Leadership : Between China and Nigeria // Nigeria : A Troubled Voters Registration and The Emergence of the Peoples Representatives in
Mao Zedong popularly known as Chairman Mao, was successful with his noble goals for China through despotic means.
His leadership was severe, dictatorial, and personalized.
For as long as Chairman Mao's cultural revolution lasted, thousands of Chinese died of starvation and inhuman labor.
Mao and his co-travelers argued that the same was the price their people had to pay for re-education.
This brand of governance ensured the extermination of the heroes of the civil war and the old party chieftains by the President's armed squad.
Chairman Mao is perhaps the role model of those who holds sway in Nigeria today.
Indeed, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai is among several other political office holders, who adore President Muhammadu Buhari.
Those in support of this argument insist that on a number of occasions, the Kaduna state Governor had knelt down to greet and/or consult with the President. They maintain that this is only a sign of respect in the traditional African setting.
However, those against this order of things, stress that the underlying factors revolve on hypocrisy and bootlicking.
Nigerians are yet to stop complaining of constitutional breaches and the unabated trampling of the rule of law in the dust, without noticeable changes by the powers that be.
From recent events in the country, the economic reform programs of the All Progressives Congress(APC) led government at the center and in the states, are modeled along with the thinking of a free market economy.
It is doubtful, if the government, in the last three years, has managed the economy for the benefit of Nigerians.
Recently, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo launched the ''Trader Money'' in Abuja.
The target beneficiaries are petty traders in the country and the collateral-free loans for them, range from N10,000 to N15,000.
But the fundamental questions Nigerians are asking include, Why are the interest-free loans coming at this time? five months to the general elections. Is this not a modified form of vote-buying? Considering the fact that a day after the launch, the Vice President was in Osogbo, Osun state to campaign for the APC Governorship candidate in the 22 September Governorship elections in the state.
This is irrespective of the fact that the state government has just resumed payment of full salaries to its impoverished workforce, after paying them half salaries for over three years.
Of worry is the state of manufacturing industries, which could be said to be epileptic, even as food security is a mirage, insecurity is the chorus everywhere, while crude oil remains the major hope of the present administration.
Interestingly, the future growth of the Nigerian economy rests comfortably on diversification and focuses on visionary and creative people-friendly economic policies, although government still over-rely and over-depends on crude oil to fund its programs.
Can the present administration turn around the troubled economy in less than eight months? Nobody knows.
The continuous voter registration exercise has ended on 31 August 2018 courtesy the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).
Even though the exercise was characterized by a series of complaints, disappointments, and frustrations from eligible voters, who are bona fide Nigerians.
Indeed, the story remains the same nationwide.
In Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Oyo, Osun Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Imo states, INEC staff continuously engaged in various malpractices-deliberate hoarding of registration materials and collusion with a favored political party's officials, to sabotage the process, while it lasted.
A sizable number of Nigerians, who reported at the registration centers in different parts of the country, some as early as 4.00 AM in the early hours of the day, were either left unattended to or were given numbers on some sheets of papers and requested to check later in the day.
This is despite the fact, that several worried Nigerians opted to sleep at the centers.
Also, allegations of demand for money by some fraudulent staff of the commission, before registration could be done, is still an issue.
Interestingly, the feeling is that an unspecified number of centers were deliberately denied materials by the political class in connivance with INEC, with plans to use the same for purposes still unknown.
Of great worry, is the double registration syndrome which is already the trend all over the country, and the obsessive participation of under-aged children believed to have been sponsored by politicians and their agents in the registration exercise.
Although the INEC headquarters in Abuja has disclosed that it is making efforts to address the shortcomings, public apathy, apprehensions, and misgivings trailing the exercise, it still insists that eligible voters have the opportunity of exercising their civic responsibilities.
A well-informed source at the headquarters of the electoral body reveals that ''some evil and criminal-minded politicians are conniving with our staff, to undermine the voters' registration and mastermind the registration of under-aged voters''.
''I wish to assure that no multiple registrations will go unnoticed. INEC possesses the technology to detect illegalities'', the source hinted.
Without a doubt, Nigerians are looking forward to free and fair elections in 2019, devoid of illegalities from the point of voters registration to the very day of the elections.
Unarguably, Illegalities are, obstacles to a transparent emergence of the true representatives of the people. Indeed.
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The Progressives : Then and Now/ / National Identity, Ethnic Thoughts and Nation Building
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a political leader of Yoruba extraction, who lived by example.
His leadership impacted positively on the Yoruba people, in all spheres of life. However, it is doubtful if those who hold sway in this dispensation followed his footsteps.
Chief Awolowo had a formidable political structure that outlived him. In his time, political meetings were held at his Ikenne home in Ogun state.
After the passing on to glory of Chief Awolowo, in the days of military rule, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, took over the mantle of leadership and meetings were held at his Owo home, Ondo state.
During this period, the National Democratic Coalition(NADECO) came into being.
After Chief Ajasin did his beat, Pa Abraham Adesanya took over the structure up till the end of the military era.
In the course of Pa Adesanya's leadership, those who could best be described as pseudo-Awoists and pseudo-democrats, were accepted into the fold, sadly, the true and real progressives were barred, due to the fact that they took up appointments in the military regime of the late despot, Gen. Sani Abacha.
Now known as Afenifere, the group restricted its membership, while maintaining a closely knit relationship with the Alliance for Democracy(AD).
At a glance, Afenifere was composed of the first generation Awoists, the second 11 and the unknown elements.
The unknown elements eventually hijacked the structure through unconventional means.
Of the first generation Awoists, only a one time Governor of Lagos state, Alhaji Lateef Jakande is still alive.
However, Chiefs Bisi Akande and Segun Osoba belong to the second 11, while others were not yet into reckoning during the functional period of the group
At a point in time, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, the Director of organization of the Unity Party of Nigeria(UPN) then, stated that in 1982, during the last convention of the UPN, Chief Awolowo expressed the hope that a time will come, when the good elements in the conservatives will join the good elements in the progressives to form a synthesis.
But present happenings in the political sphere has defied this theory, rather polarization and division are tools that have brought about the present scheme of things.
Of note, is the fact that the progressives of the time past, embarked on laudable programs such as free education, to empower the Yoruba people.
Sadly, capitalist inclined policies, nocturnal ideals and preferences are the working tools of today's leaders in the South-west geo-political zone of Nigeria, to the chagrin of the disillusioned and impoverished people.
The new definition of the progressives includes, but is not limited to, the payment of school fees in Primary and Secondary schools, introduction of multiple tax regime and the preference for mediocrity and people with doubtful educational qualifications, to carry out government duties. So sad.
The financial greed of political exposed persons in Nigeria is a major problem of nation building.
Indeed, when Chief(Dr.)Olusegun obasanjo was the President, the then Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, his kinsman, was put forward as a model to discourage financial crimes.
Till date, the Former Inspector General's travails is a talking point.
Nigerians are already exhibiting intolerant behavior,perhaps, in violation of the 1999 amended constitution, to oppose a second term presidency for President Muahammadu Buhari. Why ? The anti-corruption fight in this dispensation has not been impressive among other neglected aspects of governance. The former Secetary to the Government of the Federation and several other high profile public office holders remain credible reference points.
As mediocrity becomes the popular choice for political office holders at the Federal, State and Local Government levels, hitherto vibrant institutions have been weakened to damaging and ridiculous levels.
The President's constitutional breaches have come under the heavy 'fire power' of moral indignation by millions of Nigerians, with the President's media handlers reacting feebly and unconvincingly.
Interestingly, Nigerians have interpreted the statement credited to the Director General of the National Identity Card Management Commission(NIMC) that embarrassment awaits Nigerians who have not registered for the National Identity Number(NIN), as an open threat and subtle intimidation.
The Commission had earlier in the year, lamented that lack of funds was limiting the commission's plans to produce the National Identity cards for Nigerians. Why the sudden desperation to ensure that Nigerians obtain the NIN ?
Part of the answer lies in the statement by the then Deputy Speaker of the Delta state House of Assembly, Pius Ewherido in 2005, ''Looking for an ethnic plaform, I think negates the entire concept of Democracy''.
Also of worry, is the alarm raised by the Independent Natonal Electoral Commssion(INEC) that the Permanent Voters Cards(PVC) are been cloned, this is coming on the heels of reports that desperate politicians are already purchasing the PVCs from uninformed Nigerians at the grass roots.
The situation is made more confusing, with the statement of the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, that there are threats to the country's cyberspace. How ? And why is it coming at a time that elections are coming up in Ekiti and Osun states, while the 2019 general elections is also around the corner. Perhaps, Government is still hiding a lot from Nigerians.
Osun Guber : The People's Decision Will Prevail/ /The Last Resort of The Common Man : Nigerians Keep Hope Alive On The Judiciary
Days to the Governorship election in Osun state, the Federal Government introduced a scheme, ''Trader Money'' to enable petty traders access interest free loans.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was at the Bola Ige International market, new Gbagi Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria to launch the scheme.
In addition, the Federal Government released billions of Naira to the Osun state Government under the under leadership of Mr. Rauf Arof the state.
egbesola and under the cover the Paris Club refunds, to pacify the poverty and hunger stricken workers.
Eight years is more than necessary to impact positively on the people of a state, if those who call the the shots have what it takes to deliver the proverbial ''Dividends of Democracy''.
Even though the workers in the state endured the abnormality of receiving half salaries for over three years, the voting pattern in last Saturday's elections in the state confirms that the people are no longer ready to embrace propaganda and deceit.
Sadly, despite the landmark achievements of the state government infrastructure the construction of mega school buildings, Osun state, occupys the 29th position in the rating of the West African Examination(WAEC).
Of worry, is the N96.7 billion debt hanging on the of the neck of Rauf Aregbesola led government, regardless of the fact that the national leader of the All Progressives (APC), recently declared that the state does not have his kind of money.
The first Presidential campaign of the APC at Osogbo was anchored by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, while the second Presidential campaign was piloted, President Muhammadu Buhari alongside the ''heavy weights'' of the ruling party.
Surprisingly, President Buhari is out of the country for an official engagment.
The foregiong did not, however, have any impact on the results of the election, even though the tone of the returning officer, who announced the result of the election, was not only suspicous, but exposes the deceit in the election.
Informed sources at the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) insist the number of irregularities were man made , when it was discovered that ''all was well''.
It is disturbing that some INEC officials was arrested for tearing result sheets in some Local Governments.
Inspite of this, the people have decided to havea firm grip of happenings in Osun state, even though those in power are not happy about the people's decision.
The Justice Kayode Esho panel report on the Judiciary of 1994, indicted several Judges in Nigeria for wrongdoing.
Although the report recommended most of the Judges, including Justice N.S.N Onnogben, then a Judge of the Appeal court , Calabar, Cross River state, for retirement/dismissal, the Judicial review panel headed by Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin gave most of them and Justice Onnogben a clean bill of health, thereby nullifying the recommendations of the Justice Esho panel.
Justice Onnogben was a high court Judge, when the recommendation was made, but was however, promoted to a Judge of the Appeal court.
Again, the Justice Babalakin panel reversed the recommendation by the Justice Esho panel that Justice E.I.D Emeordi of the Delta state Judiciary be dismissed.
This reversal did not go down well with the Delta state government, which eventually retired Justice Emeordi and Justice G.O Akoro. While justifying his retirement, the then Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Amos Utuama had said ''The Judges were tried by the NJC.
Recommendations were made to Government and based on the recommendations the Judges were duly retired. That was rule of law at work''. Is the rule of law at work today, in Nigeria's Judiciary ? The answer could be seen in happenings in the court rooms all over the land.
Indeed, Nigerians hailed the decision of the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, when he decided to implement the recommendations of the Justice Esho panel on the Judiciary.
The Justice Babalakin review panel had invited all serving Judges that were indicted by the Justice Esho panel and whom it had jurisdiction to deal with.
The panel heard and considered their defenses. Out of 14 of them, eight were given a clean bill of health and their indictment overturned. Of course, a transparent cleansing of the Judiciary would improve its functionality.
As the rot eats deep, with other category of staff in the Judicial system playing a major role, there is also increase in the number of corrupt lawyers. In an interview with a weekly publication, in 2002, human rights activist and Lawyer, Femi Falana(SAN) had said '' A Judge was recently identified in Lagos, for granting bail to some convicted persons, who had been tried and jailed under Federal offenses.
Indeed, they all appealed. It took two to tango, the lawyer who filed the application before that Judge knew all the facts of that case, at the end of the day the Judge was removed and nothing happened to the lawyer, he would continue such atrocities.
So the business of purging the Judiciary of bad blood, the role of the Lawyers has to be seriously examined, otherwise we are not going to get to the root of the mess''.
Of worry, is the fact that the 'mess' has made most Nigerians to view the Judiciary as unpredictable and unreliable.
Several years after nothing has changed in the nation's Judiciary. The Judicial system requires a total overhaul, which can only be done after a massive purge of corrupt officials. Can this be achieved in this era of change ? Nigerians have great hopes and expectations.
Drug, Distribution, Health Insurance and The Ambitious Quack/ / Governance in Nigeria : The Unanswered Question
Nigerians have for long contended with the problems associated with the pharmaceutical drug distribution network and the increasing presence of quacks in the health sector.
Indeed, unauthorized persons prescribe, dispense and handle medicines in open markets, major roads, street corners and bus-stops.
These persons have now occupied leadership roles in drug distribution, mainly for their personal interests, to the detriment of millions of Nigerians, who patronize them.
Sadly, Government is yet to come to terms with the visible dangers that abound in the unstructured distribution channels, while relevant regulatory agencies are handicapped when it involves the implementation of the provision of the laws on drugs. It is a known fact that quackery cuts across all professions including journalism.
Presently, jobless Nigerians in various fields, Secondary school leavers and in some cases drop outs are engaged by phony health insurance companies to propagate their objectives for ridiculous fees. They deliver health talks at Government owned Primary Health Care centres, clinics, Maternity and nursing homes among others.
This, they do in conjunction with the operators of the unstructured distribution channels.
Advertisements outlining vacancies for various positions in health insurance dot the nooks and crannies of the country. These organizations, on recruiting new staff introduce them to the nitty gritty of the business, with claims that they are working in conjunction with the World Bank Organization.
A sizable number of state Governments are behind these quacks.
Of note, is that the salient provisions of the 2005 National Drug Policy makes dispensing , sales and display of drugs, the exclusive professional privileges and rights of Pharmacists in Nigeria.
In the guise of providing enlightenment on health insurance, a group of quacks from a phony health insurance company, delivered a health talk on the celebration of the 2017 World Teachers Day celebration, organized by Oyo state council of the Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT) at the Teachers House, Oluyole estate, Ibadan, Nigeria.
After the health talk, the quacks charged a token of N50.00 per Teacher, to carry out medical examination. This trend is not only disturbing but worrisome.
Sadly, quacks have taken advantage of the loop holes in the health sector to make money, while educated citizens are now their preys. Very ridiculous
Nigerians have for several years embarked on the journey to promote a just and equitable society without encouraging results.
This is regardless of the countless number of prominent citizens, who belong to the private and public sectors, including the civil society community at home and in diaspora.
Sadly, most of the innovative ideas and policy options of governance have failed woefully to serve as springboard for the country's social, political and economic emancipation from the vicious circle of underdevelopment.
Of note, is the fact that Nigeria is yet to attain the status of a free, dynamic and knowledge based economy, this is just as there are no genuine signs of commitment to fairness, equity and justice.
The foregoing stems from bad and improper governance at all levels of government.
Decisions and policies of government are guided by self-centered ideals and obsessive greed.
Most political office holders lack ideology and principles to recommend a soothing cure for the country's ailments, this is convincingly reflected in the very weak economic and political reforms which are without doubt not the compass for a new world order.
The myriad of problems confronting the country amplifies the need for transparent and incorruptible institutions to decisively address pressing issues which have taken a political turn.
Those institutions that were in place from time immemorial, might not have achieved the purpose for which they were established, even though enormous financial resources heralded their establishment.
The major questions on the lips of most Nigerians, include, Who is saddled with the responsibilities for policy formulation and governance under the present dispensation?
Is it the state or does it rest on the exploitative hands of a few private individuals ?
These questions remain unanswered, definitely not one of the high points of Democracy.
Restructuring and the Quest for Igbo Presidency/ /The Other Side of Safeguarding the Lives and Property of Nigerians
In 1998, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization,Ohaneze Ndigbo restructured, 12 months after, the structure became a platform to campaign for Igbo presidency.
Again,in 2004, the socio-cultural organization restructured,even though the general elections came up in 2007. Nigerians were of the opinion that the presidency was for all Nigerians.
Their arguments were hinged on the fact that no section of the country,was excluded from aspiring to the highest position in the land.
Indeed,there has never been and there is still no constitutional provision or clause that allows for the exclusion of any tribe to vie for the presidency.
Interestingly, Ohaneze, is a South East Geo-Political zone based socio-cultural organization, which projects the interests of Ndigbo in particular, and the rest of Nigeria in general.
Although, at a particular point in time the organization was accused of been elitist.
The objective, according to a cross section of those who are members of the organization, is to ensure that the ordinary man in the street is a member.
However,they argue that anybody who is Igbo or of Igbo extraction,within Igboland or in Diaspora,is considered a member of Ohaneze. Such individuals, according the organization can attend meetings without a third party making introduction.
'You can come to an Ohaneze meeting without anybody introducing you. If there is any need to introduce yourself, you get up and tell them who you are'', they stated.
Sadly, this is not the situation in the diaspora, including Oyo state.
In an interview in 2004, the President of the Anambra state chapter of Ohaneze, Dozie Ikedife,had insisted then, that restructuring was on course, irrespective of any presidential election.
'If it happens that no Igbo man is installed as President this time around, Ohaneze will still play its role to ensure that a President is installed in this country and that things move on peacefully with a sense of equity, fair play,justice and enhancement of the sense of belonging for all'', Ikedife had declared.
The then President of Ohaneze, Prof. Joe Irukwu was consistent in advocating for Igbo presidency, even though the hidden ambitions of his kith and kin at home and in diaspora militated against his advocacy.
However, a one time Governor of old Anambra state, Chief Christian Onoh,once observed that state Governors of the South-East geo-political zone have always worked at cross purposes, when it involved the Igbo Presidential project.
'We should tell ourselves the home truth-our Governors are not united',Chief Onoh had noted.
Sadly, some members of the political class in Igboland, project Igbo Presidency in broad day light, while vigorously facilitating an agenda at variance with the collective interests and aspirations of Ndigbo,under the cover of darkness, 'when NEPA don take light'.
Since no tribe or ethnic group has been excluded from Nigeria, the debate about who occupy the number one seat in 2019 and beyond,should be for all and sundry. Perhaps
In July 2005, the then Inspector General of Police Mr. Sunday Ehindero put in place committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the alleged killing of five Igbo traders and their female friend by some policemen at the Apo mechanic village, Abuja on June 7 of the same year.
However, the committee was headed by, Mike Okiro, then a Deputy Inspector General of Police was dissolved by the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The President hinged his decision on the fact that the Police could not be a Judge in its own case. In addition, the President's action was predicated on the testimonies of a photographer, hired by the Police in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) to take photographs of the lifeless bodies of the six Nigerians sent to their untimely graves.
The photographer confessed that the police were responsible for the crime, as he stated that he saw the police bring guns and placed by the side of the corpses of the six, to make them look like armed robbers, after which, the police ordered him to take their photographs.
The photographer further stated that, he could not believe his eyes, when he saw the Commissioner of Police of the Command, explaining to Nigerians that those killed were armed robbers, while making particular reference to the photographs. Such instances abound till today.
This development emboldened the President to put a stop to the Police investigation, to avert a situation whereby the outcome of the investigation would favour the Police.
Without hesitation, the President set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to find out how the six were killed and the role of the police in the incident.
Nigerians now realized that the action of the President, was an indication that he lacked confidence in the competence of Ehindero, as Inspector General of Police.
Complainants are converted to accused persons at Police stations, when money exchange hands, just as criminals boast of their cordial relationships with compromised officers and rank and file of the force.
Corruption and inefficiency have become recurring decimals in the Nigeria Police Force, this has affected almost all senior officers, who have occupied the position OF inspector General OF Police.
In this dispensation, Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief, when Ibrahim Idris assumed office as the Police Boss. They thought that they would soon begin to sleep with their two eyes closed This is not the situation, considering the manner the Police has handled the Senator Dino Melaye case.
Sadly, for several years, there has been a disconnect between the IGP's office and the 36 state commands. This informed the establishment of special task forces by successive Inspectors General of Police to tackle crime nationwide.
Accusation of deprivation of funds and counter accusation of mismanagement of funds have characterized the relationship between the IGP's office and the 36 state Police Commands.
Indeed, on issues bothering on corruption, the Police cannot be a Judge in its own case. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) is an anti-graft agency, with a number of policemen involved.
Indeed, the question of funding of the police still remains in the circle of administrative bottlenecks and the late release of funds by the Federal Government. Sabotage is now the order of the day. The insecurity in land addresses the question.
Of worry, is the communication lag between the office of the IGP and the Police Service Commission(PSC). The PSC is not responsible for the appointment of the IGP.
Successive occupants of the IGP's seat have always been suspicious of any suggestion or advice emanating from the commission.
Interestingly, some state governments, which are vigorously agitating for the establishment of state police, have taken advantage of the insecurity in the land.
However, state police cannot fly, in an environment filled with political office holders bereft of ideology and principles.
Nigerians should not be deceived by the activities of some selfish and greed-driven citizens, who continuously discredit the present centralization of the police structure, in favour of sectional interests and design.
The Position of the State and the Killing of its Citizens/ Policies are for the Benefit of the Domineering Patronage Caucus
Adolf Hitler labelled the extermination of the Jews in Europe, '' the final solution'', while the military dictatorship in Argentina which embarked on an unprecedented killing of its citizens code named same ''The process of National Integration''.
The activities of insurgents and armed herdsmen which have claimed thousands of livers are similar to the above mentioned/
Between 1976 and 1983 millions of citizens lost their lives in Argentina. Death squads operating under secret circumstance and the cover of the state murdered about 11, 000 people, which are now described as ''The Disappeared''.
Two million people escaped persecution, while hundreds of babies born to ''The Disappeared'', were either sold, bartered or murdered.
Indeed, happenings in several states of Nigeria, including Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Kogi, Nasarawa and Kaduna, indicate that government is fully aware of the insecurity, even as the killings continue. This calls for concern.
On March, 23, 1976, General Jourge Videla, Head of the Argentine Army overthrew the government of Isabelita Peron, a former night club dancer. No civilian government had completed its tenure, excerpt for Juan Peron's first term in office.
General Videla hinged his action on the chronic inflation and high rate of unemployment that trailed Isabelita's government.
However, in Nigeria, a retired Army General calls the shots, even though the country still experiences symptoms of economic recession, mass unemployment, corruption and insecurity.
The Ejecrcito Revolcionario del Pueblo(ERP) and the Montotneros, took to kidnapping and killings. This plunged Argentina into crisis, in Nigeria, kidnapping and killings have gone on unabated. Political pundits put the blame at the door step of the present administration.
Nigerians are worried that the government has done nothing noticeable to ensure that the country does not slip into anarchy.
In 2009, the Defense Minister of Madagascar, Cecile Manorantha resigned her appointment on the grounds that she would not continue to be a part of a government that kills its people.
Also, the people of Madagascar vigorously opposed the attempts by President Marc Ravalomanana to lease one million acres of their land in the South of the country to a Korean firm, Daewoo for intensive farming/ The people have deep ties with their land and consequently view the President's action as a betrayal.
The same scenario is playing out in Nigeria.
The insecurity in the land has made foreign investment impossible, while the disenfranchised and poor majority look in the gloomy future for reprieve.
Not long ago, President Muhammadu Buhari told his loyalists that they should work towards his second coming in exchange for unspecified rewards.
Although the President acknowledged the fact that that there were still several of his loyalists, who worked for his victory in 2015, who were yet to be rewarded, he noted that is was not possible to reward everyone.
Nigerians have not stopped expressing worries and concerns over the attitude of the country's political office holders to governance, at all levels.
They lament that political office holders in this dispensation brook no opposition, in most cases when their selfish interests are under obvious threats.
Sadly, such interests are opaque, leaving Nigerians to the mercy of guess work.
Interestingly, the present administration's media handlers are pre occupied putting together lies and half truths to possibly extend the tenure of the already unpopular government.
All opposition to the tenure extension plans of this administration are been devoured by the ''hawks'' at the seat of power.
It is quite disturbing that despite the fact that several top ranking government officials who have issues with their credentials, are still holding tight to their appointments, while the security agencies who declared them fit, continue to look the other way.
Without doubt , the venal leadership at all levels are responsible for the poor governance, Nigerians are experiencing presently. This has in turn ensured the entrenchment of corruption in the country.
Poor governance revolves on mass unemployment, domant public services and an incapable civil service to deliver policies, schools without libraries and unpaid salaries and pensions.
Nigerians insist that the Presidnet has abused his office, regardless of the loud noise about the anti-corruption crusade.
The actions of the lawmakers, during the presentation of the 2019 appropriation bill by the President to the joint chambers of the National Assembly, is an indication that all is not well.
Several corrupt officials, appointed and elected are still hiding under the safe cover of the executive, while Nigerians watch in disbelief.
After three and a half years on the saddle, President Buhari is having great difficulties converting the vicious cycle of poverty in the land into a virtuous cycle in which transparent and people friendly decisions are taken to the benefit of common Nigerians, rather than the domineering patronage caucus.
Can Government Protect Nigerians From Its Exploitative Tendencies ?/ /INEC and the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria
Chief Ayo Adebanjo, trumpeted the feeling of Nigerians, when he said that ”nothing has changed from my perception of Buhari before the election, that he can never be a democrat. Buhari doesn’t have the attributes of a good leader. He doesn’t have qualities of a good leader, required to lead a complex country like Nigeria”.
The organized private sector is already thinking of the mass lay off of manpower, as the only option to cushion the effect of the strangulating and unfavorable policies of the Federal Government.
Before now, casualization and exploitation, have trailed the experience of workers in most private organizations in the country.
This is just as their colleagues in the public sector continue to lament the non payment of salaries by most state governments.
Indeed, President Muhammadu Buhari had at a meeting with the All Progressive(APC) Governors elect in May, 2015, at the Defense house, Abuja said that the expectations of Nigerians were too high.
”The expectation is too high and I have started to nervously explain to people that Rome was not built in a day”.
Sadly, households in the country are watching helplessly, as the price of Kerosene is left for market forces to determine. Of worry, is the fact that Kerosene now sell for between N150.00 and N200.00 per bottle.
Strangely, the national leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu has appealed to Nigerians to bear with the APC led Federal Government.
But Nigerians are at a lose, to determine the cost of what they would endure, as most homes are complaining of hunger and poverty.
Of note, is the fact that workers across the states have continued to express dismay over the attitude of a number of their union leaders on the issue of the new national minimu wage.
The sight of several Nigerians taking their bath at all times of the day, at the Dandaru, Queen Elizabeth road end of the Ogunpa River, in Ibadan, Oyo state, is an indication that all is not well.
In an interview with a national newspaper in January, 2016, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, trumpeted the feeling of Nigerians, when he said that ”nothing has changed from my perception of Buhari before the election, that he can never be a democrat. Buhari doesn’t have the attributes of a good leader. He doesn’t have qualities of a good leader, required to lead a complex country like Nigeria”.
Expectedly, disobedience of court orders, intimidation and harassment of innocent citizens by law enforcement agents coupled with the insensitivity of political office holders across the states characterize, day to day living in the country.
Not long ago, the Governor of Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson expressed surprise that President Buhari did not congratulate him on his victory at the polls.
The people are not happy with the leadership style of the present administration in Nigeria.
For instance, the plans by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited to locate its shipyard in Lagos state, instead of its major operational base, Bonny Island in Rivers state has been described a ”grand conspiracy against the people of Bonny Kingdom and the Niger Delta region, the planned relocation”.
Of note, is the fact that most women-single,married, divorced and their children have taken to prostitution to cushion the effects of the economic reality as defined by the present administration.
When Alhaji Lam Adesina of blessed memory, was Governor of Oyo state, he had said ”this administration believes that it is the business of government to protect the citizenry from the injustice which government may, because of its exploitative weakness, bring on the people it seeks to protect”.
Sadly, in Oyo state schools, students, who have paid the compulsory school fees and are yet to show evidence of the payment of three years tax by their parents or guardians are sent home, thereby prevented from sitting for the term's examinations.
Is the present administration protecting the people from its exploitative tendencies ?
The recently N50.00 stamp duties for every deposit above N1,000 in commercial banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) provides just one out of the several answers to this all important question.
On the eve of the 1979 general elections, the then Head of state, General Olusegun Obasanjo made a national broadcast. In the broadcast, General Obasanjo asserted that a true national leader was one who recognized that ''the will of the electorate is supreme and the self interest of an individual must be subjugated to the will of the electorate''.
This might not be the present situation in Nigeria today.
The late Michael Ani, was at the period the head of the Federal Electoral Commission(FEDECO). Under his leadership, FEDECO screened and disqualified a considerable number of candidates on the basis of corruption and tax evasion.
Some of the challenges Nigeria is presently passing through, could be traced to the outcome of the 2105 general elections, midwifed by Professor Attahiru Jega of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC). Is the INEC truly independent ?
Sadly, President Muhammadu Buhari has decided not to assent to the 2018 electoral act amendment bill. Nigerians express surprise and disappointment that this development.
Indeed, in the 2015 general elections, thousands of Nigerians could not vote, as a result of the malfunctioning of the smart card readers at an unspecified number of polling units across the country. Interestingly, this was to the benefit of the All Progressives Congress(APC)which is the ruling party presently.
At a programme organized by the Oyo state chapter of the National Forum of Heads of Federal Establishments in Ibadan, recently, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr. Mutiu Agboke expressed confidence that the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) was up to the task in conducting a free, fair and credible election in 2019.
''All irregularities have been corrected, our smart card readers have been upgraded, however, it is not 100 per cent. We know what we are doing and we are ready for the 2019 elections. Your votes should not be under duress. Vote buying is a dangerous menace. It is a demon, we are going to fight it together. Your vote is improtant to the extent that you are allowed to cast your vote.''
''Let there be no coercion or imposition of candidates on the voters. Whatever laxities and shortcomings that would occur in the 2019 general elections would be used as the basis for the 2023 general elections. Only 39 political parties shall be fielding candidates for elections in Oyo state in 2019'', Mr Agboke told those in attendance.
Curiously, millions of Permanent Voters Cards(PVC) are yet to be collected in the states of the Federation.
Under age voting is just one among several shortcomings of elections in the country, which the electoral body is well aware of, but chooses to be retroactive despite disturbing happenings.
The electorate perceive unfolding events in the polity as signs that the ruling party might eventually conspire with the electoral body to once again hoodwink Nigerians, as in the past, if given the opportunity.
Even though the criminal silence of some usually outspoken Nigerians and organizations including a section of the media, encourages fraudulence in the electoral process.
It is daily becoming obvious, that a sizable number of political office holders have become unpopular in the places they claim to represent. Why is this so ? They might be candidates who were imposed on the people, against their wishes.
Indeed, a government that operates in secrecy cannot be popular with the people. This is seen in the desperation to force anti-people policies on the citizenry, at the tail end of this administration.
After all, their mindset could be that '' those we put in the electoral body will not only preserve, but also protect our interests''. If this is the case, then the country still has a lot to learn in the conduct of elections.
Politics : The Nigerian Way/ / The Tinted Glasses Trend in Crime
In politics, lessons are repeatedly taught and learnt. It is now left for those involved to modify their gains and loses to suit the situation they eventually find themselves.
Regrettably, the laws of Niccolo Machiavelli have all along been wrongly applied in this clime.
After the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) convention in 2003, Chief Barnabas Gemade made spirited attempts to be adopted as the Presidential candidate of the United Nigeria Peoples Party(UNPP), but failed. This was Chief Gemade's fall back option, when his future in the PDP became uncertain.
Indeed, Chief Gemade was the backbone of the UNPP, in his home state, Benue, even though he was a card carrying member of the PDP. Not surprisingly, meetings were held in his home, with Chief Gemade in attendance. Of note, is that his followers held him in high esteem.
Curiously, it was discovered that the former PDP National Chairman, contested the Presidential primaries, alongside, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, with the intention to use same as a bargaining chip to persuade the then President to compensate him with a 'mouth watering' political appointment. This did not sail through.
Indeed, double standards, as a means to an end in politics has become a unique brand in Nigerian politics.
Chief Gemade began losing his followers, after he abandoned Senator Daniel Saror, who he successfully convinced to let go of his senatorial ambition to contest for the Benue governorship seat on the platform of the UNPP.
To be extra sure that Senator Saror abandoned his ambition, Chief Gemade boosted his morale financially and that was how Senator Saror was able to purchase the UNPP nomination form for a whooping N2 million.
Interestingly, at the Swange cinema hall, Makurdi venue of the governorship primaries, Chief Gemade, with the financial backing of a political money bag, Usman Abubakar(a.k.a Young Alhaji) influenced the leadership of the UNPP in the state to adopt Mike Mku, instead of Senator Saror as the party's Gubernatorial candidate.
Already, candidates for elective positions in the 2019 elections are aligning and re aligning, while hinging their intentions on optimism.
Indeed, a sizable number of these candidates rely solely on optimism and money(for the money bags), as a strategy to hoodwink their competent opponents to the bargaining table, with hope that rewarding agreements would be made.
With this in mind, the average Nigerian, contending with insecurity and economic hardships, brought about by bad governance, is of the hope that the same quality of political office holders, presently on display, would not reemerge to torment and torture all and sundry in a new dispensation.
Criminals now operate in vehicles with tinted glasses all over Nigeria, while innocent citizens are at the receiving end of theses crimes. This does not augur well for government which has always insisted that it is up to the task in ensuring a secured environment.
Insinuations are that these criminals might have had unwritten agreements with the law enforcement agencies, to operate without hinderance, if the late response of the law enforcement agents to distress calls are anything to go by.
The criminals exhibit confidence and operate without fear in different parts of the country.
On December 21, 2018 at about I.00 PM in the afternoon, some young men residing at 4, Kehinde Aderibibge street, Olorunsogo, Molete, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria(self contained ground flat in front), suspected to be cultists, attacked and injured a resident of the same street.
The resident had raised the alarm, when he noticed the young men led by one Michael, moving arms and ammunition from their apartment into a waiting light grey tinted glasses Lexus.
Sadly, the conspiracy of slience by the residents and the Landlords and Tenants Association in the community, exposed the fact that they are knowldgeable about the activities of the young men, who claim to be undegraduates of a private university located at the Toll Gate, Ibadan and other criminals living in the community.Of great worry is the proliferation of hotels in residential areas, which serves as fortresses for several actvities which are not in tandem with the laws of the land.
Indeed, lawlessness and criminality has become a means to an end in Olorunsogo, Molete, Ibadan and several other communities, just as residents live in fear and hopelessness.
Of note, is the deep involvement of artisans particularly barbers, mechanics and petty traders, whose shops are located within communities, in various crimes.
The dress code and hairstyle, choice of words and behaviour of the youths has further heigthened the apprehension among worried residents.
`Recently, the Commissioner of Polcie in the state, Mr. Abiodun Odunde, while featuring on a radio programme lamented that the command lost about 50 police personnel in 2018, who were not in the direct line of duty.
Mr. Odunde then went on to advise the people of the state to embrace prayers.
Interestingly, these criminals boast that they are known by the law enforcement agents and even dare residents to report their activities.
The Role of NCC in the Provision of Food for Downtrodden Nigerians/ /Has INEC Conducted a Credible and Acceptable Presidential Election ? Nigerians Ask
Government at all levels and the people are now at home with the fact that there is extreme hunger and poverty in the land.This is no longer a subject of argument, even though a large percentage of Nigerians insist that the three tiers of government are doing almost nothing to address these threats to human existence.
Most government agencies and those in the private sector take advantage of the unfortunate economic situation to ridicule Nigerians.
This was the case on Thursday 24 January, 2019, when the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC) organized a Consumers Outreach Programme at the Mapo hall, Ibadan, Nigeria, obviously for the downtrodden and economically oppressed class in society, which is a far cry from the stakeholders forum, soon to be organized by the Commission at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. This forum is strictly by invitation.
The posters containing information about the stakeholders forum pasted at different locations within the city prepared the grounds for the programme which suggested deceit. It assured those who planned to attend the forum that the telecommunications service providers would give out free Tee shirts, phones and lots more. This attracted a lot of people, but this was not the case.
However, airtime not exceeding N5,000 was given out to hundreds of people in attendance in a ''funny' way.
Without doubt, a majority of those that were at the venue of the forum, were there to collect food and the NCC made good use of this fact.
After hours of educating a bored crowd, the organizers in the first instance, distributed biscuits valued at N20.00 and ribena drinks-N50.00-in strange looking black nylons.
This attracted grumblings, murmurings and arguments, with a sizable number, making reference to destitutes who are always presented with similar items at the nearby ''Oja' Ba by pass.
One of the Deputy Directors of the NCC opined that the programme was organized to enable consumers know their rights and safeguard same. Sadly, those in attendance lamented that the acts of the organizers, one way or the other infringed on their Fundamental Human Rights.
Even though less than 10 people won cheap phones during the raffle draw, which the Deputy Director stated was facilitated by a consultant, this did not cut ice with the crowd.
When the NCC officials discovered that people had started leaving the hall, the Deputy Director reminded them of the launch packs that would be forfeited if they left.
Since most of them were hungry and were there to collect food, they decided to wait till the end of the programme.
The Deputy Director now instructed armed policemen to shut all entries to the hall and leave only the one near the high table open. The only entry was manned by armed policemen.
Immediately the programme came to an end, the impatient crowd surged towards the entrance manned by armed policemen, where they were handed austere food packs as they stepped out.
Pickpockets had a field day as wallets, phones and money were stolen.
The foregoing has been the lot of Nigerians, who attend programmes organized by government agencies, that seek to project the achievements of the present administration in various sectors.
In its leaflets, the NCC stated that one of its core objectives is to ''protect the rights of telecom consumers in Nigeria'', this is just as Nigerians have continued to pray ceaselessly to God to ease out those responsible for the evil, killings and hardships in the land.
Nigeria possesses the human and material resources to become a prosperous liberal Democracy, but political appointees working at cross purposes have made this a mirage so far.
Corruption as a Way of Life In Nigeria
At a point in Nigeria's history, former President, Chief(Dr.)Olusegun Obasanjo stated ''it is a matter for regret that most public servants tend to subdue their political discipline in the face of personal aggrandizement''.
When Chief(Dr.)Obasanjo was in the saddle as President, he set up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) to rein in fraudsters, money launderers, corrupt government officials and several others.
Perhaps, the EFCC, was to strengthen the activities of the Nigeria Police Force, while the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission(ICPC) was established to boost the work of the Code of Conduct Bureau.
During this period high profile personalities, like former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun showcased the fight against corruption.
Sadly, happenings today, is a fierce departure from when Chief(Dr.)Obasano called the shots.
Interestingly, in an interview in 2007, prominent lawyer and huma rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana(SAN), who was then a member of the National Conscience Party(NCP) had stated '' you in the media, you must challenge politicians, you must ask them for their programmes for our people as opposed to celebrating criminals. If somebody says he is a thief, you should ask him to resign''.
Unfortunately, Nigerians have continuously asked ''thieves'' to resign in this present administration without positive results.
Of worry, however, is the fact that the youth now have the impression that corrupt practices are the only reliable path to success.
Nigerians express anger over the claim of the powers that be, that they have fought corruption to a commendable extent, even when it is very glaring that several officials of the present administration have cases of corruption trailing their daily lives.
The EFCC is now a shadow of its old self, only barking but not biting those it ought to bite.
If only the leadership had made transparency the guide to its activities, all the negatives trailing the country at home and abroad would never be the signposts of governance.
Everywhere within the borders of Nigeria, fraudsters, corrupt government officials and related category of criminals are celebrated by their people, who believe these individuals are the heroes of this time.
Nigeria's Unaccountable Mining Fields
In 1919, the Department of Geological Survey established by the colonial administration explored, identified and evaluated solid minerals in Nigeria.
The department also established the real reserves of several minerals and appreciable activity in exploration for export was undertaken.
In the 1970s when the focus on crude oil was at its peak, the fortunes of the solid minerals sub-sector began to decline.
The mines were abandoned, as products of crude oil became reliable alternative sources of energy and revenue for successive administrations-both military and civil.
Sadly, today illegal mining is the order of the day in most places endowed with solid minerals, not minding the fact that the Ministry of Solid Minerals was established in 1995.
Curiously, the people of Ekiti state did not ask the immediate past Minister in the Ministry of his achievements, before mandating him to govern the state endowed with intellectuals or rather perhaps, the electoral process was manipulated to his favor.
For the past four years, there has not been any noticeable orderly development of the nation’s mineral resources and therefore no optimum benefits from their production and use in terms of enhanced economic growth and improved human welfare.
Although, the mining sub-sector has the potentials to play a major role in the effort to broaden the productivity base of Nigeria’s economy through linkage effects, this is not the case.
Interestingly, the present administration in the country has done next to nothing in reclaiming and converting to productive use the mined out lands, just as it is yet to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of road grade asphalt.
Nigerians would like the Federal Government to disclose its level of involvement in several mining deals, which have churned out billions of hard currency, even though no one has been held accountable in the past and present.
In these times of economic distress, it would be strange for government to claim that it is not aware of the revenue the mining sub-sector has generated in the last few years.
However, it would not be out of place to conclude that the revenue must have been diverted to individual pockets for ‘’safekeeping’’.
JAMB : Admissions or Revenue Generation
In 1974, the committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities put in place a panel of the two admissions experts-Mr. L.R Kay, Secretary, Universities Central Council on Admissions of the United Kingdom and Mr. Pettipierre, Director of Ontario Universities Application Center of the province of Ontario, Canada-to examine issues and problems arising from the system of admissions into universities then.
The panel submitted its report to the committee.
Sometime in February 1976 the Federal Military Government also put in place the National Committee on University Entrance, with Mr.Michael .S. Angulu as Chairman , the committee comprised of 14 other members, who represented various other interests and bodies related to matriculation examinations, university placement and post secondary education in the country.
In February 1977, the the Angulu led committee submitted its report and recommendations.
After going through the recommendations, the committee of Vice Chancellors, the National Universities Commission and the officials of the Federal Ministry of Education made their own recommendations to government.
Again Decree 4 of 1993, now mandated the board to conduct admissions in collaboration with higher institutions.
And in March, 1977 the Federal Government accepted the recommendations and went on to constitute the Board now known as the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB), while a year later the board became a legal entity with the promulgation of the Decree 2 of 1978.
The Federal Government then went on to appoint Mr. Angulu as the first Registrar and Chief Executive of the Board in 1977.
The mandate of JAMB is to ensure uniform standards in the conduct of matriculation examinations and placement of suitably qualified candidates into higher institutions in Nigeria.
In December, 1989, the Federal Government repealed Decree 2 of 1978 and in its place promulgated Decree 33, which empowered the board to conduct admissions into Polytechnics and Colleges of Education all over the country.
Although the functions of JAMB does not include revenue generation, with over one million candidates purchasing the entrance examinations forms in 2019, the Board is now a major revenue earner for government and several other irregularities.
A cross section of Nigerians are of the belief that limited educational exposure could be an obstacle to achieving positive results.
However, today higher institutions conduct independent post UTME tests, which have been trailed by lamentations by parents and guardians of the enormous costs implications for their children and wards into higher institutions of learning in Nigeria.
Despite the rigorous process of admissions, the end products are not of satisfactory quality.
Without doubt the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) seems overwhelmed by its challenges most especially after the introduction of the Computer Based Tests(CBT).
These challenges, which are enormous have characterized every examination the board has conducted in recent times.
With no hope for a possible reversal in the near future.
Even though results of its most recent examinations have been released, thousands of candidates insist that a lot is wrong with the conduct of the examinations, which the board has consistently ignored.
The dynamism and vision of the present leadership of the Board is debatable, if the comments, remarks and questions of candidates and their sponsors are anything to go by.
The Elusive National ID Card
On Wednesday, 28 September 2011, the Federal Executive Council approved N30.066 billion for the accelerated implementation of the ‘back-end’ component of the National Identity Management System(NIMS).
The delivery date of the NIMS was December, 2013.
It should be noted that the National Identity Management Commission(NIMC) was to receive a sum of N23.074 billion, in the last quarter of 2011, for the procurement of the redesigned multi-application National Identity Card.
Before this time, the National Identity Card Scheme executed by SAGEM was a failure.
The NIMC Act ?23 of 2007 mandated the NIMC to establish a reliable, secure and ‘scalable’ identity management system that makes use of advance Bio-metrics technologies to identify every individual in Nigeria in unique ways.
Despite the colossal amount government has expended on the project, most Nigerians, who have registered have only laminated papers to present where necessary.
Although choice brand of papers serve the same purpose, on a condition that negotiated payments are made to the relevant officials.
The expectations of Nigerians were that , upon completion of registration, physical cards would be issued. This is not the case.
At the NIMC registration center at the University College Hospital(UCH)Ibadan, Nigerians are made to pay N100.00 for the registration form, while N500.00 is the amount for the change of name after registration and other unspecified fees for the lamination of the registration slip. There are other hidden fees.
The NIMC officials also instruct people to write their Bank Verification Numbers(BVN) on the form. Nigerians want to know the reason why this is so ?
Of worry, is the rude behavior exhibited by the NIMC officials in a sizable number of centers, which over time has discouraged several Nigerians from having faith in the project.
Indeed, NIMC proudly insists that over the years, it has issued out millions of the National Identification Numbers(NIN), even though it has continuously avoided making categorical statements on the Identity Cards.
Nigerians have the impression that the project is one among several white elephant projects of government.
Last edited: 01/09/2020