[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - Humans call God for different reasons. Some are purely altruistic while others are selfish. This explains why people like me tend to wonder whether my God is the same one others call. To some people, they see God essentially as a big, fat or old man (or woman) hence weak in need of whom to fight for Him. Others see God, as they know it as a Being that is somewhere and nowhere at the same time. They are just to “believe”, often without question(s). The questions about God are easy but made unnecessarily difficult by our very “religious” people.
Just recently in his contribution to the debate on the Osun school uniform controversy, Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, penned his: “To Everything, Its Place” on SaharaReporters. As simple as the thesis of the article reads, it appears some people still struggle to understand Kongi, even though he wrote that piece in everyday English!
Dr. Brimah, writing under the title: “It’s Not Too Late for Wole Soyinka to Repent”, in The Scoop in an obvious response to Soyinka’s earlier article appeared to be in a haste to write. If he had had a balanced reading (removing his so-religious lenses), he would have understood, even from the title: “To Everything, Its Place” that mixing religion with school system will only complicate, not simplify matters. Rather than see it that way, Brimah, in a deliberate misinterpretation of Kongi, told his readers that the Nobel laureate intends to “…separate God from the school.” The question I still ask myself since reading Dr. Brimah’s article is how Soyinka or any other person for that matter can “separate God from the school”?
Things became clearer to me as I read Dr. Brimah’s article further. He probably did his best to equate God with religion. In the article, he made mention of “anti-God” several times when referring to Soyinka’s religious beliefs. Kongi is a self-confessed Humanist (and a proud one at that), but millions of “religious” people like Brimah cannot make him “anti-God” because God Himself has no religion. Religion is only an institution created by men in other to understand or move closer to Godhead!
For Soyinka, the question of school uniform creates a sense of equality of some sorts among the pupils. He writes: “What that has meant is that children from affluent homes can attend school in designer clothing, forming associations distinguished by an elitist consciousness, in contrast to the farmers’ and workers’ children who can just about scrape together the odd pieces of castoff dressing from charity or second class clothing markets. A simplistic reading of the rights of children to individual self-expression is responsible for this takeover of the learning environment by fashion parades, a sight that is so prevalent in countries like the United States. My objection to this rests on the recognition that the modern school is an equivalent of the age-grade culture in traditional societies. There, the rites of passage from one phase of social existence to the next, are bound by rules that eliminate exhibitionism, and that includes a strict dress (or undress) code.” What is so difficult for anyone to understand in these simple sentences should confuse rational minds!
Like I wrote earlier that God Himself is not difficult to understand; only religious people make God seem difficult!
Rather than Dr. Brimah responding to this, he chose to the divert attention of unsuspecting readers. He wrote about the inevitability of classes in schools. He brought in a certain Sultan who was a wealthy child (in his school days); having toys he never had as a kid; and that all those never intimidated him as a kid, because Sultan gave him part of his possession when leaving the school. He writes: “Sultan… did not see his wealth as a tool of subjugation as wealthy adults do, but had us “poor” black brothers as his best pals, to play with all his toys with.” This does little in response to Soyinka’s argument since he accepts the inevitability of classes, but that the school system must not institutionalize it through the approved uniforms. Once there is uniformity among the students with the school uniforms, every other means of differentiating the students, either by physical sizes, intellectual abilities or skin colours must have nothing to do with the uniforms.
Let me be quick to add here that nowhere in the article did Soyinka created an “ideal” school system where pupils will suddenly become equal in all respect in their school uniforms except Dr. Brimah was responding to a different Soyinka’s article. Kongi only created a something of a “military barrack” situation where “comradeship, fraternity and esprit de corps” exist among students while on the school campuses. A situation where students are differentiated on the basis of their school uniforms in the same school only portends disorder. It paints a picture of indiscipline, lack of order and incoordination.
A situation where the young mind gets the impression that s/he is different from the other pupils by their mode of dressing; his/her own beliefs are different from those of other pupils through their school uniforms; s/he is reminded of his poor/affluent backgrounds in relation to his/her colleagues by the “quality” of materials or style of his/her own uniform; s/he is told about different his/her “values” are, not taught by the school system, but by other belief systems. All of these only complicate matters for our young people. Potentially, the school systems become centres for religious conflicts, rather than intellectual “battles”. It wouldn’t take a long time to start noticing supremacy battles between Sango/Obatala disciples; Zoroastrians/Buddhist; Christians Scientists/Pentecostals or Sunni/Shiites in our public schools.
The recent drama that erupted in the State of Osun over the interpretation of a Court judgment on the question of the wearing of hijabs in the State-owned public schools comes to mind. The state’s chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in response directed Christian students wear their church robes to school should the school implement the court judgement. Even without doing a simple research on the matter, the online media when agog with the pictures of less than 10 students of the Baptist High School, Iwo in Church apparels. It was equally alleged that some CAN leaders in the state escorted the students in compliance with their “order”. They were there to monitor the reaction of the teachers to the strange mode of dressing of their children. My God! These are “Church robes” not school uniforms. Can we see how they differ? And then, why hijabs against the approved school uniforms?
Dramas or “proxy wars” like these would be largely avoided if the school uniforms reflect their names-“school uniforms” and not “Church robes” or “Mosques hijabs” or any other names they are called. Church robes or hijabs have their “place” in religious worship centres, not in schools.
The intentions of Dr. Brimah may be good, but resorting to the use of his own religious beliefs as a measure of what others believe or should believe is short in logic and long in ignorance. The fact that he resorted to existential questions in an attempt to justify is point attest to this. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism are not the only religions, there are several other believes, including Humanism or Atheism, which also lay claim to some Higher Powers or Self Existence or some sort that we call God. If everyone attends public schools in their different attires reflecting their beliefs what we will have in schools will just be colour riots or beauty pageants or religious festivals which are not the reasons for establishing the schools in the first instance. Things will be easier if intellectuals do their best to keep their religious views private (in their hearts) rather than complicate them by trying mixing religion with strictly secular issues like Dr. Brimah tried to do with his response. This is why, “To everything,” Kongi writes, has “Its place”.
Olalekan Waheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria. His write-ups can be viewed on his website http://olalekanadigun.com/ Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
*Photo Caption - Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36 (KJV). It baffles when one reads from worldly intellectuals who seem unable to comprehend and appreciate things as simple, plain and obvious as God. It becomes hard to reconcile how their 'high' intellect can yet be so lacking in what to us is perhaps the most basic properties of existence and the very reason behind it. It's like being able to program a computer but unable to add 1 to 1.
The latest piece by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, titled "To Everything, Its Place" as it appeared in SaharaReporters, was one more piece by the unbelieving, globally renowned fanatically anti-God professor that scratched the mind. In a nutshell, the professor was trying to separate God from the school.
Professor Soyinka believes as he expressed, as appreciated by me, that mixing God and Holiness with children's academic life causes "religious clashes of increasing savagery." Once again, the professor casually linked religiousness and God-consciousness with Boko Haram as the symbol and in a way, only terror he knows of. He would prefer that things like veils that make a student "show off" as being "holier" are discarded along with shows of wealth in student dressing. The professor casually described the use of British colonial school uniforms as consecrated and sacrosanct, defending this "doctrine" on the basis of a lack of national debate on its retained significance "after several decades of independence."
The Ununiform Uniform
Most schools in the United States and perhaps most schools in most countries in the world do not use school uniforms. In Europe, Britain and Ireland are the only countries where the school uniform is widely adopted by state schools and generally supported by the government. One wonders how small Soyinka's world is that he thinks school uniforms are standard, or perhaps, how much he attempts to contract the world to pursue his arguments.
The attempt to define student learning as a process not to be interfered with by wealth or morality, falls flat on its face when one studies the American academic system where children wear their fancy clothes to school if they can afford it and those who believe in veils cover their hair as recommended in the Bible and Quran, if and as they deem fit. Does a peer wearing designer clothes frustrate a fellow student and destroy him? Does a classmate wearing a veil feel she is demonstrating a "holier than thou" attitude and does this frustrate her peers? Where did professor Soyinka get these ideas from? It's certainly been long but has he completely forgotten his childhood schooling experience?
I went to school in my kid years in Geneva Switzerland. My "primary" school, La Chataigneraie international school like most others did not prescribe the "holy" uniforms and did not discriminate wealth or holiness. We had a very wealthy friend called Sultan. We used to call him Salt and pepper. As you may imagine, Sultan was the filthy rich kid of a Sultan. While his wealth of games and toys that I could only dream of, was clearly appealing to me at my tender age, I was not oppressed by it. Sultan also did not see his wealth as a tool of subjugation as wealthy adults do, but had us "poor" black brothers as his best pals, to play with all his toys with. He even gave us many to take away when my brother and I left the school.
If there is a time that human beings can and should be tested and taught what diversity is, is it not at a tender age? Or would the professor rather promote a fake uniformed world where all realities are snuffed so when the children suddenly graduate and go to university as happened with Boko Haram founders, and witness the disparity, oppression and inequality, they revolt and establish terror groups on the basis of "fighting inequality and government corruption that breeds it" as was Boko Haram's foundational sell pitch? What does the professor know of attribution, correlation and association and on what basis does he draw up and select his explanations for Boko Haram (the only terror he appears to know).
As children, seeing fancy toys we could not own, we turned into master inventors and creators. We made our toys. We built and built and by the time I was in a secondary school in Nigeria, I was a chief inventor. Together with a secondary school best friend who today is Nigeria's top drone expert and was involved in the Gulma drone the Jonathan government built, my humble self led our school to Junior Engineers and Technicians victories. I would say there was an advantage to seeing things I could not own, that challenged me as a pupil. I believe certain challenges I faced in that international school in Switzerland moulded me into a human right advocate I am today.
Bring the wealth, bring the holiness, bring the high IQs and let us also bring our poverty, skin complexion, lower IQs and other social and physical qualities and inequalities and let a proper school with sensible teachers marinate all that into a good soup. And even if wealth is to be checked at the school's door; does a school not teach morality and holiness?
If as the professor loves to repeat, the errors of takfiri Muslims which he believes is in the very essence of Islam as a whole, led to the development of Boko Haram, what causes Ombatse, MEND, Niger Delta Avengers, armed robbers, government officials, and all other terror-associated formations? The lack of Islam? The lack of the veil? Does the professor not see his arguments as too simplistic?
As Professor Soyinka advances in age I wonder if he is able to answer the question all anti-Godists have yet been unable to: what is the purpose of his existence? Why do those kids need to go to school in the first place? To learn, earn, breed and die...like animals? To continue to propagate the human species for the sake of propagating the human species? To have fun without fear, to love life and fear death? To wear uniform and be uniform, or not to? To Ben Stein's amusement, a foremost anti-God faithful fanatic prophet, Richard Dawkins said Aliens put us here. Perhaps life's purpose is to serve the aliens?
Why a place for everything?
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka
[ Masterweb Reports: Bade Adebolu reports ] -Recently, a coalition of anti-corruption civil society bodies petitioned the EFCC that the erstwhile Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Muhaamed Bello Adoke to account for the sum of $3.2 billion allegedly belonging to the 774 local governments on whose behalf one Mr. Joe Agi SAN obtained the judgment.
According to media report, “…none of the local governments benefited from the $1.6 billion said to have been paid to the plaintiffs.”
The question on the minds of many Nigerians is: Who really authorized the disbursement of the funds?
I am not so good at mathematics, but I know for sure that a trillion is made up of several billions; and several millions makes a billion. If my knowledge of math is still with me, it is either this judgement is a sham or there is a deliberate distortion somewhere!
In a country with a reputation of corrupt judiciary doing the biddings of their pay master, one do not need to wait too long to buy “gbanjo” judgement using the Yoruba parlance language. We live in a country where the Judiciary that is supposed to be the last hope of the common man is providing no hope, but hardship. We all are witnesses to the fact that people like Justice Salami sold their conscience for their paymasters and were all ignominiously shown the way out of the famous institution.
At this point let us bring in former Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She has to be brought in because, going by conventional wisdom, she served as the custodian of the nation’s treasury at the time so she cannot be “insulated” from the news. More curiously we ask: would Dr. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala not have made the part payment of $1.6 billion? In her own case, did she collude with the Adoke because she too ignored the advice of the Debt Management Office? As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy at the time, did she not ought to have protected Nigeria by defending the position of the DMO instead of following Adoke's dubious directive to pay the sum of a judgment debt of $3.6 billion?
While I do not envy the former finance minister at all for having to serve in the same administration with people like Adoke, we must resist the temptations to assume that everyone that served under Hitler was evil. After all, President Buhari served under one of the worst administrations in Nigeria’s history- General Sanni Abacha. So why should Okonjo-Iweala be guilty by association if Buhari is not guilty of the Abacha’s crimes?
The role of Okonjo-Iweala as finance minister is not to question expenditures or vouchers. Those are roles purely of the Offices of the Accountant-General and the Auditor-General of the Federation. For God’s sake, why should I, for instance perform the duties of a nurse just because I am the physician?
That leads me to my nest point, even if the monies were misappropriated, why should we blame Okonjo-Iweala for that?
If we take this line of thought as gospel, then we come to an answer such as this: A young man started working with a Commercial Bank as a Financial Control Officer. He diligently focused on his job that other things do not bother about any other things going on in the bank. He closed his eyes on the fraudulent deals going on among the top brass of the Bank for not wanting to be seen as a whistle-blower since he wasn’t employed for that.
This man won several awards both within and without the organization, but he soon discovered his diligence was not enough to prevent the Bank from going bankrupt. Should we say this man was responsible for the organization’s bankruptcy? Should he have blown the whistle? Should he have resigned when he became aware of the bad deals his superiors are engaging in even though it all started before he took the job? Whatever your answer is to these questions, this was the case with Okonjo-Iweala.
On this issue, I believe the coalition of the civil society should turn the searchlight and the heat on the bureaucrats at the Ministry of Justice and the then Attorney General of the Federation, Mr, Adoke (SAN).
The Yoruba people have a saying that for a child not to commit crimes is the reason he was given a name. Mr. Adoke has his own name which is definitely not Okonjo-Iweala! Therefore, leave Okonjo Iweala out of this mess.
Bade Adebolu ( Email: email@example.com ) is an accountant based in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state.
*Photo Caption - Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - Britain has voted to leave the European Union in a referendum, with the result throwing into question the fate of the 28-nation bloc and Prime Minister David Cameron announcing he will step down by October. The official result which was announced on Friday saw a major victory for the Brexit campaign, which received 59.1 percent vote in Thursday's historic referendum.
Economic challenges facing nations has often led them to make some hard choices. German economic recession in the 1930s gave rise to Nazism. Italy made do with Facism in the face of rising unemployment and near economic collapse coming from the First World War. Spain produced Francisco Franco's dictatorship. Portugal fell to military incursion in 1974. Britain's entry into EU in 1973 in a dramatic way was seen as the Labour Government's desperation to have things to tell its supporters. Well, a conservative government will lead them out over 40 years after.
The rising profile of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) looks like the country may soon be facing the "Nationalistic" challenges. I won't be surprised to see English men displaying their xenophobic attitudes under the well-coordinated UKIP propaganda machine catching in on traditional British pride. The fact that Europe’s far-right parties hailed the UK’s vote to leave the European Union as a victory for their own anti-immigrant and anti-EU stance and vowed to push for similar referendums in their own countries attest to this point.
For instance, France’s Front National (FN) saw it as a clear boost for Marine Le Pen’s presidential bid next year and momentum for the party’s anti-Europe and anti-immigration line. The Dutch far-right and anti-immigration leader Geert Wilders called on Friday for a referendum on the Netherlands’ membership of the European Union. In Germany, Beatrix von Storch, an MEP for rightwing populist party Alternative für Deutschland, who was recently expelled from the Tories’ party group in the European Parliament over her “shooting refugees” comments, welcomed the result. UK referendum was proof the EU was “decaying”, saying that France had “a thousand more reasons to leave than the UK because we have the euro and Schengen [passport-free zone].” She had warned that the “strategy of terror” by pro-EU campaigners in the UK no longer worked. Are the lofty ideas of Globalization on the decline? Are we back to the era of “Nationalistic” parties in Europe?
With Brexit winning on Friday night, hopes of keeping the UK appears fading with the question of Scottish and Irish independence looking more feasible with Nicola Sturgeon former first minister (Scottish) looking certain he will call for a second Scottish independence referendum after the UK voted to leave the European Union. He is reported to have said the Brexit vote constituted a material change in Scotland’s position within the UK, telling BBC Radio Scotland: “This changes the whole context of Scottish independence.”
The decision of Britain to leave the EU is still being looked at and it is too early to predict the consequences of that choice. But politically, it is certain that things will not be the same again both in the larger European sphere and in British domestic politics.
Olalekan Waheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns based in Lagos, Nigeria. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080
[ Masterweb Reports: Odimegwu Onwumere reports ] - As scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) punched hard on the country in February 2016 lasting for about two months, the economy was grounded and filling stations turned to bedrooms of some sorts to motorists, while commuters paid transport fares through their nostrils.
“The official slouches was that the fuel scarcity would end by the first week of April but it may take about four more weeks to get fuel into the country due to the long process of ordering petrol from refineries,” reported Emmanuel Asiwe, Publisher of Huhu Online, 10th April 2016.
The fate that befell motorists was not different from other users of the product like generator sets users. According to Asiwe, “This crisis was inevitable, when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in a fit of bad judgment reduced the import allocation ratio of private companies from 60% to 22%.”
Nigeria was at a crucial turning point. Anna Rosenberg, director of sub-Saharan Africa research at Frontier Strategy Group, said. “It could muddle through this year with relatively low growth, but only if the government adjusts monetary policy and lets the naira devalue.”
Wayside hawkers otherwise called black marketers had a field day; they took on the opportunity to make money genuinely, covertly and overtly by selling ‘any type of fuel’ at their disposal to unwary public.
They sold 10 litres jerry can of petrol that ordinarily shouldn’t cost more than N1000, between the rate of N2, 000 or N2, 500. That was based on the level of the scarcity. Some sold the same litres of fuel between the rate of N2, 800 or N3000.
That was against the official price of N86 per litre. Asiwe believed that, that happened because “the NNPC was expected to import the entire balance in supply of petrol requirements for allocation to oil marketers for eventual distribution” but it failed.
“Indeed, the NNPC even argued that this option would not only be profitable but also checkmate any hanky-panky by oil marketers over the volume of fuel imported,” Asiwe added.
Some houses gutted fire as a result of hoarding petrol in houses, while a few black marketers paid the great price with their lives in the infernos and in the hands of authorities, while others were thrown into prison.
Conversely, many people shouted against the touts that they made the product’s price skyrocket. But many motorists who ran out of fuel late night were saved by the black marketers who stayed put in the business from dusk to dawn.
Noticing the atrocious adulteration in PMS during the period, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) didn’t shy away from admonishing all operators of petroleum products depots from objectionable actions of sullying, hoarding, alteration and manipulation of the product.
Perils Of Hawkers
The scarcity attracted both international and local attention. “Nigeria is no stranger to fuel scarcity,” as according to Bloomberg News. “Despite its massive oil wealth, years of mismanagement have left state-owned refineries working at a fraction of their 445,000 barrels per day capacity.”
The Forte Oil Petrol Station on 21 Road in the FESTAC Town area of Lagos State on April 6 2016, was thrown into disarray when a young man who hawked PMS and simply identified as Emeka, was supposedly shot by personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Two other hawkers whose names were given as Smart Ogabor and Oladiran Atolagbe were also shot.
While Emeka was said to have died on the spot as later confirmed at Lagos Mainland General Hospital, Yaba, the other two that were alive were hurried to a hospital.
Confirming the incident to newsmen, a resident who was simply identified as Abiodun, said, “I was present at the filling station. The hawker was killed by one of the NSCDC men.
“Out of the four persons the officials who were taskforce that came to the filling station to seize jerry cans shot, one died; others were rushed to the hospital.”
Eyewitnesses said that there sin was their involvement in selling PMS in jerry cans due to the scarcity of the product in the state, when government had reportedly ordered petrol hawkers to desist from what it called “illicit trade in petroleum”.
“We were on an official duty, monitoring the area to see if there were filling stations selling more-than the pump price,” said the NSCDC Lagos State Command, Mefor Chibuzor.
When the gun shots were noticed, youths who wanted to stage a protest after, in condemnation of the act by the NSCDC, were prevented by the Area E Command, after the officials of the NSCDC denied killing anybody.
In a statement issued by the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, it was gathered that the NSCDC personnel shot unsystematically when they arrived the filling station.
“Armed with AK 47 rifles, petroleum product hawkers were raided on the 21 Road, FESTAC, by roughly seven operatives of the NSCDC, in a Toyota Hilux.
“They fired intermittently injuring Ogabor, Atolagbe and Emeka and absconded to unidentified place.
“This is one of the incidences the persistent scarcity of fuel that is habitually witnessed in the states across the country cause,” SP Badmos said.
Arrest Of Hawkers
Across the country, fuel hawkers were arrested during the scarcity. In Lagos alone, ten fuel hawkers were arrested on April 3 2016 by the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit for purportedly complicating traffic in the Oshodi and Ikeja areas of Lagos State.
Confirming the arrest, the unit’s spokesman, Adebayo Taofiq, said that the hawkers caused vehicular gridlock whereas the Chairman of the task force, SP Olayinka Egebyemi had given ordinance in no circumstance should there be vehicular clustering around filling stations in Lagos State, (perhaps due to hawkers).
Sentence Of Hawkers
A Gudu Upper Area Court in the FCT in the same month supposedly, sentenced seven fuel hawkers to two weeks imprisonment each “for hawking the commodity.”
The names of the convicts were given as Sani Bagudu, Kabir Abubabkar, Danjuma Bello, Lawal Rabiu, Abdulrahman Saidu, Yunusa Isa and Salisu Ibrahim – all of Garki, Area 1, Abuja.
The presiding officer, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, who reportedly sentenced them after they pleaded guilty to the charge, said, “Your action is hazardous and could cause fire outbreak in public places.’’ He, however, apparently gave them an option of N3000 fine each.
In a swift reaction on April 30 2016, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) frowned at the series of arrest made on fuel hawkers, and said that the order given by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, “on arrest of petroleum hawkers was targeted at those hoarding and diverting petroleum products” like the big marketers and not the street peddlers of the product.
“Further to the Nigeria Police Force directives on the activities of unscrupulous elements who engage in illegal sale of petroleum products, there is need to make some clarification that the directive was specifically targeted at those who are involved in hoarding and diverting the petroleum products,” contained in a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olabisi Kolawole.
The statement went further, “However, those with genuine intention to use the products for their legal and genuine business are allowed to purchase the products.”
Why Hawkers Are On Prowl
Many periods that scarcity of fuel has rapped the country, fingers were pointed at deregulation policy as a major culprit. Others were that major marketers were barred from importation.
The fingers lengthened to point at the fact that import licences were delayed by the NNPC; the latter being the main importer of the product never managed the downstream sector nicely.
An editorial in a national broadsheet of November 26, 2009, laughed at the NNPC’s boast that it had saved fuel for the country that was to take the country for a period.
“In the past two weeks, desperate motorists and citizens who need fuel have besieged the few filling stations where fuel is available. Stranded passengers bemoan the ugly situation,” said the editorial.
But the incessant scarcity always worsened with misinformation coming from government apparatuses. Sometimes, blame went to the NNPC of having importation and distribution management crisis.
“Fuel hawkers have a field day as black market trade in fuel thrives. A 10-litre keg of fuel that normally sells for N650 is sold for N1, 500 or more (in 2009).
“Ironically, the fuel attendants prefer selling to hawkers who in turn sell to motorists at cut-throat prices,” the source added.
2016 Fuel Scarcity
At the cook of the 2016 fuel scarcity, blames were traded with All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, Bola Tinubu casted indignation against Oil Minister, Ibe Kachikwu, as if the later did not know his job.
The bone of contention was that the Minister said that he was not a magician to solve the fuel crisis in one week. The NNPC had given assurances in different fora of providing fuel, but they were hardly met.
“Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) sold at between N130 and N200 a litre as against the official price of N86.50. The result was a hike in transport fares. Stranded commuters suffered untold hardship, and bemoaned the recurrent ugly situation, which showed no signs of abating as motorists waited endlessly to purchase fuel.
“Hawkers threw caution to the wind, selling petrol in residential areas and along major roads in the country. Meanwhile, the power sector is facing its lowest moments which has plunged the nation into suffocating darkness, as fuel scarcity denies domestic and commercial consumers from operating private power generators,” Asiwe enthused.
Government Hand Tied
As the scarcity raged, the Federal Government in May 2016 said in Abuja that its hands were tied over the choice to raise the pump price of petrol.
The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was it who said this during a meeting with the national leadership of the ruling party, APC, in Abuja.
“We do not have other option because the regime before now was based on a process where some licensed oil marketers would go to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and open a lot of credit.
“When a lot of credit is opened, they bring in the fuel but unfortunately the price of crude oil which accounted for over 70 per cent of our foreign exchange crashed from an all-high level of 100 dollars to under 30 dollars. As a matter of fact, for some parts of this year we sold crude for 28 dollars,” Mohammed said.
Some stakeholders of the party at the parley said that from 1999 a particular government did not save money for the rainy day, resulting to inflation in the country and people must devise means to eke a living.
"However, the market fundamentals neither support a return to subsidy nor an upward review of prices at the pump. The NNPC is grappling with fresh challenges as its operational deficit rose to N24.23 billion in February, from N3.55 billion in January.
"Ultimately, the NNPC reversed course with a new allocation formula that reverts the bulk of importation to the private marketers in exchange for a commitment not to engage in sabotage and hoarding. The decision to give a greater allocation ratio back to private companies will allow NNPC to focus on the key task of building domestic fuel reserves," Asiwe added.
Alhaji Mohammed opined that government expended over 1 trillion naira in subsidy in 2015 alone; he added that government didn’t have enough foreign exchange to open letter of credit for anybody who wanted to bring in fuel.
“Last month I was informed that the total amount of foreign exchange available to Nigeria was 550 million dollars and NNPC needed 500 million dollars out of it so you can see why it’s not working,” he said.
Nevertheless, Nigerians are still crying that the price of petrol is still on the high side even though it has been officially lapsed at N145 per litre after the three months fuel scarcity that motorists paid puffed-up prices to buy PMS for their vehicles at the filling stations across the country.
Hawkers Make Money
Poverty in the country caused by a demising economy was rife, leading to persons diversifying to make a living.
Across the country, many people especially the youths saw hawking fuel whenever there was scarcity as a blossoming business to survive on.
“Checks by Abuja Metro revealed that majority of them work for either fuel attendants or other unofficial middlemen, including taxi drivers, who buy the product at the official price of N86 per litre and sell to motorists at between N200 and N350 per litre,” reported Nigerian Journalists Isaac Anumihe, Dennis Mernyi and Gilbert Ejembi, April 20 2016.
They continued, “The hawkers confirmed that they make between N5, 000 and N10, 000 daily, thus lending credence to the saying that one person’s loss is another’s gain.”
Where They Go After Scarcity
In all the detonations and stimulations of fuel scarcity, Mr. Onoseme Moses, an entrepreneur based in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, said that some of the hawkers who have businesses they do, fall back to them after scarcity, whereas many do not have a paying job.
“I know of a bricklayer who goes to hawk fuel whenever there is fuel scarcity and he falls back to his occupation as soon as the boom is over.
“I believe there are hawkers like the bricklayer. Some of the fuel hawkers have table-stands where they sell the product after scarcity; they fall back at their fuel-stand.
“The truth is that there are persons whose business is fuel hawking; they have table-stands and are in the business from January to December.
“Many of the hawkers seen in the streets during fuel scarcity were mainly intruders who do not have paying jobs; so they take on the opportunity to survive and disappear into the streets as soon as the scarcity is over, for other opportunities they might get,” Onoseme said.
Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State based poet, writer and consultant and winner, in the digital category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Photo Caption - Oil barrels
[ Masterweb Reports: President Muhammadu Buhari reports ] -Nigeria is at a crossroads. Just over a year ago, people voted in a historic democratic election to end corruption and business as usual, opting instead to build an economy that delivers for all Nigerians.
The old order was based on an unsustainable commodities supercycle. While the boom had many positives and contributed to Nigeria becoming Africa’s largest economy, it fostered an epidemic of corruption and inefficiency. Foreign businesses and financial institutions also benefited as some people spent and sometimes hid huge sums abroad, lifted by the rising tide of oil exports and dollar revenues.
Now we are living in a new world of low energy prices. The economy has slowed while unemployment and inflation have jumped. Longstanding structural imbalances and overdependence on imports have been cruelly exposed. We are an oil-rich nation that imports most of our gasoline. We are a farming nation that imports most of our basic food staples. This is simply not acceptable or sustainable.
Our solutions must be in proportion to the challenges. Fundamental change takes time and we are driving not one but three changes to reposition Nigeria for inclusive growth.
• Restore trust We have begun to tackle the endemic corruption and mismanagement that is crippling our economy and corroding trust in our institutions. The anticorruption fight is at the heart of combating poverty and improving security. We have stepped up enforcement and new prosecutions to get our house in order, and I have called for foreign governments to work with us to identify where funds stolen during previous administrations are lodged and for multistate cooperation to combat oil theft.
Fighting corruption is not enough. We need accountable government and a public sector that can do more with less. We have already taken initial steps by bringing all government finances into a single treasury account where we can monitor spending and impose discipline, implementing zero-based budgets and benchmarks targeted at waste and fraud, and establishing electronic platforms for government agency interface.
• Rebalance our economy In a world of lower oil prices and dollar revenues, the only sustainable path is to reduce Nigerians’ overreliance on imports. We must rebalance our economy by empowering entrepreneurs and producers, big and small, to create more of what their fellow Nigerians demand. The supply of foreign exchange to the economy must be increased. This requires radically increasing exports and productivity and improving the investment climate and ease of doing business.
Nigeria’s growth and job creation will be led by the private sector. We are a young, entrepreneurial society with vibrant success stories in new industries such as telecommunications, technology and entertainment. Government is doing its part to lower taxes on small businesses, eliminate bureaucracy to bring the informal economy out of the shadows and provide development funding for priority sectors such as agriculture. The central bank has moved to introduce greater flexibility in our exchange-rate policy. These actions are a downpayment on our people’s ability to succeed.
• Regenerate growth We must reposition our economy by attracting investment in domestic industries and infrastructure. Nigeria has huge untapped gas reserves and also a critical shortage of electricity. Our private sector loses too much of its revenue due to brownouts and power outages. Half of my fellow Nigerians have no access to the power grid. Investment in our power infrastructure, restructuring of the state-run oil-and-gas sector and development of other industries such as solid minerals, metals and petrochemicals will help to create a virtuous circle of growth and exports while creating jobs and reducing poverty.
I am optimistic that our actions are providing the breathing room Nigeria needs during this period of fundamental change. But we cannot improve living conditions and restore fiscal health without making people feel safe and secure—just as we cannot defeat militancy without reducing poverty and dislocation.
One of our main achievements this past year has been to unite regional and global allies to push back Boko Haram. What we do in the next three years to build an economic bridge to Nigeria’s future will be just as important for bringing lasting peace and prosperity.
Muhammadu Buhari is president of Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Paschal Chukwuemeka ] - The Rivers state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has lashed out at Governor Nyesom Wike, describing his first one year in office as “a disaster foretold and a one-chance government.
In a statement signed by Rivers state Chairman of APC, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya and made available to the press yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the party lamented the cruel fate that has befallen the state, insisting that Rivers never had it so bad since its creation in 1967.
“Wike’s case is like a ‘one-chance bus’ where governance is practiced as a deceitful venture. Within one year in office, Wike has borrowed over N100billion from the banks, the highest by any State Government in Nigeria so far” the party stated.
“This excludes the billions left by the Amaechi administration, the over N250billion that has accrued to the State from the federal allocation and over N30billion internally generated revenue. What has Wike used all these resources to achieve for the State” the APC Chairman queried.
“It is on record that instead of Wike improving on the legacies of his predecessor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, he instead chose to destroy them. Most of our students studying in foreign countries have been repatriated based on the policy of Wike’s administration of stopping the scholarship scheme instituted by Amaechi’s administration that fetched a lot of both international and national awards for the state.
“Modern primary and secondary schools constructed by the Amaechi Administration have now been turned into dens of kidnappers and militants.
“Our agriculture sector that was revolutionised through the establishment of the Songhai farm, the Palm Fruits and Banana Production Centres have either been scrapped or rendered useless by Wike’s administration.
The statement alleged that Wike and Mr Felix Obuah the Rivers state PDP Chairman as well as Chairman of the Rivers State Sanitation Authority have collaborated for their selfish interests to turn Port Harcourt from Garden to Garbage City after turning the Authority into a drain pipe where Rivers state funds are siphoned to better the lots of the cabal ruining the state.
Rivers APC bemoaned the high level of violence in the State in the past one year that Wike has been in power.
“Today, Rivers State under Wike’s watch is termed as Rivers of blood where kidnappers, militancy, assassins, cultism, and robbers not only hold sway but are empowered through patronage.
Everyday people are beheaded, buried alive or entire families are wiped out. At the last count, over 500 innocent Rivers residents have been sent to their early graves,” the party said.
“Based on the above sad and pathetic scenario, we agreed with Wike that Rivers state has nothing to celebrate, especially having ensured that up till now, the state has not been represented at the National Assembly due to his obnoxious security policy as Rivers is no longer safe even for the conduct of elections.
According to Dr Ikanya, “Wike’s performance in several other aspects of the lives of Rivers people has been woeful. Till today, Wike’s administration has no concrete policies on agriculture, education, industrial development, manufacturing, tourism, employment generation, state security, etc. This man is a total disaster.
“As we sympathize with the people of Rivers state over the misfortune of having a ‘one-chance government’ rule over them, the party appealed to Wike “in the interest of our people and the future of our children, not to be ashamed and to humbly pick up Dr. Dakuku Peterside’s handbook on how to govern with little revenue.”
The party noted that the document entitled “The Roadmap to Prosperity” is now a public document and available online.
“Just implement it unashamedly and you don’t even have to acknowledge Dakuku or his campaign team. You are fast emerging as the first clueless governor of Nigeria after Dr Jonathan had taken that title as President. You need to stem that drift timely by going to Dakuku’s School of Governance,” Rivers APC told Wike.
*Photo Caption - Governor Nyesom Wike
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - I am not sure at whose altar. The God I know does not demand human blood sacrifices to better the conditions of the people. But since it appears that Buratai is on a contract to make Nigeria 'better' for those who will remain – if any – by sacrificing the lives of Nigerians on a special altar, I am compelled to ask: how many lives is Buratai scheduled to sacrifice to bring about change. Are we there yet?
The recent reports in the media of the brutal crackdown on pro-Biafrans marking the 49th year anniversary of the defunct Biafra republic, were painful but yet even more painfully not surprising. Amnesty international has again expressed its frustration at this latest in a series of atrocities by Nigeria's new administration.
A report in the Cable highlighted how, with an intention to prevent protests, the army (with the support of the police) acted pre-meditatively at a Church where victims were sleeping ahead of the rally, breaking in and provoking a deadly stampede by firing tear gas upon the unexpecting and unarmed gathering. The report tearfully and chillingly details how no fewer that 40 pro-Biafrans were shot and killed during this event and the day that followed with many shot in the back as they ran.
The report goes further to narrate how in typical style, the army carted away many of the victims' bodies to 'prepare for the sacrifice' and as is trademark, and mass bury to 'appease the gods of Buratai.'
Anambra state governor Willie Obiano, while unbelievably failing to promise a full investigation and proper address and redress of the atrocities perpetuated on his watch and in his land, has promised –like it is a gift and not an obligation– to pay the bills of the dozens of injured and otherwise maimed.
It will not be the first, second, third, fourth or fifth time that the blood-thirsty, trigger-eager, youth and any listed urban ('our')enemy hunting jackals of Buratai will unleash sorrow, tears and blood on the peoples of communities within Nigeria.
It happened in Ogoni land, it happened in Delta state where an octogenarian mother of Nigeria is still missing, it happened in Zaria with the 1000 massacred and the mass grave of Mando; it happened in Abia at the prayer grounds, it happened/ is happening in Delta state in the 'search' or better put, intimidation to find 'Abuja-resident' Tompolo.
The Nigerian army has unconstitutionally usurped the role of the police and become the urban civil authority of Nigeria, with battle trained and civil disobedience untrained machine-gun wielding men in khaki unleashed on society to deal with every instance of disquiet (except for Fulani herder or rather, Libyan herder terror marauding) as if they are instances of battles against Boko Haram in Sambisa.
So we have to ask at this point as Buratai remains at the head of the Nigerian armed forces; and not sacked and investigated: how many more Nigerians are to be sacrificed at the altar of their gods for Nigeria to be delivered?
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai
[ Masterweb Reports: Okike Benjamin reports ] - The British handed over to Nigerians a ladder of corruption, taught Nigerians how to climb it carefully so that one will not fall, but unfortunately, Nigerians while climbing that corruption ladder do misplace theirs steps, fall down and are exposed. The reason being that corruption is alien to Nigeria and Nigerians.
As someone with international expose and a world citizen, I can tell you without mincing word that there is no country in this planet that has been able to eliminate corruption totally. The only difference between Nigeria and other countries of the world in terms of corruption is that in Nigeria, corrupt officials are rewarded with chieftaincy titles, ministerial appointments and exalted elected positions such as Governors, Senators, House of Representative members, etc whereas their counterparts in other parts of the world are subjected to penalty, sometimes even death penalty.
While I was a teacher in the Department of Computer Science, University of Ghana, Legon, as a non-Ghanaian, I was expected to get Non-citizen Identity Card from National Identity Authority (NIA), Ghana. I was there to get this card because without that, I cannot receive salary from the University of Ghana. The procedure for obtaining that is transparent because you have to pay into Cal bank. After the payment, the official that would attend to you has to be settled, otherwise, it is only God’s intervention that will make it possible for you to get that without settlement. The good thing about them is that as they are dribbling one with their mouths the same J. J. Okocha does with his opponents in the football pitch, their eyes will be constantly turning at 360 degrees like the eagle eye on Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) logo searching for corrupt people to ensure that no-one else sees them for fear of sack. This is because if one is caught in the act of bribery, even if he is the son of the President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, he will not be spared from the penalty meant for such an offence.
Not too long ago, I was in Britain and I will not say that there is no element of corruption in that country in which Prime Minister, David Cameron accused my country, Nigeria of being corrupt to the tune of fantastically. According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013, 90 percent of respondents believed that the UK Government is run by a few big entities acting in their own interest. That is corruption itself. Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as ‘the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
I am convinced that corruption would be reduced to a tolerable level in Nigeria if adequate penalties are given to those caught. It is not enough for the government of the day to pay lips service by saying that she is fighting corruption. Does it mean that no Nigerian has been convicted on corruption charge since the fight begun? What has happened to those convicted? Possibly, the government has always asked them to return some percentage of corruption gains and keep the rest for future campaign. As long as no punishment is meted out to corruption offenders in Nigeria, those who are not corrupt might be tempted to join the queue. After all, this get rich quick syndrome has built a mansion in our hearts and minds and is already occupying it. The Change Government in Power (CGIP) should with immediate effect wake up from her slumber and fantastically deal with corruption convicts to serve as a deterrent to those hoping to join the corruption chorus.
Okike Benjamin ( Email firstname.lastname@example.org ), a teacher in the Department of Computer Science, University of Abuja, Nigeria reports.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Femi Fani-Kayode reports ] - Last week I wrote an essay titled ‘The Road To Kigali‘ which was widely published. The callous response of the northern governors to the horrendous events in Enugu has compelled me to write this contribution as something of a follow-up.
These are difficult and troubling times and they are times that the truth needs to be spoken more than ever. I appreciate those that publish my contributions in their various columns because, in a country that hates to hear the truth and that finds it difficult to comprehend and grasp reality, that in itself takes courage.
I also appreciate the increasingly large number of Nigerians from all over the world that take the time to read my weekly contributions because without them there would be no point in writing. Now to the matter at hand.
On 30th April 2016 Mr. George Akinola wrote the following words on Facebook.
“When the Fulani exploded on the geographic space later christened Nigeria in 1804 they did not negotiate power with the Hausas, they seized it from them on the battlefield.
When the same Fulani appeared in Ilorin in 1823, purportedly to assist Afonja, the Are-ona-kakanfo of Oyo and the ruler of Ilorin, in revolt against his sovereign, Alafin Aole, the Alafin of Oyo, it was to gain his confidence for a while and a vantage position to murder him. Ilorin has been under Fulani rule since then and up until today.
When the British colonised all these empires, kingdoms and fiefdoms in the 19th century, it was not out of love for the black man.
It was an imperialistic push for more land, more territories to exploit minerals and other resources from. If you did not agree by subtle pressure, they simply applied the brute force. To hell with you and all you cared for!
When the Fulani attacked Yorubaland in 1825, they gave all our ancestors notice that they intended to bury the Quran in the sea at the backyard of the Yoruba empire and kingdoms.
Meaning? They will kill, destroy, maim, trample on men, women, children and all that we hold dear to achieve this goal. This was not by negotiation or a bargaining deal.
Blood was on the cards and red was its colour. Thank God for the fierce resistance of the Yoruba, rallying at Ibadan.
If not, maybe we will be doing “ranka dede” for one clown Emir of Ado-Ekiti or another comedian Emir of Abeokuta today.
Power does not give way to persuasion. Power only succumbs to superior power.
Fast forward to 1960. The new nation had just gained independence. But the drums of drunken power was already pulsating with madness in the heart of Ahmadu Bello, the leader of NPC, the party that won the 1959 elections, and which assumed the reins of power to lead Nigeria at independence.
Note that this was the great grandson of Uthman Dan Fodio, the leader of the 1804 Fulani Jihad. He made his intention, and the intention of the Fulani, clear in this now infamous statement: Hear Ahmadu Bello in the Parrot Newspaper of 12th October, 1960:
"The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools and the south as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future".
I am sure you did not read any entreaties of love, affection and camaraderie disposition in that statement. It was harsh, callous, wicked, sadistic, exploitative, intimidating and wholesomely damning.
That is drunken power talking with inspiration from the lunatic fringe.
When he eventually paid for it with his life, his inheritors found a way to re-invent their stranglehold on Nigeria.
They came in through the military and continued, in a more draconian fashion, the bleeding exploitation of Nigeria. What we inherited from the British was “self-governing Regions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Now we are forcibly united by an un-feeling centre. What we inherited was a revenue allocation formula that was largely derivative.
Now it is almost ‘allocative’. At a point, Mohammed Buhari reduced the 50% derivation formula to 1%.
These parasites are barracudas and Shylocks of the highest order.
The only language these savages understand is the one that brought them there in the first case: force.
This may be subtle through the use of the instrumentality of guerrilla journalism, protests, occupation, civil resistance, civil disobedience, referendum, United Nations appeal, International coalition of forces, etc.
On the other hand it may boom through the barrel of the gun in a violent uprising or revolt, civil or guerrilla warfare.
Either way, force is force.
The irreducible decimal is that the Yoruba reject enslavement, the appropriation of their resources without their approval and illegal occupation of their God given land with all iota of their soul and with all the power in their being.
Whether for one second or for 200 years the enemy shall not feel comfortable until they leave.
With reference to how they will leave, however, the choice remains theirs: either on foot, running helter-skelter, on stretchers, in trailers, buses, straddled on horses or loaded in coffins.
But, leave, they shall, when superior power speaks!”
These are harsh and frightful words yet Mr. Akinola’s historical analysis and assessment is first class. He has spoken nothing but the truth no matter how bitter that truth may be. This takes courage and I commend him for it.
I deplore violence and I do not advocate or condone it in any shape or form. I do not want anyone to leave our land “loaded in coffins” or in body bags and neither do I believe that violence and bloodshed leads to anything but even more violence and bloodshed. It is nothing but a vicious cycle.
However, the type of rhetoric that is now being expressed by our southern youth and intellectuals about the situation in Nigeria and particularly about the excesses of the Fulani cannot be ignored or downplayed.
We ignore the words of people like Mr. George Akinola, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, Mr. Grandson Soyemi and so many others at our own peril.
Clearly there is tension and anger in the land. The spirit of division is rife and it is getting stronger by the day. Things are getting hotter and tempers are flaring. Nigeria is beginning to unravel at the seams. We must all be very careful not to set a match to the tinderbox.
Thankfully there are still a number of Fulani and non-Fulani voices in the north who represent a moderate and sane disposition and who have nothing to do with the hegemonist or religious agenda of the bigots and the hardliners.
I am talking about men like Colonel Abubakar ‘Dangiwa’ Umar, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim Imam, Alhaji Ibrahim Turaki SAN and so many others. I know every single one of these individuals and I can vouch for them.
These are the sort of people that are still holding the country together by giving southerners hope that the voice of moderation, reason and restraint still exists in the north and that that voice may eventually prevail. Yet the fire continues to burn on the mountain and tempers are still rising.
The insulting warning to the south from the 19 northern governors just the other day made matters worse. This contribution did not help to calm the storm but instead it has further frayed nerves. Simply put the northern governors have rubbed raw salt into our southern wounds.
They said that southerners should “not insult the Fulani again” and that even though they deplored what their kinsmen, the Fulani herdsmen, did in Enugu the other day, that does not mean that “their people” ought to be insulted.
This is all they had to say after thousands of southerners have been killed, maimed, raped, abducted and tortured in the sanctity of their own homes and land by the Fulani militants and herdsmen over the last one year alone and after over one hundred igbos (sic) were slaughtered in Enugu state just a few days ago.
They even went a step further by saying that they intend to take the cue from Kaduna state and introduce the licensing of all Churches and preachers in all the states of the north.
This is a deep insult to every Christian worth his salt, to the clergy and to the Church. It is also a surreptitious attempt to curb the spreading of the gospel in northern Nigeria. If ever the northern governors had an all-time low this is it.
Instead of them burying their heads in shame and appealing to the rest of Nigeria to forgive them and their kith and kin for their collective and historical sins the Fulani leaders are still issuing threats to the rest of us through their surrogates, leaders and governors.
This is unacceptable. Such reckless arrogance and callous insensitivity does not serve them well and neither does it engender peace and reconciliation in our country. Instead it is provocative and insulting and it can only lead to a greater degree of alienation and more misunderstanding.
Sadly the 17 southern governors could not even muster the resolve to organise their own meeting and respond to the slur in a virile and responsible manner. Instead they all ran for cover and chose to dwell in the safety and comfort of a cowardly and conspiratorial silence.
How I wish that men like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Leader of the Yoruba, Dim Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the Ikenga of Igboland, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, the former Senate President, Chief Alfred Rewane, one of the greatest and most fearless southern elders that ever lived and Chief Harold Dappa Biriye, the Leader of the Ijaw nation were still with us. How I wish that men like Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Orji Uzor Kalu and Chimaroke Nnamani were still governors. How I wish that people like Ojo Maduweke and Ebenezer Babatope were still Federal Ministers.
Meanwhile the people of the south are still grieving and suffering immeasurable pain as a consequence of the gratuitous violence and evil that we have been subjected to at the hands of these murderous Fulani herdsmen over the last ten months.
We are still mourning our dead and indeed all the innocent and defenceless souls, including women and children that were murdered in cold blood in Enugu state just a few days ago.
The truth is that as long as those that represent the Fulani militants and herdsmen continue to try to justify or rationalise their beastly behaviour and threaten the south there will be people like Mr. George Akinola who will respond with the sort of rhetoric that he has expressed in this contribution.
There would also be far more than mere rhetoric and this, more than anything else, saddens me because I am a man of peace and I deplore violence.
Yet you cannot expect people to sit by silently and watch their loved ones and kith and kin being slaughtered like christmas turkeys and sallah rams on a daily basis by a bunch of uncouth, vulgar and unlettered barbaric beasts who are suffering from some kind of vampiric blood lust and who are plagued and afflicted with a cult-like Janjaweed syndrome.
It would be most unwise for the Fulani leaders and indeed the leaders of the north to ignore such sentiments and dismiss them with the usual contempt.
It is important that the Fulani militants and herdsmen are reigned in and that they stop killing southerners and occupying our land.
It is important that the master plan to subjugate the people of the south to perpetual bondage and slavery at the hands of the Fulani be stopped.
It is only when that happens that we can guarantee lasting peace in our nation. It is only when this is done that people like Mr. George Akinola and all the other young rising southern stars will stop saying the sort of things that they are saying.
It is only when that happens that they will stop speaking and reflecting the minds of millions of southerners who are fed up with what is going on in our country and who are prepared to stand up, challenge the powers that be, break the yoke of bondage and slavery and fight for their freedom.
Permit me to end this contribution with the reaction of Afenifere, the leading Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, to the insults of the 19 northern governors.
On 1st May 2016 the Sunday Vanguard Newspaper reported as follows:
“The Yoruba group, which spoke through their National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told Sunday Vanguard:
"It (the northern governors' position) is a sign of unfeeling, uncaring for any group today to come out and say that those who have been causing problems and killing people in the Middle Belt and the South are not Fulani herdsmen. They have killed in Agatu land, Enugu; a traditional ruler was killed in Delta State; they killed Chief Olu Falae's guard and also kidnapped Chief Falae himself. For some people to gather and call themselves northern governors, and have no sympathy for lives than to be defending the Fulani herdsmen, shows clearly that it is a tragedy of monumental proportion to be in the same country with these elements. You also begin to wonder if the blood of human beings runs in their veins because anybody that has human blood running in his veins will not come and say that Fulani herdsmen are not responsible. What nonsense."
The Afenifere spokesperson went on: "I think the northern governors should bury their heads in shame. I do not think they are fit to be in the comity of civilized human beings. If the attackers are not Fulani herdsmen, where have they struck in the North-West? Why are their activities only in the Middle Belt and in the South? That is the question these northern governors should answer. When militants were blowing up pipelines in the South-South, were they not called Niger Delta militants? Do they want us to call them Yoruba herdsmen?"
As always Afenifere has done the yoruba, and by extension the entire south, proud with their courageous and timely intervention. They have spoken for every single one of us that still has his dignity and self-respect intact.
Let us hope that the northern governors and the murderers that they seek to defend get the message.
Let us hope that they can purge themselves of the unwholesome and denigrating contempt that they clearly have for the people of the south before it is too late and before the whole damn nation explodes and breaks into a thousand pieces.
Femi-Fani Kayode is a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical christian, an essayist, a poet and a former Minister of Aviation.
*Photo Caption - Femi-Fani Kayode