Former President Obasanjo is one of the luckiest living Nigerians having served as Military Head of State and a two term elected President of Nigeria. Obasanjo by himself presided over the affairs of this country for 11 years, a period long enough for any good leader to have built strong economy and enduring national institutions. In 11 years, a good leader would have deepened democracy, obedience to the rule of law and respect for human rights. Did Obasanjo as president uphold any of these essential values?
Despite the obsession to criticize his fellow journey men in power, Obasanjo is part and parcel of the problem with Nigeria due to his contributory leadership failures. The least expected of him is an open apology to fellow countrymen and women and not the open admonition of one of his pupils whom he railroaded into power knowing in his words that; ‘he was weak on economy’. Why give a man a job you know he cannot effectively? What use is a good advice if the recipient lacked the capacity to analyse and appreciate the good and bad in the advice?
In his now infamous letter, Obasanjo catalogued Buhari’s leadership failures. Apart from nepotism and clannishness which are indisputable, President Obasanjo is guilty of every single sin he enumerated against Buhari and therefore in no position to act holier than though.
Again, he also misfired on the fine essence of democracy when he asked President Buhari not to seek for re-election in 2019, just like his idea of a third force at this hour and time is a no brainer.
I will refuse to accede to any process that will abridge President Buhari’s right to vote and be freely voted for. The decision for him to contest in 2019 should be his personal decision after he has consulted with his family; his core supporters and he consider himself physically fit for the rigors of office.
Re-elections as well as the performances of a leader all over the world are determined by the electorate, who, in Nigeria’s case, run into multiple scores of millions. In fact, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently said it has over 70 million registered voters. One man, in his arrogance, must not be allowed to appropriate such voting power to himself. Election is not a do or die; it is either won or lost. I believe President Buhari understands that the 2019 election is his to win or lose based on his stewardship.
The same reason I was opposed to the attempt by some elements to stop former President Goodluck Jonathan from running in 2015, is also why I am opposed to anyone stopping Buhari from exercising his legitimate right to seek re-election.
Assuming, President Buhari’s performance is irredeemably woeful, stopping him from running in my view will not help our democracy as that will be cheating and shielding him from angry voters. Our politics will become better when voters interest are put at the heart of our politics. Whereby the leadership fail to deliver on the dividends of democracy, voters must summon the courage and bravery to vote them out.
Make no mistake; this is a dark and dangerous time. Look at our country, look at what is happening.
Things are bad; people are suffering. We are now more polarized than we were before 2015. Our democracy is under assault and at a grave risk of collapse. Our democracy is not guaranteed just as there is no guarantee to our continued corporate existence. Look at the way we treat one another. Talk to one another. Look at the way we spread hate and fear and the way we kill one another.
Millions of our citizens are disgruntled and no longer feel any sense of belonging and ownership of the country.
Fundamental values that define our unity as a nation are being shredded. The dignity and respect that every Nigerian should be accorded is being erased.
Rather than finger pointing and blame game, some questions we must consider providing answers to are: What do we do ahead of 2019?
What do we do to elect leaders with not just good intentions but leaders capable of good actions?
What do we do to elect leaders who are determined to solve our toughest problems by putting their heads down and getting to work, not leaders with closed minds? How do we do away with leaders who do not feel the whip when laid on the back of the other man? What do we do to elect leaders who will unite the country?
Bravery they say resides in every heart and the time will come when it will be summoned.
Well, the time has come.
I still have faith in Nigeria. I know Nigerians like me who still believe in this country and it is to those patriots that I direct this message to: Friends, even as we saw unprecedented levels of partisan division in our politics, anyone paying attention may also have noticed a new kind energy taking root all across the country. I have faith that this energy is going to grow this year. So I’ll tell you what I’m looking for in 2019.
Friends, I am going to be working with you to find and elect leaders with courage. Leaders who will truly stand up for Nigerians and stand up for what’s right for the country.
Today I invite you to join me in the formation of the Nigeria Voters Society (NVS), an all-inclusive political pressure group comprising of registered voters who are determined to influence the outcome of 2019 elections.
NVS promises to work hard to protect and enhance the quality of life of Nigerians and to improve the well being of citizens through the promotion of civic engagement and awareness about issues and their implications for the public good.
We shall be open to work with others in our campaign for a better society by supporting candidates that share in our values and vision of a democracy fit for the 21st century, where every voice is heard, every vote is valued equally, and every citizen is empowered to take part. We shall make case for informed voting even as we seek to embed democracy into the heart of public debate, and to foster the democratic spaces which encourage active citizenship.
We pride ourselves as the real voters’ mass movement. Our membership will be open only to registered voters. That is; citizens who are entitled to vote and be voted for in general elections.
INEC said it has over 70 million registered voters. Our goal is to reach over 10 million of the 70 million registered voters whose decision on how to vote will be a major deciding factor on who wins in the elections
Another reason for the emergence of the Nigeria Voters Society is to remind elected officials at all levels that they are always accountable and not just at election time. They should listen to and respond to the wishes of the public in genuine ways.
Friends, if you’re feeling powerless about the way the country has drifted, don’t! We’ve got important work to do together, and its work that can deliver the strongest possible referendum on the political class.
We’re looking for earlier and more effective participation from the public in both development and planning processes in all of our activities in NVS, so people have more meaningful opportunity to contribute. If you want to be a member of the Nigerian Voters Society, please contact us through: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit: www.votersociety.com
When ‘fake news’ is actually ‘genuine news’
Last weekend in faraway Madrid, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told the whole world that with President Muhammadu Buhari piloting the affairs of Nigeria, the country is in very safe and competent hands, and thus there is no cause for alarm.
The Minister, who spoke at a mini town hall meeting with the staff of the Nigerian Embassy in the Spanish capital and a cross section of Nigerians living in the European country on Saturday, added that contrary to the “fake news” being peddled on the Social Media, Nigeria is making steady progress, especially in revamping the economy, tackling insecurity and fighting corruption; the three cardinal programmes of the Buhari Administration
He said: “Don’t believe everything you read on the Social Media. Nigeria is neither at war nor in crisis.
“Contrary to what you may be reading on the Internet, the Buhari Administration is putting Nigeria on a solid footing, after the years that were eaten by the locust.”
Speaking further, he said naysayers are spending millions of naira to distort the true situation of things in Nigeria and to make the administration look bad.
The Minister added that the administration’s achievements should be evaluated against the background of the tough challenges that it has faced since coming into office on May 29, 2015.
“It is said that if you don’t know where you are coming from, you won’t know where you are going,” he said, listing the drastic fall in the price of crude oil, the low foreign reserves at $24 billion, the fact that the Federal Government was borrowing to pay workers’ salaries and the fact that many states were unable to pay salaries as some of those challenges.
Mohammed also said when the administration came into office, unpaid pensions had run into billions of naira in many states, contractors had abandoned sites across the country because they were being heavily owed, infrastructure was in poor state, power generation was 2,690 megawatts, billions were being paid as fuel subsidies to fat cats, corruption was the order of the day, while 20 of the 27 local governments in Borno State were under the firm control of Boko Haram.
Of course, Alhaji Mohammed was doing the job with which his portfolio insists he carries out which is to propagate the positive sides of the government in which he serves.
However, sadly for the Minister his attempts to lump virtually all reports in the Social Media as “fake news” (à la a certain Donald Trump?) is for me taking it a bit too far.
Yes, while it is true that a lot of news in the Social Media is fake and cannot be substantiated, that does not mean that every news item in the Social Media can be dismissed with the same wand.
Only recently, the whole world was tuned into a school in the US state of Florida when another mass shooting at an educational institution took place with the loss of 17 innocent souls by a disgruntled expelled student.
The incident, the 17th school shooting to have taken place in the US this year alone was carried by both the regular media and Social Media platforms.
However, what is even more impressive was the fact that the media (whether regular or Social) did not stop at just reporting the shooting incident, but went further to expose the fact that America’s top law enforcement agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), had been warned of the possibility that Nikolas Cruz, the shooter, was a danger to society, but the agency failed to act with dire consequences.
Now wait for it, rather than the agency in question (FBI) adopting a siege mentality and dismissing the allegations as false (and even hiring people to defend them in the media) they owned up that they had actually received the information but deemed it not serious enough for further action.
The Bureau’s Director, Christopher Wray immediately acknowledged the lapse and promptly released a statement: “It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures. We are still investigating the facts. I am committed to getting to the bottom of the incident.”
This is in spite of the fact that the agency receives thousands of reports every day of potential danger, making it not humanely possible to properly treat all of them!
Back home in Nigeria, the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, lamented just like his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, that they had got wind of the recent attack in which 39 people were slaughtered in Zurmi Local Government Area of the state, and yet the police and other security agencies failed to act.
Till today, the police have not refuted the governor’s claims or given a reasonable explanation as to why the brutal and callous acts have become an almost daily occurrence.
In fact rather than show some level of contrition, the Police spokesman, Mr Jimoh Moshood, in a very un-PRO-like manner called the Benue State governor a “drowning man”!
The PRO has not been punished neither has the police issued a public apology.
I vividly remember while interviewing the then FIFA Secretary General, Sepp Blatter, in Cairo during the FIFA U17 World Cup, which the North African country hosted in 1997, I asked him how FIFA acted on reports that they used to prevent Nigeria from hosting the U20 World Cup in 1995 and he pointedly told me that besides the regular media channels (back then there was no Social media), they had other sources to verify what is happening in their member nations.
FIFA had withdrawn the hosting rights close to the 1995 edition on the grounds of a meningitis outbreak in Nigeria.
It is the same thing with other governments and potential investors who have their ways of checking on the country they want to put their investments in.
So in as much as Alhaji Mohammed is right to portray the government in a positive light; he should also be quick to acknowledge flaws were necessary; because it is not possible to gloss over the loss of 73 lives in one night in Benue State or the murder of another 39 in Zamfara State or the multiple suicide blasts in Borno which left 18 dead and more than 50 others injured or the recent attack on a girls’ school in Yobe State.
Like we were told in Advertising/Public Relations 101 course, “A good product does not need much advertising or public relations”.
As soon as things generally improve in the country, no minister will need to tell us because both we the citizens living in Nigeria and those in other countries will notice the improvement!
- Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!
Fire in my breadbasket,Unquenchable with water,Flaming in my belly
Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!
Fire in my chest,Far from a retardant’s reach,My heart is on fire
- Ethanol I gulp,Tobacco I chew,Intensified the agony becomes,I’ve been set aglow within.
Hot pepper I guzzle,Spiced plantain I gobble,Bloated my stomach becomes,I am burning up.
In the last one week, there’s been an upsurge in stomach related symptoms in a Lagos community which has been ascribed to a new local alcoholic beverage in town. It was said to be a mixture of concentrated alcohol spiced with spicy herbs and alligator pepper!
Miss OPK walked into the consulting room clutching the upper part of the tummy, complaint was that of central upper abdomen pain. This symptom have been on and off over the last 3 years, usually brought on by hunger and her favorite (fried plantain), but relieved by milk. The most recent episode started 4 days prior to hospital visit.
This is classical of Peptic Ulcer Disease.
What it is
Peptic ulcers are sores that develop in the lining of the stomach, lower esophagus, or small intestine. They’re usually formed as a result of inflammation caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, as well as from erosion from stomach acids. Most ulcers happen because of infection with the bacteria. An ulcer in the stomach is known as a gastric ulcer while that in the first part of the intestines is known as a duodenal ulcer.
The offending bacteria
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria transmitted via contaminated food, water (or other drinks) or utensils. It’s more common in countries or communities that lack clean water or good sewage systems. It can also be picked up through contact with the saliva or other body fluids of infected people.
It was discovered in 1982 and has been found to be the cause of most ulcers. These germs can enter the body and live in the digestive tract. After many years, they can cause sores, called ulcers, in the lining of your stomach or the upper part of your small intestine. Infection with H. pylori is common. About two-thirds of the world’s population has it in their bodies. For most people, it doesn’t cause ulcers or any other symptoms.
After H. pylori enters your body, it attacks the lining of the stomach, which usually protects one from the acid the body uses to digest food. Once the bacteria have done enough damage, acid can get through the lining, which leads to ulcers. These may bleed, cause infections, or keep food from moving through the digestive tract. Many people get H. pylori during childhood, but adults can get it too. The germs live in the body for years before symptoms start, but most people who have it will never get ulcers.
What gives it away
The most common symptoms of a duodenal ulcer are waking at night with upper abdominal pain or upper abdominal pain that improves with eating. With a gastric ulcer the pain may worsen with eating as gastric acid production is increased as food enters the stomach . The pain is often described as a burning or dull ache. Other symptoms may include bloating, belching, farting, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, vomiting of blood or passage of dark stool (both could point to bleeding) weight loss (in gastric ulcer), water brash (rush of saliva after an episode of regurgitation to dilute the acid in esophagus ) and foul breath (halitosis).
Infection with H.pylori, some types of pain medications (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDS), taking some other medications along with NSAIDS (such as such as steroids, anticoagulants, low-dose aspirin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors- SSRIs etc) can greatly increase the chance of developing ulcers. Though stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and smoking don’t cause ulcers, they can keep them from healing quickly or make it worse and intake of caffeine/coffee is also said to be less contributory.
A comprehensive history and examination followed by some tests.
1. Laboratory tests for H. pylori; This is to determine whether the bacterium H. pylori is present in the body. It can be detected using a blood, stool or breath test (Urea Breath Test-UBT) The breath test is the most accurate.
2. Endoscopy; A scope is used to examine the upper digestive system (endoscopy). If an ulcer is detected, small tissue samples (biopsy) may be removed for examination in a lab.
3. Upper GI series; During the procedure, the client stands or sits in front of an x-ray machine and drink barium, a chalky liquid. Barium coats the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine so the shapes of these organs can be seen more clearly on x-rays.
4. Computer Tomography (CT) scan; can help diagnose a peptic ulcer that has created a hole in the wall of the stomach or small intestine.
Gastrointestinal bleeding, perforation (leading to peritonitis), Anemia, Stomach (gastric) outlet obstruction and in the long term may lead to cancer.
Drugs that reduce acid secretion and appropriate antibiotics to eradicate H. pylori.
You can protect yourself from getting an H. pylori infection with the same steps you take to keep other germs at bay; 1. Basic hand washing hygiene after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. 2. Avoid food or water that’s not clean. 3. Do not eat anything that is not cooked thoroughly. 4. Avoid food served by people who are not hygienic.
Please visit a doctor as appropriate as other conditions (such as GERD; literally, heartburn) mimic peptic ulcer.
How orientation, background influences marital relationship
To a very large extent, the orientation, cultural, parental and societal background of every individual influences the person’s behavioural pattern.
If such orientation is wrong and is not refined by virtue of academic exposure, better social education, personal encounter with Christ and some other factors, the tendency to carry wrong behavioural patterns into premarital and marital relationship is very high.
For instance, two boys and two girls are born into a home where they have a very terrible father in terms of marital relationship. The man regularly maltreats their mother right before them, and cares very little about her feelings and emotions.
The boys grow up into men with a conviction never to behave like their father in handling of wives. The girls grow up into ladies with a conviction to be very careful with men. “No man will ever be allowed to treat me like daddy treats mummy,” they say.
So, such ladies eventually receive marriage proposals from ‘innocent good’ men and begin to display ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude to the dismay of potential male spouses. Several minor issues that evolve are blown beyond proportion by the ladies, with the tone of human right activism and readiness for contention. Issues are created where there are none and the guy is wondering: “What is so serious about this issue? What have I done wrong to warrant all this overwhelming reaction I am getting?” My brother, you are not the problem. Orientation, background is the challenge here.
You can imagine what will be her reaction if such a guy proposes the idea of a joint bank account to a girl whose mother had suffered into riches, after her father lost his job, only for her father to later hijack her mother’s sweat and use it to service some strange women, abandoning, despising and maltreating her mother.
Some guys also grow up under such maritally failed fathers with an orientation that it was correct to treat wives the way their father treated their mother and when they go into marital relationship, they perceive and treat their wives the way they treat their material possessions.
Both male and female children could have also grown up under a very terrible mother and a good father. It could have been their mother who consistently disrespected, cheated, harassed and maltreated their father and the males grew up with a conviction that women are always bad and dangerous, and should never be granted any iota of freedom. These are the husbands that eventually enslave wives in today’s society.
The females could have also grown up with a conviction to treat husbands better than their mother did, only to get marriage proposals from guys that have prepared their minds on how to pocket any woman that they would end up having as wives. So, ‘innocent good’ wives end up suffering unnecessarily in the hands of wrongly oriented men, despite all efforts, made by the ladies to be good wives.
It is equally possible for girls whose mother had frustrated their father, to think that it is a proper way to handle a husband. So, they end up dealing terribly with innocent husbands, who may struggle consistently to impress and love them, without succeeding.
The influence of orientation and parental background on marital relationship even extends to family economics.
If a man grew up in a home where his father did nothing but left his mother to shoulder all financial responsibilities of the family, the man is likely not to contribute a penny to the financial upkeep of his family when he gets married. You cannot accuse him of not loving his wife and family based on that character because he sees that lifestyle as a norm. If it was his father that shouldered all financial responsibilities when he was growing up, he is not likely to expect any financial contributions from his wife, when he marries.
If it was a girl that grew up seeing her father shoulder every single financial responsibility, she is not likely to contribute anything financially to her family when she marries, even when her husband’s income is a peanut when compared to hers. Don’t accuse her of not loving her husband because she is doing what she believes is right.
On the other hand, if it was her mother that shouldered financial responsibilities when she was growing up, she is likely to aspire and actually do the same thing. It is only education, informal exposure to learning or change of orientation along the path of growing up that can make things happen differently.
Any child who grew up in a home where he or she has been made to believe that no human being from any other tribe in this world except his or her own tribe of origin is reliable, will definitely have challenges in relationship with people of other tribes.
These are some of the background checks that ought to be made during courtship. This is why I wonder whether those who get married without courtship actually understand the meaning and implications of marriage.
How do you know whether or not you are wrongly oriented or have a wrong attitudinal influence from your parental or cultural background? Weigh you attitudes with the word of God in the Bible and embark on mind renewal because any philosophy that possesses you and designs your mindset has possessed your entire life.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then, you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).
You can place an order for a copy of the book, MAKING YOUR MARRIAGE WORK by Albinus Chiedu. You can equally tune your radio to SMA104.7fm every Saturday by 7:15am for MARITAL ISSUES with Albinus Chiedu. You can also listen online via www.smafmonline.com. Your marriage shall be a blessing and a testimony in Jesus name.
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