‘Cucumis sativus’, cucumber, or cuke, is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family. Cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit.
The fruit of the cucumber is roughly cylindrical, elongated with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 centimeters (24 in) long and 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in diameter. Having an enclosed seed and developing from a flower. Cucumbers thrive in fertile, well-draining soil in full sun exposure. Cucumber should be planted after all danger of frost has passed in your area and the soil temperatures are neither too cold nor too hot.
The seeds are usually planted in hills with four to five planted at a depth of one inch. It has a light to dark green thin skin, moisture rich flesh and has tiny edible seeds inside. It is best harvested when it is young, tender and just short of achieving maturity.
It has a slightly sweet flavour and is mainly eaten raw in salad or sandwiches or in the form of juice. The phytochemical constituents contained in cucumber are alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, phlabotannins, steroids, saponins. These phytochemicals impart health benefits beyond basic nutrition.
The phytonutrient list for cucumbers are its cucurbitacins, lignans, and flavonoids. These three types of phytonutrients found in cucumbers provide us with valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits.
The leaf juice is emetic, that is, it is used to treat dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is a vague discomfort in the upper abdomen or chest that may be described as gas, a feeling of fullness, gnawing, or burning. The Cucumber seed is cooling, diuretic, tonic and vermifuge.
The emulsion made by bruising Cucumber seeds and rubbing them up with water is much used in the treatment of catarrh, bronchitis and diseases of the bowels and urinary passages. The fruit is depurative, diuretic, emollient, purgative and resolvent. The fresh fruit is used internally in the treat ment of blemished skin, heat rash etc, and also used externally as a medicine for burns, sores. A decoction of the root is diuretic, that is, it promotes urination.
Although cucumbers are fruits, we eat them as vegetables.
They contain more than 90 per cent of water. Cucumbers contain lots of vitamins: Our bodies need minerals and vitamins for them to act properly. One cucumber has your bodies’ daily needs of vitamins.
These are some of the Vitamins found in cucumbers: Thiamine (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), nicatin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium and phosphorous. Quick Fix for Cellulite: Rub a slice of cucumber on the problem area for a few minutes.
This will cause the collagen in your skin to tighten and firm up the outer layers. It works wonders on wrinkles as well. Energy Booster: If you want to get rid of afternoon tiredness without resorting to using caffeine, eat some cucumber. The Vitamin B and Carbohydrates in the cucumber will offer the energy boost your body needs.
A national security strategy
The present government should as a matter of national emergency roll out a comprehensive, forward looking, national and acceptable strategy for combating extant and emerging security challenges in Nigeria. This national security strategy must of necessity involve a summit of all the critical stakeholders involved in the prevention and detection of any crime against the internal and external security of Nigeria.
It must involve all the agencies and organs of government charged with the responsibility of or employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations.
The security summit must involve all those vested with legislative and judicial powers. It must involve religious, traditional, community, professional and civil society leaders. The National Security Summit (NSM) must map out extant and emerging and future security challenges and design strategies of combating, degrading and neutralizing them.
The Summit must review the report of past conferences and their recommendations and flesh out the ones that are still fresh and can assist in tackling the myriad security challenges affecting the country.
In undertaking this assignment, the government must avoid puritanism and grandstanding. When the nation is grieving or in pains, national security interest demands that all patriots must unite and chart a common agenda of national rebirth and reconstruction.
This period demands that opposition political parties and other vested interests must not play politics with national security issues but must unite with the government in finding solution to the security challenges of the nation. In constituting the membership of the summit, government must realise that the issue of security affects everybody and government must never play politics with the security of lives and properties.
The government must marshal the best brains and the representatives of individuals and organisations with credibility. National security challenges should not be used for the settlement of the “boys” or for opportunistic purposes.
We must not allow the country to go to blazes before we realise that the country is drifting and requires urgent surgical attention. It should be very clear to the leadership of our country that Nigerians are increasingly becoming apprehensive about the security of their lives and properties.
It is not as if the Nigerian people expect magic or miracles from the government. No, the people know that the government is run by human beings and that government is based on rules and procedures.
The Nigerian people know that government controls the means of gathering information and that the government controls the instruments of coercion and law enforcement.
The people expect the government to listen to their concerns. The people expect the government to react to their concerns and the people expect the government to degrade, neutralize and or obliterate extant and emerging security challenges threatening their lives and their properties.
The Nigerian people have the right to be apprehensive about the future and their conviction that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan did not have the will power or commitment to protect lives and properties contributed in no small measure in their resolve to dispense with the regime.
The Nigerian people find it difficult to connect with the cyclical and unending security challenges bedevilling the country.
The country went through the crisis in the Niger Delta that resulted in the blowing up of pipelines, the kidnapping of expatriates and the proliferation of small arms by self-styled militants. The government declared a ceasefire and granted monetary amnesty to the repentant militants and there has been relative calm in the Niger Delta with pockets of resistance.
This does not mean that the military has pulled out of the Niger Delta. The presence of the military is still very strong as they are maintaining internal security in the whole of the Niger Delta.
From the Niger Delta challenge the country witnessed heightened cases of kidnappings and ritual killings. From there we migrated to and progressed to the “Boko Haram” challenge that has led to the death of thousands of Nigerians, the displacement of millions of persons and the killing of countless number of security operatives.
The country is still battling with the challenge and committing millions of dollars to the “Boko Haram” project. As if the “Boko Haram” challenge was not enough, we had separatist agitations in the South-East that threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria. Fair enough the present regime acted decisively even if too late in putting it down.
As if we revel in new issues and new challenges, the farmers/ herders conflict, cattle rustling and rural banditry has assumed a monstrous and murderous dimension.
The government has a constitutional and statutory obligation to listen to the Nigerian people when they say that the government is not doing enough in the area of security. When the citizens are uncertain or steeped in confusion regarding what tomorrow portends for them, every other activity being carried out by them or by the government becomes tentative as fear and apprehension becomes the order of the day. It is my opinion that the present government is too slow in reacting to the mounting security challenges in the country. When something happens the people want to hear from their government and from their leaders.
This is because the government has security agents on the ground and has multiple channels of getting information. When the people do not hear from their government, opportunists, merchants of conflicts, speculators and gangsters take over information dissemination and fill the void left by the government. In Nigeria, rumours and rumour mongering is a big business and rumour travels at the speed of light.
There must be something alluring and salacious in embracing and believing unbelievable tales and stories which on their face value appears unbelievable.
Yet, government sometimes out of a culture of silence leaves the people no choice than to believe what ordinarily a rational and thinking fellow should not believe. We must therefore constantly remind the government at all levels that the security of lives and the guarantee of their welfare is the primary purpose of government and there is no ambiguity in this.
Any government that lacks or loses the ability to protect lives and properties is not worth being in power and the oath of office taken by persons in government loses its efficaciousness.
Saying so does not amount to running down any government. It does not amount to playing partisan politics. It means being patriotic because if the country goes down, Nigeria goes down and nobody can determine who will be internally displaced and who will become a refugee and nobody can determine who will die and who will survive.
We must consciously map out some of the security challenges bedevilling the country and make conscious efforts at degrading them. We must remain vigilant at all times and degrade potential security threat before they overwhelm us.
To this end, the government has a responsibility to find out why intolerance has become the order of the day and why ethnic nationalities that hitherto lived in peace have become murderous enemies.
The government should and must remain proactive in dealing with and speaking out on measures it is taking in tackling security challenges as silence in the face of threats to the nation amounts to abdication of responsibility.
Tinubu: A note to the Re-conciliator-in-Chief
Politics is such an interesting engagement. It accommodates all manner of behaviour; the good, the bad and the ugly. It is a field where all categories of players are recruited to participate. It is called all-inclusive because it is a game for all, old and young.
It is a game of contradictions and varying possibilities. It is a game where the summations are often not accurate. I have stated elsewhere that in politics, truth is a sacrilege and morality is a sin. You can’t preach truth and honesty in politics and get the pre-determined outcome.
In fact, the more your act of circumventing processes and procedures, the better you are celebrated as someone who possesses political savvy. In fact, you will be called several sobriquets; “Mr. Fix it”, “the Enforcer”, “the political Iroko”, “the ultimate masquerade”, “the conqueror” and many other names that conjure some mystical aloofness.
Just consider this funny side of politics. Last week, I read in the news a statement credited to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu where he advisedly told IBB and OBJ to enjoy their retirement and be collecting their pensions.
At first, I thought he was being quoted out of context because if anything, that advice should serve President Muhammadu Buhari better like a well prepared a la carte. PMB and IBB are almost age mates going by official records and I thought as a reconciliator-in-chief, he should be bold to remind PMB that his time is also up, he should join his colleagues of pensioners to echo the rhythms of retirement. Once given this onerous assignment unilaterally, I had thought Asiwaju would display his characteristic boldness by pointedly telling PMB to go into retirement. IBB and OBJ are already in retirement.
At 70, seven years ago, IBB formally sang the songs of goodbye to partisan politics; reason why chieftains of all political parties consult with him at different times for political endorsement and perspectives. At 75, Nigeria’s chief executive who recruited Asiwaju recently is still making all the moves to seek a second term.
He hasn’t spoken like the late Abacha political diadem, but all signs and signals are pointing in the direction of a second term; not with the vocality of his appointees including the SGF to press home that creed.
As a reconciliator-in-chief, Asiwaju Tinubu has enormous but simple responsibility to dispense with, reason being that he was part and parcel of the initial problems that took the party to different directions after the electoral victory in 2015.
First, APC just like any other political party, is an amalgam of strange bedfellows and parties that deliberately swallowed the phlegm of their idiosyncrasies and ideologies to cohabit a platform for the sole purpose of defeating a lacklustre Goodluck Jonathan presidency. Having won the election, instead of the party calling an elaborate meeting to take far-reaching decisions on power distribution and sharing, every political formation that was part of the merger struggled for political control.
PMB suddenly became elusive. He ignored the party and searched endlessly for his cabinet members for six months and finally came up with a list that was not pro-APC. A lot of those who made the list were persons who were not contributors to the APC victory.
How much a President Buhari can be trusted by a Tinubu remains a matter of conjecture. The second leg of the inertia and internal squabble was the politics of the National Assembly which created its own schisms because certain persons were seen as natural candidates for the principal positions of the parliament.
The tussle between Senator Saraki and Senator Lawan on the one hand and that of Dogara and Gbajabiamila on the other hand was the initial muscle-flexing political drudgery that almost polarized the party. A reticent PMB kept mute, and distanced the presidency from the political horse-trading and gerrymandering. The party was torn between two dominant political heavyweights: Saraki and Tinubu.
While the struggle lasted, tempers were high, nocturnal meetings were held, signatures were collected, unity lists were freely displayed, but both candidates of Tinubu, namely Femi Gbajabiamila and Senator Lawan, lost out in what seemed like a democratic coup d’état between members of the same party.
Because the leadership of the party was weak, the party couldn’t stamp its authority other than to watch with helpless awe as the tidal waves almost wrecked the sail. After the initial anger of Tinubu, he took a deserved rest and holidayed abroad in order to re-strategize for the future.
What people will not tell Tinubu is the fact that he is part of the problem of the APC. There are those who will never trust Tinubu no matter how much they smile and laugh in public with him.
They believe rightly or wrongly that Tinubu cannot be trusted to strike any concrete political deal with, and that when push comes to shove, he would capitulate. There are others who distaste his appetite for raw power, saying why must it be him alone.
The choice of the VP becomes an easy reference and why he wanted to control the National Assembly through his candidates formed part of why it was a fight to finish amongst those who eventually got the positions.
There are yet others who feel Asiwaju Tinubu must have struck a deal with PMB for his sudden turnaround to become the arrowhead of a deliberate plan to reconcile the party in preparation for the 2019 elections.
Some really want to know what that deal is, before they cave into the reconciliatory gambit. The rumoured presidential ambition of Tinubu in 2023 some say, might be the motivation for this new job.
In the light of the above, Tinubu must first and foremost reconcile himself with the party. He must put the cards on the table and try to convince the various factors and persons what the real issues are.
Even his unilateral appointment by President Buhari conveys its own kettle of fish. In the real sense, the party ought to realise that it deserves some measure of reconciliation and would have called a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting where it will form an item on the agenda. Having deliberated on the need for reconciliation across board, a reconciliation committee will be set up and could possibly be chaired by Asiwaju Tinubu.
This unilateral decision by the president to appoint a sole individual as chief reconciliator is fraught with problems. Some highly placed chieftains of the party are just sitting back watching with unvoiced interest, how far Asiwaju can go.
They reason why the president would narrow the assignment to him alone, as if he alone represents the sole conscience of the party when in actual sense, his earlier desire to control the power was part of the reason why the party went over the bar.
Those categories of persons would give Asiwaju audience. They will listen to him. They will swallow his message, but once he departs, they will vomit what they have swallowed and get back to their normal selves. In the months ahead, expectedly there will be movements across parties. Smaller groups will be formed within bigger groups.
Different groups will scout for new alliances. New alliances will try to expand their frontiers to gain some in-road into the political architecture of the country. Horse-trading, manipulations and gerrymandering will be deployed to maximum advantage. Cross carpeting will happen as individuals would try to funnel their political route towards 2019. Asiwaju Tinubu is no doubt not a new comer in the politics of Nigeria, but there are those who understand his motives too well when the tempo of politics gets to a particular crescendo.
His capacity for reaching out is equally legendary, but whether people will trust his motive this time will be another kettle of fish. As someone who invested so much of his political capital into making the merger possible, no one can deny him his rightful place as one of the formidable leaders of the APC. But to embark on this journey of reconciliation alone might be an uphill task.
The only difference might be in Asiwaju’s capacity for striking at gold anytime he feels the urge to make an impression. Traveling from the North to the South, East to the West meeting APC stalwarts could be energy-sapping and quite challenging, but the coming months would unveil a set of variables that would prove the success or otherwise of this latest effort to reposition a party that has been firing its salvos in different directions. The clock is ticking.
Naira as trade currency
Unexpectedly the cheering news filtered in as the United Kingdom announced its preparedness to include the Naira as one of three currencies in West Africa to be accepted for trade transactions by the British Government. Specifically, this information was released by no other than Paul Arkwright, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria.
He explained that the UK Export Finance (UKEF) will now be able to provide loan guarantees through local banks in Naira to support Nigerian businesses procuring goods and services from the UK as a practical measure to underwrite increased business between the two countries. This scheme we were told would be restricted to dealings with UK businesses that have given their consent to accept payment in Naira effectively underwriting the exchange risks inherent in such transactions.
The maximum funding by way of guarantee that could be attracted under the scheme is 85% of project costs and the only condition precedent is that the transaction would have a minimum 20% British content. It was also indicated that a sum of 750 million Pounds Sterling had been earmarked by UKEF for the take-off of the scheme. And opinion has been canvassed that with guaranteed long tenure credits at low interest rates for quality British products and services makes this proposition very competitive and attractive.
As should be expected even before this measure had been fully digested and understood, compatriots had as has been the case with us adorned their full garment of scepticism. I was involved in arguments on two vibrant WhatsApp platforms on the full implications of this development for the Nigerian economy. And was privileged to have granted online interview to Radio Nigeria on the implications of this development for the Nigerian economy which was carried on their network service.
There has been fears expressed to the effect that this liberalization would worsen the trade imbalance between Nigeria and Britain which had traditionally been in favour of Britain, to questions raised regarding how the accumulated trade balances in Naira which it was feared could be humongous would be settled by the Central Bank in which case if we are not careful we might have on our hands a cure worse than the disease; to issues regarding logically how the rate of exchange to be adopted for the determination of the Naira equivalent of the deals would be determined to the rate of interest to be charged on the transactions; to even what impact this development or rather to what extent it would impact the exchange rate of the Naira.
No doubt we should suspend wild celebrations until the full details of the proposed scheme are made known as counselled by the saying that the enemy is often in the details. But my well-considered position is that this development is wholesome and salutary for the Nigerian economy as it at once commences the process of conferring on the Naira the status of a tradable currency with the many advantages pertaining thereto. Most certainly this development if nothing else should at least reduce the dollar demand pressure on the economy thereby firming up the Naira exchange rate.
And as has been explained above some of the more than five hundred British companies that do business in Nigeria have accepted to absorb the exchange risks. And therefore any involvement of the Central Bank in this matter should be limited to ensuring that extant guidelines on such business relationships were not observed in the breach.
There will be no prize for guessing what precipitated this welcome change in policy. Britain following the reality of Brexit which denies the country the advantages of a large common market with its associated benefits particularly as it relates to the economy of scale has been forced to think outside the box if the growth of its economy is not going to be undermined with the negative potential of such a development for the quality of life of the average British.
And as a result of this thinking the need to boost bilateral trade relations particularly with countries with large markets and shared historic ties became inevitable hence this development which in our opinion as already explained is considered most welcome and salutary.
What this development portends for Nigerian businesses is that with a viable business proposal sourcing funding from their banks for doing business with British companies is made so much easier as the guarantee is in place and similarly exchange rate risks will no longer pose an inhibiting constraint. Why should Nigeria celebrate this development? The reality of the Nigerian economy is that it is still overly dependent on the external sector despite all the several efforts and attempts made over a fairly long period now notably commencing from the Babangida Structural Adjustment Programme of 1986.
The fact remains that all the policy measures needed for the attainment of the diversification of the Nigerian economy were well documented under this programme. But what has been the bull in the China shop with regard to inability to register commensurate progress has been the country’s poor record when it comes to implementing adopted policies. And the economy on the other hand being mono cultural; dependent on the oil sector for upwards of 85% of foreign exchange income clearly highlights the precariousness and vulnerability of the economy. Most certainly some progress has been recorded by this administration to blunt the sharp thrust of this situation on the economic jugular of the economy.
Some of the recent landmark developments that have contributed considerably to the reduction of the vulnerabilities of the Nigerian economy worth celebrating would most certainly include the effectiveness of the Investor, Exporters (I&E) window for the autonomous inflow of foreign exchange into the economy.
The success in this regard in effect means that we do not have to spend only what dollars we have directly earned. There are also developments with the agricultural sector where the country is targeting self-sufficiency in the not too distant future in rice production and other deliverables.
And with the success recorded under the fiscal regime with the rapid and massive augmentation of tax revenue which is being positively impacted by the VAIDS scheme currently under intense publicity and the unprecedented boost in fiscal flows through more focused, aggressive, transparent returns to the treasury by most revenue collection agencies of government, we must admit in all honesty that we have just commenced witnessing the glimmering of the return of a robust economy.
The government has projected a growth rate of 3.5% for the Nigerian economy in 2018 and all the other relevant agencies have followed suit with various levels of positive GDP growth predictions during the year. But in spite of such major strides being recorded, the acceptance of Naira as a trading currency by the British Government with its potential ripple effect, is yet another success milestone which we are convinced that as the details are being finalized would most certainly give a fillip to the growth prospects of the Nigerian economy.
•Dr. Chizea is a financial expert.
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