarely on the journalist who is expected to be fair to all manner of people and present all shades of opinion. But is neutrality possible?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes, because the ethics of the journalism profession expects the person on the field to keep his opinion and reflect only that of the news maker whether or not he believes in it. On the other hand, because the journalist is a part and parcel of that society, he cannot stand by and watch his society drift and does nothing to stem the drift. If he does, history will not be kind to him at the end of the day because he did nothing when he was expected to act.

This is the dilemma in which the journalist finds himself when faced with the reality of politics. He is compelled to report events he believes or does not believe in for the sake of his society and is often at the receiving end of societal backlash when things are not done as expected. The 2023 elections provided a litmus test  for the journalism profession. A number of journalists were enlisted as publicists for people running for political offices. I do not have a problem with that. Whether we like it or not, somebody must do the job.

What is our major concern here, however, is whether as professionals, we are able to meet the requirements of the society and help it grow. I would not concern myself with the theories here but would prefer to speak to the morals and allow us judge for ourselves. Can we in truth be trusted to stand in the gap for the people? Do we have the moral high ground on which to stand, moralise and challenge society to tow the path of justice, truth and fairness? This is often the difficult and not so easy task society expects from the journalist.

Often, publicists have been called journalists. This is not right. What is even more challenging is the evolution of online platforms that have tended to drag journalism into disrepute. Many of these online platforms are, to say the truth, owned by single individuals who are their own reporters, sub-editors and gatekeepers. There are often no second eyes to question certain postulations they put out on their platforms. For instance, anything can be churned out without cross-checking and dished out to the reading public. This does a lot of harm to the people and, if not checked, causes trouble for the larger society. And because a large number of publicists now own blogs, society is put at the tipping point.

Fake news has become the order of the day since the owners of these platforms are the content providers, the gatekeepers and the all in all. As a result, neutrality becomes a difficult ingredient in the service of the society. That underscores the performance of the press in the present circumstances where biases and taking sides have become the order of the day. Also, ownership determines to a large extent the focus of the various media platforms. The biases of the owners often shape the content of the outfit.

Lately, what we see gracing the various platforms is not palatable at all. Charlatans have taken over the media space and are doing great disservice to the once cherished profession. Something needs to be urgently done to rescue the situation. The things being churned out to the reading public are not healthy at all. Divisive and hate literature have become the order of the day. Visit any site and you will understand what I am talking about.

Our fault lines are being taken advantage of and the divisions are being thrown to our faces. It appears all these years nothing positive has happened to us as a people. Yes, our leaders have shown that they do not have the capacity to steer the ship of state to safety but can we as a people not act and take back our heritage? The time to turn a new leaf is now. We should be determined to change the narrative and do what is expected of all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media, morals and us

SINCE its emergence, the new or social media has provided an alternative to the traditional media. It has placed information at the finger-tips of all and sundry. And it is threatening to put traditional media out of business. With just a click on an android phone, one can access a whole load of information. There is what is called an information overload as a result of the availability of so much information in the media space.

Unfortunately, there is the serious challenge of the misuse of information. What is most annoying is the fact that most people do not filter or are not interested in doing due diligence and take whatever they see on the social media as the truth and nothing but the truth. People forget that anyone can stay in their room and create content.

This, unfortunately removes the gatekeeper role that is found in the traditional media. And because there are no checks, trash and garbage are daily churned out to the gullible public who help in spreading some of these outright falsehoods and mischief.

Even though there are tools to help the citizenry verify some of these claims, they are too lazy to take advantage of them. In fact, most people hardly read what they share on the social media. Fact checking tools abound today yet very few individuals use them. And this has done a lot of harm to relationships between individuals and between communities.

You find young people on social media insulting people who are old enough to be their parents on issues that they know next to nothing about. The anonymity provided by the new media is clearly being abused and our societal morals are being destroyed gradually.

People post things that are not true and feel no qualms about it. They destroy other people’s hard-earned reputation and go to sleep feeling okay. I sincerely feel that there is a need for filters to be built by owners of these media to reduce some of these unfortunate happenings. If soft wares could be built to help in the spread and dissemination of information, other soft wares could as well be built to help filter truth from lies.

If this is not done quickly enough, there is the tendency that the next world or civil wars between countries or communities will be caused by the new media. And it would come with such a devastating effect that will consume all and sundry. The earlier the society starts taking responsibility the better for us all. We must take responsibility for our actions and inactions. We must caution ourselves each time we reach out to hit the share button on our gadgets. We do not need anyone to tell us what is right or wrong. We know them and must make a decision not to be mischievous, and in the course destroy our fellow brothers.

Journalists and journalism code of ethics

Each day I read, listen to or watch the news, I wonder if journalism still has a code of conduct. I feel sad that this code which was hitherto the Bible or Koran of the media practitioner has become useless and it is no longer adhered to. Journalism has become an all-comers affair. Anyone who can write becomes a journalist. That is even not the issue. It is the conduct of this lot that has become a source of concern.

Out there, beggars litter the streets masquerading as journalists. As soon as they hear that there is an event, they mill around harassing people, collecting money and not writing anything at all. Giving those who go out on daily basis to genuinely do their jobs a bad name. Some even claim they are publishers yet attend assignments with their reporters. They collect adverts from unsuspecting clients and do not produce copies but do Direct Imaging (DI) and take them to the unsuspecting clients.

The public should be wary of such wolves in sheep skins. They must endeavor to deal with genuine members of the profession through the professional union who know and keep genuine records of its membership. Also, the professional union must make it a responsibility to always insist and remind its members about its code of conduct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only in Nigeria…

IN several African countries, a spike in the prices of a simple staple as bread is enough to spark violence, chaos and anarchy. The bread revolution in Sudan upended a government. And one of the consequences is the on-going war ravaging that country. The Arab Spring was also the result of Tunisia’s bread riots that led to several deaths and a regime change in the country.

But in Nigeria, nothing happens when a leader wakes up and issues an executive fiat that fuel subsidy is gone without thinking through the policy and weighing the consequences. There would have been no issues if concrete measures that could mitigate the sufferings of the people were first put in place before the announcement.

Whether Nigerians would suffer dire consequences did not, in any way, matter to these leaders whose bills are picked by the taxpayers. According to the government, hikes in the price of petrol and other petroleum products signify a welcome departure from subsidizing these products and thus saving humongous sums for the various tiers of governments.

As much as one does not debate the savings made, one cannot help but ask: what is the essence of government in the first place? Beyond protection the lives and property of citizens, the fair and equitable distribution of the resources of a country occupy a very important place in the affairs of government. Is our government fair in the performance of these basic responsibilities? Can we trust it to uphold and defend the people as it is done elsewhere?

Only recently, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, jacked up the price of units of power, categorizing electricity consumers into different bands. Unfortunately, Nigerians have not as much as shown interests in, or protested, this arbitrary increase in tariffs. No one is willing to stick their necks for the wellbeing of the generality of the people. All that happens is, people groan under the difficult yoke. At the end, they adjust and carry on with their sufferings. In the face of all these, workers’ salaries have not changed and it is the only thing that committees are set up to review each time labour unions threaten to call out workers to demand their rights.

Annoyingly, government has refused to bring to an end the insecurity that has caused hardships to the people. On a daily basis, people are being killed on their farms without protection from those hired to provide such protection. As General Sani Abacha said long ago, “Any uprising which last more than 48 hours is supported by the government.” It, therefore, means that government has a hand in the unfortunate happenings in our various communities. Thus, it must make concerted efforts towards bringing to an end the violence and suffering it has brought upon the people.

And, as a consequence of the aforesaid, food production has been affected and the cost of food has skyrocketed way beyond the reach of the ordinary citizen. If government cannot muster the courage to bring to an end the insecurity that has caused untold hardships on the people, then it has no business holding on tenaciously to power.

If it were religion, a personal thing, that was tampered with, hell would have been let loose. Nigerians would have gone on rampage in defence of their faith. They would have fought on behalf of their God. Yet, they would never contemplate raising as much as a finger when it comes to issues that border on their welfare.

Taking a census of the most religious countries in the world, where churches and mosques and other prayer houses litter the streets, one is not surprised by their backwardness. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and so many other Third World countries have only relics of war and destruction to showcase. Issues of development hardly attract serious discourse.

There is need to refocus and pay more attention to issues that have to do with the development of our society and country. No one would come from somewhere to help drive our development. We will have to fashion ways and means to do this by ourselves. If we must fight, let it be for good reasons.

If the essence of government is truly the provision of basic infrastructure for the enjoyment of the citizenry, then it behooves on it to ensure that it provides infrastructure before it goes ahead to withdraw subsidies. Afterall, servicing the people is the number one responsibility of government.

As much as we agree that the withdrawal of subsidies would free government resources for the overall development of society, there needs to be a systematic transition. Government also needs to fight the endemic corruption that has become the hall mark of past leaders. As a matter of fact, subsidies are amorphous and nobody can say for sure what they are. In the end, they would be passed on to the end users.

We must be wary of the cobra effect. Our society cannot in trying to solve one problem create others in the process. Leaders must take up the gauntlet and solve problems because that is what they are employed to do. If they create instead of solving problems, then they would have been deemed to have failed, woefully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do the Eagles have a manager?

Nigeria has a fanatical football followership. Football is like a religion. Most Nigerians support teams from far and near, especially teams in the English Premier League. They know all the players, they follow every game and are very vociferous when they watch their teams play. Sometimes when such supporters discuss their teams you marvel at the level of knowledge they churn out about these teams. But the same cannot be said of teams in the Nigerian league. Our organization is so terrible that we do not have a specific time when our league begins or ends.

South Africa that had scant interest in football until the late eighties has a better organized league. And, because they are adept at what they do in South Africa, players from Nigeria go there to ply their trade making the league at home look like child’s play. Just like in every aspect of life, South Africa has overtaken Nigeria and we are struggling to catch up with a country that hitherto saw us as their big brother. Because we are so unorganized, we have not been able to provide players for our various national teams and that explains the regression that has been the lot of the national team.

Once upon a time Nigeria was feared when it came to playing the round leather game. Our league used to be graced by players from Ghana and other countries because of the level of discipline and organization that used to be present in our league then. Nigeria used to be the haven of professional football where so many players thronged to, to ply their trade.

From the early seventies, Nigeria showed so much promise and even engaged the services of some of the best coaches in the world. We remember the Otto Gloria period, when Nigeria was the cynosure of the world in African football. Through time, Nigeria’s football gained momentum and the world came to appreciate the level of passion that existed in the country thus predicting that Nigeria has the potential of becoming a football power house.

Indeed, the Westerhof period brought Nigeria’s football to its zenith when for the first time the Green Eagles went to the world cup (USA 94) and put their imprint on the game of football. That is apart from the Darman miracle in Saudi Arabia 89, when Nigeria came from four goals down to turn things around. Indeed, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics further announced and established Nigeria’s presence in world football where Nigeria beat Brazil and Argentina on the way to winning the gold medal.

Unfortunately, years after announcing its presence at various FIFA organized tournaments, things have continued to fall apart for Nigerian football. Just like other aspects of our national life, we have not been able to harness and sustain the talents that abound in our country. We have some of the best and most skillful players in the world yet nothing positive seems to be happening in our national teams. Football has become an avenue for the pilfering of our national wealth. Administrator who knows next to nothing about the game are allowed to destroy it because of pecuniary gains. They carry large contingents to FIFA organized tournaments just to make money. They pay scant regards to players welfare allowing these players to change nationalities and play for other countries denying Nigeria  of the services of these artists.

It is such attitude that has brought us to this sad path and we are on the way to missing out on two consecutive World Cup because of the employment of a low- grade coach. We were made to understand that Peisero was employed based on the recommendation Jose Mourinho his country man. Peisero was not interviewed to determine his suitability alongside other candidates but because he came highly recommended. Even Gernot Rohr who was sacked by the NFF had better credentials than the present manager. We have lost to teams that we have never lost to in the past and are struggling to maintain our clean records.

It is laughable the excuse given by Peisero on the draws secure against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the world cup qualifying games when he said,   “It was a tough trip from Nigeria to this place. The flight, the bus. It’s a lot of work, and the players didn’t have enough rest, coupled with injuries, but that’s not an excuse. We had more energy and could have won that match.”

Fortunately, Iwobi did not share his manager’s  views when he said, “Travel is not an excuse, we’re professional enough and we have a lot of quality in the side. The first half wasn’t good enough, but the second half was better, so we have to look at that and analyse the game and see what went wrong and what we can do to improve. I’ll just ask the Nigerian fans to stick by us,” the former Everton man told Soccernet.ng. For Iwobi, it is a disappointment to not come away with all three points and wants to fight for Nigeria’s spot at the next FIFA World Cup.

We therefore need to stop cutting corners and do that which is right. We cannot employ mediocre coach and expect to make any headway. Nigeria deserves a world class coach and nothing less. If we are to change this unfortunate stride, we must put the right pegs in the right holes. Our organization must be made to work. People who have no business in football management should not come near the Glass House in Abuja.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weaning judiciary of self -inflicted injuries

THE judiciary recently came under intense scrutiny from within when Justice Musa Dattijo, a retiring Justice of the Supreme Court fired darts at the rot going on in the once revered institution. He called for reforms in the Supreme Court failure of which would lead the Court down the path to perdition. According to Justice Dattijo, “Public perceptions of the judiciary have over the years become witheringly scornful and monstrously critical. It has been in the public space that court officials and judges are easily bribed by litigants to obviate delays and or obtain favourable judgments.”

Dattijo went on to say “His lordship Adefope-Okojie JCA, at the point of exiting, had enthused, inter-alia, thus: “Pleas are expressed everyday by the generality of the public begging the judiciary to be just to be truthful; and to save the country from collapse. My question is whether the judiciary needs to be begged or cajoled? What is it that qualifies any person to bear that exalted name ‘Honourable Justice’? Is it not for him to administer justice without fear or favour?…..”Unfortunately, It has been severely vilified, with the Apex Court so denigrated and called by a social commentator as a voter gaggle of useless, purchasable judicial bandits. How did the judiciary get to this level? Why is the whole country on edge for fear of what the public regards ​as​ unpredictable​judicial pronouncements?”

He further stated that “Recently, fresh allegations have been made that children and other relatives of serving and retired judges and justices are being appointed into judicial offices at the expense of more qualified candidates lacking in such privilege and backing. It is asserted that the process of appointment to judicial positions are deliberately conducted to give undue advantage to the “children, spouses, and mistresses” of serving and retired judges and managers of judicial offices.”

Saying that “In some quarters the view is strongly held that filth and intrigues characterize the institution these days! Judges are said to be comfortable in companies they never would have kept in the past. It is being insinuated that some judicial officers even campaign for the politicians. It cannot be more damnifying!”

This is how rotten the judiciary has become over the years and it has lost the sobriquet of being the last hope of the common person. The judiciary like it has been alluded to above is cash and carry. If you are not rich to buy your way through the courts, then you can not get justice no matter how good your case is. But truth be told, the judiciary is a product of our society where everything goes. If you cheat and get away with it, you are considered smart. If you follow the rules, you are considered a dunce and called names.

Nigerians generally have a penchant for doing the wrong things and push the blames on others. If they drive against traffic, it is not their fault but that of those who are supposed to manage traffic. They are quick to point that somebody is not doing their job. We must learn to obey the law and do what is right at all times even if nobody is looking. This is the general illness which has affected all facets of our society and which has eaten deep into the fabric of our society. We must then determine to do right and bring back our society from the brink.

Justice Dattijo concludes that “This is how a society goes down the drain really quickly first overlook evil, then it permits evil, then it legalizes evil, then it promotes evil, then it celebrates it and then persecutes those that still call it evil.” Lastly, according to Dattijo, Adam Grant’s words, in moments like this, are also instructively apposite: “When you follow a concept, consider what would lead you to withdraw your support. If the answer is nothing, your integrity is in jeopardy. Your highest loyalty belongs to principles not concepts. No concept deserves unconditional love. Commitment is earned through character.”

As postulated above, Nigerians must decide what they want their society to look like. If you want growth you must work for growth and if you want rot continue doing those things that would lead you to damnation. Therefore, the judiciary must wean itself of the baggage and burden of being accused of being wrong footed. It must change and start towing the path of truth. That is the only way we can change the perceptions and narratives about the judiciary and indeed, the entirety of the society.

Playing politics with education

SINCE February of this year, students of Nigeria’s public universities have not smelt the four walls of their classrooms. Reason? Their teachers have been on a protracted strike that has defied all reasoning. Both the government and Union sides have stuck to their guns and refused to yield to any suggestion. Everyone is holding on to the fact that it is either their way or nothing at all. And, the students and their parents have been at the receiving end of this back and forth. For a course of four years, students end up staying seven or eight years and the ripple effect on the parents can only be imagined. Yet in the midst of all these, political activities have reached fever pitch with politicians jostling for various positions in spite of the hugely outrageous costs of nomination forms.

Even at this, ASUU and the federal government have not seen the need to sheath their swords, come to a round table and sincerely find a way forward for our education and the future of our children who have already been branded “lazy youths”. Both parties to all intent and purposes, fail to grasp the implications of their recalcitrance on the future of our country. They are so engrossed in fighting for the immediate that the dangers posed by their actions seem to escape them. Indeed, both parties are oblivious of the lessons of history which would definitely haunt them tomorrow.

For me universities are centres of excellence where ideas are not only conceived but are tested and made workable and flourish for the good of all.  It is, therefore, only logical to assume that they are and should be centres for finding solution to the many problems that challenge the society and once they fail to do this, they add no value and lose their place in the scheme of things. But ASUU which is the leading light in these revered institutions seem to be losing it. Or how else can one explain the unending and protracted strikes that have come to be second nature of these institutions of learning and which they have failed to find solution to? It is expected that by now, academics should know that embarking on strikes as is obtained in Nigeria yields no results. They should thus work out other means of forcing the governments to listen to them.

There have been cries that tuition fees should be introduced in these institutions yet ASUU has been in the forefront of fighting against this. For parents, that would be much better since it would guarantee some degree of sanity on the campuses. If parents are made to part with so much monies to pay for secondary education, why can’t they pay something to ensure their wards remain in school and leave at the right and appropriate time?

We have been inundated with arguments that public education should be made free for the common person. Much as I agree with this postulation, it would only make sense if a form of scholarship is worked out in such a manner that after graduation, students would be made to payback over time to make government provide for others who would come after them. This is the practice in countries that are our standard bearers. But if this has to be done, corruption must be curbed and seriously reduced.  Evidently also, ASUU has refused to explore new grounds to help fund education. If private universities can thrive and succeed without subventions from government, it is thus possible to find ways and means of surviving in an era with leaders who seem to care less about the future.

On the other hand, the arrogance exhibited by those who represent government must be checked. We cannot expect thugs to whose values are questionable to lead a process that is meant to grow our society. This “area boys” attitude must be jettison if anything meaningful is to come out of our society. Unless and until we encourage solution driven institutions, Nigeria would continue to rigmarole and make no headway. Finding solution should be the priority of every leader. If you cannot solve problems, you have no business seeking leadership whether it is in the Union or for the larger society. And as a caveat, we cannot succeed if we keep doing the same thing over and over.  We must accept that the only permanent thing in life is change, which is a constant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022: Year of the locust

THE year 2022 has come and gone. What remains are memories of the events that shaped the year and how these events affected the populace positively or otherwise. The year opened with so much promise yet it closed as one that the citizenry wished it never happened.

It was in the year 2022 that the Naira, Nigeria’s national currency went on a free fall, the worst ever to be witnessed in the history of the country. Indeed, the managers of the economy showed a lack of capacity never before seen.  This could however have been deliberate to allow the sharks that man the economy feast on it and bring it to the precarious state in which it is at the moment.

Apart from the free fall of the Naira, 2022 presented one of the harshest periods when the cost of living spiraled out of control and dealt severe blow on the people. Cost of food and living went through the roof and people found it difficult to meet their daily needs. This led to the pauperisation of the citizenry thus making life a lot more difficult for the people.

It was also the year when parents had it tough sending their children to school because of the high cost of school fees charged by proprietors to enable them keep their businesses afloat. As a result, more children left school, swelling the number of out of school children on our streets. This meant too that more recruits were made available to the criminal gangs that controlled most of our ungoverned areas.

2022 also witnessed one of the longest ASUU strikes ever in the history of the Union. Students were made to stay for eight months at a stretch at home because of the disagreements between their teachers and the government. The government’s lack of capacity was made even more manifest when appointees flagrantly disregarded the instructions of their principal and nothing was done to beat them back into line. Having lost this much time, not much was achieved at the end of the drama where the courts had to intervene to bring succor to the students who had become frustrated and tired of the antics of a government which cared less about education.

To add salt to injury, many more private universities were established by the government with their unfriendly fee regime which favours only the children of the well to do in the society. This also only further confirms the deliberate efforts at further pauperising the populace and government’s lack of ideas to strengthen and restructure public universities.

The army of the unemployed that litter the streets is a testament to the growing threat that the ever- present Boko Haram constitute to the youth population. We would never forget in a hurry the devastation caused by insurgency in the North East, Middle Belt area, Eastern and a lot other parts that suffered from the activities of miscreants who masquerade as freedom fighters. So many people have been displaced from their ancestral homes for no fault of theirs and nothing substantive has been done to return them to their lands. Indeed, foreign invaders have had a field day in our country so much so that we have become refugees in our own land.

With 2023 in the horizon, we must start refocusing our priorities and prepare to do what is right. We must strive to recover our country and make it truly a home not some killing fields that have become the lot of some communities in the past 20 years. Some parts of the country have been left to suffer their fate alone and nothing has been done to bring succour to them. Southern Kaduna has become a sort of juggle where government has been absent and its presence not felt at all. Banditry, kidnappings, stealing have become the norm. Nobody sees such crimes as an aberration anymore and do nothing to stop young people from perpetrating them.

We cannot afford to continue in this regard. We must stand up and ensure that the right things are done. Our ballots should determine who we employ to hold in trust political leadership positions. People with impeccable character only should be employed and when they are given the jobs, we must tell them in very clear terms that they must work as servants not the kind of leaders who become monsters once they mount the mantle of leadership. We have to set and get our priorities right once and for all otherwise, we would all be doomed.

Mission to kill education

IN the past eight months of this year 2022, public universities have been under lock and key. There were a lot of back and forth between the lecturers and government yet no concrete agreement was reached between the two. Some ray of possibility was, however, gleaned when the House of Representatives intervened by bringing together the two parties in the dispute promising to work out a political solution to the intractable problem.  But as soon as the situation seemed to be calming down and returning to normal some people who are not interested in settling the dispute put a spanner in the works.

Salary payment which was a pre -condition for the reopening of these public institutions was flatly disregarded and that turned the whole agreement on its head. Lecturers in some institutions were selected, some paid their salaries while in some institutions only seventeen days -worth of salaries were paid them. Reason for this was that one Minister for Labour had written and instructed that the Ministry of Finance only pay the lecturers, who are ASUU members, for seventeen days. On the other hand, members of CONUA, a newly registered university union were paid their full salaries.

This unfortunate event turned every hope of getting the institutions back working on its head. It forced university unions to respond to the action by putting on hold teaching of the students thereby prolonging the nightmares of not only the students but those of their parents who on daily basis have been praying for the amicable resolution of the protracted and unnecessary problem.

This action of the Minister of Labour is typical of the posture of some members of the cabinet of the present administration. First, was the attempt by the administration to cause bad blood and a split within the major Labour Centres, the NLC and the TUC. Unfortunately, this fell flat on its head when the two Labour Centres realised that they were being led to the path of perdition by those who did not mean well for them. Then it was the turn of the NBA. Everything was done to ensure a split but that too was dead on arrival. One wonders what it is that the administration wants to achieve by whittling down the powers of collective bargaining, when there is more than enough for it to chew.

One would not be far off the mark if one posits that there is a mission to destroy education by some who do not mean well for education in this country. It is no wonder then that there is the granting of a lot of new operational licenses for private owned universities. I think it is more noble to find better means of dealing with the situation than this crude and uncivilized way the so -called minister, who is the undertaker in this instance is doing. It is even sadder to think that the political party in power would sit by and watch whatever gains it has achieved being destroyed by someone who is supposed to help the party win elections.

The arrogance and nonchalance with which the minister attends to labour issues is sad. What is even more intriguing is the fact that those who are doing all to kill public university education are those who benefitted from it. Yes, even if government alone cannot afford to fund education, is there no way it can systematically introduce gradual changes without rocking the boat? Are there no models we could copy to smoothly introduce change rather than this primitive and insensitive manner? The Minister for Labour has adopted a tout like posture in dealing with the ASUU issue. But he must be called to order by sane and more calculative people. He cannot destroy the platform on which he rode to power with no one calling his bluff.

This is election year and he should be aware that most of these students who he has helped in prolonging their stay at home are watching. The last voter registration exercise should be lessons enough for any sane politician. The number of young people who came out to do the registration should send signals to saner people.

Indeed, the action of this undertaker only confirms and remind us of the Okija saga which almost turned democracy on its head. The sordid event that played out at the time is a sad reminder that such a character should not be trusted with such an important and sensitive position. As a matter of fact, the Okija episode left a sour taste in the mouth of all right -thinking people giving the character the unenviable status of being the only sitting governor that was kidnapped. The Presidency must intervene by doing the needful. It should support the House of Representatives to ensure that it wins back those that have been wounded by the unfortunate act of one who is supposed to promote its cause. From every indication Ngige is on a mission. Having lost the presidential primaries of the APC, he has sought and found a way of destroying the party he claims to belong to. And, now that ASUU has gone back on indefinite strike, one hopes that APC’s eyes would have been open to see the destruction that their Minister is doing to them.

Learning the hard way

THERE are times when being a Nigerian and a good citizen is a difficult task. Patriotism seems like some form of punishment meted out to those who seek to work for the growth of the society. These negligible are neither encouraged nor assisted. They are rather seen as those who do not know what to do with their lives. Imagine riding against traffic and no one sees it as wrong?

When you drive against traffic or do anything that is wrong, you are considered smart and bold for having the guts to do or go against what is right and acceptable in sane climes. When you bulldoze your way and get what you want, Nigerians hail you for being smart even when you know you are wrong. Only recently, while on a trip to Benin, the Edo State capital, I learned some hard lessons. If you want to do things right, you will end up being the victim. Road rules are disregarded and no one bates an eye. If you say you want to do due process, you end up sleeping on a journey that would ordinarily take you 8 to ten hours.

Cutting corners is considered smart and doing the right thing is considered dumb. But what country succeeds when its laws are flouted and abused? Why do Nigerians think that laws in their own country do not deserve to be respected? Why must we always go against the grain? once we step out of this country, we follow the laws of whatever country we find ourselves in. But come to Nigeria you would think you are welcome to organized chaos.

This attitude has permeated throughout the whole fabric of the Nigerian society. Civil servants do not do their responsibilities without expecting to be bribed. This has led to the systematic decay that the society is faced with and condemned to. ‘Nothing goes for nothing’ is the popular cliche leading to stagnation and lack of growth. We need to change gear and approach if we are to make any headway at all. We must be positive and patriotic in all we do. That way, we can hold to account those in position of leadership.

One scarcity too many

Since the early part of September when flood waters started over running most of our states, fuel scarcity has become the order. First we were told that supplies were short due to the cutting off of the roads due to floods. But since the flood waters have ebbed, fuel scarcity has persisted. Even in states that were not affected at all fuel still sells at an all time high, bringing untold hardship to the poor and further impoverishing them.

Sadly, the present administration rode to power on the mantra of change. It had claimed that subsidy was a scam and if given the chance to govern, it would change the narrative. In the twilight of the administration, things have become worse off and the change promised seem to be only rhetorical. It is our expectations that before making a promise, those running for office must ensure that they do due diligence and ensure that whatever they say they can deliver on, not to bamboozle people with sweet nothings just to scurry their votes. Nigerians are annoyingly forgetful too. They are easily carried away by sentiments and forget to hold leaders who make promises to account.

It is another season of campaign and promise making as the 2023 general elections etch closer. Nigerians therefore need to read in between the lines to sieve those with practicable and reliable manifestos not just anyone who can railroad them with big grammar. It is time we change the narratives and start doing that which is right and for the benefit of the generality of the people. We must endeavor to get it right this time.

Just like anyone else, our politicians must learn respect for those who put them into office. They must learn to live by their oaths of office. They must realise that it is only when the right thing is done that they would have served their employers. The situation where they service themselves and their families at the detriment of the larger society is unacceptable and should be discouraged.

 

 

 

Killing education

IN the past eight months of this year 2022, public universities have been under lock and key. There were a lot of back and forth between the lecturers and government yet no concrete agreement was reached between the two. Some ray of possibility was, however, gleaned when the House of Representatives intervened by bringing together the two parties in the dispute promising to work out a political solution to the intractable problem.  But as soon as the situation seemed to be calming down and returning to normal some people who are not interested in settling the dispute put a spanner in the works.

Salary payment which was a pre -condition for the reopening of these public institutions was flatly disregarded and that turned the whole agreement on its head. Lecturers in some institutions were selected, some paid their salaries while in some institutions only seventeen days -worth of salaries were paid them. Reason for this was that one Minister for Labour had written and instructed that the Ministry of Finance only pay the lecturers, who are ASUU members, for seventeen days. On the other hand, members of CONUA, a newly registered university union were paid their full salaries.

This unfortunate event turned every hope of getting the institutions back working on its head. It forced university unions to respond to the action by putting on hold teaching of the students thereby prolonging the nightmares of not only the students but those of their parents who on daily basis have been praying for the amicable resolution of the protracted and unnecessary problem.

This action of the Minister of Labour is typical of the posture of some members of the cabinet of the present administration. First, was the attempt by the administration to cause bad blood and a split within the major Labour Centres, the NLC and the TUC. Unfortunately, this fell flat on its head when the two Labour Centres realised that they were being led to the path of perdition by those who did not mean well for them. Then it was the turn of the NBA. Everything was done to ensure a split but that too was dead on arrival. One wonders what it is that the administration wants to achieve by whittling down the powers of collective bargaining, when there is more than enough for it to chew.

One would not be far off the mark if one posits that there is a mission to destroy education by some who do not mean well for education in this country. It is no wonder then that there is the granting of a lot of new operational licenses for private owned universities. I think it is more noble to find better means of dealing with the situation than this crude and uncivilized way the so -called minister, who is the undertaker in this instance is doing. It is even sadder to think that the political party in power would sit by and watch whatever gains it has achieved being destroyed by someone who is supposed to help the party win elections.

The arrogance and nonchalance with which the minister attends to labour issues is sad. What is even more intriguing is the fact that those who are doing all to kill public university education are those who benefitted from it. Yes, even if government alone cannot afford to fund education, is there no way it can systematically introduce gradual changes without rocking the boat? Are there no models we could copy to smoothly introduce change rather than this primitive and insensitive manner? The Minister for Labour has adopted a tout like posture in dealing with the ASUU issue. But he must be called to order by sane and more calculative people. He cannot destroy the platform on which he rode to power with no one calling his bluff.

This is election year and he should be aware that most of these students who he has helped in prolonging their stay at home are watching. The last voter registration exercise should be lessons enough for any sane politician. The number of young people who came out to do the registration should send signals to saner people.

Indeed, the action of this undertaker only confirms and remind us of the Okija saga which almost turned democracy on its head. The sordid event that played out at the time is a sad reminder that such a character should not be trusted with such an important and sensitive position. As a matter of fact, the Okija episode left a sour taste in the mouth of all right -thinking people giving the character the unenviable status of being the only sitting governor that was kidnapped. The Presidency must intervene by doing the needful. It should support the House of Representatives to ensure that it wins back those that have been wounded by the unfortunate act of one who is supposed to promote its cause. From every indication Ngige is on a mission. Having lost the presidential primaries of the APC, he has sought and found a way of destroying the party he claims to belong to. And, now that ASUU has gone back on indefinite strike, one hopes that APC’s eyes would have been open to see the destruction that their Minister is doing to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bangs: A rising star cut short

THERE comes a time in the life of a people that young people are appreciated for being consistent and dedicated to what they find doing. There are several of such examples, for which we may be witnesses of their sterling contributions, and who, when they are no longer alive; their contributions may be subject of concern, as long as they are not be left wasted.

Whatever you read here below are snippets of what I have gleaned from a myriad of comments made on the death of one of Nigeria’s talented music producers on the Plateau: Bangs Wuripba. The tangents he had affected are too nuanced that they remain a point of reference to other young people.

What sort of person was he that he made people like him easily? I have been informed of his easy disposition; having realized quite early that life was like the philosophy of the toad; you give and you take. Early in life, he knew what he wanted to become, therefore, he ‘didn’t wait for anyone to define his destiny but took control of it’ without delay and ran with it.

Being ‘a talented singer’, it was easy for him ‘to thrive in his career, it was easy to become popular amongst’ his peers, and for all intent and purposes, it enabled him and others formed a group to be able to exploit those potentials in them.  As has been stated, ‘he was on top of his game and a star waiting to shine so brightly’, for others to comprehend the essence of life.

I must confess that as a younger person, I may not have met him, however, for me, wherever a talent exists; I have always responded with a celebration of such talents, perhaps, they may serve as a springboard for many to want to climb up using the success of the person in question. That his death trended for weeks running, is enough evidence to appreciate the essence of his service.

In the week, I tried to ask around to know what happened to him, and four persons: Jiritmwa M Goyit, Mullengdang K Linus, Wuripba Ebenezer Chinang, Darshak Simon Gobum, and Mwarap Rinret, all his friends spoke glowingly of his antecedence while wondering why good persons often leave the stage when they were most needed. His case was a perfect example; serving for others to pick a lesson.

That is how God works; he does what he wants to do at the time that is right for him. Therefore, it is not out of place to state that Bangs Wuripba’s sojourn on earth was for the number of years, touching lives in more ways than one. Those who may have benefited from his entertainment prowess are indebted to those God-given talents.

The death of Mr. Bangs (as he was popularly called) was in many respects felt by the younger persons he might have come in contact with over the years. He related well with them mostly using his talents and he fitted well with them largely through the expression of his musical talent.

Perhaps you may have listened to One Voice Plateau which was sung by a group of Plateau artists recently. Yours sincerely did and repeatedly was largely educated on the essence of the initiative. He was the lead singer of that effort, combining with many other artists from various local government areas to preach peace and togetherness.

In the effort, they sang for the people of Plateau to be united despite efforts to divide them through various means. Anyone who has listened to it cannot but help reflect on the divisive tendencies that have held the state to its present station. Yet, for the group, hope is not lost: as the potentials of the state are too numerous and important to be wasted. What can bring the people of the together is to accept one another and live in peace.

The areas that are mentioned in One Voice Plateau are too familiar to be ignored by anyone. In the danceable Plateau Unity Song, Mr. Bangs, Solomon Damulak, Sarah Auta, Collins, Zabiya Caro, Brando Moses, Debbie Lex, Ezra Jinang and other artists could be heard eulogizing why the tribes on the Plateau have reason to come together for the progress and peace in the state and by extension, that of Nigeria. What better song could there be than this, celebrating a theme that is lacking in Nigeria? If we could hear them and key into the lyrics, what better state can there be for all, realistically.

Therefore, it is understandable why on the eve of his funeral service, during the candlelight procession on October 6, 2022, the venue of the event at Lamingo roundabout adjacent to Plateau Private was without space for his friends; what more, the next day at the Champion Royal Christian Centre (Solid Rock Ministry) Tudun Wada, Jos, the show of love for him manifested in the number and caliber of sympathizers present to pay their last respect.

If the large coterie of mostly youth at the two events were not convincing evidence of what he has become to them, what would one describe their presence several kilometers away from Jos? That same presence witnessed again at Nemel, in Kanke his local government area was indeed instructive of how much they love him. And are surely going to miss him in death.

This one cannot be an exception, so long as the lessons are elaborate enough for others to pick to run with. I have several reasons to believe that in the 33 years that he walked the earth, if anyone thought he came to just pass through without any impact, such a person may not have met or heard about him and indeed what he stood for while he lived.

Four days into the month (October 4, 2022) of his birth, he lost the struggle for his life after tragedy had struck a few days before. His house had caught fire and he was burnt in the cruelest manner that it would have only taken the grace of God to come back to his feet. The picture of him on the hospital bed was of a young man struggling between pains and hope towards regaining his life. As a result of the burns, he was in the hospital for some two weeks. How sad that could be.

When I read the post by Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda Goshwe, the All Progressives Party gubernatorial candidates for Plateau State after his death was announced, it was apparent that the loss was significantly felt by him. And it was not just ordinary, given the passion he has devoted to the development of the youth in the state as the campaign to the Government House in Rayfield progressed.

He had written: ‘I will never get used to death and yours is one of my worst’. Sure, it was given the circumstances surrounding his demise. However, the avalanche of sympathy messages that flooded the new media space got me thinking: Could this have just come from people who are going to feel his absence? It surely shows and the emotions were indeed palpable from what they either said or wrote. In his case, it was obvious; there were a lot of things he and others had planned to finish before long; depending on how much he may have affected such people’s lives in the curse of life’s journey.

It was for me a sad development, considering the myriad of comments on him necessitating yours sincerely to want to know who the young man Bangs Wuripba was, and why he was popular among the generality of young men and women cutting across ethnic and religious divides.

An occurrence which had the same colour had taken place about three years ago when another young person, Beka D Michael died on November 8, 2019 died, and was celebrated in the same fashion. He was popular with his peers; the young people, who mourned his death as has been demonstrated in the case of others in such similar fashion on several occasions; particularly those whose passage meant that the person means a lot to them was involved. It was a testimony that such a person was going to be missed.

I had written then that a person must not be celebrated only when such a one is old; younger persons could be so long as they have impacted well on their peers as well s the society. I am aware that there are enough Bekas and Bangs out there walking the streets and sowing seeds of love and charity on the way. They may not be easily and soon forgotten.

There are many other such young men and women out there daily working to change people’s perception about them. If he came to earth only on October 10, 1989 having been born at Ajikamai and has transformed himself into what he was before he died, pray, say what he would have become had he survived. Only God has the answer.

I have heard stories of who he was and what he meant to such groups as Area Gospel Music Artists, Shikrotkhinen Network and One Voice Plateau. They had written about his commitment to worship and a dedication to God and serving as an example. He had three albums to his credit, and what more; he had produced many music gospel ministers.

Life can be good or bad; depending on how one chooses; they say, and rightly so, ‘death doesn’t allow us to bid farewell to our loved ones’. That fateful day, he may have been engrossed on an effort when the inferno that engulfed his house rendered him cheap; leaving him writhing in pains.

The young man may have gone to the world beyond, the lessons of his life are too numerous to be discountenanced. If, as it has been observed variously by his peers; that he has helped shaped the society, those who remember what he stood for should be able to keep his memory incandescent by following the path he had embarked upon.

Of potholes and sanity of Plateau

It is no longer new that roads all over the federation have become eyesore and needing to be quickly fixed. It is also no longer news that Nigerians have cried to high heavens asking government to fix them without delay.

Of concern, however, are the potholes on the streets of Jos. There is virtually no street that has not been affected.

While they cause delay in vehicular movement, they nonetheless bring distortion in business. But it is the discomfort on citizens that should disturb all of us. About two years ago, the Plateau State Government launched the Operation Zero Pothole in the state. it succeeded largely and the effort was eulogized.

About two years down the line, we are back to where we were. The ferocity with which they returned, one would imagine that the last may not have been heard.

Meanwhile, we are waiting on the government; for it is its responsibility to put the roads into best shape.

 

Nigeria @62: Any reason to celebrate?

LAST Saturday, Nigeria celebrated its 62nd independence anniversary. As much as I love the country, I had refrained from celebrating its attainment of nationhood. There are many reasons, which we have repeatedly said should be looked into; it is not about being unpatriotic.

I know of many who also have reasons not to join the bandwagon to celebrate. For us, it is time for stocktaking; reflecting on how the journey has taken us to, and expecting leaders to direct the course of where to head to.

As it is, this year’s will be the last one to be celebrated by those whose tenures will end next May. At the federal level to the state levels, the tempo of the celebration was increased for obvious reasons.

The celebrations were in various shades; all planned to satisfy the complexities of the issues at hand. And there are many that may have risen in each case in the various states. That is why each state celebrated according to its complexities and circumstances.

First of all, the prevailing financial standings of most of the states are most worrisome. The cost of governance takes the largest chunk of the savings of the states. Most of the states have literally abandoned all capital projects they embarked upon or are even thinking about to start.

There are more abandoned projects than are new ones. Funds are indeed scarce to come by. Some of the states have used the resources for other purposes that are not productive for them.

In fact, some of them have squandered the limited resources available to them for political purposes. There are some of the governors who have always used state resources for other reasons other than what they are meant for. No wonder, many sectors are suffering needing intervention urgently.

Interestingly, the issue of internally generated revenue in states has increased phenomenally, thanks to the fact most states have up their revenue profile, ostensibly to help develop them.

But it is the issue of insecurity that has taken off the shine off the celebration in the nation. There is no state that has no complaint of one security challenge or another. Communities no longer sleep with their eyes closed. No one is sure of what will happen in the next hour. Communities have been desecrated, to the point that there are more camps of internally displaced persons in our villages and towns.

Everyone knows that it is the responsibility of government to protect lives and property, but to think that it always the reverse speaks volumes of that aspect of what to expect from the government.

Nigeria is a nation in search of leaders; the older ones do not want to give younger Nigerians, or are not prepared to mentor them for power. That being the case, there are lots of young people that are today frustrated on account of lack of jobs. There is a monopoly of the recycling of leadership over the years; and it does appear it will be here for long with us.

Millions of young men and women have, thankfully with pains been educated and may have even gone ahead to serve the nation; yet they are still roaming the streets in search for non-existent jobs. No wonder, there is anger, animosity in the minds of younger Nigerians.

Now the youths think they have been educated on what best they can do to ‘free’ themselves from the shackles of domination they perceived is being encouraged by the long stay of the older hands in power. But sadly for the youths, they have continued to be used for the wrong reasons by the older ones as thugs and all manner of negative tendencies.

Handling the youth has either been misunderstood or not taken as a project; knowing the army of unemployed roaming the streets in Nigeria. There are some of them who have been empowered repeatedly; while others haven’t been, no wonder that has made them mad. The state is the worst for it, as the army of the unemployed has turned out to be legions of armed bandits, kidnappers and insurgents terrorizing states. Our communities and neighbourhoods are no longer safe anymore for living and business.

It is not out of place to state that, Nigerians are despondent in many fronts.  Apart from being named as the world’s capital for poverty, there are many things working against us for the wrong reasons. Ordinary (sorry), majority of Nigerians go to sleep on empty stomachs, as the cost of living does not favour the people. Most Nigerians live from hand to mouth and are worried that if things continue in this fashion, the country will be in for the worse.

It has been reiterated in leader story of The Nigeria Standard on October 2, 2022 and would like to share it thus: Sixty-two years down the line, our democratic experience has shown that despite the vast human and material resources at Nigeria’s disposal, we are yet to make significant progress and take its rightful place in the comity of advanced nations’.

It continued: ‘Today however, the situation still remains almost the same if not worse than when we started from the onset at independence. It is a sad commentary that the Nigerian masses have been deprived of their right to growth and development for over 62 years by a few misled military opportunists and their civilian collaborators.

‘The real issue is that the state of the Nigerian nation now is that of hopelessness and is so monumental that majority of the citizens have even wondered whether the country is under a spell especially with the mirage of institutional decay and social ills ranging from corruption, cronyism, poverty, cultism, violent crimes, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other social menace in the society.

‘We now have a crop of ethnic bigots masquerading as leaders who have polarized the nation along sectional lines and interest while the society on a daily basis continues to disintegrate due to political, religious and ethnic cleavages. It is clear that our system has broken down as we are now faced with institutional crisis with evidence of collapse while our so-called elected leaders continue to feed fat from the state treasury at the expense of the tax payers’.

That is not what the founding fathers may have conceived concerning what the nation would go; even though, right from inception, the birthing of Nigeria may not have been rightly done. The British Colonial Government was in a haste to birth the nation, even if things were not done rightly.

Therefore, on account of the initial ‘mistake’ made, there are today agitations from sections of the country. It has taken the mercy of God to keep us as a nation. Repeatedly, there have been insinuations about the future of the country; stating apparent concerns about how its disintegration was on the way sooner than we ever imagine.

These agitations have given birth to security challenges that have threatened the foundations of Nigeria in more ways than one in the last thirteen years. Nigerians live in fear of what may happen the next minute. They know that, if things are not urgently done, the ‘one chance’ bus we are traveling in may not take us to our destination. It has been reiterated that it may crash anytime soon; but that may not be the way Nigerians think.

There is urgency for the leadership to be transformed. That is the sense in the agitations as the sections are worried that the country seems to belong only to a section. Why do they feel so? In the last seven years or more, appointments are skewed and essentially favour the north to the detriment of other sections. Nigerians from other section have lamented that they feel a sense of despondency as there are qualified Nigerians from other sections that play the second fiddle. There is no sense of togetherness whereas, on account of the challenges in the area of governance, they are limited to contribute their best to nation building.

Even though those who should know pretend as if all is well with the people, and never saying anything about the people’s concerns. They know it has been planned to go that way. Religion and ethnicity play a part never seen before in the annals of the history of the country; perhaps that is why even when some leaders are accused of sleaze, and depleting our common till, they don’t get to face the wrath of the law, as they are the favoured ones.

Until corruption and other vices are dealt with quickly, there is no way that we will be satisfied with our state of stunted development. We are in it because we are led by leaders who put self first; they come into various offices without a blue print, unprepared for the mission they are embarking upon.

No wonder, midway through the journey, they run out of ideas that may change the state of the states or governments. They employ all manners of charlatans, who are not ready to disagree with their principals; only so if they can keep their jobs and or remain relevant in the scheme of things.

Governments don’t survive that way; neither do they make any impact on this basis. They say, ideas rule the world, therefore, that being the case, it is expected that anyone coming government must be prepared by working on a blue print that would run for four or eight years as the case might be. Those who are bereft of ideas often falter and show eminent signs that they were not prepared for leadership.

Take the issue of internally generated revenue in the states; whereas some of them have made tremendous show of the idea on using what is available in the states for development, some of the states have remained stuck to receiving hand outs from the federal coffers. In this case, it will be difficult to eke out development of any sort, except payment of salaries that are difficult for some of the states for years.

Imagine that in the 21st century, university teachers have been out of the lecture theatres since February 2022. Since then, there has no success in negotiations between the Association of Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government. One can only imagine what the students and parents have gone through, however, Nigerians are as worried as this debacle remains unresolved.

Nigerians are worried as the running battle continues. ASUU rightly believes strongly in the struggle, as they know the funds that are being frittered away by government officials which would have been used to settle what they are asking for. If certain individuals are being accused of sleaze in hundreds of billions and at the same time government is saying there are no funds to pay ASUU; it should be reason enough to ask questions.

On this march to the 63rd and approaching an election year, who knows, this could be the road to the dream we all have longed for as a nation. Whoever wins the presidency must be our guide to get us out of the woods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marwa, the leadership we need

 

By CELESTINE ATTSAR

“LEADERSHIP is not just a position, it consists of action and transparency and a setting of high level of integrity, honesty and strive to achieve a goal” (anonymous).

When in January 2021 Brig. General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) was appointed Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), it was received with applause as many who knew him as a strict disciplinarian knew quite well that the country was a new phase of illicit drug crisis. Also at that time, the increase in drug abuse was almost at an alarming rate.

The Retired General who before the appointment was known for his no nonsense attitude towards any public assignment given to him rolled up his sleeves and moved like a wounded lion to salvage the country from the menace of illicit drugs. His holistic approached to the fight against illicit drugs has within a short period of his stewardship added a  record that is  worth praising.

Within the period of his leadership, a lot of arrests were made; even those  untouchables in the illicit drug business were arrested and handed various jail terms. Marwa received commendations on his approach to rid Nigeria of the activities of illicit drugs barons. The agency  in its existence had many who led it who also had their fair share of leadership and contribution toward making it a strong institution. To remember a few of them,  General Musa Bamaiyi, Fulani Kwajafa, Iliya Lokadang, Farida Mohammed all did their possible best to achieve the goals establishing NDLEA. Of course,  having identified the consumers, Marwa collaborated with the Nigerian film industry on how to win the drug war which has affected millions of young people watching Nigerian movies even as they admire star actors  will be easily sensitized on the dangers of drug abuse through their moves. The approach has helped lot of youths to see the danger of abusing drugs in society.

In June this year when the drug Czar was featured on Channels Television programme ‘Hard Copy” says his officers have arrested some politicians in possession of illicit drugs which he described as disappointing. According to him, the agency had suggested drugs test for all those vying for political office to undergo drug test. He added that “as you know  the cartels are also active participants in political activities; they actually fund candidates into the various levels so that they can enact laws that can favour them”. The recommendation is 9 very goal approach to rid our political class of those that will use drug money to sponsor candidate and to have them trade or consumption of illicit drugs not given attention to by those in power.

Recently, in what appeared to be the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of the  agency, operatives of the agency had busted a major warehouse in a secluded estate in Ikorodu area of Lagos where 1.8 tonnes. (1.55kilogrammes) of the illicit drug worth more than 194 billion naira in street value were seized and the kingpin in the business was arrested including foreigners. In what the agency described as a well coordinated and intelligence led operation that lasted for two days across different locations in Lagos State.

The Lagos operation which is said to be one of the biggest and successful operations of the agency received commendation from the Presidency.  In a telephone call to the Chairman of the anti-narcotics agency from New York where he was attending the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77), President Buhari said that the news of the recovery gladdens his heart. “I deeply appreciate the good work that you have put into the eradication of the drug menace. It gladdens my heart as I continue to follow the success achieved under your leadership.”

The president added that “you have demonstrated over and again that choosing you to lead this fight against wicked merchants of death who sole aim is to endanger and truncate the future of our youth is a good choice. Please keep the good work.

It was also reported that the president still amazed with the achievement of the agency especially in the recent Lagos seizure, told the Nigerian delegation at a meeting in New York that,  “Buba Marwa is doing well. Two tones of cocaine, that is a haul.”

This exceptional commendation by the President to one of his appointees for doing well in his area of assignment is very rare looking at the poor performance of most of our institutions in the country. People like the NDLEA boss should be encouraged through both executive and legislative powers so that the goal of which they are established can add value to our society.

It is high time other heads of agencies that are saddle with the responsibilities of making Nigeria great emulate the NDLEA and it leadership.

 

Road to wealth has no shortcut

By HOSEA NYAMLONG

IN Nigeria today, a day cannot pass by without recording one crime or another, that has to do with quick money making.

Indeed, get quick rich syndrome has become one of the trending fashion among the present day Nigerian youth.

Unfortunately, many citizens don’t care about having a good name or image for themselves, rather they prefer to get involved in different crimes such as kidnapping, drug peddling, armed robbery, prostitution, cyber fraud, killing for rituals among others, all in a bid to get rich quick.

It is worrisome that today, the deteriorating nature of core moral values, societal norms, culture, tradition and beliefs is a cause for concern in the lives of citizens.

The way in which many youths idolized wealthy people and celebrities have contributed in fueling more crime in recent times in the country. Youths only want to be seen driving exotic cars, wearing designers clothes, gold necklace and living an expensive lifestyle, without any proof of legitimate work or source that earned them such.

In time past, the case of ritual killing was not rampant and it was not accepted in the society, because human life was very important to be wasted in an evil venture.

Sadly enough, under aged children are now involved in ritual killings for the purpose of making quick money, not minding the gravity of their actions to humanity. The fact is, life is sacred.

Recently, a 17-year-old teenager killed his girlfriend together with his friend for rituals and they were later arrested in the process of cooking her head in a clay pot.

Another case is that of a 14-year teenage boy in Lagos state who tried to escape with his employer’s 2-year-old son, with the intention of selling him to ritualists, before he was later arrested in the process of the negotiation.

Early this year, the Plateau state Police Command, paraded a 20-year-old, Moses Okoh, the suspected killer of Miss Jennifer Anthony, his girlfriend and a 300-level student of the University of Jos (UNIJOS).

In Abeokuta this year, a Magistrate’s court remanded four boys who allegedly beheaded a 20-year- old, Sofiat Okeowo, in Ogun State for ritual purpose.

In September a girl named, Maryam Salisu, was found killed in Babale community on the outskirts of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State for suspected ritual purposes. The body of the deceased according to residents of the community was found in a trench. The relatives of the deceased said that Maryam’s corpse was found in a trench with her throat, tongue, her breasts and eyes cut off.

Another issue to be considered is greed, as in the case of a 5-year-old girl, Hanifa Abubakar who was kidnapped and killed by her school teacher, who said that he was depressed and he needed money to pay for his kids school fees.

However, the get rich quick syndrome is slowly killing Nigerian youths who indulge in desperate pursuits to become rich at all cost, even at the expense of other people.

These societal ills have affected every citizen, directly or indirectly as this ugly trend seems to have taken the order of the day.

This is because some parents in some ways have encouraged their children negatively to make quick money, as in the case of a young man who was told to sacrifice his younger brother by his mother.

Notwithstanding, in the past, hard work  was seen as the pride of every person both male and female, old and young which was a mark of dignity and respect in the society, but today, is no longer considered as a legitimate means of earning a good living.

Many youths today would want to have their own way to get quick money at all cost in order to show to the world that they have arrived or they belong to the millionaires club, by way of displaying of wealth.

Also, some would want to oppressed others.In this same vein, many youths have loss their moral values by engaging in things that are not legitimate.

There are millions of jobs in Nigeria. The issue of passing through shortcuts to success has over shadowed most minds of the youths not knowing that today, wealth is knitted in dirty jobs that seems to be rejected by many, because they don’t want to be seen dirty by their peers, rather being neater and rich in ill ways.

To this end, things have gone wrong. And the question in the minds of every responsible Nigerian is how to curtail this evil menace in our society?

Who is to be blame, parents, peer groups, or the society in general. The suggestion is that parents, guidance and care givers should endeavour to bring up their children in a Godly way that they would inculcate good moral virtues in them.

It is very important, that the mind of materialism, be checked, especially among youths to see that wealth can be earned legitimately through hard work, determination, dedication and patience in life

Government as a matter of urgency should engage the youths meaningfully to enable them have a positive life so that they can add value to the society. Nigeria can be rebuilt on the foundations of integrity, transparency, truth, and justice.

On the part of the Nigerian youths, they are encouraged to embrace hard work, honesty, integrity as the hallmark to a sustainable wealth and peace of mind.The road to success has no short cut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biker’s ride for charity and philanthrophy

WE conclude our series on bikers today. Gomez Adebowale is the President of SCAN. He is a software Engineer by profession. He coordinates the activities of some biker clubs in Nigeria. He informed Bangles that the Grand Patron of Bikers is the Emir of Gombe, Malam Shehu Abubakar.

He tells us that even though many people see bikers as cultists and ritualists, this is far from the truth. He said that amongst bikers are many professionals, from pilots to doctors to Governors, Such as Former Governor Donald Duke. He explained that the only ritual that bikers have is during their training. He explained of his experience while learning how to ride. He went to a training school. he added that after training, the young bikers are expected to be ushered into the road by their teacher who rides in front. The young bikers are surrounded by older bikers and what happens is that when the young bikers are being ushered, the older ones would put them in the middle and protect them. If a young biker is swaying or losing his grip, the older biker would stabilize him or her.

This is done to initiate the young bikers the road with safety in mind. This is also to protect the young bikers from motorists by acting as buffers. When this ceremony is over and the older bikers and the teacher are sure of the ability of the young ones to ride on their own, it is at this point that they are considered trained bikers. The teacher ensures that the young bikers can control their bikes in case of emergencies without panicking or fidgeting, when riding on their own. He reiterated that this is the only initiation that bikers have. He emphasized that bikers are not cultists or ritualists. He added that the mis-perception about riders is hinged on lack of communication. He explained that it is important for motorists to understand that bikers ride in a formation such as the diamond formation; something like a convoy with a different formation. He said that it would be a welcome development if motorists  learn to avoid breaking the bikers’ ranks on the road this is one of the ways that help them to ride in safety.

When questioned about the biker’s paraphernalia, especially the skull, he said that the skull is white. He explained that beneath the colour of our skin, we all have white skulls. This is the same across all races. It essentially means that all bikers are the same, whither white, black, or yellow. He said that this binds bikers all across the globe and this is why no brother is left behind. He speaks of his ride to Ghana and how he was warmly received and accommodated by brothers that did not know him from Adam, same also happened in Benin Republic. He said that the skull is a symbol of unity. He however pointed out that not all bikers wear the skull. He said that for bikers, an injury to one is an injury to all and so they look out for all brothers on two wheels. This has nothing to do with race, creed, or culture. He added that it should not surprise you to see 80-year-old bikers supporting a 20-year-old biker of any gender. A biker is a biker for life. He explained that bikers form clubs along the lines of common interest. He added there are even Christian rider clubs such as chariots of fire.

He gave an example of a biker who was travelling from Spain on a tour of Africa and posted a message on their bikers’ forum. The biker had a problem with his bike in Mali. Mr. Gomez sent this message to the bikers in Mali who rode out to meet the Spanish rider and rescued him. They accommodated him, fixed his bike and led him back to his tour. He said that today, they have formed a bond with the Spanish biker. He mentioned that bikers can go to many lengths for each other.

Mr. Adebowale spoke about the charity events that bikers engage in. He added that bikers are engaged in so many charity projects. Particularly visits to orphanages. He added that the doctors amongst them often organize health outreaches. Similarly, bikers also engage in tree planting campaign. He mentioned how bikers had an outreach during the covid-19 pandemic. They went from state to state raising awareness and distributing masks and hand sanitizers. He mentioned that they also work with senior medical personnel in carrying out charity events. During this period, they also went from hospitals to residential homes distributing medication to patients who take essential medication for conditions such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes. This they did in collaboration with the Ministry of health. He mentioned that most of the bikers that were picked for this assignment are also road safety Marshals. He mentioned that they have Doctors who are also specialist consultants in various areas.

Adebowale mentioned that there is an arm of the road safety marshal for bikers who help to decongest and control traffic and they give more coverage because of their bikes. He explained that they also use this platform to sensitize road users on safety so as to create a safety culture. They do this by organizing National safety campaign for all road users.

Furthermore, the bikers under the auspices of SCAN organize The School Uniform Project. This project is targeted at under-privileged young children. These group sews and distributes Uniforms to school children as a way of boosting their self-esteem. Teachers would help in identifying the under privileged students.

At the club level, we interviewed Mr. Misari, the Chairman of the Gombe Jewel bikers club which is under SCAN. Gombe jewel has been involved in tree planting campaigns for several years. Mr. Husseini Misari explained that Gombe Jewel Bikers is based in Gombe and is made up of about thirty members spread across the country. He said that the club is a Nigerian club based in Gombe. He explained that he comes from a family of bikers as most of his uncles are power bikers. He added that he has ridden for ten years so far, and it is a passion as he has a need for speed. However, overtime, he has used this platform for philanthropy and humanitarian activities. He points out that the biking community is into humanitarian and philanthropy and he uses that passion to give back to the society. This was why he joined the club.

Since 2019, he has been President of the club. The club has launched some campaigns starting with the tree planting campaign. Other charity projects include charity at the orphanages and giving back to schools through the Education must continue project a project which is a mentorship programme conceptualized and initiated by SCAN. This body mandated all clubs to get involved in this project. They are Professionals such as Lawyers, Doctors and Engineers who teach classes and encourage student to realize their dreams by working hard.

On the tree planting campaign, the club collaborates with the Ministry of Education on this project in Gombe during the first tree planting campaign. The first tree planting campaign was at the Federal University Keshere. This was due to the deforestation and desertification that was assailing the environment. So far, the club has had 4 planting campaigns. Three in Gombe and one in Bauchi. The 4th tree planting campaign was in Bauchi and the club collaboration with the Government of Bauchi State and a fertilizer manufacturing company called Notore. The Ministries of environment, sports and agriculture were on hand to support the project. The Ministries also gave their own quota towards the tree planting campaign. So far, the club has planted 12 thousand trees in the past 4 years and the aim is to plant 3,000 tree every year as this has become an annual event.

The giving back the school project was initiated by the National body. He said that they produced about 3,000 bundle of exercise books, 2500 was presented to the Emir of Gombe who has built schools. The Lamido of Adamawa was also presented with 1000 bundles towards the vision of education. The club mentors’ young children and makes them believe that they can be whatever they want to be, but they have to study first.

Mr. Misari said that motorcycles are a means of transport for him and some bikers. He said hat bikers are misperceived and the misconception may come from the noise of the bikes, which makes some people see them as a nuisance. He said behind their helmets are very responsible people who give back to the society meaningfully. Mr Misari said that they take money from their pockets for their charity events and the poor perception of bikers is tied to the misconception about who they are. As part of the charity they do, the chairman also told Bangles that they carry out bore-hold projects for poor communities.

As to the psychological effect of riding a bike, he said that he feels a sense of freedom when reading. He said that the concentration keeps him focus on himself. The breeze gives him a sense of nature. He said that when he is stressed up, he rides his bike and goes to see some beautiful sceneries after which he feels refreshed. He has a first degree and a master’s degree in marketing. He is a professional marketer who has worked with Guinness, Unilever and now, he is the regional manager for Phillip Morris.

Speaking on the marketing potentials of biking and how it can become a brand, he said that they have a proper structure with corporate documents. It is actually an NGO. They collaborate for partnership and sponsorship. He mentioned that publicity is low because most people think that no good can come from bikers, which is an error. He said that the club is also collaborating with jewel environmental. The NGO also collaborate with the government of Gombe State for the Gombe-goes-green vision. They supply them with trees. They also seek collaboration with some companies but because they do charity and have low coverage, companies looking for return on investment via wider reach for their products do not find the deal competitive enough.

He mentioned that in their community, there are soldiers, doctors, lawyers, architects, teacher, pilots, Olympic champions, governors, senators, interpreters, mechanized farmers and teachers to name a few. Mr. Misari was recently nominated by several African countries as biker of the month and went to Benin Republic recently to receive his award. He attested to the fact that biking is a uniting force because their brotherhood spreads across all African bikers. The club, black African rider is an umbrella body for bikers across the African continent. He said that in order to foster more unity, the francophone bikers learn English and the Anglophone bikers are learning French for the purpose of overcoming the linguistic barrier. The Brotherhood also helps in establishing business network across the continent. He said that the love bikers have for each other is different because they love each other like family, and they extend this love to other members of society.

Speaking of safety measures, he said that all bikers that are members of clubs, adhere to safety measures and it is bikers that are non-members that often create the image of lawlessness for them. He reiterates that the Majority of bikers are safety conscious and law-abiding members of society who contribute positively to society’s wellbeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In support of this awareness

Something is about to happen in the country. A new Nigeria is about to happen. Youthful energy and drive are being galvanized and a silent revolution is surely about to take place. Just two Sundays ago, I went to some part of the Jos city to sympathize with a relation who had been involved in an accident. While returning home, it began to rain. As the heavens opened up, I had thought that those struggling to register for their PVC would scamper for shelter so they are not soaked by the rains. To my utter amazement however, no one left the queue nor made for shelter. All of those on the queue remained where they were determined to get registered.

As I was ruminating over the uncommon patriotic zeal, it became obvious that things were about to happen. Considering the age of those who withstood the elements to get registered,  it was obvious that change had come. What for example, was responsible for the sudden change in attitude from a segment that had hitherto been nonchalant and uninterested about elections in our country?

Are our political fault lines beginning to close? Are these young and vibrant sector beginning to realise the need to get involved in the running of their country in view of the massive and unfortunate failure of leadership in our clime? Questions which answers are held in the bowels of time. The silent revolution was echoed by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki when he lamented and cautioned that the political elites need to look again at themselves and the way they play politics. He clearly has seen the handwriting and is cautioning his peers on the need to change gear so that the elites would not be swept away by the political tsunami that is raging on and threatening to explode.

But the signs are ominous even to the blind. So much is at stake for the politics of the country to be left to those who obviously have run out of ideas. Young and vibrant people need to take over the political space just like in other climes. They need to bring in fresh perspectives. They need to adopt technology in achieving their goals and targets which are the in thing now. You can not succeed in a fast moving economy when you are armed with 18th century tools. This is the era of the digital citizens and the digital aliens need to be retired.

It is obvious that nobody gives up power without a fight. But even in fighting, the political elites seem not to have the tools to prosecute the war. The pace at which change is happening is so breathtaking that they are not capable of keeping pace with. Truth be told my generation and those before me have failed those behind us. We have been so selfish that we are eating the tomorrow of our children. We need to tread with caution and tact. Otherwise we risk being forced into retirement. It has started happening and unless we manage the transition well, we would be the losers.

What we lack, the young generation has garnered. They are skilled. They are world citizens. They are aware of what is happening elsewhere. They have technology at their beck and call. Not only that, they are ambitious and willing to try out new things. There is nothing we can do to hold them back but we can manage the transition if we want. We can deliberately put in place measures which would help open new vistas for them. We can make them a part of the efforts at resolving the problems that are threatening to eat up our society and which we have not been able to solve.

ASUU has been on strike and nothing has been done about it in the last six months. Government and stakeholders have failed to find ways of navigating around the problem. In spite of this, new private universities are daily coming on stream in obvious disregard for the children of the poor. These are the kinds of policies that are exposing the elites and are making them vulnerable, yet they seem so stoned headed that they do not see the ominous signs in the horizon.

We must work together to resolve, restore and grow our society together. The world is changing and our elites can not continue to push citizens to the wall like they are doing. What just happened in Sri Lanka is a signpost for others to tow the path of caution. It is often said that if your neighbours house is on fire, you must take measures to contain the fire so that it does not consume your own property.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making life worth living

YEARS ago, there were lots of guarantees for graduates of our higher institutions of learning. Once they are done with their studies, they had many jobs waiting for them to choose from. They did not have to stress themselves to get a job. Fast forward to the present. Even graduating from these higher institutions of learning is becoming a luxury. Students spend the better part of their lives struggling to get meaningless certificates they can hardly use to secure employment.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022 and there are no indications that the strike would come to an end soon. Government seems to care less about the fate of these young people even with the prevailing circumstances in the country. Insecurity has become second nature to all and sundry in our country. Nowhere is safe yet there are no deliberate measures to ensure young people are discouraged from pitching their camps with the miscreants. There are no incentives to discourage crime and criminality. Government seems to underestimate what these young and impressionable minds could do.

Unfortunately, we have ministers, so called aides to the President who are so arrogant and are complete misfits yet they are not punished for their misdemeanor. Personally, I expect that the Ministers in charge of Labour and Education should have honourably resigned yet they are holding on to offices which responsibilities they clearly cannot discharge. And those who should call them to order have not shown the courage to do what is right.

That being said, parents and guardians need to take more interest in the education of their wards and children. This set needs to be schooled in skills rather than acquiring certification that would end up gathering dust. If they acquire skills, they are not likely to waste at home even when ASUU decides that they would go on strike. But it should be made known that any society that fails to educate its citizenry is shooting itself in the foot. It would be breeding a set of criminals who would torment it in the future especially in a country that is sharply divided along ethnic and religious divides.

Sadly, the political class has refused to heed to the calls that they put their wards and children in public schools and see whether or not they would find it palatable. If only they realise the danger they are exposing their families to, they would begin to retrace their steps. The quiet revolution going on amongst the youths should concern any right-thinking and futuristic person. Look at the level of discontent and fashion measure to nip them in the bud. The trend in most countries is to hand over power to the young who can turn things around. The old brigade has shown its unwillingness to use artificial intelligence to change the course of things. It is this area that the young are adept at. If someone can harness their energies and provide them a platform, a lot of things would change.

Imagine being plagued by insurgency and other crimes yet we cannot deploy technology to help in the fight? You do not need to go to the theatre to cause collateral damage to the enemy. From the comfort of your office, technology could help do the damage before your ground troops do the mopping up.

We cannot pretend that we do not know where and when these people choose to unleash their fangs on society. If our security services are up and doing and are adequately funded, they can sure curb these unfortunate events that are plaguing our society.

The threat on the President’s life and that of the governor of Kaduna State is a litmus test of the effectiveness and efficiency of our security forces. If they are allowed to keep pushing the country to the brink, that may as well sound the death knell in our existence as a united and strong country.

What has happened in Sri Lanka must serve as an eye opener to our leaders. If they do not carry out their responsibilities, people are likely to resort to self-help.  And, if we reach that point of no return, then leaders would pay dearly for their misdemeanors.

We cannot afford to get to that pass. The SARS riots were signs enough that not all was well. We cannot afford such a wide-scale disagreement to happen again considering the very precarious state our economy is in. A word of caution they say is enough for the wise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INEC to end voter registration July 31

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has declared that continuous voter’s registration (CVR) would officially end on July 31, 2022 to enable them process all names of those registered ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The Commission announced the extension after deliberations on some concerns around the exercise among other things as disclosed by the INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter’s Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement in Abuja saying, “the Commission was projecting 95 million voters for the 2023 poll”.

Former NAWOJ Chairperson, others nominated for UN award

Former Plateau State Chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs. Jennifer Yarima, and three others have been nominated for UN Ambassadorial Award.

Others include; Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Nasarawa Gwong Jos, SP Musa Hassan, Alhaji Abubakar Shuaibu Aljumma (popularly known as Sadeeq Plaza) and Plateau State Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Emmanuel Ado respectively.

UNICEF to support Plateau State on material health, sanitation

Plateau State has been given an assurance of getting support from UNICEF in the areas of reducing its Material Health Ratio and addressing the sanitation needs of its citizens.

The assurance was given during a visit by UNICEF’s Chief of Bauchi Field Officer, Dr. Tushar Rane at Government House Jos, where he commended Plateau State for being the first state to embark on passage and domestication of Child Rights Law in the country.

Gov. Lalong mourns Aren Eggon Bala Angbazo

The Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, has mourned the demise of the paramount ruler of Eggon Nation, His Royal Highness (HRH), Bala Angbazo who died at the age of 89.

Lalong in a statement said he was saddened by the death of the royal father who was a great ruler of not only the Eggon people, but a father to many across Nasarawa, Plateau and beyond while in his 41 years of being in throne haven been installed in 1981.

PLHA hopeful pledges to address water challenge

THE Jos-North/West Constituency’s Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Danjuma Azi, has pledged to address the lingering water problem of his constituency where women and children have sleepless going to look for it when elected to represent his people in the Plateau State House of Assembly come 2023.

He made the pledge Monday while in an interview with THE NIGERIA STANDARD in Jos, the Plateau State Capital ahead of the  State Assembly in 2023 general elections haven known the water situation of his people over the years and would want to address.

2023: INEC to resume storage of materials with CBN

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said that it will continue to keep sensitive election materials with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education of INEC, Festus Okoye, made to known in an interview with Channels Television on Monday saying, “The Commission will resume engagement with CBN on how to resolve issues concerning the storage of election materials.

France secure energy deal with UAE

France has secured promised of new energy supplies from the United Arab Emirates after talks between President Emmanuel Macron and UAE leader Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Paris.

Nentawe cheers Plateau United to victory against Eyimba

The Plateau State APC gubernatorial candidate and leader of the Generation Next Movement, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda and his running mate Hon. Pam Botmang, were guest spectators at the Zaria Road Stadium to support Plateau United football club against Eyimba in their final match of the NPFL 2022 season.

The APC flag bearer, who is also a reputable sports analyst, led other members of the Generation Next Campaign Organization as well as hundreds of supporters into the stadium amidst cheers from the home fans.

Complained: EZEKIEL DONTINNA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insecurity: North Central also requires attention

The issue of insecurity is one that has virtually come to stay in Nigeria except something urgent and drastic is done to bring the situation under control.

Ever since the emergence of the dreaded Boko Haram sect more than two decades ago, Nigeria has not remained the same and things seem to be going worse by the day.

According to available records criminal activities of insurgents, bandits, armed robbers and the likes have led to the loss of an estimated 35,000 lives in the North East zone of Nigeria alone. Also, the violence has devastated communities leading to the displacement of over three million people and plunged millions more into extreme poverty.

It is in response to this that the Federal Government of Nigeria approved the establishment of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) which is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating rebuilding of the North East region. It is also to assess, harmonise and report on all intervention programs of the Federal Government and to commence the process of resettlement and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their original homes or new communities and shift focus from humanitarian assistance to development and infrastructural projects such as reconstruction of houses, schools, etc destroyed by Boko Haram.

Although a step in the right direction, the worrisome part is that the issue of insecurity is one that is prevalent in virtually all the states of the federation as they battle one form of insecurity or the other hence the need establish commissions to take care of these areas.

Of utmost concern is Plateau State that has suffered years of crises and attacks by unknown gunmen, where thousands of people have been killed, driven out of their ancestral homes and nothing has been done this either resettle the people or give any form of assistance to help cushion the effects of the attacks.

It is on record that the South East had made a presentation to the House of Representatives for the establishment of a South East Development Commission which according to the presenter was to help in articulating specific interventions aimed at reintegrating the people of the South East zone who are mainly displaced persons from the North and other parts of the country whom he says form a great part of the worst affected and displaced persons.

Just recently, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) made an appeal to President MuhammaduBuhari to establish what is to be known as the Southern Kaduna Development Commission (SKDC) for reconstruction,, rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced persons in the state. The group stated that the destruction of life and property, as well as the displacement of communities in Southern Kaduna by herdsmen is of similar proportion to the Boko Haram-ravaged North East. Therefore, a Southern Kaduna Development Commission is of paramount importance and should be supported by every well-meaning and peace-loving Nigerian.

What is, however, worrisome is the fact that demands by groups or otherwise across the country are not treated equally or given the same attention. We are aware that the North West had also come under attack as bandits at some point had taken over most states in the zone unleashing terror on the people and kidnapping several school children as well as some paramount rulers in the area which led to the government claming down on them through military actions which have now brought some relief to the area.

It is worthy to note that all the agitations, demands that government threats all component parts of the country equally. It is our firm believe that if government at all levels is doing what they ought to do from the Local Government, to the state and federal level these agitations may not have even arisen in the first place.

To correct this therefore, government should also consider states in the North Central zone which have been badly affected by activities of insurgents and bandits particularly Plateau, Benue and Niger states in the provision of palliatives, emergency relief materials, renovation of houses and farmlands destroyed by these criminal elements. A military action in these states will go a long way in bringing activities of these hoodlums under control and avert a repeat of the recent attack in Kanam and Wase Local Government Areas.

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