The Sun News » Opinion - Voice of The Nation Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:49:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UK deports 200 Nigerians for alleged breach of immigration laws Thu, 26 Nov 2015 01:06:55 +0000 By Louis Iba ABOUT 200 Nigerians were yesterday deported from the United Kingdom (UK) to the country for alleged breach of immigration laws. Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) source who doesn’t want to be named, told aviation correspon­dents that the deportees ar­rived at about at the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, [...]]]>

By Louis Iba

ABOUT 200 Nigerians were yesterday deported from the United Kingdom (UK) to the country for alleged breach of immigration laws.

Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) source who doesn’t want to be named, told aviation correspon­dents that the deportees ar­rived at about at the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, Lagos.

“They were flown back to the country on board a Boeing 767 aircraft marked AWC931 and the flight orig­inated from London Stanst­ed Airport,” said the source.

“The Nigerians were de­ported for alleged immigra­tion-related offences, but those offences we are yet to be informed here at the La­gos Airport. It could prob­ably be that they entered the UK illegally.

“All those deported were frustrated and upon their arrival, some of them who had friends and relations in Lagos made calls to them to be picked up,” the source noted.

One of the deportees, who couldn’t leave the air­port immediately because he had no one to pick him up, told journalists that he had entered the UK with two passports – Netherland and Nigeria. “I have a dual citizenship of Nigeria and Netherlands and without the benefit of explaining myself, I was picked up on my way to a studio and de­ported,” he said.

He claimed that he does not know anybody in La­gos and brought back to the country without the back-up finances, and having no re­lation or friend in Lagos, he was lost and had nowhere to go.

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Kumuyi storms Osun for liberation crusade Thu, 26 Nov 2015 00:55:41 +0000 THE ancient city of Ikire founded centuries ago by Akerere, a hunter from Ife, witnessed a mammoth crowd, which was unprecedented in its history, as Pastor W.F Kumuyi, the General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church Worldwide, kick-started the Osun Total Liberation for Total Man crusade in Ikire last week, at the Saint John’s Primary [...]]]>

THE ancient city of Ikire founded centuries ago by Akerere, a hunter from Ife, witnessed a mammoth crowd, which was unprecedented in its history, as Pastor W.F Kumuyi, the General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church Worldwide, kick-started the Osun Total Liberation for Total Man crusade in Ikire last week, at the Saint John’s Primary School.

The crusade was organised by the Deeper Life Bible Church in collaboration with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). It attracted several eminent personalities, including royal fathers, clergymen, political bigwigs, and worshippers cutting across various churches and denominations.

The arrival of Pastor Kumuyi ignited a great jubilation from the crowd of worshippers who were already in the mood of prayers enthusiastically expecting their miracles from God.

The joy of Pastor Sola Gondola, the Regional Overseer of Areole Local Government, knew no bounds for being privileged to host the cleric in his domain. The Osun State CAN Chairman, Rev. Elisha Ogundiya, thanked the organisers for making the crusade a reality by the physical presence of Pastor Kumuyi in Ikire, which he believed God would use to bring salvation and miracles to the participants.

The CAN choir rendered soul-steering song entitled: “I’ll give the best to the Lord,” while Osun State Deeper Life mass choir rendered their own life transforming message in songs entitled: «It›s really surprising what the Lord can do.”

While inviting Pastor Kumuyi to the microphone, the Osun State overseer of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor John Biola Adeniran, who was highly elated, also thanked the Lord for making it possible to have the African foremost evangelist and an astute teacher of the word of God, Pastor Kumuyi, to kick-start the Osun Liberation crusade in Ikire and equally admonished the people to expect great things from God.

“It was a fulfillment of the word of God in Psalms 110:3am, which said: ‘the people shall be willing in the day of thy power’ when Pastor Kumuyi came up to preach the word of God, as the shout of hallelujah rent the air and the whole arena became charged with the presence of God,” he said, assuring that miracles would be their lot.

He took his text from the book of Joshua 10:14: “And there was no day like that before or after it, that the Lord harkened unto the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel. “He informed the congregation that God was going to fight their enemies for them and that God would blow away all chaffs from their lives.

He divided his message into three parts: Desire of troubled captives, deliverance from triumphant Christ, and decision with thorough confessions.

He taught the people to desire a change in their lives and characters and turn to the Lord for salvation and miracles. He emphasised that their breakthroughs were premised on their desire for change.

He also instructed the people to make right decisions through confessions of sins to usher them into the throne of God to obtain mercy help at the time of needs.

After this powerful message, thousands responded by giving their lives to Jesus and with simple prayers of faith by Pastor Kumuyi, majority were healed and set free from demonic oppression.

There was miracle galour: Evangelist Michael Ayinde was delivered from eight years of back ache; Pa Adeola Adebisi was healed of seven years of legs problems; Fatoye Blessings, a student of Ibukun Olu College, Orile Owu, had pains in all her body and joints for years; she had been to the teaching hospitals for several texts and checks up to no avail but got her deliverance after the prayer of the man of God.

Akintoye Janet from Apomu, had a second leg shorter than the other but after the prayer, her short leg grew out normally.

Mr. Ogunwole Kazeem, a retired civil servant, was healed of stroke, while Sister Seyi Oyewumi was healed of cancer of the breast that had spread to her armpit. She came to the crusade from the hospital, where she underwent an operation.

Dignitaries present included Oba Olatunde Falabi, Akire of Ikire and his wife, Olori Anthonia Falabi, and other 19 chiefs. There were also Elder Peter Babalola, a foremost politician in Osun State; Pa Chief Emiola Adesina; Rev. Sumbo Ige, Osun State PFN Chairman; Venerable O.O. Olaniyan and CAN chairman of Irewole Local Government.

Others were Oba Adebayo Ogunmokun, Akeji of Ikeji-Ile, and his wife, Olori Ajisola Ogunmokun; High Chief Abiola Simeon Omo Olorun, Babarisa of Erin Ijesa, who led a powerful delegation from Erin-Ijesa, the home town of Pastor Kumuyi. Mr. Olalere Ajimotokin, the Youth Leader of Erin Ijesa; Hon Solomon Ajimotokin, Vice Chairman, Oriade Local Government; Chief Adebowale Samuel (JP), Odofin of Erin Ijesa; Chief Akinyemi Oyeleye, loyin of Erin Ijesa; Chief Agunbiade Segun, among several others.


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Ending violence against children Wed, 25 Nov 2015 02:13:21 +0000 A four year-old girl raped by her uncle; a ten year old boy beaten to death by his father; yet another heart wrenching story of abuse. No day passes without similar stories in the media. Many of us will sigh and turn the page, searching for the financials, the latest corruption scandal, or the ]]>

By Chidi Odinkalu

A four year-old girl raped by her uncle; a ten year old boy beaten to death by his father; yet another heart wrenching story of abuse. No day passes without similar stories in the media. Many of us will sigh and turn the page, searching for the financials, the latest corruption scandal, or the sports news. We seem to have become desensitized to these horrors our children suffer. On Universal Children’s Day, marked on November 20, and as the Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Violence Against Children, I urge you, please read on.

The global call for children to be protected from all forms of violence, in all settings was sounded on this day in 1989, when the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Africa rein- forced this call to end violence, one year later, when it adopted its own African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Nigeria readily signed up to both treaties in 1991, and in 2003 we passed our own national law – the Child’s Rights Act – bringing in comprehensive protection for children from violence.

Paper commitments, however, are meaningless without action and our children continue to suffer extreme levels of physical, sexual and emotional violence. Six out of ten children (60%) in Nigeria, according to the National Violence Against Children Survey, conducted by the National Population Commission with support from UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suffer such violence. By any measure, that is shocking, horrific and, for Nigeria as a nation, an embarrassment.

One in four girls (25%) and one in ten boys (10%) will suffer sexual violence before they reach 18 years old; this year alone 9 million of our children will have been subjected to rape and sexual abuse. And they suffer in silence. They are prevented from reaching out for help by shame, stigma and a lack of knowledge about where to get help. Most worrying is that sexual violence is so normalized amongst our children that many of them do not realise that what they suffering is wrong.

Before they have turned 18 years, half of all of our children will have been whipped, intentionally burned, punched, kicked, hit or threatened with a weapon. These cannot be dis- missed as acts of discipline. These are acts of violence that have no place in an upbringing that should enable our children to flourish. Violence – sexual, physical and emotional – is not confined to children who are poor or marginalized. It does not just affect children in the north east who are affected by the conflict there.

It transcends wealth, location, and family circumstance. It can happen to any child, anywhere. It can happen to your son or daughter, your brother, sister, niece, nephew or cousin, to your friend. Adults who suffered violence are significantly more likely to use violence themselves.

Violence against children constrains our development and costs us between two and eight per cent of our GDP. In September this year, the UN included a target to end violence against children in the Sustainable Development Goals, explicitly linking, for the first time, a violence-free society for children to economic growth. I was proud to speak at the launch of the Year of Action to End Violence Against Children in September, at which President Buhari personally called on each and every one of us to take action. We have a moral obligation to act, a civic duty, and a legal ob- ligation.

I am proud to be the Goodwill Ambassador for this campaign. If I can inspire even one person to take action – to stop perpetrating violence; to protect children from violence; to make children aware that they have a right to grow up free of violence; to help a child speak out, and to show compassion and support when they do – it will have been worthwhile.

You too can join this fight. It’s time to take action! Together, Let’s End Violence Against Children.

*Odinkalu is the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Abuja.

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Taraba Election Tribunal ruling and matters arising Wed, 25 Nov 2015 02:00:36 +0000 THREE years ago, a lawyer friend of mind gave me a legal tome of a work he had done and requested me to help him proof read it. He had painstakingly assembled the lead judgments in landmark cases an erudite judge had delivered in the course of his illustrious career in both the ]]>

By Idang Alibi

THREE years ago, a lawyer friend of mind gave me a legal tome of a work he had done and requested me to help him proof read it. He had painstakingly assembled the lead judgments in landmark cases an erudite judge had delivered in the course of his illustrious career in both the Appeal and the Supreme courts of our country. The over nearly 3000-paged work was done in honour of the distinguished legal personage. Three months later, I was done.

When I took the manuscript to his house, I, in my foolish innocence, remarked, as a part of my compliment, that from the many decided cases I had read in his manuscript, why do lawyers and judges still take so much time to decide cases which have exactly the same or similar body of facts with cases which sound precedents have been established?

In my naivety, I thought that if the tribe of lawyers and judges are truly minded about serving the cause of fairness, justice and equity in order to ensure peace, stability and the development of the society, it will make eminent sense if a litigant brings up a case, a judge will just bring out a standard case decided before by a reputable judge and every- body involved (the lawyers, judges, litigants) is guided strictly by what was canvassed then and the decision arrived at in that case. This will save everybody’s time and efforts. After all, I reasoned to myself, there is hardly any- thing new under the sun. There is no case that anyone would bring up today that has never been brought up before and has therefore not been decided upon.

But to my utmost surprise, a lawyer visitor present in my friend’s house told me in all seriousness whether I do not want lawyers and judges to eat again? I found that remark very eye-opening. So, lawyers and judges do not serve in the sacred temple of justice to bring peace, justice and development to society as they often claim; they see cases primarily as a means to earn their upkeep? So, the longer it takes, the pains it inflicts on the litigants and the chaos they sometimes bring unto society are good for lawyers and judges? I was cured of my naivety that day. This telling remark came to my mind following the judgment delivered by the panel of judges in the Taraba Election Tribunal which recently nullified the election of Governor Darius Ishaku on the ground that he was not validly nominated by his party, the PDP, to stand for that election. All hell broke loose following that ruling. Nearly forty lives were lost and billions worth of property destroyed. Legal pundits have since universally condemned that ruling saying that the judges erred in law by treating a pre-election matter instead of focusing on election matters for which they have jurisdiction.

I am neither a lawyer nor the son of a lawyer so I will not argue here on points of law. I leave that to the legal men who are better placed to do so and who have already proffered their opinion that even on points of law, the judges erred big time. Rather, my opinion on the matter will be based essentially on pure common sense and the need for social stability.

The main legal argument the judges stood on to pass such a weighty judgment is curious and tenuous, to say the least offensive word at their verdict. INEC did not complain that Darius Ishaku was not validly nominated. The PDP did not complain that someone had imposed Darius Ishaku on the party. No aggrieved member of the PDP had gone to court complaining that he had been robbed of victory in the primaries. It was the petitioner who had complained that her opponent was not validly nominated. And from decided cases, outright victory could not have been awarded to her if it was true that her opponent was not fit to be a candidate of his party.

From what we can see, it is the kind of judgment that reeks of all sorts of suspicion. It is as if the judges resolved to help one of the parties and they strenuously looked for even straws to hold unto in order to arrive at the conclusion they reached. If the Tribunal wanted to show their sympathy for the APC candidate, they could at best have blamed INEC for allowing a non-validly nominated candidate of the PDP to have stood election and not to punish Ishaku for a sin those who ought to have complained about never accused him of. The judges seemed to have decided to give to Aisha Jummai Alhassan in the law court what she could not achieve for herself on the political field. I think this was what irked some people in Taraba to resort to violence.

Tarabians seem to have resolved to live with the outcome of the governorship election. Darius Ishaku was declared governor after the titanic fight and there was no uprising against his enthronement. Aisha Alhassan who lost to him accepted nomination by the President to be a minister and had just been confirmed by the senate at the time the shock ruling was delivered. Alhassan herself and her supporters were happy that she did not lose it all. Why, then, stir the hornet nest by such a verdict that has, in the first place, no strong basis in law if mischief was not intended by the judges?

Even if judgment on the case had been written long ago, recent development re- counted in the preceding paragraph to the point of that judgment and the fact that the state was at peace with itself would have necessitated a rewriting of the judgment. The business of judges is not to tear society apart but to use wisdom to bring about social and political cohesion.

Our judges are required not to be partisan but they are not expected to be apolitical, especially in deciding very political cases such as the one they handled in Taraba. They live in a socio-political milieu and cannot pretend not to know what may follow some of the decisions they make. The Taraba Tribunal ruling is disturbing for another reason. Keen watchers of the actions and non-actions of some of judges have realized that they sometimes look at the same body of facts and arrive at judgments that are far apart from one another as the north and south poles.

It is common knowledge in our country that in the 2015 election, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue participated in the governorship primaries of the PDP. It was when he felt shortchanged that he jumped ship and sought election on the plat- form of the APC. There is no way he could have participated in the primaries of his new party, the APC, for him to have been validly nominated ac- cording to the prescription of the Electoral Act. Yet, the tribunal that heard the case instituted against him by the PDP ruled that he was validly nominated.

For Ishaku, there is no dispute as to the fact that he participated in his own party primaries. It is just that it did not take place in the state capital in Jalingo. But the Supreme Court has ruled in a similar case elsewhere that the doctrine of necessity, in the case of Taraba, the insecurity challenge in Jalingo, should absolve INEC and any party concerned from blame. Between Ortom and Ishaku, even an unbiased layman can see that Ishaku had a greater claim of valid nomination, yet two different panels made up of experienced learned judges, saw the similar cases differently.

*Alibi writes from Lagos.

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Soludo’s sharp jab of reality Tue, 24 Nov 2015 02:06:26 +0000 IT is always the way out of the truth,particularly in politics,for some people to see criticism as something borne out of bad motive. Many leaders have been consumed in the office they ]]>

IT is always the way out of the truth,particularly in politics,for some people to see criticism as something borne out of bad motive. Many leaders have been consumed in the office they occupy,some have destroyed their own lives,and sometimes put their countries and citizens in peril simply because they are averse to criticisms.

Very often,the easy path is to tell the leader what he wants to hear,not necessarily the gritty truth. That is why sycophancy continues to thrive in our politics because leaders ignore voices tugging at them.

Sadly, we are in that season again,where voices of reason clash with voices of deceit. The ringing advice to leader is:beware of ‘sincere deceivers’. These are political jobbers. Let’s get one fact straight:No one expects governance and governing to be easy. Not even when a new government is in power, trying to bring about ‘change’ from a supposedly ‘bad administration’ that it succeeded.

Without stretching matters too far,I find last week’s unsolicited advice from former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof.Charles Chukwuma Soludo, to President Buhari-led government to dismantle all forms of subsidy in the oil and gas sector,as a timely advice that should be heeded. Since he left the CBN after the administration of Umaru Yar’Adua refused to renew his tenure, Soludo has refused to be a “siddon look” economist. Even his harsh- est critics will admit he is a renowned economist, perhaps the smartest and most brilliant of his generation. He has never been afraid to talk or even walk alone.

Whether you like famous economists like Soludo or not, they are often seen as treasured friends that bring their knowledge to bear on economic issues of the time. They however sometimes do have contrary opinion from what many of us hold,especially when they perceive the economy is drifting dangerously,for which urgent monetary and fiscal policies become expedient.

Such was his call last week when he urged government to end all forms of subsidy. According to him,the fuel subsidy which successive governments have been funding with tax payers’ money has become a monumental fraud,benefitting only few, at the detriment of the majority.

Soludo’s call came at the backdrop of unrelenting fuel scarcity across the country. He is not the only known voice that have made their voices heard on the matter. His immediate sucessor at CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi(now Emir of Kano) and the GMD, NNPC, Dr.Ibe Kachikwu, have called for a review, and indeed,outright removal, of the subsidy scheme.

Soludo’s argument is that government should,,”pragmatically play the subsidy game”,by which he meant the time for its removal is now.He said that the ‘castle’ of government economic policy,though yet to be unveiled,’cannot be built in the air’. He argues that the ground on which the government is hoping to “construct a 100 story building of hope is shaking and shifting”.

What is wrong with that counsel? Nothing,if you ask me. Should President Buhari care to listen, he would under- standing that his administration is gradually losing the momentum,that bounce and good rhythm that brought into office. It is therefore saddening,though not surprising, that some fellows,many of them who either served in Jonathan’s government or benefitted from it, have taken a swipe at Soludo. They have called him names.Some have gone to a ridiculous extent of accusing him of seeking attention and a job from the Buhari administration. To be fair, Soludo is not a job seeker. Jobs look for him.

I think Soludo is used to criticisms of this nature and won’t be fazed by the attacks on his person. We are familiar with Soludo’s blistering and unsparing criticism of the management of the economy under Jonathan presidency as well as his face-off with two key members of that government, Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Olusegun Aganga. Soludo,we would recall, had claimed during the twilight days of Jonathan presidency, that over N30tn had either been stolen, or lost or unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged under the watch of the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Besides, Soludo had alleged that about $60bn was stolen in four years as a result of theft.For that,he asked the forner Finance Minister to, among other things,to explain what she knew about the “missing trillions”.On her own counter response, Okonjo-Iweala accused Soludo of aggravating the nation’s banking crisis having allegedly left a liability of over N5tn.

The two ‘combatants’ decided on their own to withhold further responses.

Maybe,that matter isn’t yet over. It will also be recalled that wasn’t the first time Soludo would attack an official of the Jonathan administration over the management of the economy. In 2011,for instance,he attacked the then Minister of Finance, Dr Aganga,claiming that the Nigerian economy was “sinking” under his watch and called for urgent measures to stop the drift. Aganga and Soludo fought dirty in the media, calling each other names.

Later, Aganga was replaced with Okonjo-Iweala. Was it a vindication of Soludo? I don’t know. Though disagreement among professional colleagues is not unusual, that shouldn’t be the spirit. But Nigeria politics is strange and peculiar. It doesn’t favour subtlety. We don’t know how to accept criticism in good faith. But critics like Soludo should em- brace formal channels of expressing his views to government.

There is no doubt that the economy is one of the major issues confronting President Buhari. Oil subsidy is one of the big issues the government must make an immediate decision on, regard- less of the far reaching political implications. It is a decision this government must make if it wants free market enterprise in the oil and gas sector of the economy. The truth is that governments exist to make certain things happen:it must prevent certain things from happening.

The fraud that exists in the so-called fuel subsidy scheme has become a monster the government must cut off, unless it wants to exist for the benefit of a minority. I don’t think t that’s the change the ruling APC government promised Nigerians. Sound economic management requires the courage to take good advice and separate economic issues from partisan politics.

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Fighting exam malpractice Tue, 24 Nov 2015 02:00:30 +0000 CORRUPTION has been defined as “the abuse of be- stowed power or position to acquire a personal benefit.” It includes embezzlement of public funds, bribery in all ramifications, cheating, including examination malpractices, etc.]]>

By Felix Achebe

CORRUPTION has been defined as “the abuse of be- stowed power or position to acquire a personal benefit.” It includes embezzlement of public funds, bribery in all ramifications, cheating, including examination malpractices, etc.

Daily we hear of corruption in the country and the efforts of the government to free our land from its menace by implementing various anti-corruption policies. But what we’ve found out over the years is that these efforts and policies have a way of getting stuck in the mud of bureaucracy, and thereby having their sting taken out. We are aware of numerous conferences that had been organised by government to seek solutions to the issue of corruption. They include the establishment of anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CPC). But one problem with these agencies is that they depend on the whims and caprices of the head of government at any point in time to function effectively. In that case, they can hardly be said to be independent.

Another problem is that there is no system- based holistic approach to the battle against corruption. This fact makes the war more of a haphazard thing than a consistent one. We seem to fight the effects rather than the causes. There are no strong truly independent institutions built to ensure that the struggle continues to a conclusive end and that the causes rather than the effects of corruption are addressed.

The anti-corruption stance of the current administration spearheaded by President Muhammadu Buhari is something to be commended. The only snag is that Nigerian youths are left out of the fight. The children in formative years of primary and secondary education are left to themselves to wallow in examination malprac- tice, which, to me, presents another area of corruption. If our children, who are our future leaders, are allowed to perfect these acts of corruption, they will, no doubt, with time carry them into our future. What then becomes the fate of our nation? As at today, Nigeria leads West Africa, if not the entire Africa, in exam malpractice. It is an open secret that schools, teachers and parents join hands to help students in secondary schools to cheat during WAEC and NECO exams. Nigerians appear to have failed to view exam malpractice from a holistic point of view, seeing it narrowly as a means to an end and thereby failing to realise that it is the root cause of various corrupt practices prevalent in the country. The rate at which people engage in this act is quite alarming. Since 1977 when the first major exam leakage occurred in WAEC, exam malpractice seems to be have become a sub-culture, but actually a counter-culture, in Nigeria. The menace has grown by leaps and bounds to the extent that schools, teachers and even parents are now actively involved. The schools ‘settle’ invigilators and supervi- sors to stay away from the exam hall while the teach- ers help the students to answer the questions. This has become a major trend in Nigeria. It can be confirmed that more than half of the students sitting for WAEC and NECO exam in Nigeria cheat during the exercise.

Among students in Lagos and in many other cities, there are what is known as ‘special centres’ meaning schools or exam centres where cheating is freely practised, where students are openly assisted by all available means. The schools keep on their payroll middlemen between them and the ministry of education or WAEC officials as the case may be. They get firsthand information on how the exams will go. They know the invigilators that will be sent to their schools, when ministry or WAEC officials are visiting and quite often get the questions ahead of the exam date.It is not surprising to see massive number of students who passed WAEC and NECO exams with A’s failing woefully to pass the same subjects in JAMB or post-JAMB. The question is: how can we claim to be fighting corruption in the larger society when our future leaders are busy perpetuating the same in our public exams? There can be no meaningful war against corruption which fails to address squarely the cheating and malpractice going on, many a time with impunity, in our public exams. Any efforts purportedly channeled into fighting corruption that fails to include plans to tackle this menace from the grassroots will only amount to wishful thinking.

The federal and states’ ministries of education and the National Orientation Agency have cardinal roles to play in fighting exam malpractice, by engaging the populace through enlightenment. Children should be taught morals in school and the ministries of education should ensure necessary amendments of the school curricula. Parents and teachers must desist from supporting, in any way, this shameful act that is injurious to the future of not only our children but also our society. The laws already put in place to address the issue of exam malpractices should be applied evenly and severely to deter would-be offenders. Our anti-corruption institutions should be empowered to have youth correction wings/departments which should pay special attention to schools and aimed at curbing exam malpractice. The government should include the secondary and primary schools in their campaign against corruption. In fact, it must start from schools. We must remove corruption from the foundation to save the future of Nigeria.

*Achebe, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, writes from Lagos

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The rejuvenating of the Nigeria Police Tue, 24 Nov 2015 01:52:30 +0000 THE Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, has recently put forth innovations aimed at improving the social strata of the Nigeria Police Force. Over the years, the police has placed on bill-boards at various commands and police stations, the slogan “Police is your friend” and this is ]]>

By Abubakar Musa

THE Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, has recently put forth innovations aimed at improving the social strata of the Nigeria Police Force. Over the years, the police has placed on bill-boards at various commands and police stations, the slogan “Police is your friend” and this is meant to draw the public closer to the police. The rejuvenation of the force by IGP Arase has become imperative in view of the fact that globally, security forces are adopting modern trends in crime fighting.

But how has this eighteen worded slogan impacted as a bridge between the people and the police?

The personnel of the Nigeria Police organization, however, come from within the same Nigerian people. The public regard that slogan as mere rhetoric and views it with disdain. Over the years, the public, especially commercial motorists and other private commuters, seemed to have been punched to the ropes by some unscrupulous police personnel who force- fully demand for some “little monies” from such commuters. Most times, refusal on the part of such commuters to dish out this gratification results in scuffles with the police and the resultant effect is the shooting of the innocent commuter.

Previous police hierarchy had done everything possible to improve the psyche of police personnel who carry arms and go after criminally-minded persons of the society but most times some overzealous police officers turn out to harm innocent citizens. It is based on some of these short- comings that the current police man- agement team is working round the clock to bring about the necessary reforms in the police.

Incidentally, the 18th indigenous police Inspector-General, Solomon Arase, determined to revamp police image and leave a lasting legacy for the police force, leaves no stone unturned to churn out innovations from the eighteen worded slogan “PO- LICE IS YOUR FRIEND”. In the public eye, the police which is the security organization closest to the people had seemingly turned out to be the people’s enemy due to the unscrupulous behaviours of some bad eggs within the force. To stem this tide, IGP Arase has come up with the slogan “NO MORE IMPUNITY” and a unit to checkmate the excesses of some police personnel has been unveiled by the IGP. Known as “CRU” i.e. of the public to lodge complaints against erring police personnel.

To facilitate easy access to the “CRU” the officer in-charge of the unit, Chief Superintendent, of Police (CSP) Abayomi Shogunle, indicated that aggrieved members of the public do not need physical presence at police formations to lodge their complaints.

Such could be done through plat- forms such as BBM, WhatsApp, facebook, e-mail, twitter, SMS and voice calls. For the WhatsApp and SMS the “CRU” has placed forth 08057000003 for reach-out and for voice calls, 08057000001 and 08057000002. The facebook com- plaint platform is www.facebook. com/npf complaint. The BBM Pin is 58A2B5DE and the Twitter is @ police NG-CRU whilst the e-mail is and

Specially trained personnel from the Force Criminal Investigating Department, (FCID), the Special Intel- ligence Bureaux (SIB) and from the Force Provost Marshal department will handle all cases flooding the ‘CRU’. While launching the newly created complaint outfit, IGP Solomon Arase indicated that the unit will take full advantage of ICT and social media platform to interface with the public and the police are poised to promptly address complaints received from the public and give feed- back on actions taken. IGP Arase appreciated the efforts of the British Government’s Justice for all CLEEN foundation and Techno phones, Lagos Nigeria in making the ‘CRU’ project a reality.

There is no doubt that operatives of the various Special Anti-Robbery squads nationwide promptly respond to distress calls anytime of the day to crime scenes to prevent or res- cue victims of crime. But such personnel most times dash-out to such crime scenes unprotected and wearing shabby clothes some tying head-gears that could not be differentiated from thugs.

In line with his ardent desire to reform the Nigeria Police Force along- side the yearnings of Mr. President and the desire of Nigerians for a people-oriented police, IGP Arase recently launched a rebranded special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The dress-code of operatives of the SARS has to conform with modern technologies and appear civil to the members of the public they are to protect. The rebranding, according to IGP Arase, will be in phases since the personnel have to be re-kitted, refocused and re- equipped.

The weapon profile of the SARS, according to IGP Arase, has to be re- viewed towards the engagement of less lethal weapon system such as electro muscular disruption technology (Taser or Stun Guns). This will reduce lethal weapons by the SARS operatives. To achieve these goals of the IGP, the enabling authorities must make adequate funds available to the Nigeria Police Force.

Most times we hear of re-equipping the police from government sources but this does not come to pass. The police needs functional helicopters in all the 36 zonal commands in the country for aerial surveillance in view of the increasing sophistication of armed criminals. The intelligence sector of the force has to be re-invigorated for optimal performance. For IGP Arase, no stone will be left unturned for the current reforms he has embarked upon.

*Musa, a crime analyst, writes from Abuja.

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Biafra: A home truth Tue, 24 Nov 2015 01:47:09 +0000 THE current pro-Biafra wind blowing across the length and breadth of south- eastern Nigeria and some contiguous parts of the south-south geo-political zone reminds me of the timely warning of]]>

By Chuks Akamadu

THE current pro-Biafra wind blowing across the length and breadth of south- eastern Nigeria and some contiguous parts of the south-south geo-political zone reminds me of the timely warning of the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido. Not too long ago, the banker- turned traditional ruler was reported to have cautioned the nation on the grave danger in failing to pay proper attention to the worries of Ndigbo, noting that this generation of Igbo youths would likely dare the Nigerian state in an unimaginable manner since they neither suffer from a hang-over of the Nigeria/Biafra civil war – having not witnessed it, nor do they harbor any memories of that darkest page of Nigeria’s story book.

I would like to add that the present crop of Igbo youths grew up with a be- ware-of-the-enemy-within mindset, a siege mentality and a vanquished orientation, all of which combine to leave them in highly inflammable state. To make matters worse, the environment where they were nurtured was (and still is) rich in lack, rich in deprivation and rich in hostility. It is little wonder, therefore, that they willingly received the strange dogmatic exhortations of an Nnamdi Kanu and his Radio Biafra as food (holy sacrament, if you like) to their drained souls.

Elsewhere, I had argued that who I see on the streets clutching Biafra flag are not Biafran patriots – and they are not Biafra enthusiasts either; they are frustrated youths who are at war with a system that appears irrevocably committed to shrinking their individual prospects of survival and forecloses their chances to prosper.
Fortunately for them, the Radio Biafra hate ministrations capture, in significant ways, both their corporate imagination and existential realities whilst Nnamdi Kanu’s present duel with the law has offered them a window for self-expression.

So, when an ex-President Oluse- gun Obasanjo calls the Biafra agitators ‘miscreants,’ I laugh at his glaring ignorance and poor understanding of the issues at hand, just as I have understandable compassion for Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.) who has also dismissed the brewing conflagration with a wave of hand. I said ‘under- standable’ because both share the luxury of having conquered Biafra in 1970 and can afford to make light of the plight of Ndigbo – especially from a psychological standpoint. If both leaders had, for instance, visited Aba recently and seen the deplorable living conditions of Ndigbo who reside there, they would have appreciated the social, sociological, economic and psychological dimensions of the cur- rent pro-Biafra (mis)adventure.

Aba reminds me of old Maroko in Lagos; so I do not understand how any man with a good head on the shoulder should expect the average Aba resident to reason like a stable-minded, well-adjusted and spiritually rational homo sapien. Nothing really can be more wishful, bearing in mind that the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) youths are barely educated and captives of starvation, with little or no hope of running into a miracle any time soon.

But come to think of it, have we ever paused for a moment to ask ourselves what could be the motivating factor(s) that would make a teenager or a young man in his 20s trek from Awka to Onitsha just to join a ‘Give Us Biafra’ procession? It can only be a function of extreme discontent with a probable thirst for vengeance. We also should not forget that given their station in life, these youths are incapable of differentiating between a federal government responsibility and statutory obligations of state governments.

That is why they put every conceivable blame on federal government, including those for the failings of South-East governors (past and present) who have, in mindless violation of the very spirit of brotherhood, knowingly undermined every effort of theirs directed at self-actualization.

From what I know, the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Chukwuemeka Odi- umegwu-Ojukwu who for all practi- cal purposes embodies, even in death, the Biafra struggle, ironically, had his casket wrapped in Green-and-White- and-Green flag before his remains were committed to mother earth. It, therefore, follows that he could not possibly have handed a Biafra Actualization manual to anybody (Messrs Nnamdi Kanu and Ralph Uwazuruike inclusive) before his transition.

This, of course, explains in part why the present agitation could actually be described as a wrong-headed ‘advocacy’. The last time I checked, nobody has done a SWOT analysis of the Biafra so envisaged, no feasibility study and the agitators might actually not have had a mental photo of what Biafra (as a sovereign state) would look like economically, politically or socially. When they chant ‘All we are saying…give us Biafra’, in their mind’s eye, what they see only is a geographical Biafra of uncertainties, but with a belief that the emotional component of their agitation would not only translate their newfoundland into a nation boasting of territorial integrity, but also abundance of flowing milk and honey.

I have gone to this length to high- light factors that have worked independently to predispose IPOB to their current struggle. But much as I (a very proud Igboman no doubt) do not subscribe to the modus operandi of the present agitation, much as I do not even share in the philosophy (if any) behind it and much as I cannot bear the hate content of Radio Biafra, I make bold to wholeheartedly identify with the discontent of Ndigbo with the project called ‘Nigeria’ although I grant that the Igbo leadership and elite cannot be exculpated. Theirs (IPOB) might not have been the right or best approach, but truth be told, there certainly is a sense in Ndigbo demanding, within the ambit of the law, greater accommodation in the Great Nigeria House.

Federal government should not prevaricate over this issue before it gets out of hand. The authorities should quickly enter into a mutually rewarding dialogue with the agitators, and maybe this is the time for the Nigerian union to come to terms with the imperatives of a Marshall Plan for the South-East. It really is long overdue!

*Akamadu is a lawyer and public relations consultant

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Deconstructing Nigeria’s power distribution Mon, 23 Nov 2015 01:22:27 +0000 By Oseloka H. Obaze NIGERIA’S power sector remains in a crisis mode. Thankfully, President Bu­hari did well to assign the power portfolio to Babatunde Fashola, a policymaker and problem solver capable of discerning man-made or systemic flaws, pitfalls of poorly implemented public policies and the nexus of inadequate power supply and underde­velopment. Since efficient power [...]]]>

By Oseloka H. Obaze

NIGERIA’S power sector remains in a crisis mode. Thankfully, President Bu­hari did well to assign the power portfolio to Babatunde Fashola, a policymaker and problem solver capable of discerning man-made or systemic flaws, pitfalls of poorly implemented public policies and the nexus of inadequate power supply and underde­velopment. Since efficient power supply is the bedrock of national development, epileptic power supply remains Nigeria’s Achilles heels, despite huge sums sunk into the power sector. Even with the power sector well-splintered into generation, holding and distribution components, (the so-called GENCOS, DISCOS, NDPHC and IPPS), the sector is still performing be­low par. The fault line lies with the twelve DISCOS.

Putting Nigeria on solid footing requires resolving the power sector’s core prob­lems. However, power generation and dis­tribution in Nigeria remains problematic, not due to lack of reform efforts, but due to lack of sincerity. Nigeria’s critical pow­er needs dictated the deregulation of the power sector. Deregulation resulted in the emergence of the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOS). By choice, Nige­ria elected an operational platform where DISCOS, as regulated monopolies, de­liver electricity to customers, as opposed to a platform of “competitive wholesale and retail marketplaces where electricity is traded.” Yet moving the nation forward and getting uninterrupted electricity into every home, SMEs and big businesses and industries, is mired in bureaucracy; and stultified by the DISCOS, through greed, imperious policies and extortionate tariffs.

Nigerian DISCOS are collectively be­having dissolutely. Major equity owners in the DISCOS represent the special inter­ests. These same special interests, for long, orchestrated policies that emasculated the power sector; shunned development of eco-friendly solar power, stimulated the use of generating sets and pushed the price of diesel to high heavens. They too, advo­cated fuel subsidies, ostensibly to assuage the incidental high-cost to the masses, only to turn around and reap the benefits of the fuel subsidies. With deregulation com­pleted and the DISCOS in place, the same special interests now use the pretext infra­structure expansion and unavailability of pre-paid meters to further fleece Nigerians.

Nigeria’s indigenous industries long decimated by epileptic power supply, now confront inexplicable high tariffs, based on estimates not actual usage. These spe­cial interest elite have fallen prey to their social standing; their “privilege blinds, be­cause it’s in its nature to blind”– excuse my usurping Chimamanda Adichie’s phraseol­ogy. As collectivized monopolies, the DIS­COS toe the malign policy of multinational pharmaceutical companies that insist on recovering their research and development costs, before permitting affordable generic brands to be produced in the public inter­est.

People dying as a consequence of such warped policies do not seem to matter. Such a disposition presents Nigeria’s orga­nized private sector in bad light. In case of the DISCOS — the collective monopoly that they are — there ought to be a modicum of social consciousness and responsibility, besides their fixation on profits. But the key challenge lays in the faithful imple­mentation of extant regulatory policies the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commis­sion (NERC) pressing on with its oversight responsibilities.

NERC’s operational modus remains unclear, considering its remit under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of the Federation 2005. Statutorily, it is to un­dertake, inter alia, technical and economic regulation of the Nigerian electricity sup­ply industry, license operators, determine operating codes and standards, protect customer rights and set cost-reflective in­dustry tariffs. Worryingly, there exist a disquieting disconnect between the NERC, the DISCOS and electricity sector stake­holders. Nigeria’s individual consumer is the worst affected. But indigenous business and commercial consumers that run our in­dustries are also being strangulated.

These lapses, more so the quantum leap in tariffs is damaging Nigeria’s already stressed economy, all the more. NERC’s new Tariff Order issued on 1 January, 2015 drew understandable fury from the con­sumer public. Clearly, the tariff variation, which reflects a markup of 103.46% for the Jos distribution area can’t be passed off as a minor increment. Internationally, any tar­iff increase beyond 20% constitutes a “rate shock”.

Unsurprisingly, industrial consumers backed by the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), protested vehemently against the hike, which failed the “public acceptability and feasibility test.” In sum, the government continues to fail in its de­livery of uninterrupted electricity, and in engendering the added value electricity brings to development. Considered purely from the economic standpoint; the pres­ent operational stance is non-collaborative, hinders indigenous capacity-building and is killing off start-up industries.

Most complaints tabled at the Electricity Consumer Forums relate to excessive tar­iffs. It is a nationwide saga. Complaints of bogus tariffs persist from customers of the Olorunsogo Power Plc., Omotosho Power Plc. Magboro Power Company Ltd., to Yankari Power Company and Jos Electric­ity Distribution Company. Entrepreneurs in the Onitsha-Nnewi-Awka Industrial Axis, especially those situated in Onitsha Habour Industrial Layout have protested the high tariffs, characterizing it as “unfair, unaf­fordable and beyond our cost absorption capabilities”. Astonishingly, the NERC is aware that the DISCOS, contrary to globally accepted practice, continue to cast their un­collected revenue from consumers as “loss”, thus consistently passing on such presumed losses to non-metered and metered consum­ers. So, unsuspecting Nigerians continue to bear the burden of the inefficiencies of the DISCOS. As of March, 2015, only five of the twelve DISCOS had statutorily submitted their metering plans.

This fact is compounded by NERC’s fail­ure to communicate its regulations effec­tively and expeditiously to the general pub­lic. Since full disclosure and transparency remain imperatives for regulatory bodies like NERC, urgent regulatory intervention is called for as public complaints rage on.

In its letter 14 November, 2015, to NERC Chairman Dr. Sam Amadi, the Intersociety and CLO, cited infractions rampant with the EEDC, (which covers the five Southeast States of Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia) and with most DISCOS, to include; “non-provision of prepaid meters to cus­tomers; mass disconnection of power lines including those of customers that paid their bills; phasing out post-paid meters without replacement with pre-paid meters; inad­equacy of distribution transformers; and indiscriminate issuance and collection of inflated estimated monthly bills.” The let­ter asserts that “97% of the non-residential consumers” in the Southeast are yet to be to be metered.

.Obaze, MD/CEO of Selonnes Con­sult, is a strategic public policy adviser and immediate past Secretary to the Anambra State Government.

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Between Taraba and Akwa Ibom Election Tribunal rulings Mon, 23 Nov 2015 01:21:26 +0000 By Kenneth Agba THE ruling of the Taraba State Election Petitions Tribu­nal, which invalidated the election of Darius Ishaku as governor in the April 11 election and handed the gov­ernorship to Aisha Alhassan, candidate of the All Pro­gressives Congress (APC) in the election, has merely confirmed what is public knowledge, namely, the grand plan by [...]]]>

By Kenneth Agba

THE ruling of the Taraba State Election Petitions Tribu­nal, which invalidated the election of Darius Ishaku as governor in the April 11 election and handed the gov­ernorship to Aisha Alhassan, candidate of the All Pro­gressives Congress (APC) in the election, has merely confirmed what is public knowledge, namely, the grand plan by the APC to ensure the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is reduced to a weak opposition.

In a judgment that has continually being queried even by legal experts, the tribunal declared Ishaku’s election null and void, not because he did not win majority of votes cast; not because of irregularities during the elec­tion, but because he was purportedly not properly nomi­nated by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The tribunal’s ruling is just one of the many contra­dictions, inconsistencies and double standards that have characterized the APC-led administration since it came into existence, and even exposed its hypocrisy. It is com­ing not quite long after the Benue Election Petitions Tri­bunal upheld the election of Samuel Ortom of the APC as governor, overlooking the same reason for which Ishaku’s election has been annulled. Ortom was a mem­ber of the PDP and actually participated in the party’s primaries, which he lost to Terhemen Tarzoor. While he was slugging it out in the PDP, Senator George Akume frustrated all efforts to conduct the APC primaries, dan­gling the governorship ticket before Ortom, if only he would defect from PDP.

Ortom defected when he could not secure the PDP ticket. When the APC gathered all the aspirants on its platform in Abuja and asked them to elect a candidate from among themselves, Emmanuel Jime, a former member of the House of Representatives, emerged the consensus candidate. But with the intervention of party personalities, the party fielded Ortom, not Jime.

The cases in Taraba and Benue share some similarities, but quite strangely, different endings. The PDP in Taraba said it moved its primaries to Abuja, away from Jalingo, the state capital, for security reasons (the same reason the tribunal gave for moving its sitting from the state to Abuja). The APC in Benue chose the federal capital, not Markudi, the state cap­ital, for a meeting of aspirants to choose its candidate, for no justifiable reason. If Ishaku’s election cannot stand because he was not properly nominated by his party, the PDP, then Nigerians need to be told why Ortom’s election was upheld, even when he was not properly nominated by the APC. There must certainly be a reason why the same law applies differ­ently, depending on who is at the receiving end or, more suc­cinctly put, the party that is benefiting from it and the one that is losing. The ruling of the Taraba election tribunal must be viewed against the background of the now familiar procliv­ity by the opposition to use the courts to achieve, through the back door, what it cannot achieve through the ballot box.

The case of Kayode Fayemi, who became governor of Ekiti State through the instrumentality of the courts on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), one of the legacy parties that formed the APC, easily comes to mind. Quite curiously, after the first term, the man who was sup­posed to have been the popular choice, in the estimation of the appeal court, couldn’t secure the mandate of the same people for a second term.It is the same scenario that the APC wants played out in Akwa Ibom, where its candidate, Umana Okon Umana, lost to Udom Emmanuel of the PDP. The party hopes that it can take advantage of its brazenly cozy relation­ship with the courts to achieve the uphill task of winning in a state with a history of conservatism. It is instructive that apart from a senatorial election in Edo State and the governorship election in Abia, tribunal rulings have so far weighed heavily in favour of APC. If the PDP in the previous dispensation had the kind of close ties that APC is currently having with the ju­diciary and security services, its propaganda machine would have been revved into action to cry blue murder.

When Goodluck Jonathan had a meeting with Attahiru Jega, erstwhile INEC chairman shortly before the elections, Lai Mohammed, the party’s publicity secretary, raised the alarm, imputing political meaning into the meeting, con­veniently ignoring the fact that Jonathan was the president, and therefore, meeting the chief election umpire was mere­ly a routine exercise. Unlike the cases in Ekiti and Osun, Umana is not asking to be declared winner of the election, because he knows that with 89,865 votes compared to Udom’s 996,071, no form of manipulation in the courts can add up the numbers to give him victory. With the nul­lification of elections in 18 out of the 31 local government areas of the state, the governor is still left with about half the number of votes he received on April 11.

The APC candidate’s demand for an outright cancella­tion of the election is premised on the hope that with the le­verage of judicial favoritism, use of federal might through INEC and the security services, he can secure enough votes to enable the courts give him the governorship, when he petitions against Udom, whose victory is as sure as the rising sun – just as the ACN did. The Gestapo-like inva­sion of the Akwa Ibom Government House by operatives of the Department of State Security, with a government in place, for which no official explanation has been given till date, is just a pointer to what to expect if an election is held in the state today, whether a re-run or fresh election.

The common boast among leaders of the APC in the state after the controversial tribunal ruling is that when what they describe as a tsunami is over, the state will cease to be what it used to be. This optimism, though misplaced, cannot be ignored, if it is considered that one day before the ruling of the election tribunal, a national newspaper and some online publications had correctly predicted that a re-run would be ordered in some local government areas. True to the prediction 24 hours earlier, the tribunal ordered a re-run in 18 local government areas. The world is watch­ing with bated breath to see how the election case in Akwa Ibom will end. It is one election that will either reinforce the belief in the credibility of the Buhari administration “Change” or erode it.

.Agba writes from Calabar

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Buhari’s Nigeria and the carnage in Paris Sat, 21 Nov 2015 23:46:49 +0000 BY FEMI FANI-KAYODE In the light of the horrendous events that took place in Paris I believe that it is time to eliminate and exterminate every single Jihadist terrorist on the face of the earth. We must show them no mercy and we must hold no quarter in our fight against them. We must prove [...]]]>


In the light of the horrendous events that took place in Paris I believe that it is time to eliminate and exterminate every single Jihadist terrorist on the face of the earth. We must show them no mercy and we must hold no quarter in our fight against them. We must prove to those that espouse the philosophy of radical Islam that no matter the degree of their savagery and no matter the number of their despicable and barbarous acts we shall remain strong in our resolve to overwhelm and defeat them and we shall continue to stand against them.

We must also acknowledge the fact that Amer­ica and her European allies made many mistakes in their handling of the war against terror.

For example Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Mua­mmar Ghaddafi of Libya, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Bashir Al Assad of Syria, despite their despotic ways and many shortcomings, suppressed the jihadists, the terrorists and the Is­lamic fundamentalists more than anyone else in the Arab world.

Despite that the Americans and the west fought against them, destroyed their countries and removed them from power. Out of them all only Al Assad remains standing and even at that he presides over only half of Syria and that is by the grace of the Russians and the Iranians.

Whilst the Americans and her western allies despise and seek to destroy the secularist leaders of the Arab world they appear to adore the rul­ing families, kings and despots of the Arab Gulf states who fund Islamist terror, who promote the Wahhabi philosophy and who export the violent and relentless Salifist tendency more than any other. It appears to me that this is the greatest paradox and contradiction of the modern age and frankly it is as inexplicable as it is inexcusable.

The fact of the matter is that the most powerful and deadly Islamic terrorist organisations in the world today, including Al Nosra, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Shabbab, Boko Haram, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and numerous others are funded by America’s greatest allies in the region, namely Saudi Ara­bia, Kuwait and Qatar.

The mess that we are witnessing in the world today, the terrible carnage that we witnessed in Sharm El Sheik and the Sinai desert three weeks ago, the slaughter in Ankara four weeks ago, the mass murder in Beirut two week ago and the butchery in Paris one week ago were not just acts of pure evil but they were also the ultimate mani­festation of bestial savagery.

Sadly such savagery was wrought by years of doublespeak, subterfuge, weak, ineffectual, con­flicting and counter-productive world leadership and Middle Eastern policies which was provided by the administration of President Barack Oba­ma. Had it not been for President Putin of Russia things would have been far worse.

That is the bitter truth. Obama condoned and pampered the Saudis from the outset, he turned his back on Israel, he wined and dined with the Iranians, he supported Al Nosra, he refused to confront ISIS and instead he supported the de­struction and murder of the Arab leaders that were prepared to do it for him

Yet in all of this the people that are faced with the greatest challenge when it comes to the fight against terror are the Nigerians. I say this because every single day for the last six months since President Buhari has been sworn into of­fice there has been an obvious resurrection of the power, might and confidence of Boko Haram yet our people have failed to recognize or acknowl­edge it.

They are still studying what they describe as Buhari’s ‘’body language’’ and they have chosen to ignore the fact that the economy is collapsing, people are suffering, regional and ethnic tensions tensions are boiling, food prices are rising, fuel queues are returning, corruption is thriving (e.g. the Remita scandal), the banking sector is dying, businesses are crumbling and human rights and civil liberties are being violated on a daily basis.

They have chosen to ignore the fact that a full-blown nazi-like dictatorship is now evolving in our country. This is a country where the freedom of speech and the freedom of association is dis­couraged, where peaceful demonstrators are shot dead and where the homes of innocent citizens are raided in the dead of the night and they are ei­ther dragged away or placed under illegal house arrest with their families.

This is a country where the rule of law is treated with contempt, where the intelligence agencies act with impunity, where court orders are ignored by the state security, where those that stand as sureties for suspects and the accused in a court of law are arrested, intimidated and threatened and where perceived enemies of the state are subjected to all manner of persecution, demonisation and misrepresentation.

This is a country where those that saw through the bogus mantra of ‘’change’’ are ridiculed, humiliated, criminalized, declared guilty until proven innocent, threatened and molested and, in some cases, hounded into exile, detention and death.

The unacceptable way that President Buhari is treating Colonel Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the pro-Biafran movement and Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President is instructive and it confirms my worst fears about him.

He has lost touch with reality and he believes that he can do anything to anybody simply be­cause he is in power. Worse still under his watch the Department of State Security has been trans­formed into something akin to a modern-day gestapo with all its attendant consequences.

In the case of Dasuki the President ordered his arrest even after he was illegally detained in his home for three weeks and despite the fact that a court of law had granted him permission to travel abroad for urgent medical treatment. I find it curious that the President would order his incarceration based on the findings of an IN­TERIM report as opposed to a final one. This is especially so given the fact that he was never invited by or asked to give his own side of the story to the panel that probed the arms procure­ment for which has was purportedly indicted and found wanting. If it is true that Dasuki did not buy any arms or military equipment then how on earth did the military manage to recapture 22 local government areas back from Boko Haram when he was National Security Adviser? Did they use sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails to achieve this?

Again if it is true that no arms were bought by Dasuki how on earth did the Jonathan adminis­tration manage to regain virtually all of our lost territory, push Boko Haram out of Abuja and all of the north and confine their activities to more or less the Sambisa forest by the time they left office?

These question must be answered and we as a people need to be far more discerning and circumspect when any government churns out grave allegations against their perceived en­emies. Those that are ready to crucify Dasuki based on a string of unproven allegations and the findings of a questionable interim report that was submitted by a committee which was set up by his persecutors and tormentors ought to think twice. It appears to me that Buhari’s determina­tion to shame, humiliate, discredit, destroy and ultimately jail Dasuki for no just cause borders on the obsessive and one wonders why.

Yet the Presidents inability to curb Boko Har­am and his reluctance to even acknowledge the fact that the war against terror is in a much more dangerous place than it was towards the tail end of the Jonathan administration is the most glar­ing testimony of his inability to lead this nation on the right path and to deliver her from her de­mons

The bitter truth is that the events that took place in Paris last night, with its massive civilian casualties, occur in one Nigerian town or the other in the north-eastern region of our coun­try virtually every other day but such events are ignored by our local media, covered up by our government and no longer even get a men­tion on Al Jazeera, BBC or CNN.

Despite the gallant ef­forts of our courageous sol­diers, from town to town the atrocities of Boko Har­am are legion and they have slaughtered almost 8,000 innocent souls since Presi­dent Buhari came to power almost six months ago.

Worse still the bombings and killings have also re­turned to Abuja and other towns outside the north-east such as Lokoja and Okene and the terrorists appear to be slowly making their way to the southern part of the country.

Nigeria is saddled with a President who was a great defender of Boko Haram up until last year and who was once nominated by them as their spokesman and negotiator in proposed talks with the previous ad­ministration.

Rather instructively he is also the life patron of the Fulani Cattlerearers As­sociation whose members have been committing acts of terror by butchering, rap­ing, pillaging and abducting many southerners and Mid­dle Belters over the last few months.

We have a President that is implementing a clearly northern and Islamic agenda and who sees the south-eastern part of our country as nothing but a colony of slaves. Under such a man it seems hardly likely that Boko Haram will be stopped or that the war against terror can be won. Worse still the Nigerian people appear to have been left on their own by the in­ternational community to fight that war against terror and radical Islam.

Even though it is clear that not many in the inter­national community em­pathise with us when our people are slaughtered by Boko Haram, it is gratify­ing to note that our people, as generous and as com­passionate as ever, have expressed immense sor­row about the sad events in Paris and they have ex­pressed immense solidarity with the people of France through the social media.

This is very touching and that is the Nigerian for you. He is resilient, faith­ful, compassionate, gen­erous, true, caring and always ready to sympa­thies with others and to offer words of encourage­ment in difficult times. Even though our blood is being shed by Boko Haram on a daily basis without the world seeming to care or batting an eyelid, we share their pain and mourn with them when their blood is shed and when their people are killed by the terrorists. I guess that is a testimony to our humanity: it is what makes us who and what we are.

May God protect our nation from these evil and desperate beasts who kill the defenceless, the weak and the vulnerable in the name of their god and may He deliver us from them. May the souls of all those that were murdered in Paris last week rest in peace, may the blood of the innocents that was shed be avenged, may the Lord comfort their families and loved ones and may He be with the people of France at this difficult time.

Permit me to end this contribution with the fol­lowing. In an intervention titled ‘’Re: France!’’ posted on his Facebook wall on the morning of 15th novem­ber, Mr. Favour B. Afolabi wrote the following:

‘’President Goodluck Jonathan addressed the United Nations General Assembly a few years ago and told world leaders that “terrorism is a global problem’’ (not just a Ni­gerian one) and that the whole world MUST stand up united against it rather than play politics with it or mock those currently dealing with it. What did the Nigerian Intelligentsia do? They largely mocked him and called him “weak and clueless” – today, those Nigerians shamelessly and hypocritically “claim soli­darity with France” while they largely continue to pretend as though they don’t know that 40,000+ of their own citizens have been killed by Islamic ter­rorists in the course of the last 5 years. While play­ing the negative politics of “Jonathan is to be blamed for this’’ no serious nation would have allowed such madness on their own soil! Today, Jonathan is no longer President – largely blackmailed out of office by the people that became ev­er-willing partners to Boko Haram – ‘praising them’ as they killed Nigerians and morally elevating their de­monic ways over the sover­eignty of the Nigerian State and the institution of the Presidency. Today those same people are seek­ing support for the same Presidency versus Boko Haram. If you belong to any of these groups I have listed above, you should ask God to forgive your sins as you head to church in the morn­ing!’’.

I say a loud ‘’amen’’ to that.

Femi Fani-Kayode is a legal practitioner and former minister.

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Reforming the Nigerian Civil Service: My struggles, my pain, my triumphs (1) Sat, 21 Nov 2015 23:45:50 +0000 BY TUNDE OLAOPA

This period is surely a very emotional one for me. I am exiting a profession that has defined my life and my sustained focus for the last twenty seven years. The civil service is an institution that I shied away from joining at a very tender age when my blood was still boiling and my youthful energy was still very exuberant for a more concrete job to make ends meet. If, as I was coming out of the university, I had been told I would celebrate a silver jubilee in the civil service, I would have laughed such a terrible proposition to scorn. But it is the civil service that ended up taking my whole life, my youthful and aged energies, my intellectual focus and my consistent cogitations.

I truly came to love this very institution that stands at the very heart of the Nigerian predicament as both a problem and a solution, simultaneously. I came to generate a very intimate knowledge of its operations and processes; its problems and complexities; its projections and possibilities; and the very people—the representation of Nigeria’s diversity—that makes the institution a resilient one since its inauguration in 1954. This is the institution I am exiting twenty seven years after I first reluctantly entered its complex corridors in 1988 as a rooky Principal Research Officer.

I know I have come a very long way in unadulterous and undiluted service. Once I became convinced enough to step into an institution that was far from what I dreamed of becoming, I never looked back. I channelled all my energies, physical and intellectual, into understanding and reforming the system. I saw it quite very early that Nigeria would not be able to move forward or make any appreciable progress in national development and national integration until and unless it calibrates a coherent and sustainable reform philosophy that will be grounded on institutional rehabilitation and reconstruction. I saw it quite immediately that, quite contrary to the reigning perception that government work is a sinecure, I had signed on for a helluva profession that would not permit any other side attractions. The Nigerian civil service is a jealous partner that demands unstinting attention.

Exit is always a problem. It is a huge problem for me. Malcolm Muggeridge understands my agony very well: ‘Few men of action have been able to make a graceful exit at the appropriate time.’ For me, there is no grace leaving an institution you have come to love; a system you want to willingly give your life for. If I am asked, it is definitely not the time for me to go. I doubt that I have served this Fatherland enough; I doubt that I have achieved what I set out to achieve. And certainly not at this time of imminent change that PMB is methodically putting in place in all areas of the Nigerian institutional life. This is a season of reminiscences for me—remembrance of pains and struggles and conceptual agonies and practical difficulties. It is a period to come to term with my institutional mortality. I have had no illusion of being an institutional messiah; the only person gifted with the knowledge of reform. I am just another critical player in a dynamic institution that has bred countless others— Simeon Adebo, Allison Ayida, Sule Katagum, Jerome Udoji, Phillips Asiodu, Ahmed Joda, etc. And like all players, the music must one day come to end, and the hall would become empty. In As You Like It, Shakespeare captures the inexorable trajectory of exit:

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.

I definitely had my entrance into this noble and ennobling profession. Now, it is time to exit. I guess I have gone the full ‘seven-age’ circle of my ‘acts’ as a civil servant. Now is the time to allow others connect the vision and the action, and move the Nigerian Civil Service beyond the imaginable.

I received hundreds of calls from all over when the retirement notice came in; hundreds of calls showing concerns, puzzlement, encouragement and prayers. And I assured everyone that I am still around. Exit, for me, is not disappearance or abandonment. George Grossmith, the British entertainer and writer, once remarked: ‘I left the room with silent dignity, but caught my foot in the mat.’ I may have left the civil service, but my foot is still caught in the dynamics of reform and institutional reconstruction. I am a full-fledged Nigerian who, like other well-intentioned citizens, is very much interested in the direction the nation is headed, and what can be done to redirect its national path. I have been very much involved in the intricate institutional dynamics of helping to make the civil service an efficient and effective world class institution that delivers the goods of democratic dividends to Nigerians. I have been involved at several high-powered meetings, conferences, study groups, experts working groups and delegations at national, continental and global levels, that attempted to hammer policies together to inject infrastructural strength into the Nigerian society. I have been involved in many intellectual fora and seminars where the civil service system in Nigeria was the critical concern. I have written eleven major books and dozens of essays and delivered series of lectures on what went wrong and what could be done to arrest the dysfunction. I am involved. And so it is to be expected that in spite of professional exit, my foot would still be caught in the mat. If I am no longer a critical insider, I owe all my colleagues still in the system and still struggling to bring the institution into the light of global recognition the duty of remaining a critical outsider.

Right from its founding in 1954, the civil service system in Nigeria has remained an interesting, challenging and confounding institution. In spite of its many challenges from independence till date, the system has remained tenacious and strong. It weathered the Nigerian Civil War, doggedly withstood the abuse of the military’s insensitive command structure, and is still standing in spite of the many debilitating dysfunction, politicisation and corruption that tears its fabric apart. This is one institution you really love to hate, but you have to acknowledge its potentials and possibilities.

The challenge for me now is that of how to continue the business of reform from outside the critical space afforded by an inside perspective on the civil service system. But then, operating from outside the space has its own advantages. For one, it affords an outsider’s perspective with its own objective assessment of what is wrong, what can be done and how it can be done. Most often, what institutional complacency has blinded an insider from seeing becomes perceptible to the critical outsider. In this regard, I consider myself most fortunate for the opportunity to act in both capacities. In this eight-part series, I set out to lay down a personal, historical and institutional analysis of my critical connection to the Nigerian Civil Service, my intellectual agitations over its reform, my frustrations concerning why reforms keep failing and my optimism about an imminent reconstruction of the system. Reform is an unceasing institutional quest for betterment; and for me, I am entering into another phase of my unceasing engagement with the Nigerian Civil Service.

Tunde Olaopa was a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, Abuja

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WAYS husbands destroy their marriages (2) Sat, 21 Nov 2015 23:00:37 +0000 HEART BEAT BY KATE HALIM (08054727850) It takes two to make a mar­riage work. Both men and women have a part to play to make sure their union is blissful and can stand the test of time. But when one party keeps making the other’s efforts seem insignificant, then, cracks show up. Below are some of [...]]]>


It takes two to make a mar­riage work. Both men and women have a part to play to make sure their union is blissful and can stand the test of time. But when one party keeps making the other’s efforts seem insignificant, then, cracks show up. Below are some of the com­mon things men do that make women sad.

Taking her insecuri­ties too lightly

When your wife sees you look­ing at other women, on the street, on TV, and on the computer, she fears that you may be unfaithful and at the very least, it may make her uncomfortable. She might question your attraction to them, especially if she is solely just looking at you.

At this point, she needs your reassurance, not any belittling, joking, or teasing. These activities all devalue her feelings, which are real. When you stare at any cute woman as she saunters by, it may be a reminder to your wife of her many imperfections.

She feels insecure because she wants to know that you still love her and you looking at other women may not be so reassur­ing of that. It’s okay for you to look at other women, in fact, it’s perfectly natural. The danger is when you are blatant and ag­gressive, disregarding your wife’s feelings and staring in spite of her discomfort.

Your wife is motivated by your love and loyalty. She has commit­ted her life to you, and wants to feel secure in the fact that you are equally committed to her. When your wife feels insecure, she may ask if you still think she is pretty. She may ask if you love her. She may ask if you think someone else is more attractive. Talking is how women feel close. She is seeking your assurance of love and loyalty. Tell her she is the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. Give her the assurance she seeks, and ease her troubled mind.

Taking all the fun out of sex

When you confuse sex with in­timacy, it’s no fun. When you only focus on your own orgasm, it’s no fun. When you only show interest in your wife when you want to get lucky, it’s no fun. When you devalue the depth of your sexual relationship with crude jokes and pornography, it’s no fun. When you expect her to get excited instantly, it’s no fun. When you neglect your wife’s sexual needs, it’s no fun.

When you are married, sex is supposed to be fun. An intimate sharing, designed to bring you closer, sex should cement the bond between you. Start in the morning with a kiss. Tell her she’s beautiful. Women never get tired of hearing that from the man they love. After work, ask about her day.

Not taking responsibil­ity

Whether it’s an addiction, an affair or poor performance in your life, many times, husbands point to their wives as the reason for their weakness. “She makes me drink because of her nagging. I cheated because she wouldn’t take care of me. I’m doing poorly because she never encourages me.”

It’s time to take full responsibil­ity for your own behaviour. You need to take ownership of your actions. You choose to drink. You choose to cheat. You choose to work or not work. You actively do all these things on your own. Rather than blaming someone or something else, stand up and take control.

Your life is completely under your control. You can create exactly the life you want. Fur­thermore, if your wife really is the root of all the problems in your life, then take control of that as well and man up and tell her the truth. She can’t change if you aren’t willing to express the problem. If you have an addiction or problem, don’t always blame your wife.

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Boko Haram: Another look at the Hijab Fri, 20 Nov 2015 02:47:50 +0000 WHAT I am suggesting today is unlikely to be popular especially among our Moslem brothers. But whether it is popular or not, it is imperative especially in view of the bloodletting in the country ]]>

WHAT I am suggesting today is unlikely to be popular especially among our Moslem brothers. But whether it is popular or not, it is imperative especially in view of the bloodletting in the country through activities of hijab/ burka-wearing suicide bombers. There have been a whole lot of debate on whether the government should ban the wearing of this attire by female muslims. our muslim brother especially from the northern part of the country have shown their opposition to this. They argue that it would be erroneous to say all hijab/burka- wearing person is a suicide bomber, apart from the fact that wearing Hijab has religious and cultural undertones.

The President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Okey Wali is one of those opposed to the ban, “wearing of Hijab by the female Muslim faithful has religious as well as cultural meaning, and nobody can take away that right from them.

“The security agencies should find lasting solutions to the country’s security challenges rather than place a ban on wearing of Hijab as that is an easy way out,” he said.

Also, leader of the Northern Civil Society Coalition and Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial zone, Senator Shehu Sani in an interview was asked this same question on whether there should be a ban on hijab. His response: “It is not possible to ban hijab which is the muslim religion’s attire in Nigeria. Because one girl simply laced herself with bombs and detonated it in the public does not mean every girl wearing hijab is also a terrorist. Terrorists do not need hijab to cover a suicide belt or bomb. He or she can even wear suit”. While I agree with the NBA president and Senator Sani that it would be unfair to profile any Muslim girl wearing hijab as a suicide bomber, it has been established that the suicide bombers hide explosives under this voluminous attire. The suicide bombers have not been found to be wearing suit, neither have they been discovered by security agencies, to be wearing babariga or agbada. It is thus imperative that having established this fact, the reasonable thing to do is take measure to curb this. As much as one respects the Muslim religion, one should balance this with the need to save lives. The question we should ask is whether it would make more sense to ban hijab/burka and fore- stall its use to terminate lives and hurt the feelings of a few opposed to its ban or allow Boko Haram to continue with their deadly act, hiding under the guise of piety and religious sentiment which hijab/burka seems to confer. The NBA president equally said that our security agencies should find a lasting solution to the security lapses leading to suicide bombing, the question is; is banning of Hijab not one of the solutions to the security challenges? Solutions cannot be manufactured, they had to come from our collective experience and the exigencies of the time. What has been discovered, based on experience is that the suicide-bombers hide their belt of explosives under their robe, it is based on this that a solution must be fashioned. That is just our current reality, it is not about sentiment.

Last year, Nigeria experienced so many of such suicide bombing by hijab/burka- wearing bombers. This has continued till date with people believing that some of these female bombers are some of the Chibok girls taken away over a year ago and who have now been brainwashed by the deadly sect to carry out the act.

In February, two hijab-wearing women said to be in their late 20s in Yobe State killed two people when they detonated explosive devices hidden beneath their clothings.On February 11, in Borno State, another female suicide bomber in a burka attacked a crowded market, killing seven people and seriously injuring 20 others.

Prior to the February suicide bombing, a girl believed to be no more than 10 years old detonated explosives hidden under her burka at a crowded Maiduguri Monday market, killing 20 people and wounding many more. Also in May, a 10 year-old girl detonated a bomb concealed under her hijab, killing five and injuring many others at Bayan Tasha motor park in Damaturu, Yobe State.

Also on Wednesday, two female suicide bombers wearing the hijab also detonated their bombs leading to the death of nearly 20 people while several others were injured in a Kano GSM market.

So why has it become difficult for our government to take a stand on this matter and ban the wearing of this attire in public places? Are we saying the sentiment attached to the wearing of hijab is more important than the lives of many Nigerians being wasted by hijab/burka-wearing suicide bombers?

Indeed, banning hijab would not be a first in the Moslem world countries especially in Africa. Countries with similar suicide bombing experience by hijab/ burka- wearing suicide attackers such as Cameroun, Chad, Egypt, Congo and more recently, Senegal have all banned the use of hijab in public places. So why is it difficult for Nigeria to take this bold step? It does not mean one is against the Islamic religion or one does not respect the sentiment attached to wearing the outfit, it could be a temporary measure until the security situation improves as a lecturer in one of the nation’s higher institutions, Emmanuel Akubor puts it, “People should not see a ban on the Hijab as showing hatred for the religion, but because some persons have resolved to use the clothing to harm and terrorise others”. Banning of hijab should be seen as a security measure and it should not in any way be politicized as we are wont to do with such important matters in the country.

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The fury over Biafra Fri, 20 Nov 2015 02:41:09 +0000 AFTER reading the interview granted to Saturday Sun in 2013 by the new face of Biafra agitation, Nnamdi Kanu, which was re-issued last Saturday, I concluded that the fury over the new Biafra has more to do with bottled-up grievances against Nigerian establishment by some Igbo youths ]]>

AFTER reading the interview granted to Saturday Sun in 2013 by the new face of Biafra agitation, Nnamdi Kanu, which was re-issued last Saturday, I concluded that the fury over the new Biafra has more to do with bottled-up grievances against Nigerian establishment by some Igbo youths than territorial ambition. They are angry about the neglect of the zone by the federal government and the governors of the South-East.

Some of these youths who were born during Biafra and soon after the war are struggling to make sense out of the war from tortured memories, and what they have read from war novels, poetry, plays and memoirs by those that witnessed it and few that did not.

There are indeed scanty materials available on the war in form of detailed historical accounts. The creative writers have helped to document the Biafran war more than historians. Most of these writers are Igbo and other people of former Biafra. The attitude of Nigeria to the war narratives has been ambivalent.

Since after the war, the victor had deliberately imposed closure on the war.

The history of the war has not been officially commissioned or allowed to be studied in Nigerian education system. To them, Biafra is dead and nothing should be said or heard of it anymore. Read the lips of Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo.

In fact, history as a subject is facing extinction in primary and perhaps secondary schools’ curriculum in the country. Even in universities, the study of history is also being threatened.

History is only an option for students that do not get admission in their preferred first courses. The way Gowon’s Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (3Rs) progrmme was executed at the end of the war did not achieve much for the war-torn Biafra and its people. Imagine giving a Biafran twenty pounds at the end of the war irrespective of any amount he has in the bank. Imagine indigenization of companies soon after the war when most Igbo had no money. Imagine the ugly scar of abandoned property and host of other policies that put the Igbo at great disadvantage.

These are some of the grievances of the pro-Biafran agitators, young people driven more by Biafran ideology of freedom and justice than its territorial shelve. I do not think that these youths are interested in territorial Biafra per se. These youths are annoyed that the people of the South-East were the major victims of the insurgency in the North- East of the country. They are annoyed that Gowon’s one Nigeria is killing their aspirations.

Some of these angry youths have seen that whenever trouble erupts anywhere in the North, the victims are always people of the South-East zone. And there was escalation of such killings following the emergence of Dr. Good- luck Jonathan as president in 2011.

Remember the pre and post-election killings that claimed the lives of many NYSC members from the South simply because Jonathan won the election.

They are unhappy that the Igbo had been excluded from the nation’s presidency, 45 years after the Nigerian Civil War. They are not happy that the South- East has become desolate as a result of gully erosion and lack of federal presence in terms of industries and other national institutions.

The youths are angry because members of their tribe are discriminated against simply because of their language, creed and geography. When they recount that Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu’s Biafra was born as a rejection of the mindless killings of people of Eastern Region, especially the Igbo, in Northern Nigeria following the counter coup of July 29, 1966 led mainly by Northern soldiers, their resolve to think of having territorial Biafra become intense. Whenever they remember that Biafra came into existence following the failure of the Federal Government to implement the Aburi agreement, entered between it and Biafra, the chants of Biafra become more thunderous.

It will be recalled that in the heat of the 1966 Nigerian crisis in which the Igbo were targeted for extermination (genocide), Biafra became an alternative to the people of Eastern Region who were harassed in the North and some other places in Nigeria.

Following the pogrom against the Igbo and others in Eastern Region, Biafra offered hope, security, freedom and refuge to fleeing people of the region. These people were prepared to die for Biafra than live in perpetual fear in Nigeria. Biafra was like a religion and its ideology readily embraced.

And the dispossessed people of Eastern Region bought and defended it for 30 months in the face of hunger, starvation and economic blockade. All these grievances are what propel these youths to protest their hopeless existence in Nigeria.

The Nigerian civil war was one of the direct fallouts of the colonialists’ unwarranted intrusion in Africa where they lumped together different people, cultures and religions together in the name of forming a nation without asking for the input of those concerned. Except Nigeria is restructured and recreated in our own image and likeness, this trouble will haunt us till eternity.

Nigeria should stop behaving as if Biafra never existed. President Muhammadu Buhari should release Kanu and dialogue with the protesters. He should reassure them of justice in Nigeria. It is not advisable to clamp down on them. That is not the way to go. Above all, let the implementation of some recommendations of 2014 confab start.

My advice to the protesting youths is for them to give dialogue a chance. Pro- tests can never achieve a territorial Biafra. There is no way the old Biafra as conceived by Ojukwu can be realized in the present day Nigeria. If there is any plebiscite today, I do not think that most Igbo and South-South people will vote in support of Biafra. Let the youths be comforted with the ideals of Biafra—resilience, industry, patience and perseverance—and deploy them to actualize their dreams in Nigeria. Instead of needless demonstrations, let them use such energies to think of ways they can fight the injustice within.

Let the governors of the South-East and politicians from the zone work for the people instead of themselves. Their refusal to develop the zone and mass joblessness are driving the anger of the pro-Biafra agitators.

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Akpabio: Uncommon Honour from home Fri, 20 Nov 2015 02:34:17 +0000 IT is often stated that a Prophet is without honour in his home. But this assertion was broken penultimate week when the Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, a foremost socio-cultural groupof the fourth largest ethnic group, the Ibibios, rolled out the drum to celebrate the former Governor of Akwa ]]>

By Anietie Ekong

IT is often stated that a Prophet is without honour in his home. But this assertion was broken penultimate week when the Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, a foremost socio-cultural groupof the fourth largest ethnic group, the Ibibios, rolled out the drum to celebrate the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, and the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpa- bio for his accomplishment during his tenure as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

The occasion was the 19th Obong Sampson Udo Etuk lecture, dinner and excellence awards ceremony held at the Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio International Secretariat/Community Centre in Uyo. Obong Sampson Udo Etuk is widely regarded as the father of Nigeria’s socio-cultural development. In 1928, he and his friends got together to form Ibibio Welfare Union and was subsequently elected the first National President of the Ibibio Union. This Union was the sole propelling force for the education, economic and social emancipation and development of the Ibibio people which then comprised the present day Akwa Ibom State.

According to the President of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, Akparawa Monday Etokakpan, the thrust of the programme of the Ibibio Union was to award scholarships to deserving Ibibio students to study overseas mainly in the United States of America and the British Isles to acquire skills in critical areas of human endeavours and to return to lead the emancipation drive of the Ibibio nation. The Ibibio Union under the Presidency of Obong Sampson Udo Etuk became a reference point in leadership excellence. Mboho institutes a biennial award to honour this hero of Ibibio race.

The President said the 2015 awards were in the categories of leadership, patriotism, public service, entrepreneurship, creativity and selfless service. According to him, “as in previous editions the selection process was rigorous and breathe-taking. This was due to the high number of worthy nominees in every category. And in keeping with our tradition, we chose to keep the number of the awardees low deliberately to continue to make the awards a highly coveted honour. It is Mboho’s version of the Nobel Prize,” he said.

Immediate past Governor, Akparawa (Senator) Godswill Akpabio, CON, was conferred with the Obong Sampson Udo Etuk Excellence Award for Outstanding Leadership as a mark of recognition and appreciation of his eight years services in Akwa Ibom State and for his uncommon election as the Senate Minority Leader being a first timer in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the Mboho informed the gaily dressed uniformed crowd.

Indeed, it was great honour for Senator Akpabio to be celebrated by his people just a few months after leaving office as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State. On hand to receive him from the airport were leaders and members of the Ati Annang who drove with him in a motorcade to the venue of the event. At the event, Senator Akpabio had a hectic time responding to greetings from the surging crowd of Akwa Ibom people who were appreciative of the services he had rendered to the State as Governor.

For Senator Akpabio, the award was a statement for the unity of Akwa Ibom State. “I invite all Akwa Ibom people to share the fraternity of this moment. In giving this Award to me, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, has renewed the faith of all right thinking Akwa Ibom people in the unity of Akwa Ibom State. They have fanned the embers of the fire of our brotherhood into an inferno. Those who sought to quench that fire with the waters of ethnicity, tribalism and divisiveness should awaken to the hope of today and realize that blood is still thicker than water,” he said as he was invited to speak on behalf of the awardees.

Senator Akpabio is no stranger to awards. He had bagged several international, educational, professional and media honours including the National Honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). But the award by Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio to him was special. “By His bountiful mercies, we won many awards and accolades from within and outside Nigeria. But this award by Mboho is special. It is special because it comes over six months after I left office. It is special because it comes from one of the most respected socio-cultural organizations in Nigeria. It is special because it comes from my brothers and sisters. It is special because it comes as a bolt of light to clear the cauldron of darkness foisted on us by mischief- makers,” he said.Senator Akpabio praised Mboho for their patriotism.

“Today the good people, as reflected in this patriotic association, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, have had their say and history has vindicated me. They have declared me the Best Governor in our dear state. Mboho has always tried to stay above the murky waters of politics, and remain the conscience of our state. Mboho has proven by its deeds and utterances to be blind to ethnicity and nepotism. That is why as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, I did all I could to give Mboho a new lease of life.

“As Governor I did a lot for people and organizations. But like the one leper out of ten that Jesus healed, Mboho has come back to say thank you on behalf of Akwa Ibom State. The seed of appreciation you have sown today shall cause you to be appreciated as a group and as individuals,” he said.

•Ekong is Special Assistant (Media) to the Senate Minority Leader

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Biafra does not exist anywhere Fri, 20 Nov 2015 02:28:59 +0000 WHEN Mr. Steve Nwosu, in his Frank Talk column of Wednesday, November 11, 2015 in the Daily Sun, wondered if he belonged to Nigeria or Biafra, I felt that the distortion of the actual location of ]]>

By Nkem Ibekwe

WHEN Mr. Steve Nwosu, in his Frank Talk column of Wednesday, November 11, 2015 in the Daily Sun, wondered if he belonged to Nigeria or Biafra, I felt that the distortion of the actual location of Igboland on the world map had gone too far that something had to be done to correct the misimpression and misrepresentation. Yes, Steve Nwosu is unapologetically Igbo and his wife, Toyin, is Yoruba, but what they both have in common is their citizenship of Nigeria. The issue, there- fore, is not where Steve Nwosu will run to if there are crises in Nigeria. The point is that no matter the circumstances, Steve Nwosu should prepare to assert his rights as a First Class Citizen of Nigeria in any part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the height of monumental deceit for anybody or group to suggest that Igboland (Ala-Igbo) is Biafra, and that the Igbo are Biafrans.

The truth of the matter is that Igboland (Ala-Igbo) is today part and parcel of the geographical space called Nigeria. There is no place or country on the map of the world called Biafra. Even then, where did Nnamdi Kanu of the so-called Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) get the warped idea that Igboland, Ekoiland, Ibibioland, Efikland, Ijawland, Annangland, Itshekiriland, Urhoboland, etc, all belong to Biafra? Even when Biafra existed between 1967 and 1970, not all Igboland was part of Biafra. Igboland, west of the River Niger (Delta North Senatorial Zone), was not part of the geographical space of Ojukwu’s Biafra, my own Biafra. And it must take the worst form of hallucination for Nnamdi Kanu to presume to be in a position, without their consent, to determine for Ndi-Igbo, talk less of the Ijaw, Urhobo, Ibibio, etc, where they should belong as a country.

As I have argued elsewhere, the idea of Biafra, as epitomized by General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, practically ended in 1982 when he came back to Igboland as a citizen of Nigeria after being pardoned by former President Shehu Shagari for his role in the Nigeria-Biafra war (not Nigeria-Biafra civil war). Ojukwu went on to contest the Onitsha senatorial seat in 1983 in the old Anambra State (Anambra, Enugu and the northern part of Ebony States) as a citizen of Nigeria. Ojukwu also participated in the General Sani Abacha National Constitutional Conference in 1995 as a citizen of Nigeria. In fact, Ojukwu contested the Presidency of Nigeria (not Biafra) in 2003 and 2007 on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) founded by Chief Chekwas Okorie. Even when Ojukwu died, he was given a befitting state burial with full military honours by the former President of Nigeria (nor Biafra) Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian Army. As a matter of fact, Ojukwu’s coffin was draped with the Nigerian flag (not the Biafran flag). So, where, really, are these later-day dreamers of a fictional Biafra coming from?

Now, that is not to suggest that the Biafran dream is dead. As Ojukwu himself pointed out in his book entitled, “Biafra: Selected Speeches”, published in 1969 by Harper & Row Publishers, New York, USA, “The Biafran dream is the creation of an African state that will act as a bulwark against foreign impositions. Our struggle, therefore, is African nationalism conscious of itself and fully aware of the powers with which it is contending. Biafra is about the creation of a black African state with; (a) common citizenship, with equal rights and privileges for all men anywhere in the country; (b) common laws and a common judicial system; (c) a common electoral system; (d) equal rights of all citizens before the law; (e) rights to acquire property and make a living anywhere in the country; (f) equal rights to employment anywhere in the country; and (g) equal rights to protection of life and property”. In other words, the Biafran dream was, and remains, the building of a New Society – a progressive black people’s republic based on African nationalism, not on Igbo or Eastern Nigerian nationalism. Biafra, as projected by Ojukwu, the symbol of that struggle, in 1969, is more than a government or a place; it is an idea about the freedom of the Black race.

The problem of the Igbo is that they have refused to assert their Rights as First Class Citizens of Nigeria as guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The Constitution of Nigeria has never provided anywhere that the Igbo are slaves or Second Class Citizens. When, for instance, a policy or regulation discriminates against the Igbo, rather than go to court to challenge the infraction because Section 42 (1a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) abhors discrimination of Nigerian citizens on ethnic grounds, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo, in its dim-witted campaign and cravings for contracts, will be shouting Igbo marginalization, while MASSOB and Nnamdi Kanu, in their confusion as to the real meaning of Biafra, will be misguidedly organizing protests chanting self-determination for the Igbo.

When Igbo senators and honourable members in the National Assembly fail to ensure that federal projects for Igboland are not only accommodated in the national budgets but are also executed, rather than deploy the provisions of Section 69 of the Constitution to recall such lazy and unserious lawmakers, the Igbo looks askance and acquiesces in the stupid belief that their political leaders are untouchables who have been elected or appointed to take or “eat” their own share of the national cake on their behalf. When state governors and local government chairmen openly mismanage or embezzle federal allocations meant for the development of the human and material resources of Igboland, rather than mobilise members of their Houses of Assembly to impeach such governors or remove such local government chairmen from office, the Igbo behaves as if they are slaves with no powers to force their state and local leaders to account for how their own share of the national resource is expended.

The truth of the matter is that until the Igbo decides to use their town or community unions or establishes a pan-Igbo platform to protect and defend their rights as bona fide citizens of Nigeria, no amount of organizing meaningless protests by MASSOB or IPOB will enable them live the full potential of their lives as human beings. Luckily for the Igbo, there is already a platform, Mezie Ala-Igbo Foundation that has been registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to address the issues that have been raised in this discourse. Key among the goals of Mezie Ala-Igbo are to (a) organize legal representation for Igbo people who suffer official high-handedness or brutality in the hands of the coercive forces of the state, (b) challenge any discriminatory actions or polices that impact negatively on NdiIgbo with regard to admissions, employment, promotions and contract opportunities, (c) seek redress for Igbo people who are victims of trade or business scams, sorting in schools, sexual harassment in work places, assault by touts or thugs, extortion at police stations and checkpoints, etc, (d) seek reparation for Igbo people who are victims of ethno-religious crises, Igbo-phobia, etc, (e) monitor the performance profile of yearly budgets of the federal, state and local governments in relation to how they impact projects’ execution in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers states, as well as the Delta North Senatorial Zone of Delta State and (f) mobilise resources to remove governors, local government chairmen, legislators, including ministers and heads of government parastatals whose non-performance in office impacts negatively on the development of Igboland.

The point is that should the Igbo even decide to leave Nigeria, peacefully or otherwise, since they are guaranteed such a right under the United Nations Charter on human rights and self-determination, it is their political, cultural, bureaucratic and business leaders who will determine when to embark on such a venture. And I doubt if MASSOB’s Ralph Uwazuruike and IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu, with their idea of Biafra that has nothing to do with Ojukwu’s Biafra, both in concept and vision, will be accommodated in such a gathering deciding the fate of the Igbo race.

•Ibekwe, is Chairman, Mezie Ala-Igbo Foundation (070-87541480)


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Buhari’s cabinet: A new era beckons Thu, 19 Nov 2015 00:36:16 +0000 By Nkolika Elumeze THE new cabinet ministers must be busy right now with familiarization tours to acclimatize themselves in their new environments. But, they cannot afford the luxury of lengthy honeymoons, as critics in PDP have been asking for more action since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government. So, they just have [...]]]>

By Nkolika Elumeze

THE new cabinet ministers must be busy right now with familiarization tours to acclimatize themselves in their new environments. But, they cannot afford the luxury of lengthy honeymoons, as critics in PDP have been asking for more action since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government. So, they just have to hit the ground running.

They have been given the charge to move the nation forward, and avoid the enticing lure of corrupt enrich­ment by not falling into its cesspit as they perform their duties. No controversy: Most of the new ministers are familiar faces. We know their pedigree, but it is not the past that matters, what Nigerians want is what they can do now to change the nation’s fortunes for the better.

President Buhari hit the bull’s eye when he said; “If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”. In­deed, corruption is killing us, terrorism is killing us, indiscipline is killing us, and inefficiency is killing us. With the series of investigations of former government functionaries going on, the new ministers must know that they too will be called upon to account for their stewardship when they leave office; a certainty. They must key into the APC‘s agenda and help bring about the change we voted for.

That is why Chris Okotie besought that; “Every pa­triotic Nigerian should support President Muhamma­du Buhari in his war against terror and its twin demon of corruption. His success or failure would ultimately be judged by the defeat of insurgency and the recovery of looted public funds by the government of his prede­cessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in particular, because the most reckless looting of our national resources happened under his watch.”

The Pastor-politician’s comment, as published in the Daily Sun of September 1, 2015, is not targeted against anyone as some misguided critics have said, rather, he is saying that corruption is still alive and well in the corridors of power, despite the war against it, and that its beneficiaries will fight back to frustrate the battle with blackmail and legal reprieves like plea bargains, which tend to give soft landing for looters.

Any legal provision that allows a looter to return some money while withholding the greater chunk of his or her loot is nothing but a tacit endorsement of corruption. Buhari must not allow this under the new dispensation that has started in earnest, with the appointment of his cabinet.

Corruption and national development are strange bed­fellows, and therefore, to ensure that this government delivers on its promise of economic revival, any channel of a drain of national patrimony must be plugged by first bringing to book any person; no matter how powerful, to send a message that governmental appointment is no longer a lucrative venture for opportunistic and adven­turous politicians of fortune.

During ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili was assigned the Due Process portfolio to regulate the expenditure of contracts being awarded by the different ministries. This went a long way in curbing excesses by government officials who indulge in over-invoicing, duplication of contracts and payments, white elephant projects and money launder­ing. This greatly reduced the subsisting practice of in­flation of costs of contracts which politicians and their cronies use to defraud the government and the people of Nigeria. President Buhari must reinvigorate the Due Process System now!

Nigeria is not alone in the corruption battle; it is a global phenomenon. Even developed nations are swim­ming in the pool of it. The case of Halliburton and other U.S. corporations are examples that readily come to mind. President Buhari must alert foreign governments on the part their financial institutions are playing in de­frauding our nation.

Guidelines regulating basic banking practices de­mand that suspicious deposits should be red-flagged and that relevant authorities clarify the sources and owner­ship of dubious transactions. With the huge sums being laundered through western banks, it is clear that Mr. President must involve other world leaders in the efforts to destroy the corruption network. He needs to formu­late a strong legal and financial mechanism, to begin a process of repatriation of our stolen funds, and that all local players involved in the transactions are prosecuted.

He must drive home the clear message of his govern­ment’s zero- tolerance for corruption and that the days of reckless looting is over. The judicial system which helps to give succor to thieves by creating legal escape routes through dubious injunctions and protracted adjourn­ments of cases of corruption must be urgently restruc­tured.

Rev. Okotie’s article emphasized that pressuring gov­ernment with high-calibre visits by lobbyists is counter­active to the spirit of the corruption battle. Influential senior citizens are trying to give the impression that Mr. President might use his war on graft for vindictive pur­poses. Misguided actions or comments like those made by Bishop Mathew Kukah recently always impact nega­tively on the nation as government is discouraged from performing its constitutional duties. The Okotie’s article made it clear that the President must not be put under pressure in his quest to rid the Augean stable of the filth of corruption.

Transparency in politics cannot be achieved, when men and women who otherwise should be builders of the breaches and broken bridges which politicians leave in their wake, become jaundiced in their views on the determined efforts of this government to reform our polity and make it credible for Nigerians and investors alike.

Before the 2015 general elections, some people raised fears of President Buhari’s safety as he pursued his man­date on the change mantra. Some others recalled his previous advent as Military Head of State, when his War Against Indiscipline, WAI, sought to rid the nation of in­discipline that blighted our social conduct. They wonder if some mischievous elements in government would not resort to outlandish acts to sabotage his campaign with insinuations about his antecedents as a military ruler who used decrees to instill order to the chaotic state he inherited from the corrupt NPN government he toppled.

So, in fulfilling his campaign promises, he must not mortgage his hard-earned reputation in a bid to accom­modate all the guys who helped him to power as a civil­ian president. He must make hard decisions and stand firm in his resolve to change Nigeria for the better; no change comes without pains. The nation and world at large expects nothing less from him.

. Elumeze writes from Orlu.

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Olanipekun at 64 Thu, 19 Nov 2015 00:26:35 +0000 By Sunday Saanu

LIFE, according to an Indian philosopher, Mahari­shi Mahesh Yogi, finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of happiness. But only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless con­tributions, as asserted by a motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment. In other words, fulfillment can be de­fined by the number of people one is able to assist to accomplish their purpose in life, as opposed to what psychologists call narcissism : an exceptional interest in and admiration for only yourself

However, Chief Oluwole Oladapo Olanipe­kun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who is 64 years old publicly declared in Lagos recently that with all God has done for him, the number of people who have fulfilled destinies in life, as well as the recent elevation of his son to the Inner Bar, he felt fulfilled in life. Chief Olanipekun spoke at a dinner organised in celebration of his son, Dr. Oladapo Olumide Olanipekun who was among the legal practitioners recently conferred with the prestigious Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN ) title . Arguably, Dr. Dapo is the youngest SAN in the country today, sharing the title with his father who attained the same feat in 1991. But he clearly has surpassed his father in academic attainment with his Doctorate degree in Law. Well, the prayer of every parent is that their children should record more successes in life than they have.

With his eldest son’s enviable profile, Chief Ola­nipekun gathered some of his friends, relatives and well-wishers in Lagos to wine and dine in celebra­tion of God’s goodness where he declared that he “feels fulfilled as a father, having raised an intelli­gent son, who, at a tender age is a Ph.D holder and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria on account of Dapo’s exceptional brilliance”.

Beyond Dr. Dapo’s achievement, which is a direct result of Chief Olanipekun’s hardwork and investment and love for his family, the former Nigerian Bar As­sociation President is indeed a fulfilled man given his own legacies, contributions and achievements in life. In the last 64 years, Chief Olanipekun has been gener­ally acknowledged as a gift to humanity whose minis­try, tellingly, positively affects his generation and the next.

A quintessential phenomenal philanthropist, Chief Olanipekun, to those who truly know him, is an em­bodiment of humility whose peaceful carriage, mien oratory ability and forensic dexterity dazzle and as­tonish all and sundry almost always all the time. He has used his resources to raise the poor from the dung hill , going about doing good to all manner of people. Judges across the country can testify that he never uses foul language or disparaging remark to address “Mai Lord” in courts even when provoked a hallmark of a decent and well-groomed individual.

This writer knew Chief Olanipekun in 2002 when the Ikere-Ekiti -born legal icon became the NBA pres­ident after the election of the body at Cultural Centre, Mokola, Ibadan. Chief Olanipekun has since then, be­come a study in many respects. He is cool, calm and collected, yet, very profound in knowledge. One had opportunities of knowing him more intimately when he was appointed the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Ibadan between 2009 and 2013.

Interestingly , between then and now, Chief Olani­pekun has remained an enigma, one of the few erudite and most accomplished legal practitioners whose light shine ever so brilliantly in the firmament of the legal profession in Nigeria. Now, with all his four children becoming legal practitioners and the eldest stepping into the father’s shoes, what more can define life’s accomplishment and fulfillment? And, like his father, Dr. Dapo has taken on almost all the attributes of his father, looking so humble and harmless without a tinge of aristocratic haughtiness . Dr. Dapo who lec­tures at the Law Faculty of University of Lagos has successfully handled many cases .

If indeed a tree is known by its fruit and a man by his deeds, it could then be safely said that, this tree , which is naturally good has produced good fruits and this man, by his deeds, is , without fear of contradic­tion, a societal role model on account of his highly cultivated disposition to men and material even as he fears God tremendously.

As a Christian, Chief Olanipekun reveals true hu­mility by showing the gentleness of Christ, by being always ready to help others by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts, which elevate and enoble the most sacred message that has come to our world. He carries out a random act of kindness, as Princess Diana said, with no expectation of reward. In fact, his constant kindness has so much given hope to the hopeless to the extent that those who would or­dinarily not have imagined going to school are today, graduates, courtesy of Wole Olanipekun Scholarship Scheme which he instituted many years back.

Chief Olanipekun, yearly, through this scheme spends millions of naira on many students whose par­ents he does not know. He believes education is the only weapon with which poverty could be crushed. During his tenure in UI as the Council Chairman, he never collected his stipends running into millions of naira. Rather, he directed that the money be given as scholarships to students in Law, Medicine and Com­puter Science. He spent a lot of his resources to en­rich the University. One of his highest contributions to the University, apart from the 350 capacity lecture theatre, was his donation of the sum of ten million naira to cushion the effect of the 2011 flood disaster experienced by the institution.

.Saanu is with the Directorate of Public Communication , University of Ibadan.

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The ISIL Over-reach Thu, 19 Nov 2015 00:25:34 +0000 LEWIS OBI 08173446632 sms only

THE massacre of innocent Parisians by the Islamic State of Syria and the Levante (ISIL) seems to have finally brought to­gether enough number of world powers now determined to end the reign of terror of the jihadists. Attacking Paris was madness con­firming the saying that those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

ISIL was always a grand fiction pretend­ing to be a state simply on the basis that it had, like the fascists of the 1930s seized other people’s territories. It cannot point to any achievement except the thousands of innocent men, women and children it had beheaded.

Its ideology was based strictly on blood lust and depravity. They were not just bar­barians who were at the gate. They occupied space in the Internet and infected the social media from which they recruited their like, mostly greedy, blood-thirsty, savages who love to see the flow of human blood.

ISIL was one paradise, the golden Caliph­ate, constructed over the corpses of thou­sands of beheaded men and women and chil­dren massacred in the most horrible fashion for the glory of their faith, as “Allahu Ak­bar” celebrated every murder of women and children to which the mass graves strewn all over the Caliphate have testified.

Their vassals in Nigeria, in Libya, Egypt,Yemen strive daily to return human­ity to the 7th century and perpetrate fas­cism as political ideology. They televise gruesome murders as tactical method of intimidation on daily basis. The world cannot wait for the end of the ISIL night­mare. After slightly more than a year of its savage tyranny, the Caliphate has left noth­ing for the world to see than destruction of cities and monuments that date thousands of years before the birth of Islam. The Ca­liphate has ruined thousands of lives and created misery and human suffering be­yond imagination.

There is of course no agreement on whom to blame for the emergence of ISIL, the evil caliphate. The Sunni-Shia divide in Syria and Iraq did not help matters. The Maliki government in Iraq has been blamed for not pushing hard enough for na­tional unity thereby creating a disaffected Sunni population which made it easy for ISIL to penetrate some Sunni provinces in Iraq including Anbar province. ISIL derives its life blood, money and other re­sources from its seizure of oil installations.

In the battle field of Syria in which the Iranians and Hezbollah are backing Presi­dent Bashir Al-Assad created further com­plications. When you add the Al Queda, Al-Nusra, to the Free Syrian Army which seek the overthrow of the Assad regime, the complications of the Syrian conflict be­comes fairly clear. And these forces do not by any means exhaust the number of con­tending forces in the Syrian conflagration.

The internal dynamics of Syrian poli­tics, the various ethnic groups, the rul­ing Allawites, the religious divisions, the small Christian minorities all push and pull. The Kurdish elements scattered across Syria, Iraq and Turkey, prevented from coming to­gether to form a state, are proving themselves worthy in the battle field. A few days ago they led a three-pronged attack on a Caliph­ate stronghold and prevailed.

But time seems to be running out for the Caliphate because they have committed so much blood-letting to create a coalition of even the strangest of friends. The United States has almost always been at odds with Russia since the end of the Second World War. Indeed since 2003 following Russian reclamation of Crimea, both countries have been very much at odds.

Yet in the last two weeks they seem agreed that the Islamic State must be removed. That agreement was sealed earlier in the week when Russia discovered that its airlines which had crashed a fortnight ago Egypt had been brought down by explosives planted by the Islamic State. This happened before the last week massacre of 129 Parisians by the savages and the almost unanimous world­wide condemnation has placed ISIL in an im­possible situation as to its survival.

Over and above all this is the political blue­print announced by the powers with interests in the Syrian civil war which intends to begin a process of political transition to get all the combatants to a peace table at which the po­litical future of Syria would be discussed and agreed.

The blue print hopes that by January 2016 such discussions would have resumed to test the waters to see if some reasonable consen­sus could be reached. A consensus would mean a political program which ultimately would lead to an election in which Syrians would be able to determine their future. The United Nations would midwife the program.

The outstanding disagreements in Syria consist most about the fate of President Bashir Al Assad. That is the biggest apple of discord among the combatants. The Americans and their allies are dead set on the survival of the Assad regime. They think that Assad has lost every legitimacy to preside over the affairs of Syria, given the forces he unleashed against his Syrian compatriots.

It is sometimes now forgotten that the Syrian war was part of the Arab Springs, the whirlwind which blew through the Arab world, taking with it the dictatorial regimes of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, but failed in Bahrain and got stuck in Syria, then turning into a bru­tal civil war.

Directly opposed to the US position, are the Russians who have been invited by Assad and seem determined to protect Assad and his regime. Their argument being that only the Assad regime has enough muscle to be able to take out the forces of the Islamic State on the ground. They point out that the United States had waged an air campaign for more than a year without any dent on the Islamic State. The Russians have pledged to support Assad’s forces with air cover and support.

Secondly, no credible force except the Kurdish Pershmega seems willing to confront the Caliphate on the ground. Iraqi forces have had mixed results. Jordanians seem unwilling to deploy ground forces. Even after the Jor­danian Pilot was burnt alive by the Caliphate the most Jordan could do was fly a couple of combat missions. The Turks have the biggest force in the area but it has been reluctant to join the combat.

But by the middle of the week, it would seem that the world has agreed in broad terms that the murderous Islamic State must be fought and defeated. The Americans, the Russians, the French, the Turks, the United Nations, the Arab League, indeed the world is unanimous that ISIL must be spared human civilization.


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