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.