[ Masterweb Reports: Obienyem Valentine reports ] - Those that answer Valentine dread the month of February like a plague. Besides close friends who always demand that you celebrate your name in grand style, most confront you with all manner of questions bordering on the concept that your name is supposed to embody. Thus, you are asked whether you were born on the 14th of February or whether you were a by-product of love affair that took place in the month of February. One fact I have come to discover over the years is that people take those that bear the name of Valentine as experts in all known techniques of love, starting with its fundaments to its metaphysics.
Despite much research, we cannot tell unarguably the exact date the feast started, nor the route by which it entered into history. Perhaps it is connected to the life of a certain St. Valentine who was said to have suffered martyrdom in Rome as the Church hagiography would want us to believe. Perhaps, as the legend of the saint’s heroic faith says, it grew out of the love shown to prisoners by the saintly Valentine. Perhaps it has to do with the period in the year when birds of the earth look for mates. Perhaps it is another case of substitution of a pagan feast by Christian feast as a subtle way of blighting paganism at the bud. We do not know. Valentine’s Day is part of history whose beginning has been forgotten, and whose end we shall never reach.
The popularity of Valentine’s Day could be linked to the nature of the theme it celebrates – love. Writing about love, Archbishop Fulton Sheen called it “the most used, and the most misunderstood word.” The misunderstanding inherent in the nature of love often provokes people to ask questions such as: How much of what we claim as love is love indeed? Does love have different levels and spheres? Is it possible to love our neighbour as ourselves, as the Holy writ prescribes? What is love? These are the questions with which the most comprehensive theories, treatises, and analyses of love find it necessary to begin.
To the Greeks, love could be Eros, Philia, and agape. Plato’s ladder of love in the Symposium has different loves for its rungs, up to what we commonly call “Platonic Love”. St Thomas Aquinas distinguishes between love in the sphere of the passion and love as an act of will. The former he assigns to what he calls the “concupiscible faculty” of the sensitive appetite; the latter, to the rational or “intellectual appetite”. Sometimes, people talk about metaphysical, contemplative, material and acquisitive love, etc.
Whatever form love takes, it implies a complex psychical experience of strong attraction to, intense desire for, vivid appreciation of, a profound interest in, ones object of love. The object of love could be a fellow being, institution, cause or even nature. It involves tender affection, sympathetic understanding, admiration and loyalty, with reference to its object.
But apart from a few people who recognize the fact of plurality of love in their analyses, most of us, especially the youth, talk abundantly of love, commonly in the sense of amorous appetite. These are people who confess their loving the object of their love more than their own mothers. Recall the “sugar in my tea” and similar stuff. Our elders consider this form of love to be a form of “possession” or “madness”, and would frown at anyone who would propose it as a fit guide in the choice of marriage mate. They do this, knowing that once the erotic side of love diminishes or fades away altogether, the disinterested element fades too; interest in the other’s happiness evaporates, all tender feeling is eroded, and the one desire is to get away. This is what Lucretius called “erotic befuddlement”. What Dedriot deridedly described as “the voluptuous loss of a few drops of liquid.” It is a spark thrown off by the contact or nearness of two opposite bodies.
In pursuit of this type of love there is nothing that human beings have not done, or are not capable of doing. The love portion that some ladies brew for men they suspect of unrequited love has no platonic aim. It is not out of generosity, rather to get the object of their longing, that men spend lots of money in wooing women. Women themselves do as much. To attract men, they dress in manners to arouse precipitate passion. Eyelashes are darkened with gum ammonia. Checks and lips are painted with sticks of minium or alkanet roots. Adjustable eyebrows are used and often pencilled with lampblack or pulverized or sulphuret of antimony, sometimes it is thinned to diverse shapes or shaved off entirely and painted “crescent moons” or other forms. Eyelids are shaded with kohl. All sort of things are rubbed on the face, in the hope that it will make them look beautiful. Some in the villages still wrap their fingernails over night with henna leaves to make them purple. Padded brassieres are used to make the breast look poised and … Breast enhancement has since become part of beauty regimen. There is no part of the woman’s body, in pursuit of men, that has not been perfected, decorated, refined, stretched and squeezed, bleached, reformed, compacted and shortened.
Higher than the afore-described love is what is often called genuine friendship. In this type of love, there is often the predominance of altruistic motives. It springs from mutual admiration. Here, love is thought to precede desire and to determine its wishes. Marriages built upon this type of love are often successful. Mature lovers discover that marriage transcends the act of multiplication of the species or the fantasy of sexual acts. There are some men who think that all a woman appreciates in a man is when he brandishes the erectile organ to her satisfaction. No. Marriage is more than that. It demands deep understanding and maturity from both partners.
All the foregoing classifications and distinctions, inexhaustible though, belong to the theory of human love. But the fact of love’s diversity extends to the Christian theory of love. Christianity brought about a basic shift in man’s thinking about love. Christianity sees love not in the emotion or passion, but from the infinite perfection and creativity of God. Writing to the Corinthians (2 Cor 13: 6) St Paul said that “love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth...”God Himself is love (I John 4: 4). “Love ye one another”. In this profound sentence, God summarized all the commandments. Love rules the world and was, perhaps, as Parmenides thought, “the very first thing created by the gods to rule the world”.
The key to peace in the world is for men to embrace the ethics of Christ – love. Confucius taught a version of it in his rule of reciprocity (golden rule). Immanuel Kant espoused it in his book, The Metaphysics of Morals in what he called the “Maxims of Categorical Imperative”. All great religions teach it. Until we start to imbibe this golden rule (love), the battle to re-make the world can as well be labelled a utopia.
The sooner we use the day of Valentine to promote this type of love, the better the world will become. Here we are again celebrating another Valentine. How do we make it serve the purpose of making the world a better place? Is it for us just a day to buy expensive Valentine’s gifts and flowers and caress one another in the happy ignorance of the true meaning of love? These are the central questions.
Obienyem Valentine reports.
*Photo Caption - Love symbol
[ Masterweb Reports: Peter Obi reports ] -As the fulcrum of sustainable socio-economic growth and development, the power sector is a critical element in the progress of modern societies – a fact clearly appreciated by the Jonathan administration.
At the policy level, the President reconstituted the Presidential Action Committee on Power, with himself as chairman and Vice-President Sambo as his deputy. Other critical memberships include Secretary to the Federal Government, Ministers of Power, Finance & Petroleum as well as selected captains of industry. The records show the President has not missed any of the Committee’s meetings. The implementation process of the Power Sector Road-Map is ably managed by a Presidential Task Force of high-grade professionals.
The courageous unbundling of the ubiquitous Power Holding Company of Nigeria [PHCN], and the decentralization of its constituent Generating and Distribution Companies across the land, have vastly boosted performance of the sector.
This exercise has already started yielding fruits. The Azura power plant in Edo State, for instance was flagged of 2 months ago, a feat that would have been impossible so are many other independent power projects. The Ugheli power plant which was generating less than 200 MW before being handed over to private company now generates over 610 Mw. The new owners are planning to add additional 1000MW in due time. This would not have been possible but for the privatisation. What happened in the telecom sector would soon be replicated in the power sector.
As at 2014, the Jonathan administration had completed 10 power plants under the Nigerian Independent Power Plant [NIPP] scheme; and their sale is on-going. The commissioned plants include those at Olorunsogo [563mw], Sapele [225mw] and Omotoso [112.5mw]. Currently, the country generates about 4,500mw of power, with increases expected in 2015.
The Rural Electrification Agency [REA] was reactivated in mid-2012, and in barely two years it has invested in over 300 rural electrification projects across the country. Given the rate of progress on the projects, it will be a matter of course for the agency to literally ‘light-up’ rural Nigeria; affording that major segment of the populace access to additional means of livelihood and comforts of modernization. Other benefits include stemming the rural-urban drift and associated adversities; boosting agro-productivity, processing, preservation and storage; promoting the growth of rural industries and enterprises; attracting unemployed and under-employed urban dwellers to the rural areas.
As part of efforts to expand its vista, the REA is pursuing collaboration with such proven Development Partners as the Bank of Industry, Japan International Co-operation Agency, UN Industrial Development Organization, UN Development Programme and German International Development Programme.
To complement power generating capacities, the Jonathan administration is expanding and strengthening the capacities of the nation’s transmission system. The Transmission Company of Nigeria [TCN], under the management of the renowned Manitoba Hydro International, is currently firming up the critical linkages between electricity supply and demand. Meanwhile, Power China Corporation is to build 20,000mw-capacity power plants and sub-stations, with transmission lines stretching for some 10,000 kilometres.
The Jonathan administration is also progressively exploring and exploiting other sources of energy for the country possesses vast potentials. Among these – in which investors have shown deep interest – are energy from solar [sun], wind, biomass, coal, and water. It has revitalized the nation’s hydro-electric power base, including major investments in Kainji, Mambilla [3,050mw] and Zungeru [700mw].
Concomitant with the establishment of power plants and related facilities are the massive investments in capacity building. There is now a National Power Training Institute [NAPTIN]; and its structures and facilities include: headquarters & 8 regional training centres, power system training simulator, workshops, demonstration plants, trainee hostels and guest houses.
There are also exchange programmes abroad and extensive industrial training platforms in tertiary institutions. To date, over 6,000 sector professionals have benefited from various training programmes across the land.
There have been [mostly extraneous] challenges that have threatened the attainment of the goals of the power sector road map. These include sabotage& vandalization of gas pipelines & some other facilities; and outright theft of equipment & accessories. These have been perpetuated largely by local and international syndicates – incurring billions of Naira in repair–works and delays in fulfillment of targets. For instance, the eastern axis gas pipeline at Okoloma disrupted the operations of plants of the Rivers State Government, Afam and Shell – with a loss of some 400 megawatts. Similarly, sabotage in the western axis [at Escravos] involved a loss of 1,500 megawatts.
Despite these trip-wires, Nigeria not only has the largest economy in Africa, but also the biggest population – with its varied domestic, office and industrial power requirements. The sector continues to attract the interest of local and foreign investors; an indication of growing confidence in its management. Strategic partnerships have been forged with such long-established operators as General Electric, Siemens AG, Daewoo E&C, Electricite de France, Enterprise de Transporte et Distribution D’electricity, and Electrobate. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Federal Government and some of these global players is a commitment by each of them to help build up to 10,000MW-capacity in the country. Many other reputable power companies have been to Nigeria and indicated their desire to participate in the entire value-chain of power delivery.
Indeed, the benefits from the successful fulfilment of the power sector reform will far exceed the benefits of the telecommunications revolution.
As we are about to cast our votes, may I call on Nigerians to realize that the Government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has set many developmental projects in motion. Beyond sentiments, now is the time for Nigerians to rally round him. He needs this next term to consolidate on his administration’s achievements. Even as projects such as the Kaduna-Abuja rail line are nearing completion, the next term will enable him successfully fulfill others, among which are those in the power sector.
He has commenced quite a number of projects that will guarantee 24 hours electricity availability in the country. We should support him to conclude the vital task of lighting-up Nigeria.
Mr. Peter Obi is the former Gov. of Anambra State and the Deputy Director General of the PDP National Campaign Council
*Photo Caption - Mr. Peter Obi (LEFT); President Goodluck Jonathan (RIGHT)
[ Masterweb Reports: Eze Chukwuemeka Eze reports ] - PREAMBLE: Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), an influential English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, once stated that he who controls the past controls the future and who controls the present controls the past. George Orwell must have the traditional institution in Africa in mind when he made that famous quote as no other institution in Africa controls our past and present more than the traditional institution.
The powers of the royal institution in a setting like Nigeria cannot be over-emphasised. For a candidate to have plethora of royal blessings from various kingdoms before a given election is not something any serious political analyst of note can overlook as this may be used to judge the popularity, acceptance or otherwise of the candidate in question.
In any African setting like Rivers State, Nigeria, the traditional institution is generally regarded as the custodian of the culture and closest power or government to the people. As a result, traditional rulers wield enormous powers and influence over their subjects and can decide, therefore, make or mar any candidate in a given election.
On the other hand, and according to one-time President of USA, George W. Bush, “Leadership to me means duty, honor, country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time.” To King Prof T.J.T Princewill the Amayanabo of the Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, “a leader is not worth anything if he or she does not represent the values of love, unity, peace and justice for his people”.
DR DAKUKU ADOL PETERSIDE
The main thrust of this study given the explanations by President George Bush, King Prof T.J.T Princewill and George Orwell above is to examine the political leadership and avalanche of royal blessings so far poured on Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State and its implication on the governorship election of 28th February, 2015, as well as other elections in the State. Apart from the above, this study will also be proffering answers to the following questions: Who is Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside? How did he manage to secure the ticket of such a big party like APC to fly her flag in a cosmopolitan State like Rivers State? And why should he be bestowed with such royal blessings that make his opponents envious and to think of stepping aside even before the electorate set out to cast their ballot?
Before delving into the plethora of royal blessings bestowed on Dr Dakuku Peterside so far, let me highlight the significance of the day of his birth as well as his personality in the politics of Nigeria. From 6th July, 1967 to January 15th, 1970, the Nigeria/Biafra war raged on. To some pundits and political analysts it was the birth of this divine and great star on 1st January, 1970 that actually brought this unfortunate war to an end. They posit also that in the battle for the soul of Rivers State come 28th February, 2015 which has being turned into war situation by the PDP leadership, the Rivers APC is counting on this man of peace not only to win the gubernatorial election but also to stop the war mongers being paraded by the Rivers State PDP from coming to power and making Rivers State very unsafe for foreign investors.
That Dr Dakuku Peterside is the popular gubernatorial choice of the various strata of Rivers State is becoming very glaring by the day. Immediately after handling over his mandate to God through a well celebrated praise and worship service at Dr Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt, where Bishops, Pastors and other members of the clergy prayed for his success at the polls, Dr Peterside swiftly moved to consult Traditional Rulers in the State to seek their blessings for his candidature.
Dr. Peterside has so far visited and received the blessings of First Class Kings in Rivers State such as King Kaleh Obuge, Oda Abuan King of Abua; Onneh eh Eleme, King Ejire; Eze Ekpeye Logbo Eze Robinson Robinson; Amanyanabo of Bonny, King Edward Asimini Pepple; and the Kalabari Monarch, King TJT Princewill amongst others.
In this regard, after receiving the approval of men of God, Dr Peterside visited Buguma, the traditional, political and spiritual headquarters of the ancient Kalabari Kingdom, to inform King (Prof.) TJT Princewill, Amachree XII, Amayanabo of Kalabari, of his governorship candidacy and afterwards seek his royal blessing. Peterside, once an undergraduate student under King (Prof.) Princewill, told the monarch: “I resolved within myself that I will not accept this challenge of flying the flag of our party, APC without seeking your fatherly blessing. If I have your blessing, I will succeed”. Members of the Buguma Council of Chiefs led by Chief CPD Amachree, Chairman, Buguma/Kalabari Council of Chiefs, were also on hand to “welcome the august visitor in December, 2014”, according to one of the Chiefs who later spoke for the Council.
At Buguma, Dr. Peterside was at home, like he later said, “a true son of the house”, as top members of the Kalabari nation were on hand for the flamboyant reception even though his visit was meant to be private. Dr. Dawari George, Secretary of the APC Campaign Organisation and member, Federal House of Representatives who represents Akuku Toru/Asari Toru Constituency, Hon. Daddy Pokima, Caretaker Committee Chairman, Degema local government, Hon. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, a former Chairman of Asari Toru Local Government, Hon. Ben Fred-Horsfal, member, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Joeba West, Rivers State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr. Ipalibo Harry, Commissioner for Employment, formed part of the powerful audience.
Dr. Peterside, who was introduced by the palace secretary, Hon. Prince Dateme, JP, said his inspiration to gun for the office of governor of Rivers State drew shape from the values espoused by King Princewill. “I am inspired by the things you believe in and the values you have brought to leadership. The time you spent teaching us, you emphasised that a leader is not worth anything if he or she does not represent the values of love, unity, peace and justice for his people. I am therefore proud that you groomed us in honesty, excellence and quest for knowledge,” the APC standard bearer told the monarch and the Council of Chiefs.
The Rivers APC Chairman noted that while Rivers monarchs and elders have embraced Peterside, they have vehemently rejected the candidature of Chief Nyesome Wike of PDP. “It is not surprising that Wike’s camp is in disarray as he has been rightly rejected by Rivers State Elders and Leaders, who see his imposition as an affront and a symbol of injustice since it is another way of saying that our riverine brothers have no right to produce the Governor of our dear State. We call on all Rivers people to collect their Permanent voters Cards and to use this wisely on February 28 by voting massively for Peterside and for the APC,” Ikanya said.
Here is what Dr Peterside has to say about his mission: “We bring a roadmap of wealth for Rivers State anchored on a legacy and foundation of prosperity laid by Governor Chibuke Amaechi. We all know Governor Amaechi’s legacies in education, health, agriculture and other areas. He has built world-class schools and hospitals in every nook and cranny of the state. His health centres can match any standard hospital found anywhere in the world. We have unveiled our campaign plans and program and we can be judged by our vision and contract with Rivers State and our people contained in the Roadmap to Prosperity at the end of our tenure if elected. This is RIVERS PROJECT. It is not about APC. We invite everybody to come on board, join us to move Rivers State to the next level. Rivers people’s support for me is overwhelming. I really appreciate the outpouring of love. I thank all Rivers people. I will not disappoint you. APC members rely on God and I will continue to rely on God. I do not depend on my strength or ability. I will ensure unity in Rivers state. All Rivers people will have roles to play in my administration, when elected as governor by God’s grace. Our doors will be wide open.”
In conclusion, I wish to say without fear of contradiction that Dr Peterside is a symbol of unity, visionary, egalitarian and, most importantly, a great patriot whose love for Rivers State and her people is infectious. Here is a man who has earned a reputation as a charismatic and disciplined leader; creative and hardworking, a broad-minded fellow with strategic insight who brings integrity, compassion, pro-poor perspective and intellectual dimension to bear in tackling tough national issues; a man whose loyalty to friendship and bridge-building skills are remarkable; an international resource person on oil and gas matters; a leading leadership/management scholar and speaker in leading conferences around the world; and a respected authority in corporate political strategy and Business-Govt interaction in Nigeria. Indeed, the great people of Rivers State have every reason to proudly endorse Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside as their next Governor after the departure of the goal-oriented Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi. With Dr Peterside in the saddle, the future of Rivers State is truly great. We therefore await his crowning after next month’s guber election.
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 08038199163 ) is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
*Photo Caption - Supreme Council of Ikwerre Kings Anointing Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside
A good family man, Dakuku Peterside, is married to Elima, a lawyer, and they are blessed with three children, Soba, Belema and Miebi. He is a committed Christian who believes his relationship with Jesus Christ is what gives meaning to life.
NON-INDIGENES ADOPT PETERSIDE
Apart from the royal fathers, non-indigenes numbering about 960,000 residing in Rivers State have adopted and endorsed Dakuku Peterside as their candidate for the February polls. They spoke through their leader, Barr. Chuma Chinye, the Rivers State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, saying: “No non-indigene in Rivers State will vote for PDP or any other political party as we are not ingrates considering all that Governor Chibuike Amaechi has done to improve our lot. Today, one of us –my humble self – is a member of the highest ranking governing body in Rivers State, the State Executive Council, while others such as Chief Ade Adeogun is the Chairman of the Sanitation and Environmental Company of the State, Mr. David Iyofor is the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor amongst other strategic positions of our people in government. Our kids are paying the same fees with indigenes at the various strata of education. We must appreciate all these by ensuring that we vote APC in all the elections to avoid those who have vowed to deal with us once they come to power.”
Other non-indigenes that spoke at the endorsement ceremony in Port Harcourt were Chief Dr. Williams Ubeka, who spoke for the South-East; Chief Joseph Ijede for the South-South; Alhaji Ahmed Adisa for the South-West; Alhaji Sulaiman Hussaini for the North-Central; and Alhaji Tanko Yusuf for the North, while Mrs. Chief Ijede spoke for the women. The speakers highlighted all the good things non-indigenes have enjoyed under the administration of Governor Amaechi and contrasted it with the evil and humiliations they suffered when Chief Nyesome Wike, the PDP Governorship Candidate, was Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government, when he introduced various taxes to scare away non-indigenes from Rivers State. They maintained that if the non-indigenes have any enemy in Rivers State, Chief Wike is the Chief Tormentor of non indigenes. They promised to ensure that he does not smell the Brick House for the sake of Rivers people, whether indigenes or non-indigenes.
DEPUTY GOVERNOR IKURU AND SENATOR ABE ON DR DAKUKU ADOL PETERSIDE
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Engr. Tele Ikuru, has rightly described Dr Peterside as Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s best and final gift to the people of Rivers State. He stated this at the APC Abua/Odual Local Government Area campaign rally at Ayama-Abua, saying: “Our leader and governor, the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has given us so many good gifts but Dr. Dakuku Peterside is his best and final gift to us. Amaechi gave us world-class schools, hospitals, roads, power, free education opportunities, purposeful leadership and security, among other good things. But let me tell you that Peterside is his best gift to us. I therefore wish to assure you that Peterside will give you double of all these great and wonderful things.” Ikuru also described Peterside as a visionary and consummate public servant who will bring his expertise, humility and fear of God to the leadership of the State.
To Senator Magnus Abe, “Dr. Dakuku Peterside is a symbol of unity, equity, continuity, progress and hope for not only Rivers State but for the future of the Nigerian nation.”
DR DAKUKU PETERSIDE AND HIS MISSION
Peterside further told the monarch: “I am a son in this house. It is only a son who does not know his rights that will not know when to approach his father. I know my right and I know when to approach my father. I am therefore here to seek your fatherly blessing. By next year, our people will be electing a governor. One of the major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has given me their flag as their candidate. But I resolved within myself that I will not accept the challenge without seeking your fatherly blessing. If I have your blessing, I will succeed. I am a son you raised properly and the promise is that I will not disappoint you now that I have been given a huge responsibility. You taught us not to run away from any fight that will bring development and progress. As a bearer of your vision, I will be going into this race pursuing the unity and wellbeing of our people. I shall advance your dream and vision for Rivers State where everybody will have a sense of belonging, not where some people will be second class citizens. And we must defend the values and convictions you hold dear.”
Peterside, who explained that a time like this requires serious consultation with forthright and perceptive monarchs like King Princewill, pledged to offer Rivers State quality leadership anchored on his Roadmap to Prosperity if voted into office next year.
Responding, King Princewill said it would have been unthinkable to say anything contrary. “You said I groomed you but you are not the only one I groomed. President (Goodluck) Jonathan, Governor (Chibuike) Amaechi and others were also my students. If any of you comes for blessing, I will say that blessing was even granted before you came. But you must go to the field and do your best. I want to request that we ensure a violence free election. We in Buguma have seen violence. We don’t want to see it again,” he said.
The royal father blessed Peterside via the laying of royal hands on the candidate’s head. He called on him to build employment of jobless youths into his Manifesto, if he had not yet done so, and if elected, to ensure that such youths in his kingdom are gainfully employed. “We have a lot of problems among our youths. How do we get them engaged? How can we make them not to be idle?” the monarch asked. He called on Peterside to continue being a good boy, saying: “If you want to remain my son, then you must continue to do the good you have always done.”
PETERSIDE IS OUR NEXT GOVERNOR – MONARCH
At Obua/Oduai Local Government in the palace of the Uwema Ogbo Abua, His Royal Majesty, J. Umar II, a first class traditional ruler, pointedly told Dr Peterside: “You are our next Governor after Governor Amaechi.” This happened during a courtesy call by Peterside, his running mate, Honourable Asita, and APC members and supporters in continuation of his campaign in Abua/Odual Local Government Area. The monarch, who received the APC governorship candidate and his entourage with other traditional rulers in the local government area, called on the people to support Peterside. He described Peterside as a patriot and dependable gentleman with sterling qualities and impressive record of achievements. The royal father assured Peterside of his kingdom’s unwavering commitment to his ambition, adding that his people have already embraced APC’s progressive policies.
Peterside and Asita were later honoured by the monarch and other traditional rulers with the privileges of a high chief in full traditional attire. The APC candidate promised to spend every minute of his time working for the people and representing their interest.
ADOPTION OF PETERSIDE AS SOLE CANDIDATE FOR THE IKWERRE KINGDOM
Out of all the kingdoms so far visited by Dr Peterside, what happened in Ikwerre Kingdom is the perhaps the most significant, as he was enthusiastically received and endorsed by the Ikwerre Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers in Isiokpo, the spiritual and traditional headquarters of the Ikwerre ethnic nationality, as the sole governorship candidate for the Ikwerre nationality for the February 28 election. The Council comprises First Class and all Government-recognised traditional rulers in the four Ikwerre local government areas in Rivers State which comprise Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt City, Emohua and Ikwerre. The Council, which declared that its endorsement of Dr. Peterside was out of its resolve to uphold equity and justice by ensuring that the riverine section of the state produced the next governor, emphasised that by its action, no other governorship candidate would receive its endorsement. The paramount rulers enjoined all Ikwerre sons and daughters all over the world to support Dr. Peterside come February 28. Significantly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Chief Nyesome Wike, is a son of the Ikwerre Kingdom. With his rejection by his people we can now understand why his camp is in disarray.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ROYAL BLESSINGS
The significance of this historical endorsement is not lost on perceptive political analysts. All the past governors of Rivers State as well as the incumbent Governor Chibuike Amaechi were endorsed by this body of Royal Fathers before they were elected to be governors. Peterside’s endorsement therefore forecloses the possibility of Chief Wike governing Rivers State come May 2015.
“The overwhelming endorsement of the candidature of Dr. Dakuku Peterside by our revered traditional rulers is a sign of imminent victory and yet one more proof that Rivers APC made the right choice in electing him to fly our flag during the February 28 governorship election. Dr. Peterside is a well-brought-up youthful manager of men and resources who has been prepared for leadership by the invaluable lessons he received from elders across the State,” Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said.
Ikanya assured the royal fathers that Dakuku Peterside will not disappoint them but will live up to expectation if given the mandate on February 28. “Dr. Peterside has tremendous respect for the traditional institution; he will not only carry our respected royal fathers along if voted into power but will also build on the solid foundation laid by Governor Chibuike Amaechi,” Dr. Ikanya said.
The Kalabari tradition was in its rich colour at the palace as every segment of the century-long rituals announcing the presence of an Amayanabo was performed. The palace drummer, specially attired and his eyes dim as if the gods were in conversation with him, paced the palace meeting room, drumming and chanting jargons known only to him, Kalabari gods and the initiated. All rose in respect, which tradition demands, when King Princewill, accompanied by the Queen and royal guards, walked in.
But even as the reception at the palace proved Dr. Peterside, no doubt, is the popular choice of Kalabari people, the crowd that welcomed the APC candidate was unprecedented. The crowd, in their thousands, sang, danced, chanted the praise of their visitor and ululated even as various cultural groups spiced the big show with their skills in the use of the African talking drum and other native percussions. The streets of Buguma were literally set agog and as the snaky throng marched from the town’s entry point to the famous Amachree Square en route King Princewill’s palace. Security personnel had a herculean time controlling the surging crowd as they pressed to touch or high-five the APC candidate. Brooms, the APC symbol, moved in a mass agreement. At some points, Dr. Perterside, waving his own broom, gyrated to the rhythm of the invading music. The scene was powerful as youths, women, children and the aged sang, “Gboo, gboo, gboo, Dakuku gboo o o! Gboo, gboo, gboo, Dakuku gboo o o! Dakuku gboo eh, gboo eh, gboo eh, Dakuku gboo eh, gboo eh, gbo, gbo, gbo!” (Come, come, come Dakuku come 2x, Dakuku come, come, come).
One of the youths in the crowd who gave his name as Damiete Dateme, explained that it was a sort of messianic song, inviting Dr. Peterside to quickly come and save Kalabari nation from further slavery. “In this song, we are calling on Dakuku to come quickly and deliver us from further slavery,” he said. At a point a young man seemingly possessed by the spirit of the huge reception rang two large bells while he stood in the balcony of a church. The scene was moving and like was predicted, that reception turned out to be a token of what transpired at the king’s palace.
THE VISIT TO THE KALABARI KINGDOM
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BIRTHDAY OF DR DAKUKU PETERSIDE AND HIS RISE TO LEADERSHIP
Dr Peterside is a native of Biriye, Opobo Kingdom of Rivers State. A true Nigerian, Dr Peterside grew up in Azumini, Aba both in present day Abia State, Kaduna and Port Harcourt at various times. Dakuku attended Okrika Grammar School (OGS), University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, University of Port Harcourt, Georgia State University Atlanta, USA, and is also an alumnus of Harvard-Kennedy School, University of Harvard, USA.
He earned degrees in Medical Laboratory Sciences (Haematology), Business Administration (Management) and certificates in Leadership and Project Management respectively. He has attended several oil and gas courses globally.
He is a member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), fellow of Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria (IMCN) and member, Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences of Nigeria.
The great Philosopher, John C. Maxwell with Dr Peterside in mind postulated that, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” In living this truism, prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Dakuku served twice as Rivers State Commissioner for works (2007-2011) where he anchored Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s phenomenal transformation of Roads and Infrastructural landscape of Rivers State; He concurrently served on the Board of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority (GPHCDA).
Before serving as Rivers State Commissioner of works, he served as Executive Director of Development and Leadership Institute (DLI) between the year 2005 and 2007, Senior Special Assistant to Governor of Rivers State on Works (2003-2005) Chairman Opobo-Nkoro LGA (2002-2003). As LGA chairman he was declared the most outstanding Chairman by the then State Governor of Rivers State. He previously served as Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Youth and Student affairs and concurrently as a member of Board, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), A Federal Government arts and research establishment.
He has at various times turned down at least 14 chieftaincy titles, several honourary doctorate degrees and awards, rather believing in the people as a reason for service. In the House of Representatives he serves as Chairman of the strategic Petroleum Resources (Downstream) Committee that oversees the management of the key driver of Nigeria’s economy (Petroleum Industry). Dakuku also serves in the House most important committees of Anti-Corruption, National Ethics and Values; Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes; Co-operation and Integration in Africa, Electoral Matters; Industry; Communications and Works. He is a well known champion of reform and strengthening of institutions as key to unlocking development potentials.
HOW HE EMERGED AS APC FLAG-BEARER
Dr Peterside emerged the flag-bearer of APC on 4th December, 2014 when at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in a transparent election conducted by Prince Austin Eweka the 3774 gubernatorial delegates of Rivers State APC out of the 4,321 accredited delegates formally elected him as the APC gubernatorial candidate for the 2015 polls. Expressing his joy over this epochal event, Rivers APC State Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, stated thus: “I congratulate our delegates that saw to the election of this great mind to carry our banner in our resolve to salvage Rivers State and our people from selfish politicians whose stock-in-trade is to loot our common patrimony and initiate our people into occult societies alien to our culture and belief as God-fearing State. I urge all and sundry to obtain their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to ensure that we collectively punish and bury PDP formally next February. I congratulate Dr. Peterside on his emergence and wish to assure him that we shall work day and night to ensure a landslide victory for him and our great party during the 2015 polls.”
DAKUKU PETERSIDE AND PLETHORA OF ROYAL BLESSINGS
[ Masterweb Reports: C. K. Ekeke, M.Div., PhD reports ] - On February 14, 2015, Nigerians will elect a new president to govern the nation for another four years. From all indications, it seems that Nigerians will be choosing between the incumbent president – Goodluck Jonathan and the ex-military head-of-state – General Muhammadu Buhari. If this is the best Nigeria, the so-called giant of Africa can offer to the world, we have then become a degenerate people and society.
It is also rather unfortunate and unbelievable that the presidential election is less than a month away and no debate has been planned between the presidential candidates and their running mates to articulate how they will fix Nigeria. It’s a fact that since after the civil war, Nigeria has been ruled by vision-less, self-centered leaders. Currently, lawlessness and corruption pervade the entire nation - a nation where corruption runs rampant and no one is held accountable. I do not believe there are more hopeless people and lawless nation on the face of this earth like Nigeria. What we have become today is a nation of haters, killers, cheaters, looters, liars, hypocrites, hopelessness, immorality and absolute irresponsibility.
Nigeria needs visionary and action-oriented leadership – to restructure the nation. The nation needs true transformational leaders. More than any time in history of the nation, Nigeria needs courageous, visionary and skilful leaders to emancipate our land from satanic political leadership and restore her historic honor and moral dignity in the global community.
I’m not sure that Buhari/Osinbajo is a better alternative to Jonathan/Sambo government and ticket. For sure, Buhari/Osinbajo may be an option to fight corruption and Boko haram militancy but I do not believe both men can change Nigeria. Will Buhari execute his manifesto and vision as outlined or will it be another 4 or 8 years of business as usual? My sincere believe is that it’s going to take revolution or disintegration to restructure Nigeria. The Confab report, which the Federal government spent billions of Naira to prepare last year, is yet to be implemented. Will APC promise Nigerians that they will implement the Confab if elected into power? The Confab report has candid recommendations which if implemented diligently can essentially restructure the nation. Nigeria will be on its path to development, progress, and unity within few years if the Confab report is courageously implemented.
On Boko haram and rise of militant Islam
Whether it is 9/11, an orchestrated commercial plane hijacks by Al-Qaeda that murdered nearly 3000 innocent people in New York and other American cities, or the Danish cartoon of prophet Mohammed that sparked irrational killings in Nigeria and terrorist attacks in other countries, or the kidnapping of nearly 300 Chibok school girls in northern Nigeria by Boko haram, or the Taliban massacre of school children in Pakistan, or the beheading of westerners by ISIS, and recently the killings at Charlie Hebdo French satirical newspaper in Paris – all these murderous atrocities are part of the global Jihadists agenda. And the root cause of radical Islam is deeply rooted in the covenant promises that God made with Abraham, who is by the way the Father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. No man or woman will be able to fix the squabble or eradicate the animosity of militant Islam towards Christianity. Only God Almighty – the Creator will.
Concerning Boko haram continued murderous atrocities in northern Nigeria are a clear repudiation of the failed policies of northern leaders for nearly fifty years they were in power. The political, religious and business leaders in the North should be ashamed of themselves for their failure to build infrastructure, create jobs for teeming young people and provide for the poor. Boko haram is 100% failure of northern leadership and it’s also tied to the global jihadist conspiracy and belief.
On Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka and his prophetic New Year’s Message
I have listened to the YouTube New Year’s message by Rev. Fr. Camillus Ejike Mbaka of the Catholic Adoration Ministry based in Enugu of Nigeria and read many criticisms for and against him. There is nothing new he said that ordinary Nigerian people, politicians, journalists, writers, religious, civic leaders, elders, etc. have not said before or saying now. I don’t understand what the uproar is all about. Nigeria is lawless, corruption is endemic, poverty is everywhere and the Nigerian people are suffering in the midst of plenty. It’s a failure of leadership – corrupt political leadership and visionless government.
By the way, in 2012, Dr. Tunde Bakare, Pastor of Latter Rain Ministries and Convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG), in one of his sermons that went viral on the Internet, called for a change of government in Nigeria. He also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to resign and attacked the President’s wife, Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan.
I wrote and published an article: Dr. Tunde Bakare Pastor, Prophet, or Politician: The Role of Religious Leaders and Political Activism in Nigeria,” which addressed some of the insights and opinions raised by critics of the Reverend Father.
I have read many opinions for and against the catholic priest prophetic pronouncement – including those who are calling for separation between religion and politics, church and state, etc. I laugh at the ignorance of some southerners who call for such separation.
First of all, there is not nothing like separation of religion from politics. People who make this kind of statement or sometimes ask preachers and Christian leaders to remain in the pulpit are ignorant and mistaken. We must understand that God is interested in all nations, “for the kingdom is the Lord’s and He is governor among the nations (Psalm 22:28). God has answers for the political and leadership direction of every nation, tribe, tongue, kindred and people. He will not do anything without first revealing it to His servants and prophets (Amos 3:7).
We must understand that the call of God does not only limit one to be an ambassador of good news but also to engage in the social, economic and political issues that affect His people. There are categories of preachers and religious leaders. One is not only called to be a pastor, priest, or prophet but to be a patriotic citizen. Patriotism and politics are inseparable.
Millions of Nigerians tend to distinguish political leadership from religious leadership. And this is due to various interpretations of Scripture regarding God’s Call. I think the erroneous views and convoluted biblical interpretation regarding those ordained to Ministry are as a result of improper exegesis of Scripture and misunderstanding of the subject of ‘God’s Call,’ or ‘The Call of God.’
The call of God is not always associated with leading a Church or religious organization. It’s not even about salvation or being called to the work of Ministry as priest, pastor, or bishop. The call of God is a call to purpose and destiny. It is a call that moves the “Called” and society from success to significance.
If the Bible is studied very carefully, one will notice that God called different people to various activities and assignments – some to be Wise Counselors (Daniel), as Leaders (Joseph, Moses, Joshua), as Kings (David, Solomon), as Military Warriors (Joshua, Samson, Deborah, Jehoshaphat), as Missionaries (Abraham, Paul), as Judges (Deborah, Gideon), as kingdom Builders (Jesus), as Revolutionaries (Jesus), as Pro-creators (Adam &Eve ), and off-course many were called to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Bible Teachers. If you study the Call of some of these people mentioned - Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Jonah, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, Esther, David, Nehemiah, Jehoshaphat, Isaiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Jesus, Apostles, Paul, etc., you will notice that they all were called by God to carry out different assignments.
Moses was not only called to be a priest but a prophet and politician. He was not only the spiritual leader of the people but a great lawyer and politician. He wrote the law, which formed the foundation of much civil and criminal law in many countries today. He was used by God to bring the children of Israel out Egyptian captivity, bondage and slavery. Samuel was a priest, Judge and King of Israel at the same time. Even in our recent times, we have seen the social, civil, economic and political activities of past and present religious leaders such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Rev. Al Sharpton and many others. God’s call is a call to divine duty and many times it involves fighting for people on issues that impact their lives negatively.
Second, you cannot separate the church from the state. It is like separating the church from the family or from the state. These are inseparable and indivisible. God established the institutions of family, government (Theocracy) and church to work together in order to establish His good and divine purposes on planet earth. While the family is the first and most important as well as the foundation of any society, the church being the last is also very important in its function as the custodian of the divine truth. The government is the second institution in order of divine plan and act as an organism for peace and order on planet earth. These three unique institutions were designed to work together in order to bring about God’s divine purposes on planet earthly kingdom. They are organism not social clubs, which some people have made them to be today. The only difference between the church and state is the type of people that make them up. And that is where we need to make some changes and bring more religious and genuine Christian people into the government.
Prophecy for nations and her political leaders
Throughout the history of mankind and even in our present time, true prophets of God and genuine spiritual leaders had always denounced sin, wickedness, and injustice – not per say by political activism but by calling the political leaders of nations to rule in the fear of God and work to provide a just and fair society.
During the prophetic ministry of Isaiah who reigned during the time of Kings Uzziah, Jotham and Hezekiah, you will read that those kings were extremely wicked kings with exception of King Hezekiah, who ruled with the fear of God. Kings Uzziah and Jotham abused the power of their office and led the people astray. They crushed the poor for their own profit.
First, prophet Isaiah challenged the rebellious people of Jerusalem and gullible Judah to repent of their sins and turn to God. He called on the people to clean up their acts. Isaiah denounced Judah for her idolatry and immorality and called for national repentance, prayer, and fasting.
Second, prophet Isaiah rebuked the kings and rulers for their social injustice and called on the politicians to restore a just and fair society otherwise God’s judgment and destruction would come suddenly.
Third, prophet Isaiah
The Bible teaches that only John the Baptist and Jesus were greater than Moses (Matthew 11:11; Hebrew 3). He was a heroic leader and his greatest leadership legacy was that he delivered the Israelites from oppression and slavery in the hands of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. He also gave them the laws that form the foundation of every nation today - social, dietary, religious, moral, and civic.
Joshua, Moses protégée, not only spied the Land of Canaan and believed that Israel could conquer it, but he led the Israelites into conquering the fortified Land of Canaan, a Land flowing with milk and honey.
Jesus was called and sent to bring light to the dying world and to lay down his life for Kingdom’s sake. Jesus ministry was whole – teaching, preaching, healing, social, economic and political. Jesus spoke to the political (Sadducees) and religious elites (Pharisees) of his day more than he preached and taught the Scriptures. Prophet Isaiah prophesized 750 years before Jesus was born, “For to us a son is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, there is will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” - Isaiah 6:6-7.
Nehemiah gave up his comfortable and wealthy position in Persia, and returned to his fractured nation and rallied against all forces of opposition to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. This is what most Nigerians in Diaspora should be doing if not soon before Nigeria disintegrates and falls apart.
Without favor or fear, he delivered unpalatable messages to the nation when all the prophets during his time were lying to King Ahab to seek his favor. Prophet Micaiah spoke the truth without caring whose ox was gored.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., widely regarded as America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history. Drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith – both as a theologian and prophetic preacher and from the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi of India, Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950’s and 60’s to achieve legal equality for African Americans in the United States.
The problem of biblical illiteracy and false prophets
The problem in our society today is that many people entering into Ministry – i.e., are being ordained as priests, pastors, or spiritual leaders through the back door without any calling, commissioning, and preparation. Without a divine call, commissioning and adequate preparation, which includes – training and mentorship, a person cannot be a leader that God uses. Unfortunately, most of those already serving as pastors, priests, bishops, etc., are there mostly for riches, material gain, and fame. Consequently, the messages that are proclaimed and promulgated over the airways and byways are sometimes totally inconsistent with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. In fact, what we hear nowadays are another gospel – satanic theology rather than a sound exposition of God’s Word.
Despite the proliferation of churches in Nigeria, religious hypocrisy, ignorance, and illiteracy abound – rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, magic, and all manners of evil and satanic worship still is still abundant and rampant. Most of the parishioners are gullible and put up with unbiblical teachings. Christians are supposed to be the salt and light of the world, but today, they are worse than worldly people - greed, hatred, corruption, idolatry, jealousy and envy run rampant. So therefore what we see in Nigeria today are adulterous religious systems and satanic religious leaders that parade themselves as the moral authorities in our society and yet the nation suffers from all kinds of satanic violence, evil, and wickedness.
Nigeria’s religious leaders have woefully failed in their divine duties and mandate to rebuke sin and wickedness in high places. How can any true man or woman of God live comfortably in a nation in crisis, where Boko-Haram Jihadists have the audacity to kill innocent citizens in places of worship and then our political and religious leaders don’t have the courage to condemn these satanic and senseless killings? How could any pastor or true prophet of God live in a country with , looting and embezzlement of public funds and would not speak out; where political leaders are ruling without vision and taking the nation from hope to hopelessness and from strength to weakness.
Rather, the religious leaders compromise their calling to rebuke sin, evil, wickedness and injustice. They also contaminate themselves with the devil and engage in corrupt practices of their shrines, secret occults and their pagan priests. And their lukewarm attitude is so evident and reflective in our culture, attitudes, mannerism and ways of life, which are mostly pompous of voodoo, juju, witchcraft, sorcery, spirits, mediums and all manners of demonic powers.
Studies have shown that more than 70% of Nigerian Christians attend church services every Sunday and sit under so-called men of God and miracle workers and yet rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, magic, and all manners of evil and satanic worship remain rampant in Nigeria. Greed, hatred, corruption, idolatry, jealousy and envy continue to flourish in the society. The Word of God is His presence and where there is genuine presence of God, evil, unrighteousness and ungodliness cannot be in abundance as it is in our society today. What I am observing in this generation is moral bankruptcy, biblical ignorance and satanic spiritual capitalism.
And so, the likes of Rev. Fr. Ejike Mabaka, Pastor Tunde Bakare, and others are needed in a nation where the nation's democracy is masqueraded in military, autocratic, and authoritarian feudalistic system. The political democratic culture in Nigeria is also a political impenitent and impunity which works against peace, unity, progress, and hinders godly and bare genuine folks from political participation. And so, there is need for genuine spiritual and prophetic leaders to speak the Word of the LORD and against wickedness and injustice in all of its ramifications. And such persons deserve to be encouraged.
However, let me state that the Catholic Church and her leaders are known for piety, peace, justice and righteousness. I think Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka went too far by asking the president of the Federal Republic to resign and vacate his office. That’s stupid, insulting, and provocative. Who does he want to take over from President Jonathan then?
Now if truly Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka received such prophetic message from God, the right thing to do is to seek audience with the president. Many occurrences of such are found in the Bible – First Samuel 1:11-20; Second Samuel 12:1-15, etc. Also throughout human history, men and women who received prophetic messages delivered them in a very appropriate manner.
Fr. Mbaka should not shy away from being a prophetic messenger but he should watch his utterances. He should also desist from desperately seeking political office or meddling into politics. It's a disgrace for a respectable and reputed religious leader to be receiving bribe from corrupt politicians and speaking from both sides of his mouth. From what we read and hear—his records with politicians are not clean at all. Rather, he should offer wise counsel to the government and engage in advisory role and special duties such as peace, conflict resolution treaties, interfaith kinds of work, etc., rather than continue to criticize the nation’s president in such a brazen manner.
Nevertheless, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mabaka is a brave, courageous Clergy and a distinct voice for the vulnerable poor in Southeast Nigeria. As a preacher of the Gospel, I encourage him to use his powerful rhetoric and spotlight to denounce moral decadence in our society, against immorality, idolatry, evil, wickedness, greed, envy, jealousy, etc., speak against religious intolerance and violence and killings, and speak power to truth and justice with love and in righteousness, and not the blatant rhetoric and utterances he’s making against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He must be made aware of the implications of his utterances, actions and behaviors as well. Pope Francis said it best, freedom of speech has limits. That we have freedom to speak does not mean we have to open our mouth to say anything we want to. What we say has consequences.
Finally, I always find it amusing and frankly ignorant when Southerners criticize religious leaders that participate in politics. Northerners do not distinguish between politics and religion. For them, both are inseparable. Alhaji Buhari is a military man as well as an ardent fanatic Muslim running to be president of Nigeria.
Dr. C. K. Ekeke ( Email: email@example.com ) is a public theologian, author, consultant and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Photo Caption - Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - The merchants of death are advertising their trade. The ravening wolves; gatherers of thorns and thistles. The corrupt trees that bring out evil fruit. As it has been said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” [Mathew 7:15-28] We have given up on this tree that in the words of Femi Fani-Kayode is a “rotten carcass,” giving off “putrid scent.” *holds nose* Trees hewn down, cast into the fire. By their fruits we knew them: a transformation from light to darkness; a transformation from life to death; a transformation from security to insecurity; the transformation to hunger, misery, global disgrace, poverty, injustice, pilfering, terror, cabal impunity, limitless corruption and what have you.
The workers of iniquity! They want to kill our president as they have killed our presidents, hopefuls, and revolutionists in the past. They killed Murtala. They brought the tea that killed Abacha and our dear victorious Abiola. They plotted the coup that ousted the no nonsense Buhari regime and they poisoned Idiagbon who was throwing up all the way back to Ilorin where he passed—on his return from his meeting with them in Abuja—to pave the path for the PDP. They who poisoned Yar’Adua to speed-up his death and pave the way for corruption unlimited, as reported in US wikileaks cables [http://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08LAGOS153_a.html] … now they want to kill Buhari!
Nigeria has a message to them: firstly, they can never kill Buhari. Secondly we did not make the mistake we made in selecting (or having imposed on us) Goodluck Jonathan as late Yar’Adua’s running mate this time. We learned from our mistakes. It took us several days to come up with Pastor Yemi Osinbajo for this very reason— after selecting an excellent presidential candidate, we ensured that our vice presidential candidate is “twice as good” in the event that the evil one gets to him.
Nigerians north and south, east and west, home and abroad are happy with the leadership package of Buhari-Osinbajo. In fact we can let either of them lead us at anytime interchangeably. Both men are incorruptible, God-fearing, known for their integrity; smart, astute, full of wisdom and global experience; sharp, strong, promising and noble. Bpth men have no issues making the right choices from “contradictory advise.” And most importantly, unlike our error selecting a man who lied that he had no shoes and whose family was already indicted by the EFCC for attempting to launder the money of the people of Bayelsa; both these presidential men know the meaning of corruption and that stealing is corruption and corruption is stealing.
The “do-or-die” people will die first. As it is said, the wicked shall perish! Psalm 109:6-15 to all the enemies of Nigeria. Our lives are in God’s hands and only He determines when we pass, young or old, healthy or sick. We assure you that if it is his destiny to pass, he will have first locked the killers and thieves all up in Kirikiri before his days are up; and our dynamic Osinbajo will investigate his death not as Goodluck Jonathan refused to when Yar’Adua passed, and will add his killers (God forbid) to accompany you in your tiny cells. In the Lord’s Mighty Name we pray.
Our house we have built on a rock and the floods cannot sweep it away. [Luke 6:46-49] Nigeria is ready for change. We are deaf to the distractions.
The enemies of the people can try their next malicious propaganda. What comes next? That Buhari is actually “not Nigerian?” Or that Buahri is a Cyborg?
As Gandhi said, “remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fail. Always!”
Countdown to CHANGE!
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Punch advert.
[ Masterweb Reports: Samuel Olaleye reports ] - I genuinely grieve for my nation, Nigeria. A people so enriched with natural talent, a country so bequeathed with bountiful resources, a land so engraved with a remarkable history. Yet what headlines ring out across the globe today? Death, decadence and disaster! A nation ravaged by Islamic fundamentalists who chew sticks and cut throats with alarmingly fiendish frequency! A nation filled with power-hungry politicians who put personal aspirations above national interests! A nation polluted by the venomous fumes of corruption which have crept like a cankerworm into almost every facet of our society! With the 2015 elections around the corner, tensions rising and violent words being meted out by both militants and ministers of God alike, I wonder what lies next for the supposed giant of Africa.
My insipid musings were suddenly broken by a tap on the shoulder. My neighbour for the next several hours on a flight from Lagos to New York had belatedly arrived, takeoff fast approaching. After pleasantries were exchanged, my morbid national reflections continued. However, they were about to be somewhat lightened by a peculiar revelation my companion shared with me mid-flight. After introducing myself as a writer, I pondered if I could publish his tale. He reluctantly agreed on the premise that I should shield his identity.
After our discussion had danced across topics from Buhari to Babangida to Bakare, I bitterly told him that it was nigh on impossible to point to a Nigerian icon today that has genuinely put his country ahead of his own personal pursuits. “Selfless patriotism can still be found,” he defiantly retorted. “Do you know Temitope Joshua?” Who doesn’t? The bearded Nigerian pastor has become increasingly famous (or infamous?) within Nigeria of late. “Let me tell you something about that man. My tight friend knew him almost 30 years ago. He taught his children for evening classes.” My interest was kindled. I had visited Joshua’s SCOAN once and was quite taken by the unique brand of spirituality at work in Ikotun. Apparently, a young and sprightly Joshua was in the tutoring career before delving into God’s work. “My friend and his children loved the guy so much; he practically became part of their family,” the unassuming gentleman continued.
But here comes the bombshell! “Would you believe he actually offered to pay for T.B. Joshua to travel with the family to America when they wanted to relocate?” What! So Africa’s most contentious pastor could have travelled abroad with a well-endowed family in his early 20s before he achieved any form of clerical reputation? “What stopped him,” I frowned, expecting to hear that perhaps his visa was denied or he had a sharp fall out with the family in question.
“He refused,” my new friend muttered. “He told them that God said he should stay in Nigeria until ‘it was the right time.’ ” The answer given by the famous preacher several decades ago left me astounded. Which other young, fledgling Nigerian could have made such a decision and not be crowned a raving lunatic by friends and family alike, I wondered. Especially considering Joshua’s poverty-stricken background in Ondo State.
However, upon some reflection, I can’t say that I am so surprised. Today, 30 years down the line, Pastor Joshua continues to tread the path of the unusual that has earned him the reputation of being both unconventional and unpredictable! While his counterparts (who have at one point in time vilified him) are embroiled in various political controversies via associations or damning statements, he has remained a consistent beacon of morality and magnanimity, choosing to let actions speak louder than words.
I genuinely admire the fact that Pastor T.B. Joshua chose to remain within Nigeria, especially considering the economical impact his decision to stay has had on our nation. Oil aside, it is a well known fact that the nation’s main tourism revenue comes from religious pilgrims, the majority of whom make their way to The Synagogue for some form of solace. And evidently they find it, given the fact that the foreign influx has consistently increased as time has progressed. Despite unending controversies, The SCOAN has continued to wax stronger, its founder standing in the forefront of a positive message being spread concerning Nigeria to counter the negativity projected by the likes of Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants. I hope it will not take the arrival of ‘the right time’ for Joshua to set his tents abroad before Nigerians wake up to value the abounding potential that lies within an unusual church compound in a rundown Lagos environ.
It is stories like this that help fan even the faintest embers of hope within me for my motherland. The very faintest…
Samuel Olaleye ( Email: email@example.com ) is a young novelist currently in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Photo of T.B. Joshua as a young man posted at http://thetbjoshuafanclub.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/everything-big-starts-little/
[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] - The truth is that nobody knows for sure the exact day that Jesus Christ was born. The choice of December 25 is symbolic. Pope Julius I chose that day in the 4th century as a subtle way of blighting pagan celebration of Saturnalia in the bud. This has been a consistent feature of Christianity and the logic is simple. By superimposing Christian celebrations on pagan own, especially in the infancy of Christianity, the influence of paganism waned. Even till now, most churches are built in forests that were considered as belonging to evil spirits. This is a proven evangelism tool, and this is the same logic by which Christmas came to overshadow the pagan saturnalia.
A yearly ritual, Christmas is here again. It has come to be associated with fanfare of the Epicurean dimension. People now look longingly to its coming. Because of its very nature, it is only a few that even know that Easter is considered as more profound and by far more significant than Christmas.
One of the things that make Christmas popular is the fact that it takes place towards the end of the year, an ideal time for stock-staking, to determine how one has fared for the year. The fact that it is usually a public holiday has contributed to its popularity.
By third week to Christmas, its preparations are usually at a crescendo. Traffic all over the country becomes heavy because of so many people travelling home for the celebration. It is a month of joy, a month of sharing and a month of introspection. It is a month that is particularly gratifying to our parents/relations in the villages, whose food stores will be replenished. It is also a month with a fair share of troubles and tribulations. We have actually seen people who committed suicide because they felt they were denied what it takes to celebrate a worthy Christmas. See these people's reactions whenever Christmas approaches. Some will roll while others will wail on the ground. Their tales are usually that of a year bent on frustrating them and their efforts. As a way of keeping themselves out of circulation, against popular tide, they will decide not to travel home for Christmas, until, perhaps, the economy improves.
Honestly, Christmas drives a lot of people out of their wits. It may sound incredible, but it is true that some people's ideas about Christmas end with a great celebration, where people go and show of. The people that think thus are those that will take all the money they have or even borrow from friends to buy cars for Christmas. They do not end at this. They also spend their last money in buying expensive cloths; jewels and other ornaments. This is the epicurean dimension we earlier talked about.
To some women, Christmas is a time of dressing competition. There are many social occasions lined up; each has its own dress. Women at this time are usually moving showcases of their husbands' prosperity. Even though Christmas is for festivity and is longed for, some women actually decline travelling on the reason that they are not prepared. Preparations in this case have to do with being unable to procure enough cloths to terrorise other women.
Youngsters are not left out. Those in the flower of their maturity, in whom the light of puberty has just been lit, often have in mind to travel and announce to everybody that they have come of age. They dress in inconceivable manners that will drive beholders eyes all the more to wantonness. They will, however, discover that even those in the villages dress likewise. In their inexperience, they strive to be the talk of the town. Some of them, the grown up ones, who have come of age to marry are made to travel home in Christmas, for the possibility of catching the prancing eyes of some eligible bachelors.
Christmas, in its very conception, is supposed to be a positive feast/celebration, but like everything else, it has been corrupted. Wait till January, after the effects of Christmas festivities wear down, you will hear the tales of people suffering from one outrageous disease or the other. Some of these diseases are only metaphysically explicable. Also, by January, most of the housemaid that travelled for Christmas will be sent back to their homes. Tongues will wag; people will guess why the sudden "repatriation" until their tummies start to bulge in four/five months time. So much for Christmas!
Frankly, Christmas is supposed to be a joyful season. Is it? It is a temptation-filled season instead. Come to think about the antics of the boys who are undergoing apprenticeship in different places (umuboyi). From January to December, these people will start saving monies they pilfer from their masters. By December they will have a few thousands. Guess what? They will spend it in such a vulgar manner as if they were going to die the next day. They drink, they spray, they give to girls, they go to parties, and they indulge in other vices common to their ages. After seeing such indulgence, some boys of their age will think that all is now well with them. In their delusions, they will announce defiantly their intentions to stop schooling and take to trading. They do this without realizing that most of those boys actually live like slaves under the tutelages of their masters. So much for Christmas!
Christmas lasts for a few days, but its disturbing memories linger on. At Christmas people make friends. Adolescents meet each other, go to functions together, attend night masses together, and get infatuated with one another. Very soon they go back to their respective schools. The first few months of getting back to schools are usually characterized by tension between studies and the 6th commandment. You will see students who cannot hold the definitions of subjects that have been taught many times retaining the pictures of the fair forms they have seen but once. In attempting to read, the will, rather than see the letters they are reading, be confronted with the images of those fair forms. So much for Christmas!
Christmas is also a period that brings out the true images of some of us. Look at what our church founders do in this season. It has become a season of crusades, with pastors advertising for people to come for miracles, prosperity, signs and wonders. Preaching at this time is usually tailored to remind people who have made it to come and thank the Lord with their tithes. They also remind those who have not made it to come and draw spiritual strength to enable them make it the next year. They all clothe material demands in scriptural quotations.
Christmas is a feast which very conception is noble and spiritually enriching. The fact now is that different forces, which are struggling over its soul, have hijacked it. It is supposed to be a season of joy and peace. It is inconceivable that some people in an attempt to enjoy it do grievous harm to themselves. Some spend recklessly only to turn round and look for where to get money to pay the children's school fees. A lot of things are wrong about our own conception of how Christmas is celebrated. It is yet another season that tests our maturity and calls for circumspection.
*Photo Caption - Valentine Obienyem, Author of article
[ Masterweb Reports: Nosa Osazuwa reports ] -The National Executive Coordinator of the non-governmental organization, Life Savers Foundation (LSF), Mrs Fola Shoetan, has revealed that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) are not adequately equipped to manage disaster situations in the country.
Testifying before the court investigating the cause of the collapsed building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Mrs Shoetan, who was present during the entirety of the rescue operation, expressed sadness that the statutory respondents had no idea how to handle the crisis at the site of the collapse.
"LASEMA, NEMA and my agency were overwhelmed such that it was the youths at The SCOAN who told us what to do and where to drill which helped rescue a large number of people alive,” she told the court presided over by Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe. “Even NEMA and LASEMA didn't come with any heavy duty equipment; they were merely onlookers and spectators.
“They were busy chatting on social media. I was angry and have evidence when people cautioned them on Facebook during the rescue operation that instead of saving lives, they were busy posting pictures on the internet. While I was there, I didn't leave for five days because of the gravity of things on ground but these people came and went daily. I am bold to say that they were confused and mere onlookers during the rescue operation.”
She therefore called on the President Goodluck Jonathan led administration and the Lagos State government to ensure that adequate training and equipment are provided for the agencies in order for them to effectively contain emergency situations.
According to Shoetan, "I don't know when NEMA officials left the scene on the first day but LASEMA officials left at 10:30pm on the second day. As at the time LASEMA officials left on the second day, persons were still trapped on the collapsed site.
"The LASEMA General Manager, Dr Femi Osanyintola did not co-operate well with other responders and I kept telling him that. What he did most of the time was to hold meetings with his team from the state.
"The police I can confirm were present throughout the period of the rescue operation. No security agent ever stopped us from working and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody was assaulted." Her testimony contradicted earlier claims from NEMA and LASEMA officials that they were prevented from gaining access to the site and treated aggressively by church staff.
Earlier, a witness who is one of the surviving volunteer workers of the church involved in the unfortunate incident, Afusat Oladipo, had told the coroner that moments prior to the collapse of the building, she had noticed a strange flash of light accompanied by a thunderous bang. Her account corroborates those of other witnesses who had previously spoken during the inquest. Their accounts all suggest the possibility of an explosion.
Meanwhile, Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe has adjourned proceedings to January 6, 2015.
Nosa Osazuwa ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports from Lagos.
*Photo Caption - Rescue workers Tuesday September 16, 2014 search for survivors in the rubble of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Lagos- Nigeria collapsed building. The building collapsed September 12, 2014.
[ Masterweb Reports: Issachar Odion reports ] - I am no economist. Then again, neither are a whole lot of the people who have written or spoken in recent times on the economic issues prevalent in our nation today. We are, however, stakeholders; after all, it is our country. We live here, earn a living here; our children attend schools here and what have you. Even those of us who are not resident in the country have family members who are, and probably some investment or the other here. So, we are all stakeholders.
Since the first alarm was sounded on the falling prices of crude oil, many of us have been following the news ardently, silently hoping for a reprieve of some sort. It has been several weeks since the first news broke, and though several actions and reactions have taken place since then, the narrative of the general populace has not changed; we are still in the ‘finger pointing’ phase. Two points arise from this phase which require that we take a look at the facts before us critically rather than allow ourselves be swept away in the flood of what at first may appear as ‘public opinion’, but now plays as a well-crafted plan to distract and derail the good people of this dear nation from the things which are true and right.
Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a technocrat, not a politician. She was not appointed as finance minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy because she was owed a political favour, but because the presidency deemed her the right fit for the job. Based on her past service to the country, it is not out of place for me to state that she is not one associated with reckless spending. In fact, it was during her first stint as finance minister that the Excess Crude Account was set up.
Secondly, while she endorsed saving; other parties, wielding political might, undermined her efforts. In April 2013, she openly, and on more than one occasion told us that the Federal Government was compelled to share over $16.4billion revenue accumulated in the excess crude account to the states because the governors argued that it was unconstitutional and even illegal for the Nigerian republic to have savings stashed away for some imaginary rainy day. She was also quoted saying that, “It was a fight to even get $1billion paid into the SWF (Sovereign Wealth Fund). We managed to save $20billion the last time, but now the governors are saying it is illegal. So, the country is not able to save, and what is left in the Excess Crude Revenue Account today is only about $3.6billion”.
The truth is, surviving the current decline in oil prices and its negative impact on national and global economies would have certainly been made easier had we enough funds shored up. Remember, it had been done before during the 2008/09 crises. The government was able to augment its budget deficit and continue with most of its development programmes with revenues from a healthy Excess Crude Revenue Account.
Had Dr Okonjo-Iweala not, in the past, expressed her concerns, reservations and angst about what another economic meltdown without sufficient funds in the ECA would do to us, then she should naturally be our first target for finger-pointing. But she did, several times over, she did. Yet we refuse to blame the people who squandered our future and have faced the one woman who became an enemy of state governors and legislature in her bid to secure the economic future of this country.
The Minister has always been an advocate of the need for the country to continue to create safety nets in the form of savings in order to cushion any potential negative effects of the volatility in the international oil market on the domestic economy should there be any further depression in the global economy. Just as she has repeatedly stressed that increased efforts to diversify the country’s economy remains the only viable option open to pursue in the face of dwindling revenues from crude oil exports as well as increasing volatility in the global oil market.
With elections fast approaching and our current situation becoming fertile ground for politicking, what is needed now is a collaborative paradigm shift. We need to look beyond the problem to the possible solutions; we need to shift our focus from blaming the finance minister and her economic team to focusing on the things that matter. In truth, as stakeholders, everyone has a role to play. Let us not be carried away by the opinions of naysayers as we look towards a better economy in the years ahead.
Issachar Odion ( Email: email@example.com ), a post graduate student reports.
*Photo Caption - Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
[ Masterweb Reports: Ebun Asagbe reports ] - The events of the past few weeks have every one paying closer attention to news headlines; especially as it relates to the falling price of crude oil, the economy and how it all affects us as Nigerians, both in the short term, and in the years to come. That was how I stumbled across Duro Onabule’s op-ed titled, “Eventually, collapse of the economy?” published last week in The Sun.
Having read that lengthy article, I tend to disagree with him on some of what he may have considered to be salient points when developing his op-ed. I must confess that I am still a tad disturbed by the way Duro Onabule kept referring to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as “the Lady”. Something about it doesn’t just sit well with me. With the capitalization of the word, ‘lady’ each time, it almost seems like a title of scorn or ridicule. Now, as a woman myself, I find that offensive. If the minister had been a man, would he have called him “the Lord”? Or is this deliberately done so that whatever else he accused the said minister of doing or saying hereafter is hinged on the one indisputable fact; that she is FEMALE? I would have thought someone of his experience would be more sophisticated and delicate when addressing issues of this nature, alas! I am to be disappointed.
We know that there are several notable women in the president’s cabinet occupying key positions and heading ministries. So, when he calls Dr Okonjo-Iweala “the Lady of the Goodluck Jonathan administration”, in spite of the fact that she is not the only woman occupying a prominent position in government, there is the undertone of something hidden between the lines. That is both disrespectful and unfair. For a woman who has served this country passionately and has done it all on merit, she deserves an apology.
Anyone reading his op-ed on how Dr Okonjo-Iweala promised the creation of 10 million jobs knows at once how preposterous that sounds. No one in their right minds would make such a promise, least of all our Harvard-trained Minister of Finance. She knows this; and so does Duro, yet he mentions it, albeit in a manner that supposes he doesn’t believe it himself. I have scoured the internet looking for where the minister could possibly have made such a promise and the only hit I keep getting is Mr Onabule’s article. Where then did he get his information from? I wish he would have told us that.
This naturally has given me cause to ask: Why would a man who clearly has doubts about a statement still go ahead to mention that same statement in his op-ed with the intent of trash-talking a minister of this government? Did he validate his facts? I mean we are talking about a journalist with years of experience here.
Some of you may not know that Duro Onabule was an editor at a national daily before going on to serve as Chief Press Secretary to Gen. Ibrahim Babangida at the time when the latter was Head of State. I find it unnerving how those who have served leaders of our dear country in the past always come round to condemn those serving in the current government.
Another point which I find saddening is that when issues bordering on the current situation in the economy are raised, no one mentions the fact that the National Assembly keeps frustrating the efforts of the Finance Minister to reduce the crude oil bench mark. Had the current slide in oil prices not occurred, it would have been business as usual at NASS. What about the “share the money” mantra that the Governors’ Forum members chant unendingly when it comes to whether or not to touch the funds in the Excess Crude Account? For some reason, many Nigerians, Duro included, have deliberately decided to forget that prior to the setting up of the ECA, no one had any idea where all excess money from the sale of crude oil went.
Still talking about selective amnesia, our journalist here has not mentioned the SURE-P Graduate Internship Scheme, nor did he think it noteworthy to bring up the YouWIN Initiative; both of which have created jobs and a source of livelihood for many Nigerian youths. While these may not be the “ten million jobs”, these projects have taken people off the streets, put food on many people’s tables, and still offer hope to countless others.
That Dr Okonjo-Iweala never warned about the state of the economy is untrue. She has always, at every opportunity available, made it clear that we needed to spend less and save more. Just as she has been one our strongest advocates on the issue of diversifying and sourcing for other streams of income from viable sectors such as Agriculture. She has in the past been a victim of attacks; both offline and online because of her advocacy on prudence and savings. One need only enter key words in an online search to get proof of this. At least, I can assure you that on this, there is a plethora of evidence available as opposed to Duro’s non-existent figures and made up quotes of which he is the chief instigator and only source. What Nigerians expect from people of Duro’s experience is simple; facts. Give us facts and then let us decide for ourselves what to think, rather than filling our space with fairytales of a time long gone by and bogus datum.
Ebun Asagbe ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), reports from Ado Ekiti, where she lives and works as a brand consultant.
*Photo Caption - Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala