Archive for May, 2015

By Ojudu Babafemi

I first met Enitan many years ago in his dad’s house at 8 Imaria St , Anthony Village. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the army then. He came visiting his dad Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, the human rights activist and my mentor. Enitan was introduced to me by Beko as ” meet my son in the army”. Beko’s son in the army? I said to myself in surprise. It was at a time when Beko and his senior brother Fela were engaged in a battle with the military that made them come in and out of prison. ” Are you surprised?”, Beko asked me. At the time I had just joined Beko and Alao Aka Bashorun as a volunteer to organize a sovereign national conference.

We both left the residential section of the twin duplex for his office which also double as a clinic where we talked more about Enitan , his relationship with him and his military career.
I will not see Enitan again until the death of his dad and I think then he had become a full Colonel in the army.

Sometime in 2013 my Committee of Defence and Army in the Senate was on oversight function to the Army Headquarters in Abuja. In the course of the introduction of the officers there stood Enitan in his majestic military attire , a Brigadier General. I shook hands with him and introduced myself as Babafemi Ojudu, a friend and followers of his dad and uncle Fela Anikulapo Kuti. I gave him my card and I could see surprise written on his face. He promised to give him a call. He never did.

I will not hear from or about Enitan until early this year when I got a distress call from Lande his younger sister. ” Senator , Enitan has been arrested”, Lande shouted across to me on the phone. “What is the problem “, I asked. ” It is over the Boko Haram saga, ” she said. I promised her I was going to find out what the matter was. I put a call through to Mr Femi Falana, another friend and associate of Enitan’s late dad. He too promised to tap his contacts in the army to know why he was arrested. We later got to know that he was sent to fight Boko Haram insurgents in Baga and things went bad for lack of requisite equipment and supplies.

The army in its wisdom still expected him to perform wonders. For failing to rout Boko Haram insurgents on that assignment he was recalled to the headquarters , arrested and facing trials with others.

Anyone who has related with the Kuti’s from their patriarch and matriarch Dotun and Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, to Olikoye who actually raised Enitan, Fela, Beko, Nike, Femi and the younger Seun will know that these are men and women of courage.

They are patriots per excellence who loved their country and actually gave everything for her. Enitan going by the family pedigree could not have behaved cowardly and betrayed his country. For the sake of the sacrifice the Kuti family have made for Nigeria we are pleading with the army authority to set free Enitan and other Nigerian soldiers who were incapacitated in the battle against Boko Haram for no fault of theirs.

By Prince Charles Dickson

I love Nigeria, I sincerely do because I possibly have no choice, I could love America, England, Poland, or even neighboring Ghana, become a Nigerian-Arabian or Israeli born Nigerian it makes no difference because we are Nigerians, we are who we are…very special in our own way.

I love Nigeria, the land where everything, anything, all things are possible, it depends only from where you stand and what you can benefit. From Lagos, our own New York, to Abuja, the expensive London with Beverly Hills homes only for the rich and mighty to Ekiti, our own cowboy Texas…We have own Chicago styled Police, then we have so many Bronx sites where you could get anything from fake passport to late Abacha or Abiola’s signature.

Nigeria…God’s own country in black Africa, how many times have I been told that even God is Nigerian especially when we have goofed and expect a miracle.

It’s the nation where the president-elect and a former general had no certificate before elections but same certificate appeared after he won.

A land with a rebased economy, that places it as biggest in Africa, but yet it borrows to pay its obligation to workers.

It’s old news that it’s the land where they import what they possess in abundance…

So again, we are starting afresh, the promissory notes include free education, same that was promised by some in 1979…They say they will repair the rail system, the one OBJ the all-knowing life czar of Nigeria could not…and the one Jonathan privatized.

Tomorrow, would we be able to hold them liable, are we really expectant or it’s just the excitement of the times, with expectations as high as believing that heaven in Nigeria is not far away. Some of the promises even sounding like the Ability to bring back our fore fathers to life.

They constitute less than 3% of the population but they are the tiny tin gods we have them situated everywhere, they have been exchanging carrots at our collective expense because they know us, we are Nigerians.

Who really is the winner?

Who really is the winner?

They know most of us only want a measure of salt, rice, few yards of cotton materials with their heads on the fabrics. They know us, they know we cannot do without them, some of them feel without their heads, or mischievous smile on papers no one would buy the morning newspapers. They know we feel humbled when they tell us they care.

They know we are gullible, we love life and cannot resist their Isi Ewu and bottle of Gulder politics in the East, neither can we go far from the amala and obe ewedu welled laced with assorted beef in Ibadan, and for us up, the more Tuwo Shinkafa the more we nod positively to their lies. They tell us that it is about us, and when they get there, they forget us. They tell us that their god told them in a vision, but the Almighty silently watches not just their folly but our collective folly.

It is only in Nigeria that while it was not raining, they offered their umbrellas and when the rain comes, they collected it back because they know us. Do we know them, I doubt very much, although sadly when events are weighed vis a vis the past it is obvious that we know them, we just refuse to accept the truth. We know them, we know most of them could not manage their states, we have even seen some of them like migratory birds sing ‘change’ when few weeks they were singing ‘transformation’.

Everyone now is Sai Buhari, they are sudden change agents, we cannot say we do not know that all these drama is just for a piece of the cake of relevance, and rehabilitation.

They know us, so they are caressing us and in our foolishness we praise them to the high heaven. They know that our poverty has driven us to the religious edge with churches and mosque everywhere so they target our beliefs and become spokespersons for gods only them see. We are again at the crossroads of a new beginning, because we have refused to face reality, we pretend to know when we really do not know, when we know we refuse to talk and all these they know and use against us.

We think they are naive while infact they know we are the hungry ones that are happy rather than angry, they know in the midst of our struggles, problems and hardship when asked how we are, we still say ‘fine’…some of them even won elections while owing salaries.

They know how docile we are, and how we cherish the little luxuries of life pinched to us rather than taking our right in whole. They know that our so-called activists will betray us. They simply know way too much, so they manipulate us, make us worship them and make us glorify their stupidity. The Nigerian is peaceful, hospitable and friendly, not easily provoked, infact never provoked except when he is what I call ‘politicoreligionized’.

They know they are up, so they fear the big fall and want to remain relevant, they know we are down and fear no fall. We do not ask why is that none of these men who lost elections want to be Pastors, Imams…or teachers. Why do they not want to go to school and teach courses in Political Science departments on “how not to be impeached”, how to deal with Fayose”, “Why PDP lost”?

How many of these ‘goons’ Would serve us with our money that they have stolen by establishing NGO’s for whatever it is worth, how many of them are going into poultry or fish farming, or are they scared they won’t make much, after all a former President’s farm generates millions a day or month, so why the fear?

They know that we do not know, and even when we know we keep silent, so the maze continues, we keep going the vicious circle and still keep searching for what we did not loose. We do not know that we are part of the entire puzzle, we do not know why. So they owe us no explanation when they move from party to party because they will always have followership…it is poverty of the mind not just the pocket.

We do not know our collective worth, we do not see our strength, they know so they exploit our weaknesses and always they win, like they are almost certain to do again.

For how long, how long, is there change in the horizon, is there anything to hold on to, are we going to be knowledgeable at least this once to change the course of our destiny? They know us, do we know them…The politics of Nigeria, the politics of depravation, a bitter politics run by a bunch so easily confused…the future is bright and ours for the taking but then do we know or we want to leave it to them again—Only time will tell.

By Mike Yawe

The gale of impeachments sweeping across the country in the last few weeks has become a source of worry and threat to good governance in the country.
Every democratic society has mechanisms that checkmate its leaders from becoming autocratic. This is in consonance with the words of Lord Acton that “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution provides for the impeachment of both the President and the Vice President while Section 188 of the same Constitution provides for the removal of governors and their deputies. This latter section is a replica of section 170 of the extant 1979 Constitution under which Alhaji Balarabe Musa of the defunct People’s Redemption Party (PRP) of the old Kaduna State was impeached by a House dominated by the also defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN). He was the only executive Governor removed under that constitution.

“gross misconduct” means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amounts in the opinion of the National Assembly to gross misconduct.
Between 2005 and 2007, five governors were impeached by their State Houses of Assembly. The only unifying factor of these impeachments was that none could be said to have followed due process. They were all removed without having regard to constitutional provisions.

The return of democracy in 1999 till date witnessed impeachment processes carried out without recourse to the constitution and the courts had to step in to revert some of this impeachments but the collateral damage to our democracy for such ill conceived, contrived and executed Impeachment s is already taking its toll on our democratic credentials.

Impeachment is now used as a tool of blackmail against elected officials, while some of these impeachments are been challenged in the courts and it will be subjudice to comment on specific cases, we are however constrained to counsel against using impeachment as a tool of vendetta at the least provocation.

The constitution states clear processes to be complied with in impeaching a Governor or deputy, but
what we have seen so far is compliance more in the breach, for instance we have heard of cases where the panel set up by the chief judge sits for a few hours and concludes deliberations on a serious matter as impeachment. It often takes the house less than 30 minutes to move a motion and impeach a sitting elected official as highly placed as a deputy Governor. This is in the least a mockery of the provisions of the impeachment process.

The houses of assembly at the state level, which has the constitutional role of serving as a check on the executive arm of Government have had more impeachments against their presiding officers. As at today there are more than four speakers whose jobs are threatened by impeachments between the last elections and today. It was even reported that the Kebbi house of assembly impeached its speaker while on recess. What was the emergency in carrying out such an impeachment in such a brazen manner?

National-Assembly1

Curiously, no Governor has received an impeachment notice for failure to pay salaries or abdication of duty on security matters as if often reported in the press over the conduct of some state executives. How do we reconcile a situation where a Governor who is owing 6 months salary donates 500 million Naira to the campaign organisation of his political party.

We implore the various state and National Assembly members to emulate referees of football matches, who even though they have a red card in their pockets only use it as a means of last resort. Football matches would become rancourous and un interesting if every offence is visited with a red card hence we appeal to legislators to use impeachment only where it becomes inevitable.
The relationship between Governors and their deputies which usually deteriorates in their second term arising from succession struggles should be handled with care by both parties.
The voter who stays in the sun defying all odds to vote is interested in good governance and nothing more.

Perhaps at this point, Nigerians will like to know how many bills tailored towards the benefit of the citizens, besides impeaching governors at any whim, these legislators have sponsored and passed into law? Also, what meaningful developments in terms of jobs, infrastructure, economic prosperity, and international recognition, to mention but a few, have they brought to their constituencies? In fact Nigerians are interested in knowing the answers to these questions.

It will not be out of place here to recommend that the impeachment process be made as tedious as the recall process for legislators. A stitch in time they say saves nine, hence we advice that impeachment should not be used as a yard stick for intimidation nor blackmail. The impeachment train has landed at Niger state today, who knows where next it is headed to?

Mike Yawe is of the Radio Nigeria Investment ltd

By Prince Charles Dickson

“On that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. We were also united in our resolve, to protect our nation…” Barack Obama’s address confirming the death of Osama bin

The closest we have come to the above is When Abacha died, it was celebration, we all were united in wanting him out…we also had a similar experience when Jonathan made his debut in his first shoeless—Again we are all shouting “CHANGE”.

But in my heart, the question is, will we have a leadership that will inspire such sentiments, such belief, that though we are Ibos, Yorubas, Hausas, Tivs, Efiks, Ijaws, Muslims, Christians or atheists, we are equally Nigerians and without losing our ethnic identities there is something in Nigeria for us all, and about us all.

ghosts change

In the last few weeks, I have watched the drama of the Nigerian nation–Its perilous journey…of one big step forward, many giant steps backwards. We have concluded a general election, one which the major achievement by my reckoning is–that we have conducted a nearly violence free election, but the questions of credible, free and fair for me remains there.

Though the introduction of the card reader is a plus, and there is a legitimate debate whether rigging has reduced and ballot box snatching was minimal, as criminal figures still came from the usual suspects and this is one of the many reasons that I do not envy Mr. Buhari and the task before him.

How will we address the needs of the larger population of the nation that are marginalized be it, in the North, South, West or East, we have seen a new party emerge at the center and with so much public goodwill, but many may have soon forgotten that the Jonathan government and his party had such goodwill

We are at a point in our national life where there is greater need for us to have an ideology, in doing so we can better appreciate and hear the grumblings, wishes and aspirations of a crying silent majority who are intimidated by the sheer force of leadership and by the fear of economic survival, and not the illogical selfish driven ranting of our leaders.

Will the in-coming Buhari administration not use power to dominate and dehumanize rather than heal and dignify the populace, forget all the handshakes from Southwest, to the North, the perceived betrayal of the South East and South South…take a deep look at the spread of the figures–there is very little that binds us together.

In 55 years of national independence, successive governments be it civilians, military, or quasi-civilian like we now have, each tended to overlook the question of a national ideology. As a people we have taken the attitude of the docile Muslim/Christian that explains his/her inability to go to church or pray five times a day with the argument that religion is in the mind and soul-not how you practice it.

Our leaders have never really felt the need to define an ideology to guide the nation…why? Because, they had already done so by encrypting, corruption, maladministration, greed and selfishness, inequality as national ideologies on the fabric of our conscience.

In the recent past we have tried in sixes and sevens to create one but have simply underlined the ideological chasm in our society. Our ad-hoc attempts are only pathetic in circumventing the real need for an ideological base as a nation. We have only by our actions admitted that we are ideologically bankrupt and inadequate. The War Against Indiscipline, the ‘ethical revolution’, the National Orientation Movement, the Due Process and Anti and Uncle Corruption stance have proven that much.

The intellectual, critics and writing community, for our part have not lacked the energy, enterprise or a wide range of ideas on the question of ideology. However one thing that has always been lacking in the ideological debate is an ideology with a truly indigenous foundation that can relate to the Nigerian environment, experience and political culture.

There is the need to embark upon a search and journey for an ideology that derives from our life and culture, from our political experience and our environment, and can thus relate to them. Something that is practicable in our unique political, economic and social condition. This I believe is not an impossible task.

If an ideology is a set of ideas, principles, ethics and values by which a nation guides and regulates itself towards the achievement of its political, social, economic and cultural objectives. It is then obvious that we can see why we are a confused nation with everyone crying wolf from end to end. It is a result of the absence of a guiding doctrine. When we have ambassadors that cannot recite the national anthem…

For the much-touted change to occur, for us not to be laden with another amala coinage, it must be translated to an ideology, part of an important factor in the development of every aspect of society. There must be something more that the so-called oil that holds us primarily together, something that can halt our gravitation towards social and moral disintegration at every level of national life.

We as a people are blessed with or without oil; the problem is that we have never been able to distill a national ideology from the enormous wealth of ethical values and social order of our traditional heritage.

We need to explore the necessities of life that holds us together–food, shelter and clothing, irrespective of tribe, religion or creed.

Just like in our traditional heritage. One which under close examination will show that they embody the democratic principles which recognize the fundamental equality of all men so much so that our original pagan societies were fundamentally theistic in nature and yet we lived in ‘parapoism’ (togetherness)…one for all, all for one and none of us was stronger than all of us.

The truth is that there was an inherent ideology in our traditional heritage, in our pluralistic society existed a relative tranquil, peaceful and progressive manner. But sadly the machinations of power players, successfully led to the impoverishment and abuse of the mind.

Mr. Buhari has won, the APC has dethroned the PDP, Nigerians too can win, but we need to tie the very few tiny threads holding the fabric of our society.

Will governance exemplify professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage to do what is right, as a people is there the possibility of a concerted effort to serve our country in whatever capacity we find ourselves. Another journey beckons, Nigeria, are they ready, ready to craft an ideology or will it be business as usual—Only time will tell