Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa Cult-related killings in Yenagoa has risen to five heightening apprehension among residents of the Bayelsa State capital. In the past two weeks there has been a battle for supremacy between two cults, the Icelanders and the Greenlanders, leading to two addition casualties on Monday. The Bayelsa State Governor Henry Seriake Dickson had recently…
I give space today to readers to express their views on some articles published in this column over the past weeks and months.
Re: Taking private matters into the public sphere
A confident woman, a good wife, and trustworthy Nigerian declares the truth. Does it matter what they call her? She has won my heart. I hereby forgive all the sins of PMB, which are now in the public domain. Those of us who love him have wondered without end what manner of evil has captured him!
He has dangled from a self-inflicted economic recession to un-presidential comments against many segments of people he took an oath to defend, and on to inability to condemn evil and inspire hope. From one calamity to another! I thank my God that the enemies of Nigeria that formed the cabal have been exposed. God bless and reward you abundantly ma, the president’s wife, Aisha Buhari.
The name of the Lord is glorified and Nigeria is blessed. Thank you, Levi, for this excellent work as usual. Remain blessed.
• Col RN Oputa (rtd.), Fulbright Scholar/Consultant Endocrinologist, Owerri, Imo State
Re: When citizens no longer believe in change
I believe the article published on Wednesday, 14 September 2016, and entitled “When citizens no longer believe in change” must be an editorial comment, as it does not carry the name of the writer. However, I seem to have seen now that the writer is likely to be Levi Obijiofor or so. I must say that I give kudos to the writer, as I find it difficult to excuse myself from the rest of the story, until I got to the end of it. I read the article a second time and started to extract some quotable quotes from it and I came up with no fewer than half a dozen quotes.
This is a piece that should be circulated widely and published on Facebook for wider readership. I commend The Sun Newspaper and the writer from the bottom of my heart. A disillusioned citizen can never believe in change that is delayed or not positive.
I am a follower of the happenings in our great country Nigeria, formerly known as the “Giant of Africa”, and now ridiculed unfortunately as the “Midget of Africa”! We have become the laughing stock of the whole world because of the widespread and pervasive corruption in the land. I have written several articles on Nigeria, on an optimistic note that all was going to be well with us, since President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration took over the mantle of leadership.
I have written many articles on Nigeria in popular online forums known as Nigeriaworld and the other one called Nigerians in America (NIA). I spent some time in Nigeria to witness firsthand the way things are and I saw it all within six months of my short stint between January and June 2016. Our value system has become so warped I cannot believe it. Nothing seems to be working and leaders are too overwhelmed.
Things are very bad and I understand that they have gotten worse today than they were when I left the country. While the blame must be shared by both the followership and the leadership, I am of the firm belief that the selfish, greedy, corrupt, inept and undisciplined leadership must take the greater part of the blame. What about the scandal over budget padding, which, perhaps, had gone on for years undetected? To date, nothing has happened to the looters and the corrupt leaders. These corrupt public and political leaders have not been disgraced and embarrassed in the society. Their children and families have not been made to face private and public persecutions and shame. They are untouchable! On the contrary, they still continue to call the shot in our corruption-laden society. It continues to be business-as-usual as it was.
The followership has not seen any reason not to misbehave when salaries are being owed for months and many households are in big trouble. Starvation is the order of our society. Anything can be stolen, from human beings to material things, including even pots of soup or bowls of eba and amala (as they are being warmed on local stoves outside the house). All these can be stolen if care and surveillance are not at their best! These petty thieves are easily apprehended and punished but the BIG thieves get away with their loots.
No one questions unusual wealth and affluence. Rather than question the source of sudden affluence, our society worships the nouveau rich. There are no consequences to date, which the people can see and which can serve as deterrents. It is now a case of “let’s grab as much as we can and whatever we can”. In this environment, everybody has invariably become corrupt.
Nigeria is a tragedy. What a blessed nation we are. We are blessed with abundant human and natural resources, yet we are unable to make good success out of these God-given endowments.
Your article has triggered or shall I say forced me to write this rejoinder if only to appreciate your effort in putting together your insightful commentary on the state of the nation
You just might be interested in publishing this my response to your article for wide readership, as it contains some tips for everyone to cope with recession in the current environment in which many families are struggling to live. I am interested in contributing to your prestigious newspaper, if you might be able to publish some thoughts from Nigerians in the Diaspora for your readership. Congratulations once again and more grease to your elbows.
• Professor Adekunle Akinyemi (fnaemt)
Pikesville, Maryland, USA
Re: When citizens no longer believe in change: Jury system as solution
Sir, from your essay it is clear that Nigerians are angry with the type of democracy and government they have had throughout the nation’s history. It is clear, as you stated, that “our democracy doesn’t tolerate public questioning of political leaders”.
Obviously, we have witnessed a negative change. I always believe that you don’t look or think backwards if it doesn’t help you get ahead. I find it disagreeable that this government has made it a pastime to take Nigerians through yesteryears. I believe that Nigerians have lived and seen better days in the past. In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is the worst in terms of uninspiring economic policies. As a nation, we have been most threatened and stretched politically and socially during this administration’s 16 months in office.
I have written several articles in the past in which I proffered suggestions to this administration. All my articles have emphasised a jury judicial system. In our current situation, the saying that a hungry man is an angry man has become an understatement because many citizens are frustrated and have no idea about their economic future or what awaits them in the future. While it is wise to provide an economic solution to national problems, I believe many people have offered many economic and political solutions to our current predicament.
If I may attempt to answer the questions you raised in the last three concluding paragraphs of your essay in The Sun edition of Wednesday, 14 September 2016, I would simply suggest that the nation should consider a jury justice nation. We need to amass the critical mass that would enable us to take the change we desire from the oligarchy’s doorsteps, instead of facing the approaching violence and protests that have been gathering force for some time now.
In your article, you asked: Are we too impatient? Are we too difficult to govern? Why has Nigeria become a nation where virtually nothing works? We should take a cue from countries that are practising jury judicial system and kick sentiments aside. Countries practising jury justice system are all doing very well economically, politically, and socially compared to non-jury practising nations. I should add that all G-7 countries and, at least, 15 of the 20 G-20 nations all practise the jury system. They have all used jury justice system to answer all your questions and have ensured that if the citizens change then the leaders must change, and if the leaders expect change from the citizens then they must carry the touch and shine the light of leadership.
I want to leave you with this: Whither our Joseph? In Genesis chapters 41 and 47, Joseph brought the solution for change and adjustment to impending famine. In Chapter 47, when the famine was blistering, Pharoah simply said to the people to go to Joseph and do whatever he urged them to do. They went and spoke in one voice and agreed collectively as a people and took the form of a jury such that they all agreed that when their currency failed they would mortgage their land after selling their farm animals.
The high point is: We need a Joseph but without a jury. That Joseph will be another voice in the wilderness! We must ensure we compel ourselves to comply without breaking ranks, but there also must be a clear direction. That is what the jury does; to build a mass of support for insightful government policies, such that as Joseph is busy directing the people to stock their harvest in anticipation of the drought, no one among the people would steal and neither would Joseph steal.
• Ogene Eshomomoh