On the 1st day of January, 2018, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President of Nigeria, and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces addressed the nation and reeled out the achievements of the administration and rolled out projections for the future.
As has become customary, the President laid out in concrete terms some of the challenges of the nation and the measures the administration has put in place to address the challenges. The President was clear and concise on the issue of what he termed infrastructural deficit in Nigeria and the measures in place to address them. However, the President did not quite get it right in the manner the New Year Presidential Address was delivered and the timing of the delivery.
There are also some fundamental issues the Nigerian people expected the President to address but some of them were not dealt with at all or dealt with in passing. In the New Year Address, the President dwelt on key areas that are fundamental to the administration’s “change agenda”.
He stated clearly that “my address to fellow Nigerians this morning is devoted mainly to informing you about the intense efforts this administration is putting to address our country’s huge infrastructural deficit.”
He listed progress in the power sector, progress on railway projects and progress in road construction.
The President also touched on other issues including progress made in the area of securing Nigeria and stated that security of life and property is still top of the government’s agenda. On the 2019 elections, the President advised the political elite to conduct political discourse with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner.
On the vexed issue of “Restructuring”, the President stated that the challenges of Nigeria have more to do with process rather than the structure. Finally, the President expressed his sadness at the lingering fuel crisis and characterized the situation as a collective blackmail of all Nigerians and assured that “whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again”. I acknowledge that the President’s address was forward looking and gave the Nigerian people a glimpse of the efforts the administration is making in tackling the decay in the transport and energy sector.
It shows that the President is thinking of Nigeria of tomorrow and not necessarily of the Nigeria of today. It is hearth warming that the railways will cut across almost all the States of the Federation and this will no doubt ease the burden of the Nigerian people who are forced to ply the roads that are more or less like erosion sites while short term measures are in place to fix some of the terrible roads in different parts of the country.
There are a couple of issues with the President’s address and it is in the interest of the country and our democracy that the issues should be highlighted and addressed.
Talking about the missing links and issues in the president’s address will enable the country learn from its mistakes, plant itself as a global player and respond to changing communication and scientific dynamics. Presidential handlers had a responsibility to package the President and his address to reach the teaming majority of our people. This, they could have done taking into consideration that the traditional media of communication and information technology has changed considerably and drastically.
Many of our young people rely on the social media and other “outside sources” for their information. On New Year eve many of the young people thronged to the churches and other social and recreational centres to usher in the New Year.
Some of them went back to their houses after midnight and as at the time of the President’s address a considerable number of our youths were still asleep. There is nothing sacrosanct and secret or confidential about a Presidents New Year address. Presidential handlers should have changed tactics and released the President’s Address on social media outlets to coincide with the ushering in of the New Year.
The issues pertaining to and bothering our young population could be released through the President’s twitter handle. This will ensure that a lot of young people understand the President and what the President is doing on their behalf.
Many of our compatriots cannot afford to buy the newspapers and many of them may not even have light to watch the President’s address on television or listen to him on radio. So, the President’s address and all the efforts put into it will be a waste if majority of our people do not get to listen to the President.
The society is changing and no society or nation should allow itself to be trapped in rituals and “this is the way we have always done it”. The country must not remain with the ritual that the President must address the nation at 7a.m. on January 1 of each year and all “radio stations are advised to tune in or link up?”
A serious country must at all times study and analyse its demography and the changing dynamics of technological and scientific change and package and repackage the President in such a manner that those that elected him will know what he is doing on their behalf.
The President and his team spent considerable time packaging his address and delivering it and it will amount to an exercise in futility if the Nigerian people ignore the address or are not even aware of the address of the President. Democratic governance is anchored on accountability and the sovereign right of the people to know and participate in governance and by addressing the Nigerian people; it is clear that the President recognizes their right to know and his responsibility to be accountable. I may be wrong but I believe that a Presidential Address on New Year Day should be inspirational and contain “quotable quotes” that will give the people confidence in the ability, courage and presence of mind of their President to address their basic worries and challenges.
A Presidential New Year Address should address the heartbeat of the nation and their worries and reassure the nation that their country is in safe hands. A Presidential New Year Addresses should not necessarily be about a review of what has been done in the past or the projects that the administration intends to embark on.
My thinking is that such issues should be left to the ministers in their ministerial briefings or during the breakdown of the budget. Nigerians believe that the Presidential Address should have addressed the lack of cohesion and infighting within the regime and amongst senior ministers and senior functionaries of the administration.
Nigerians expected the President to inform them of his determination to reenergize his team and get them to work in harmony and deliver goods to the Nigerian people. Nigerians are no doubt apprehensive about the future and what the future holds in stock for them.
Most Nigerians are aware that the regime has made recoveries of huge sums of money from members of the past administration that pilfered the commonwealth, but are yet to see the impact of such recoveries on their lives. A lot of young people are apprehensive at job losses and are not even sure of securing employment after school.
These are the issues agitating the Nigerian people. Nigerians are not really interested in the fine distinction of process and structure in the quest for restructuring. A change agenda is an acknowledgement that things are not working well in the country and a change agenda must be open to addressing the process and structure of the Nigerian nation. In 2018, the President should focus more on governance and think less of the politicking. The different political parties should be left to deal with issues arising from nominations and politicking.
The Nigerian people expect the President to deliver and with the right attitude and the right team, the President can still reclaim lost ground.
The illegality of media parade by police of criminal suspects before their arraignment (2)
Last week, we started the above discourse which we shall be concluding today. Thereafter, we shall commence a sequence, whether or not the Senate can legally summon the IGP (part 1). Being a customary practice adopted by courts across common law jurisdictions, it has received judicial affirmation and vindication in a number of cases.
The cases of Ani v State (2002) 1 WLR (pt 747) 217 and Bozin v State(1985) 2 NWLR (pt 8) 465,Uzoma v State(2016) LPELR – 26059 (SC), Adamu v State (2017) LPELR – 41436 (SC), Aichenabor v State (2015) ALL FWLR (pt 763) are apposite here. Notably, the practice of parading alleged criminals before arraignment is repugnant to our criminal justice system.
This practice gained currency during the military era when armed robbery incidents were rampant shortly after the civil war. For the Police to show their capacity and competence to combat such crimes, they gleefully paraded suspects before the public, to gain public approval and commendation for their “herculean” efforts. But the practice is certainly unconstitutional and therefore an illegality.
As a matter of fact, to parade suspected criminals in public amounts to subjecting them to inhuman and degrading treatment which is certainly contrary to the provisions of Section 34of the 1999 Constitution. Section 34 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended stipulates that “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of person, and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”.
Furthermore, Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that “every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty”. Similarly, Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights stipulates that “every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man, particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.”
Having regard to the above provisions, it is crystal clear that media parade of suspected criminals is not contemplated in any of our extant laws and the Constitution, except it is an identification parade. A litany of courts pronouncements have since decried this obnoxious practice of parading suspected criminals publicly before trial, as unknown to any law in Nigeria. Cases such as Ndukwem Chiziri, Nice v. AG. Federation & Anor (2007) CHR 218, refer. In Nice’s case, at page 232, Justice Banjoko held that “the act of parading him (the suspect) before the press as evidenced by the Exhibits annexed to the affidavit was uncalled for and a callous disregard for his person. He was shown up to the public the next day of his arrest even without any investigation conducted in the matter.
He was already prejudiced by the police who are incompetent so to have such function; it is the duty of the Court to pass a verdict of guilt and this constitutes a clear breach of Section 36(4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended on the doctrine of fair hearing”. Similarly, in Dyot Bayi & 14 ors. v. FRN (2004) CCJLER 245 AT 265, the ECOWAS court castigated the media trial of Applicants when it held that: “The court is of the opinion that for the fact that the Defendants presented the Applicants before the press when no judge or court has found them guilty certainly constitutes a violation of the principle of presumption of innocence as provided in the 1999 Constitution and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
It is quite disheartening that despite these judicial pronouncements, the Police have continually turned a deaf ear and have persistently continued their unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional act of parading criminal suspects in defiance of the clear position of the law demonstrated in the above cases.
Ultimately, parading alleged suspects before the public without first getting final conviction of the suspects tars them with the hideous paint brush of guilt and criminality.
This is no doubt a traumatic experience for them, most especially if they are later found innocent of such allegations. Parading criminal suspects publicly amounts to gross violation of their fundamental human rights and remains unconstitutional as there is nowhere in our statutes that empowers the Police to humiliate a suspect, ridicule and disgrace him before a proper arraignment is carried out.
Although there is no legal authority legitimizing criminal parade of accused persons, it appears that the law does contemplate a possible scenario where an accused person, having given a confessional statement (in a criminal offence of outstanding notoriety), maybe subjected to a media parade, where he voluntarily recounts his confessional statement to the press.
This appears to be an exception to the rule in Ndukwem Chiziri and Nice Nice v. AG, Federation & Anor (supra). Even then, in any such of such parade, the accused remains a mere suspect and his confessional statement does not operate to negate or remove his protection of his right to fair hearcy ing before a proper court of law.
THE SENATE CAN LEGALLY SUMMON THE IGP (Part 1)
There has been much unnecessary hoopla as to whether or not the Senate of the National Assembly can legally summon the IGP to appear before it. Yes, it can, constitutionally and statutorily.
It possesses such powers under sections 4, 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution and under section 4 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, LFN, 2004.
Those positing contrary views are merely urging, most unfairly, the IGP to disrespect and desecrate the important institution of the Senate, which, together with the House of Representatives, form the bicameral National Assembly.
The NASS is the Legislature which is the 3rd Arm of Government (Section 4), the others being the Executive (section 5) and the Judiciary (section 6), all of the 1999 Constitution. For the records, it is the absence of this crucial Legislature that erases democra-cy as we know it. Throughout successive military juntas in Nigeria, the Executive and Judiciary were always left intact.
The Executive, coming in the form of military oligarchy, always appropriated (better still, misappropriated), the lawmaking powers of the legislature, which it executed in the form of Decrees at the federal level and Edicts at states level.
Ouster clauses were whimsically and capriciously built into Decrees and Edicts to oust the jurisdiction of the courts, thus weakening the judiciary. With the Legislature annihilated and the Judiciary castrated, the military rode slipshod on the citizenry in the most brazen, tyrannical, dictatorial, autocratic, oppressive and repressive manner, putting human rights, rule of law, accountability and transparency in governance in retreat and abeyance. It is therefore very crucial that the authority, sacredness and sanctity of the Senate must be respected by all Nigerians, however highly placed.
To do otherwise amounts to executive lawlessness ad recklessness. (To be continued).
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“We need to make sure we’re all working together to change mindsets, to change attitudes, and to fight against the bad habits that we have as a society.” (Justin Trudeau).
Nigerians, please continue to engage me in the national conversation whilst awaiting explosive topic 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
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.
Send your responses/private issues to: firstname.lastname@example.org or 08035304268 (SMS/WhatsApp)
News11 hours ago
Nigeria more transparent under Buhari –Lai Mohammed
News12 hours ago
2nd Niger Bridge: Julius Berger will demobilize from site in June –Reps
News11 hours ago
Jonathan warns Buhari against rigging Ekiti poll
Politics12 hours ago
Anyanwu: Nigeria’s democracy is in great danger
News12 hours ago
Don’t vote APC, PDP in 2019, Ezekwesili tells Nigerians
Politics12 hours ago
My plans for Oyo State, by Obisesan
News12 hours ago
UNICEF pledges to end violence against children
Politics13 hours ago
Ideh advocates more women’s participation in politics