Let me welcome all of us to the year 2018. Last year was quite a trying one for most Nigerians because of the prevailing hardship and economic recession that swallowed us up. The President’s New Year message has given effect to the fact that even though we are in celebration mood, we haven’t actually been celebrating.
We have been agonizing and lamenting. It has been a game of blame and accusation. Nigerians, generally a happy people, have not really found their celebrative voices as they suffered from the unwholesome activities of ‘saboteurs’, who are determined to give government a bad name.
Some spent their time at the fuel stations on Christmas day waiting helplessly for fuel. While we were agonizing over fuel scarcity for the better part of last year December, government decided to give us a starter to whet our appetite and bring smiles on the faces of Nigerians. It announced the composition of the boards of some of the agencies of government; a total of 209 chairmen and 1,258 members drawn from across the 36 states of the federation.
What ought to have been a punch line to the frenzy of fuel scarcity became an albatross, by the inclusion of eight Nigerians who had passed on, as appointees of the newly constituted boards.
At first, the number of dead persons started from one, then two and then three, until a count of eight ended the score line.
The list generated a lot of hoopla, overhyped as it were, to underscore the missing link in a government of gerontocracy run by President Muhammadu Buhari: lack of coordination. It does appear the government was too much in a hurry to dish out Christmas package by way of appointments but ended up with more criticisms than expected. President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, in trying to rationalize the mix-up, ended up mixing himself up.
Oh, the list was long compiled in 2016 when the President was having health challenges; hence the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, had to just roll out what was available. The job of a spokesman could be as simple as he wants it to be. It could also be as difficult as he wants it to be if the right information is not sourced to back up claims and counter-claims.
The truth is that, the list as presented by the SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, was a huge scandal. It undermines the integrity of that office. It reduces the person of that office.
No matter the number of persons contained in that list, it is the duty of the SGF to ensure that ghost names do not feature prominently in a list of persons to be appointed for positions. First, the names were generated from the states’ party offices in 2016.
When it became manifest that the appointments were to be carried out, the simple administrative thing to do was to vet the list again and ensure that those persons were still very much with the party across the states.
Some persons have defected between 2016 and 2017.
So many things have happened that should ordinarily remind the SGF of the need to do proper check before dishing out the list for public consumption. Boss Mustapha is one Nigerian whose capacity I do not doubt, but I am somewhat taken aback that he could allow this simple administrative procedure to slip off his grip and cause government terrible embarrassment.
It exposes the fact that there is no coordination and synergy. It exposes the political party to outright ridicule. It tells of the breakdown of communication between the political party headquarters, state chapters and the hierarchy of government. If those names emanated from the state chapters, the onus was to reconnect with the state chapters to reaffirm that the earlier names sent in 2016 still remain valid, whilst also doing proper check on the persons so nominated to be appointed. In the fullness of such administrative lapse, I expected to hear from the spokesman in the office of the SGF explaining the lapse and giving us details of the mix-up, and not the president’s spokesman.
To make matters worse, government also announced appointees for already privatized companies. Haba, Boss Mustapha! What ought to be a Christmas gift, became a sore thumb for a government that is permanently in the news for the wrong reason. It calls to question the absence of synergy and proper coordination within the presidency. This is why I have always advocated that the party should wake up to her responsibilities of playing a stop-gap role in matters of state policies.
The APC hierarchy is too laid back in the governance process. Being withdrawn is a mark of weakness which must be corrected and not a mark of loyalty to the constituted authority. It is from the manifestoes of the political party that those seeking election derive their agenda and roadmap. If the individual fails, it is the party that fails. If the individual succeeds, it is the party that succeeds.
This is why there has to be a deliberate and conscious effort to ensure that the right synergy is created to build a robust and symbiotic relationship that will create the right mood for governance. If the party were to be active, it would have been able to do a further check before the SGF released the list.
As we enter year 2018, we expect a better deal in our shared commitment to take Nigeria to a greater height.
This year will witness a lot of politicking because 2019 is election year. The politics of 2018 will cause a lot of distraction to governance because of horse-trading, networking and permutations. The various candidates for all elective positions will be known this year in preparation for the elections early 2019. Sycophants would be at their best during this period. Hypocrites would have a field’s day.
All manners of permutations would flourish in a bid to set the tone for the 2019 elections, but Nigeria must be the ultimate beneficiary. PMB’s NEW YEAR SPEECH I listened to the president’s speech and message to Nigerians aired yesterday at 7a.m.
There is a remarkable improvement in the contents of the message when compared with his previous speeches. He has given a roadmap on what government is trying to do in building infrastructure to drive individual and collective enterprises. He has threatened to get to the root of the fuel scarcity and deal decisively with those saboteurs that have caused us pains. I just hope it won’t take him another one year to carry out this threat.
As much as I agree with the president that saboteurs were at work on the fuel scarcity issue, he needs to understand that every government has its army of saboteurs but the capacity of government to proactively handle challenges will help to reduce the pains caused by saboteurs. Let this threat not end as mere rhetoric that has become the second nature of PMB.
I just hope the president’s appointees are not feeding him lies, because the picture he painted of the rail system and road infrastructure appears to me cheering news but on ground, we are yet to take off. Our roads are suffering neglect. This dry season should afford the government the opportunity to do a quick fix on our roads before the rain sets in. Mr. President, in 2018, we must move away from theory to practice, from intangible to tangible.
The futile attempt by rented miscreants to dance on the sacred grave of Gani Fawehinmi (4)
Last week, I could not discuss much on the above subject because of some other pressing national issues I dealt with. Today, I shall continue on how Gani fought tyranny and dictatorship across the length and breadth of Nigeria, using the law as an instrument of social engineering. He defended all, whether rich or poor, “corrupt” or “clean”, mighty or low, private persons or public servants. I will not allow the reprobates and malefactors to rewrite history.
I EDUCATED THE AUDIENCE ON WHO GANI WAS
I recalled to the audience that in fighting tyranny and oppression, Gani in 1984 (during General Muhammadu Buhari’s military junta), defied the NBA (for which he was initially blacklisted and his name entered in the roll of dishonor by the NBA, which later recanted), Consequently, Gani led me and others to defend Colonel Peter Obasa, Chief Kila, Dikko, Udoka, etc, who were accused of corruption and misappropriation of public funds. More on this later. I told the audience how I later founded the Universal Defenders of Democracy (UDD), which was launched by Justice (Dr) Akinola Aguda, in April, 1992. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, who later became Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, was my Director of Publicity.
It was this platform I used in securing court injunction against the detention of the “Kuje 5” (Gani, Beko Ransome Kuti, Falana, Baba Omojola and Segun Maiyegun). I also used UDD to stop the execution of General Zamani Lekwot, who had been sentenced to death by a special Military Tribunal set up under the IBB military junta, over the Zagon Kataf crisis.
I never knew General Lekwot. I met him for the first time at the 2014 National Conference where we were both delegates. I was later to co-found the Joint Action Committee of Nigeria (JACON), with Chief Gani Fawehinmi and other leading lights in the pro-democracy movement. Gani was unanimously elected the National Chairman of JACM. I was elected the National Vice Chairman, Publicity and Publications. It was this platform that we used to finally push out the military junta in 1999. It was tough. But, we did it.
At the risk of our youthful lives. Where were these blackmailers when we were fighting for the heart and soul of the Nigerian nation?
DID GANI EVER DEFEND PERSONS ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION?
The answer is a loud yes.
Gani defended many people who were accused of corruption, embezzlement of public funds, etc. I will show these anon.
That did not mean that he was defending corruption. Gani had, during his life time, exhibited his admirable legal wits during numerous encounters in the courts with the best lawyers in Nigeria.
One of such epochal cases in which he appeared is recorded as Gani Fawehinmi vs NBA (1). In this case, Fawehinmi had dragged the NBA to court in 1984 over the Association’s decision, directing lawyers to boycott the Special Military Tribunals (SMT), established by the General Buhari military regime.
To the Ondo-born late activist per excellence, he had a constitutional right and duty to defend any client who hired his services.
As a result, he openly shunned the NBA’s order at a press conference and appeared for his client, Col. Peter Obasa (rtd), a former DG, NYSC, and his Deputy, Chief Kila, then standing trial before the Special Military Tribunal set up by General Muhammadu Buhari in 1984.
Distinctly defiant, Gani subsequently instituted an action against the NBA, the General Council of the Bar (GCB) and three Elders of the Bar, Chief F.R.A Williams, Mr. Kehinde Sofola and Chief E.A Molajo, all of blessed memory, over his blacklisting for daring to appear before the military tribunals to defend so called corrupt clients.
(To be continued next week).
SO, EVEN SNAKES LOVE MONEY?
Nigeria is such a comical country. South Africa has been busy teaching the world democracy, by bowing to the superior power of a political party, ANC (African National Congress), to force out its sitting president,
Jacob Zuma, which it replaced with his Deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa. The same thing had happened in 2008 when the ANC replaced President Thambo Mbeki with his then Vice president, Zuma, after forcing him out. Both cases were anchored on proven cases of corruption; not on simulated and orchestrated media corruption trials. Fastrack to my dear country, Nigeria.
Nigerians are daily regaled with bizarre and eerie tales from Arabian nights (that will torpedo Ali Baba and the 40 thieves). One of such quirky and freakish fictions is the N36 Million snake-swallowing anecdote the country was entertained with last week.
A sales clerk at the JAMB office in Makurdi, by name Philomina Chieshe, had, during a team of auditors’ visit, told a bewildered nation that she could not account for N36 million made in previous years before the abolition of the scratch card system of paying money.
She claimed she was one of the four sales clerks attached to JAMB office, Makurdi, whose responsibility was to sell scratch cards to candidates and not to handle revenue. Handling of revenue was the responsibility of one Joan Asen, she narrated. Hear more of her weird story: “It was a mystery to me too. I have been saving the money in the bank, but I found it difficult to account for it.
So I started saving it in a vault in the office. But each time I open the vault, I will find nothing. I became worried and surprised how the millions of naira could be disappearing from the vault.
“I began to interrogate everybody in the house and office, and no one could agree on what might have happened to the money. I continued to press until my housemaid confessed. She said that the money disappeared “spiritually”. She said that a “mysterious snake” sneaked into the house and swallowed the money in the vault.” A snake swallowing money?
Haba! We have already heard of the outlandish story of rats taking over the seat of power for some months. Very soon, as 2019 approaches, we may hear odd and strange fabrications about lizards swallowing up ballot papers; of domestic fouls swallowing up ballot boxes; of goats swallowing up card readers! I hope we will not wake up one day to hear of wall geckos swallowing up our foreign reserves!! Nigeria, we hail thee!
OF ZUMA, STATUES AND MORALS
Some Nigerians worship mediocrity, clownery and buffoonery.
Jacob Zuma was so corrupt and so hated by his country men and women whom he had governed for nine years that the South Africans forced him to resign prematurely before the end of his second term.
But, in Nigeria here, Zuma has a statue erected in the heart of Owerri, Imo State capital, standing in all its splendor and imperioriousness, for his “exemplary leadership and contribution to society”. Can’t our leaders see that we are fast becoming the butt of jokes, mockery, skylarking, jesting, obloquy and derision across Africa?
AND THE ORGY OF MASSACRE GOES ON ACROSS NIGERIA
The unrestrained orgy of violence and unprovoked cold blooded slaughter goes on cross Nigeria, as 41 people were brutally massacred on Valentine’s Day under gory and horrendous circumstances.
This heartless blood – letting by organized bandits happened in the sleepy agrarian village of Birane, in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State. Only last November, gunmen had invaded and torched dozens of houses in Shinkafi LGA of the same Zamfara State, killing 24 people in the process.
Section 14 of the Nigerian Constitution provides that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”. Nigerians are asking if we still have real governance in place, or if all we do now is politicks and politicking.
We are screaming 2019 when we are in a deep security quagmire and economic cesspool. All we now hear and read of everyday is death, killings, arson, kidnapping, invasion, slaughtering. Gosh!
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Defender of the liberty that I idolize, myself more free than anyone, in coming as a friend to offer my services to this intriguing republic, I bring to it only my frankness and my goodwill; no ambition, no self-interest; in working for my glory, I work for their happiness”. (Marquis de Lafayette).
Hope Nigerians are reading, digesting and awaiting the next exploring discourse of Sunday Sermon on the Mount of the Nigerian Project by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, Ph.D, LL.D?
• Follow me on twitter @ MikeozekhomeSAN
Red-hot Batshuayi on the march again
…but Hazard can boost hosts
Rejuvenated Borrusia Dortmund enter into Sunday’s derby clash against Borussia Monchegladbach with an air of confidence surrounding their new striker Mitchy Batshuayi who is enjoying incredible form since he arrived Germany. Batshuayi is proving to be Borussia Dortmund’s best version of Batman yet, outstripping his decorated predecessor Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, now of Arsenal. Batshuayi scored a brace against Atalanta as BVB beat the Italians 3-2 in the UEFA Europea League on Thursday, meaning that he has raced to five goals in just three performances – four fewer than Aubameyang needed to reach the same tally.
The winter transfer merry-go-round saw Batshuayi replace the Arsenalbound Aubameyang, who in turn took Oliver Giroud’s place at Arsenal, with Giroud completing the circle by joining Chelsea He admitted his frustration at being regularly overlooked for selection at Chelsea before being sent on loan to Dortmund. The Belgium international was used as nothing more than a fringe player during his first 18 months at Stamford Bridge, starting a combined four English Premier League games.
Speaking to Sporza about his time at Chelsea, the 24-year-old said: “I did not have a good time there, but I’m doing well here and I’ve been well received by my colleagues and supporters. “Sitting on the bench, scoring a goal and then being back on the bench is quite difficult to deal with for an attacker. As a young player, you need a lot of playing time to evolve. It’s perfect here, and I’m trusted by everyone.”
After a dramatic Europa League win over Atalanta on Thursday, there are several names on the lips of Dortmund fans which are once again making the black-and-yellows an entertaining team to watch. Six games unbeaten in 2018, with five goals and an assist in three games from new superhero Batshuayi. Dortmund coach Peter Stöger is in no doubt about the quality of his new acquisition “Michy is a real goalscorer; it was a good move go bring him here,” he beamed after the final whistle at the Signal Iduna Park on Thursday.
“The question was: How well does he fit into the team, will he feel at home here? Things are looking good. He is well-liked, fully integrated and our goals as well as his personal goals align. Scoring goals is one thing, but working for the team and winning balls like he did for the opener makes him a great striker.” The German expect his Belgian star to help them extend their unbeaten run as they visit Gladbach on Sunday. Gladbach can also rely on the magic of their winger Thorgan Hazard to get the result for them. – The younger sibling of Chelsea forward Eden has netted 24 goals in 129 outings for Monchengladbach in all competitions and could be the match winner tomorrow.
Caught with his ex
Imagine this, a man tells you how much his ex-girlfriend disappointed him jilting him for an older man who already had two wives? He says it with such convincing self- pity and agony that you have to comfort him by promising never to let him down. He burns all her photographs and cards that she’d sent to him when the going was good. He vows never to talk to her again even if this life depends on it.
Then one day you return earlier than usual from work and decide to go kill time in his flat and do some cooking for him. And what did you find? The purportedly much hated ex-girlfriend in the warm embrace of the purportedly wronged boyfriend. Who’s fooling who? Is it that men just don’t know what they want or simply can’t be bothered whose ox is gored while they are seeking their pleasures? If he tells you it’s raining outside, make sure you take your umbrella because what he really means is that the sun is out in all its blazing glory. One can’t really say for sure whose side they are on or when they are crossing the carpet.
It doesn’t even make a difference whether the man is married to you or not. Some men go back to their ex-wives even after they’ve told their new wives that: “If I ever see that woman again, I’ll kill her.” It’s all bravado and hurt pride. Men never seem to be able to say good bye once and for all. When they say goodnight, they mean good evening or, better still, welcome.
Or how do you explain this? A man divorced his wife on grounds of infidelity, laziness and a whole lot of other jargons he must have put together. Meanwhile, he got the custody of the two children of the marriage. He remarried but as the court allowed that the ex-wife could visit her kids, she came once in a while to do so.
Then suddenly the new wife found out that the ex-wife was pregnant. And guess who was responsible? The husband who was supposed to hate the sight of his exwife! The husband who complained and wore a permanent frown each time the ex-wife came to visit. The husband who said he could kill that useless woman.
The murderous, cheating, lying son-of-a-bitch! So you see, there’s no exceptional category. Both the marrieds and the unmarried do it. Ask your friends, male or female, if his or ex-partner had not wangled his or her way back into the bed they used to share. At least, if not for want of trying.
That’s how men get themselves messed up all the time. Ex-girl friends, ex-wives, or even exmistresses have ways of making claims and holding on like parasitic leeches. It hurts, really hurts when a man whopromised his undying love for you turns out to be a Judas.
Men are well known for their lies. They cheat, apologise, charm you, you forgive then only for them to cheat again. Women cheat too. I know, so don’t scream yet. But I’m talking about men, as usual. There’s nothing new about a man wandering away from his matrimonial vows.
They do it all the time. It’s when and why they wander back to their ex-girlfriends or sugar mummies or even wives that it hurts a plenty. It gets the poor woman wondering. I mean, the one who’s supposed to be the current champion. What could or can cause such callous acts? It’s not that the new girl was the one who separated them in the first place. It is the randy man who came begging, toasting and promising heaven and earth. He was the one that said he had had enough of his ex and she was now history, his past. If it were possible, he was the one who almost turned blue in the face of trying to convince the new girl that his ex wouldn’t come back, neither will he go back to her.
Sure, we all know the power of exes and any girl who fails to do her research about why her new boyfriend is replacing her predecessor is not smart enough. If the excuse he gave for their parting is too flimsy, don’t getinvolved. Like, if hetoldyou, he’s leaving her because she has no sense of time and litters his flat with her things, he can’t be serious with you.
Tell him to show you a woman who doesn’t like to keep a man waiting. If only to see how far his patience can go. Or on the other hand, which man hasn’t at one time or the other stood his girlfriend up. Every girl likes to put her stamp on the guy’s flat in case of intruders. It’s not that she’s untidy.
That pant and bra in the bathroom, the new broom and dustbin, her powder and perfume on the dresser are all intentional. To show she’s the woman around here. That’s why women give their wrappers to their boyfriends as cover cloth. A cover cloth made for a man is different from a woman’s wrapper, you know. When Sunny’s wife caught him about four years ago with a woman who from all intents, purposes and ramification was his mistress, he apologized. Maybe because their marriage was still fresh and he was still very much in love with his wife.
Now, the woman and Sunny are back together and she’s staking claims and threatening that if Sunny’s wife thought she could get her out of his life before, she could go have her head examined. Can you beat the cheek, the insult, just because you have a man who keeps dropping his pants each time he sets eyes on his ex? Now, Sunny’s explanation is that he went back to the woman because he thought she would be easy to dispose of as usual. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He’s one messed up guy. I tell you, because he still wants his wife, doesn’t want a second wife and neither wife nor mistress is ready to let him have his peace of mind.
Whichever way you look at it, each time a man wanders back into the arms or bed or both of his ex, he ends up cheating both women. For in most cases, he doesn’t actually leave the new girl or commit himself to the ex. He ends up using and betraying both.
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