[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - An adage says, “Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are.” This should be reframed “Show me your leader and I will tell you the follower you are.” This shows that leaders and followers co-create each other. There can be no leadership without followership and the reverse is also true. In his wonderful book, The Wretched of the Earth, the French-born Algerian statesman, Frantz Fanon argued that ultimately the people get the kind of leaders they deserve; and the leaders deserve the kind of followers they get. After all, a leader is anyone called to guide, teach, command, motivate, inspire or plan. By this, we all are leaders.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) which has a glorious past in the 70s and the 80s due to its strong stance in defence of interests of students and the downtrodden in the society. But what went wrong suddenly? Today it is difficult to distinguish NANS activities from motor park touts. The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) made this point early 2014 when Delta State NANS Joint Campus Committee executives paid the Union a courtesy visit. So where are the leaders of tomorrow?
Like NANS, a University Campus branch of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Other Educational Institutions (NASU) did something quite amusing. Its members’ monetized benefits were allegedly cornered by the Vice Chancellor thus provoking the Union to embark on an indefinite strike. It is instructive to know that the Union leader, on been summarily promoted by the University Management from level 4 to 7 suddenly abandoned the poor workers and mortgaged their futures for personal gratification. Do we still have the moral authority to question our leaders when they collect huge World Bank/IMF loans and these never get home?
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on industrial action in 2009. The Union accuses the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu of not heeding to the plights of the Union because his children like those of other high ranking public officials in Government had their children in foreign Universities. Suffice to say that ASUU threatened to publish the names of public officers’ children in foreign Universities. The Minister also claimed he has the names of children of ASUU members studying abroad and threatened to publish their names. We are yet to see any lists from both sides till this day!
I have cited these instances just to justify the assertion that leaders and followers are co-creators.
Dynamism is one of the hallmarks of leadership. If we continue to use the same old responses, worn-out theories, old failed approaches instead of creating new ones we honestly aren’t expecting things to change. I am sure no one recalls experiencing bomb blasts being a daily practice two decades ago. These are the realities we live by in Nigeria today. But to respond with an overtly short-staffed, ill-equipped security agencies to a fire-emitting Boko Haram is to say the least crooked thinking. The Americans were told in clear language that they were in the 21st Century and no longer the Civil War, Cold War, Vietnam, or Gulf War Years of the 20th Century during the 9/11 attacks. Robert Green in his book, The 33 Strategies of War noted that there is nothing good that comes out of fighting the last war.
Just as a confused leader cannot lead effectively, so are a divided, unfocused, disorganized and disoriented people cannot follow. The latter is been taken advantage of by unscrupulous politicians for cheap political gains. So, leaders and followers are not independent of each other.
Only clear-headed persons can effectively lead. But ordinary clear-headedness without visions is like tea without sugar. Since the needs of today are not necessarily those of tomorrow, good leaders try to phantom them in advance to avoid creating a vacuum. It is this lack of vision that made countries like Ghana to do better than we are presently doing. Great visionaries like have visions that presently elude us.
Also, a leader must know which role to play per time. He must be able to discern the role he plays in every situation. At war time he is the Commander-in-Chief or Chief Security Officer; at peace time he is the Father of the Nation, shunning partisanship in any form; during the period of division he is the Uniting figure and so on. In Nigeria, it appears our leaders don’t know what role is expected of them per time. It is for this reason they get poor advice from their Advisors who are only bent on flattering their Master’s egos.
Great leaders spend their time understanding the needs of their people. When others are bothered about winning the next election, or their party, or tribal origin, they do their best to satisfy their people. They are like marketers who are told satisfy the needs of their customers, to guarantee their loyalty. It was this great truth that Franklin D. Roosevelt understood, as US President during the Great Depression (1929-1933), when he chose to pitch his tent with the poor who were most affected during this period. For these acts, he was rewarded with great victories in four consecutive elections which are unprecedented and unsurpassed in US history. This was what led the great political leader and perhaps the most influential religious figure in World Civilizations, Amenhotep IV, Pharaoh of Egypt (1360-1350BC) to say: “The glory of a King is the welfare of his people; his power and dominion resteth on the hearts of his subjects.” The greatest leaders have taken heed of this eternal truth.
Also, the greatest leaders are not those that lead from the mountains. They pay attention to the deepest levels of human experience. They don’t make themselves super humans. In essence they are humble. It becomes very difficult to see situations clearly when one is surrounded by such luxury Nigerian leaders are infected with. All these rather make people blind hence they depend on second hand reports from their unreliable lieutenants.
Great leaders give everything in their service to the people. History is not in want of leaders whom gave their lives in the service of their people: Mahatma Gandhi(India), Abraham Lincoln(USA), John F. Kennedy(USA), Peatrice Lumumba(Congo), Malcom Little
(Malcolm X) (USA), Martin Luther King(USA), Ernesto “Che” Guevara(Argentina), Amilcar Cabral(Guinea-Bissau), Salvador Allende(Chile) and many others paid the ultimate price with their lives. Others have endured painful punishments and assaults: Nelson Mandela(South Africa), Denis Brutus(South African), Fidel Castro(Cuba), Juan Peron(Argentina). Others like Ahmed Ben Bella(Algeria) and Kwame Nkrumah(Ghana) were exiled from their countries due to their defence of their people.
We are indeed in a period of great triumphs and potential pitfalls. The World, Nigeria especially, is in dear need for leadership and followership. To make the difference, the leaders must set the pace for the followers. The World is in desperate need of Inspirational leaders, not necessarily politicians. That is why as young people we must set the pace. It never comes by asking rather it comes by demanding.
Olalekan Waheed Adigun ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), writer, philosopher, academician, political risk analyst, researcher, independent political strategist and brand consultant for individuals, political organisations and campaigns reports from Lagos, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Map & Flag of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Mohammad Nasir Augie writes President Buhari ] - Baba, let me start by congratulating you, or in other words congratulate Nigerians on the victory recorded in the just concluded elections in March this year, and your successful inauguration as the President of our great country Nigeria. This is no doubt an undeletable mark in our political history.
Although you passed through very tough and hard moments, crossed very rough roads and scaled through various obstacles before clinching to this victory, but Baba, the road ahead is tougher, rougher, harder and more dangerous, the task ahead is more demanding than the previous.
Nigerians from all sectors and sections of the country, male and female; young and old; rural and urban settlers; elites and illiterates; all contributed in their own ways to this success, with very high expectations beyond what is practically possible. They are full of hope that in you, they have found the right driver that will take them out of their bondage, to the promise land.
In the light of the above, Baba, what you need most now are good prayers for God’s guidance and protection; and good advises. We prayed so hard and will continue to pray, but what remains now is our kind, candid, and objective advises.
Baba you will agree with me that the 2015 elections are very historic and left behind so many lessons to learn. This election will forever remain unique in the history of Nigeria, and will be remembered for its distinctiveness.
Not only that it is the first time that power shifted from a ruling party to the opposition, but also the first time a sitting president will be defeated and removed from office through the ballot box. Most interesting of it is that, all these happened peacefully as against the predictions and expectations of many, due to the overheating of the polity especially during the campaigns, when disrespectful, hateful and divisive statements where emphasized as against the pressing issues bedeviling the nation.
It is a triumphant show of democracy, the way masses defy all odds of harsh weather, financial and physical intimidations and harassment; and logistic challenges. They also sacrificed their time, energy and wealth, because of their resolve to confront dishonesty, mismanagement, corruption and bad leadership, many Nigerians remained resolute in this cause despite being threatened, insulted and bullied.
Baba, the promises made by your party to rescue Nigerians from their long period of suffering from corruption, insecurity, unemployment, economic hardship and dilapidated basic infrastructure, elevated their hopes and expectations, and am very sure you are aware of this. This confidence reposed in you by the majority of Nigerians need to be justified.
The former President and indeed INEC need to be recommended for the sacrifice, humility, and commitment shown for the continued peaceful existence of this nation.
Jonathan's singular act of conceding defeat has shamed the religious bigots, proponents of violence and ethnic/sectional chauvinists, who always depend on cruelty as a means of holding unto power or being relevant in the society. It stopped the 'sit tight syndrome' associated with most African leaders, from having its way into Nigerian politics.
Even though many see the case of the former president as that of a man who lost all hope, and was left with no other option than to accept defeat, by considering the fact that, the world super powers have made it clear, that the sole responsibility of whatever happened, during or after the elections will be on the head of whoever contributed to it. Likewise the threat from the ICC and the intervention of some elder-statesmen.
Notwithstanding, he must be commended for his statesmanship in allowing the democratic process to progress unfettered in the first place, and his humility in accepting the defeat even when his associates were ready to defy all the international threats and throw the country into chaos, so long as the power will remain with them.
INEC and its Chairman will also be recommended for their innovations and improved logistics during the elections, so also the maturity of INEC chairman for remaining resolute despite the threats and intimidations from some quarters.
Social media political advocates also played a vital role in bringing this desired change, many people stood up in the cause of this struggle.
Baba you must not forget that the masses who defy all the odds and made these immeasurable sacrifices to bring about this change are your employers, and you are here to serve them and not the elder statesmen, high profile politicians, traditional rulers or religious leaders. Success of your administration would therefore be determined by the level of welfare, development and prosperity of the masses. Therefore, be very sensitive and responsive to their cries and agitations.
This administration must draw its membership from all sectors and sections of the country, so as to form an all inclusive government. That will give a sense of belonging to all Nigerians, irrespective of their gender, ethnic, religious, political or social affiliations.
Baba you need to always scout and seek for those men and women who are known to put national interest above their selfish interest, from among them select credible and experienced Nigerians to form a cabinet that can assist you in delivering your promises and having a successful administration.
There are many of such Nigerians that can be mobilized to assists in the reforms and overhaul of the system, to put Nigeria back on the track of good governance, progress, development and national integration.
Do not recycle the same people who have been in the position of power before, or have contributed to the problems we are experiencing today. Try to employ the services of new faces and where necessary experienced technocrats to hold key positions in your administration. Beware that those who have histories of working with bad rulers will always form bad councilors, as most of them are pretentious praise singers, they always sang praise and worship the leaders, but always have hidden agenda.
Try and appoints only people with unique and unquestionable character irrespective of where they came from. Presence of such people will preserve the trust and credibility this administration have in the sight of the masses. Always remember that the inner-circle/cabinet of any government determines its success or failure, never give corrupt and selfish people any space in your administration no matter how close or related they are to you, otherwise they will present a bad image of the administration.
Most of the previous leaders that we consider as unsuccessful have their failure directly related to those around them, who form their cabinet members, God – fathers or advisers. That mistake must not be allowed to repeat itself. Get nearer and be open to those who always told you the truth and remind you of God without hesitation, try to avoid sycophancy and flattering, excessive praise tends to make one vain and arrogant. By being pleased with these, Satan would find a means to destroy you.
Baba remember they say, "he who eats with the devil should have a long spoon", The massive decampees who defect to the APC in droves, most of whom are devil-like in character, should be handled with utmost care and caution. Many of them moved because of personal gains, and have contributed immensely to Nigeria's current problems. Though you can’t send them away from the party, never rely on them for advise or put them in your cabinet. Because in the cause of pursuing their personal interest, will cause commotion and disruption within the party and eventually cause same problem they caused in their former parties. Do not also seek counsel from miserly, greedy or cowards.
Baba you have to also be very cautious and systematic in dealing with what I called, 'difficult categories of people'. These are people who have great influence on you, and you cannot ignore them or do without them, and therefore they have the ability to either make or mar the entire administration. These include the political bigwigs who see this victory solely dependent on their efforts, politically, financially and otherwise, and therefore considered this government as 'their own'.
Even as they are close to you and are seen as your allies, many of them are not honest or trustworthy, while following their way will tarnish your image, parting ways with them will create a gap that enemies will use against you, as it will be translated as an internal failure within your caucus. Dealing with them will be difficult since they always have their own motives and agenda, which might not be the same as yours.
Another set are the masses, who also considered this victory as theirs, and therefore expect much from it. Many have been calling for change but within themselves are not ready to change, and most of them are indulged in one illegal activity or the other by not obeying simple laws and orders. They only believe this administration will protects them, and threatened their perceived enemies (rich and elites), misunderstanding or misinterpretation of any government policy by them, will turn them against this administration, this will eventually be used as an opportunity by enemies of this administration to paint it black.
Lastly, the families, relatives and friends, many of them will no doubt try to benefit from this privileged position, while in the process may diminish your good image. Many instances were seen where spouses or siblings of a leader bring an administration down, due to their antecedents in taking over official duties as personal engagements.
Baba, never forget the backward and depressed classes of people, these include the very poor, incapacitated, destitute, illiterates and physically challenged. Remember that they put their hopes in you and as Nigerians they equally have right to be catered for as part of their democratic dividends. Most often, they tend to be forgotten because they are unable to reach their leaders or representatives, and their voices are not loud enough to be heard.
Baba this administration need to salvage the future of this country by protecting and securing the future of Nigerian children, which was greatly abused and tarnished, as most of these children are found hawking on the streets, tattered, ravenous and worn out, instead of being in the classroom. They 'graduate' from these streets as touts, armed robbers, thieves, drug peddlers, prostitutes etc. Many children are out of school due to high school fees, parents' economic status and irresponsibility.
There is therefore the need to amend and strictly implement the child rights act, revitalize the UBE scheme to ensure that education is truthfully free and compulsory, at least up to secondary school level. Parents should also be mandated to stand up to their responsibilities through legislation, sensitization and reorientation. All forms of child labor and poor upbringing should be discouraged. Public schools need to be standardized and upgraded. Moral values, discipline and religious ethics should be emphasized in schools.
It is devastating, dangerous and shameful that Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, and one of the countries with highest number of illiterate citizens.
Baba, try to liberate the Niger Delta people from the hands of their leaders, who often connive with the central government in denying them the sweetness of what comes out of their land, not even the basic human needs. Prove to them that a just and able leadership is what we all need to harmoniously and peacefully get all that we deserve without pain or struggle.
Nigerians are divided more than ever before, because our differences in terms of religion, tribe, ethnicity and section where being used by politicians as tools for their campaigns and deception, to gain cheap popularity and achieve their political aims. A drastic measure is needed to reverse this trend and encourage unity, understanding, tolerance and cohesiveness, this is very important because no society divided within itself can ever progress or develop.
Therefore, this administration must reconcile all aggrieved parties and communities that are divided because of politics, and unite all Nigerians into one indivisible family, where everyone will have a sense of belonging, with equitable distribution of wealth and privileges. Reach out to capable and trustworthy individuals from all political parties, tribes, sections and religions, let us all work together mutually in the spirit of one Nigeria.
I am not in doubt, that Baba is very much aware of the need to tackle all security challenges bedeviling this country, as it pose a great threat to our unity and territorial integrity of our nation. There is therefore the need to end all forms of criminality across the nation. Extend an olive branch and open your arms to all those who are willing to repent from their criminal ways and embrace peace, rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into the larger society. Baba, for those who are not willing to repent, do not hesitate to take a burning fire to their doors. Our military and other security agencies are able and capable; all they need is encouragement, equipment, welfare and training.
I most add here that, the unhealthy trend of allowing informal militia groups such as vigilante, cult groups, militants, hunters and other self-armed groups to be parading themselves as security operatives and carrying out their operations independently and unchecked must be reversed. While their help is occasionally needed due to the inability of our security agencies to provide the needed protection of life and properties, their operations need to be supervised, checked, controlled and limited.
It is very evident that so much harm has been done to public institutions in the country, leaving them dilapidated and ineffective. Baba, much need to be done on institution reform in all sectors, most especially economy, security, power, manufacturing, agriculture and petroleum.
Looking into what caused the decay of these institutions will hopefully help in tackling this problem and making them strong and functional. Accountability, transparency and merit – based recruitment and promotion in public services will reposition and strengthen it to near-perfect, and also helps in fighting corruption. Baba, you may agree with me that establishing an effective, sanitized and transparent public service is far better and easier than going against those who are already corrupt. In other words, I mean, it's better to discourage or stop people from stealing, than to allow them loot and then fight them in trying to recover the stolen funds back, remember it is very difficult if not impossible to recover all that was stolen.
The norm of impunity in public service need to be urgently changed. Situations where people will commit crimes through stealing and diversion of public funds and be openly proud of it by being protected by government to escape justice, surely results in system destruction.
Baba, apart from the problem of power that stagnated our development, effort need to be made in the provision of functional and efficient refineries to put a stop to oil importation. The petroleum sector remains one of the most corrupt and therefore need a complete overhaul, reform, and restructuring, both through legislative intervention and attitudinal changes, to bring about the needed sanity in that sector, which is presently the back bone of our economy.
Our refineries, if functional will not only provide Nigerians with transport fuels, but capable of creating job opportunities both within and outside the plants, through the production of various industrial raw materials and chemicals. This can go a long way in boosting our economy. I can boldly tell you Baba that our refineries can work efficiently if the right thing is done.
Baba, the gas sub-sector is a very promising one that has the potential of advancing our condition both economically and socially, if properly harnessed, it will help in providing job opportunities, industrial and infrastructural development. These reforms are also needed in various sectors: education, health, defense, economy, etc.
Nigeria's economy is presently in coma, everything possible should be done to resuscitate it. The present situation of running a mono economy solely dependent on petroleum need to be changed by opening other avenues, through diversification of the economy by considering alternative sources of income, such as agriculture, solid minerals, tourism, manufacturing and trade, etc. they are more reliable and provide more job opportunities.
It is a known fact that our basic infrastructures are dilapidated or in some cases absent, so also our industries. Revamping our infrastructures and industries back to shape is not a simple task, but rather a difficult and gradual one. What is needed therefore, is to put the country on track by setting an agenda of planned and concrete steps in that direction. Start by refurbishing and standardizing the existing infrastructures, and put in place a plan for their continuous advancement, then continue with steady progress in providing more. Emphasis should be on those sectors that have direct impact on the poor masses that constituted very high percentage of the population, including agricultural and agro-allied industries, transport, health care, education, water and power.
The ill-motivated and questionable planned sales of public institutions should be resisted, and those concluded should be revisited and where possible be reversed. All erudite Nigerians knew very well that there is nothing beneficial that reached the common man as a result of privatization of NITEL, PHCN etc. Public institutions and enterprises are not private properties and it is unpatriotic given them out to political allies, in the name of public private partnership or privatization, when they can be revived, and can function efficiently while remaining as the pride of the nation.
Baba, Nigeria's political structure need a comprehensive reform and restructuring, the parties' structure and intraparty politics should be remolded so as to give parties the power to control elected officials who ascend to power under their platform, instead of a situation where elected officials control the parties there by becoming unanswerable to anyone.
There has never been a contractual agreement between elected officials and the electorates. It is as result of this that political office holders seem to be the same, irrespective of which political platform they contested and won elections. This is because they are in full control of the political parties. This might be seen as a very difficult or rather impossible task, but Baba, if the legislature can be made to be alive and functional, and then stand up to their responsibilities, this would be achieved with ease, since most of these reforms require constitutional amendment and legislative enactment.
This restructuring is very necessary Baba because only then will good people in the society feel confident to come out and participate in active politics, so that the anomaly of having the blind leading the sighted could be stopped. This will surely bring sanity into the entire political system of the country, where the parties can direct and control the elected officials and the electorates can hold political parties responsible for the inability of the elected officials to fulfill the promises made by their respective parties.
To further strengthen our political system, all tiers of government need to be independent and autonomous, so as to enable them function without interference. The Executive, Legislature and Judicial arms of government, both at Federal and States levels need to have their financial and political independence. The local governments also need to have their complete independence, with a strengthened and fully functional political structure and power.
The media is a very important component of democracy and play a very vital role in encouraging justice, creating awareness, and enhancing unity among the citizens of a nation. Therefore, a sanitized, ethical and responsible media must be in place to achieve the desired development. Baba our media both print, broadcast and social need urgent restructuring and sanitizing through regulatory provisions to enforce ethical conduct in their activities. The media in Nigeria is contributing immensely in widening the gap of distrust and disunity amongst Nigerians through propagation of fabricated lies, divisive and hateful statements, unconfirmed figures, biased reports and appalling stories.
The judiciary remains the last hope of the common man, therefore lack of confidence in the judicial system results in so many negative tendencies from the people including increased crime rate, jungle justice and situations where people take laws into their hands. Absent of effective and reliable judicial system can destroy society or retard its development. There is the need to sanitize, strengthen and empower that system to be effective, reliable, independent and corruption-free.
A situation where our prisons are filled with inmates on awaiting trials is unhealthy, most disheartening are those cases where people are kept for longer periods than their supposed sentence, if they are to be convicted. Spending 5 years in prison awaiting trial, for an offence that if convicted will not result in more than 3 years imprisonment, is unjust.
Knowing your character and personality Baba I do not need to say this, but I will mention it for the sake of emphasis. For someone to successfully lead a very complex nation like Nigeria, he need to be very courageous, strict, visionary, focused and action oriented. Be bold to say what you do and do what you say, but never forget to always carry people along, know what your followers need and let them know where you are taking them to, and how you intend to get there.
Many leaders failed because they create a barrier between themselves and their followers, to the extent that the followers did not believe in any government policy, because they do not know where the leader is taking them to. This government must not be allowed to fail, because it's failure will be seen by all, both nationally and internationally, as stain on the future of this country.
Nigeria should be repositioned to reassert its leadership position in Africa, politically, economically and otherwise. Such will ensure the restoration of Africa's pride and black man’s dignity.
Baba, this administration need to do everything possible to block all leaking points in public treasuries and curb the excessive wastages and extravagance in governance. Huge amounts spent regularly on welfare of public office holders such as meals, transport, leisure etc. should be reduced accordingly. The plan to transform a nation surely requires fund, and presently our country is economically bankrupt, there is therefore the need to look into all possible avenues of increasing the government's revenue profile. Our looted resources should be recovered wherever possible either through soft or hard ways, all previous investigative committees' reports need to be revisited.
Baba, the outrageous salaries of political office holders need to be reduced to reflect the reality on ground, beyond any reasonable doubt annual budget of 130 – 150 billion naira for the national assembly alone is detrimental.
The unjustifiable gap created between the annual take home pay in different government ministries, departments or agencies must be reduced to bring sanity into the system. A situation where two individuals with same qualification working in same capacity, but one will be earning the other's annual pay in just two months, simply because they work under different ministries of the same government is unhealthy, unjust and demoralizing.
Government establishments and all other public institutions at all levels should disclose and make available their financial details on regular basis, to ensure accountability. Scraping of unnecessary political appointments will drastically reduce government overhead and bring down the cost of governance, thereby saving funds that can be used for people oriented projects. In the same vein, there is the need to merge and in some cases scrap some government institutions or agencies. This will bring more sanity and reduce administrative cost.
We trusted our resources under your care, do everything to protect them. The invented 'legalized stealing' being practiced by some public officials to continue looting public funds even after leaving office, through scandalous pension laws, should be repealed.
This administration should do all possible to discourage or reduce our foreign spending in all aspects, such as education, training, medical etc., it has negative impact on our economy and the strength of our currency.
Baba, our current constitutional provision concentrate much power at the centre, creating a syndrome where people felt if the person at the helm of affairs is not from their region, tribe, or religion then nothing good will come their way from the government. This is one of the reasons elections are filled with so much tension and agitations, every section claiming 'it is our turn to govern'.
The way out is to decentralize power and encourage participatory democracy, where some executive powers would be relegated to another arm of government, another tier of government or an institution. People from the grass root (at polling unit and ward levels) can be organized, encouraged and empowered to participate in major and sensitive government processes such as policy making, budgeting, budget and projects monitoring, project prioritization and security. This should include the traditional and religious leaders, NGOs and community development associations etc. People will then see themselves as part of the government process and see government projects as their own. This should not be misunderstood as taking over legislative responsibilities by the people.
Baba you will agree with me that religion is a very sensitive issue in this part of the world, the negative part of our own is that it lacks control and monitoring. Anybody can set up a religious centre and be called a Man of God, Sheik, or even God a times. He or she will be propagating his/her teachings without any proper monitoring. Religious institutions need to be organized and controlled. While everyone is free to practice his religion without hindrance, one should not be a threat to others or the nation.
Baba you need to remain focused and be very cautious so that you would not be misguided. Do not be carried away by the tremendous support and enormous trust you enjoyed from Nigerians into believing that you can do it alone or you are the only one who can do it, always seek help when necessary and work with people. Never think you have done enough or too much for the people, rather always concentrate on how to improve and make it better.
As it is with every administration, there will always be oppositions both objective and subjective, you should expect unnecessary condemnations and intended distractions, but never allow them to destabilize the administration. Do not distract yourself with vindictive attacks on perceived enemies, either personally or through aids and cabinet members, see yourself as president and father to all Nigerians and try to forgive those who unjustly and irrationally tried to humiliate you in the past.
With all due respect Baba, let me not forget to inform you that, should you for any reason fail to deliver your promises to Nigerians, or allowed yourself to be carried away by personal, sectional, tribal, religious, political or group interest as against national interest, as it was the case with your predecessors, Nigerians will not hesitate to criticize and humiliate you, and eventually disgrace you out of office. The well-merited integrity you earned for yourself is at stake.
We will not remember where the President comes from, or which tribe or religious believe he belongs to, because all we need is somebody who will take us out of our present situation and take us to the promise land. We will therefore continue to talk, talk and talk, and will also remain resolute in giving advises, contributions and constructive criticisms whenever necessary and through any available means.
Lastly, Baba let me remind you to always keep good your relationship with God, remembering Him, obeying Him, believing Him, praying to Him, depending on Him and trusting Him in all endeavors.
Long live Mr. President,
Long live this administration,
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mohammad Nasir Augie.
A26, Guru Road,
0818 983 9777, 0812 599 6667
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Odimegwu Onwumere reports ] - The Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu was invariably telling the world that what would bring honour to his personality and office was service to duty and not media sycophancy, when he made the disclosure in a press briefing made available to the public on June 17, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Godwin Adindu.
Although the relatively fine-looking governor did not mean the print media but jungle producers; he nonetheless did not intimate us in that report what price would be meted out to any offender among politicians and businessmen who would take praise-singing of the governor in jingles as a form of attracting attention.
The expression by Ikpeazu that jingles irritate him could be the same as the expression of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India as noted by New Delhi TV (NDTV), when the Prime Minister said that a perfectly healthy man can contract a lot of ailments if he starts suffering from diabetes; bad governance is worse than diabetes.
NDTV quoted Modi to have said this in his first reply to the motion of thanks on the Presidential address, where he outlined his government's priorities. Ikpeazu may learn that what formed Modi’s thrust of speeches in the two Houses of Parliament were cooperative federalism, development and good governance; not the other way round.
Like Modi would say in that speech of the Indian government, it is expected of Ikpeazu to understand and tell those he is governing with that, “Good Governance cannot remain merely a philosophy. Concrete steps have to be taken for realizing its goals. Individual efforts can bring excellence but only collective efforts can deliver effectively. It is our collective responsibility to ensure nobody sleeps hungry. Let's change the image of our country from ‘Scam India’ to ‘Skilled India.’”
Notwithstanding, we know that the governor was in a bid to be civil by his body language and not to be severe to the people that voted for him to be governor. The ban on jingles that would be meant to promote the good works of the governor when delivered was however dicey: The government was yet to inform the world if it would be making jingles that would reflect and amplify the works of the governor, either.
By the way! The message of the governor was understandable; hence the governor was supposedly telling us that he would attract notice of Abia people and the world through his ability to duty. It’s palpable that he was telling Abia people that he was fit for the system and the task before him.
Ikpeazu conversely wanted the people to look at him and see him as what a governor should be like and not like a gubernatorial candidate on an electioneering campaign where jingles and music are used as weapons that send message of the candidate across, while at the same time, deafening the eardrums of the people.
Ikpeazu has no excuse not to make Abia better. We want people from across the world to say that Abia State has left Nigeria behind. That would bring competitions among states in Nigeria. We cannot suffix to say that Ikpeazu would be One Hundred percent upright in governance but the more he realises the reference made by one Nwaocha Ogechukwu thus he might be a better governor.
Hear the Ogechukwu: “No matter how an individual views Satan, whether they believe that he is a real character or that he is just the product of literary scholars and imaginations, no one can deny that each one of us has an aspect of the devil within us. By studying the character and nature of Satan, we learn about ourselves; and the more we know about ourselves, the better we can fight our own personal demons—metaphorical or otherwise—in order to create a better tomorrow.”
Ikpeazu should know that in every government there has to be something that will be peculiar to it. He should not see governance as the classroom that breeds scholars. He should see it from the matrix by Aristotle, suggesting inter alia that, “The character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of oligarchy creates oligarchy.”
Some people may say, but the governor has not said, that the Abia State economy is comatose. But no matter what the situation, sanguinity is not in lack to rejuvenate the state where necessary. It is in the court of Ikpeazu to generate hope anywhere people might think there was no hope and turnaround the economy of the state, then jingles of his works could be heard across the world when he was no more on seat.
Odimegwu Onwumere (Email: email@example.com Tel: +2348057778358 ), Poet/Writer reports from Rivers State, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Governor Okezie Ikpeazu
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - The reality today in Africa is the challenge of terrorism. We have had to cope with the deadly acts perpetrated by the notorious al-Shabab in Somalia, Tanzania and recently in Kenya. We are equally witnesses to the ruthlessness of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad. We need not forget so soon the havoc wrecked by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda for many years. In the centre of this reality is the question of overcoming this monster of terrorism!
During 2015 presidential election campaign, President Muhammadu Buhari made it clear that top of his priorities when elected as Nigerian president is his promise to see the end of terror and its attendant evils. This was at the period when the dreaded Boko Haram was at the peak of their nefarious activities in Nigerian north eastern region.
It is on this note that President Buhari gave an unusual order in his inaugural address to the nation on May 29, 2015 for the Military High Command to with immediate effect relocate to Maiduguri, the ancient capital of Nigerian north eastern region which is also the terrorists’ stronghold. This order has been given different interpretations from several quarters within and without Nigeria. Irrespective of anyone’s interpretation(s) of the order, one thing is clear fighting terrorism requires taking some hard and tough choices like moving the entire military brass to the terrorists’ strongholds.
Like I have always said on this matter, terrorism pose unusual challenges and defeating it will require some radical, unconventional and in some cases strange decisions from the politico-military leadership. No one recalls terrorism being a “Nigerian” issue some two decades ago. Terrorism was almost missing from Nigerian glossary of terms over a decade ago but it features prominently today. This is why it must never be taken lightly. It is on this note that the recent formation of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) led by Nigeria against Boko Haram make a lot of sense.
Since the new administration was sworn-in about two weeks ago, the terrorists have done their very worst in their intensified assaults against the Nigerian state. In doing all these, the terrorists may only be taking the very chance that the Buhari’s government is yet to properly form. This is why I will advise President Buhari to cut short his “honeymoon” and get to work before things get out of hand!
On my part I will advocate that Nigeria must wake up to his historical role of providing leadership at the continental level. The formation of the MNJTF is welcome but that alone will not be enough to defeat terrorism. Nigeria provided leadership during the struggle against colonialism. Nigeria must canvass for the African Union (AU) to take a stand against terrorism. It must insist the Union put its feet down and roar ferociously against the insurgents.
President Buhari must, in his capacity as AU Chairman, canvass for an AU High Command, a special Anti-Terror Squad, or under any appropriate name, comprising volunteers from member-states in our bid to conquer insurgency.
For so long, it appears the AU fell asleep immediately it achieved its mandate of “eradicating colonialism in Africa.” One would have thought that since all African countries are now politically independent, the AU would have sought a new mandate, which should naturally be, “eradicating terrorism, insurgency and poverty in Africa.” One will equally have thought that the change of name from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) would have meant a change in approach, philosophy, tactics, mandate and perspectives. The Union must come to the realisation that the rise of insurgency on the continent is a direct attack on the corporate existence of the AU. This is where President Buhari must prove to be the difference!
Some may question the workability of our proposal. We would then be quick to point out that Nigeria is on record to have helped funded the powerful OAU organ, the Liberation Committee. The Committee, with its Secretariat in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania trained guerrilla fighters in their determination to achieve the core mandate of the defunct OAU. Nigeria supported groups such as the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the South African National Congress(ANC), the South West African People’s Organisation(SWAPO), Front for the Liberation of Mozambique(FRELIMO) and the likes. Probably OAU’s support for these groups made it difficult for it to give a definition to the word “Terrorism” at that period. If the same passion deployed to fight colonialism was deployed in our war against insurgency, it is only a matter of time before we prevail!
This is just a piece of advice to President Muhammadu Buhari on this matter.
Olalekan Waheed Adigun ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), writer, philosopher, academician, political risk analyst, researcher, independent political strategist and brand consultant for individuals, political organisations and campaigns reports from Lagos, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Democracy & Good Governance, Onitsha Nigeria, 10th June 2015)-The attention of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is drawn over the inaugural events that unfolded yesterday (09/06/2015) on the floor of the Eight National Assembly of Nigeria particularly at the Senatorial inauguration. The official statement of the new federal governing party-APC, over the referenced events has also been read and analyzed. The emergence of Hon Yakubu Dogara of the APC as the new Federation’s House Speaker with 182 votes against his challenger’s 174; is very commendable. Our only concern in the case of Senator Bukola Saraki of APC, who was returned by 57 Senators present as the new Senate President, out of 109 senatorial membership is that his emergence did not command a commanding and commendable majority capable of soldiering his leadership devoid of rancor and bickering.
Though, the two exercises were in conformity with Sections 54 (1) (one-third of all Senators and Reps)and 56 (2) (simple majority in the case of voting), but it would have been more appropriate and democratically grounded if the new Senator Saraki Presidency had emerged or chosen by most, if not all the new Senators. Be that as it may, the official statement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) deriding the two exercises and threatening to sanction those elected under its party who participated including Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon Yakubu Dogara; is totally frowned at. The Party’s clear lack of understanding of the basic provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria including the oath of allegiance to the Constitution is very alarming, shocking and deafening.
The bastardization and balkanization policy of the APC must be checkmated and restricted to the March 28 Presidential poll exercise. The Party must be made to understand that by successful administration of oaths of allegiance and office on new Senators and House of Reps members, the so called Party supremacy is lowered and subjected to the Constitution. This means the lawmakers, whether of APC or PDP, totally owe their allegiances to the Constitution and the People of Nigeria. The decision of belligerent and primordial Senators of the Party numbering 51 to boycott the inaugural session is legislatively impeachable. By its official statement, the APC encourages division, hatred, primordialism and clannishness in the new Eight National Assembly of Nigeria and governance of the country by extension. The legislator-members of the Party who set aside such divide-and-rule party policy to freely choose their principal leaders must be commended and not derided and threatened. This is more so when the two referenced principal legislators are from the same complainant-Party.
Other than the foregoing, the new Eight National Assembly of Nigeria must distance themselves from parliamentary quackery, mercantilism and lazy lawmaking, which had been the order of the day since 1999. There is need for them to embrace legislative intellectualism and humanitarianism. The Eight National Assembly of Nigeria must also realize that Nigeria is a multi cultural democratic country requiring special national legislative attention at all times. The country’s present politico-legal system is corrupted and bastardized requiring drastic re-arrangement and re-alignment.
For instance, a politico-legal system that promotes primordialism and signs away 80% of the country’s commonwealth into the pockets of a ruling political class of 17,500 citizens who constitute only 0.010% of the country’s 170 million people; urgently requires radical re-visitation and re-distribution; else Nigeria will chronically continue to crawl in its all socio-political and economic ramifications.
All categories of public allowances and overheads expenditures including executive security votes and legislative’s principal officers’ life pensions must be drastically tinkered. The allowances component of the personnel costs as well as the overheads component of the recurrent expenditures is fully responsible for paucity of funds for capital development and provision and delivery of social services in Nigeria. And if nothing radical is done to reverse the dangerous trend, then Nigeria will chronically remain empty and nothing in terms of real growth and development. Another major task before the new Eight National Assembly of Nigeria lies on the need to quarantine public loans/borrowings particularly from local sources. As a matter of fact, there is need for a national moratorium on public borrowings in Nigeria.
Of 123 Bills passed by the defunct Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria, which was inaugurated on 5th of June 2011 and wound up on 4th June 2015, out of 1,068 Bills introduced; only nine are considered as public oriented Bills. The nine Bills under reference are Occupational Safety & Health Bill, Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill, Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, Pension Reform Act Amendment Bill, Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill, Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Bill, Terrorism Prevention Bill, Proceeds of Crime Bill and Freedom of Information Bill. Most, if not all the Bills as referenced were drafted and sponsored by rights based Civil Society Organizations. The summary o the foregoing is that the defunct Seventh National Assembly performed abysmally and disastrously in the past four legislative years despite squandering over N600 billion or $3 billion in the same period.
There are still mountainous legislative challenges facing the new Eight Republic National Assembly of Nigeria. These include the state of the country’s 33 solid mineral deposits and continuous power epilepsy all retarding the country’s mechanization or industrialization attainment. The new Eight National Assembly must revisit the country’s trade and investment policies and laws including the Land Use Act, industrial, environmental, import and export laws. The privatization of power in the country must be reviewed and possibly revoked. The new Eight National Assembly must also re-visit Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution for the purpose of re-phrasing it to literally suit the country’s secular and multi-religious status. Promotion and encouragement of any form of State religion must be prohibited and criminalized. The right to the freedom of religion in Section 38 of the Chapter Four of the Constitution must be strengthened. In the case of existing socio-religious criminal laws like Shariah Laws of the Northern States which existence threatens the 1999 Constitution and the secular status of Nigeria; there is need to return to the status quo. This means returning to the Penal Code (operational in Northern Nigeria). The Penal Code is a combination of Islamic and non Islamic Criminal laws, borrowed from Sudan. The Penal Code under reference is also overdue for amendment and upgrading.
There shall be created the Ethno-Religious Violence & Related Offenses Commission so as to manage the country’s age-long religious and ethnicity violence and related disturbances including arrest and trial of the perpetrators and their sponsors. The victims and their families should also be entitled to adequate compensations from the government. Dates should be set aside for National Sorry & Remembrance Day for dead victims of the referenced violence and related disturbances.
Creation of Electoral Violence & Related Offenses Commission is also long overdue in Nigeria. It still saddens our heart that till date, a legion of international treaties and conventions are yet to be domesticated by the National Assembly in accordance with Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution. They must be identified and passed into law as urgently as possible so as to be fully operational as integral part of the country’s municipal body of laws.
Nigeria as a multi cultural and religious democratic country must be structured evenly to ensure fiscal, geopolitical, socio-religious and demographic equity and fairness in accordance with Section 14 (3) of the Constitution as it concerns the number of States, LGAs, Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies allocated to each federating unit (State) or geopolitical zone. In the world over, population, not landmass is a pivotal criterion for allocation of resources and demographic dividends. It is, therefore, shocking and disheartening to observe the present gross lopsidedness in the allocation of Local Government Areas (LGAs), States, Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies in democratic Nigeria. The grossly lopsided allocations are as follows: Local Government Areas: Northwest (186), Northeast (112), North-central (115), Southwest (138), South-south (123) and Southeast (95). For instance, Kano and Jigawa States (formerly old Kano State) alone have 77 LGAs.
As it concerns Federal Constituencies, which are designed in such a way that the transfer of national resources and distribution of public office personnel are anchored on proportionality; the referenced lopsidedness is very pronounced as follows: Northwest (92), Northeast (48), North-central (49), Southwest (71), South-south (55) and Southeast (43). The allocation of Senatorial Districts and States is also provocatively lopsided. While the Southeast zone is the least with 15 Senatorial Districts; Southwest, South-south, North-central and Northeast have 18 districts each, whereas the Northwest zone has 21. In the number of States, the Southeast is the least with 5 States, while North-central, Northeast, South-south and the Southwest zones are allocated with 6 States each. The Northwest zone has the highest number of States with 7 States. We demand firmly that the monumental imbalances above highlighted be legislatively re-visited and corrected. There should be balanced number of LGAs per geopolitical zone; else let the LGA system be removed from the Constitution and handed over to the States.
Other than these imbalances, the new Eight National Assembly of Nigeria should amend and upgrade the Criminal Code (operational in the Southern Nigeria) and the Penal Code (operational in Northern Nigeria) to bring them in conformity with the new Criminal Procedural Act (ACJ 2015) and the Evidence Act (amended in 2011) as well as to factor them into modern electronic criminal investigation, evidence, prosecution and sentencing management. Importantly, the ouster clauses under the right to personal liberty provisions in Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution in the Chapter Four should be thoroughly reviewed and streamlined. For instance, there must be an end to criminal investigations and trials in Nigeria. Specifically, Section 35 (4) (5) (6) (7) must be revisited; otherwise the aim of passing into law the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 will be defeated.
Another key provision of the 1999 Constitution requiring legislative attention of extreme public importance is Section 18 (3) (free education) and Section 6 (6) (c) (non justiciablity of the Chapter Two). The phrase “when practicable” should be deleted as it concerns free primary and secondary education with their adult literacy programs.
The paragraph “c” in Section 6 (6) of the Constitution (section 6 (6) (c) should be deleted to judicially empower Nigerians to hold the political office holders accountable at all times with respect to the Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of the State Policy of the Constitution(Sections 13-23). Section 12 (3) of the same 1999 Constitution requiring a majority of the Houses of Assembly passage of a national law before a treaty or convention can be domesticated; should be done away with. The passage and assent of the domesticating law should be restricted to the National Assembly and the Presidency.
Lastly, the N4 billion said to have been wasted by the defunct Seventh National Assembly in the futile constitutional amendment exercise must no repeat itself; likewise about N9 billion wasted in the 2014 National Conference. The unpopular provision made by the defunct Seventh National Assembly in the amended draft Constitution as Life Pensions for the principal officers of the National Assembly; must not be allowed to see the light of the day. We also demand that key issues agreed upon at the 2014 National Conference must be legislated into law.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons) Criminology & Security Studies
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Photo Caption – Nigeria National Assembly Complex
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - The naira is known to have dropped against major currencies in recent times. Perhaps, this was why, during the 2015 Nigerian presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari made the point of “making the naira equal to the dollar.” He was speaking against the backdrop of the depreciation of the value of the naira during the elections. It is just by mere announcements or campaign rhetoric that the naira will be made equal to the dollar?
Let us concede that the fall in the naira value during the elections can be due to the scramble for the dollar by politicians for the elections on the one hand; and the panic buying of travellers traveling out of the country for fear of violent reactions that might characterise the announcement of the result, we cannot wave off Buhari’s statement as a cheap attempt to score political point.
As Nigerian Head of State (1983-1985), Buhari was known to have run his regime based on strong fiscal prudence and rigorous financial discipline, which at that period the naira was said to be stronger than the US dollar. But is this just as simple as making the naira equal to the US dollar?
Since 1999, inflation rate in the country has been on the high. The near-total dependence on oil (which is usually dictated by the international market) hasn’t helped matters. The increase in domestic price of oil has also taken its toll on the on the national price level. All these put the naira in a weaker position against major foreign currencies.
Presently, Nigeria lacks the capacity to refine its own crude oil which makes her depend totally on importation. There is an argument that the presently devalued naira will only encourage exportation (of crude oil). In fact, this was exactly the same Bretton Woods institutions’ arguments, and their Nigerian supporters, in defence of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in the 1980s. Lending credence to this argument was the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Czar, Christiane Largarde, who in early 2012 justified her position on devaluation of the naira with this argument. We were spoon-fed with this argument in elementary and intermediate Economics classes, yet it still appears to make a lot of sense. When will this child grow up?
If President Buhari is serious about strengthening the position of the naira against, say the dollar, his government must make deliberate policies to diversify the economy from oil dependence; increase its productive base through youth entrepreneurship, innovation; and stimulate demand for domestically-made goods.
Olalekan Waheed Adigun ( Email: email@example.com ), writer, philosopher, academician, political risk analyst, researcher, independent political strategist and brand consultant for individuals, political organisations and campaigns reports from Lagos, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Nigeria Naira notes
[ Masterweb Reports ] – In his well-received inaugural speech on May 29th, President Buhari articulated his plans for solving the same ole problems facing Nigeria. These chronic challenges are epileptic power supply, bad roads, high unemployment, insecurity, environmental degradation, and yes, corruption. Mr. Buhari also made this ambitious pledge in "My 100 Days Covenant With Nigerians: We promise not to leave any Nigerian behind in our determination to create, expand and ensure equitable and effective allocation of economic opportunities. No matter the amount of funds we generate, unless there is an efficient and effective utilization, it will only create few billionaires. Unless we fight corruption, the economy will only benefit the ........Read More
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - In his inaugural address to the nation, Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari gave a strange order for the Military Command Centre or the Headquarters to immediately relocate to Maiduguri till terrorism is defeated. Since he made this speech, many so-called military “experts” or analysts have suddenly sprung up to voice their opinions on the matter which has the capacity or otherwise to solve or deter our efforts at fighting terrorism.
Of all the opinions I have read or heard, either for or against it, I must confess I saw little or no logic in most of the opinions offered other than ethno-political arguments. I soon saw how quickly ignorance spreads.
Before we go further, let me make some clarifications. I am not a military expert, neither do I lay claim to be. I have no military experience or training save for my three weeks camping for the Nigerian Army Short Service Combatant (SSC) Commission for which I couldn’t make the final list in 2014. If there is anything I know about the military is purely from my interactions with my soldier friends when I went for National Youth Service where I stayed briefly at a military barracks in 2013 in Adamawa state.
Having said that, let us get back to our task. In my opinion, most of us, or perhaps our military “experts” are missing out on some basic points which are crucial in our understanding of the fight against terrorism. The issues are not made easier when we continue to look at them from purely ethno-emotional lenses.
First, we need not be reminded that Muhammadu Buhari is the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces by virtue of his position as President of the Federal Republic. The 1999 Constitution under which he took his oath of office, confers upon him certain powers under section 218(1) to “determine the operational use of the armed forces of the federation.” My simple, layman understanding of the term “operational use” includes but not limited to the establishment of bases, formations, command, divisions and subdivision in any component of the armed forces in any part of the federation. If the commander-in-chief then, in his wisdom, chose to relocate the command centre to any part of the federation for operational efficacy, this writer sees nothing wrong in that!
Perhaps, some fears are due to geographical factors. One of the arguments is that moving the military headquarters out of the Federal capital Territory (FCT) will not prove effective. They support their argument with the fact that the command centre is not the infantry, hence a waste of time to relocate. I immediately reached out for my copy of the 1999 Constitution again, I am sorry to announce that nowhere and no clause made the President’s action in this matter illegal!
A prominent military analyst have defined a commander-in-chief as someone who keeps himself abreast of the situation, make expedient decisions for an operation or battle, assign combat mission opportunely and completely, disseminate the decision to units and sub-units, organise interactions, render total support to troop operations and put the decisions into effect firmly and resolutely. We are not used to these kinds of radical decisions made by a true commander-in-chief perhaps this is why we are used to pot-bellied generals, commanders and lazy soldiers as products of a below-efficient military brass.
Moving the higher echelons of the military to the troubled spots will make them have quality briefs, reports and field orientations, which is about all that is needed in the fight against terrorism.
We must be quick to admit that there are no hard fast rules to fighting groups like the Boko Haram. This is where we must quote the great Prussian military strategist, Carl von Clausewitz, in his classic, On War where he writes, “Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.” On the surface, fighting Boko Haram and defeating the terrorists look easy, but fully conquering it involves a lot of complexities which are too detailed to be written in a single article. If we are looking carefully we would have found out that the group itself is not as strong as they have been made to look, but for the reckless (in)decisions by the politico-military establishment, the group would just have existed in the footnote of history. If Boko Haram militants can flee on the advancement of the Chadian and the Cameroonian Armies, finding comforts on Nigerian soil under the full glare of the “almighty” Nigerian army, then there are things we are not just doing right!
It is at this point that the risky decision to relocate the full presence of the Nigerian army at the troubled areas makes some sense. If Boko Haram can after then prove stronger than the entire army, then the time has come to take a long, hard look at the army itself!
Napoleon Bonaparte is considered one of the greatest generals in history. He achieved this feet, not by siting at the comfort of his Command or Headquarters in Paris, he was always leading the battle himself. His entire military campaigns were directed by a single commanding mind. He received quality field reports, intelligence and battle briefs thanks to his presence on the battle ground. We might not have remembered him today had he just sat at his high command barking out orders like we have today in the Nigerian military.
Adolf Hitler missed out on Napoleon’s great strength by relying too much on information from his high command in Munich during the World War II. He and his generals were almost never on the battle field. They sat comfortably at the headquarters to analyse contradicting field reports. Little wonder the well-equipped German army fell like a pack of cards. The rest is history.
I cited these two examples just to show how long our generals have slept. Like I wrote in an earlier article, How to Fight Terrorism, I argued that there are no conventional rules when it comes to fighting terrorism. Several minute details often prove critical or decisive which is part of the complications which Clausewitz wrote about. Roads get clogged, troops refuse to report to their assigned stations for mobilisation (or leave and return home after they have reported), equipments are inadequate or out of date, troops are not trained to use equipment which is up to date and so on. All these notwithstanding, we are aware relocating the military command to Maiduguri might not end the menace of Boko Haram overnight, but it can be part of the solution. This is my humble opinion on the matter!
Olalekan Waheed Adigun ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), writer, philosopher, academician, political risk analyst, researcher, independent political strategist and brand consultant for individuals, political organisations and campaigns reports from Lagos, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Nigeria Army banner
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. James Agazie reports ] - My former student and I had a heated discussion over "Why are we Igbos falling behind in Nigeria?" Dr. O and I are Igbos of Anambra origin and have had the knack of bantering over the progress of our people. This time, Dr. O disputed every argument I presented since he believes Igbos in Nigeria and abroad are faring rather poorly in every aspect of human endeavor.
ME: "What of Igbo progress in education?
DR. O: "No, Igbos are making no strides. In fact, they are regressing educationally".
ME: "Don't Igbos have money?"
DR. O: "Not at all. Their money is useless without doing anything for their community. They build castles in Northern Nigeria and then are chased away while their home states remain largely undeveloped."
"What else?" I asked in desperation.
Dr. O: "Nothing else, Doc, You see, Igbos may end up being the underclass in Nigeria as they are hated by all the other tribes ".
He went on to discuss the exploding numbers of non-Igbo (Yoruba and Hausa) physicians, engineers, scientists, mathematicians, bankers, politicians, billionaires, and manufacturers scattered in Nigeria all over the world. Throwing my hands up in desperation, I asked my assailant: "Do you know that without Ndiigbo pioneers, Nigeria would not be where we now are educationally?" I repeated the question much to Dr. O's amusement. He thought I should know better than that. I am tempted to concluded that Ndigbo are falling behind because they are not interested in helping others and all this is happening while Igbos are neglecting some important personality issues that might be stunting their progress. That happens when Igbos are so busy chasing after "toro na afu" (pennies), just as the old proverb used to say "penny wise pound foolish".
Many Igbo professors I have known to be working at various American institutions of higher education have recently been dismissed before attaining tenured positions of full professorships. But there are scores of Yoruba Deans, Vice presidents, Vice Chancellors, and Provosts. I called two Yoruba men I know, a Vice President on the east coast and Associate Vice Chancellor at a large community college system on the west coast to ask "What are you doing right that the Igbos are doing wrong?" More Yoruba professors and professionals in the USA appear to be quieter, less troublesome, and get along better with spouses, colleagues, and the Americans in general. Some Igbo professionals appear to be louder, more quarrelsome and argumentative, more ostentatious, self- aggrandizing, and showy when displaying material stuffs like vehicles and houses. One Igbo Department Chairman had the habit of arguing with his university President at staff meetings until he was replaced with another mathematician. One Igbo physician had the engine of his Rolls-Royce running on display outside his office while attending to his patients. This doctor was more interested in acquiring best automobiles than in providing best patient care. He had to quit his practice in America and move to Nigeria when old patients moved away and new ones weren't forthcoming.
On US college campuses, Nigerian professors tend to look down on students, comparing them to Nigerian students they had taught much to the annoyance of faculty and staff. Though Nigerian professors are considered to be very intelligent, the Igbos tend to be held to lower esteem than the non-Igbos due to personality issues, including infighting. I saw this happen to three Igbo young men who obtained their PhD's from the same university in the same discipline and taught at the same university. They were from Enugu, Imo, and Anambra States and got on well in graduate for four years, often entertaining white faculty at their Nigerian parties to which they invited their white professors and other Nigerians. Trouble started after the Imo man graduated first and was hired as Department Chairman of a State school, and he hired the other two as Assistant Professors. The first two years of working together were fine until hell broke loose in the third year. The chairman turned autocratic, becoming openly confrontational, and being accused of bearing tales to the Dean to engineer dissent among the Department employees and have his friends fired. "Watch out," he told the Americans, "these Africans may take over the Department." He was right because the Nigerians were plotting to hire other Nigerian professors to form the majority and gain promotions and tenures through each other's recommendations A bitter war ensued, culminating in the Chairman's inability to function and eventual resignation. When I tried to mediate since I knew all three of these Igbo men, the Anambra man warned me to keep out. What happened was the Enugu professor relocated to Florida after former Chairman from Imo escaped to a quieter Texas city, leaving the lone Anambra professor to figure out the cause of bickering. I told him he was the fool and chief instigator of palaver.
Incidentally, I am tempted to initiate a blithering indictment of NdiIgbo and their leadership at home and abroad as cause of why Igbos are falling behind . Igbos do not get along in any organization. Bitter infightings are the order of the day. Petty jealousies, love of money and obsession with chieftaincy titles add up to render Ndigbo further disunited. We condemn the Igbo governors for failure to take care of the rest of us at the difficult times in our history as the Yorubas and Hausas have done for their people. We denounce Igbo parents and elders for over-emphasizing the pursuit of money over and above respect, education, and igwebuike (community unity) as instruments for Igbo nation-building. We accuse Igbo religious leadership of its unfaithfulness in abandoning their calling and prostituting (being akwunakwuna) after prosperity. We condemn Ndigbo in general for their excessive pursuit of "ebe onye si bia" (where one comes from). Ndiigbo have excessive clannishness (Abiasm, Enuguism, Imoisn, Anambraism, Ebonyism). We fault Igbo people in general for their abandonment of technical education that generates employment, and we condemn Igbos for their fixating on excessive use of defeat in Biafran War as unwarranted excuse for developing the inability to form relationships across tribal boundaries and for being lazy and remaining in deep stupor, trance, coma, daze, state of unconsciousness.
Having said this, why are Ndiigbo falling behind In Nigeria and in the United States? Are the Igbos discouraged in their circumstances? Are they brow-beaten as a result of losing the Biafran War? What is the cause of their feelings of being trapped, downtrodden, subjugated, broken, oppressed, demoralized, or exploited? Can we trace the demoralization of Ndiigbo to post traumatic syndrome (PTS) suffered from defeat, or atrocities of Biafran War? It is safe to believe the Igbos didn't suffer a defeat in war; they simply gained the opportunity to regroup, rethink, re-strategize, and return stronger and more resilient. Igbos have always bounced back. There is nothing shameful about falling down from time to time; but it is discreditable to remain on the ground after a fall. Isn't what seems to keep us Igbos down for 44 years since the Biafran War ended is that we are not united? Are we Igbos less likely to lift both ourselves and each other up after a fall? Are we carrying unnecessary baggages consisting of guilt, "mmegbu" (oppression); "anya ufu" (jealousy), "anya ukwu" (greed), and "obi –ojoo" (bitterness)?Let's look at some of our glaring problems.
In education, fewer Igbo children and adults are going to schools than they once did, than the Yorubas. More Igbos are interested in making money and dreaming of becoming billionaire Dangote or politician President Goodluck than they are in acquiring education for the love of it. More Yorubas are acquiring higher education to the PhD level than the Igbos. There are fewer Igbos in SEM (science, engineering, and mathematics) and technology (plumbing, air conditioning, airplane mechanic, etc) than there are in the other Nigerian tribes. In employment, more Igbos are unemployed and unemployable than the other tribes because Igbo employers are quite unwilling to employ other Igbos, and when they do employ, their Igbo employees would be robbing the business owner or doing their own businesses within the master's business.
Do the Igbos get along? No. Igbo States are more likely to be hot-beds (or boiling pots)of dissent, with strings of Ngiges, Ubas, and Rochas, Chimes vying for power in the midst of "esem okwu" (troubles). If you are Igbo Nigerian running for dear life from boko-controlled North, you are more likely to be denied employment in Igboland and asked to go to your state of origin than if you ran to Yorubaland. You are more likely to be robbed, kidnapped, or even killed if you venture into Igbo majority places than if you seek refuge in Igbo minority areas. If you were one of the 72 destitute Igbos in Lagos that Governor babbatunde Fashola deported to Onitsha bridge, other Igbos would most likely ignore you and not come to your aid, or you might end up being a bloated corpse floating in Ezu River. Self hatred, hatred of others and wickedness seem to be the hallmarks of the tribe Hausas refer to as Anyamiris. Igbos are drinking large quantities of Star lager, Heinekens, Extra Stout, palm wine, and burukutu to self-medicate. Igbo men are developing large onyeagba pot bellies that make men appear to be pregnant. More breweries are being built in Igboland and Ndigbo are likely to deaden their frustration through becoming alcoholics rather than they are to nourish their bodies with proper diets and exercise.
No one can compellingly argue against the fact that Ndigbo of Nigeria are a force to be reckoned with. Though Ndiigbo did amazing exploits before Nigeria became the Nigeria it is today, long before the granting of self-governing in 1960, today's Igbos are now as dormant as inactive volcanoes under the seas. Though Ndigbo did achieve tremendous, "forward ever" strides during the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's, the happenings among today's Igbos reflect "backward ever" syndrome. Think of the schools and cathedrals the Igbo did construct throughout Nigeria. Do you remember how Igbos provided the early manpower Nigeria needed as she marched towards sovereignty; the teachers, merchants, administrators, health workers, and miners? And if you add the fact that the Igbos have always loved education and are skilled in the accumulation of wealth, you'll begin to appreciate these people's indomitable spirit and adventurism. Indefatigability seems to be a better choice of words. To be indefatigable is to be incapable of being tired out; to be tireless, unflagging, unrelenting, unfaltering, remorseless, tenacious, resolute, inexorable Isn't it true that, all things being equal, some animals are more equal than their neighbors? It seems the Igbos are steadily becoming less equal in a country of 170 million souls.
Money alone cannot give Ndiigbo needed predominance. The question is : how much of Nigeria's money is controlled by Ndigbo? Let's say Igbos control over N930 trillion. A trillion (or a million million) is 1 followed by 12 zeros. A trillion is 1,000,000,000,000 to be exact. It's fair to wager that Nigeria would not be Nigeria without "ego Ndigbo" (Igbo wealth). My former student Dr. O wasn't impressed when I attempted to amaze him with a breathtaking estimate of Igbo wealth from the internet; it fell off his brain like water rolls off the back of a thickly feathered duck. Igbo investments are" hugomongous": not less than N600 trillion in Abuja; N10 trillion in Kano and Kaduna each; N5 trillion in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States each; N15 trillion in Plateau State; and there is no Nigerian state where Igbo investments do not exceed 5trillion.
Read: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/07/the-igbos-have-more-at-stake-in-nigeria It is said that no Nigerian State or town can survive without Igbo economic contribution. What does it mean in terms of nsopulu (respect) and ako na uche (commonsense)?
Granted Igbos have so much Naira it comes out of their ears and mouths. The question is: what have they done with all that money? Economic power without political power to accompany it is as good as soup without salt. In conclusion, in order to overcome feelings of marginalization or of falling behind the Ndigbo must prioritize goals in the order of significance. Time is running out. School should take greater priority in Ndiigbo scheme of things than emphasis primarily on trading and acquiring naked cash. Child development should include training in self-respect, respect of others, working in unity, humility, honesty, and unselfishness. Education should focus on scientific and technical education aimed at full employment of the youth. Strengthening Igbo families would have the advantages of preventing crimes and violence as well as creating a secure environment.
Dr. James Agazie ( Email: email@example.com ), retired college Professor with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and mathematics, writing on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria).
[ Masterweb Reports: Comrade Ahmed Omeiza Lukman reports ] - The PDP government has failed Nigerian for the past decade and half. Nigerians does not need tinkering on the margins. We needs real change: change of orientation from decadence to real growth with equity, employment and inclusion.
Interconnections must be established among economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. Nigeria needs to invest in agriculture and agro-processing enterprises. Rampant corruption, sectarianism, cronyism and gross mismanagement of public funds must face a frontal attack, not arresting one individual for public consumption but all who have stolen the nation wealth must face the full wrath of the law. Dismissing or suspending a few police officers does not mean restoration of human rights and fundamental freedoms, there must be total reform in the Nigerian police force. We voted for change and change we must see after May 29, 2015.
PDP government has failed. Controlling inflation, important as it is, is not enough. Measuring progress in economic growth and per capita income terms is necessary but not a sufficient condition for improving living standards of all. Launching a new vision without providing a road map about its implementation, monitoring and evaluation isn’t helpful. For that reason 2020 vision died on the very day it was launched in part because the then president hadn’t seen the final version, it was a rush plan to appeal millions of Nigerians. The drafters of the vision never provided the methodology and indeed it was plan to fail.
Overemphasis of export-orientation of agricultural produce including foodstuffs has damaged the environment through de-vegetation and chemical pollution, overfishing and deforestation and reduction of food supplies in the domestic market contributing to severe under-nutrition. Poorly fed women produce underweight children with permanent physical and mental disabilities, children develop smaller brain size than normal and constrain their ability to learn and underfed adults don’t have the energy to perform optimally.
Exchange rate adjustment in favor of exports has made the price of imports very expensive for consumers and investors. Keeping inflation so low has reduced money in circulation and drove interest rates so high that few investors are able to borrow and invest. Consequently economic growth has declined considerably following exhaustion of excess capacity. Nigeria’s economy needs to grow at an average rate of 10 percent to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2020, a dream that won’t be realized.
Nigeria is well endowed in human, natural and financial resources. The problem is poor leadership. What Buhari needs is a government of all stakeholders to sort out the mess that has accumulated since 1999. Those who have helped cripple the economy of the nation must not be allowed to serve again, no matter the party they belong. Nigerians can’t afford another failed 4 years under Buhari regime.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari must avoid the mistakes of the past of rushing to choose his cabinet ministers without knowing who they are. We should not have criminals in government again. Nigerians are hopeful that our children unborn will see why we voted out the PDP government and be grateful for the future opportunity that will be provided to them by the Buhari regime.
Comrade Ahmed Omeiza Lukman ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), reports from Kiev Ukraine.
*Photo Caption - Nigeria President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari