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Missing links in presidential address

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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.

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Carabao Cup final: Aguero, Aubameyang in marksmen showdown

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     …De Bruyne, Ozil also go head-to-head

 

Arsenal and Man City will continue their rivalry as they battle for the Caraboa Cup on Sunday at the famous Wembley Stadium but much focus will be on the striking war between City’s Sergio Aguero and Gunners’ new recruit, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. While Aguero has been one of the most prominent players in the league owing to his awesome goal-scoring record since joining the Sky Blues in 2011, Aubameyang is seen as Arsenal messiah for goal scoring.

The Citizens’ point-man seems to be well-focused for this tie such that he decided to let go a Wigan fan over an on-pitch bust-up as the Argentine claimed the supporter spat at, tried to punch and verbally abused him in the shock loss to Wigan at the DW Stadium on Monday.

Since joining from Borrusuia Dortmund just before the close of the January transfer window, Gunners faithful have found a new wave of optimism that their search for a pointman in the mold of club legend Thierry Henry is over.

The Gabonese striker showed Arsenal fans and a glimpse of what he would be bringing to the table as he scored a brilliant goal in the 5-1 whitewash of Everton some few weeks ago; although he was slightly offside from the move.

He was to be at the receiving end of a poor call exactly a week later when his goal against Tottenham was ruled offside but the replay showed he was level with the Spurs’ last defender. In recent time, Arsenal, to some extent, have been masters of Cup football as they defeated Man City and Chelsea on their way to winning of the FA Cup last season.

The win over Chelsea, whom they also defeated to win the Community Shield, was their third success in four years in the FA Cup and they will be eager to keep up their good record of late at Wembley. Another head-to-head war is expected in the midfield between Kevin De Bruyne and Mezut Ozil.

De Bruyne has been one of the most prominent players for Pep Guardiola’s team this season and the Belgian’s relentless consistency has seen him in the running for the player of the season. Apart from scoring vital goals, he also has the vision to set up the likes of Aguero and Raheem Sterling and his one-touch football is second to none.

Ozil, on his part can, also initiate moves that could break the resistance of the expensively-assembled City rear guard. And with assist specialist Henrikh Mkhitaryan roving in the midfield, if the German find his right element, his supplies to the likes of AUbameyang and Danny Welbeck may see Arsenal enjoying another bragging right of another cup success in England.

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If in doubt, please quit!

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A major trust of news reporting in journalism is: “if in doubt, leave out or drop the story.” In my days as a News Editor, whenever a reporter couldn’t substantiate his facts, I will drop the news item. It is a norm that conforms to the best professional practices. Integrity and truth are the hallmark of media practice but with the advent of social and online media, those valued ethics seem to have been practically jettisoned. And the consequences of such professional delinquency daily stare us in the face, regrettably though.

This same ethos applies to those planning their conjugal affairs on a sandy soil of anxiety, doubt and uncertainty. If betrothed lovers are frequently experiencing rancour, threats of breakup and relating to each other with mutual suspicion and fear, they don’t need a soothsayer or a prophet to tell them that they are not compatible. Many of those in desperate mood to remain in troubled relationships are women.

Reasons adduced for their tenacity usually centre around fear of the unknown, age, social class, low selfesteem, economic factor, religious affinity and beauty among others. Some of them prefer to go into ‘trial’ marriage and fail than let go their abusive partner.

The reckless decision they often make is to blindly walk down the aisle with partners they can’t have peace and desired happy matrimony with. A 31-year-old woman would not let go off her fiancé of two years despite her frustration and constant abuse in the relationship.

Twice she had called it quit but she reconciled on both occasions without her boyfriend showing any sign of remorse. Devising a way to end regular disputes, she moved into his apartment unannounced thinking perhaps they would understand themselves better by living together. Her boyfriend’s response was to bring another woman home for the weekend. Yet, she stayed on, weeping, begging for his love. They eventually got married and it only lasted for nine months! She packed out with seven months pregnancy when she almost lost her life due constant battering.

A young man is currently battling with high blood pressure arising from constant cases of cheating, insults, threats to quit the relationship and coping with hardline rules of his fiancée. His reason for hanging on with this woman is her beauty. He said he would rather learn to endure than let her go.

“All my friends envy me because of her beauty,” he said. More than thrice, he had caught her pant down with other men. She cheats a lot. She insults him at will and set rules for him as condition to remain in the relationship. As you read this article, they are planning to wed in a couple of months’ time. Should we then ascribe these kinds of relationship to genuine love?

If yes, then, love is truly blind! It shows love can blindfold lovers when they are engrossed in it. In most cases, the love charm usually have a vice-hold on one of the partners. When blinded in love, they usually act blighted. Consequently, the traits of such desperate, confused and helpless partners are to:

• Defend weaknesses, character flaws that would eventually shred the union.

• Get fixated and unreasonably enslaved to their partners by trying to please, satisfy, compromise and sacrifice to tag along; forgetting that once they beg or manage to go into marriage, they need to keep begging and managing to remain married for the rest of their life.

• They are afraid of the unknown. Attitudes they won’t tolerate ordinarily or naturally would become their choice just to remain in relationship.

• They accommodate those things to feel “fulfilled” among their peers even when eventual failure looms large in the horizon.

• They often ignore every counsel that is not in tandem with their sentiments, interests and expectations.

• They often learn their lessons at a time the situation is beyond remedy. They calmly live with the scars because it was their choice. There are three levels of marriage:

• Marriage contracted in fear – desperation, low self-esteem, age consideration and social class

• Marriage contracted in reluctance – family and peers pressure, abstract considerations, marrying partners not wholly convinced or satisfied with many things about.

• Marriage contracted in wilful decision – marrying one’s dream partners, desired choice, best friend, feeling satisfied, fulfilled and complementary to her life. It is advisable and wiser to avert awaited marital failure by quitting troubled relationships. As it is often said, “A broken relationship is better than a broken marriage.”

Some are currently regretting their decisions in marriage because of the choices they made. While many of them have tried frantically to make their marriages work; but alas, they couldn’t get it right not due to their own faults, but because they paired with wrong partners.

There are those who might feel heeding a counsel that is against their wish is obviously denying them the right of choice in their personal affairs. I wish to submit that counsel is not a law. There’s no compulsion in it. Counsel is a piece of advice steeped in rich experience and knowledge. My sincere prayer is that may the song: “Had I Known” not be your anthem at last. Amen.

 

Send your responses/private issues to: mikeawe@yahoo.co.uk or 08035304268 (SMS/WhatsApp)

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Tinubu’s uphill task

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“You cannot influence a political party to do right if you stick to it when it does wrong” – John Bengough

 

When a doctor is called in to handle an ailment after the disease has eaten deep into the patients, the task of saving that life would depend only on divine intervention. It does not matter the quality of that doctor or his antecedents in handling such issues in the past.

The challenge of such doctor is analogous to the one being faced by the former Governor of Lagos State, Aswaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, who was recently appointed the arbitrator and at the same time a reconciliatory officer to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

Incidentally, President Muhammadu Buhari who gave Tinubu the gigantic task cannot absolve himself from the problem. In fact, political observers believe that the problem of APC derives largely from the shortcomings of its leader, the President, due to his indifferent approach to political party matters.

 

Going by the analysis of experts, the style of the President in political party management has been underwhelming and clearly falls far below the required standard and this has led to the emergence of all kinds of cliques within the party. Pundits in political matters would always say that there can never be a vacuum in political space. The space President Buhari’s poor political strategy could not fill easily got occupied by pockets of chiefdom.

 

It is largely believed that the foundation of the myriads of APC challenges was long laid when the President at the inception of his administration told all who cared to know that he would not be interested in who emerges as the leaders of the National Assembly but when those he did not want emerged, he led the onslaught against them since June 9th 2015.

 

Political watchers believe that on the issue of National Assembly the hide and seek approach from the President actually helped to fertilize the crisis that eventually engulfed the ruling party.

 

Among those within the party who shared in the President’s obvious bitterness and anger against the leadership of the National Assembly was Tinubu who ostensibly remain embittered because his cronies in the parliament lost out in the scheme. Tinubu then literally supplied the amour with which the National Assembly particularly the Senate was and is still being tormented.

 

The sudden appointment of Tinubu as chief arbiter at this time is therefore curious and raises a number of questions. The appointment is trying to help observers discern the mind of the President on the situation in the party.

 

Could it be that the President after his review of the situation has decided to embrace one of the factions in the party at the detriment of the others? Or is it that Tinubu has been identified as the bigger problem and has to be given the task of confronting the task of removing the heap of refuge he probably helped to assembly?

 

For Tinubu, the view out there on his new job is similar to what happens when a party to a case is appointed to make peace, two things are likely to play out, he buries his own interest and accommodates other people’s interests for peace to reign or he stands on the point of advantage and pushes through his own agenda. Either way Tinubu decides to go it’s not going to be an easy task both for him and the party.

 

That is why it is very germane the verdict of the embattled Comrade APC Senator of Kaduna State, Senator Shehu Sani that APC would be finally ruined if Asiwaju Tinubu fails in his mission to bring peace in the party.

Even though Tinubu is a master in the game of politics and the intrigue therein, he would need the courage of biblical David and the Wisdom of Solomon, David’s son, to figure out an acceptable solution to the APC crisis.

 

Other posers waiting to be unravelled in Tinubu’s assignment is whether the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who has spent the last three years of his political life eulogizing President Buhari would be thrown out just like that as has been the wish and desire of Tinubu? Why not, you may say, election year for politicians is a time of betrayal and sacrifice especially of those whose electoral value is inconsequential. Electorally, Tinubu stands head ahead of Oyegun, and this is not in dispute.

 

Also, can Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State dine together politically with Comrade Senator Sani and Senator Hunkuyi whose building was even demolished during the fight?

 

After Governor Ibrahim Ganduje of Kano State declared publicly recently that he has parted ways forever with his former boss, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, and his Kwakwasiyya group, would Tinubu make him leak his vomit?
What of Tinubu himself, can he stand with the Senate President Bukola Saraki to say old ways have passed away for a new way to begin? Even when it’s widely believed that he contributed to the inconveniences that prevented Saraki from enjoying fully his number three position? Today if you Google Saraki the image you get is not that of a nation’s head of parliament presiding but that of a criminal suspect in the dock, can this wound be easily healed by Tinubu’s drug box?

However, there is this optimistic attitude indicating that in politics everything is possible. Believers in this optimism easily embrace Maurice Barres, the French novelist who captured the never say die spirit of politicians in his statement that “the politician is an acrobat. He keeps his balance by saying the opposite of what he does”. How sincere is Tinubu and Buhari on this reconciliatory project?

 

 

There are so many other possibilities to Tinubu’s assignment that cannot also be overlooked. It could have been a strategy of a drowning Presidency itching into general election and hoping to keep up with whoever can help at such a critical period.

 

It could also be the geo-political North’s own strategic response to halt the seeming unity in the Southern Nigeria, a development that could be the deadliest blow to the Northern hegemony. There couldn’t have been a better way to tie apart that dangerous geo-political romance in the South than pulling out the biggest political tree in the region and whispering into his ears, the goodies that await him. There couldn’t have been an easier way to achieve this especially as the Aswaju is not enjoying the best of relationship with the Yoruba socio-cultural and political group, the Afenifere, who has been at the forefront of this crusade. There is also the other treachery aspect indicating that Tinubu might just be playing a fifth columnist role against the system for deserting him after victory only to rush coming because the day of reckoning has arrived.

 

 

Also as a possible instigation to Asiwaju’s assignment is the scorching attack by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo on both President Buhari and his ruling party. The easiest way to contain and possibly help divert the conversation away from the huge effect of that outburst on the government and the party is cleverly to draft from the same region as Obasanjo a formidable political iroko to quell the accompanying political uprising.

 

It could also have been that what President Buhari did in drafting Tinubu to go and make peace in a war where he has been a top commander is just the extension of taking the people for granted. No wonder American Journalist, Franklin Adams once remarked that “there are many politicians who believe, with conviction based on experience, that you can fool all the people all of the time.”

 

But in reality, after President Buhari and his party rode to power cruising on the falsehood of propaganda and deceit, can they fool Nigerians again after the hellish journey since 2015?

 

For Tinubu, there are some landmines on his political career that he must apply all his political wizardry to manoeuvre his way in this difficult assignment. At stake is his goodwill with the people and no politicians would want to toy with it.

 

American businessman, Marshall Field, aptly captured it better in these words: “Goodwill is the only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.” Nigerians are watching to see how the Jagaban will writhe out of this. God help Nigeria.

 

 

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