Archive for September, 2015

By Mallam Prince Charles Dickson

A fine cage won’t feed the bird.

On August 6 2015, Soldiers kill notorious hippopotamus in Gombe dam headlined the news on premiumtimes an online news portal, it was a story written by Auwal Umar, it trended for a day or two received mentions in a few other newspapers and that was the end.

The crux of the story was that a notorious hippopotamus was accused of terrorizing Yamaltu/Deba local government areas of Gombe State, killing fishermen and farmers near the Dadin/Kowa dam. Finally the “notorious” hippo was shot dead by soldiers according to local officials.

“The animal killed many people in the last two years, the state government said.

Ismail Umar, who is the head of Forestry, Yamaltu/Deba Local Government, confirmed that the beast had been killed.

He said officials discovered the threat posed by the hippopotamus since 2013, and complained to the LGA about the damages it was causing them, and also requested permission to hunt it down.

Also speaking, the permanent secretary of the state Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, Adamu Pukuma, said the state was committed to protecting hippopotamus to ensure they do not go into extinction, saying the killed animal was “notorious”.

“It killed people around the area as well as destroyed people farm and fishing equipment, and there were complaints from the people that was why we sought the governor’s approval and killed it,” he said.

As at the time of the story my young friend George Omo had sternly criticized those that were responsible for killing the hippo, and ranted about how the hippo could have been part of a tourism project and how it was savage to kill a hippo.

The part that was not included in the story was that the hippopotamus beef was shared among locals. Interesting that was a dam, or community that claims it had some 100 of such hippos, yet it identified one as notorious and killed it.

Very quickly before this becomes a boring story and one wonders what has hippos got to do with Nigeria. I will tell us in the next few paragraphs, and hope we see the metaphor.

In Jos, Plateau state, there is the Zaria road stadium project. The project was initiated by a former military administrator of the state, Col. Lawrence Onoja, the project is already 26years old, and in those years it has became a conduit to siphon public funds, receiving mention in almost every budget. With an initial sitting capacity of 20,000 increased to 50,000 and modern indoor facilities, it was original billed to stand as one of the most sophisticated and internationally acclaimed football stadiums in Nigeria.

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In 1999, former Governor Joshua Dariye re-awarded the contract to Trans Project Nigeria Ltd at a sum of N1.2bn. But the company abandoned the project after the Dariye Administration ran into troubled waters.

This was after the administration had tried to persuade the Federal Government to take over the project.

The highlight of that era was when a commissioner in that government told me that the reason for all the delay and troubles was that the stadium was situated just opposite the cemetery and that the dead bodies “will” abhor the noise from the stadium, so made it impossible for the stadium to be completed.

Enter the Jonah Jang government of redemption; with a lot of social gain in line, the contract was re-awarded to BCC Tropical Nigeria Ltd at the cost of N3.2 bn.

The governor then had even promised that the stadium would be ready in 2013 to boost the state’s chances of bidding for the 2014 National Sports Festival.

Intact these were his words then…“We are bequeathing to the state a lasting legacy as one of the foremost sporting states in the country. If you remember that most of the football stars in Nigeria, both living, and dead, cut their teeth in Jos. And of course with our clement weather, Plateau cannot afford to lag behind in sporting activities. That is why we are trying to finish the project in time to boost our chances if we eventually bid for the 2014 National Sports Festival,”

He further stated, that about 90% of the work had been completed already.

More lies were told, like those by the then Commissioner of Sports in the state, James Yakubu.

He said that one of the problems encountered while the project was being revisited was that most vital documents relating to the contract, such as drawings, electrical, architectural and structural designs, could not be traced.

To ensure that the stadium is of world class standard, he added, FIFA officials who come in at regular intervals to assess the progress of work are inspecting the project.

So far, the lush artificial playing turf, the rubber running tracks, including other facilities, are ready.

Yakubu said that as required by FIFA, the contract for the construction of road network around the stadium would soon be awarded.

A representative of the construction firm, Mr. Robert Parkinson, said the synthetic running tracks and the artificial pitch would get a 12-year guarantee and that the work is being done to stand the test of time.

While all these drama was on, the project, had already gulped over N5bn because of variations in the contract sum, highlight of which it was alleged that the fence alone had been awarded to a “jang” at an outrageous sum.

Well, in the final analysis, today the end of 2015 is near, there is no stadium; Plateau is hosting no National Sports Festival, not even a Secondary Schools Sports Festival for that matter.

The dead bodies of Zaria road cemetery still abhor noise and have not been appeased.

Same Plateau, has two wild life parks, one in Jos, the other in Quan Pan Local Government, while the latter is almost an abandoned bush, the former is laughable as in recent times the lions there have been know to be given cabbage to eat.

And truth be told this is not about the Plateau State Zaria road stadium, it is about a nation and its various hippopotamus projects, notorious conduits in every state, where monies just disappear with the wave of an abracadabra political hands.

During the Obasanjo administration, a committee on abandoned projects was set up, but even that has been abandoned too…Sadly how a nation and a people kill it’s heritage, damage it’s future, and lie to itself remains a mystery that only time can tell.

By Prince Charles Dickson

“If Buhari decides to take a 2nd wife today, some people will still complain that he ignored their zone. If beauty was the criteria…they have beauty in their zone.” Anonymous

The “victim mentality” mindset. In their self-imposed concept of marginalization, they divided the Southern Nigeria into three geo-political zones of Southeast, Southsouth and Southwest and consider the Northern Nigeria as one geo- political entity instead of three (Northcentral, Northeast and Northwest).

In their confused mentality, when an appointment was/is given to Igbo, it was for the Southeast, when it is an Ibibio/ Efik or Ijaw that was/is appointed, it was for the

Southsouth, and if Yoruba is for the Southwest, but when/if Kanuri or Kilba from Northeast is appointed it is “Hausa/Fulani” from North, if Tiv, Idoma or Eggon from Northcentral is appointed, it is “Hausa/Fulani” from North, and if anyone from Northwest is given appointment, they will start the uproar that the “born to rule” are back to power as if the Hausa/Fulani are not integral part of the country.

If their hypocritic mindset, there are three geo-political zones in the Southern Nigeria but only one geo-political North, to their undiscerning minds, appointments should be based on three zones of the South and North as one zone, forgetting that the North consist of three geo-political zones (like the South) and 19 out of 36 states (more than half) that make up federation, what a people…

The above was the hypothesis of Adam Baba Yamani, and very quickly just a line or two…I will not debate the rightness or otherwise of his deductions, however one key thing is his use of “their, they”, and that invariably leaves us with “we” and off course “us”.

For my readers, a quick question what really was the essence of all this divides essential the mid-western, middle belt, west, etc.–to the modern day structure of Northeast, Southwest, Niger Delta etc.

While we ruminate on Adam’s points…below are thoughts of my friend…Gimba kakanda

“The northerners now advocating abolition of Federal Character Principle clearly have no idea they’re digging a grave for mass burial of the dreams and ambitions of people, including technocrats, from this part of the region.

The north is a generation behind the south, and it will be selfish to assume that the colonial legacy has already been redeemed. The south isn’t a factory of cerebral people, but it’s historically advantaged and thus leads in the statistics of professionally and intellectually accomplished citizens.

No, I do not feel inferior to any southerner, nor do I believe I’m incapable of discharging a duty a southern peer could. I’m only apologizing for the colonial legacy that legitimizes adherence to our peculiar Quota System in which my people are the main beneficiaries.

We ARE still traditionally deficient in the production of educated and desired human capital, and it’s absolutely selfish for fellow educated northerners who, against all odds, obtained a Bachelor’s degree and grabbed a slot to “represent” the region in civil service, to endorse the end of a system that sustains fair representation.

I think we are getting carried away because our man is in the State House today, but the day merits become the only yardsticks for admissions into universities and employments in public service, which the excited mob desires now, is the day we may realize the deep gap between the north and the south, as dug out and built by our colonial masters and political ancestors.

Before praising Buhari’s indefensible pattern of appointment, remember that he wouldn’t have won the election if he had not subscribed to the “Quota System”, choosing a running mate from the southwest to ensure fairness, even though there’s a northerner, like Professor Auwalu Yaduda, who can match Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s feats as a legal academic.”

Last week, I had written on our ethnic troubles in this country and it does not even seem anywhere abating—One of the national dailies even went far as reporting, “angry reactions greet Buhari’s appointment.”

Well, I recall Mr. Adisa the grammarian of the Mr. Abacha era, when accused of aiding his friends at the Oputa Panel, told Justice Oputa, “When you get there, give the contracts to your enemies.” Maybe not the best of examples, but really while the debate is on federal character, balance and all that gimmicks, Nigeria is not united, will not anytime soon. (All men mentioned are dead)

Not loosing hope on Nigeria

Not loosing hope on Nigeria

Maybe the questions, should be, are Buhari’s appointment lopsided, are we done with the appointments, is there any government at any level in Nigeria where appointments are currently balanced, has he significantly made appointments in anyway different from the last three Presidents?

Benjamin Aduba who’s lived in the US for almost 40years says, “I remember the Georgia Mafia (Carter Administration) the California Mafia (Reagan’s Administration) Texas Mafia (both Bushes) and now Chicago Mafia (Barack Obama’s). A president must surround himself with trusted friends and would not do well if he is working with a team that he does not trust completely. I recall that the one common thing most of my Igbo brothers faulted General JTU Aguiyi Ironsi was that surrounding himself with the likes of Danjuma which resulted in his beheading by his mistrusted team. PMB has and should have learned from the Officer and a Gentleman Aguiyi-Ironsi’s mistakes.”

Of course those who love PMB must advise him that actions have equal and opposite reactions; that to alienate 14 million GEJ supporters could have one of two consequences: make them angrier than they were and therefore to fight harder against his administration or require that he uses greater force to beat them to submission. It is delicate balance that must demand the use of carrots and sticks.”

I would end this admonition this way I never forget this analogy; it was from a book called disappearance it was divided into two parts. Part one was an imaginary account of a world in which men wake up one day and discovered that all women had vanished. All the women! The rest of that first part talks about how men tried to survive on their own. The second part was a vice versa, our women woke up and discovered that the men had disappeared from the face of earth. The speaker asked us to imagine both scenarios.

Did someone not tell me that the new Nigerian Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir David Lawal is an Ijaw man raised in Adamawa…? There you have it, a nation that majors in minor, will not move, and will Nigeria move—Only time will tell