[ Masterweb Reports: x reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari has opened up on his administration's economic management team. In his reply to those accusing him of not having an economic management team, President Buhari said he already had one headed by his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, quoted Buhari as saying this in an exclusive interview he (the president) granted a magazine, The Interview."
The vice president's spokesman made the excerpts from the interview available to State House correspondents Sunday.
Buhari explained that he excluded the private sector players from the National Economic Management Team (NEMT) in order to prevent them from steering government policies to suit their own "narrow interests."
The president said while everyone would be listened to, his government was averse to making private sector individuals members of the economic management team.
Buhari was quoted as saying: "We will listen to everybody, but we are averse to economic teams whose private sector members frequently steer government policy to suit their own narrow interests rather than the over-all national interest."
Asked if he thought he needed an economic management having been criticised for not having one, Buhari responded: "What do they mean by team? The vice president heads our economic management team.
"You have a finance minister, a budget and planning minister, a minister for industry, trade and investments, a governor of the Central Bank, a national economic adviser and others. Yet, some still ask for a team. I don't know how they define the word team."
The vice president's spokesman recalled that the Presidency had disclosed several times that an economic management team exists and meets at least once a week.
He said the team played a leading role in the budgeting process and designed the strategic implementation document once the fiscal document was passed and signed into law.
He said though Buhari's administration was averse to interested private sector members, its economic team regularly consulted with different representatives of the private sector and other stakeholders.
President Buhari was also quoted as unveiling his wish list in the interview thus: "One, we will truly change the way we do things in Nigeria. Therein lies the future of our country as a great entity. Two, a fully diversified Nigerian economy no longer dependent on oil only. Three, a Nigeria where every Naira that comes into the treasury is used for the good of the people, particularly the ordinary people."
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Tessie Nkechi Udegboka reports ] - The Mandela Washington Program staff of the following host institutions, Indiana, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Purdue Universities planned and brought together the 100 Mandela Washington Fellows from the respective universities together for a site visit to SRAM, a bicycle manufacturing company, in Chicago, Illinois.
Surprisingly to all the Fellows, Evan Ryan, the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) was introduced. She flew in from Washington DC to meet with us, the Fellows, gave a brief remark after which she hopped back on plane back to Washington DC.
Before, 2013, Ms. Ryan served in the White House as Assistant to the Vice President and Special Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement. In 2005, she was Deputy Chair for the Governance track of the Clinton Global Initiative. Previously served as the Deputy Director of Communications for the John Kerry Presidential Campaign, Director of Scheduling for Hillary Clinton’s Senatorial campaign; and Special Assistant to the First Lady’s Chief of Staff. The Fellows were amazed as young as she looks and had experienced all these top positions.
“I am delighted to be here in Chicago. It’s wonderful to look around and see a room full of bright, accomplished and ambitious young leaders from Africa”, was her welcoming words. She congratulated each of us for been chosen to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) Program, stating that we were selected because of our leadership skills, our community involvement, and our potential to make a difference when we return home.
“President Obama has expended and enhanced international exchanges, making them a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. I am proud to say that the Mandela Washinton Fellowship, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, has doubled from 500 to 1000 participants and would continues in 2017. The response to MWF among young African professional has grown since it started in 2014. You were selected from more than 40,000 applications we received this year. You should be very proud to be part of this program.” She said.
Ms Ryan emphasized that President Obama created this initiative to recognize and support the increasingly critical role of African youth in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa. As the government of United States looks toward the future, it is clear that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular. Africa’s economies are among the fastest growing in the world, with technological change sweeping across the continent and offering tremendous opportunities in business, entrepreneurship, technology, energy, and medicine.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is designed to harness the energy of the rising youth population in Africa who are changing the economies and political systems in profound ways. The Fellowship brings leadership and networking opportunities to thousands of young people across the continent.
She said as the next generation of young leaders in Africa, we have the talent, drive, and capacity to make remarkable contributions to our country’s development. The Department of State constantly hear the amazing things that Fellows are doing after they return home, so she shared two examples – Merab Twashirwa, a MWF from Rwanda, recently won a $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation to improve access to credit for people in Rwanda by developing a credit scoring system so that digital financial service providers can better estimate risk. Mutoba Ngoma, was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the 2016’s “30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa.” Mutoba, a Business and Entrepreneurship Fellow, started a renewable energy business in 2009 and has since focused on the production and promotion of biodiesel fuel and derivatives of vegetable oils.
Ms Ryan looks forward to hearing about our future success and amazing stories which the Department of States will be highlighting. She reminded us we will be welcomed into the U.S. Bureau’s alumni network, which already has more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 350 current or former heads of state and government.
“So remember, this experience doesn’t end when you go home; stay connected, engaged, and involved with individuals you meet through this fellowship, with the YALI network, the US State Department. Follow me on twitter and continues to share your experiences with each other and with us using the hashtag #MWF2016” she concluded.
Tessie Nkechi Udegboka ( Email: email@example.com ), one of Mandela Washington Fellows, writes from Northwestern University, Chicago.
*Photo Caption - Ms. Evan Ryan, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) pose with some of the fellows.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Pergerino Brimah reports ] - It's a mystery how Goodluck Jonathan's appointed Central Bank director, Godwin Emefiele remains comfortably at the helm of Nigeria's Apex bank. While the processes for his dismissal maybe somewhat convoluted, they do exist; and one man cannot stand in the way of the progress and hope of an entire nation, regardless of the conditions of his enthronement. Nigeria witnessed how Jonathan determined to remove Sanusi by any means necessary when he went against him. There is no equivalent to day with Buhari and Godwin, who goes against the nation as a whole.
At the resumption of the Buhari government, it appeared the new administration recognized the urgency to retire Godwin Emefiele, but as time went on, while one refuses to believe that the reported nepotism facilitated it, the Buhari government eased out of a posture to get him out.
Nigeria thus remains under the stranglehold of Jonathan's top General. This is not only economically suicidal but a crime and a sin. Godwin Emefiele is the Dasuki Arms gate. Much of the funds Dasuki released to buy and bribe looters were taken directly from the Central bank. Some were released and bullion vans filled with not much more than hand-written notes. Dasuki cannot be under trial while his partner in crime, Godwin walks free. This is a joke.
At the height of the Ekiti Fayose scandal again sits Godwin. It was Godwin's Zenith bank that facilitated the transfer of the nation's billions to fund Fayose and this was done under the watch of Central Bank chair, Godwin Emefiele. The examples are unlimited. No one owns the deadly corruption of the last administration more than Godwin Emefiele...who remains at the head of the nation's economy. The EFCC and Attorney General of the Federation and DSS has more than enough evidence to pursue and prosecute Godwin Emefiele. What they have on Saraki is a joke compared to the legitimate reasons to suspend, detain and prosecute Godwin Emefiele.
But the problem with keeping Godwin at the head of the Apex bank transcends the crimes of the past. Godwin is a threat to Nigeria's economic progress. This is a man who is enmeshed with the corrupt cabal and puts the cabal first. As the Buhari government struggles to cap corruption and awaken the economy, Godwin with all his policies puts the cabal first, tries to extend life lines to them and continues policies to cripple the masses and irreversibly destroys the economy.
The Central bank's foreign currency policies are a typical example of where and how Godwin continues to serve the cabal and destroy the nation's economy. The crash of the Naira is a Godwin policy. Demand and supply economics leaves Nigeria prostrate to Godwin's choices to give his cabal friends and partners massive profits as he pulls the strings on the Naira-Dollar exchange rates.
After much protest and after astute businessmen like Leo Stan Ekeh, January this year warned that 99% of Nigerian businesses will fold unless crippling Forex restrictions are reversed, Godwin reluctantly eased on restrictions imposed by the CBN. By this time the damage was irreversible to foreign-exchange dependent businesses especially SMEs, the bulk of employers of labour. Godwin continued to play games with forex, giving undue advantage to a handful of cabal who he promised unfettered access to Central Bank rate dollars, while killing small businesses. Nigeria got ruined and entered a recession. The masses tried to rise with a No Banking day to fight Godwin's crippling punishment but the Buhari government turned a blind ear to the protests by the people.
Finally agreeing to better advise to devalue the naira, Godwin still fails to properly adjust and regulate the exchange rate and availability of dollars in the market and maintains a dual rate longer than necessary, thus allowing his cronies to buy and sell dollars to make billions from the hustle as he adjusts the strings as he likes, akin to what the stock market calls "insider trading." How can Nigeria pull out of this economic recession while the like of Godwin Emefiele, a snake and corrupt cabal monster remains at the helm of the economy?
Dr. Pergerino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Godwin Emefiele
[ Masterweb Reports: Musa Abdullahi Krishi reports ] - The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that the evidence given by the outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, on the allegations of sexual misconduct against three members of the House of Representatives was weak.
The accused lawmakers are Rep Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi), Reps Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) and Samuel Ikon (PDP, A/Ibom) who attended a programme in Cleveland, Ohio, USA in April.
Onyeama said based on his meeting with the ambassador, the only evidence used in making the allegations was to identify the lawmakers in a photograph.
This is even as the minister said that the lawmakers could take legal action on the matter to prove their innocence in view of the fact that there was no concrete evidence.
He said Mr Entwistle informed him that the US government and the embassy has closed the matter and would not want to say anything about it.
*Photo Caption - As seen
[ Masterweb Reports: Lecture Paper by Emeka Umeagbalasi ] - Before going into this topic: Insecurity & Underdevelopment In Nigeria, it is important we understand the standard meaning of the word: security. Security is defined differently by various academic and social disciplines according to their uses, understandings and perceptions. But commonly, security means: safety; freedom from risk or danger; freedom from doubt, anxiety, fear or want. It also means confidence or something that gives or assures safety. It further means a sense or feeling of being secured. Traditionally, security is simply defined as a duty of the government to ensure that majority of the citizens and their properties or belongings are secured at all times from the hands of malicious individuals and criminal entities. Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 states: the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the Government.
The above definition literally accommodates expanded notion of security or modern notion of security and moves it away from the old or traditional concept of security (i.e. protection of lives and properties or detection and control of crimes and punishment of the offenders or a notion of forming and arming by the State of policing bodies to control crimes and protect lives and properties). This is referred to as gun-culture or militarized security. Today, the word: security has undergone series of transformations. While the traditional notion of security is largely retained, which include State security, individual security or self defense and collective security or community security (i.e. community vigilantism); security as a concept or an idea has further been expanded. It is now referred to as Human Security or Peopling Security.
Human Security or Peopling Security is simply an addition of human affair and human rights to the notion of security. This was expertly coined and masterfully developed in 1994 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The epochal UNDP Human Development Report of 1994 contains: Human Security and its Seven Concepts. The Seven Concepts of Human Security developed by the UNDP in 1994 are: Economic Security, Health Security, Environmental Security, Food Security, Community Security, Political Security and Physical Security.
There is also Territorial Security and other sub-securitization concepts. Robust job creation, social security, economic growth and development, infrastructural development and maintenance, friendly trade and investment environment, etc, represent environmental security. Health Security is affordability and availability of primary and tertiary health care and facilities, etc. Environmental Security is sustenance of secured and safe environment as well as preservation of the natural environment and control of environmental challenges, etc. Food Security is absence of substandard and hazardous foods and drugs as well as contaminated and unsafe water. Community Security is absence or control of intra and inter-communal disharmony and communal militancy. Political Security is absence or control of political monopoly, political intolerance, political repression, political suppression, political segregation, political exclusion, political terrorism and politico-structural violence, etc. Physical Security is dutiful protection of lives and properties as well as detection and control of crimes and punishment of the offenders, etc.
The grand summary of the UNDP Report says: the concept of security has for too long been interpreted narrowly: as security of territory from external aggression, or as protection of national interests in foreign policy or as a global security from the threat of a nuclear holocaust. It has been related more to the nation-State than people…., for many of them, security symbolized protection from the threat of disease, hunger, unemployment, crime, social conflict, political repression and environmental hazards (UNDP Human Development Report, 1994:22).
Gladly, leading members of the comity of nations including South Africa and Canada have since adopted this noble concept; disappointingly, Nigeria, till date, still operates its outdated National Policy on Security, hugely premised on gun-culture security, which was last updated in 1979 in the dying days of Gen Olusegun Obasanjo’s military regime.
Having made the foregoing fundamentally explainable, the next question is: what is insecurity? Insecurity is simply the quality or state of being insecure. It also has to do with self-doubt and instability; lack of confidence or assurance. Insecurity, generally speaking, is synonymous with precariousness, shakiness and vulnerability. As a matter of fact, insecurity is the opposite of safety or absence of freedom from risk, danger, doubt, anxiety, fear and want. Put it the other way round, insecurity is powered by risk, danger, anxiety, fear, want, regime failures and regime atrocities.
What then is underdevelopment? It can simply be understood as a state of inadequate development. It is also a process of having a low level of economic productivity and technological sophistication or advancement within the contemporary range of possibility or in the midst of plenty or potentials of economic greatness.
Underdevelopment is both societal and individual. The inability or failure of an individual citizen to practicably realize his or her life potentials amounts to citizen-underdevelopment. There is also stunted citizen development (i.e. a millionaire/billionaire or a preacher with first school leaving certificate or acutely limited education or a highly educated citizen wallowing in abject poverty). Societal underdevelopment involves economic under-growth and economic underdevelopment as well as general social and economic backwardness of a political territory particularly in the midst of plenty owing to man-made inhibitions and drawbacks.
Therefore, where Human or Peopling Security is absent, there is Human or Peopling Insecurity and where there is Human or Peopling Insecurity, there is Underdevelopment. In other words, insecurity is synonymous with underdevelopment. Triggers of insecurity in Nigeria originate from absence of environmental security, health security, economic security, food security, community security, physical security and political security. These are further classified as triggers of divided society or social anarchy. Underdevelopment thrives where insecurity is entrenched while development thrives under a societal culture of human or peopling security. That is to say that the greatest challenge facing Nigeria’s development today is insecurity triggered off by years of stranglehold under kleptomaniac, avaricious, primordial, hegemonic, wicked and conscienceless political class; grossly found lacking and wanting in political statesmanship, vision, sagacity, uprightness, charisma and impeccability.
We hereby submit here and now that development has eluded Nigeria in all fronts owing to the above named negative triggers, to the extent that the country’s social and economic peers of the 60s and 70s have today overtaken the country four-folds in all international positive social ratings. Today, Nigeria is no match to the likes of China, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Brazil; most of which the Nigeria was comfortably ahead of in the 60s and the 70s. Nigeria has continued to run from pillar to pole in its governance without direction project; leading to present intensification of abject mass poverty and hyper insecurity.
In 1994, former President Julius Nyerere (born in 1922 and died in 1999) of the United Republic of Tanzania (Tanganyika and Zanzibar) raised an immortal question and threw it in the direction of primordial and kleptomaniac African political leaders. He had asked: why is it that when Europeans, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEANs) and North Americans are busy finding their routes to the moon, Africans are busy going back to the cave?
Today, Nigeria is acutely lacking in all indices of good governance and economic growth and development. The country’s education is in quandary and its securitization defense and intelligence have reached the nadir of failure and intractability. The state of the Federal Government’s 34,400 kilometers of the country’s total of 198,000 kilometers of road network as well as its 3,600 kilometers of railway is acutely nothing to write home about. The country’s existing road network is acutely overused and over-populated; likewise its 22 local and international airports. Nigeria’s 8600 kilometers of inland waterways and its four trans-national borders are porously secured. The level of graft or official corruption in its institutions and corridors of power has risen to an apogee. Its energy sector has gone from bad to worst and the physical security sector is in comatose; with hundreds of defenseless and law abiding citizens being butchered with reckless abandon every monthly. To make the matter worse, Nigeria’s security forces are now fully involved in massacring of thousands of nonviolent, defenseless and unarmed citizens with rabid impunity.
The truth about Nigeria is that literatures and creative minds discussing or writing about its insecurity and underdevelopment are extensively inexhaustible. That is to say that discussion about Nigeria’s governance failures, its insecurity and underdevelopment can never be exhausted in a year, not to talk of under few hours. Nigeria of present time and circumstance may no longer be credibly and popularly called the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The best way to describe the country is: the Federal Republic of Insecurity and Underdevelopment.
This grassroots lecture therefore is uniquely important in that it has extensively resolved the question as per whether there exists substantially insecurity and underdevelopment in Nigeria of present time and composition. And the answer is CAPITAL yes! The next question is: what do we do as members of the civil society or non-State actor individuals and entities? The best approach to this is to adopt a sick person and lab diagnosis approach! That is to say that sickness is half cured the moment its cause (s) is effectively and correctly diagnosed.
It is a truism that the challenge facing members of the civil society or non-State entities in the country today and in the midst of these social toxemias is civil unconsciousness or to borrow from the Holy Bible: lack of knowledge. This is where politicians and other political actors catch in and exploit to perpetually ride on the collective intelligence of the populace. It is technically referred to as psychology of politics or exploitation of public gullibility.
While the authorities of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church Parish, Fegge, Onitsha and the Catholic’s Justice, Development & Peace Commission (JDPC) are exceptionally commended for organizing this august event in July, the Catholic Church and its Parishes should do more than this. The Church should invest heavily in adult literacy education to educate and empower its teeming parishioners with limited education. It is not only money that defies lateness at a fundraising occasion; education, too, and most importantly, defies lateness and has no age limits. We must particularly disassociate ourselves at all times from Prof Jubril Aminu’s immortal but unpopular advice to members of the public to try illiteracy if they think that education is costly and unaffordable.
It must be deeply appreciated that the Catholic Church has ensured and insisted that no person with limited education is ordained a priest of the Church; but the Church must also extend such gesture to its parishioners or laity as it is more worthwhile to people the Church with educated and liberated congregations than to people it with an assemblage of the educationally or academically challenged, who constitute silent and castrated majority in the moment of social challenges and political upheavals. This is because they can only bark but cannot bite!
Finally, the Catholic Church as well as other churches and non-Christian bodies must go a step further to inculcate in their members the culture of constitutionalization or a process of making it mandatory for every adult parishioner who has a copy of Holy Bible to also have a copy of the 1999 Constitution. We have extensively investigated and found that any parishioner that can read, quote, cite and understand the Holy Bible primarily, can as well read, quote, cite and understand the basics of the 1999 Constitution.
By marrying the 1999 Constitution at all times just as they marry Holy Bible and other sacred religious books, citizens’ awareness about their constitutionally guaranteed liberties and process of governance will not only increase, but will also offer them avenues of knowing the dos and don’ts or constitutional limits of the public office holders as well as their constitutional protections and civic responsibilities as citizens. When citizens are armed with requisite education and exposure, they will be better prepared to position themselves for noble societal roles of changing the country for better through citizens’ proactive participation.
A conscious citizen is one who is educated, connected and coordinated with ability to think and move ahead of his or her immediate environment in moment of challenges or societal ups and downs. In all, citizens’ consciousness and participation are direly needed to wriggle Nigeria out of its deepening insecurity and underdevelopment afflicted on all Nigerians by the political class, occasioned by deepening citizens’ docility and social castration.
A Paper Presented by Emeka Umeagbalasi (graduate of Criminology & Security Studies), Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law at a Grassroots Lecture Organized by the JDPC for Parishioners of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria on July 12, 2016. Mobile Line: +23474090052. Email: email@example.com
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi presenting his paper at at a Grassroots Lecture Organized by JDPC.
[ Masterweb Reports: Abu Najakku reports ] - And so the National Assembly totters. Senator Dino Melaye is in the news again. Dino has a way of gravitating to whoever leads his house, whether it is Patricia Ette, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives or Dr Bukola Saraki, the current President of the Senate. The last time he backed Ette, when he held a white handkerchief, Dino and her fell together. Now, once again, he is backing the embattled Saraki, his brother, his friend. The details of what transpired during the last executive session of the Senate shocked everyone, irrespective of which side you listened to.
For Dino, the gloves are off; he has discovered his opponents - President Muhammadu Buhari and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. According to Dino, Buhari is ambitious, why did he contest the Presidency four times? Bola Tinubu is not God and Senator Dino cannot prostrate before him. Reports say, Dino has denied threatening to beat and impregnate Senator Oluremi Tinubu. Although Bola Tinubu has assured Dino something will happen if his wife is beaten, it is doubtful if the Presidency will react to Dino’s infantile outbursts against Buhari.
The Senators will be mistaken to believe that the details of what they discuss during so called executive sessions can remain hidden from the public. Dino can continue to deny whatever he chooses to, but he has to understand that going for Buhari’s jugular (impeachment) is political idiocy. As for Saraki, he is sinking deeper into political mess. For Saraki to allow Senator Dino the senatorial space to threaten impeachment against Buhari, attack Senator Remi Tinubu and disparage Bola Tinubu himself means that the political battle line has truly been drawn. It is a venture for which Dino and Saraki have to risk a huge political capital. The forces fighting the Senate President will not relent; another front on Panama Papers may soon open against him. For many people, the image of a fraudulent Senate President may have already been formed after it was revealed that two of his aides had, in one single day, allegedly made multiple deposits of millions of Naira into his Guarantee Trust Bank account while he was the governor of Kwara State. Many political watchers believe therefore that Saraki has failed the integrity test and so he is at the mercy of the system.
Many citizens also believe that the National Assembly is shamefully out of touch with those it represents. Whereas Nigerians expect the National Assembly to legislate against hate speech, cultism, poverty, unemployment, violence, etc., the members are busy legislating for themselves. Every time, the Senate leadership was called upon to prove their innocence from alleged criminalities, they had side tracked the serious issues and sought to divert the attention of the public. Like the Senate attempted to amend the Code of Conduct law, or the cheeky summons served on Justice Danladi Umar, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to distract him from going on with the case of alleged false and under declaration of assets against Bukola Saraki. Like they summoned the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Chika Malami, SAN, in order to terrorise him from prosecuting alleged forgery case against the leadership of the Senate. According to the charges filed by the Attorney General, the standing rules under which Saraki and Ekweremadu were elected Senate President and Deputy Senate President were forged and so they are liable.
One Senator said the reason why they invited Malami was to inform him that by charging Saraki and others with forgery, he had abused his office. Blimey! Everything about the forgery case is sub judice, if the Attorney General abuses his office by filing the suit, the court will decide.
Having realised the legal maze in which he is, the National Assembly now wants to push for immunity for Saraki and other presiding officers at both national and state levels. These legislators do not realise that Nigerians want immunity scrapped even for those currently enjoying it. If you have a clean record, you don’t need immunity as a legislator. If you are a criminal, for God’s sake why must you contest election to become a lawmaker?
A while ago, these same legislators had asked for life pension for their leadership. Where is the morality if an ex-governor already enjoying lavish pension from his state secures another pension simply because he has been a Senate President for four years? What sort of public service is this? What kind of greed do we seek to satiate? Is the scramble to represent “my people” in the Senate all about cornering national resources for oneself?
First of all, Senator Dino and his mob should understand that they don’t have the moral stature or political influence to impeach, or the shoulders to bear the consequences of the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Secondly, although the Senators may toy with the idea of impeaching the President because they are wedded to their troubled leadership, the the House of Representatives does not suffer from such trauma and so has no motivation to embark on such action.
Thirdly, even when it was necessary, the Senate had been unable to impeach the President. A Senate that could not impeach Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’adua or Goodluck Jonathan, cannot impeach Muhammadu Buhari.
Fourthly, those who may wish to seize Buhari’s jugular - Senators Dino Melaye, Misau, Enyinnaya Abaribe and others - should understand that they cannot survive the conflagration that will follow. For as long as the Senate allows Saraki to sit atop them, instead of encouraging him to clear the mess surrounding his public records, for so long will members of that chamber be treated with disdain.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili ] - President Muhammadu Buhari has cautioned that the removal of any democratic government by force is no longer acceptable. According to him, violence can never solve problems, rather, it complicates them and retards the progress of democratic societies.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to resist the destabilisation of democratic countries through coups d’état.
His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday, quoted him over the failed coup in Turkey.
He added: “Democracy provides peaceful options of changing governments through the ballot box. The ballot box doesn’t require violence to remove any government perceived to have lost its popularity and public support. Despite its limitations, democracy is still better and more durable than a violent change of government.”
Buhari congratulated Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for surviving the putsch.
The president described Erdogan as one of Nigeria’s close international partners and sincere supporters in her current war against terrorism.
Buhari praised the courage and immediate response of ordinary Turkish citizens, who in face of guns and tanks, defied the rebel soldiers and forced them to abandon their “mad quest for power.”
Buhari, who urged Erdogan to pursue reconciliation, offered Nigeria’s support to the government and people of Turkey in their hour of trial.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: C. K. Ekeke reports ] - I am not a Muslim or an Islamic scholar, but as a Christian and a biblical scholar, I can say without hesitation that one of the central messages of Christian Scripture – the Holy Bible is the subject of freedom. There are hundreds of subjects that are taught in the Bible and one of the central themes and purposes of God for mankind is freedom.
We see that from creation of man, to the call of Abraham, to deliverance of the Israelites from many of their bondages and captivities. In fact, the central purpose of God for human-beings is to be free. Whether we are talking about freedom of choice, freedom from sin, freedom from self , and freedom from Satan for which Jesus Christ was born into this world, and for which He courageously accomplished by dying on the Cross.
The Apostle Paul clearly stated this primary purpose when he wrote, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery” – Galatians 5:1.
In Second Corinthians 3:17, he added this statement: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Freedom is therefore, the central theme and the most important value proposition of the Christian faith. Freedom is the essence of Christianity and it is what distinguishes it from all other religions on the planet.
Samuel Bowles, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, said “the cause of freedom is the cause of God.”
Being redeemed and set free from sin, self and Satan is the ultimate goal of Christian faith. Freedom in its true sense is a quality of God, just as love, grace, beauty, harmony, joy; abundance and peace are qualities of God.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”
Freedom, liberty, justice and righteousness are the very nature and essence of who we are as human beings and as children of God.
This article is not necessarily about the theology of freedom. That may be a topic for another time.
For the purposes of this essay, let us examine briefly through the history of human race.
Throughout human history, people and nations have paid the ultimate price fighting for freedom and for their liberties. Millions have died fighting for freedom and in pursuit of justice. Nearly all wars between peoples, communities, and nations have been fought because of land ownership, control of natural resources, struggle for power and authority, and quest for freedom.
For instance, the major part of the 16th and 17th centuries witnessed an astonishing moments in the history of human race as nations battle each other for power and dominance. These empires –Babylon, Rome, Ottoman, Greece, etc., ruled the world during their time because of their strength and power.
In the 20th century, human race also witnessed astounding moments of conquest as well as collapse of empires. For instance the rise of America as the only super power and collapse of the communist despotic rule in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union - aka “evil empire” are prime examples. It would be hard to overstate the significance of freedom for the affected nations or the world in general.
For years, philosophers, scholars and thinkers have argued and debated that human freedom is the supreme value of the human soul. It is the yearning of every human heart – whether poor or rich. All human beings possess the same inert desire – to be free, to pursue unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because the human spirit is endowed by its Creator with the desire to be free to pursue life, joy, peace and prosperity. In nutshell, freedom is the ultimate pursuit of the human spirit.
Because of the supreme value of freedoms and liberties, the United Nations produced a document called: “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.”
It recognizes the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Article (1) affirms that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Article (3) states that: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
Article (9) states that: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”
You can read more on the thirty articles here: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
Today, the United States of America is the champion for freedom and liberty worldwide. There used to be a popular American TV commercial that starts with this statement: ‘There are two things Americans got right – cars and freedom.”
Human freedom is the greatest ideal of the American society and the essence and beauty their democracy. It is also the glory of free-market society economy. And that is the ideal that attracts millions of people around the world to emigrate or seek refuge in the United States.
For instance, in their most famous and sacrosanct document – the Constitution, there is a sticking paragraph that is idolized by every single American and it reads:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
This past Fourth of July, the United States celebrated her 240 years of independence from Britain. Americans celebrate their freedom and independence with pomp and fanfare of parades, bands marching and singing, foods, barbecues, picnics and family gatherings that include holiday fun and history, gifts, pictures, crafts, games, and entertaining ideas. Adults, young boys and girls will reflect on freedoms enjoyed by the US citizens.
The National Anthem will be sung and thousands of foreigners seeking to be United States citizen will joyfully recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States:
“I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
However, despite the tremendous progress that has been made in the United States by electing the first Black man to be president, Police brutality and racial divide continue to ravage the American society. These recent shootings including the killings of five White Police officers in Dallas Texas, have raised a strong awareness that there is a serious racial divide in America.
Today, Americans are gathering in town halls and organizing seminars, conferences to continue to dialogue, debate and discuss on ways to battle against institutional racism and systemic injustice, how to improve race relations and create a fair and equitable society.
In her latest controversial album – Lemonade, the global icon and superstar singer and dancer, Beyoncé, joined with Kendrick Lamar, another super star song writer in their first ever collaboration song titled “Freedom.”
The chorus reads:
Freedom! Freedom! I can't move
Freedom, cut me loose!
Freedom! Freedom! Where are you?
Cause I need freedom too!
I break chains all by myself
Won't let my freedom rot in hell
Hey! I'ma keep running
Cause a winner don't quit on themselves
The entire lyrics of Beyoncé’s freedom song focused on “women’s issues, touched on institutionalized racism and social equality justice” along with other challenges affecting Black women in America and around the world. “Throughout the song, Beyoncé alludes to herself as a force of nature who can empower other women like herself to break free of the bonds society places on them. She addresses her struggle with infidelity as a black woman, as well as alluding to the history of slavery inflicted upon African-Americans, including current issues and the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Despite these kinds of lyrics, songs and hundreds of civil rights leaders and organizations that bring to forefront the racial tensions and systemic injustice in the United States and around the world, government para-military forces continue to shoot and massacre unarmed citizens around the world.
In the recent times, we have read about Police shootings and brutality against Black young men in the United States, a nation that prides itself as a champion for human rights, freedom, liberty and justice for all.
However, the struggle to have freedom and maintain it not easy. The freedoms that Americans enjoy today was not granted without major struggle, sacrifice and shedding of blood.
In his 1963 speech, President John F. Kennedy, said, “The cost of freedom is always high but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”
In Africa, the battle for freedom has not be different. In fact, the quest to be free has claimed millions of lives and continue to claim lives today. Millions have been massacred while agitating for freedom. Such freedoms as—freedom of speech, religious freedom, social freedoms, economic freedoms, political freedoms, freedom from bondage, captivity, and servitude, freedom to think, freedom of association, freedom to protest, etc.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, most African nations fought for their freedom and independence from their colonial masters – mostly Britain, France, Portugal, Italy and the Arabs.
Thousands were slaughtered fighting for independence from their colonial slave masters and their imposed totalitarian regimes. Others gave up their freedom for a life of bondage and servitude instead of imprisonment and mass murder by their tyrannical and fanatical rulers.
The struggle for freedom and independence reminds of me of Nigeria’s long battle for her own independence from Britain in the late 50’s. Nigeria’s independence was granted due to sustained national grievances of nationalist leaders against the British system of indirect rule.
In 1960, Nigeria became an independent nation. However, ethnic bias and hatred, political instability, bad leadership, systemic injustice, religious intolerance and violence quickly marred the nation's prospect for genuine development and progress.
Soon after, the variants groups that were amalgamated as Nigerians discovered that they not the same people. Their vast cultural, social, linguistic, religious differences and political divide led to several riots, violence and the orchestrated genocide and ethnic cleansing and extermination of Igbos in the North and SW of Nigeria. Igbo men, women and children were slaughtered like animals and their stinking lifeless bodies were transported in cargo trucks and dumped in the East.
The events of that turbulent period 1965-1967 led to the political crisis, political instability, tribal and religious killings, military coups and counter coups, that eventually led to unforgettable genocidal civil war of 1967-70 which decimated more than three million lives and left so much bitterness, anger and hatred among the major tribes of Nigeria.
Since then the Nigerian people have not enjoyed much freedom, human rights, political peace and national prosperity but poverty, torture, violence, killings and war.
Today, there is enormous ethnic hatred. Nigerians hate each other. There is envy, anger, bitterness toward each other coupled with fantastically corrupt politicians, poverty and massive unemployment.
In spite of all these humongous problems and challenges, we continue to deceive ourselves that Nigeria is one and that we can live together in unity even in the midst of these horrifying hatred and violence. Even God, our Creator did not approve such cohabitation and unity. And the worst annoying thing is those in position of power and authority are not doing anything to move the needle to address the amalgamation question, ethnic hatred and massacres of innocent citizens. We think and believe we can cohabit in deceit or forced unity and live in peace in this lion's den of death for ever.
Today, the country is under siege. There are seemingly abuses of rule of law and human rights abuses against the minority groups of the country. Persons and groups are denied from exercising their fundamental human rights of self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations charter of 2007. On several occasions, peaceful and unarmed young protesters are shot at and massacred for exercising their fundamental human rights. The government, perhaps, has not realized or read from history that agitation for human rights, freedom, liberty, and justice cannot be quashed with military force – China, Egypt, Tunisia, and even Turkey today are examples of courageous citizens standing-up to defend democracy and freedoms.
Why has human freedoms and human rights, which are the highest ideals of the Western society and essence of who we are as human beings remained a mirage and illusive and difficult to attain in Africa despite the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights document? Even now in the 21st century and with the explosion of information and communication technology, the struggle for freedom remains one of the horniest issues of our time.
While other nations around the globe are tapping into the 21st century high technology world to educate their young generation, motivating them to achieve great things, creating young entrepreneurs, building massive wealth, and prospering as a nation, Nigeria continues to wallow in archaism, primitively, backwardness, endemic corruption, vision-less political leadership, ethnic and religious violence and genocidal war – and thereby destroying every hope of nation building and promise of peace, unity, and prosperity.
It’s very sad indeed that Nigeria with so much promises of greatness and potential is hastily degenerating into anarchy and disintegration because of poor leadership, government corruption, systemic injustice, religious intolerance, ethnic jingoism and hatred.
Today, many sections of the country are under siege by Boko-haram and Fulani herdsmen – armed with AK-47, sharp knives, bows & arrows among other assault weapons – openly raping young girls, married women, killing and massacring local farmers including the recent massacres of unarmed Biafra youths by Nigerian DSS, Army, and Police in several Southeast and South-south cities.
As some people have written, second genocide is silently going on in Biafra region. The first genocide and starvation of Biafrans during the civil war of 1967-1970 remains one of the worst war crimes of humanity.
In his classic book: ‘There Was A Country….,” the late sage, iconic poet and prophet begins with a classic Igbo proverb in his introduction:
“An Igbo proverb tells us that a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body.”
According to my study and research, there is no crime in history of human history that equals the cobbling of variant groups of people with vast differences into one country - without any set of parameters and value system that give them true identity of their new nation. That is the case of Nigeria and most of sub-Sahara Africa. But Nigeria is worse case scenario in human history, Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and many other Africa commonwealth do have similar problems – but more of tribal superiority and not radical Islamic religious fanaticism like Nigeria.
Colonization of Africa is an indescribable rape and destruction of the mother continent. British colonization is the worst crime against humanity. No atrocity in human history equals it. Today, Britons have peacefully conducted a referendum to exit the European Union (EU) – the so-called BREXIT, but will not support Biafra do the same in Nigeria. What a hypocrisy! I think it is time for Britain and global powers do the needful to reorganize, restructure and dismantle this continent of blood and death called Africa starting with Nigeria.
Harriet Truman, an American slave warrior once said: "I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."
Many minority groups in Nigeria will be freed when they realize that they are slaves, guinea pigs and endangered species in Nigeria. After their freedom, then will they be able to free the rest of Africa from poverty, disease, and hopelessness.
Americans have a holy hatred for tyrants, dictatorship and destroyers of the human will. Every Fourth of July is a very important day in American history to remember and reflect on their war and battle for liberty and freedom. That is why they willingly confront terrorism anywhere they find it.
Let us pray that God will give us men like Richard Henry lee, Thomas Jefferson and others who penned the famous document that liberated their nation from the tyranny of the British rule and domination and paved the path for freedom, abundance and greatness that all U.S citizens enjoy today.
We need such courageous, visionary and skillful leaders to emancipate us and our land from subjugation, oppression, marginalization, foolishness, stupidity, mediocrity, incompetence, cowardice, jihadism, tyranny, poverty, disease, and hopelessness in Nigeria.
We are tired of living in bondage, slavery and servitude. It is time to live in freedom, liberty, justice and pursuit of happiness for all. It is time to live in prosperity.
It’s time to choose to be free. I choose freedom today. We must be free. We must live in freedom not bondage. Let freedom rain!
Halleluiah, we are free, Let us sing song of victory!
C. K. Ekeke, M.Div., Ph.D.( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), is a theologian, consultant and author of several books including Leadership Wisdom and Leadership Liability. Dr. Ekeke is a visiting scholar and fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the President of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Abdullateef Aliyu reports ] - Arik Air on Friday alerted air travelers of severe aviation fuel (Jet A1) scarcity which may hamper flight operations. The airline said the scarcity became evident few days ago when oil marketers started rationing supply to airlines owing to limited stock at the depots.
Daily Trust reports that Arik Air is the largest consumer of aviation fuel in Nigeria with more than 120 daily flights and daily fuel requirement of about 500,000 liters. In a statement by its spokesman, Ola Adebanji, it was explained that the situation is critical in Lagos and Abuja which are the operational hubs of the airline.
According to the airline, if the situation is not addressed, more flights could be delayed or cancelled. The airline therefore appealed for the understanding of passengers as “it grapples with the JET A1 scarcity”.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Adigun reports ] - There is a reason why countries like the United States and United Kingdom maintain bicameral legislatures. While some might argue that the US is so large and will want equal and qualitative representations for its citizens, that argument may not hold water for the UK because members of the Upper Chamber (the House of Lords) are not elected. The UK still maintains the largely unelected body, partly because of its tradition of maturity or because it has a history of order and decorum as against what applies in the Lower Chamber (The House of Commons).
Those who have witnessed debates at the Commons will know how busy the House can be as compared to the Peers in the Lords. This is not to say that there is no decorum, but because most of the debates are done by the Commons (or “Commoners”) this may sometimes get messy. The Senate, which is the Upper Chamber in the US Congress, has been largely quiet in recent times, save for a brief “noisy” moment President Obama appointed a Federal Judge. Again, like their British colleagues, there is much emphasis on order in the Senate. One can now guess why apart from President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden being former US Senators, a major presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, also has had a stint in that legislative chamber.
Let us come back home. In Nigeria, the National Assembly a body that is ordinarily meant to fight corruption, but it has in itself become engrossed in the vice. Its members refer to themselves as ‘Honourables’ or “‘Distinguished’ senators” depending on which chamber they belong, but nothing is really “distinguished” or “honourable” in their behavior if the display of some of them is anything to go by. A Senate has members like Buruji Kashamu, a wanted US drug baron helps explain this point better!
The Nigerian Senate is presently suffering from legitimacy crisis. The June 9, 2015 leadership election that produced the duo of Dr. Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy is still controversial till date. This is not because they “won” but because the very ground on which their election is based is faulty. The contentious Senate Standing Order 2015(?) is said to have been forged. Can we build something on nothing and expect it to stand? The forgery of the Senate rules is serious criminal issue if proven to be true. This country will start to get better if the so-called big men start going to jail for crimes they commit!
Some days ago, I saw a news piece, (I can’t remember on which media platform), “Forgery Trial Of Senate Leaders: Buhari Threatened With Impeachment; Dino Melaye Threatens To Beat Up Senator Tinubu.” I told myself that Nigerians can be dramatic with the online media known to reel out (for want of better words-)lies and half-truths just to get traffic, but the news has to be “fake”. I waited for Dino to deny making the unfortunate statement, but no he won’t. In reaction to the news, someone asked on Facebook: “Dino threatened to beat who?”
I immediately went online to seek confirmation, and alas, Dino did issue the threat. At the point, my empathy for the Senator (if he is not properly so-called) changed to sympathy. Senator Dino Melaye (APC - Kogi West) reportedly said in his remarks about the ongoing forgery trial of the senate rules involving Saraki and Ekweremandu that the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, must be brought before the Senate to be thoroughly grilled and humiliated for charging the Senate leadership with forgery in court. Melaye reportedly issued threats, including impeaching the President (which he will later deny). The climax of the meeting was when it was Senator Remi Tinubu’s turn to speak. How dare Remi, a woman and a wife for that matter speak where Dino is talking? He is probably used to his wife keeping quiet while he is speaking so Remi’s audacity was too much for Dino to bear. She has to be giving some ‘home trainings’, so must Dino be thinking after he said and I quote “I will beat you up on this floor and nothing will happen…”
Melaye has a history of being a wife beater and women molester so no one should be surprised that the Kogi-born Senator threatening to beat another man's wife. There was a time Melaye physically assaulted his ex-wife Tokunbo even threatening to kill the poor woman. But Tokunbo, unfortunately for Dino does not have a surname that is Tinubu!
While one has no problem with anyone being ambitious, everything is wrong with being overambitious like Dino. One also understands that he is Saraki’s Man Friday, who must dance to his masters’ music no matter how poor the melody is, there is need for order even in madness!
Dino should have grown (at 45?) after serving in the House of Representatives well enough to have learnt proper parliamentary conduct. Those encouraging his misdemeanor are only enjoying his public display, like everyone enjoys watching the madman dance in the market square. Not only does he have a history of harassing women, he has a glittering resume of defending corruption and corrupt people. The led the gang in is term as House of Representatives member in defence of Hon. Patricia Etteh then House Speaker whose scandal includes refurbishing a house with N628million.
In the present forgery case against the Senate President and his Deputy is not an attack on the National Assembly as it is being misconceived in certain quarters. The Senate alone has 109 members out of which only two (elected by other senators) are on trial for forgery. The House of Representatives has 360 members out of which no one is on trial for any criminal matter presently. So, the case should be put in proper perspective. Saraki, Ekweremadu and the two bureaucrats at the National Assembly are standing trial for offences they allegedly committed on their own, not on behalf of the Senate as an institution!
With persons like Dino, a woman molester; integrity-challenged Saraki and Ekweremadu wanted drug baron Kashamu and others in the Senate, I am so convinced that I see a house that is not in order!
Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN ( Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080
Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org ) is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - As seen.