Category Archives: Articles

Reinforcing Nigerian Economy Through Ifa (Oracle)

A REFLECTION

Concerned about improving the Nigerian economy, the Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State Governor, Mrs. Petra Akinti Onyegbule, noted that though Nigerians are “deeply religious”, but investing in Ifa (Oracle) as a source of tourism would go a long way in helping Nigeria grow her wealth. In her Facebook post on 7th of December, 2017, she wondered as follows;

“When will we allow Ifa to contribute significantly to the economy of Nigeria?

Do you know how many people believe in Olodumare through Ifa worship? Why can we not bring them to Nigeria on pilgrimage?

No, we do not need to believe in Ifa to support such venture for Jews do not believe in Jesus as Christians do. The place of Golgotha now has a magnificent mosque sitting pretty on the site.

Bethlehem, the birth town of Jesus, is under Palestinian authority. As a matter of fact, the Church of the Nativity is being reconstructed by the Palestinian Presidential Committee tasked to make the sides more beautiful. Even though the Church has three parts managed by three different denominations – Catholic, Armenian Apostolic and Greek Orthodox.

For the authorities here, it is all about the economy.

Pilgrimage services the hospitality sector in Israel. It can do same for Nigeria.

I do not see why it is not possible.”

Nigerians, what is your take?

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NBTE’s VISIT TO IPOKIA: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Recall that when the current imbroglio that followed the pronounced conversion of our highly revered MAPOLY to a University started, I have not said anything publicly. Today, I feel constrained to place on record the most recent happening, on which destiny of thousands of students had been hung.

Also remember that NTBE had been billed to visit the site of the proposed take-off campus of the newly established Ogun State Polytechnic, yesterday, Monday, 4th December, 2017. That actually took place yesterday.

Expectedly, the Ogun State Government through its fifth columnists have started sing-praising its own ‘efforts’ over the ongoing construction works at the Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia. So much so that there are talks as if the 10-man NBTE team has ‘granted’ accreditation to the polytechnic.

It is however imperative to set the records straight. You deserve to know what played out yesterday.

Firstly, there is no accreditation for the Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia. Recall that the Ogun State Governor had sometimes in August been quoted to have said they had approval for ’42 courses’. This visit yesterday has confirmed, that was a BLATANT LIE.

Everyone and anyone with Polytechnic experience knows that for accreditation to occur, there shall be a team of resource persons (from various Institutions) for various programmes with NBTE staff as support staff for the various teams – this did not happen at Ipokia. Though, some widely experienced technocrats are also involved in institutional accreditation, the 10-man team to Ipokia is an ADVISORY TEAM who lacks powers to accredit an institution or its programmes. Therefore, the essence of the visit ab initio is for the government to attempt a ‘shortcut’ which in the end, amounted to a share waste of funds and resources.

Contrary to the widely circulated reports, the head of the team, Engr Nuru Yakub is NOT the current ES of the NBTE.

The team, while at Ipokia observed the virgin land at the permanent site and the ‘mad rush’ for the completion of the ‘temporary campus’ which it also observed does not have the necessary facilities upon which an accreditation can be granted.

It was credited that about 3 members of the NBTE team openly condemned some activities; including but not limited to the location of the hostel accommodation (which is just at the digging level), the time length it will take for the facilities to be completed, the very notable absence of crucial facilities (Library, Health Centre, Sports Complex, etc) that should have accompanied even the temporary campus. How do you teach Polytechnic students without STUDIOS, LABORATORIES and WORKSHOPS? None of these are yet available. You can be sure there is even no MASTER PLAN.

In all, there was no TIME, all through the exercise yesterday, that the team leader failed to indicate that their visit (which was forced upon them by the Ogun State Government who paid to NBTE for the visit) was ADVISORY and that useful advise will be given. Why then is the government trying to confuse our people?

A look at the hurriedly printed students’ handbook of the Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia will vindicate this write up wherein various degrees of errors could be observed. Ranging from 2 Directors of Environmental Studies, to a Town Planner heading the School of Business Administration, and some programmes listed as courses and others as programmes. Is this the best we can do for the ‘Gateway State’? I also wonder if, after the visit, the buses of MAPOLY re designated to OGUNPOLY buses for the purpose of the visit will be rechristened back to the original owners (MAPOLY). Can’t the state government afford to buy buses for the Institution they created? I wonder if same will be done when the NUC comes calling for the resource inspection of MAUSTECH!

I have spoken that ye may know, correct the wrong impression already being created that the institution has been granted accreditation. Unsuspecting students, parents and members of the public be WARNED!

One On One Session With Atiku Abubakar

PEDULUM By Dele Momodu
Email: dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com

Fellow Nigerians, I’ve always wondered what drives or propels the man, former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. For real, I have never seen a man so fastidious about his dream and so obstinate about achieving a lifelong ambition to be the number one Nigerian Citizen. I’ve followed his trajectory with keen interest since 1993 when he took on both Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe, in an epic Presidential primary, that Chief Abiola ultimately won. His formidability we were told was a result of the influence of his godfather and political colossus, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, now of blessed memory. Chief Abiola actually reached out to the General, as he was fondly called, to prevail on Atiku to pull out of the race and support him. A deal was subsequently struck, between Abiola and Yar’Adua, for Atiku to be Abiola’s running-mate. Everything looked good on paper until the powerful and influential Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governors threw spanners in the works, forcing Abiola to renege on his word. Whilst Abiola wanted Atiku, the Governors led by the irrepressible Olusegun Osoba, from Abiola’s home State of Ogun, insisted on Abiola picking Kingibe. They convinced Abiola that it was dangerous to pick Atiku who would have been more loyal and too submissive to his godfather.

I have no doubt that from that moment onwards, the June 12 Presidential election was already threatened and endangered. According to insiders, the General was so miffed and enraged that he swore Abiola would not be President for dumping his godson. Efforts were made by different personages to settle the matter, but it seemed the camaraderie was over between Abiola and Yar’Adua who, once upon a time, were successful business partners at African Ocean Lines.

Anyway, Atiku was kicked out of the race to fight another day. Abiola won the Presidential election eventually but was never allowed to assume power. The June 12 election fallout led to a cataclysmic eruption that consumed many of the big players, including Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat, Major-General Yar’Adua and General Sani Abacha. The boss of bosses, General Olusegun Obasanjo, escaped only by the whiskers. He was jailed but came back to be President. Ironically, the same Atiku who was not allowed to be the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1993 became the substantive Vice President in 1999, when he ran, and won, with Obasanjo. Whilst Obasanjo emerged, in a bid to assuage the betrayed and wounded Yoruba, Atiku’s choice appears to have been predicated on the sense of injustice that he had suffered as a result of being dumped by Abiola.

Everything initially ran smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku in their first term in office, from 1999 to 2003. However, the relationship collapsed when Atiku started showing interest in the number one position. I will not bore you with the rest of that fiasco, including the anecdotal humbling of Obasanjo who allegedly had to beg his deputy, Atiku, to allow him a second term. My mission was to provide some background to Atiku’s uncommon trajectory. He has pursued his dream since 1993 and has never given up. That was 24 years ago. Indeed, Atiku has been in partisan politics for 28 years but only served in government for eight years. He has criss-crossed different political parties in search of that magic wand that could give him his heart’s desire. It has been a painful journey. He’s been dissed and lampooned as a serial “decampee” famed for wandering endlessly in the wilderness of Nigerian politics. That, for many people, is a major weakness which signals integrity issues. There are other minuses weighing on him like an albatross. How does he deal with these very serious issues of perception or misperception?

The opportunity came for me to engage him very critically, and very privately, yesterday afternoon in Lagos. A mutual friend had called to arrange the meeting at Atiku’s behest. I gladly accepted not only as I was anxious to bombard him with many nagging questions, but also because by some quirk of fate, the political gladiators for the number one hot seat in Nigeria seem to feel that a session with me is a sine qua non for their aspiration. I’m deeply humbled by that trust.

The meeting was arranged for Lagos. Atiku had arrived on Thursday. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon from Abuja where I had been the Chief Presenter of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi’s book, On a Platter of Gold, chronicling President Goodluck Jonathan’s twilight days as President. I checked into my hotel just before 12 noon and put a call through to his room. He told me to give him a short time to freshen up and invite me over. He’s obviously been doing a lot of consultations and was working well into the early mornings. I dozed off. Suddenly, I was awoken from my slumber by banging on my door. I stood up to look through the peephole and was pleasantly surprised to see the most-talked about politician of the moment at my door. I opened the door and Atiku immediately apologised for the intrusion. He came without any aide, so we were both comfortable to talk frankly.

I thanked him for the honour of actually coming to me and asked if he won’t mind me asking some tough questions. He said that was fine and I should feel free. My first shot was about his moving from Party to Party. Does this not make him look desperate and unserious? He must have answered this question a thousand times because he wasted no time in answering very calmly and confidently:

“There is nothing wrong with it. Ours is a fledgling democracy of barely two decades since the end of the last military regime. What it means is that the political parties are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes. That is why even President Buhari has been able to move from party to party, including ANPP, CPC and now APC. And for those who read about world history and political books like I do, they will know that Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill and others went through so much before achieving their dreams…”

He went further: “I’m not different. I know what I want for my country. I’ve served Nigeria in different capacities and I am one of the most experienced leaders around today. There is no part of Nigeria I’m not familiar with. I have friends everywhere. They know me and I know them. The benefit of being around for so long is that they have come to know me for certain principles and know that I have a rich knowledge of Nigeria and what it would take to move us to the height of greatness. They can also trust me that I’m not coming to government to steal their money. God has blessed me with business acumen. How can you run a nation if you cannot run your own business? I run my businesses to international standards. Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully. I’ve lifted over 45,000 families out of joblessness and poverty through my microfinance company in my State Adamawa and we’ve have empowered mostly women. The good news is these women have been very honest. Returns on our loans have been about 98 percent. They have not disappeared with the loans given then. We plan to replicate this nationwide…”

I asked if he was obsessed with being President at all costs. His answer was an emphatic, No! He asked rhetorically why he should not give back some of his experience and exposure to a country that has given him so much? Why should he allow incompetent people to run down the country when God has given him the talent and wherewithal to lift up Nigeria?

I told him the belief out there is that he is a corrupt man and that the stain won’t be easy to remove. His former boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has sold us that line, and would stop at nothing to regale the world that Atiku is a thief who nobody should vote for. Atiku’s response was very concise and assertive: “I have the highest regards for my boss. He gave me eight years to serve Nigeria under him. We had our differences but we both tried our best. But on the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching. Dele, I’m throwing that challenge again, let them bring out whatever they have on me…”

I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me. For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations. The current Indian Prime Minister, Modi, suffered the same fate for years. Today, he is being treated to red carpet treatment in America.. I fly to different parts of the world, including Europe, if America wanted me, it would be so easy for them to reach out to their allies…”

We soon dovetailed to the nitty-gritty of politics. Why did he not wait to contest the primaries in APC first and see the outcome before running away? I felt this was defeatist! His response: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the Party that made him President. Every activity stopped and not even the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, could take any decision. I called Chief Oyegun a few times to tell him our Party was dying slowly but he told me he would not do anything unless he got clearance from the President. At a stage, I gathered about 18 prominent members and began to meet in the hope that we can re-energise Party activities, but some people lied to the President that I wanted to use the forum to launch my Presidential campaign. That forum became simply dead on arrival. No BOT, no NEC meetings, as stipulated in our Constitution. The Party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the President’s back but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetuated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age, so I decided to leave…”

So, where is he going from here? He says he hasn’t formally declared for any Party, but is sure PDP is waiting to welcome him back into the Party he co-founded with others at the end of military rule. I asked if he has any guarantee of getting the PDP ticket. He told me why he should get it: “Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with the brightest chance and that can only come from someone who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a Nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated in anyway by that of the current President. If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the Party is doomed. Some of those whose names are being touted and bandied about have not grown beyond their immediate domains.”

If he gets the PDP ticket, is he confident he can beat a sitting President and Buhari for that matter? “I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery. Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”

Is he not afraid of Buhari? “No, definitely not. Buhari is free to contest and I’m free to contest. And Nigerians will make their choice.” I could see that glow in his eyes. He sounded determined and more prepared at this time, than at any other time.

Will Atiku play a joker as his last card in 2019? Time will tell.

MOSHOOD MUHAMMED VISITS SPECIAL STUDENTS IN ENUGU

Human development is the greatest investment we can make as a people.

Today, I was at the Vocational Rehabilitation Center in Enugu and made little donation to the special students. Those wonderful guys made me accept Chukwuemeka as my Igbo name, after several attempts by friends fell on the deaf ears. I’d told them I preferred Emekachuckwu, which they told me wasn’t correct.

The centre is very popular but little has been done to help the cause of students in the school. I made effort to get things turned around, but nothing has come up till now. And time is not my friend (as a Corps member). But if assistance come, which I’m still pursuing, I’ll see to it.

At present, the center houses these special people, train them in various vocations so they could become entrepreneurs. The sad thing is, most of their training equipment are far from useful while some of their hostels need urgent attention. Still, the management works round the clock to keep the school running.

The students sew their own clothes, make their shoes among others.

I wish well meaning Nigerians could look the direction of these people, support their determination for self sufficiency and financial independence when most of their colleagues have made our streets their homes, begging for alms and engaging in other unworthy acts.

If you know anyone who can help, kindly SHARE this message with such people. Let’s take some of our special breed off the streets and integrate them properly for our common good.

Let’s not abandon them.

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CORPS MEMBER TASKS SCHOOLS ON NATIONAL DIGNITY, DONATES NIGERIAN FLAGS

A Corps member identified as Ajadi Samsideen has encouraged schools in the country to imbibe the good use of national identity.

He made the call during a sensitization programme he organized as part of his Community Development Service Project as a corps member serving in Kogi state. He also donated flags to some schools in the area.

The seminar, titled “National Symbols: Pride of Our Country”, held at Government Day Secondary School, Iruvucheba, Okene recently.
Mr. Ajadi observed that many schools in the community hung shabby flags while many did not have any to display.

According to him, “It sadden my heart to see our schools such tattered and rag-like flag hung”.

A former Chairman of Okene Local Government, Alhaji Al-Rasheed, while speaking during the event attributed the lack of attention given to the national identity to hunger and non payment of salaries in the state.
He noted that unhappy family and unpaid workers will never remember that a flag is dirty.

He advised chools to ensure they contribute positively to this disturbing situation of the country.

Another corps member who was present at the event, Oyeyipo Oluwasegun said that schools should do more to enlighten people and students on the significance of National symbols.

“Our national symbol is what we have to sell to the outside world. Our schools must do well to educate the people on what the Nigerian national symbols stand for And this can only be done when the those identifies are in good condition.” he added.

Students and staff members of schools in the area were present during the seminar while he schools representatives received the brand new flag on behalf of their schools.

Corps Member Inaugurates Bore Hole Water in Imo Community

A corps member serving in Oru West Local Government, has inaugurated a bore hole water project in the local government area.

The Corps member, Ogungbade Qudus carried out the project under the NYSC Community Development Service (CDS) programme, having experienced water scarcity during his short stay at Mgbidi, before deployment to his place of primary assignment.

The project, which has a over-head scaffolder, tanker and standby generating set, was inaugurated by the Chairman of Oru West Local Government, Hon. Chief Ugboaja in presence of other highly powered local council officials as well as top management staff of Imo state NYSC.


The Local Government Chairman taking a sip

Speaking on behalf of the State Coordinator during the project commissioning, the Assistant Director, Corps Discipline and Monitoring, Mr. Enweonwu said that the project took the first position in Imo state, and has been nominated for presidential honours in Abuja.
He advised other corps members to impact lives in their respective host communities, adding that community development remains one of the cardinal focus of the scheme.

Also speaking during the event, the local Govt Inspector of Oru West, Mrs. Ejiofor Maria applauded the project and urged other corps members.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ogungbade expressed gratitude to God for making it possible for him to execute the project as planned, adding that “support of various individuals made the success of the project a possibility”.

Mr. Ogungbade listed the co-sponsors of the project as Sir Collins Ezenwa, Hon. T. C Okoliogwu, Dr. K.S.C. Nwkaudu, Hon. Bartholomew Okafor, Barr. Chike Ogbeleje and Chief Obasi Ajarie.

Residents of the area appreciated the corps member for the assistance, noting that it would go a long way in ameliorating the challenges of water scarcity in the locale.

The Corps member showing off the project.

They however took turn to take sip of the tap water.

CORPS MEMBER LAUNCHES “STAND WITH NIGERIA” CAMPAIGN IN ENUGU

The “Stand With Nigeria” campaigners on Tuesday, 31st of October  had a formal lecture where roles of youths in leadership and governance were redefined. The event was well attended and reported on Radio Nigeria, Enugu National service on Frequency Modulation 92.9. Below is a very similar trans copy of the news report as filed by Edith Ajah;

 

A corps member serving in Enugu State, yesterday, Tuesday, 31st of October, launched a “Stand With Nigeria” Campaign, hash tagged “StandWith9ja” in the state.

The event with the theme; “Making of A New Nigeria: The Youth Agenda” was held at the Enugu North Local Government Secretariat’s City Hall with government officials and other dignitaries in attendance.

The corps member, Moshood Muhammed with the state code EN/16B/4959, it was learnt started the campaign as a personal Community Development Service effort until some of his colleagues adopted the ideology and joined the movement.

Speaking during the event, the Assistant Director, NYSC, Enugu State, Mr. Ernest Ebekine charged Nigerian youths to continue to work together for the development of the nation by ensuring they do the right thing at all time.

According to him, he was happy a corps member in the state could think of how to sensitize others to have the right thinking attitude, cause change so as to move Nigeria forward.

In his words, “I feel so glad that one of our corps member initiated this idea. This is a right step in the right direction because through this programme, a change will occur and our country, Nigeria, will move forward”.

The State Director of National Orientation Agency, Mr. Isaac Onukwube lauded the initiative and encouraged the corps members present to always present the country in good light.

He added that event as such should be embraced by many as it would help redirection of grievance registration by youths and other stakeholders in the country, rather than causing mayhems.

In his remark, a guest speaker at the occasion, the immediate past Commissioner for Human Capital Development and Poverty Reduction in Enugu state, Mr. Godwin Ogenyi maintained that youths should aim at making Nigeria better through their creative abilities.

While lauding the initiative of the corps member and his colleagues who put the programme together, the former commissioner charged them to equip themselves with necessary skills, and do away with the usual complaints about what is not good about the country.

He noted that opportunities only come to those who are prepared for it.

Mr. Ogenyi said; “What we are doing today is an idea of a young man, who has decided to redefine the kind of Nigeria we want to see, to consider those things we need to be able to do this. Obviously, he (Muhammed) has engaged his colleagues so they can collectively challenge the ills in the society. This is good”

Earlier in his welcome address, the founder initiative, Mr. Moshood Muhammed said the aim of the programme was to encourage patriotism among Nigerians, with special focus on the youth so as to unite and move the nation to a greater height.

He added that the inauguration of volunteers became necessary owing to the need to continue the campaign beyond his service year, noting that the same campaign is currently being mobilized for in Ogun State as well as other parts of Nigeria.

Explaining the rationale behind the project, Muhammed said; “this campaign started with a view to engage the youth so as to orientate and re-orientate citizens of the country, augment the patriotism of our people so that we can collectively move this country forward.

“The country, Nigeria, cannot move forward when we are not a part of it. There is a need for us as citizens to come on board, acts responsibly and ensure they put the country first in everything we do, because there is no leadership without followership”. He noted.

Some members of the movement expressed satisfaction with success of the inauguration and extended an invitation to other youths to key into the vision of building a better nation for all. One of them, Justin Izuchukwu Okosa said; “I thank Mr. Moshood for bringing up the idea. The campaign targets the youths so we can engage the youths of the country on the need to be patriotic because when we (the youths) do the right thing, the country will move forward.”

Another participant, Kolade Tinuola, had this to say; “Most Nigerians have turned to western countries to pursue their dreams because they have lost interest. With this attitude, we would not be able to build the kind of country we seek. Everyone of us must be part of the nation building process; in Nigeria, my contemporaries should believe that we can make it and Nigeria will rise enviably. That is why we have started this campaign”

The event, which saw the inauguration of volunteers for the campaign had in attendance a member of Enugu state House of Assembly representing Ezeagwu State Constituency, Hon. Barrister Chima Obieze; Police Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu; Local Government Inspector of Enugu North, Mr. Maduforo Chinedu and senior officials of the NYSC in the state among others.