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Posts tagged ‘Hausa’

Again, A Case of Uncounted Billions By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

To a first-time visitor, much of Nigeria is likely to appear like the wreckage of a long war, what with its gutted roads, rutted infrastructure, the near-absence of electric power, and the paucity of pipe-borne water. It’s a developmental nightmare, a relic of the misshapen monuments of small-minded men and women, a patchwork of ill-conceived, abandoned projects.

Given Nigeria’s shape—or, more appropriate, its lack of shape—you’d expect a certain sense of urgency about transforming the space. You’d expect politicians and experts to focus at every opportunity on ways of creating a healthcare system worthy of human beings, revitalizing the educational sector, creating jobs for milling youths, providing basic facilities, and changing the moral tone.

Instead, what you find is a deranged obsession with a rat race whose sole goal is the primitive accumulation of riches. The country’s political leaders, who incidentally lead the rat race, seem to miss the point that the winners of such a race remain rats! Yes, a lot of them amass obscene sums of illicit wealth, but lucre merely raises their rating as ridiculous figures. The more they steal, the more they consolidate their contemptible quotient.

But Nigeria’s political “leaders” are far from the only problems. If anything, they seem to reflect a broader cultural malaise. Many Nigerians, one suspects, are hostile to the deep thinking that is a precursor to remarkable transformation. We’d much rather muck around in sectarian, ethnic and partisan baiting. Confronted with evidence of systemic collapse, many of us are content to blame Christians or Muslims, Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa, the North or South. We fail to realize that, where it counts, so-called Christian and so-called Muslim figures collaborate in schemes that impoverish the rest of us; that Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa politicians are not averse to acting together to corner looting opportunities; that men and women from the North and South work together daily to abort Nigeria’s promise.

The reportorial priorities of the Nigerian media mirror, I suggest, Nigerians’ little tolerance for substance. Despite Nigeria’s abysmal condition, it’s hard to see any serious debates in the media. It’s all about PDP this, APC that. Nobody, least of all the two parties’ top officials, can articulate what either party stands for. In lieu of any sustained presentation of ideas for making Nigeria a habitable address, both parties settle for parading personalities. What’s worse, the advertised political henchmen (and women) have pedigrees defined less by ideas than their possession of stupendous wealth.

You’d expect Nigerians to pay attention when somebody who ought to know talks about billions missing from the national treasury. But perish the thought!

Last week, Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria appeared again before the Finance Committee of the Nigerian Senate, and spoke about huge frauds in the oil sector. Mr. Sanusi’s presentation rang with grave claims. Speaking with a directness hardly ever used by any past occupant of his seat, he accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of failing to account for $20 billion from crude oil exports. According to him, the NNPC sold $67 billion worth of crude oil, but deposited only $47 billion.

He told the committee that two companies, Seven Energy and Atlantic Energy (which he said were owned by the same persons), were beneficiaries of a curious deal with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC). The deal enabled the ostensible private investors to pocket billions of dollars that ought to belong to Nigeria, the CBN head asserted. He also spoke about “leakages from the system through opaque and complex Swap transactions between PPMC [Pipeline and Products Marketing Company] and some counter parties.” He added: “The Agreements signed by PPMC contained a troubling clause that permits the destruction of documents after one year.”

These are startling allegations, worthy of particular attention by Nigerians and their media. When I googled Mr. Sanusi’s presentation, I found that it received relatively tepid reportage in Nigerian newspapers. It was played up more by online media, especially those based outside of Nigeria.

Even if Mr. Sanusi were talking nonsense, the proper response would be for reporters versed in oil transactions to thoroughly dissect his presentation and expose his misrepresentations. Besides, President Goodluck Jonathan and his aides ought to debunk Mr. Sanusi’s allegations by providing proof that no money is missing. It’s far from an adequate response to point to the fact that the CBN governor’s figures have shifted since September, 2013. The discrepancies may point, in fact, to the complex, labyrinthine nature of the schemes used to defraud Nigerians.

The role of the media has been shameful—but let’s put it aside for now. How about labor unions, student organizations, and such professional bodies as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and the Nigerian Guild of Editors? What explains their astonishing silence on the matter? Is Nigeria so affluent—so awash with cash—that $20 billion don’t count?

On the Internet, some anonymous commentators fixated on the fact that Mr. Sanusi, bearer of a disquieting message, is a Muslim and a Northerner. Some accused him of awarding billions of naira worth of contracts to his cronies. Others raised issues about his personal life. Mr. Sanusi’s faith and ethnicity have nothing to do with anything here. If he illegally awarded contracts, he deserves to be called on it—and prosecuted, if he broke the law. If there are lapses in his personal life, they should concern us only if he meddled with public funds. Otherwise, it is up to the stakeholders in his personal life to hold him to account, or choose not to.

If students, lawyers and editors didn’t find the case of the missing billions worthy of a single raised eyebrow, who would blame the rest of the populace for going on, unconcerned? It was as if most of us yawned and quickened our stride to that pepper soup joint! Few, if any, bothered to contemplate all the things that $20 billion could do for Nigeria.

I can’t help contrasting the collective indifference to Mr. Sanusi’s expose with the hysteria over former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s decision to leave the PDP and enlist in the APC. Nigerian newspapers not only rushed to cover this relative non-event, they have also offered their readers numerous follow-ups.

You’d think that the answer to Nigeria’s crises of underdevelopment lie in Mr. Atiku’s choice to register with a party that has yet to spell out how it differs from the PDP, much less what answers it has for Nigeria’s worsening state.

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

9 Easterners out of 35 APC’s interim national officers yet Gov.Okorocha insists APC is NOT an Hausa or Yoruba Party!


 

okorocha 3

Rochas Okorocha has debunked the insinuation that APC is a tribal Party. Governor Okorocha who made this assertion during a reception organized for Senator Osita Izunaso by the Orlu Zone at the Orlu Township Stadium, stated that the Action Peoples Congress (APC) is neither a Hausa nor Yoruba party but a party that sprang up to correct the anomalies of the past.
The governor who said that he joined APC to fight the cause of Ndi Igbo, regretted the level of marginalization and selfish representation the zone suffered under Abuja –PDP representation, disclosed that the first sixth top most leadership positions in the country eluded the zone pointing out that APC would ensure proper representation and repositioning of Ndi-Igbo in the scheme of things.
Owelle Okorocha challenged the people to say no to bad governance, banish money bag politics, deceit in polity and selfish representation by joining APC which will enthrone unity, equity, fairness positive transformation and unlimited growth.
The State Chief executive called on the people to “join APC for the generation unborn, the widows, and our jobless youths”. He pointed out that the party has the interest of the youths and women at hearts.

9 Easterners out of 35 APC’s interim national officers confirms that Rochas Okorocha lied

National Chairman – Bisi Akande – Osun
Dep. Nat. Chairman (North) – Aminu Bello Masari – Katsina
Dep. Nat. Chairman (South) – Annie Okonkwo – AnambraNational Secretary – Tijjani Musa Tumsah – Yobe
Dep. Nat. Secretary – Nasiru El-Rufai – Kaduna
National Vice Chairman N/W – Salisu Inuwa Fage – Kano
National Vice Chairman N/C – Ahmed Abdullahi Aboki – Nasarawa
National Vice Chairman N/E – Umaru Duhu – Adamawa
National Vice Chairman S/W – Niyi Adebayo – Ekiti
National Vice Chairman S/S – Tom Ikimi – Edo
National Vice Chairman SE – Anyim Nyerere – ImoNational Legal Adviser – Muiz Banire – Lagos
Dep. Nat. Legal Adviser – James Ocholi, SAN – Kogi
National Treasurer – Sadiya Umar Faruk – Zamfara
Deputy National Treasurer – Usman Suleiman Danmadami – Sokoto
National Financial Secretary – Shuaibu Musa – Zamfara
Dep. Nat. Financial Secretary – Sunday Chukwu – EbonyiNational Organizing Secretary – Osita Izunaso – Imo
Dep. Nat. Organizing Secretary – Lawal Shuaibu – Zamfara
National Publicity Secretary – Lai Mohammed – Kwara
Dep. Nat. Publicity Secretary – Isa Madu Chul – Borno
National Welfare Secretary – Emma Eneuku – Enugu
Dep. Nat. Welfare Secretary – Romanus Egbuladike – Imo National Auditor – Olisa-Emeka Akamukali – Delta
Dep. Nat. Auditor – Bala Jibrin – Bauchi
National Women Leader – Madam Sharon Ikeazor – Anambra
Dep. Nat. Women Leader – Amina Abdullahi – Gombe
National Youth Leader – Abubakar Lado – Niger
Dep. Nat. Youth Leader – Uzo Igbonwa – AnambraNational Ex-Officio – Yemi Sanusi – Ogun
National Ex-Officio – Miriki Ebikibina – Bayelsa
National Ex-Officio – Babachir D. Lawal – Adamawa
National Ex-Officio – Antibass El-Nathan – Taraba
National Ex-Officio – Nelson Alapa – Benue
National Ex-Officio – Jock Alamba – Plateau

by Biafragalaxy

How Not To ‘Detonate This Grand Corruption Conspiracy’ In Nigeria By Bayo Oluwasanmi.


By Bayo Oluwasanmi

“In sooth, I know not why I am so sad,” Antonio wonders at the outset of The Merchant of Venice. The scourge of corruption that is ravaging Nigeria makes good people like Sonala Olumhense so sad. He is not alone.

Of all contemporary Nigerian writers that I know, there is no one like Olumhense who doggedly and fastidiously prosecutes corruption face to face in his columns. He’s got that right.

Olumhense is a veritable ball of energy. He is animated when writing about corruption in Nigeria. He stresses in evangelical fashion, the interconnectedness of the multiple political, economic, and social consequences of corruption to the country and the impact on the citizens.
We can understand why Olumhense grows apocalyptic at times, overheated, and fueled by fury. Corruption is our number enemy. Corruption is the new radioactive catastrophe – our Chernobyl – if you will, that is killing Nigeria and Nigerians and would ultimately wipe out the country and its 160 million dumb citizens.

In his article “Let Us Detonate This Grand Corruption Conspiracy (2)” published in SaharaReporters November 17, Olumhense’s fervor to rid Nigeria of corruption bubbles to the fore as evidenced in his carefully distilled and dispassionate suggested strategies in the article.

In the characteristic Olumhense style, he carefully and methodically builds his case step by step. Olumhense’s manifesto on how to fight corruption in Nigeria reads like conjured magic with Hemmingwayesque simplicity of prose. I say conjured magic because the strategies proffered are too democratic, too decent, too civilized, too constitutional, too logical, too commonsensical, and too alien, to Hobbesian Nigerian state – that’s the surest way on how not to “detonate this grand corruption conspiracy” in Nigeria!

Olumhense religiously submits that “The first task is to understand that Nigeria’s corruption oligarchy counts on the ignorance and cowardice of Nigerians to fuel the culture of impunity.” “The first task is to empower people and therefore embolden the people with information.” A people armed with the truth,” says Olumhense, “can never be defeated.”

I’ll like to remind Olumhense that the titans of the corruption conglomerate are extremely dexterous in distortion, manipulation, misinformation, disinformation, falsehood, and make believe. It’s no wonder Nigerians are trapped in moronic delusion in support of the illegalities of corruption.

The issue of corruption is a comedy of ethnic columns divided into neurotic acts and scenes of misery.  For instance, if the culprit was Hausa man, the Hausas would shield the criminal with impregnable fort and instead charge his Yoruba or Igbo accusers of ethnic bias. The same goes for the other two groups.

Consider the following examples:

The so called Middle Belt Progressive Union came out swinging at critics of the embattled aviation minister, Stella Oduah. In the Sunday edition of This Day November 24, in a letter to President Jonathan signed by the union’s president and secretary Danladi Shaga and Shehu Maihula respectively, said “Most observers are not deceived by the hypocrisy of the on-going orchestrated and sustained mass media hysteria against Oduah. It is all hatchet job sponsored by parochial interest groups jealous and unhappy with you and your star ministers,” the group said.

The group then warned Mr. Jonathan of enemies within “working against your interests as moles; they are like the dangerous domestic rat that reveals to the wild rat that there is a piece of fish in the kitchen basket.” Not so long ago, a group of women also came out in full force protesting in support of Oduah.

The little known Abuja Market Women’s Association were up in arms deriding, insulting, and castigating ASUU for being on strike and threatened ASUU with October deadline to go back to work or else… These rented crowds feed the corrupt appetites of the enemies of the people and dwarf our hopes that Nigerians have what it takes to present a unified front and fight their common enemies.

Some brain pulverized youth demonstrated against the arrest of Governor Lamido’s two sons by the EFCC for embezzling millions of Naira.
Tell Ijaw confederacy that Mr. Jonathan is a corrupt man and rather than fight corruption he has in fact legalized and legitimized corruption and hear what they would say. The Asari Dokubos of the Ijaw Confederacy would confront you with “it’s our oil money and we can spend it as we like.” And with a clincher Dokubo will vow that “Nigeria will become history if Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015.”

The Peoples Anti-Corruption War (PAW) suggested by Olumhense will fade away as soon as it is formed. The various governments and their looting surrogates will inoculate or better still, castrate PAW members with tempting and irresistible bundles of Naira in Ghana Must Go. Similarly, the Civil Society Anti-corruption crusaders are also at risk of being bought and burned.

The compilation of database of phone numbers of legislators as advised by Olumhense will be 419 numbers. It’s like building a bridge to nowhere! Nigerians are too conniving, too religious, and too sympathetic to serve as reliable whistle blowers and dependable informants that will give away the phone numbers of NASS or state assembly members. Bear in mind that most of the legislators are members of the same church with their staff. In some cases, the legislators are their pastors. Armed with the Biblical injunction “do my prophet no harm,” these religion charlatans would refuse to turn in the real phone numbers.

Forget about Citizens United Against Corruption. We don’t have such committed and loyal citizens that will “Encourage,” “Suggest,” “Assist,” and “Volunteer” to report the thieves to any of the civil society campaigners. Our citizens are not equipped consciously, psychologically, radically, democratically, and resolutely “to ask harder questions of other officials, elected or appointed…” Likewise, they’re too timid, too cowed, and too subservient “to pile unprecedented pressure on their representatives that will translate into law and improve governance.”

Olumhense solicits the support of the telecommunications companies in Nigeria in the fight against corruption. Well, the telecommunications companies are allies and accessories that put finishing touches that complete the fraudulent transactions of the thieves in Abuja, Aso Rock, and in other parts of the country. They are partners in crime. As we all know, the companies are owned by the ruling thieves but fronted by their boys. Then the pertinent question is: How can Beelzebub cast out Beelzebub?

Asking political parties to fight corruption in Nigeria is like asking President Jonathan to declare his assets. The enlistment of political parties in the war against corruption as proposed by Olumhense is a political nonstarter. The political parties are the architects of corruption in the country. The parties are the same, the only difference is in name. None of the parties in my view presents a credible alternative in the fight against corruption. They are anti-people, anti-democracy, anti-development, anti-transparency, and anti-accountability.

Take a look at the personal estates, fortunes, and other largesse of the party leaders, then you’ll understand what I’m talking about. When it comes to choosing a political party that fights for the oppressed poor, Nigerians have no choice really. They are faced with a choice between Satan and Lucifer!

Olumhense calls for Anti-Corruption Campaigners to “unite and establish a genuine annual National Honours scheme, perhaps to be called Nigeria People’s Heroes, to restore meaning to the concept of honour.” In my view, this would not discourage corruption. Remember, this is Nigeria where things work in the reverse and where everything is corrupt or prone to corruption.

What becomes of the Nigerian Bar Association’s (NBA) merit honor of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)? A professional status considered as independent indication of professional excellence of value has been politicized, punctuated, and inundated with the Nigerian factor. We now have many SANs more than the membership of NBA. Literally, every lawyer in Nigeria now walks around with the SAN title on his or her forehead.

Nigerians in the diaspora are very politically disabled, fractured, polarized, and disunited due to suspicion, petty jealousies, ethnic rivalry, and personal ambition. They don’t speak with one voice, they lack focus, organization, and are consumed, constricted, and cocooned in their narrow hermetic cells. Like Nigerians at home, they see the war on corruption as “we versus them” and “they versus us.”

Take a tour on Facebook and see the jaundiced, colored, and mangled pedestrian views expressed by Nigerians in Diaspora on corruption. Usually and as expected, the debate is full of ethnic bias, pride and prejudice. Sorry, they can’t be of any help in fighting corruption back home!

Now what’s to be done?  Well, the answer is simple: I believe a revolutionary movement with nostalgic vision of “house cleaning” of Jerry John Rawlings by the masses (military not invited!) whereby the enemies of the people – the fat cows of Corruption Inc., are purged in a bloodbath. Once the traitors have been successfully eliminated, then we could apply Thomas Sankara style of people’s revolutionary tribunals to try minor agents and appendages of the corruption conglomerate.

byolu@aol.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Once Again On The National Conference: A National Conference For The People And By The People? By Jaye Gaskia.


By Jaye Gaskia

It is important in order to avoid misrepresentation, to once again express and canvass ones views on the ongoing National dialogue or national conference process.

Some preliminary issues of principle are necessary to begin with:

Sovereignty belongs to the people, and not to any of the institutions of governance or state to which they might have under certain circumstances delegated exercise of that sovereignty!

In this respect therefore sovereignty belongs to Nigerian citizens, and not to the National Assembly [NASS], the Presidency, or the Judiciary!
In the second instance, if sovereignty belongs to the people, then the outcome of any structured process of consultation or dialogue on issues that will fundamentally affect the lives of citizens and the delivery of governance must of necessity be subjected to the people for final ratification in a referendum! The final decision in such a process, and on such matters belong to the people, not to their delegated representatives!

Thirdly, there is the overarching and all embracing issue of the nature of the conference, and an agenda for such a structured dialogue of fundamental consequence for the lives and destinies of a people.

Let us break this down a bit. On the structure of the conference, we are very clear that Nigeria as it presently exists; as it existed before colonial conquest and the subsequent 1914 amalgamation; is not a simple motley collection of cohabiting ethnic groups or nationalities! Let us be very clear about this, not once in our history was Nigeria, nor any of the constituent ethnic, cultural and language groups, a simple political entity of those distinct ethnic groups. Even in the pre-colonial period, kingdoms and polities developed and evolved as a result of economic interaction, and was of conquests, usual fought around access to resources. The Yorubas for example existed as distinct polities, which may be subjugated to larger polities, but which were nevertheless in constant competition with their neighbours, near and distant. The same was true of the Hausas, of the Igbos, of the Ogonis, and of the Ijaws for that matter! In fact I argue that before the dynamics of colonialisation and the struggle for independence took over, there was no one single Yoruba Ethnic National identity; nor were their any such for the Hausas or the Igbos. And until the emergence of MOSOP in the late 1980s, or of the Ijaw Youth Council [IYC] of the 1990s; the idea of single ethnic national Ogoni or Ijaw identity was strange, an exception, rather than the norm.

The point being made is that the ethnic identity, like every other identity is a socially constructed identity, and can also socially evolve, and be deconstructed.  Certainly the most significant and disproportionate beneficiaries of the construction and stagnation of ethnic identity; those that have and continue to benefit the most from such ethnic identity constructions; are the elites of the emergent ethnic identity under construction; the political jobbers and ethnic identity entrepreneurs who become millionaires and billionaires as a result of the guaranteed access to state treasury [and thus guaranteed access to treasury looting]that new administrative configurations constructed on the basis of ethnic identities enable them to have; Hence the way that they continue to agitate for re-definition of the structural basis of administration and resource allocation.

If it is therefore true that as a polity, throughout our entire history and evolution, we have not been reducible to the simple arithmetic sum and collection of ethnic groups; then it is important, instructive, in fact decisive that we insist that any serious national dialogue process or conference cannot be reduced to a mere conference of ethnicities, or a mere national dialogue among ethnic groups.

This is a very important point and demand for citizens to make. A conference, the outcomes of which, citizens shall express their agreement or disagreement; a conference around which the citizens are expected to exercise their sovereignty over its outcome, cannot be an ethnic conference; because the people will not be voting in or as ethnic blocs!

And this point above leads us to a citizens based, and peoples’ needs focused agenda for the conference.

If we must repeat ourselves; the pressing issues affecting ordinary citizens, are national socio-economic and socio-political issues, not ethnic issues.
Poverty is rife across the country, regardless of ethnicity. 70% of us, that is 112 million citizens are living in poverty, this is a sixth of the total population of Africa!

18 million households across the country regardless of ethnicity or geo-political zone location are homeless: this is according to the Housing deficit figures given by the Federal Government itself! These 18 million housing deficits for 18 million households translates into actually 90 million Nigerians [18 million households x 5 person per household] that are either homeless or live in inhuman habitation! Now these 18 million is more than the population of the whole of Senegal and Gambia put together; while the 90 million housing poor is more than the population of either Egypt or Ethiopia!

Basic infrastructures are lacking, or dilapidated; roads are in terrible conditions and have become death traps; public healthcare and public education are in ruins; while private healthcare and education are priced out of the reach of the 70% [112 million] who live in poverty! Worldwide 57 million children of school going age are out of school; Nigerian children are 11 million of this 57 million!

Unemployment has become a grievous issue of concern; it grew from 8% in 1999 to 23.9% in 2012 for the general population; while among youths it is almost 50%, which is one in two youth of working age is unemployed and unemployable.

Yet in the midst of this grinding poverty, we have stupendous wealth, and crass ostentatious display of ill-gotten [stolen and looted] wealth.

The Richest African is a Nigerian, who is also the world’s 25th richest man, with a personal fortune almost equal to the entire external savings of the country! The richest black woman is also a Nigerian, with a personal fortune almost 50% of the country’s external debt portfolio! And of the 40 Richest Africans 15 are Nigerians!  Our legislators are not only among the highest paid in the world; they also have earnings 116 times the national per capital income of citizens! No wonder the gap between the rich and the poor is one of the highest the world over.

Through a combination of state patronage and treasury looting, including such other avenues as state protected criminal enterprise, as with oil theft and subsidy theft; we have arrived at a situation in which whereas, the top 10% of wealthiest Nigerians own and control 41% of national wealth; the bottom 20% own only a mere 4% of National wealth!

It is such inequality that have produced the massive poverty and impoverisation of the majority of the citizens; and that has led to the non availability and inaccessibility of basic services and basic social infrastructures; it is why we are one the top countries with the highest costs of doing business and with the lowest Business Confidence Index Globally, at barely 25% and standing 17th lowest BCI rate of more than 100 countries.

It is for all of the above reasons that we insist that the agenda for the conference is socio-economic and socio-political rather than ethnic; and it is for this reasons that we insist that representation must be on the basis of socio-economic forces, and not ethnic forces; and that it is this socio-economic forces who are represented at the conference, and who should also exercise their sovereignty on the outcomes and processes of the conference.

It is important that significant constitutional change will be, not just one that clearly resolves the nature and structure of the fiscal relationship of our federation; not only one that resolves the nature of the federation, whether it is two tier or a three tier federation; but one where the entire corpus of human rights, not just civil and political rights, but also socio- economic and cultural rights are guaranteed and made justifiable!

When they are made justifiable, we can institutionalize processes that ensure that on a yearly basis, governments at all levels give an account of what they are doing to fulfill these rights provisions; it is only then that annual state of the nation or stewardship addresses will make meaningful sense; and it is only then that we can ensure that political parties are established and operate on the basis of fulfilling the interests of the citizens when they get into power.

It is only if as citizens we struggle to ensure that a National Conference is called along these lines, structured in this way, with its outcome subject to a popular referendum, that we can speak of a ‘National Conference of the people, by the people, and for the people’.

Without our active struggle, in making and enforcing these demands, what we are going to be saddled with will be at best just another distractive, time wasting and money gulping process; or at worst, a chaotic and cacophonous debate that will inexorably precipitate violent crises.

It is our destiny that is at stake, let us intervene decisively and collectively to stamp our interests on the process and the outcome of the conference. If we do so, we shall be taking a definitive step to Take Back Nigeria, and liberate our country from the gluttonous death grip of these Vagabonds In Power!

Visit: takebacknigeria.blogspot.com; Follow me on Twitter: @jayegaskia & @[DPSR]protesttopower; Interact with me on Facebook: Jaye Gaskia & Take Back Nigeria

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Give Them A Dose Of Pain! By Adeleke Adeeko.


No observer of contemporary Nigerian Christianity can be unaffected by the church songs. I refer to the lyrics alone here because the music, the wordless part of the performances, is uniformly atrocious; the praise indistinguishable from the worship. Commentary on church music is for another day. For the matter at hand, it is enough to note that anyone who hears Nigerians sing “I have a beautiful Goodu o/ He’s always by my side/ A  beautiful Goodu o/ By my side, by my side” cannot but be moved to imagine the deity as an amiable, neighborly dinner guest deserving of amorous attention! (The whole world knows that Nigerians add a final “o” to an utterance when they seek to establish intimate understanding.) It is impossible to experience the body swaying chorus of “Igwe, Igwe o, Igwe,” which can be repeated for as long as the spirit permits, and fail to imagine that the almighty favors the Nigerian tongue especially. This unabashed expression of intimacy is surprising because Nigerians, perhaps for unstated religious reasons, do not show affection publicly–as late as mid-August 2013 even the young, dashing, and clearly love hungry boys and girls who fill Ikeja City Mall every day neither hold hands nor kiss each other!

Please pardon my digression. This piece is not about sacred airs in Nigerian religion but about the pain imposed on us all by the ungodly contemporary Lagos/Ibadan Expressway Christianity.  The sects on that deathtrap share the same attitude towards life and death, despite their outward differences. Like our governments, they scourge our bodies and minds brutally, but we bear the afflictions with calm rage, perhaps because we have accepted their deceitful reading of the part of the Holy Book that instructs believers not to touch the anointed. Our intestines are knotted up against the churches, yet we smile at them with our teeth because we are afraid of incurring divine wrath. We hold back the bloody bile we have stored for them in our stomach when we kiss them lovingly. Well, we need to change. The eye that produces pustular discharge must be made to confront its ugliness directly.

It so happened a few months back that I was driving from Lagos to Ijebu on a Sunday evening when I ran into a sudden, massive traffic build up on the alleged express road. I survived the holdup unscathed, happy that I have not incurred an unplanned repair expense for my brother and his wife who always refused to let me pay for any damage done to their cars whenever I borrow them. My relief was cut short as I saw a column of cars, all with headlights turned on in daylight, fully barreling down the northbound side of the divided road. I was scared witless and almost veered into the bush as I tried to avoid the onslaught. I soon discovered that those drivers have abandoned their own side to commandeer the north-bound section of the alleged expressway as their solution to the blockage of south-bound traffic. Huh, I sighed; maybe this spontaneous and brief flight from reason is what Rem Kool means when he theorizes that Lagos works?

Like the lost, I called home to my brother, the owner of the car I was driving. He spoke to me calmly, almost apologizing for not remembering to tell me that Deeper Lifers were ending an event that weekend. That was not his fault, I reassured him. Just as I concluded the short conversation with my brother, a very caring friend, who thought I must have reached my destination, called to ask about me. He had no consoling words for me other than accounts of his having been held hostage on that same stretch of the alleged expressway by outfits larger that the Deeper Lifers. That is when I started singing: “ni won lara o/ awon to nni mi lara baba/ ni won lara o.” (Pardon me, this is Lagos, I need not translate. Song lyrics is about the only cultural space in which Yorùbá language still thrives.) My friend paused. You could tell that he is afraid for me. But he kept his usual cool and merely asked, “Are you all right?” I said, “I am.  I will call you back”. I then recalled a popular recorded song that essentially summoned God to show mercy to those who are merciful to the singer and, by implication, the listener who repeats the personal pronoun of the chant. The song also beseeched the almighty to hold back his grace from the unforgiving: “yo’nú sí won,  aláùrabí/ eni rí mi tó ńyonú;/ dá won láre, aláùrabí,/ eni rí mi tó ńyonú;/ rán ‘bi sí won, aláùrabí/ eni rí mi tó ńbínú.”

Now, how can sects that routinely ask God to torture those who bring them the slightest discomfort not know that they are the sources of such a grievous inconvenience for others? What species of unGodly self-centeredness will authorize that shallow spirituality? What scriptures instructed these fellows to be so uncaring about others? Must one have Dan Izevbaye’s close reading credentials, or Biodun Jeyifo’s wide reading skills, or Imodoye’s other-wordly capacity for discernment to note the disconnect between the teachings of Expressway Christianity and its deeds? After answering NO to my own questions, I concluded that cognitive dissonance can help to relieve the pain that the religious warriors inflict on others. The words of the two songs reveal to me that those who urge the almighty to deny mercy and grace to their existential opponents remain totally unaware and, even worse, uncaring about the unprovoked distress they impose on the rest of us.

I am convinced that these folks cannot really believe that God does not care about the rest of us. No religious sentiment, it is clear, can truly forgive the inability of a Christian sect praying fervently that God should punish those who make life difficult for its members to note that they too might be inviting the wrath of that same God in the way they treat the rest of the society. How can they forget the morality of treating others as one would like to be treated?

My friend and I agreed later in our conversation that we must, in the intonation peculiar to Lagos, keep “trying.” Well, what about trying this. The next time we are held hostage by the Lagos/Ibadan evangelists, let us collectively sing, “Ni won lara o,/ Awon to nni wa lara baba/ Ni won lara o.” “Distress them, Father, distress them/ Distress all those who inflict pains on us”. We should sing loudly and joyously, in spite of our inconvenience. The trick is cognitive dissonance. It is worth trying. Let us all get down from our cars, buses, trailers, and motorcycles, and sing in the loudest possible way, “Ni won lara o/ Awon to nni wa lara baba/ Ni won lara o.”

We might even go further and be more proactive. Let us choose one weekend, preferably a Friday afternoon when the largest of those uncaring sects is preparing to assemble, block the two sides of the alleged expressway, and chant “Ni won lara o/ Awon to nni wa lara, baba/ Ni won lara o.” Let us invite the prayerful Lágbájá and the not-so-prayerful Femi Kuti.  (Wished Fela were alive!) Let this prayer/song be translated into Edo, Ijo, Esan, Igbo, Efik, Idoma, Tiv, Hausa, Fulfulde, etc., etc., so that each can call on the almighty in the language closest to his or her heart. These fellows have been teaching us, even when we do not solicit their wisdom, that the almighty listens to the supplications of the distressed. We are the distressed now. Let us therefore assemble on one Friday evening and delay them from getting to their various campgrounds. We should, as we gather, chant unto the Lord, “Ni won lara o/ Awon to nni wa lara, baba/ Ni won lara o.”

God does not lie. He promised us all in the Holy Book that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Psalm 35 authorized us to invite the heavenly hosts against those who cause us distress. We owe it to our collective selves and sensibilities to raise a song of divine confidence in the almighty’s favor: “Ni won lara o/ Awon to nni wa lara, baba/ Ni won lara o.”

Why do such a thing? We need such action not to disparage faith but to instigate critical self-awareness. If you are asked as to why the state of self-awareness of other people should concern you, I recommend that you ask them in return–I am a Nigerian and, as a Sierra Leonean friend once told me, only Nigerians answer questions with questions–who does not know that if you do not dissuade your neighbor from eating worm infested kolanuts after dinner you will be kept awake in the middle of the night by the belly ache that will ensue? For too long we the not-quite-innocent bystanders have been suffering the belly-ache of the Expressway eternity retailers and peddlers who act consistently like heartless relatives who are determined to keep the rest of the household awake while they go to sleep. That is why I recommend that we gather and sing, “Ni won lara o/ Awon to nni wa lara baba/ Ni won lara o.” Amen.

—Adeeko is a Professor at the Ohio State University, Columbus, USA. He is the author of The Slave’s Rebellion: Literature, History, Orature, and other books.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Northern Nigeria And Her Mythical Realities By Prince Charles Dickson.


By Prince Charles Dickson

“When a people have suffered for too long, they will drink fairytales on fairylands with insatiable gullibility.” (Hamilton Ayuk).

My admonition this week dwells with a section of Nigerian–the North and it is a do-no-favors essay, call it the truth, or falsehood, call it nonsense, be bitter or be complimentary about it, I really do not care–or better still I care enough to tell us the way I see it.

The words of Malcolm X sums up my next few paragraphs. “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.”

The myth–Aboki is supposedly an Hausa term that is used to describe the man up North, he may be hausa, nupe, berom, fulani, shua, but largely he is ignorantly Hausa to all and poor, he is either mai-guard (gateman), mai-ruwa (water), mai shai (tea), mai-doya (yam), mai-reke (sugarcane), mai-miaa (blackmarket fuel); whatever he is, he just has to be mai-something or mai-everything. He is a symbolism today to other Nigerians of violence and false face of Islam. He is ‘misunderstandingly’ understood.

Then we have the Alhaji, he is everything above ‘cept that he is presumed rich, and in recent times dangerous too, he could be a sponsor of Boko Haram too, but for a ‘typical’ southerner, there is the allure of his riches whether via politics, oil, or ‘voodoo’ who cares. He is there in abuja, port harcourt and lagos. He really doesn’t care about his North, he is a hypocrite to the core without his knowledge.

Now to more of those mythical realities and issues, that has left a region on her knees, no other time than now has the North faced an identity crisis and fight within herself. Who are the Hausas, who are the Fulanis, and how about the Hausa- Fulanis, what really is the place of the Islam North, real, media creation and when or how really did Boko Haram begin, how about the Christians in the North?

Is the North still united as was the case, what about her oligarchy and a few leftist socialist activists that set the talakawa agenda, what happened?

What is it that needs to be understood about the alamanjiri system and institutional begging in the North?

Now wait, this is a lie but who is afraid, I challenge any Christian to explain the myth of killing in the name of religion because there are 70 virgins somewhere. And before we scream, has the North been this violent, is it really about marginalization and if indeed, who marginalized who, Abacha, Shagari or IBB, it certainly isn’t  the new kid on the bloc Jonathan, that doesn’t even know Zungeru or Toro?

During the week, it was Jonathan violates Nigerian laws, corners N3billion general hospital for own town, Otuoke. Can Namadi violate the law too, imagine if Northern governors violate the law to bring hospitals and good roads and schools even in their villages?

The North and the agitating Middle Belt is an emotional wreck, a perfect picture of an abused bride, that today is even afraid of a hug of reconciliation, with rehabilitation and reconstruction a far cry.

If the North decides to go away from Nigeria, will the other component part fight to keep it and would it be really 19 states, is Plateau North, when there’s no love lost between the Plateau people and the North, does Taraba believe in North, Southern Kaduna, parts of Nassarawa, Benue, Kogi etc?

People still believe that up North we are all empty land mass and goats, unproductive, and leeching termites stuck on Nigeria because of the oil, if not, why the hue and cry of PIB when Zamfara’s mines are gold for the asking and we could develop a self-sufficient and exportable agrarian community?

We don’t share Boko Haram’s ideologies, according to Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, but really who believes him or us. What is the arewa ideology?

Everyone is on a blame ride, the bulk stops at Jonathan’s table, but as ‘Northerners’ have we blamed brother TY Danjuma, or alfa IBB, mallam Lamido, dr. Babangida Aliyu or rev Yuguda and Ministers, legislators, and their ilks, what examples have they set?

So much is wrong with the North–I challenge my brothers from Katsina/Jigawa/Kebbi/Zamfara etc to tell me two companies that make 30 million naira a month after salaries are paid and utilities are sorted.

Niger State Governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu who happens to be one of the gubernatorial problems in the North, laments that the economy of the North has crumbled due to insecurity unleashed on the region by Boko Haram insurgents.

He regrets the huge army of unemployed youths in the North pointing out that there was urgent need for the revival of the Northern economy and job creation. But how are we doing that, other than power must come back to the night, and our usual its a birthright mentality.

How many Ashaka/Larfarge cement companies do we have in the North, NASCO in Jos is dead, funeral rites only being delayed baring a miracle. Same for the Kaduna textiles industry.

What and where have the billions of 14years gone to in the North? Universities out of private initiative litter the South and up here what are we doing, arguing who has suffered more casualties between Christians/Muslims.

Okay it has to be poverty, that’s one ideological school of thought for the bloodbath and mayhem, even Obama thinks so, I agree only to the extent that really … “countries are not delivering for their people and there are sources of conflict and underlining frustrations that have not been adequately dealt with”. In this case, the North has failed herself.

The North has equally failed…“to give her people opportunity, education and resolve conflicts through regular democratic processes,”.

… “in terms of human capital and young people, I think the greatest investment any country can make, not just an African country, is educating its youth and providing them with the skill to compete in a highly technological, advanced world economy”. Nigeria has failed in this regard and the North has woefully crashed in same vein.

The North will rise again, how, if I may ask, by threatening a lame duck presidency that includes her son as veepee or by sharia-lizing, 2015: Northern govs set to dump Jonathan, how foolish can we be, who told us that we are the majority anymore?

The South-west despite Tinubu’s crookedness is chasing a semblance of regional integration, the South East and South-South are not left out. States have even gone ahead to show/use their emblem/insignia and are creating identities. We are still seen as Fulani herdsmen asking for reserves on other peoples’ lands and seeking nomadic education because we can’t do regular school.

We need to bash ourselves, the North, arewa needs to stop lying to itself and her people, there are current realities, where do we fit into it?

I will end this admonition in the words of one of the problem sons of the North, Bro. TY Danjuma, “We need to think more, pray more, plan more, work harder, RELATE BETTER, and talk less. Battles are better fought and won through wisdom and strategy than through inflammable pronouncements and political tantrums.” This is to the North but it does apply to Nigeria, the current hate quotient is high–for how long, only time will tell.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Attending to the Boko Haram challenge.


Tears during the burial of victims of Boko Haram

Boko Haram, whose name in Hausa means “Western education is sacrilege” or “a sin”, is divided into three factions, and in 2011, was said to be responsible for more than 450 killings in Nigeria.

Though the group first became known internationally following sectarian violence in Nigeria in 2009, it does not have a clear structure or evident chain of command. Moreover, it is still a matter of debate whether Boko Haram has links to terror outfits outside Nigeria and its fighters have frequently classed with Nigeria’s central government.

The group has since adopted its official name to be ‘People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad’, which is the English translation of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Liddaáwati wal-Jihad. The members of the group do not interact with the local Muslim population and have carried out assassinations of anyone who criticises it, including Muslim clerics.

In the wake of the 2009 crackdown on its members and its subsequent reemergence, the growing frequency and geographical range of attacks attributed to Boko Haram have led some political and religious leaders in the north to the conclusion that the group has now expanded beyond its original religious composition to include not only Islamic militants, but criminal elements and disgruntled politicians as well.

What is responsible for this saga, and what are the lasting solutions to the current problems facing Nigeria as a whole? This takes us to the theory of structural functionalism.

According to Talcott Parsons, four functional imperatives are embedded in all systems of action: adaptation, goal attainment, integration, and latency (also known as pattern maintenance). Adaptation refers to the fact that a system must adjust or cope with its external environment, particularly when this environment is deemed threatening. In order for a system to function effectively, it must first define the goals it hopes to achieve. Parsons called this functional imperative goal attainment. Integration is also important to a system, because it needs to regulate the interrelationship of its component parts. Finally, a system needs to furnish, maintain, and renew motivation for individual participation, including the cultural patterns that create and sustain this motivation. Parsons referred to these functions as latency and pattern maintenance. Parsons further differentiated among four types of action systems: the cultural, the social, the personality, and the behavioural organism. Each of these systems compels actors to perform a specific functional imperative. The behavioural organism takes care of adaptation, the personality performs goal attainment, the social controls integration, and the cultural is responsible for the latency function.”

Parsons argues that each individual occupies a status or position within a structure. “Status and role tend to go together in what Parsons calls the ‘status-role bundle.’” (Grabb, p. 101). These are the ways in which individuals fill the structures of society. So long as roles are performed, the structures function smoothly, and it is individuals carrying out their functions and roles within these structures that make the structures work.

As old as this theory may be, it still has some elements of solution on what’s going on in Nigeria today.

In order for Nigeria to function effectively and end the violence that has caused several lives, it must first define the goals it hopes to achieve, adjust or cope with its environment, particularly when this environment is deemed threatening, regulate the interrelationship of its component parts. It must also furnish, maintain, and renew motivation for individual participation, including the cultural patterns that create and sustain this motivation. The government should endeavour to concentrate on Niger Delta, by building quality primary and secondary school, quality universities, good pipe borne water, creating employment for the youths and creating quality libraries which is a good agent of social change so that people in the North could go to school and be educated instead of killing innocent souls.

All we see is horror day to day… why not development?

Makanjuola Olaleye Ademola, University Of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Department Of Mass Communication, 08184794543.

Source: PUNCH NIGERIA.

by Makanjuola Olaleye Ademola.

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