Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Paradox Of Poverty In The Midst Of Plenty

 By Ayo Oyoze Baje

“While other nations are faced with the challenges of the 21st Century,we are bogged down by the avarice of the elite. Every time we believe we have seen the worst from our country, the shameless, opportunistic power grabbers take us back to a new low”Nigeria Democratic Liberty Forum, NDLF New York (June, 2010)

Looked at, over the past six decades the statistics have been simply scary, shocking and scandalous! One is talking of course, about the inexcusable social inequality and injustice that still persist between the few rotten-rich citizens and the long-suffering led majority, here in my dear fatherland, Nigeria. With the knowledge that we live in a country abundantly blessed by God with vast and varied natural resources, it is a crying shame that we are still enmeshed in the deepest pit of pitiable poverty, globally.

Nigeria @ 62: Gridlocks And Illusive El- Dorado

 By Bobson Gbinije 

With peremptory magistracy and awesome gallantry our founding fathers fought with dogged obduracy for the political independence of our glorious country, Nigeria, They clamoured with no-holds-barred, like the Roman hero Horatius, who fought with Spartan intrepidity defending Rome from the Etruscan invaders. Horatius asked like our founding fathers; “And how can a man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods”?

Our founding fathers invested their dreams on Nigeria, but whither goeth Nigeria today? After 62 years of political independence, Nigeria is still silhouetted in the sordid saga and tapestry of progressivistic labyrinth. We are still rumbling in the cabbage of unthinkable corruption, arrant poverty, HIV –AIDS, Malaria Scourge and arrested development.

Why The Odds Favour Peter Obi

 By Dan Onwukwe

By the time the history of 2023 general elections is written, historians will record it that Mr. Peter Obi’s entry into the Presidential race on the platform of Labour Party was like a knight on a white horse. The excitement it has generated among Nigerians, especially the youths is unprecedented. 

*Obi 

And for those caught unawares by his emergence, it Obi’s emergence is like a fox entering into the chicken coop. Panic has encircled his opponents’ camp.  Moreover, history will record it for Obi, that indeed, there is so much one man with integrity and strength of character and competence can do to change the course of his people who desire a new pathway to politics and governance.

Nigeria: INEC And Burden Of Neutrality

 By Carl Umegboro

Recently, the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu reiterated his commitment to give the country a credible, free-and-fair elections in the forthcoming polls, and emphatically assured of neutrality to all the political parties. However, the pledge is not different from all the ones made during the previous elections that were marred by intimidations and bias.

INEC Chairman, Yakubu 

 

Most of the time, people talk the talk but renege to walk the talk. For instance, the crisis rocking the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) presently is traceable to infidelity, repudiating pledges and agreements. So, it is becoming a ‘model’ in the political terrain that words and pledges do not matter. To some politicians, integrity means nothing, and that has been the root-cause of the country’s problems.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Nigeria At 62: So Far, Not Far

 By Ray Ekpu

When Nigeria lowered the Union Jack and raised the green-white-green flag that heralded its coming of age on October 1, 1960, there was boundless joy in Nigeria. It seemed like the unwrapping of a gift because you knew it was a gift but you did not know what kind of gift was wrapped inside the gaily decorated wrapping paper.


So in journey terms, we did not know how the journey would be, what kind of speed we would use and what kind of roadblocks we would meet on the way. It was, truly speaking, the equivalent of flying blind. But we were enthusiastic. Five short years later, we met a major roadblock.

The soldiers thought they knew what was the problem. They came breaking the soil with their big boots and in the process, they also broke our hearts when they killed some of our leaders which in turn led to revenge killings the revenge killings dragged us into a war that lasted 30 months and consumed one million lives. As it is often said, the rest is history.

This Is The Face Of Poverty In Nigeria

 By Owei Lakemfa

Poverty is often presented as statistics. But what the Yusufu Bala Usman Institute did on September 21, 2022 was to produce a book, The Face of Poverty in Nigeria, which focused on the faces behind the statistics.

As one of the reviewers, I summarised the Nigerian situation thus: If you are poor in thinking, you are poor. If others think for you, you are poor. If you follow other people’s culture, you are poor. If foreigners decide your beliefs, you are poor. If others decide your economic policies and programmes, you cannot but be dirt poor.

My argument is that poverty, which is the severe deprivation of a person resulting in his inability to meet the basic needs of life, manifests in various ways, situations and circumstances.

Making Hypertension Drugs Affordable Will Save Thousands Yearly

 Dr Tom Frieden

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is one of the most common health conditions, affecting about 30% of adults in Nigeria. Uncontrolled high blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease, and kills 10 million people each year worldwide, making it one of the deadliest global health issues.

Treatment for HBP is extremely effective for most people; taking proven, high-quality medications can add years to your life and make those years more enjoyable. But in Nigeria, less than 3% of people with HBP have it under control. Hypertension is called the silent killer because there are no symptoms; many people do not know that they have hypertension.  Many of those who are aware that they have high blood pressure are not taking medications regularly. Medication for hypertension needs to be taken every day.

Monday, October 3, 2022

ASUU Strike: What Does The Government Really Want?

 By Omololu Soyombo

The Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strikes have been on and off for quite some time – every new strike action is triggered by the failure of the government to fulfill its part of the agreement reached with ASUU. Each time, as soon as ASUU responds to the “promise” by the government to fulfill its part of the agreement and the plea by stakeholders in the education system to suspend its strike action, the government reverts to its characteristic failure to honour agreements reached.

The current strike is an effort by ASUU to get the government to implement the negotiated and renegotiated 2009 Agreement, which successive governments, including the current one, have failed to honour. Over the years, whatever partial implementation and payments ASUU got from the Federal Government only came after strike actions, lending credence to the widespread belief that a strike action is the only means of getting the government to act on its promises. The experiences of medical doctors’ union, other unions in tertiary institutions, etc., including the foreign airlines operating in Nigeria bear testimony to this belief. As soon as the strike action is suspended, the government goes back to sleep!

Friday, September 30, 2022

The Struggles Of Nigerian Workers Against Inflation

 By Izielen Agbon

The inflation rate in Nigeria is currently at 20.5% according to CBN. The prices of bread, cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, meat, oil and fat have increased dramatically. The Consumer Price Index has increased from 100 in 2009 to 465 in 2022. However, nominal or monetary wages have remained stagnant. The real wages or purchasing power of workers have reduced. Nigerian workers must examine past struggles to learn the strategies and tactics used by workers in the past in their struggles against inflationary trends in the economy. A look at the struggles of Nigerian workers against inflation in 1941 offers a few lessons.

Consumer Prices had generally doubled in Lagos between 1939 and 1940. In February of 1941, under the Defence Regulations (Public Notice No.15) of 1941, the Colonial State imposed price control measures on essential food items in Lagos. The prices of items such as pepper, gari and beans were controlled by the State. In March of 1941, other food items such as egusi (melon seed), rice, beef, mutton and pork were added to the list. The price control measures were also extended to provincial markets.

Enforcing Traffic Rules In Lagos

 By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Last week, officials of the Lagos State government auctioned 134 vehicles that had been impounded from traffic offenders.

It was a tough measure, indeed, insensitive considering the harsh economic climate that we live in. Some of those vehicles were bought on hire purchase. There was the example of a 49-year-old widow Dorothy Dike whose bus was auctioned. The tears in her eyes and the painful expression on her face broke the hearts of many. 


It was reported that her driver Osinachi Ndukwe, had spent three months in prison for the offence. Yet they were compelled to look on as their only source of livelihood ‘bought at the rate of N1.8million on hire purchase was auctioned for N450,000’.

Law enforcement should carry a human face. What kind of law prescribes a jail term of 3 months and forfeiture of a vehicle for driving against traffic? Inhuman and insensitive. Bad law. Wicked law. Callous.

What Leaders Could Learn From The Life Of Late Queen Elizabeth II

 By Alim Abubakre 

I am writing this piece not because I am British. This article is also not composed for the reason that I have been invited to St. James Palace or because I have engaged with two Prime Ministers of the UK. Nevertheless, I reckon that I have a responsibility to share my reflections on snippets of the life of one of the world’s most famous diplomats and arguably one of the most impactful global leaders in the 21st century who just proceeded to another dimension. I agree with King Charles that Queen Elizabeth the second is a pattern for all princesses living and I add for all leaders hoping to have an enduring legacy.

*Queen Elizabeth II

The death of Queen Elizabeth II is undoubtedly one of those endings that one would argue has a bitter-sweet conclusion of impactful, strategic and global self-less leadership spanning seven decades and filled with an enduring legacy. It is bitter in the sense that Britain and, indeed, the rest of the world have lost a great leader with massive wealth and experience of impressive transformation.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Gov Akeredolu Has A Duty To Arm Amotekun

 By Rotimi Fasan

In the recently concluded three-part series on the candidacy of the Labour Party presidential aspirant, Peter Obi, I highlighted the problem posed by our unitary form of government that is disguised as federalism, as the main obstacle that a Nigerian president in the post-Muhammadu Buhari era must surmount to be successful.

*Akeredolu

This form of federalism, warped, cumbersome and anti-progress, is bound to destroy the best effort of any potentially successful Nigerian leader, if it does not lead to the destruction of Nigeria as a state.  The truth of that observation is again manifest in the declaration of the Ondo State governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, to arm Amotekun, the regional security outfit of the South-West states that has had its most successful operation in Ondo State. 

Achebe: The Leadership Crisis in Nigerian Politics

The Leadership Crisis in Nigerian Politics

By Chinua Achebe

David and Marianna Fisher University Professor, Brown University, RI, USA 

There is a story about Bernard Shaw arriving at the New York harbour, and being immediately surrounded by journalists as he stepped off the ship. But before even the quickest of them could open his mouth, the celebrated playwright stopped them cold as he fired off: ‘Don’t ask me what you should do to be saved; the last time I was here I told you and you haven’t done it!’

 

I feel very much the same way about what is happening in Nigeria. We know what we should do, yet we refuse to do it. Instead we have been “blowing grammar” all over the country as if our problem stems from

insufficient argument. So I have turned down or simply ignored all previous invitations to join the talking.

 

My little book The Trouble with Nigeria published twenty seven years ago on the eve of Shagari’s second term opens with these words:

                

The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigeria character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which is the hallmark of true leadership…

 

So the question of leadership was and is, pre-eminent, in my view, among Nigeria’s numerous problems. The little book does go on to identify other perennial issues such as tribalism, corruption, indiscipline, social injustice, preference for mediocrity over excellence, etcetera. But my thesis is that without good leadership, none of the other problems stands a chance of being tackled, let alone solved.

#Obidatti23 Rally: Who Is Afraid Of Lekki Toll Gate?

 By Ikechukwu Amaechi

On Wednesday, September 28, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officially blew the whistle for the commencement of the 2023 election campaigns. With the Presidential and National Assembly elections holding on February 25, 2023, that will be a grueling 150 days of politicians crisscrossing this vast country, soliciting for votes.

It promises to be five months of drama when the hoi-polloi will have their day in the sun. The elections will be consequential. Nigerians, this time around, seem to be conscious of what is at stake – the soul of their country, that beautiful damsel that has been serially and unconscionably raped by pretentious, maniacal suitors.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Unclassified: Queen Elizabeth II's Letter To Idi Amin

 

Below is Queen Elizabeth II of England's 1972 letter to President Idi Amin of Uganda

Troubling Questions Around Kassim Shettima

 By Chido Nwakanma

Are the many blunders of APC vice-presidential candidate Kashim Ibrahim Shettima errors, or do they speak to a dangerous mindset to which all Nigerians should pay attention now? Is Alhaji Shettima cleverly setting a plan in the dissimulation model and secretly enjoying the buzz and distraction they create in the media? What is the strategic intent when an otherwise brilliant man commits elementary errors?

*Shettima 

The office of vice president is critical in the 2023 Nigerian general elections. The vice president is a heartbeat away from the president’s seat. It is even more so for Nigeria, with two geriatrics among the candidates seeking to be president.

Kassim Shettima, former governor and senator, seeks to be vice-president on the ticket of the APC. His candidacy has been contentious as it introduced the divisive Muslim-Muslim ticket into our political lexicon. Significantly, gaffes and foot-in-the-mouth have hallmarked Shettima.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

2023: Why Afenifere Is Supporting Peter Obi

 By Chief Ayo Adebanjo

Before the political parties conducted their primaries, a journalist asked what is my view about the 2023 general election? I answered and said the country should be restructured before the general election, and he followed up by asking if there should be an election, which zone should the presidency come from? And I unhesitatingly said, of course, the South-East.

*Chief Adebanjo

After the primaries and the candidates emerged with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from the South-West, APC; Atiku Abubakar on the platform of PDP; and Peter Obi on the platform of Labour Party and I announced Afenifere’s support for Peter Obi, not a few Yoruba leaders question why I should be supporting Peter Obi a candidate of Igbo extraction against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba.

I took my time to explain that the presidency is not a contest between the Yorubas and the Igbos, and to a large extent I was able to convince many.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Buhari’s Surpassing Failure: Nigeria’s Dashed Hopes

 By Tony Eluemunor

How many citizens remembered that 29th May was supposed to be a major anniversary? It was on May 29, 2015 – seven years ago – that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s President. Also, this Fourth Republic incepted on May 29, 1999, when Nigeria’s last military rule interval which began on January 1st, 1984 came to a frantic end. Frantic? Yes, the military by then, having thoroughgoingly disgraced itself, was forced back into the barracks as Nigerians agitated against military jackboot despotism and campaigned for democracy’s return.

*Buhari 

And Nigeria had a party. Hope was renewed. Many of the state governors were young and the smiles on their faces hinted of the goodies to come.  The President in that promising era, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, was no neophyte.  He had not only been a military Head of State (1976-1979) he had been almost so superlative in office then, providing leadership to the African continent, standing up to the West in Africa’s fight against the accursed apartheid system in South Africa, that Nigerian university students tagged him “Uncle Sege”. 

ASUU, Buhari And The Bull In A China Shop

 By Charles Okoh

From February 14, 2022 till September, our university students have been at home; meaning that for close to eight months that critical population of the nation’s demography has been kept idle and indolent. Indolent not because they are lazy as President Muhammadu Buhari once described them, but because they have been rendered so by a government that does not care a hoot how the people feel about the effect of their misgovernance and utter indifference to the plight of the people.

*Buhari and university dons

Last Monday, passengers travelling from Lagos to other states and other countries from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) were stranded and some missed their flights as the National Association of Nigerian Students blocked all roads leading to the airport. The students who came out in their numbers protested over the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

One of the protesting students puts it more succinctly when he said they want to prevent the elite from flying just so that their attention can be drawn to their plights.  He believed it was a welcome development to curb the excesses of the government’s nonchalant attitude towards university education in the country.

Full Text Of Peter Obi's CNN Interview With Zane Asher

 

Zane Asher: Mr. Obi thank you so much for being with us. You're certainly the most popular presidential candidate among young people in Nigeria, there's so much momentum behind you. But here's the problem. Nigerians are used to being disappointed by their leaders, and what do you think about some of the problems that are facing the country right now, they are systemic. I'm talking about the corruption, I'm talking about oil theft, I'm talking about insecurity, I'm talking about the fiscal hole that Nigeria is in right now. Can all of that really be solved by one person? 

Peter Obi: Well, if you have a leader that is competent, has the capacity and commitment to start dealing with these challenges, you're not going to solve it overnight, but there will be a clear, visible, measurable attempt to deal with these. And there is nothing that is not solvable. Some issues just have to be dealt with decisively. But you need to have a capable leader such that when you look at his past records in office, you can say YES  He is capable. 


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