​COUNCIL ELECTIONS AND SHAME OF DEMOCRACY

By Samsideen Ajadi 

Announcement of conduct of elections into local councils in Nigeria have always been a sharp contrast of the reaction and preparation that greet the pronouncement of national or state elections. 

It has been observed that, rather than the usual competitive nature of those elections, council elections are won by political party in power, in an utterly charade, posited and masked as electoral process. 

It is on record that Ekiti PDP cleared all seats in its council elections while the APC led government in Ogun State claimed the unpopular victory in its own version of selection, rather than election. 

Yesterday, it was Lagos standard. Many had predicted it will happen and it happened.

The cause of this is because the elections are conducted and financed  by the state governments and because he who pays the piper calls the tune, the APC again had its way. POWER! 

To say local council elections are now conducted for formality sake is not to state the obvious. Each state electoral body dances to the melody of an hidden drummer. What a shame of democracy!

Though, it did not start yesterday. The opportunity to cover up for such was taken for granted and here we are. 

Although, it is a statutory right for States to establish electoral body to conduct elections for chairmanship post and councillor. However, to restore sanctity to the electoral process, the power so betrothed to state governments should be withdrawn and elections into local council should be done by INEC.

Things should not go on this way…

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​BETWEEN HATE SPEECHES, BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF NIGERIA AND US


By: Moshood Muhammed


Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. – Martin Luther King Jr.

In the build up to the 2015 General Elections, caution was thrown into the wind and modesty spanner got lost in the can of oil of exuberance by many, including the supposed highly placed individuals, public office holders inclusive, in their usage of words on other people. This saw many prophecies by those tagged as “agents of doom” pronounce the break-up of Nigeria while international community had their attention shifted to happenings in the country.

Then, campaign of calumny, derogatory statements, advertorials, and all sorts became arrows in the hands of the ruling class and the then opposition. They flew freely, from all corners across the polity. No one perhaps would have doubted the prophecies, as fears in the land for a possible military coup heightened, as another school of thoughts believed. 

Religious and traditional leaders among others were a part of this dastard and divisive prone act. A king in Lagos state, with reference to the state’s governorship election and in a bid to make his choice candidate known made a statement that caught a serious backlash across the country. That was the magnitude of the shameful act, it did not spare the highly reverred stool of an Oba – king, a well respected position in the land. 

Two years into the leadership of the country, led by the President Buhari, the trend has continued unabated. And no doubt, it has become widely spread like a fire during harmattan, and it has become a norm, to the regret of the current leadership of the country. This time around, it has taken a new but more serious dimension, especially as the call for a sovereign state of Biafra by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) goes into head. 

Asides the ethnic nationality coloration hate speeches has successfully courted, religious individuals, groups, mass media and online platforms have also lent shameful dancing steps into the trend, whether overtly or covertly. Media platforms owned by politicians and their allies have been used in doing the BAD JOBS.

More recently, social media have become the new hotbed, as the popularity of the internet-facilitated communication platform has further promoted this ugly trend. Anonymous, wrongly attributed messages are spread across, either cautiously misleading or unconsciously popularized by various individuals, with a view to sowing ember of discord among various nationalities and groups making up the country. 

Sadly, all these events have further weakened the unity of the country and the peace being enjoyed is likely to be sent to its early grave.  

Speaking recently on this rather unfortunate situation and possibility of another round of civil war, going by the recent provocative events, a former military administrator, Rt. Gen. Ibraheem Badamasi Babangida, said hate speeches was one of the reasons the country engulfed in a civil war years ago and warned that such may repeat itself, should the barrage of odium comments go unchecked.

In view of the foregoing and considering the dangers inherent in the ugly monster rearing its head, the government and its various agencies should ensure that a proper orientation of Nigerians is done, while law enforcement agencies should employ the relevant sections of the country’s constitution in prosecution of ANY individual who uses, promote hate speeches, regardless of how highly place such may be, including social media users. The giant of Africa and most populous black-skinned state in the world is not a lawless country. Law should be made to take its course!

Religious, traditional and sectional leaders should be weary of their actions and inactions, serve as worthy peace ambassadors to their followers, preach tranquility and ensure grievances are settled without raising dusts. Even IF there will be a break away, as being clamoured for, it can be civilly done. Like a sound fellow once sounded, wars are no picnics!

Similarly, mass media and indeed Nigerians must also see the call for oneness, unity and peace of the country as a collective business and assignment. Messages that are capable of undermining the relative peace being enjoyed by the country must be discouraged. 

Nigeria is and will always be a prosperous country, when her people stand together as an indivisible entity. The diversity of the country is an uncommon blessing. It is beautiful! #standwith9ja

May God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria!

​OUR MANY TRAVAILS AND THE NEED TO CONSOLIDATE OUR DEMOCRACY

By: Moshood Muhammed

Generally speaking, the people constitutes mainly the element, admissible and permissible in democracy, the Nigerian system of government, with whom the decision of who becomes what, get what and at what time is taken and for.

With reference to the definition a former President of United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, participation of people, who are an indispensable element of government and leadership of a country, is believed to be non-negotiable. But, reverse is sharply the case in the issue of Nigeria, the most populous black-skinned people country in the world.

The rare magnanimity of the then military ruler and Head of State, Rtd. General Abubakar Salami saw Nigeria return to democratic rule in 1999 with Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Obasanjo as the democratically elected President. After he exited office, Nigeria has successfully transferred power from one leader to the other and most recently, from a political party which Nigeria started with, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the now ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in a very peaceful and uncommon manner, alien to the African politicians and its many years of political sojourn. This remains one of the feats we have achieved as a country.

On return to democracy eighteen (18) years ago, expectations were high, no thanks to the ‘nightmares of military rule’ and having seen what democracy infers in other climes. Nigerians could not hide their joys when the Obasanjo administration came on board; many were promised with very infinitesimally done so far and nothing done in many cases, even by successive occupiers of the Aso Villa and other public positions in the yesteryears up till now.

Power supply has remained consistently out of supply in many homes, villages, cities and factories, forcing Nigerians to make darkness their neighbours, while many businesses went out of operation, with others relocating to neighbouring countries; education is yet to recover from the colossal damage done to its structural and administrative hitherto strong rooting. Same is the case with Agriculture, which was formally our source of national financial muscle depleting into a business of very few with little concentration from government, not until recent time. The list is endless.

As much as it incontrovertible that all is not so well, coupled with corruption fast becoming regalia of our political actors, it does not translate to the end of the road for the country. The country has despite the political upheavals that greeted the preparation for last general elections among other issues emerged, a united country, though with affray from some parts of the country.

As Nigerian democracy gets a year older, concerted efforts must be made by all in seeing the birth of the new and assuring country Nigerians would be proud of.
Now, the leadership of the country and government structures across board must be sanitized and made to work in the interest of the people, while the trademark of corruption on most political office holders is ‘confiscated’. Our leaders must be aware that if everyone who has at one point or the other occupied the office did not leave, they would never have the opportunity to get there.

Furthermore, the central government must not surrender in its struggle for a well respected country in Africa and beyond, flush out, in sincerity the demonic corruption tendencies, that has almost brought the country on its knees, out of the country; wipe out the inkling Boko Haram insurgence stint, rescue the remaining Chibok School girls, get back home Nigerians leaving like foreigners on the own soil, neighbouring countries. Also, our economy which somersaulted must also be revamped, with the diversification plan executed speedily while ensuring an enduring, stable and uninterrupted power supply to all nooks and crannies of the country. This will do doubt help recover our hailing economy and set us forthwith on the path to prosperity.

On the other hand, Nigerians must see The New Nigeria project as a collective assignment, on which the destiny of millions of our country men and women are tied to, and indeed that of many generations yet unborn. Should the war against corruption be won, proceeds recovered and ultimately pumped into the economy, Nigerians can be certain of a speedily developed country. Hence, everyone must resolve to join the campaign, reject proceeds of crime and never be involved corruption. Charity they say begins at home.

Similarly, our parents, families, religious leaders, teachers and schools must note that they are either partner in crime or partner in progress, depending on what they make of the flock in their care. There is therefore a great need to have them support government and by far, the popular view, rid the country of many rots she has found herself in. This implies that the song of anti corruption, transparency, accountability, hard work and perseverance should be continuous on their lips.

The truth is, should we fail to augment our resolution for the ‘hell-lots’, vent our displeasure with the widely affirmed abysmal state of things, by participating meaningfully in the affairs of the country, our complaints would be mere noise. In other words, our political affairs, call for accountability, responsive and responsible government should not be left in the hands of politicians and the acclaimed ‘opposition’ parties, we must all make Nigeria work for our good. The rumoured military take-over is not and will never be in the interest of majority of Nigerians. As such, we must all defend our democracy and make it stronger.

Though, all may not be rosy for us as a country, it is never a time to give up; our participation in governance should be strong, defiant of oppression tendencies of any public office holder, bad governance, misrepresentation among others, like never before. Surely, we would get there.

If you are not participating, it is not making sense. #Standwith9ja

God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria

​Isn’t this Insanity taken too far? 


By: Moshood Muhammed 
Surely, everyone wishes to survive, even as hard time bites harder. Yet, how do we place the inanities and insanities that have pervaded our clime this long? 

Wrongdoings such as killings, kidnapping for ransom and drug peddling is mostly common among youths and the men folks. Though, our mothers and ladies have joined the bad wagon. But, how do you place it when grannies ingest wraps of illicit drugs, for delivery abroad? 

The long arm of law recently caught up with two grandmas (60 and 59 years of age)  when officials of National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested them, while preparing to leave the country for New York and Saudi Arabia respectively. 

They blamed their involvement on financial crisis and the need for them to survive, alleging that they were “cajoled” into the business. 

Asides being ridiculously bad, for people of their age, going by our culture as Africans, activities like theirs have continued to give our country a bad image out there. Nigerians who travel abroad still lament the  “special treatment” they get in hands of security operatives in Obodo Oyinbo. Lives as well have been ruined by that business of theirs while capital punishment remains the stance of most countries of the world, for those who engage in such venture. 

Beyond this, however, is financial incapacitation enough a reason for people of that age range to engage in such act? 

What sort of legacies are they leaving behind for their grand children? 

How will society receive and perceive children from those homes? I don’t understand!

Can someone help me?

​RELEASE OF 82 CHIBOK GIRLS AND QUESTIONS BEGGING FOR ANSWERS


By: Moshood Muhammed 
So cheered to hear the “rescue” of 82 Chibok girls who were hitherto held by the Boko Haram Sect.

As much as it is important and impressive that we have got them, while hoping we get more and the rest of them in the next few days,  I feel very sad that those girls were actually and indeed, as reported by media swapped with “suspected” Boko Haram soldiers. 

To this end, I have kept asking myself these questions. I hope someone will be generous enough to help my ignorance. 

If “suspected” terrorists could have been swapped with girls the whole world had hoped for their release for three years, what has been happening to those terrorists (suspected) since all these years? 

If we actually knew that they were terrorists and could be exchanged for our dear girls, why were they not negotiated before now? 

Why were these “suspected” terrorists not tried, considering the damages their activities have done to us? 

Will the remaining girls be swapped with these deadly beasts called Boko Haram? If yes, are we not preparing for another show down? 

Would the release of some of these “suspected” terrorists not further empower and strengthen the “technically defeated” Boko Haram boys to cause more harm to the country, days after the leader of the sect, “Shekau” debunked the insinuations of his murder in an air strike? 

Hope some people are not secretly smiling to the bank with activities of these Boko boys and will continue to do with the swapping of the “suspected” terrorists?

​POLITICAL MIGRATION AND THE POLITICS OF YAM STOCK-KEEPING

By: Moshood Muhammed 
It might have happened on different days, but, it was reported and made public the same day. It is no other thing than the decampment of two politicians in Nigeria. 

The first is the immediate past governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sullivan Chime and a former Minister of the federation, Musiliu Obanikoro, both of the then ruling PDP and now “major” opposition party in the country. While the former was accepted into the moving canoe of the progressive party in his hometown of Udi, attended by Chief John Odigie Oyegun, the National Chairman of APC and Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state among others, the latter’s choice decision remains in the media reports. 

Though, the constitution of the country allows for individual choices of alignment with regards to political parties and its membership, it must be noted that the manners in which these people conduct their political business is worrisome, detrimental and anti-people. 

This has further lent voice of reasoning to call and insinuations by Nigerians of good conscience that our politicians are the same, and that there is always a point (at the top) when they agree and reach a compromise is not short of reality of happenings. 

The duo who were ousted by APC, by virtue of their partisanship of the PDP are believed to be having corruption cases hanging and dangling on their necks, yet, they have been admitted into the CHANGE party of the world, and by their new admission, have become PROGRESSIVES. This is not the first of decampment seen as far as this regime is concerned. Many have jumped fence to the toast of the moment and have continued to enjoy the yam in their possession, almost unquestioned. This is in lieu of the biblical and popular “Go ye and sin no more”.

Even, Chief Oyegun, while speaking on reasons why Chime left the former ruling party said it was not to escape prosecution for corruption allegation against him. (Baba knows the truth. Isn’t it?) 

It is not out of reality to state that this brand of politics is inimical and consequential to our development as a people and democratic state. 

With this continuous and unceremonious migration, with obvious view and possibility of escaping trial and prosecution, thus leading to prolong hoarding of the looted yams, reasonable mind in the People’s Assembly of Nigeria should stop at nothing in questioning the integrity of the party that was “overwhelming” voted in the 2015 elections and its anti corruption campaign. 

Beyond this, should these political figure gets patted at the back on cases preferred against them, then, Nigerians are worried if the seriousness of the present administration in rescuing Nigeria. As such, genuine Nigerians must not close their eyes and watch things go far out of hand. Rather than stand with those who have looted the country dry, based on party affiliation, it is better you #StandWith9ja and work for its greatness. 

You too can be a Nigerian representative. 

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria! 

​NAIRA HAS NO GENDER

By: Folorunso Fatai

Naira has no gender. If it were a male, we could have been convinced it is the reason females are avaricious. And if it were a female, it would have been evident to establish it as reason males are completely rapacious. But naira has no gender, yet, its unparalleled enchanting and enticing power to get embezzled by all, including Nigerians in high places is unimaginable.

Even Nigerian at the foot of the mountain, their fraudulent acumen in the face of Naira will amaze you. Are you doubtful of that? Visit computer villages, visit motor parks etc. You’ll be here to regale me with your different hilarious stories about them.

Corruption is not limited to certain class; it cuts across board. This is partly the reason sleaze is unveiled in high places and petty thieves  apprehended on our streets. We don’t celebrate hardwork; we only celebrate instant success. Another reason the ‘get rich quick’ syndrome’ is popular among Nigerians today and by extension, the youths. Hence, the alarming rate of cybercrimes among other inhuman ventures. 

This also explains the reason an average Nigeria does not see anything wrong in same Patience Jonathan, a civil servant owing a whooping 4.5billion Naira under another person’s name in one account and close to 15billion naira in another account- Naira has no gender, Naira knows no gender!

Sadly and tragically, Naira is drained of its vigour. Our rapacious leaders have maimed its beautiful prospects which were eye dazzling in its days of yore. It has been outpaced in value and eminence by its equals(such as US Dollars and British Pounds) in the early 70’s. And some of its younger ones then such as UAE Dirham, S/Arabia Riyadh etc have also upscaled it.

Millions of naira is like air to our politicians, it is ubiquitous in their houses. From their rooms, to bathrooms, garages, sceptic tanks and even on their roofs. I hope it is still fresh in our memories the sum of $1 million that was discovered in a soakaway pit in ex-Air staff chief,  Amosu’s Lagos residence.

And the EFCC’s March 14, 2017 interception of illegal movement of cash totaling N49 Million found at the Kaduna International Airport.

Latest is the humongous sums of money to wit: $38,000,000.00 (Thirty-Eight Million Dollars),N23,000,000.00 (Twenty-Three Million Naira) and £27,000.00 (Twenty-Seven Thousand Pounds) uncovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) from an apartment in Osborne Towers, Osborne Road, Ikoyi Lagos. No wonder Olajide Abiola, a seasoned business analyst, rightly lamented that ‘A whole Second Niger bridge kept in someone’s apartment and we are wondering where our own Dubai, Paris, New York, Qatar, South Africa are. 

In saner climes, only drug dealers do this kind of stuffs, not public servants nor political office holders.

Interestingly, the $50 Million has got no claimant. Imagine such humongous amount suddenly become an orphan. Who would think that people would be avoiding $50 million like a plague?

Dishearteningly, it pains one to see genuine business owners and farmers have no access to any form of credit facility at all. This is made worse by the knowledge of those who wickedly stole and idly stashed away monies that can save several lives in the country. 

Some people only need just between N50,000-N100,000 to back up their trades. 

For every loot found and recovered, avalanche of thoughts cross one’s mind on many credible SME operators that such movies could have provided a strong financial lifeline and the value it would have added to the economy in jobs, income, VATs and Taxes.”

Cumulatively, I would suggest every money recovered should be judiciously utilized on projects that have direct benefits on the masses, such as water, alternative power while the SMEs operators and farmers should be made to smile by offering them low interest rate loans. 

Folorunso Fatai writes from University Of Ilorin and can be reached via penpusher2015@gmail.com