“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us” – Hal Borland
The only real good take home one can find around President Muhammadu Buhari and his government in the outgoing year 2017 is his miraculous ability to surmount the sickness that came heavily for him. By that he saved this country from a potential crisis and draw back anything untoward would have caused the nation.
To that we give God all the glory. Outside that reviewing the year, what you get is a rancid smell of the activities of a Presidency not in total control of its affairs. In 2017 Nigerians saw an obviously tired President who could mean well but lacked the wherewithal to push it through. A President who was unable to take control of its immediate affairs talk less the larger Nigeria space.
In a normal clime, where democratic principles are allowed to hold sway and where room is never allocated to tribal and religious bigotry, Presidency like this would have been under immense pressure to resign or be removed for the country to move forward.
Where such things happen there would be a parliament technically equipped for their job and not one like ours evidently driven by ethnic and religious interests. Where such things happen there would exist an active civil society group not consumed by corruption and sycophancy.
Where such things happen, there would be a robust press not bugged down by poor economy. Where such things happen, there would certainly be a vibrant and active opposition party waiting in the wings as an alternative and keeping the ruling party on their toes.
Therefore, if President Buhari is displaying some traits of incompetence as it now appears, the reason must be lack of necessary support from catalyzing agents that should put him on his toes. They are either bugged down by ethnic and religious inclination or are themselves incompetent and corrupt or possibly guilty of both variables.
When it is long said that a society gets the kind of leaders it deserves it’s a country like Nigeria that they have in mind. Why not if we say that Buhari and his APC government are confused are we overlooking the fact that we the led are also confused and most times gullible?
If we the led are not as confused as the people leading us, what else can explain that a society that vehemently resisted the slight increase in fuel prize by Jonathan’s government, mobilised the whole country then to frustrate it have had a huge increase in fact one of the highest in the history of fuel hike in the country and remain dump amidst the most senseless fuel shortage in our history. Inside this government all the critical players know as a fact that the current avoidable fuel hike that messed up this year’s Yuletide is a clear fallout of incompetence and corruption.
If we are not as confused, why have we remained docile as the odour of corruption around Buhari government is everywhere and we just grumble and move on? Are we not equally liable when gullibly we accept what is dished out to us from the propaganda room of the APC when they said over a year now that Boko Haram has been technically defeated and are just winding down in their last struggle but now are seeking $1 billion about N365 billion to tackle the Boko Haram in the North-East.
Some political watchers chose to say that Buhari government is so lucky doing double wrongs to some of the things ex-President Jonathan is being maligned and the people kept mute. But I would rather say with little fear of being contradicted that what seemed like luck is a consequence of government that is anchored on religious and ethnic sentiments instead of on delivery of services to the people.
Obviously, the people are blindly neck deep in the sentiment because to them it’s about their religion and tribe interests not about Buhari and the delivery of any dividend expected of him of which he promised the people.
Perhaps the only thing that can prompt us to action against crass misrule as has been witnessed in the last 31 months of Buhari administration is when the stomach revolts. Nigerians would be shocked to discover that the blind loyalty on Buhari still exists in the face of all the flaws. Why?
Because hunger and suffering that knows no tribe, religion or geo-political interests are yet to be activated in our lives. When the suffering of Nigerians reaches the tilt, the action would be spontaneous and unanimous and when what follows comes, everybody would know that the common denominator variable has arrived. Its language would be one among all, the Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa Fulani, Tivs, Ijaws and Jukuns etc.
The biggest obstacle to development and good governance in this country today are religion and tribalism not even corruption. In truth these two are oiling corruption. When you hear about sentiment playing a huge influence in our polity especially the voting pattern, it all derives from these twin evils of tribe and religion. When you hear the President in his lopsided appointments arguing that he is picking those he can trust, it has nothing whatsoever to do with competence or merit, it’s about religion and tribe.
It’s perhaps against this backdrop of knowing the influencing factor in our politics that some of those who know this like Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasiri el Rufai and his ilk are selfishly routing for Buhari’s second term in office.
Such moves have absolutely nothing to do with love of country or love for the President but rather driven purely by selfish interest of riding on the back of a horse insensitive whether the horse is matching on the people or the horse is unhealthy for the mission. Buhari’s second term bid is a tragedy waiting to happen to our polity and it does appear that nothing really can save the country from it because we are all slaves to our tribe and religion.
But has our suffering been enough to activate action, the answer is unfortunately No. There are still some variables sticking us to our tribe and religion and until the glue is removed 2018 may still be like 2017 if not worse. The fuel scarcity crisis is a terrible way to end a year that has been bedevilled by all kinds of problems induced by the obvious inability of a government not in grip of the situation. Even in our poor memory as a people there are some striking issues we cannot easily forget in this outgoing year.
These are the sour side of Buhari administration in 2017. How can we forget that the unity of this country was driven to an arroyo because of government’s insensitivity to complaints on exclusive governance? How can we forget that in the outgoing year that there was an organisation called IPOB with its ubiquitous leader called Nnamdi Kanu whose activities were provoked by the apparent sideline of Ndigbo by Buhari administration? We cannot also forget IPOB’s attendant fallout, the quit notice handed out to Ndigbo in the North by northern youths propelled by their elders.
Even if we want to forget, we can’t ignore the menace of Fulani herdsmen with its attendant carnage across the country. How can we even forget the activities of whistle blowers that had to cease abruptly after it started blowing on members of the ruling party and their friends. Also unforgettable in the outgoing year is the show of shame in streets of Abuja by two security agencies that report to one Presidency.
Even if we want to forget, the shameful drama around the recall and promotion of pension fugitive rogue Abdulrasheed Maina continues to prompt up in our faces. The mess at the NNPC in the outgoing year would have been forgotten if the sidelined Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had not made public his frustrations.
The ongoing biting fuel crisis in the land is clearly a consequence of what Kachikwu was trying to avoid. So as we bid 2017 farewell in four days’ time, it’s necessary for us not to forget these sour sides with a view to preventing a repeat. Compliments to all.
Showdown in Kiev: Ronaldo, Salah draw attention
- Firminho, Mane pose threats to Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah will be the main focus in today’s Champions League final in Kiev and both players are tipped to play a decisive part in who wins the trophy. While Salah will be aiming to stake a claim as the new poster boy of European football, Ronaldo will be keen to push for the remarkable success he has enjoyed in the past years to edge his eternal rival Lionel Messi as to who is the best player of the current generation.
It will be an intriguing battle between an established legend of the game and another who is just establishing himself on the world stage. For Ronaldo, who returns to the ground where he captained Portugal to their glorious football achievement nearly two years ago, it will be the chance to build further on his achievements and mean he has claimed the trophy five times, four with Madrid and once with Manchester United, the same number as clubs like Barcelona and Liverpool have managed in all their history.
“I feel fine, I think my teammates are good and it will be fantastic to win, I love this competition,” Ronaldo said this week. Ronaldo, again this season, has planned his matches so as to arrive in tip top condition for the final and continues to break records having become the first player to score in all the rounds of the Champions League. Salah, aged 25, is from another generation, and has doubled his previous average for a season with 44 from 50 games and 10 of those have come in the Champions League.
He is only 175cms but has considerable pace, ability to cross the ball and a tremendous shot. It is no surprise that Liverpool have priced him at 200 million euros, which is up there with the world’s best, and the question is whether he can deliver now on the big stage.
“For me each game is just one match and I try to win them but I do not want to put myself under pressure to deliver,” said Salah. “I know this is a big game for everyone, a massive match.” Salah will be in the pole position to clinch the Ballon d’Or if Liverpool win this tie but former Liverpool star, Steve McManaman, has warned the Reds winger that Ronaldo will be out to “show who’s the king” when two of the biggest talents on the planet go head to head. “Cristiano will be thinking about that.
Mo has outscored him overall this season,” McManaman , who also played for Real Madrid told the ECHO. “Mo took Egypt to the World Cup and has had an incredible year. Everyone wants to speak to him. Cristiano will know all that but it won’t bother him. “He scores in finals – that’s what he does.
He will be relishing this opportunity to show who’s the king when he goes up against Mo. “He’s had personal battles with Lionel Messi every year and welcomes them. It’s a great battle between Cristiano and Mo.”
“Mo could have the Ballon d’Or off him this year but I think a lot will ride on the outcome of this final. It’s about stepping up and doing the business. What is certain is that two of the best forwards at present will go head-to-head in the Ukrainian capital.
In addition, There could also be the Roberto Firminho and Sadio Mane factor for the English side with both forwards already forming a deadly combination that has seen them score a record-combined 28 goals for the Reds.
Bookmakers are of the view that if the SFM (Salah- Firmihno-Mane) combined to a great effect they would outshine the BBC (Bale-Benzema-Cristiano) force and give the Merseyside team their sixth European title and if not then Madrid will continue with their great adventure in the greatest club competition in the world.
Killer Spouses: Let’s halt the madness
The alarming rate of spousal murder in our world calls for collective attention and action. The gruesome phenomenon is fast assuming frenetic dimension in our family life. One begins to wonder how and why lovers who voluntarily came together as husband and wife suddenly engage in extreme hostility with each other. Attending wedding ceremonies these days often agitate my mind as scary tales of abuse and violence that emanate from some of the new homes shortly after the fanfare are on the increase.
I have written articles to address some knotty marital issues that do result in the untimely and painful death of the spouses. Initially, only women were usually the victims of domestic violence. Somewhat, the hunter has now become the hunted as wives now do hack their husbands to death in the course of fighting or as reprisals. Our media is daily being inundated with sour news of one form of spousal death or the other.
Since the June 24, 2011 case of Akolade Arowolo who stabbed his banker wife, Titilayo, to death, over a score of such dastardly spousal murder cases had been reported in the media.
This is aside the unknown or covered-up cases especially in the remote places. An autopsy report revealed Titilayo was stabbed 76 times. However, the culprit did not escape the full weight of the law. He was sentenced to death February 21, 2014.
The new lethal fad these days seems to be spousal killings perpetrated by the wives. The Nigerian Police recently confirmed the arrest of Maryam Sanda for stabbing her husband Bilyaminu Haliru Bello to death. Reports claimed she killed her husband by stabbing him multiple times after seeing text messages in his phone which suggested that he was engaged in an extra-marital affair. Also, there’s the recent case of a lawyer, Mrs. Udeme Odibi, who, after stabbing her husband to death in his sleep, cut his genitals and placed them in his right hand while his stomach ripped open with the intestines spilling out.
These are just a tip of the soaring cases of spousal murder dotting our marital landscape these days. I keep wondering what usually go wrong in loving, sweet, and honey-like affairs that now end in tragedies.
Does it mean that sweet words and ecstatic moments of romance are superficial? Despite costly wedding ceremonies, how come this sad end? I hereby offer a four-prong suggestions as a way to stem this mournful scourge:
i. The parental roles must be reactivated right from the platonic (nonsexual) friendship level as parents must care to know who their children are moving with. In the ages past, parents often determine which families their children would marry from. Customarily, they will investigate the would-be in-laws’ lineage to know if there’s any illness, mental case, premature death, poverty, bareness, marital failure, spiritual issue or social stigma that was common in the family.
More often than not, children rarely reject the choices of their parents because they knew parental decisions were in their best interest. Virtually all the marriages midwifed by parental arrangements in that era endured.
Despite challenges, the marriages survived the odds because the parents were the ‘sureties’ and arbiters at every point of need or crisis. Respect for parents, desired to be responsible couples, fear of stigma in case of divorce, protection of children and family names or reputation were pivotal to the success of marriages at that time.
Regrettably though, Titilayo’s father, Mr. Oyakhire, confessed that the Arowolos’ marriage had been characterised by violence and abuse but he never envisaged it will end in the death of his daughter. Keeping people together in hostile relationships or marriages will ultimately end in regret. Parents must get involved henceforth!
ii. The Church or religious leaders must find a solution to these murderous tendencies in the society. I want to suggest that fathers of faith should replicate what the Apostles did in Jerusalem (Acts 15) when they met to resolve the doctrinal issues bothering on circumcision.
As Holy Spiritfilled oracles of God, decisions should be reached as to how long warring or violent partners should stay together to avoid untimely deaths. Pretending not to allow separation in the name of being sanctimonious is an act of cowardice.
Couples that die during assaults or physical combats might not make heaven because they die in bitterness and wrong frame of mind. iii. The society should stop stigmatizing separated or single parents.
This wrong perception do ‘force’ couples to remain in abusive or acrimonious relationships. Neighbours and people around disputing couples should please wade in quickly to avoid stories that touch the heart.
For instance, before lawyer Odibi stabbed her husband to death, her neighbours confirmed that Mr. Odibi had earlier alerted his friends and his mother that his wife threatened to kill him which eventually happened. Police should have been invited immediately Odibi raised the alarm. Perhaps the story would have been different today.
Please let’s be our brothers and sisters’ keepers. iv. Disputing couples should seek help from relationship counsellors. Family and friends should encourage them to do so in order to salvage the families in crises.
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Uprising in APC, who is surprised?
“Blind party loyalty will be our downfall. We must follow the truth wherever it leads.” – DaShanne Stokes
What the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been displaying to the country in the last three weeks ahead of its long overdue National Convention merely gives credence to the assertion of a British statesman Benjamin Disraeli that “There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.”
But in the case of APC only persons handicapped in political punditry will express shock and surprise at the ongoing “war” in the ruling party. The squabble has yet again popularized the word parallel. The same way “inconclusive” was popularized by the Independent National Commission (INEC), under this regime.
When clouds gather the weather man tells us, the next thing is for the rain to pour and they dispatch advisories alerting us to travel dry. APC cloud have been gathering for the past three years and it’s just about to pour. All efforts by experienced hands in their system to proffer what to do to avoid the rain, fell on deaf ears as the system got hijacked by some cabals whose understanding and scope of national politics is pigeon holed in their narrow ethno-religious view point. Suddenly here we are the chicken is home to roost and the party is now right inside the rain already. In fact, it has been drizzling all the while ahead of 2019.
The inability of the ruling party to hold serious National Executive Council (NEC) meeting for over two years derives from this reality that the foundation of the house wrongly laid was cracking.
The early declaration of second term intention by President Muhammadu Buhari was intended to avert it, but from all indications it has failed to achieve the desired result. Aware that it must pour some “rain makers” wearing the garb of 20 APC state governors were brought in to prevent its pouring by proposing tenure elongation for National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun and his team a way of shifting the evils day, but the other higher forces led by President Buhari and former Lagos State Governor Ahmed Tinubu routing for former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiohmole for the national chairmanship refused, saying they won’t mind it pouring. Buhari and Tinubu had their way and a congress was ordered and here and now the party is soaked in their own blooper.
It is pouring in torrents, the grounds are all wet, fear of slipping off the ground now grips everybody, the movement is now gingerly to avoid the great fall. The arrogance is now giving way to reason, the rebellious new PDP in their fold hitherto written off before as inconsequential is now getting a hearing, reality is now downing. Will APC survive this their new disease called “parallel congress” will it be able to reduce its 72 state chairmen emerging from its parallel congresses into 36 states as required by the constitution of the party?
How would it be able to contain the anger of some of its henchmen being inconvenienced by these developments?
We have seen from APC congresses that even the rich are also crying and that master riggers can also be rigged out.
In Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha who was at the forefront of the anti-tenure elongation group because he wanted the state executive not loyal to him removed so that he can replace them found himself not at the commanding position where he yells orders but at the lamentation table crying for whoever desires to listen. What it takes for the best village dancer to lose his crown in the village square is just for somebody to study his dancing steps and add one or two more calisthenics and you are an edge ahead.
Governor Okorocha the Generalissimo of Imo politics suddenly is running helter-skelter in search of platform. His inordinate desire to enthrone his son in-law as his successor and the daughter as the successor to the wife in the First Lady position appears seriously threatened. The Owelle who had crowned himself the face of APC in Igboland is now a crying baby.
In the neighbouring Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi’s unhidden agenda to inflame the state all in desperation to stop Governor Nyesom Wike appears hooked in internal squabbles as he is dagger drawn with his own strongest ally Senator Magnus Abe. The gun movie in Port Harcourt a forth night ago by Amaechi’s supporters to shot down law court remains yet another sour point of this administration in its relationship with the judiciary.
Not even the almighty Jagaban himself, the Asuwaju of APC is having easy ride as the party’s National Legal Adviser Muiz Banire insisted on creating parallel structure in Lagos.
The fragile romance between Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, established in 2015 to enable the minister scale through Senate screening has crumbled and they have all returned to their trenches as shown in the parallel congress from Kwara State.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara who has had poor relationship with his state Governor Mohammad Abubakar was hit below the belt as not even his ward was he able to influence despite the yeoman job he is reported to be doing in his constituency.
In Enugu the hitherto apolitical Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, literally suspended his diplomatic gentleness and went about with thugs in yet another parallel congress.
Nothing less was expected from Kaduna State because of the high level of animosity already between the diminutive state governor, Nasir el rufai, and the irrepressible senators from the state led by the “deodorant and insecticide” Senator Shehu Sani.
The crisis rocking the ruling APC as validated by the ward, local government and state congresses, and most likely to be seen at its National Convention is pervasive and reflects the status of the party at the moment.
Since June 9, 2015 when it could not agree as a party on who should head the legislative arm controlled by it, APC has been jumping from one problem to the other.
Even right inside the Presidency, the much-expected cohesion and harmony have not been seen.
When early in the administration the President was accused of filling the whole position around him with his ethnic and religious allies refusing to recognize the nationality of his positions, he reacted angrily by saying he was appointing those he knows and who can do the work for him. But despite that this Presidency has been the most divided since 1999.
Few samples will suffice here; we have all witnessed the infighting among two security bodies, the EFCC and DSS all reporting to the President. Nigerians saw how the President submitted for confirmation twice Ibrahim Magu and twice DSS wrote a report that he was not eligible for the job. We all saw the show of shame when the operatives of the two agencies came on the streets of Abuja before camera with weapons flexing muscles.
Therefore, if we are not expecting biologically that a goat gives birth to a sheep why are Nigerians surprised that a party that produced such elementary performance in governance amidst apparent confusion would turn overnight to have a smooth and transparent political congresses?
It’s perhaps against this backdrop that the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political watchers are crying from the roof top, to the international community and all lovers of democracy that this administration is incapable of conducting a free, fair and credible general election.
The party is relying on some empirical points already on display lately to even warn that democracy is seriously under threat and the prevailing circumstances are not providing an enticing signs.
What has come very glaring from the APC impasse is that the great conspiracy of 2014 to grab power at all cost that gave birth to APC has crumbled? It was intended to metamorphose into a political party to change our society for the better, but all the manifestations have been showing otherwise. No wonder great players in the conspiracy like former President Olusegun Obasanjo are chickening out and the pack appears to be fragmenting. God help Nigeria.
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