Between President Buhari And Professor Akindele By Lasisi Olagunju

GOVERNANCE is like romance. It is not how long but how well. Sometimes it can be short and pleasant; it can also be long and awful. Whatever it is, there is a golden rule: Never assess actors based on the first experience. Some hit the ground running; some learn and improve on the job; some march, putting their gear in reverse mode. That is why unimpressed lovers ask for more and epileptic politicians seek to come back in repeated fits.

They tell us to give them another chance; they say that the patient dog eats the fattest bone. They stop only at the bony part of the conversation. Whatever has happened to the meat is for their lordships’ mouths only. I am thinking of the recent demands for new terms and for multiple sessions of involuntary love-making.

President Muhammadu Buhari wants two terms. He has one already, which he says is not enough to birth the desired baby. He is demanding a second session of painful copulation. A professor in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, competed for space with Buhari last week. As Buhari was playing Oliver Twist, asking for more than one term, the professor was negotiating for more than one session of sex with a female student.

He broke the internet for demanding sex five times from a failure who needed his crutches. The professor said he would do one today; two tomorrow; one the day after, and another the day after the last act. And the exasperated lady asked: ‘is it food?!’

The nation heard the convo and crackled in sardonic laughter. One wrong session of sex is not enough for the don who would become Tortoise. A term is also not enough for the politician who has no idea of anything. Tortoise was asked when he would stop his aimless, tasteless journeys; he replied that he would stop only when he is disgraced.

Asking for more has consequences. When Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist asked, “Please, sir, I want some more,” what was the response he got? What he received wasn’t the food he begged for; he got knocks and thrashings. Buhari declared some days ago that he wants a second term so that he could upgrade our failing country. A term is too short to make Nigeria great again, he claimed.

Once, just once and no more, cannot be a heroic act. Not in politics. Not in the other room. The professor in the viral audio demanded the five sex terms as proof of his seriousness to help the failed girl be at par with her successful mates. It is the same reason the politician tells us to vote him in again. He may have promised and failed to hit gold the first term, the messiah still insists we need his help.

The female undergraduate turned down the tonnes of sex her professor demanded and followed it up with an ocean of viral shame for the professor. The president asking for another term also flaunts the credentials of a messiah. Those are what his lovers see and fall for; only his wicked enemies see the failings of his years in the Villa.

Writing about a failed government in a failed nation repeatedly is bad enough. It is the journalese version of the scriptural verses of lamentation. It is a chant of woes and its stale tales. What does it mean to tell tales of woe every week? The Tale of Woe is a 17th century Russian story of disobedience, destruction and redemption. It is a story “nourished by folk songs about woe and verse of repentance.” It says that misfortune and afflictions are not necessarily terminal where the sinner is penitent.

Shouldn’t admittance of moral default followed by penitence precede a demand for a renewal of tenancy? Where a president promised three million jobs but delivered eight million dismissals how should the story be broken? Should the songs be of tears, rebuke, rejection and ejection or of praise and thanks to the midwife of stillborns?

Shouldn’t a man really be bitter about all these warts around here? Should tales just be of woes and misfortune with no redemptive window? I write about Nigeria and its fall in the vineyard. Like the Russian The Tale of Woe-Misfortune, the Nigerian story is the story of Adam and Eve. Fallen and debased, the country may be in the jailhouse of its rapist leaders, but the good news is that it is not a condemned criminal.

A change of moral direction will buy it its freedom from certain death. That is what the bard sings here as a regular brew of woes. And as a Yorubaman, I know that no one is so powerful as to mute the shrill of the gong of redemption; nor does crass noise kill the king’s market in its fullness. Should one stop thinking of why there are bad news everywhere here?

Teachers demand of students not diligence at their studies but sex from age mates of their daughters; they demand not brilliance but tyres from boys for the cars of the big bosses. Should one not ask why we don’t think the suffering of the hungry must stop; why life always goes on here no matter the degree of injuries inflicted by the state; why our politicians always think of the next election even when the sky is crashing on the head of the poor?

Should one stop asking whether it is the black man’s luck to remain as he has always been: retrogressive and, at best, stagnant?

The impotent man is an efulefu; he must not eat spicy foods. That is what an African proverb says. He should not even be seen near the dining table. But he is demanding it publicly here because around him are celebrators of impotence. I asked a friend if he also saw the tragedies all over. Yesterday, it was robbers in Kwara; last year, this year, today, it is herdsmen killing scores again in Benue, Taraba and Zamfara.

OAU Professor Richard Akindele
President Muhammadu Buhari

In the midst of all these, the elected leaders don’t give a damn. The only damn they give is the one that opens the second leg of power for them. And our conduct suggests to them that we don’t have other options apart from them.

Even the Ife girl that scored 33 per cent had options. She rejected the thrusts of her professor and fought back with the sense of a woman. Failed politicians can ask for more, but the Nigerian voter can also explore the options he has. He can sensibly use what he has to enthrone what he needs. But does the black man choose his leaders so that he could be free from want and disease?

American statesman, Thomas Jefferson, in his ‘Notes on the State of Virginia’ (1787) says that the black man’s inferior mind is “a powerful obstacle to (his) emancipation.” The Nigerian person can endure and excuse any pain. The black man’s raw courage, Jefferson says, “may perhaps proceed from a want of forethought” which prevents him from “seeing a danger till it be present.”

How could we fail to see this plain danger of today’s Nigeria yesterday? As the curtain falls on one horrific scene, another scene of horror opens. And some of us are still not seeing anything. We still offer men without balls food which only the potent should eat. The developed world of the white man which we love to visit and celebrate, was it built on foundations of impotence?

And you ask: why is the black man blind to what is right? Is the black man doomed to self-destruct? Even on the very rare occasions he manages to escape from the lion’s den, he still goes back to pick his hat. The lion is begging him to do same again in 2019. Here, the stars major in the negative minors.

The best things when corrupted goes down below the worst. Could that be the reason a man who parades a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Psychology, an MBA, an MPhil and a Ph.D in Management Sciences would fall so pitiably at the feet of Viagra in Ile Ife?

We may all be publicly condemning that professor and angry in self-righteous indignation, but how many who condemn him are better in conduct? Failed politicians who seek undeserved second terms are like that Ife girl. Voters who demand money to elect underserving politicians are doing exactly what that professor offered that girl. What about the governor who sleeps with favour-seeking female politicians?

The female contractor who hawks sex from ministry to ministry? All others who daily do inappropriate things and play saint?

Our politicians are that failed student seeking a bailout. They fail and insist they must pass and some of us agree that they must pass. They won’t stop insulting our sensibility quoting Oliver Twist asking for “some more.” They look down on us because the teacher who marks their scripts sleeps in their bed.

And can we see that almost all of us are like that professor in self-destructive conducts? Almost all are. We are, especially when we leave the right thing undone and insist we have done well and should be rewarded; when we demand the wrong thing from the right person; when the right thing goes from us to the wrong person; when we abandon our own marking scheme and impose non-answers as the requisite for a pass mark.

When we refuse to accept ‘enough’ as a punctuation to our inappropriate conducts. When we rush to offer condom as cure for erectile dysfunction. When we do all these, we sow fruitlessness into the soul of tomorrow.

(Culled from the Nigerian Tribune on Monday, 16 April, 2018)

General Alani Akinrinade Writes Theopilus Danjuma By Eric Teniola

They joined the Nigerian Army the same day in 1960, expectedly with different destinies. I am talking of Colonel Sule Apollo, Brigadier General Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, Lt-General Julius Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, Major General Emmanuel Olumuyiwa Abisoye, Brigadier General Alabi-Isama, Colonel Ben Gbulie, General Yakubu Theophilus Danjuma, Major General Martins Adamu, Lt-Colonel Ayo Ariyo, Brigadier Pius Eromobor, Brigadier Ignatius Obeya, Brigadier General Femi David Bamigboye and Colonel Simon Uwakwe Ihedigbo.

The picture of their enrolment is on page 8 of the 671page book titled ‘THE TRAGEDY OF VICTORY’ by Egbon, General Alabi Isama.

In his usual blunt way, General Danjuma spoke at Jalingo recently, the speech is still generating comments. It is only your friends who will know you best and there is no doubt General Akinrinade knows General Danjuma very well.

He wrote him a letter last November to mark his 80th birthday. The contents of the letter are still relevant in today’s Nigeria.

General Akinrinade declared ”Ma Fred, I remember, as if it were yesterday when we met at Depot NA Zaria for kitting and a few days’ bashing before resuming for Officer Cadet training proper at NMTC Kaduna. You were already a student at the Nigerian College of Arts and had participated in School CCF program and so was more attuned to the rigors, abuse and indecipherable language of our instructors. You had an obvious head start in the academic studies.

The fact that only fifteen out of thirty-five of us will be selected for further training did not influence your penchant for assisting some of us with the academics just like again until we worked under General Gowon as staff captains in 1964. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship determination to be the best in the profession taking our cue from the impeccable, strict but kind posture of our boss.

There was a humorous side to everything in your dictionary. When we were the unlucky two manning the branch and had to take the bashing by Brigadier Zak Maimalari standing like wet chicken in the cold for the posting of Ifeajuna, his Brigade Major, you turned the whole episode into a joke when he left the branch. ”

Ma Fred, Stand easy”. I laughed in panic and asked you what that was all about and you said to me “don’t mind him, he was looking for someone to torture and took the wrong turn”. On another occasion you froze when caught when making the sign of the cross while watching the ‘rear’ as you called it, of a nursing sister who passes our room after an interview with our immediate boss, Major Aniebo.

‘Ma Fred! Did you see that rear’? I, instead of you got ticked off for laughing hysterically. Gowon got us the best schools for further training in 1965 and we never met again until late 1966 at Ikeja cantonment in the tensely confused aftermath of the coup de tat that brought Gowon as Head of State. You were focused, calm and when most of our colleagues were in panic, you were clear on what needed attention.

We did not fight in the same front but when I visited your headquarters at Umuahia in company of 3MCDO division, General Olusegun Obasanjo; there was no doubt as to who was in charge. Obasanjo later told me that he wished you were the GOC because he didn’t believe anyone besides you understood or was interested in the proposals for the final push, we came there to discuss. I reminded him proudly that you were my classmates. Events proved his observations right.

You have the knack for picking the best for every position and you lack patience for fools but I am still trying to decipher how it was possible for you, at the same time, able to tolerate some incompetent officers, in fact drew them close to you. I am aware that you influenced my appointment as GOC 1ST Division and even returned me there after one year of absence.

You watched the backs of your subordinates consistently otherwise Abisoye, Gibson, Jallo, myself and probably Martin Adamu could have come to grief early considering the posture of Obasanjo towards us. I hear you fought raging battles to ensure I succeeded you as Chief of Staff even if you had to trade in the position of a Deputy for the first time.

You made strenuous efforts to reorganize the ragtag overpopulated army you inherited and despite all odds squeezed resources to dampen restiveness. Several initiatives including the complicated insurance scheme, the renovation and construction of new barracks, transportation, some limited demobilization of ex-servicemen, which had turned sourly emotional, and the ever neglected welfare of officers and men recorded some success.

Training especially field training, abandoned for fear of embedded possibilities your towering influence and clarity of thought most times dampened the propensity of Obasanjo’s government to overreact to thorny national issues.

You were seen as the bridge to the North which accounted for your larger than life influence on the Nigerian political landscape and which led you to spearheading the imposition of Obasanjo as ‘civilian’ President. I felt your absence when you abandoned Committee for Unity and Understanding (CUU) and the very influential Association for Democracy and Good Governance (ADGN) which I believe could have prevented the annulment of June 12 and the calamity that resulted, but as years went bye and the clouds start to clear, I very vaguely understands the dynamics and the subtle betrayals that necessitated your exit.

I have always enjoyed your friendship and generosity of spirit. Unlike you, I am irreligious but I admire your tenacity as a Christian faithful and your voluntary selfless contributions to the growth and preservation of the Christian faith and participation in using your means to support education through the Christian organisations.

At eighty, you have devoted your entire life so far for the unity of Nigeria and maybe you will devote a little more attention to the thorny issues of restructuring this political system without which you have no guarantee of good life for the majority of our people. You earned my respect and I am proud to be associated with you.

’Ma Fred’ many happy returns.

 

Who Will Save Some Nigerians From Intellectual Laziness? By Femi Adesina

Since President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in London on Wednesday, and spoke on the likely impact of gunmen trained by former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, on the killings by herdsmen in Nigeria, some people have virtually flown off the handle, ululating as if wailing was going out of fashion.

They twisted the meaning of Mr President’s words (yes, some people twist everything, even the words of God; 2 Peter:3, 15,16). They claimed he was blaming Gaddafi, long dead, for the killings in Nigeria.

But let’s see the vacuousness and intellectual laziness in the twist they have given what President Buhari said, out of sheer malice and evil hearts. Sadly, even a Senator was involved in the sickening display of poisonous heart. That’s what you get when small minds get into high places.

Here’s what Mr President told Archbishop Justin Welby:

“The problem is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.

“Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”

“The problem is even older than us,” said President Buhari. If anybody is not challenged with simple understanding of English language, does this mean pre-Gaddafi? The former Libyan leader was born in 1942, and killed in October 2011, making him 69 years old at the time of his death. So, did he cause clashes between farmers and herdsmen, which the President said was older than most living Nigerians? Only rabidly mischievous minds can conceive such.

“It has always been there, but now made worse…” If you say something has been exacerbated by a factor, does it mean such factor is the cause? Simply illogical.

The President talked about the influx of militia trained, armed and used by Gaddafi, who now dispersed into different countries, including possibly Nigeria, after the Libyan strongman’s death. Are some people claiming ignorance of such development, despite it being global knowledge? So deep must be the ignorance of such people. Simple research will show them the Libyan influence on proliferation of small arms all over Africa, after Gaddafi’s death.

The President then talked about the herdsmen we used to know, who carried just sticks, and at worst a cutlass, saying those armed with sophisticated weapons were unknown to this clime. Is that not true?

If herdsmen have suddenly turned murderous in a country, it calls for all sorts of interrogation, including intellectual, as to what may have gone wrong. The causes could be multifarious. And solutions must be jointly proffered.

A President has sensitive security reports available to him. President Buhari gave another vista from which the herdsmen/farmers clashes could be considered, but rather than be reflective and do critical interrogation, the wailers engaged in their pastime: they began to wail, including senators and people who should naturally be level headed and examine issues dispassionately. Very sorry.

“But we are working on solutions,” President Buhari told the cleric. They ignored that. It holds no meaning for them. They are interested in problems, not solutions. Problems serve their pernicious interests more. Pity!
That is what hatred does to the heart. It stunts the mind and poisons the soul. Such heart plays petty partisan and divisive politics with every matter. It is what President Buhari at that meeting called “irresponsible politics.” And as we head for general elections next year, much more of it would be seen, except such people reform, and put on their thinking caps.

The tendency now is to twist and slant every word from President Buhari in the negative, all in a bid to demean, de-market, and demonize him, and make him unattractive to the electorate. But those who do it are to be pitied. Sensible Nigerians know what the President is doing for the country, and would queue behind him at the polls next year. At the end of it all, the detractors would be holding the short ends of the stick, and looking small, forlorn and disconsolate. Where would they then hide their faces?

BACK PAGE Osun IGR: From Negative To High Fiscal Capacity

 

All indications show that the Rauf Aregbesola-led administration prioritises economic policies that will spur growth, wealth creation and prosperity for Osun people. These policies are targeted at reducing the rate of poverty and unemployment. The long-term economic plan of the state governor is to create wealth and prosperity for the people.

It is clear that Osun economic model is targeted at driving economic growth and sustainability intended to achieve self-sustainability for the state where proceeds from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) will be used to drive economic growth and prosperity for the people without depending on the allocation from the Federation Account.

It is on record that Aregbesola has established a process with the introduction of electronic data processing of all taxpayers’ information and this has created easy access to taxpayers’ information. The training and retraining of revenue officers in the use of enabling laws, improvement in the administrative machinery to eliminate bottlenecks and bureaucracy in process have also helped. The state has created a comprehensive data on who should pay tax or the key economic activities that can generate tax income.

No doubt, the state can boast of high revenue capacity and expenditure which needs to compare with the national average. Aregbesola has created high fiscal capacity, or a relatively high capability to cover Osun expenditure needs using its own resources. In 2011, the state had low fiscal capacity, that is, a low level of revenue-raising capacity given what it would cost to provide a standard set of public services to its citizens.

For instance, Osun is now a pacesetter among the six participating states in the State and Local Governance Reform (SLOGOR) Project. The programme, organised by Office of the Auditor-General in Osun State, in collaboration with SLOGOR Project (EU/World Bank Assisted), was held at Aurora Event Centre, Osogbo. Osun, through the Office of the Statistician-General, has released the figure of its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for seven years, from 2010 to 2017.

In a statement, the Statistician-General, Prof. Wasiu Gbolagade, dismissed the rumour that Osun was fictitiously giving incorrect figures as a window dressing. He said in 2010, the IGR stood at N3,376,735,645.43, rose to N7,398,572,036.48 in 2011 and was N5,020,250,633.94k in 2012. Gbolagade said the IGR in 2013 was N7,284,225,003.77, became N8,513,274,186.67 in 2014, while it was N8,072,966,446.00 in 2015, N8,884,756,040.35 in 2016 and N11,731,026,444.38k in 2017.

He said: “The IGR increased from N3.38 billion in 2010 to N8.51 billion in 2014. It increased from N8.88 billion in 2016 to N11.73 billion in 2017, representing percentage increase of 32.4. The types of IGR the state depends mostly on are PAYE, MDAs revenue, direct assessment, road taxes and other taxes. Of the above, PAYE generated the highest revenue for the state.

From a paltry N300 million a month about 7 years ago to N1.6 billion now, internally generated revenue (IGR) in the state appear to have taken a quantum leap. Osun has also been ranked as the second less miserable and poverty-ridden state in the country for the year 2017, according to a report by Financial Derivatives Company released on January 1, 2018. The report, titled: ‘How the States Performed in 2017’, stated that Osun had the lowest net FAAC allocation in the country but was not delinquent in the payment of salary arrears.

The investment in human capital by the Aregbesola administration would yield bountiful returns in education tax, thereby contributing substantially to the state’s monthly IGR target. In line with this, 277 model schools with about 1,811 modern classrooms were built or rehabilitated and the schools were equipped with 62,922 sets of chairs and tables. Every school day in Osun, 253,000 elementary school children receive a nutritious meal produced largely by local farmers to boost learning as well as local production. The Osun School Feeding Programme is the longest running of its kind in the country. In six years, Osun has, through its basic education agency invested billions to build capacity, both in human and physical infrastructure.

The Osun Agency for Community and Social Development Project has also partnered with the World Bank, committing, at least, N2 billion on several social developmental projects to reach 1,073,129 beneficiaries in rural communities. The partnership is delivering 356 inclusive, gender-sensitive and multi-sectoral micro projects, covering education, rural electrification, primary health care, transportation, and potable water provision in 263 communities across the state. Most of these businesses and individual beneficiaries are already captured in the tax net.

The efforts of the state government soon resulted in corresponding increase in investments and production in Osun State. Tuns Farms, an indigenous poultry company, in partnership with smallholder farmers, ramped up broiler production to position the state as the second-largest broiler producer in the country. Omoluabi Garment Factory, a PPP venture between Sam and Sara Garments and Osun government, emerged as the largest garment factory in West Africa. RLG Adulawo, an indigenous computer assembly plant, also established operations in Osun as a result of the favourable infrastructure in the state. These investments created many jobs with both the organisations and their staff boosting the tax revenues of the state government.

Between 2013 and 2017, The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative rated Osun second-highest in Human Development Index among the 36 states in the country. In 2014, Rencap in its 36 shades of Nigeria economic review of states ranked Osun as the 7th largest economy in Nigeria, while in 2013 the NBS rated Osun as the state with the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria.

With the good outing of the Aregbesola administration so far, creating an enabling environment for investments and also providing critical infrastructure, it is not surprising that the state is so highly rated by independent observers. The goodwill has already reflected in the IGR growth trajectory, prompting the collective aspiration of citizens of the state as well as government officials that N5 billion monthly IGR is realisable.

 

HEALTH MATTERS: Care Of The Aged

FRANCIS EZEDIUNO

We will get old one day and it is the prayer of everybody to grow old in good health and vitality.

Medical science that specialises in the medical care and treatment of old people is called Geriatrics while that of infants and children is referred to as Paediatrics.

Elderly care or care of the aged is the fulfillment of the special needs and requirements that are unique to senior citizens. This broad term encompasses such services such as; assisted living, adult day care, long term care, nursing homes, hospice care [for terminally ill patients], and home care.

Elderly care emphasizes the social and personal requirements of senior citizens who need some assistance with daily activities and health care, also for the aged, at is important to note that the design of housing, services, activities, employee training and health care delivery should be truly customer centered.

However, it has been observed that the elderly in the globe consume the most health expenditures out of any other age group as comprehensive observations has shown.

Traditionally, elderly care has been the responsibility of family members and are provided within the extended family home. Increasingly in modern societies, elderly care is now being provided by state or charitable institutions which include private and religious institutions.

The reasons for this change include decreasing family size, the greater life expectancy of elderly people, the geographical dispersion of families, and the tendency for women to be educated and work outside the home.

Organisations or individuals that provide room and board, personal and health care also provide rehabilitation services in a family environment for at least two and no more than six persons.

It is important for caregivers and health workers to ensure that measures are put into place to preserve and promote function rather than contribute to a decline in status in an older adult that has physical limitations.

Caregivers need to be conscious of actions and behaviours that can cause aged adults to become dependent on them and need to allow older patients to maintain as much independence as possible. Providing information to the older patient on why it is important to perform self-care may allow them to see the benefit in performing self-care independently.

If the older adults are able to complete self-care activities on their own, or even if they need supervision, encourage them in their efforts as maintaining independence can provide them with a sense of accomplishment and the ability to maintain independence longer.

One of the problems that may confront people as they grow old is the issue of mobility. For years, these senior citizens have been used to going out in the morning and coming back late in the evening. Now, in their twilight, they have to seat around doing nothing and if they are lucky they have their grandchildren around them to give them some comfort.

Impaired mobility is another major health concern for older adults, affecting 50% of people over 85 and at least a quarter of those over 75. As adults lose the ability to walk, to climb stairs, and to rise from a chair, they become completely disabled. The problem cannot be ignored because it has the tendency to bring on suicidal thoughts.

Therapy designed to improve mobility in elderly patients is usually built around diagnosing and treating specific impairments, such as reduced strength or poor balance. It is appropriate to compare older adults seeking to improve their mobility to athletes seeking to improve their split times.

People in both groups perform best when they measure their progress and work towards specific goals related to strength, aerobic capacity, and other physical qualities. Someone attempting to improve an older adult’s mobility must decide what impairments to focus on, and in many cases, there is little scientific evidence to justify any of the options. Today, many caregivers choose to focus on leg strength and balance.

We cannot however overrule the fact that some seniors are blessed with eternal strength and abundant energy coupled with youthful figure that even in their advanced years, they are still going strong.

The family is one of the most important providers for the elderly. In fact, the majority of caregivers for the elderly are often members of their own family, most often a daughter or a granddaughter. Family and friends can provide a home (i.e. have elderly relatives live with them), help with money and meet social needs by visiting, taking them out on trips and so on.

Many an aged person has died due to neglect on the part of family members and relatives. Apart from providing for them, there is need to show them TLC, Tender! Loving! Care!

Have you ever stopped to wonder why in your youthful days, when you fall, you get up and keep going but as you age, falling now becomes a burden and you take care to avoid a fall.

That is what happens to elders and falling is one phase often associated with aging. One of the major causes of elderly falls is hyponatremia, an electrolyte disturbance when the level of sodium in a person’s serum drops below 135 mEq/L. Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder encountered in the elderly patient population.

Studies have shown that older patients are more prone to hyponatremia as a result of multiple factors including physiologic changes associated with aging such as decreases in glomerular filtration rate, a tendency for defective sodium conservation, and increased vasopressin activity. Mild hyponatremia ups the risk of fracture in elderly patients because hyponatremia has been shown to cause subtle neurologic impairment that affects gait and attention, similar to that of moderate alcohol intake.

Truth Of The Matter with AYEKOOTO: Want To Be Great? Don’t You Ever Give Up

Persistence is defined as, “to continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure.” It is derived from, “steadfastly; to stand.”

Next in importance to the virtue of Gratitude discussed last week is persistence in whatever course of life or goal we firmly believe in. Gratitude is unique because it is connected with the divine, almost unexplainable, with vast potency. Showing gratitude either to the Supreme or to the source of the good we receive almost always translates to more or bigger good. That has been thoroughly explained last week.

In my earlier days in marketing and business, I read a book, The Richest Man In Babylon by George Samuel Clason. It greatly inspired me to achieve tremendous success, even in other spheres of life. What I discovered was that a persistent mind never fails to achieve whatever he or she seeks to achieve.

The law or virtue of persistence is awesome. It’s been discovered that the more you persist on getting to your goal, the nearer you are to it even if unknown to you, which happens in most cases. In life, what we perceive as failure is actually a lesson taught on how not to do it.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of electric bulb tried and failed 10,000 times before getting it right. An average person would have given up after few trials and failures, but he kept on trying until he perfected his invention to success. He summed up his travails and eventual triumph thus: I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. That, really, is a positive mind-set. He “found” 10,000 ways that won’t work, instead of the negative phrase: “10,000 failed procedures”. Mindsets and words are powerful. How do you describe your daily activities? Is it in the negative or positive? Most of us go about life with very negative mindset, using words and having mindsets that impede our march towards success. We see failure instead of success; our mindset should always project the positive. That’s one lesson from Thomas Edison.

In not persisting enough, we often do not know that many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Many have even committed suicide, and gone to the beyond at the threshold of their big-bang success.

I’ve come to the realization that if only we can continue in whatever we believe in, with faith, patience, constantly learning new things, experimenting with new ideas, with flexibility and adaptability, it’s just a matter of time, we are surely going to realize our life goals.

Sometimes, life plays certain games with us without us knowing. Life wants us to learn some bitter lesson before actually giving us that thing we so much desire instead of letting us have it on the platter of gold, if only we realize it. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Good marketers realize this and are never tired of trying more. As marketers, one of the most important trainings you receive is on persistence in the face of severe rejection by prospects. And experience has taught me that the most severe rejections almost always bring the most astounding successes and achievements.

Politicians are said to be the most noticed optimists in our society. They are never to give up on their ambitions in the face of repeated defeats. When the Ogbeni was denied of his victory as well as his initial seemingly loss at the tribunal, he didn’t just sit down and wag his tail in regret. He tried more, and more, and more, even when the mandate period was fast expiring. Despite all obstacles put in his way, he eventually got it, more than three years into the four year mandate period, through persistence. President Mohammadu Buhari actually got fed up after several failed shot at the presidency. But the persistence in him told him to try just one time more in 2015, which he did and it changed the narrative. We might say that Chief Obafemi Awolowo and MKO Abiola did not get to power despite repeated persistence amid travails. But, really, their popularity and influence in life and even posthumous, testify to the power of Persistence. Even after death, people rode on their influence to get to the corridors of power. What this means is that even if circumstances do not allow us get exactly what we want, there is certainty that we will get something better, or near in value. So, it is a win-win situation.

 

 

The Implications Of Buhari’s Second Term Declaration By Muhammad Ajah

Another historic event occurred in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, on Monday April 9, 2018, at about 11 am, when the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari declared at the meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) his intention to run for a second term in the 2019 Presidential polls. The wide jubilation that followed this episode across the country, though expected, has rung a bell of confidence the Nigerian populace has in the President. It has also sounded a warning to those who are hell-bent in causing harm to Nigeria.

I could not hold my emotion as I immediately posted the news to the many Whats App groups I belong to and received within few hours over a thousand responses. I will relate some of these responses from friends across the country later. Due to official workload, I could not read them during office hours but I must confess that it took me over two hours at home to go through the messages many of which were from whom I do not personally know.

The choice of this topic was quite difficult for me, especially considering the situation Nigeria finds itself. It is clear that there is unabated advocacy between the Nigerian people and a Nigerian powerful political group. So, I was in a fix to choose from the words “complications, juxtapositions or lamentations” of Buhari’s declaration. Whichever of the words that fits the article is apt, so long the end is justifiable. The declaration has complicated issues for some people. It has been juxtaposed with great events happening around. And it is serious lamentation for others. Generally, the implications of the declaration have far-reaching effects and results under our present circumstances.

Though having long been awaited by compatriots, it is coming at a time when some disgruntled prominent citizens have decided to mislead citizens from the good path to development which Nigeria is currently towing and disabuse the minds of patriots against the pilot of this new dawn democracy in Nigeria. Of most prominence against the reelection bid of the President are Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who sought, against constitutionality, for a third term but was frustrated out, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida who stepped aside from military rule with glaring hope of coming back to power under democracy, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma whose tenure as minister of defence witnessed unprecedented massacre of armless citizens and some others who are being relieved by the current government of some assets and properties belonging to Nigeria. Now that the die is cast, we must pray harder for Mr. President, for Nigeria and for the will of God and the masses to prevail. Those threatening brine and stone will be put to shame because the general elections will come and pass and Nigeria will remain intact, stronger and united. After all, the pastors of doom who wished Mr. President death before 2019 have started falling.

Immediately after the declaration, I posted “President Muhammadu Buhari has officially declared interest to run for second term today Monday 09 April, 2018. It is very good news for Nigerians. May God Almighty make it come true. Join the winning train!” This was the simple message that generated traffic in my Whats App hubs, with majority replying to my prayers with ameen, repeated more than once by my respondents.

Unlike the former Presidents who preferred rented crowds for their declarations, President Buhari did it in a small hall before people he need not pay because they are patriots and the progressives. The President, in his wisdom, was sure that members of his party needed to have the honour of having the great news first. That is why when people were speculating that things had fallen apart between Buhari and APC because of appointments, I was confident that all fences will be mended in due course, mostly at the right time that will please every party member. And here the time has come. The humble leader has made the executives even happier because, as the leader of the party, he pleaded for waiver for any outgoing exco member who may wish to recontest for any position in the party’s forthcoming congresses at all levels. But the aspirant must follow the constitution by resigning the current position one month before the congress.

Again, unlike other past Presidents who would have preferred to announce such sensitive national statement in worship places, Buhari, who is accused by unrepentant religious bigots, did it in an open place where all cultural and religious interests are represented, at a closed-door meeting of the APC . And lastly, unlike other former President who used to keep Nigerians waiting with claims, through paid broadcasts and media decorations, of consulting God, President Buhari did his consultations silently without bordering the Nigerian citizens.

In mid February, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, hinted that the President will seek re-election in 2019. Though the engine room of the federal government, he spoke unofficially on the matter at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, while addressing a rally organized by the Democratic Youth Congress (DYC). He was certain that there was no alternative to Buhari whose stance against corruption and indiscipline, he said, was the main cause of panic from many people.

Buhari said he was seeking reelection on the accounts of the clamour by Nigerians. In his last visits to some states ravaged by herdsmen-farmers clashes, despite the situations, people of the state turned the visits to rallies as expressions of their supports for him. Furthermore, many groups, including blocs from amongst the governors and members of the national assembly had mounted pressure on him to declare for the second term. In addition, over three hundred non-governmental organizations had been holding rallies in Abuja and across the country in solidarity of the continuity of the federal administration.

In another twist, some groups had threatened to drag the president to court if he refused to recontest for the president. And there had been speculations that he may anoint a success, though that was an unpopular view. Senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Garba Shehu had proclaimed severally that the continuity of this administration will fast-track the nation’s development as Nigerians had waited eagerly for Buhari to run again. He lamented the huge resources wasted by the past administration and reasoned that Nigerians were eager for continuity for this administration that is providing massive infrastructure, power, railway, road and national security. “We are getting money and spending it on right priorities, maximizing Nigeria’s wealth”, he boasted, adding that efficient utilization of the nation’s resources will continue with the peoples’ endorsements of the President.

In November 2017, President Buhari gave an inkling of his interest while addressing the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire. He made same clue in Kano in December last year. Many APC governors, ministers and party heavy weights like Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonnia Onu, Orji Uzor Kalu, amongst others, have shown unhidden love for Buhari’s reelection. Against stiff opposition from Ekiti state governor, Kalu landed the state recently to campaign for Buhari’s continuity.

This declaration should relieve those who were interested in the position or make to rethink and join hands to uplift Nigeria with the trusted leader. The cabal in the government should accept the ideal. The likes of former SGF, Babagana Kingibe, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and even some governors have no option than to swallow their presidential ambitions.

Undoubtedly, President Buhari has all it takes to contest and coast to victory next year. His health is now sound. He is being encouraged by the local and international accolades over his fight against corruption and hot zest for development. We are glad of his recognition by the African Union which recently declared him AU’s Anti-Corruption champion.

Nigerians know Buhari for transparency, honesty and integrity. This declaration, I am sure, will propel him to fulfill most, if not all the promises he made in 2015. His change mantra will be translated into huge actions and development in the next few months. His uncompromising stand against corruption will never change despite the outcry from the affected looters. Though not of the talkative, he must not be cowed by the corrupt people who are afraid to be brought to book. And those who have looted the treasury of the nation should be followed by the security agencies. By God’s grace, Buhari will perform maximally in his second tenure and clear the criminals who are killing Nigeria.

Already the APC United Kingdom chapter has promised to pay for expression of interest and nomination form for the President to re-contest. Its spokesman, Jacob Ogunseye, in a statement in Abuja thumped up the declaration as the second term will make Nigeria stronger and preserve the tenets of democracy in the country. They group assured of working for the electoral success of the APC at all levels to consolidate Buhari’s achievements. “He deserves a second term and we are proud that he has declared to re-contest”, they said.

While the jubilations in Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, Nasarawa and many other states continue, many of my followers on the facebook and other social media are full of hopes that God has answered the prayers of Nigerians and are ready to cast their votes for Mr. President, while few are yet undecided, even as the opposition citizens say it is not going to be easy for the APC. And as the special adviser to the President on media, Femi Adesina puts it, “there are two options for those in contention for the presidency in 2019: run or run away”.

Another Dawn, Another Dirge: Goodbye, Honest Man By Femi Osofisan

Greatness can be a surprisingly quiet thing. Some geniuses are of such exceptional modesty or gentility, that they shield themselves in deliberate self-effacement. Such a man was the man we fondly called ‘Honest Man’, who has now departed and paid the ineradicable debt of death.

That nickname was, thinking of it now in retrospect, perhaps a deliberate part of the disguise, and perhaps that was why he relished it. So many people knew ‘Honest Man’; and throngs of devotees know by heart the plots and protagonists of such scintillating works like Efunsetan Aniwura, Saworoide, O Le Ku, Aiye Ye Won Tan, Koseegbe, and numerous others. But many of these adoring fans would be hard put to come forward and identify in person Akinwumi Isola, the author of the works. Because he wanted it like that: wanted his works to speak directly to his audience by themselves. Most unusually, Isola was a culture activist more interested in propagating the lore of our people than in acquiring any adulation for himself.

Our friend lived this paradox to the end. He came from the small village of Labode, in the forests of Ibadan, but grew into an artiste of uncommon genius and unusual inventiveness. But, in spite of his enormous popularity however, and his international renown, he chose to live humbly, without ostentation, away from the glare of the limelight. Wrapped thus in the cloak of humility, he could walk the street any day unencumbered by his fame, unknown and anonymous among his teeming fans. That way, he could remain one of the people he wrote about, and be their faithful witness, singing their sorrows and their joys.

I am proud to have been a friend to such a man, this giant avatar of our much-neglected Yoruba culture and civilization. I came to learn so much from him. For, with the exception of Faleti, who is also unfortunately gone now, no one else I have I known can speak our language with the eloquence of the ancestors. No one else has been as prolific with stories and wisdom. No one else has made us more proud of the riches in our Yoruba identity.

But he is gone now. Like other friends we have lost before, we must learn henceforth to speak of him in the past tense. Oh, I will miss him and his companionship. I will miss his consummate skill in the art of weaving words. Yes, as his faithful wife for so many decades put it, Labode ti din nikan!’ Labode village has been deprived of another talent, and Yorubaland has lost one of its gifted chroniclers…

Fabulist, raconteur… friend! We must meet again in the after-life. But for now, I can only wave my hand and say—Good night!

What Does Buhari Owe Them?, By Azu Ishiekwene

Governor Yahaya Bello does not need to jump into the fire, yet. The Kogi State governor who had, in fact, sprained an ankle in what might have been a practice match for the big leap, was saved the trouble after President Muhammadu Buhari finally gave the hint that he would run for a second term in office.

The governor had said that if Buhari asked him to jump into the fire, he would. Perhaps the only thing that might have tempted him to jump without Buhari asking is Buhari refusing to run again.

The Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has also been saved the trouble of incurring expensive legal fees. Days before Buhari gave the hint that he would re-contest, the Kano State governor threatened to sue Buhari if he decided not to run or delayed the announcement any further.

Also before he was pressed to the edge of the cliff, the chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, had said, like it or not, Buhari must run because Nigeria had no alternative.

The surprise is not the vows of extreme personal sacrifice that the Buharists have made to force his hand or their extravagant it’s-him-or-no-other posture.

We have seen it many times before. In an earlier life, Asari Dokubo threatened that President Goodluck Jonathan was incapable of declining to contest re-election. “E no fit na! Ah…How?” Dokubo mused in a video that was aimed below the former president’s belt, targeting his self-esteem.

Tompolo, the militant, oil pipeline guardian and saboteur-in-chief, joined in the gravy train to warn that any attempt to stop Jonathan from re-contesting might end the country.

A mini version of this familiar drama was staged years earlier when former army and defence chief, T. Y. Danjuma, said he would go on self-exile if then candidate Olusegun Obasanjo was not elected president in 1999.

The politicians are taking a leaf from the old playbook. There’s a sense in which it seems that Buhari owes these fellows something that he is not even entitled to think about before consenting to. Much more than his talismanic effect that they think they need to win in their own corner, they probably think he also owes them the nation’s soul as a burnt offering.

He wants to run again, not because he is convinced it’s best for him or the country, but because “he’s responding to the clamour by Nigerians.” By the way, a free people do not clamour; they request.

But it’s understandable. Bello owes his improbable rise to power to Buhari; and whatever Odigie-Oyegun may be going through now, without Buhari’s backing, he would have been finished long ago.

As for Ganduje, he is in the Buhari bandwagon for what he can get – the same motivation that attracted him to former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, whom he served energetically for eight years, with the famous double-minded loyalty of many PDP politicians.

The surprise is not the overzealousness of Bello and co. It’s the anguished silence of those who supported Buhari, not just in 2015 when he won, but each time on the three previous occasions when he lost.

A chunk of his original supporters who lifted him from the deck – those his wife, Aisha, feared might rebel – has been silent, resigned in malicious acquiescence, or stirred up in angry defiance.

When Buhari did not look like it, T. Y. Danjuma was one of the few who not only believed in him, but who also put his money where he mouth was.

In the days when Buhari’s All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) could barely pay for space for a public rally and a PDP arrowhead said candidate Buhari did not know the difference between a Blackberry phone and the berry fruit, Danjuma was among the very few that Buhari could still depend on.

As at Tuesday when Buhari announced his intention to run for office again, his government’s poor handling of the deadly herdsmen-farmers clashes had put a wedge between him and Danjuma.

For the first time in the last 15 years, Buhari would take the plunge unsure of the active support of Danjuma, one of his most ardent supporters now bruised and left stranded by government officials for his frank comment on Taraba.

Tunde Bakare may not have had the same long relationship with Buhari like Danjuma but his honesty and total commitment since he ran as the president’s running mate seven years ago has been tested again and again in recent times.

…neither Danjuma nor Bakare nor Kwankwaso nor Ortom matters as much as the hundreds of thousands of young people who had invested their hope in Buhari, eight million of whom have lost their jobs since he took office three years ago – an average of two million plus every year he has spent in office.

Hours after Buhari signaled his intention to run again, Bakare reportedly told Daily Sun that he would support Buhari, if the president pitched him; but you could almost feel that the hubris of a presidential wedding party train in Kano only hours after the kidnap of the Dapchi girls and the incompetent handling of the herdsmen-farmers’ killings have taken their toll on Bakare.

This was not the Buhari he ran with seven years ago. But why, the bow has left the arrow: he’s welcome to run again.

As for Kwankwaso under whose watch Kano delivered perhaps the most consequential single block of votes in the 2015 presidential election, and Governor Samuel Ortom who was, in fact, one of the earliest to endorse a Buhari second term, both have fallen on the wrong side the power play. There is an irrational fear of Kwankwaso’s clout, while Ortom is out of favour for standing up for the people of Benue.

But neither Danjuma nor Bakare nor Kwankwaso nor Ortom matters as much as the hundreds of thousands of young people who had invested their hope in Buhari, eight million of whom have lost their jobs since he took office three years ago – an average of two million plus every year he has spent in office.

It doesn’t matter what those who are happy to be trampled over for Buhari’s re-election may say, he’ll be walking a more difficult road this time. Not necessarily because most second term presidents are victims of a jaded honeymoon, but because he has done little in three years to straighten his own path.

He has been a ceremonial president enjoying the pleasure and entitlement of office, while part outsourcing and part abdicating the dirty work.

His wife was right. The rebellion she predicted is on and gaining momentum. But it’s not just among his core supporters, as she had said. Millions of Nigerians who may not have voted for him but yet gave him the benefit of the doubt that he would be a president for all have been heartbroken and left behind.

That forlorn hope, the broken promise, will come back to haunt him, and the latter-day interlopers will find it hard to save him.

Yahaya and co would not need to jump into the fire for Buhari. The fire will come to their doorsteps.

Azu Ishiekwene is the MD/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the Board of the Paris-based Global Editors Network.

The Beauty In Regionalism By Eric Teniola

 

Chief E.M.R. Okorodudu was the first Agent General of Western Nigeria in the United Kingdom. Like every Agent General his work covered the whole of Europe. He later became a Commissioner in the Federal Civil Commission between 1968 and 1974 along with Alhaji Sule Katagum(Chairman), Sir Samuel Layinka Ayodeji Manuwa, Alhaji Yusuf Jega and Dr. L.O. Uwechia.

He replaced his friend, Chief Arthur Prest who had served in the Commission since 1960. Chief Okorodudu was succeeded as Agent General by Chief Emmanuel Akinbowale Olasumbo Akintoye Coker (SAN) (1925-2000), the late Apena of Egbaland. Chief Coker was succeeded as Agent General by Prince Delphus Adebayo Odubanjo.

The first Agent General of Northern Nigeria was Alhaji Saadu Ayinla Alanamu alias GBOGBO IWE. Along with Sir Ahmadu Bello, Alhaji Makama Bida and Alhaji Shehu Sarkin, he attended the constitution conference in London on July 7 1953. He was later turbaned as the Waziri of Ilorin (Prime Minister) in November 1979. Alhaji Alanamu was succeeded by Alhaji Baba Gana.

The first agent General for eastern Nigeria was Chief Jonah Chinyere Achara who was a classmate of Dr. Clement Isong at the Methodist College, Uzokali. He was succeeded by Mr. Akpan Ekukinam Bassey from Afah Ikot Abak near Ikot- Ekpene in the present Akwa-Ibom state. He was later made a Judge of the Federal Revenue Court on July 12, 1976.

On October 7, 1977, the Federal Government set up another three-man tribunal to try those involved in foreign exchange racket. The three-man panel was headed by Justice Ekukinam Bassey. Other members of the panel were Group Captain G. A. Esho, of the Air Force and Mr. Mamman Ali Makele of the University of Lagos.

Mr. Justice Ekukinam Bassey died on duty on June 26 1986.
Agents General were like ambassadors for their respective countries and they were to promote tourism and investments for their countries. In addition they were to serve as trade ministers for their regions. They also acted as liaison officers for the regional marketing boards helping to stabilize prices of goods and commodities.

This was during the era of cocoa, groundnut and palm kernel boom. The regions were prudent in the management of their resources and they struggled very hard to get revenue to survive.

On Friday January 28 1966, the then Head of State, Major General Johnson Thomas Umunakwe Aguiyi Ironsi told the nation at a press conference that “ I have abolished the offices of Agent General in London”.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Premier of the Western Region noticed that money could be made through cinemas and theatres. So his government formed a company with some Lebanese business men to establish cinema houses in Lagos and some part of the region.

The company later became a subsidiary of Wemabod Estates Limited in 1975 and via the directive of the then Military Governor of the Western Region, Brigadier General Oluwole Rotimi, the shares of the company were transferred to Wemabod Estates Limited. The assets included leasehold, lands and buildings were later sold to Wemabod Estates Limited at mutually agreed prices.

The company as of today has resorted to conversion of the existing structures to shops and halls, while the available lands are being allocated to individuals to put up shops, makeshift kiosks and containers among others. At present the Odua Investment Company headed by Mr. Wale Raji is taking a comprehensive schedule of letting out the properties of the companies to tenants.

The remaining functional Cinema Houses are Casino Cinema on Herbert Macaulay Street, Yaba, Lagos, Corona Cinema, Ita Faji Lagos, Queen Cinema, Ekotedo, Ibadan and Rex Cinema Tewogboye Street, Ondo. Also as Premier of Western Region, Chief Awolowo with his then Minister of Agriculture, Chief Gabriel Akin Deko established farm settlements all over the region.

In 1958 while at Methodist Primary School, Otapete in Ilesha in the present Osun state, it was always the joy of my life to spend weekends with my uncle, Chief Henry Aroloye now the Aruwajoye of Idanre who was then the agric officer in charge of Ijebu Ijesha farm settlement.

Lapal House at Igbosere road in Lagos Island now abandoned, Western house at broad street, Lagos, the 26 storey Cocoa house in Ibadan and lots of other buildings including Ikeja Airport hotel, University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University were built with proceeds from tax and cocoa by the old western region of Nigeria during the tenure of Chief Awolowo and Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola.

Hamdala hotel in Kaduna, Ahmadu Bello University established on October 4 1962, the Northern Nigeria Investment Limited and many other projects in the then Northern Nigeria were built during the era of Sir Ahmadu Bello as Premier of Northern Nigeria.

During his tenure as Chairman of the Eastern Nigeria Marketing Board, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu (1909-1966) encouraged the then Eastern Nigeria government to establish numerous companies. The board was established in 1954. The government also established farm settlements at Ohaji, Igbariam, Boki, Ulonna, Erei, Uzo-Uwani and Egbema to encourage agriculture.

Trading of goods was also a major part of the regional economy. In 1954, imports to the region were about 25 million pounds a year which were brought into the country by a few European firms but distributed by thousands of traders within the region. The trade in imported goods such as dried fish, motor parts and textiles goes on along with the trade in local foodstuffs.

In industry, the coal mines of Enugu managed by the Nigerian Coal Corporation and Nigersteel’s rolling mill which used steel scraps to produce mild steel bars were one of the few coal mines and steel plants in operation in West Africa in 1963. During the NCNC government led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, a cement factory was established at Nkalagu, Nigerian Breweries chose a stout factory at Aba, a tobacco and glass making plant was located at Port Harcourt.

Tinubu Bank was established by a Nigerian Journalist, Mr Ebuka Ezeh in 1944. Following the intervention of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the then Premier of Eastern region, Sir Lois Ojukwu, Chief Mbonu Ojike, the Minister of Finance in the Eastern Region, directed the Eastern Nigeria finance Corporation and the Eastern Nigeria Marketing Board to transform Tinubu Bank into African Continental Bank (ACB).

In the early sixties the bank was well managed under Mr. Adolphus Blankson and Chief Fred McEwen and competed with the big banks then like Barclays bank, Standard bank and Chartered bank. In fact a branch of the bank today is still at Yaba, Lagos very near Domino stores owned by the Father of Senator Ben Bruce. Till the bank got distressed in 1991, it had 107 branches.

No doubt the regions were doing well. Tragically on February 21 1966, General Ironsi told the nation that ”It has become apparent to all Nigerians that rigid adherence to ‘regionalism’, was the bane of the last regime and one of the main factors which contributed to its downfall.

No doubt, the country would welcome a clean break with deficiencies of the system of government to which the country has been subjected in the recent past.” That was the obituary announcement of the death of regionalism in Nigeria. The funeral rites were later made by General Yakubu Gowon when he created the twelve states in 1967 and transferred all the powers of the regions to the centre.

Since then, here we are.

ERIC TENIOLA, A FORMER DIRECTOR AT THE PRESIDENCY STAYS IN LAGOS.

Saraki And The Frustrations With Our Brand of Democracy, By Zainab Suleiman Okino

The president of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki appears unhappy over the constant feud and friction between the arm of government he leads and the Presidency. Under the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency, the executive and the National Assembly have disagreed over almost everything. If it is not on budget padding today, it is about the screening of nominees by the legislature. If those the system favours, those who benefit, and those who, supposedly call the shots, are angry with the system, then who else is not? Is it the electorate, who are remembered only once in four years, the hungry and dejected Nigerians, the unemployed youth or those who cannot pay their hospital bills, or those whose wards have dropped out of school because school fees have been hiked beyond their reach? Or is it the businessman who is forced to close shop because of unfair competition, the monopoly of a few and absence of protectionist policies to shield local industries.

The endless frictions, which Saraki attributed to lack of the “constructive engagement, synergy and institutional collaboration” are taking their tolls on the Senate president, hence his anger and frustration. This came to light at the weekend in Jos during a one-day retreat organised by the Senate Press Corps, tagged “Strengthening Executive-Legislature Relations”. The Senate president, who was visibly angry and seemed flustered about the unworkability of the present arrangement, also admitted that friction is a normal occurrence in a democracy, but theirs (the Senate and the Presidency) in the current dispensation has even degenerated to name calling. Currently brewing are the issues of budget consideration, the N4.6 trillion bond and approval of $1 billion from the excess crude account to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Just a few days ago, the issue of providing funding for the purchase of security equipment came up. In a good environment, such an issue needed to have been discussed with lawmakers. Already, some senators are angry. They said they were not consulted by the executive before such a decision was taken. These are the issues we are talking about.

“There is no way the security architecture of this country can work without a strong synergy between the executive and the legislature. When you see certain agencies which by their actions and utterances frustrate the relationship between the two arms, you begin to wonder. In a situation where a particular arm of government stands up and calls people from another arm of government thieves, looters and other names, how can we work together? How? It is not possible. It is not realistic. If we collaborate, the country will be better for it. Imagine, the federal government wants to raise a N4.6 trillion from the capital market. The leadership of the National Assembly first heard about it through a letter written by the president. This is what happens from time to time and yet, people keep blaming the legislature for being confrontational”, the Senate president further raved about.

Nigerians are justifiably frustrated with the representatives of the people, the National Assembly members, who sometimes collude with the executive to short-change the citizens and only cry foul when their interests are not taken care of. Nigerians are angry with the president for being aloof in the face of unmet expectations.

 

Saraki also spoke on the so-called budget delay, rather blaming this on the executive which unfortunately plans (and even tries to execute) without consideration of the National Assembly’s constitutional right of oversight and scrutiny. Saraki’s anger might not be misplaced after all, especially as the Presidency seems to have retraced its steps over the funds for the prosecution of the battle against Boko Haram and is now ready to channel its requests through the National Assembly. However, the Senate president only needs to reverse his role with those of other Nigerians, put himself in their shoes, visualise the situation of things, and he will see a groundswell of anger, frustration and disenchantment against all the lawmakers put together. Their grouse is not unconnected to both the National Assembly and Presidency’s nonchalance about their welfare and security. Citizens are angry at the level of opulence displayed by the president’s men. They hear about millions changing hands among Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, when they thought they had made the right decision through their choice of the opposition party led by the assumed incorrigible President Buhari in 2015.

Nigerians are justifiably frustrated with the representatives of the people, the National Assembly members, who sometimes collude with the executive to short-change the citizens and only cry foul when their interests are not taken care of. Nigerians are angry with the president for being aloof in the face of unmet expectations. Yes, the citizens are angry at the humongous amount in salaries, constituency and other allowances that lawmakers collect on behalf of their people without giving much in return. The citizens are even more frustrated when the two arms of government that should collaborate to advance the course of development are at loggerheads. Over what anyway?

Over the years, the leadership of the country has put politics before the people in our model of democracy. We politicise everything, including social services like health, education, road construction and security. Imagine a governor like Abdulaziz Yari, whose primary and secondary schools are in tatters (only 28 Zamfara children from public schools are said to have enrolled for Common Entrance out of over 70 million across the country), playing good politics at the centre as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and Governor Yahaya Bello and Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi state, who draw attention to their state for all the wrong reasons.

 

Our brand of democracy is failing; the citizens are frustrated because our government is not people-oriented. The Asian Tigers, like Singapore and Malaysia, put development and the people before politics in their model of democracy. Here it is politics, politics, politics and personal advancement of those who hold the levers of power.

Democracy works better only if the interest of the few persons in the corridors of power is subsumed under the interest of the entire citizenry. Executive-legislative harmony can only be guaranteed in an atmosphere of rule of law and adherence to the separation of powers as spelt out in the constitution, instead of the superior posturing of one over the other.

 

It is high time we began to prioritise the economic wellbeing of the people than focus on the face-off between one arm of government and another. Democracy works better only if the interest of the few persons in the corridors of power is subsumed under the interest of the entire citizenry. Executive-legislative harmony can only be guaranteed in an atmosphere of rule of law and adherence to the separation of powers as spelt out in the constitution, instead of the superior posturing of one over the other.

On the impasse over budget presentation recorded through the years, Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi, who was deputy chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior in the Seventh Senate, who also presented a paper on Improving Nigeria’s Budgetary Process through Executive-Legislature Cooperation suggested a new model of engagement in this direction, adding that cooperation at the planning stage and not at the stage of presentation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) and the need to reintroduce development plans with clear objectives, outcomes and performance indicators in our budget planning process, as the way forward.

Clearly, the missing link in our endangered democracy, causing frustration all over the place is because the practitioners put the people last. The solution also lies in our leaders eschewing self-first, ego-tripping and grandstanding, while they should be more development- and people-oriented.

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