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Between marriage and the Nigerian economy

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As the Nigerian economy stands on a cliff hanger with hunger boldly written on the faces of over 70 per cent of the population, not a few pundits have retreated to the drawing board, to assess its colossal effects on marriage, world’s oldest institution. Others, however, say prostitution is the oldest trade, but apparently not an institution.

The average Nigerian’s per capital income, under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, these days, appears grossly insufficient to feed a mongrel dog for three days, much less an Alsatian, thus spiking pressure, anger, hunger, dissonance, hate and above all, violent tendencies, between husband and wife. Nonetheless, an excursion into the dynamics of marital living, as it applies to the Nigerian society, is necessary, at least for escapism of sorts.

As life is not a bed of roses, so is marriage. Not a few marriages have hit the rocks while others endure jerkily with the partners papering over the cracks, so as to keep afloat in the social setting; or, to sustain certain economic or political values. Yet, some marriages have blossomed in the naturalness of some animating impact. This is talking of the mutually good volition of the two partners contracting the lifetime deal.

We thus summarise this endearing dimension to mean love. But shall we not love or scamper for the fruit of love to sustain the health of the society? Family researchers and marriage counsellors alike are agreed that broken marriages account mostly for the debasement of otherwise promising children to the inglorious column of urchins, of gradating felons and ever irascible, modern Goths. It is their belief that a child under the combined tutelage of the father and mother grows up to become a responsible citizen, one who is the pride of both parents.

But granted that marriage should remain to sustain useful protégés needed to build a comely Nigerian society, have we also given much thought to factors required to keep the home in its rightful grandeur? A home ravaged by hunger wherein the parents are out of job resulting from economic recession is not likely to produce a child of the society’s desire.

Wrenched by hunger, the male child, even as a teenager, mingles with peers who assure he can be linked up with those who can bail him out of the painfully familiar raid of hunger. To that extent, he would either resort to stealing or to outright robbery or fraud of the genre called 419.

As for the female child, beginning from adolescence, she is easily made to realise by her equally hungry mates that she has an abiding industry in her soft underbelly, which has a precursor in the seductive flaunting of the upper torso, flapping her budding breasts rather voluptuously, to attract men. Assuredly, lack of money or outright poverty is a gale of ill-wind that can upturn a marriage or dirtily shake it to its foundations.

A certain friend met at a pub somewhere in Ajuwon, an Ogun State community on the Lagos border, had recalled how his wife and mother of his four children, at a time he was sacked, gave vent to extra-marital affairs, dating a policeman operating at a highly rewarding check-point.

His tragedy was signposted in that, his wife called him and said, “Look Mr. Man, you can’t feed yourself, me and our four children; a mission which this God-sent policeman has been fulfilling.So, allow olopa (the policeman) to enjoy his life.”But I can assure you that I won’t have a child for him.”

While the jobless, Ajuwon-based fellow was expected by his associates to call it quits with his faithfully unfaithful wife, our friend endured the humiliation. He patently swallowed his pride, claiming that “it is for the sake of my children; after all, they (policeman and wife) have not been performing the acts in my presence.”

Today, that jobless man has got a job and has stoically resolved to allow his wife retain her matrimonial seat. Curiously, however, the lover-boy policeman is somewhere in a native medical home, struck by a strange illness for which his family has spent fortunes. While chastity in marriage, therefore, is a virtue needed to promote love, sustain a family and groom up offspring to become responsible citizens, responsible government policies are also required, to make marriages work and sustainable.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                               •Fasua is a Lagos-based journalist

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Ekiti 2018: Kayode Fayemi and the rest of us

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If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to publicly say it. That seems to be the decision of the antagonists of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi. This agenda was pursued with vigour like an unwritten agreement amongst this group of people.

 

These are minority with very loud voice asking JKF not to contest either the primary election of the Ekiti State APC or the gubernatorial election of July 14, 2014. Some people within the APC were plotting, lying, scheming and applying all tactics to stop him. Members of PDP are also sparing no expense at strategizing or outright blackmail to stop him. The House of Assembly has banned him from holding or contesting for public office. They are currently struggling to double their efforts to arrange the NLC, TUC, NUT, NGOs, KabeyisvKabeyis, Iyalojas, Babalojas, farmers, teachers, artisans, drivers, housewives, concubines, students, diaspora associations, indigenes and non-indigenes to ban or bar him from contesting as well. They are desperately looking for a way to stop him at all cost. But wait a minute. Why are there so much hue and cry because of JKF? Why is JKF the centre of their attention? Why are these people so eager and anxious to stop him? One of the greatest agonies of life is that we are constantly trying to stop that which is unstoppable. John Kayode Fayemi is indeed unstoppable because he is desirable.

 

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of light. It’s understandable if the PDP is disturbed because of JKF but very worrisome is the fact that some elements within the APC are also not so comfortable or excited about his aspiration. Despite the unnecessary apprehension about JKF’s second coming, he remains the candidate to beat, if APC must take over Ekiti State. There were threats initially within the APC that JKF dared not signify interest in the race because he will be randomly defeated at the primary. Like the proverbial cat with nine lives, JKF forged ahead and made known his intention to govern Ekiti State again, to complete the good work he started. Suddenly the tunes changed. Majority of camps within the APC spoke in one accord that if JKF contests the primary, he will win because majority of delegates are loyal to him and his camp. As good as this assertion is, some still spoilt it by adding another ridiculous clause that he may not win the gubernatorial election. They bring up strange lies and theories daily just to stop JKF.

 

 

The only thing limiting your aspiration is your imagination. Ekiti State APC members need to look beyond personal interest. Now the eagle has landed. The waiting game is over as JKF has officially declared his intention to contest the governorship race in Ekiti State. He addressed the press on Saturday March 31, 2018 and caused abrupt end to the rumours, speculations, lies and blackmails against his aspiration.

 

Naturally, unarmed truth and unconditional love will have final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. The fear of JKF is the beginning of wisdom for the PDP in Ekiti State. They brag that he will be defeated 16-0 again.

 

They boasted that he will be an easy ride yet they blackmail and disparage him on daily basis, just to stop him. Why would anybody care so much and have sleepless nights because of an easy opponent? The PDP is aware of the fact that JKF is the only aspirant that can muscle the needed strength to neutralize its financial and security threats. Now that the hatchet job the House of Assembly did seem to be of no effect, they resorted to telling lies against JKF to fool the unsuspecting public. Ekiti people are wiser now. However, for the few who are still under the misguided illusion that JKF is their enemy, you need to wake up. It will be disastrous for you to be fooled twice. You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair. You cannot stop the government in power but you can stop the continuity of the shenanigans. JKF is the best alternative.

 

What is JKF looking for again in Ekiti State? Some people ask this question severally because they only focus on the opulence not the service. Unless you have found something in life to live for that is more important to you than your own life, you will always be a slave. What would make a man leave certainty for uncertainty if not service? JKF isn’t perfect but he is far better than unknown angels. We all witnessed many of his life touching or changing programs in his first term. He will surely bring his lessons and experiences to bear if voted back to office again.

 

 

For the APC faithful in Ekiti State, before you work against JKF, always ask yourself these three questions: Why am I doing it? What will the result be? and Will I be fulfilled? Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead. Instead of scheming, plotting, struggling and working hard to stop JKF, let us rally round and support him to lead us to victory. The tragedy is that what you disapprove of in others is the very thing you disapprove of in yourself. Each time you talk against JKF, you are indirectly putting the APC at a disadvantage. You share nothing from zero!

 

If JKF was not good and is disliked by APC party members in Ekiti State, as some desperate individuals want us to believe, why must he be stopped from contesting the primary election against their aspirants? If the PDP considered JKF a lightweight politician that will be an easy ride, why is the government and PDP in Ekiti State desperately looking for a way to stop him from contesting against their candidate at the gubernatorial election? Something definitely isn’t right in all these. Some people within the APC want JKF to be stopped because he is the only threat to their individualistic agenda. PDP members and government in Ekiti State also want JKF to be stopped because he is the only one they respect and fear amongst the crop of aspirants of the APC. All the APC aspirants are eminently qualified but you need more than good resume to confront, match and defeat a garrison commander and beat him at his game. This is where the experience (bitter and sweet), resources, synergy and connections of JKF are needed to win Ekiti State for the APC. They know all these and that is why he must be stopped.

 

For the APC to win Ekiti State and for normalcy to return to the polity, all well-meaning Ekitikete should join the crusade, #Ekiti2018JKF and lets jointly change the negative vibes pervading our dear state. JKF is the best man for the job!

 

•Ajayi, an APC stalwart, writes from Ikoro Ekiti via: gboyeajayi007@gmail.com

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Lessons from Sierra Leone’s presidential election

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On March 7, 2018, general elections were held in the Republic of Sierra Leone. The purpose was to elect the president, parliamentary members and local councils. The incumbent, Ernest Bai Koroma, did not contest as he has constitutionally exhausted his mandate of two tenures of five years each. The presidential candidate, according to the constitution of Sierra Leone, shall receive more than 55 per cent of the total votes in the first round, to be elected. If this is not achieved, a run-off shall be held.

 

A total of 16 candidates were registered for the presidential contest. Incumbent President Koroma, personally selected Foreign Minister, Samura Kamara, as the presidential candidate of the All People’s Congress (APC) at the party’s convention held on November 15, 2017, in the Northern City of Makeni. The APC also selected the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Chernor Maju Bah, as the party’s vice presidential candidate. The main opposition, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), selected former military coupist, Brig.-Gen. Julius Maada Bio (rtd), as its presidential candidate, at the party’s National Convention held in Freetown on November 17, 2017. Bio’s running mate, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, was equally selected.

 

 

Samuel Sam-Sumana was the presidential candidate of the Coalition for Change (CFC), while former United Nations Senior Official, Kandeh Yumkella, was the presidential candidate of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), a breakaway faction of the SLPP. His running mate was Andrew Keillie, a mechanical engineer. The Unity Party (UP) fielded Femi Claudius Cole, one of two female presidential aspirants. Former minister of internal affairs and minister of lands, Musa Tarawally was nominated as the presidential candidate of the Citizens Democratic Party (CDP).

 

There were other 10 presidential candidates in the race. Result however revealed that Julius Maada Bio (SLPP) won the race with 1,097,482 votes (43.3%), Samura Kamara had 1,082,748 votes (42.7%) while Kanndeh Yumkella (NGC) was next with 174,014 (6.9%).

 

Other candidates won between 87,720 and 2,318 votes. These other contestants were mere political jobbers who were not serious candidates at the polls. The differences between Julius Maada Bio and Samura Kamara were just 50,000 votes, a clear indication that it was a close contest. As long as none of the first two candidates could win an outright 55% of the votes, it became constitutionally mandatory that they should go for a run-off in order to determine the clear winner. The run-off presidential result showed that Bio won 51.81 per cent of the total votes, while Kamara of the APC polled 48.19 per cent. The difference in the votes won by the two contestants was just 3.62%. The result was so close to the extent that anyone of them could have won the election. The teething problem which emanated from the result is that Kamara of the APC has announced that he would challenge the presidential result in court. Meanwhile, the SLPP opposition candidate, Bio, has been declared winner of the March 31, 2018, presidential run-off election.

 

The presidential contest in Sierra Leone is therefore unique on the ground that Bio defeated Kamara, the anointed presidential candidate of a sitting president. It is as good as saying that President Koroma himself lost the election to the opposition candidate and his political party. Bio was sworn in as President of Sierra Leone on April 5.

 

Perhaps, it is necessary to say a little biography about the new President of Sierra Leone. Bio was born on May 12, 1964. He is now the 5th President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. In 2012, he contested the presidential election but lost. He won only 37% of the votes. Bio was trained as a cadet officer under the command of Major Fallah Sewa, the head of cadet training at the military academy. He became Second Lieutenant in the Sierra Leone Army in December 1987 at the age of 23. He later served in the African Peace Keeping Force (ECOMOG) in Liberia.

 

On April 29, 1992, Bio was a member of the group of young Sierra Leone Army Officers who toppled the Joseph Saidu Momoh’s All People’s Congress (APC) government in a bloodless military coup. The coup gave rise to the formation of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) with Captain Valentine Strasser as the coup leader and Head of State. Bio became Secretary of State (South) and later as Secretary of State in charge of information and broadcasting. He was also a member of the Supreme Council of State and finally, he was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the NPRC on January 16, 1996. Bio led a military coup which sacked Captain Valentine Strasser as head of Sierra Leone. After his retirement from the Army, Bio moved to the United States to study for a master’s degree in international affairs from the American University in Washington D.C. Bio officially became a member of the Sierra Leone Political Party (SLPP).

 

With the election contest in Sierra Leone, it is obvious that the country is no longer a coup plotting nation. It equally shows that Sierra Leone has settled for democracy. It is also an indication that the people of Sierra Leone are fed up with petty civil wars which was a burden to the ECOWAS sub-region and the people of Sierra Leone.

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The politics of ‘stop the soot’ march

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Make no mistake, the prevalence of soot in Port Harcourt and some other Niger Delta communities is a sad reality that affects all, irrespective of status.

 

For several months, the soot has continued to trouble residents, making life difficult for people over the pollution of the air. There are clear indications that there will be consequences should the soot continue unabated.

 

On this premise, the task to stop the soot is a very serious social responsibility that cuts across party lines, social groups and economic interests. It is a task that can only be achieved through a united platform, built on truth, transparency and patriotism. Fighting the soot is too serious to be left in realm of playing the ostrich and refusal to call a spade by its name.

 

It is the tendency to play the ostrich that has negatively affected Nigeria in several sectors. At best, the campaign to stop the soot has been politicised, fractured and left at the level of seeking attention, rather than addressing the soot challenge. It has been reduced to seeking political advantage at the expense of the state. At the level of the civil society, groups have different platforms and methods.

 

The confusion generated makes it difficult for them to appreciate steps already taken at the level of the Rivers State Government.

 

On April 19, the “stop the soot” march widely advertised via social media exposed the failure of the organisers to hit the nail on the head. It further revealed the notorious subtle politicization of soot, with the nature of speech that the soot campaigners presented to the Rivers State Governor who was represented by his deputy.

 

The 14-point statement ran in circles and failed to seek concrete solutions to end the soot. The statement failed to boldly highlight the causes of soot, since “Oga will not be happy.” The courage to speak truth to power was lacking in the presentation.

 

 

The campaigners amongst other things called on the state government to prioritise the environment, propose a supplementary budget, conduct an environmental audit of host and oil-producing communities, force local government areas to implement sanitation laws and make local government areas use their security votes to provide local government monitors and whistle blowers.

 

They also called on the state government to start street health campaign, provide air quality readings and seek legal redress to compel the Federal Government to fund the Ogoni clean up. All the points listed were steps already taken or are ongoing. None of the demands strikes at the heart of stopping the soot. None addressed the fundamental causes of the soot.

 

The only place the major culprit in this entire environmental mayhem was mentioned was where the campaigners urged the Rivers State Government to drag the Federal Government to court on account of the Ogoni clean up. Governor Nyesom Wike’s stand on this is public knowledge. He has mounted pressure for the Ogoni cleanup and lobbied repeatedly on all fronts.

 

At the National Economic Council (NEC), Wike demanded the release of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account for the resolution of environmental challenge in the Niger Delta and the execution of the Ogoni clean-up. The Rivers State Government has already carried out a detailed scientific investigation of the sources of the soot.

 

The results of this scientific research was shared with civil society organisations, environmental stakeholders and the National Council on Environment in 2017. Despite the deliberations on the soot, the APC-led Federal Government did nothing about the soot. But, we cannot shy away from the truth, even if the campaigners are scared of the truth. The rest of the state remains committed to ensuring that the soot ends.

 

The struggle is strategic. It is methodical. It goes beyond scoring cheap points. For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal Government and her agencies are responsible for the soot. That is the simple truth. There is no contrary data anywhere.

 

Federal regulatory agencies like Department of Petroleum Resources, National Oil Spill Response and Emergency Agency (NOSREA) and Federal Ministry of Environment have failed to carry out their responsibilities.

 

This has been deliberate. The Port Harcourt Refinery emits horrible gases into the atmosphere on a daily basis.

 

This is in addition to several oil production facilities flaring gases across the state. The operation of illegal refineries is now part of our existence. An environmental manager, Meshac Uyi, said that majority of the illegal refineries are operated by security agents.

 

These illegal refineries throw up a huge percentage of soot.

 

•Nwakaudu is a media aide to Governor Wike

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