Friday, September 22, 2017

Nigeria: Understanding Restructuring Aright

By Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo
Given the renewed momentum and calls for the restructuring of Nigeria, I am not surprised that it has dominated media headlines both in the one print and electronic media. Recently, I was watching and listening to a programme where the discussants dwelt extensively on the economy and what should be done. One thing that actually interested me was the various suggestions made by the panelists on how to move Nigeria out from the woods.
While the panellists were unanimous in their agreement that the economy has collapsed almost irretrievably, some of them recommended, as a way forward, that Nigerians should go back to the farms; others agreed that there is urgent need to restructure the country. Most of the discussants also dwelt extensively on the importance of restructuring. Even Vice President Yemi Osibanjo called in to make his position on restructuring known, though I find his explanation vague. 
But whether the Vice President agrees with restructuring or not, my happiness is that many highly placed Nigerians, both at home and in the Diaspora, who before now would hear nothing about restructuring the country, have become fiery apostles of restructuring. I have always known that we can never escape the route of restructuring because history is coterminous with the reality that restructuring is the only escape route for countries like Nigeria. In the past 35 years I have maintained this position.
However, it does appear that even when restructuring has become very trending today, many of the new apostles do not understand the full import of restructuring. I want to say for the umpteenth time, that what Nigeria needs now is not a back-to-land initiative (that is good in itself) but an urgent restructuring of the country. My worry actually, is the lackadaisical understanding of this process of restructuring, even by those we may regard as informed. 

Renegotiate And Restructure Nigeria!

By Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo
The conduct of international relations among nations is anchored on the realist paradigm of “might is right”. This is the central thesis of Hans J. Morgenthau's seminal work on Politics among Nations. The motivating factor in relations among nations is the furtherance of their vital and strategic national interests. In these murky waters of international politics, the powerful states relate to other states on the basis of what they consider to be in the best interest of their states. It is in this context that I want to do a brief post-mortem of president Buhari’s recent tour of the United States of America.
*Dr. Nwankwo 
Not a few Nigerians believed that so much would come out of that visit. I am certain by now the reality of the failure of that visit would have disrupted such expectations. Buhari’s visit to the USA was programmed to stimulate a stiff in US policy towards Nigeria. On the cards for discussion was the issue of Boko Haram insurgency. While Buhari lacked words and technical depth to explain the implication of the insurgency to the strategic interest of the USA in Nigeria, a bemused Obama promised that USA and her allies would consider areas of cooperation with Nigeria especially in combating international terror. Back home, many Nigerians went to town with their cymbals announcing that Buhari’s visit would yield much result. Today, we have come to terms with the reality that Buhari went on excursion to the USA, used the opportunity to visit the White House – a pleasure he did not enjoy as a military dictator.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thespian Buhari At The United Nations

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
It is not that we have ever doubted the thespian talents of President Muhammadu Buhari that render him eligible to assume the role of an actor before any audience. We have always known that he is like any other wily politician, especially in these climes, who can fit into any dramatic role before a given audience. Remember, in 2015 when Buhari had before him citizens who were desirous of a leader with democratic credentials, he offered himself as perfectly fitting that role. He regaled them about his mutation into a democrat since he was forced by Ibrahim Babangida and his co-travellers to pull off his military uniform and jackboots.
*President Buhari addressing
UNGA 2017
Again, before a south-east audience, he identified with them by dressing like an Igbo man. Still, before the general population as his audience, Buhari played the role of a charmer, the man with a magic wand to solve the nation’s problems and root out corruption in a short time. He made the audience swoon over him. And he was rewarded with the prime prize – the presidency – as the encore continued until it was disrupted by the subsequent months of the reality of hardship.
Now, Buhari has taken these dramatic skills onto the global stage. At the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Buhari took on a role that was totally alien to his personality. The meeting was about the wellbeing of people. It had the fitting theme of “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.” Thus, Buhari played the role of an actor who wants to improve the wellbeing of the people and make them to live in peace and live a decent life. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Illegality Of Nnamdi Kanu’s House Arrest By The Army

By Femi Falana
No doubt, the federal government of Nigeria has the duty to maintain law and order in the country. But it is the duty which cannot be carried out outside the ambit of the law of the land. Last weekend, armed troops invaded Abia in Abia state to deal with the alleged threat of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to destabilize the country. It was reported yesterday that the troops have taken over the family house of Mr Kanu and put him under house arrest. I wish to submit, without any fear of contradiction, that the deployment of armed troops in Abia state and the house arrest of Mr. Kanu are illegal and unconstitutional on the following grounds:
*Nnamdi Kanu 
(1) By virtue of section 215 (3) of the Constitution the Nigeria Police Force has been conferred with the exclusive power to maintain law and order and secure public safety and public order in the country.
(2) Having filed an application in the Federal High Court for the re-arrest and detention of Mr. Kanu for allegedly breaching the conditions attached to his bail the federal government ought not to have presented the trial judge with a fait accompli by resorting to self help in the circumstance.
(3) Although the President is empowered by virtue of section 217(2) of the Constitution to deploy the armed forces for the "suppression of insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore law order" he cannot exercise the power until there is an insurrection or civil disturbance which cannot be contained by the police.


Operation Python Dance Is Illegal 

- Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa 

Can Nigeria Become A Nation Under President Buhari?

By Steve Orji  

Listening to, and probing deeper into the sentiments of Nigerians, tells you something ominous and it’s the fact that there are yet very deep cracks within the notion of Nigeria’s nationhood.
*President Buhari
The ethnic sentiments often couched in speeches or responses to national issues, captured in the body language and emotional sensibilities of well-placed and common Nigerians, provides a gauge to touch and feel where we are in the march to becoming a nation.

Are we a nation? We have yet to be!

Nigeria: Pythons Need Not Dance In South-East

By Paul Onomuakpokpo 
Although there is a myriad of indicators of the failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, there is one that sticks out like a sore thumb. It is the inability of the government to effectively grapple with the challenge of making right choices in a manner that negates the social imagination that it is incapable of listening and ever doing what is appropriate. This incapacity has found expression in a brazen defiance of good proposals from the citizens to set governance on an even keel.
*President Buhari with the Service Chiefs
Or how do we explain the fact that despite the warnings from prominent citizens, the Federal Government has made good its threat to crush agitators in the south-east? But the government must not fantasize about its triumph over an already oppressed people. It should rather stop its troops in their tracks since the outcome of their misguided expedition in that part of the country would not only conflict with genuine efforts to bring peace to the region, it would aggravate the mutual distrust among people of different parts of the country.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Nigeria: When The Python Danced On A Barb-Wired Fence

By Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo
The recent onslaught by the Nigerian military on Nnamdi Kanu’s country home in Abia State under the curious code name “Operation Python Dance” has once again demonstrated the naivety, ineptitude and insensitivity of the current Buhari administration on dealing with the incandescent ethnic nationalism that has ripped Nigeria apart in the past couple of years. Why this government or any other group in this country or outside would think that solution to the present impasse in Nigeria could be resolved through the barrel of the gun beats my imagination.

*President Buhari and Chief of Army Staff Burutai
I have always maintained that Nnamdi Kanu and his Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB) is not a threat to Nigeria. Rather IPoB and its leaders represent the manifestation of a beleaguered people desperate for freedom. What Nnamdi Kanu has succeeded in doing is to gnaw at the conscience of the world to call attention to the plight of his people and the need to give the Igbo a better deal in Nigeria. And here I must say that Kanu is not alone in this feeling and factual knowledge of the truth that Ndigbo have become an endangered species in Nigeria.
The precarious situation of the Igbo in Nigeria has been worsened in an age of clash of civilizations when the forces of radical Islam are on collision course with western civilization. Like I have always pointed out, Boko Haram is a philosophy anchored on the rejection by Islam of anything western especially its religion and education. Apart from this warped religious inspired hatred of western civilization, Islam is anti-democratic and does not support the republicanism and gregariousness for which unencumbered societies like the Igbo are known for. Unlike western liberal democracy, Islam does not admit of question on its foundational principles; it regards Christians and Jews as “people of the Book” that must be destroyed at all level. The religion advocates the plundering of the riches of the “infidels”, slashing their throats and binding them as slaves and also compelling them to pay the “zakat”.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Aisha Alhassan’s Declaration

By Ray Ekpu
Aisha Alhassan aka Mama Taraba is the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari. She is a lawyer and the first woman in Taraba State to hold the position of Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. She also served as a Registrar of the Federal High Court, Abuja and as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Mama Taraba also fought valiantly in the last election to register another first as the female Governor of Taraba State. She did not get there. But her political credentials are amply acknowledged by those who know her.
*Aisha Alhassan 
With such a formidable curriculum vitae and her acknowledged political battles many people have wondered why she made the unguarded public statement she made recently. Here are her words: “Atiku (Abubakar) is my godfather even before I joined politics and again Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019. And let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019 I swear to Allah I will go before him and kneel and tell him that Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister. But Baba, just like you know I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather. That is if Atiku said he is going to contest. As we are talking now Atiku has not said he is going to contest.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

Nullification of Kenya’s Presidential Election: Implications for Nigerian Democracy

By Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo
The recent nullification by the Kenyan Supreme Court of the August 8, 2017 presidential election in Kenya has stolen the headlines in both local and international media and has dominated conversations among so many people and groups. While the courage and boldness of the Kenyan Supreme Court is emulative and instructive, one impression that the international media has tried to create is that this is not in the character of African politics- for the judiciary to affect the political process in the manner the Kenyan Supreme Court has done. I agree that this is the first time in Africa where the judiciary has stuck to its convictions and fended off executive pressure and blackmail to deliver what has reverberated across the globe as a historic feat.

In real terms, it is in the character of Africans to expose and distance themselves from evil and deceit. This character of justice and equity is woven into the African psyche and consciousness but was significantly eroded at the behest of alien values imposed on the continent by colonial experience; an experience that has elevated the warped and otiose idea of “political correctness” far and above moral conscience, truth, justice and equity. I am, indeed, overjoyed that in my life time, Kenya, through its Supreme Court has given me hope that African values of truth are still alive; it has pointed the way forward for other African countries; it has shown that our old values of speaking the truth at all times without really caring whose ox is gored can be reinvented; and that being politically correct at the expense of truth and justice is the perfect recipe for the death of nations.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Nigeria Police And Audacity Of A Squealer

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
After years of a tempestuous relationship with the police, the citizens have become very familiar with a plethora of cases that reify the ignoble identity of that security institution of government as a site of unbridled corruption. Thus, they were by no means suddenly hoisted onto an uncharted territory when the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) last month alerted them to the egregious indices of the corruption under which the police chafe. Nor did the recent allegation by Senator Isah Misau that the police reek of corruption expressed in cronyism, patronage and financial misdeeds come to them as a surprise.
*President Buhari and IGP Idris
Indeed, Nigerians live daily with a catalogue of woes the police inflict on them. We are quite familiar with these: the police shoot to maim or kill commercial bus drivers or motorcyclists popularly referred to as okada riders because of their refusal to part with N50. They do not respond to emergency calls when the citizens are under the siege of armed robbers. It is only when the armed robbers have finished their operations and gone that their victims would be harassed with the sounds of police sirens. And that is if the police come at all. In most cases, they place obstacles in your way: they tell you that they cannot respond to your call because they have no vehicles; if they have, they are faulty; and if they are not faulty, there is no fuel in them. If you go to make a report at their station, the police would ask you to pay for the pen and piece of paper with which to make your complaint. After the complaint, you need to give them money to investigate your case. On the walls and doors of a typical police station would be emblazoned the warning: bail is free. But you must pay for detainees to secure their freedom. 

Unlocking The Likes Of Prof Yemi Osinbajo

By Banji Ojewale 
Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is the father of modern-day bureaucratic jurisprudence of Lagos State… He was discovered by Governor Bola Tinubu… He went on to become the state’s Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General in the Third Republic in 1999… He undertook notable reforms in grassroots judicature and in court room procedures… Through his prudent counsel coupled with Tinubu’s own smart politics, Lagos successfully launched the historic creation of 37 local Council and Development Areas and floored the mighty federal resistance of Olusegun Obasanjo’s government… The councils have come to stay due to the firm substructure Yemi Osinbajo laid… Later, he was retrieved from political retirement again by Tinubu to play a role in the central government in the current dispensation. 
But let us be clear about this: history isn’t going to rate Osinbajo on Lagos only in the long run. The ruthless history we all know would demand more from Osinbajo. Had he stayed quietly in the background after his tour of duty in Lagos, he might have tamed the extinct records to favour him. However, having succumbed to the temptation to stage a comeback at a higher level, he must wrestle with the dialectics of politics of an upward plane. History is clad in an iron creed: to whom a higher measure of responsibility is given, less can’t be demanded. 

Nigeria: An Example Of Profligacy

By Oshineye Victor Oshisada
On August 16, 2017, there were news reports that some Federal Government officials took their documents to ailing President Muhammadu Buhari in London for his signature. That action was flabbergasting, because it was a clear case of bare-faced profligacy. They wasted money and time and insulted the intelligence of Nigerians.

When the President was travelling abroad for his medical treatment on May 7, 2017, he said that the length of his stay in London would be determined by his medical team. Therefore, he transmitted a letter to the National Assembly in that respect. The Senate declared that Professor Yemi Osinbajo would function as the Acting President pending the return of Buhari from the medical vacation. The upper legislative chamber appropriately over-ruled Buhari’s statement that Osinbajo would only “co-ordinate the affairs of government as Vice President.”

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Kogi State Is Bleeding: A Call For Collective Rescue Mission

By Usman Okai Austin
Today, empirical and observatory facts have clearly shown that Kogi State is in a state of coma and economic doldrums that require an urgent attention. On all fronts, Kogi State spells failure. The indices for any vestige of development remain abysmal.
*Gov Yahaya Bello of Kogi State 
Poverty rages, unemployment increases in astronomical dimension, Infrastructural facilities are in decay, education sector is struggling to survive, salaries are unpaid, hunger, despair and destruction now haunt the state. The people are indeed living in very trying times: dissatisfied with the present and face the future with much trepidation. If Kogi State today were a living entity, it would be perceived as a blind entity groping aimlessly without direction while pretending to be on a purposeful mission of institutionalising the change agenda.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Nigeria: The Illegality Of Post-UTME

By Luke Onyekakeyah  
The confusion that has trailed the re-introduction of the post University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (post-UTME) in higher educational institutions across the country over the fees payable by candidates forced me to dig into the legality or otherwise of the test that now determines our children’s educational destiny. There should be an established law for post-UTME otherwise, it should be scrapped. The test has become so controversial and ought to be challenged in court of law.

Is there a law that established the post-UTME? I called some lawyers to get their view on the legality of the post-UTME. All the lawyers said, to the best of their knowledge, there is no known law that established the post-UTME in Nigeria.
If that is the case, why leave an illegality to rule the system and even truncate the aspirations of most candidates? Who introduced the post-UTME in the first place and for what purpose? 

Kidnappers And Ritual Killers In Lagos

By Hope Eghagha 
Kidnapping and ritual killing seem to be on the increase in Lagos and around the country. Another way to express this is that there are more reports of abductions for ritual killings these days than we used to have them. Red Cross says that it has received reports of 10,480 missing persons in Nigeria. Every other week or even day, we read reports about ‘ritualists den’ in Nigeria. Two channels, social media and personal testimonies do a better job reporting the incidents than mainstream media. 

While mainstream outlets can be controlled not to report the incidents (to give a good albeit false image of security) no one can really control reports in social media. The latter presents gory pictures of dismembered bodies. The most recent was that of a 200 level undergraduate at the University of Port Harcourt who butchered a neighbour’s seven year old daughter for ritual, removed parts of her body and attempted to dispose of the body in a garbage heap. Shocking! Horrifying!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Nigeria: A Presidency And Its Contradictions

By Musa Toyyib Olaniyi  
APC! Change! The crowds were mammoth and so was the frenzy generated by the idea of the new coalition which had as its presidential flag bearer, a man reputed to possess the talisman that will conjure out of existence, all the problems of the country.
Today, Nigeria is directly experiencing the Presidency of Muhammadu Buhari which was built on great expectations. Alas, the presidency has been mired in incredible contradictions.
The presidency of a nation carries its sovereignty and in most cases, come with humongous powers. In Nigeria, the presidency is a leviathan. Because the presidency is an administrative or governmental entity that surrounds the office of the president of a nation or state usually personified by a man or a woman elected for such purpose, it is usually powerful and awe-inspiring. The news making the roundabout rodents eating up the office of President Muhammadu Buhari is a new low that we never bargained for in this administration.
Sometimes, we wonder what might be going through the minds of people of power and their handlers when they do certain things. When the news filtered in, the reaction was a mixed one. The news elicits both a sort of disbelief and at the same time uproarious laughter because of its incredulity. We never thought that a time will come in this country that such lines will emanate from the governing authority. In an administration that budgets billions of naira for environmental services in the Aso Rock villa, rodents ravaging the office of the President to such an extent that major renovations become imperative is a sad development. What sorts of media handlers are these? Is mediocrity so pervasive in Nigeria that the pinnacle of power in the country is not spared the unfortunate reality?

Wanted: A National Coalition Against Rape

By Adewale Kupoluyi
What has become a serious source of worry to many Nigerians is the dehumanising, wicked and heartless cases of rape of minors, girls, ladies and women in the country. Hardly any day passes by without cases of sexual molestation, violence and crime. Rape, the forceful canal knowledge usually of a female, is a serious calamity that can befall any female. Why is there an upsurge in rape cases in the nation?
A gory statistics, according to the Nigeria Police Force, shows that the nation recorded 1,827 rape cases in 2015; 1,959 cases in 2014; and 1,788 in 2013. Furthermore, NOIPolls, country-specific polling services in the West African region, done in partnership with Gallup, United States of America, revealed that four in 10; that is 36 per cent of adult Nigerians, claimed that most often, the alleged offenders involved in child rape were close family relatives and neighbours; amounting to 33 per cent, as almost half; amounting to 49 per cent of those that personally know a victim alleged that they were usually children between seven and 12 years old; while 78 per cent of the respondents alleged that rape cases were reported without any deliberate effort being made by the police to investigate and prosecute the culprits.

No, Don’t Re-Arrest Nnamdi Kanu

By Paul Onomuakpokpo  
In a seeming bid to ward off the increasing threats to the stability of the country, the government is floundering from one absurd measure to another. From deploying its security apparatuses to monitor the social media, it has moved on to rein in hate speech by proposing a bill in this regard. No much alarm should be triggered if the government luxuriates in the obliviousness of the inability of these frenzied measures to stave off the dissolution of the people’s union if it fails to reckon with more enduring and acceptable solutions that the citizens have generously proposed.
*Nnamdi Kanu
But we must not ignore the augury of a looming tragedy we are now confronted with in the government’s latest move to sustain the nation’s unity. This is the bid by the government to re-arrest the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu. Kanu might have impudently breached some of the conditions for his freedom from incarceration. He might have been found rhapsodising before his hundreds of supporters and putative security personnel about his republic of unrivalled equality and thereby violating the condition that he must not be in a crowd of more than 10 people. He might be considered to have continued on the path of heating up the polity by insisting on his prising a Biafra Republic from Nigeria and securing the support of some Igbo youths who evidently swoon over the prospect of freedom from the stranglehold of their implacable tormentors. He might have been a threat to the state by declaring that no election would take place in Anambra as long as the Biafra question remains unresolved. But these apparent offences do not validate the government’s quest to re-arrest him in view of the rash of grim consequences that such a move would precipitate. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nigeria: Before Darkness Falls

By Julius Oweh
The one hundred and four days of President  Muhammadu Buhari’s medical sojourn abroad opened the fault lines of the nation and a clear advertisement that ours is pretending to be a nation. For those days, the ship of the nation was clearly adrift with an absentee president and a nominal acting president that could not deliver effective leadership because of some deep rooted cabals and interest group.
*President Buhari and VP Osinbajo
In fact, the nation was on auto pilot and the information managers did a poor job about the president’s health status. As you read this piece, Nigerians are yet to be told the nature of the president’s illness and how much the nation has spent in treating him. Therefore any talk about the buy made- in- Nigeria product campaign of the present administration is shattered by the medical tourism of the president. 

The less than seven minutes broadcast of the president, failed to address the pressing issues of the moment – restructuring and fiscal federalism. 

Furthermore, the hard stance of the president in his words `the unity of the nation is settled` is a clear indication that the president is very far from the reality of the moment. He has to climb down from the high horse and address the needs of the people especially those of the south.

Akachi Ezeigbo: Celebrating The Literary Icon

By Prisca Sam-Duru & Elizabeth Uwandu
For Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Wednesday’s reading at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, was a great honour done to her by the institution which doubles as her Alma Mater and where she retired as a lecturer. 

The monthly reading organised by the English Department of UNILAG has turned into an event lovers of literature look forward to and Prof. Ezeigbo’s session didn’t let them down as she treated guests to an outstanding performance of  a dirge for late literary icon, Buchi Emecheta, which  earned her a standing ovation.

The multiple award winning writer and author of so many books which cut across all the genres of literature including children’s literature, opened her reading with her latest short story, “Mr. President’s Change Agent” which is coming out in November. “Mr. President’s Change Agent”, narrates the story of a woman who receives her share of injustice in the hands of an unscrupulous Nigerian police officer after she refuses to give a bribe. Being afraid that she may be shot by the desperate officer, and coupled with the fact that she is already late for her appointment, she parts with the only cash she has with her after she is delayed for over an hour.

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