Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Ozubulu Catastrophe And Governor Obiano’s Deft Hand

By Chuks Iloegbunam 
When news of the terrible development hit the Awka seat of power early that morning, many scenarios taxed the imagination. Nothing of the sort had previously happened in Igbo history. There was a bizarre angle to it, of course, that was of tremendous import: Anambra State, reputed to be an oasis of safety and security, peace and placidity in tumultuous Nigeria had taken a vicious bang on the jugular. 
*Gov Willie Obiano
Who had done the violent action? To what end? Since it is often the case that “when it hits, it reverberates,” was the impunity set to spread? These were some of the questions Governor Willie Obiano tried to think through while, at the same time, receiving Security and Intelligence debriefing. Taking little time, the Governor’s convoy negotiated the 48 kilometres from Awka to Ozubulu, and hit the scene of the bloodbath. 

Armed with both the truth of what had happened and the spins sprouting in the social media, Governor Obiano inspected the carnage inside the St. Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu. Twelve congregants whose only “offence” was attending the 6am mass to worship their God had been brutally massacred in an orgy of gunfire. Eighteen others sustained gunshot wounds, some of them life threatening. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Getting President Buhari Out Of Their Lives!

By Paul Onomuakpokpo  
A spectre of more protests against the continued stay of President Muhammadu Buhari in office hangs over the nation as the façade over his health status comes crashing down. In February this year, the government through its coercive security apparatuses was able to stop famous singer Innocent Idibia popularly known as Tuface from leading a protest against the poor governance that has blighted the citizens’ existence under the current government. Just as the government failed to stop the protest which took place without Tuface then, the prospect now of easily squelching the citizens’ expressions of their disenchantment with it is non-existent.
*President Buhari 
The citizens who are increasingly becoming disillusioned with the government of Buhari have refused to accept all governmental platitudes and intimidation. They have again taken to the streets to protest against Buhari. They are unequivocal about their grouse: Buhari should come back from London and effectively assume the reins of office or simply resign.
The citizens might have delayed these protests while hoping that governance and developments around the health of the president would take a turn for the better. But government officials have kept tantalising the citizens with the return of Buhari. But shortly after the excitement over the assurance of his return fizzles out, there is despondency as the citizens realise that they have been swindled again.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Moral Debris Of Ex-President Jonathan’s Looted Home

By Louis Odion, FNGE
Vanguard editorial, in my view, belongs in the heavyweight echelon of Nigeria's commentariat. The weight of its punch is to be judged not only by the resonance of the message over the years; but also its economy of phrase - the uncanny facility to say a lot in so few words, packing so much into so little a space.
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan 
But its edition of August 3 must rank among those that fall miserably short of the high value it normally espouses. In the comment entitled, "Looting Of Ex-President Jonathan's Home", the newspaper said every thing expected against the cops-turned-burglars and those who trafficked the stolen goods. 
What would have been a fine argument against yet another iniquity of man was however sullied when, in the next breath, it openly sought to either deny anyone the right to outrage against Jonathan on any count whatsoever or make a villain outright of those unable to express pity or empathy with the victim on this matter. 
It wrote: "No decent human being can claim that what took place in ... President Jonathan's house is excusable on any ground. All people of conscience must rise up and condemn evil, no matter who is involved. The atmosphere of hatred which seems to have seized the people of this country by the throat must be made to give way to empathy for one another, as that is the only way we can build a united, strong country."

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Nigerians And Killer Soft Drinks!

By Owei Lakemfa
I bought two products of the Coca Cola conglomerate three days ago. They are bottles of  Fanta and Sprite. I looked for a warning on them which should read that the drinks are poisonous when taken with Vitamin C. This would be in accordance with the March 2017 judgment of the Lagos High Court which found the products unfit for human consumption as they contain high  levels of sunset yellow and benzoic acid which according to European and American drug agencies, can form the carcinogen benzene when combined with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). The court had ordered Coca Cola to comply not later than June 2017.

But I did not see such warning. I did not expect to see the warning because as expected,  Coca Cola would be hiding behind technicalities and  a claim that it is appealing the judgment. However, if  it were interested in the health of Nigerians and not just profits, the company  by now, would  have saturated  us with adverts warning of the dangers of taking their products as ordered by the court. In a matter affecting lives such as this, the company should comply with the judgment even if it seeks a reversal in the higher court. This is basically because while it can recoup losses, it cannot bring back lives that might be lost as a result of its non-compliance.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Nnamdi Kanu, Hate Speech And Our Ostrich Attitude

By Nnamdi Okosieme
Before I address the issue above fully, let me a few points clear.
1. I do not think much of Nnamdi Kanu; I am not a fan of his; I do not agree with his methods but concede he is entitled to seek a better life for himself and his people.
I also think we would have been spared all his drama, shenanigans and tantrums if our president had not been heedless enough to arrest him instead of finding a more workable approach to tackle the challenge he presents.
*Nnamdi Kanu
2. I believe that those who call for tinkering with Nigeria as it is presently constituted not only have every right to do so but are indeed right for there is a lot that is wrong with this country. That tinkering can come either by way of geopolitical restructuring or constitutional amendment or whatever works best. But tinkering? Certainly!
3. I believe that it is wrong to threaten to lop off someone's head or disembowel him simply because he does not subscribe to your views. In that regard, Kanu and others threatening people with death are way off the mark and dead wrong. In the main, rather than advance their cause, it actually diminishes it.
Now, to the issue above. Hate speech is decidedly abhorrent for if left unchecked engenders violence and spawns genocide in the end. When Hitler was threatening Jews and pigeon-holing them, the rest of the world went about their business unperturbed. Europe and America which had the political and military might to intervene looked the other way until the chickens came home to roost.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Obasanjo, Fayose And The Libyan Idol

By Louis Odion, FNGE
A humour bag of arguably inexhaustible depth, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, would make even the most consummate stand-up comic feel inadequate on a good day. From improvising the risqué to trafficking the folksy, his creativity, as he himself once famously put it in one such fit of self-deprecating humour, is fed by a certain native resourcefulness, being "Omo ma lo le gbesi" (scion of he who is prodigiously adroit at tackling single-handed any public loud-mouth without help from home). "Wait and get", for short. 
*Gaddafi and Obasanjo
The reason it is therefore rather surprising, if not troubling, that the witty general has kept a studied silence to the avalanche of weighty revelations by Ayo Fayose, the feisty Ekiti governor, in the current edition of wave-making The Interview. Since release last Thursday, Fayose's wide-ranging expose on his one-time political godfather has been widely reproduced by all leading national dailies with massive rebroadcast in the social media.
At this writing, five uneasy days had passed without as much as a whimper from Ota. More and more, the ensuing silence conveys an eloquence not even a thousand words can possibly describe.
Whatever happened to the fabled facility of "Wait and get"?
Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned, Shakespeare tells us.
Now, with Fayose, we now know no venom is as lethal as an estranged godson on rampage. For all his unalloyed loyalty and submission to be used for dirty jobs, he regrets Obasanjo eventually betrayed him by orchestrating his kangaroo impeachment in October 2006.
Of course as a former OBJ enforcer, the "Oshoko" of Ekiti was an insider. What seems to complicate matters is that he did not just squeal; he named living witnesses in the series of infamies OBJ perpetrated as Nigeria's civilian emperor, particularly between 2004 and 2006. 
The revelations surely stink. The image of Obasanjo revealed is pathetic indeed. They include how public funds were used to bribe lawmakers to support Third Term Agenda which OBJ has in the last decade fought tooth and nail to deny. Going down memory lane, for instance, Fayose recalled that the day the bill was shot down at the National Assembly, OBJ dozed off in bitterness as they rode together from Akure airport to Ado Ekiti. Midway, he recalled, OBJ jerked up from slumber, muttering, "Ah, (Ken) Nnamani (then Senate president) willl not leave in one piece".

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Prof Osinbajo’s Irresponsible And Irreverent Assertion –An Open Letter To The Acting President

By Femi Fani-Kayode
“Those that are calling for restructuring are looking for appointment. When they say they want restructuring what they mean is that they want an appointment……. some people told us Nigeria is a “geographical expression” although it was not even original to them”- Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
 
*Osinbajo
Your Excellency,
I trust that you are well despite the fact that your principal is still at large.
Permit me to take this opportunity to respond to your gratuitous insult and your irresponsible and irreverent assertion about those of us that have been at the forefront of the fight for restructuring our nation for many years.
However before doing so I shall make a few observations and assertions of my own.
You have constantly condemned and warned against what you call “hate speech” in our nation yet you indulge in it more than anyone else.
I say this because you constantly call others, particularly members of the opposition, “looters” and you take pleasure on demonising them before the world even before a court of law has pronounced them guilty of any wrongdoing.
You also call them “plunderers”, “liars”, “clueless” and “destroyers”. If this is not hate speech then I really don’t know what is!
You have stigmatised and criminalised every single leading member of the opposition PDP, including our leader President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, over the last three years and you have sought to paint us as reprobates and evil souls that are not fit to hold public office and that have destroyed the very foundation of our country.
One of your most prominent and vocal sympathisers, supporters and leaders even called President Jonathan’s wife, our former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, an ugly and illiterate hippopotamus! Are these sentiments not motivated by pure hate?
Yet you know very well that all that you and your associates have said about the PDP and our leaders is not only a lie from the pit of hell but also a carefully crafted, purposely contrived and premeditated false narrative.
Worse still you are fully aware of the fact that over sixty percent of your party elders and APC governors, ministers, legislators and public office holders were, up until three or four years ago, all elders, leaders and members of the PDP, including President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Nigeria: Jonathan’s House As Metaphor

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
So former President Goodluck Jonathan house was plundered? While this is a personal misfortune to the former president, it serves as a fortuitous reminder to both the leaders and the citizens of the demands of nation building amid the despoliation of the national patrimony by those paid to watch over it.
*Dr. Goodluck Jonathan 
At the outset, we need to state in unequivocal terms that our humanity is by no means vitalised by the troubles of others or what the Germans would identify as Schadenfreude. At the same time, we owe no fidelity to the philosophy of not speaking ill of the dead which deprives us of the reflection that could yield useful lessons for our own lives. Thankfully, in this case, we do not speak ill of a dead Jonathan but a man who has not yet passed the bloom of life and still has so much ahead of him. You need not doubt this – think of Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Donald Trump who offered to serve their nations in their seventies and the point becomes clear.
Jonathan’s four-bedroom duplex in Abuja was stripped bare of all valuables. These included six television sets, three refrigerators, one gas cooker, furniture, electronics, toilet and electrical fittings and internal doors and frames. The suspected masterminds of this larceny are those charged with the responsibility of guarding the house.
Jonathan has publicly confirmed reports that the house was burgled. But this public confirmation might have been spurred by the need to dispel wild speculations about the caches of luxuries in the house that threw into stark relief his implacable acquisitive character. This public acknowledgement only came after he had reported the case to the inspector-general of police who did not waste time in arresting the policemen who are suspected to have committed the crime.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Insensitivity Of The Nigerian Senate

By Ray Ekpu
The failure of the Senate to approve the devolution of powers from the centre to the federating states is a colossal misreading of the country’s temperature. It sends the wrong message to the agitators campaigning for ethnic self determination, total resource control and confederation. It says to them that the Senate thinks everything is okay in the country; that there is nothing to worry about and that the country as it is, is working just fine. This is a most regrettable decision and if the current tension arising from the dysfunctional state of Nigeria reaches an irreversible crescendo the Senate should hold itself largely responsible.
*Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki
Here are the facts: there has been a massive agitation by some Igbo youths for a Biafra Republic. The numbers are increasing and on May 30, they grounded all the five Igbo states as a show of their strength. Some Arewa Youths have asked the Igbos in the north to go away from their territory before October 1, 2017 otherwise… Some militants in the South South also say that northerners in the South South should also go away from their territory before October 1 otherwise… A group in the South West has already drawn a map of an Oduduwa Republic meaning that they are ready to secede except… The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has called a series of fence-mending meetings but no mending has yet taken place. 
The Nnamdi Kanu group which calls itself the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) has already declared that there will be no governorship election in Anambra State in November except there is a referendum on the idea of Biafra. Anambra is coincidentally the home of Emeka Odumegwu–Ojukwu, the Oxford trained historian – soldier who led the Biafran revolt (1967 – 1970) that ended in a monumental disaster. One million dead persons later, Kanu is embarking on another Biafra misadventure which is catching the attention of the youths who have never been victimised by the horrors of war but are enthused by the prospects of a putative utopia of that ill-fated name.

Nigeria: Unity Schools And Unjust Cut-Off Marks

By Luke Onyekakeyah  
At a time when agitations and mass discontent are raging across the country as a result of perceived injustice, cheating, marginalisation and inequity in the system, the Federal Ministry of Education is going ahead with the entrenched and lopsided admission policy into the 104 Unity Schools, whereby, states in the north are favoured in the admission through very low cut-off marks while the southern states are denied admission through very high cut-off marks.

The admission is conducted as if the schools belong to the states and not the Federal Government; hence, the northern states have to be given special favour. This, unfortunately, is still going on despite a court verdict that abolished disparity in cut-off marks in the schools since 2014. The Federal Ministry of Education has chosen to disobey the court order and nothing is being said about it. Hapless pupils from the southern states are being denied admission simply on grounds of states origin and gender.
An order given by a court of competent jurisdiction ought to be obeyed by both the Federal Government and the minister of Education in the interest of the rule of law. Why should the minister not comply with the court order? 
The culture of obeying court orders only when it favoured one doesn’t augur well for the system. The Federal Minister of Education has chosen to disobey the court order since 2014 without sanction, whatsoever. How can democracy and good governance flourish amid lawlessness? It is incumbent on the minister to comply with the court order in the interest of justice, fairness and progress.

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