Hameed Ali VS Senate: A Case Of Democratic Power Versus Military Mentality – Yinusa Tanko

Human Rights Activist and National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Yinusa Tanko, has described the situation between the Senate and the Customs Comptroller General, Colonel Hameed Ali, as that of democratic power versus military mentality in a democratic setting.

He made the position known while addressing the issues that led to the summoning of the Customs CG by the Senate and the compulsion to appear in his complete uniform.

“The senate is trying to consolidate its power to say, this is the representative of the people, this House represents the interest of Nigerians and so when we call you, Nigerians call you and you must answer to the question of Nigeria.

“Here, you have an ex-military man, who comes from a big military background, who is trying to show that I’ve been a military man and in this my own profession that I have learned, there are things that cannot go down well with me as an ex-military man.”

Although Col. Ali had argued that there was no law to his knowledge that compelled him to wear the uniform, the NCP Chairman stated that according to some of the Senators, Section 2 of the Customs Act compels the CG to be in his uniform.

 

According to him, it must be understood that this is a democratic setting and the processes that brought him in must be understood.

Meanwhile, many hold the opinion that the real issue which led to the summoning of the Customs Comptroller General had been pushed to the background, and the focus had shifted to whether or not he appeared in uniform.

On his part, the NCP Chairman admitted to the fact that some of the major issues had been ignored, while also advocating that policies should be made in the interest of Nigerians.

“People who take up offices do not really read up on the kind of laws governing those offices and this is why anyone who is applying into any leadership role should read up on the laws guiding that office.

“If You want to achieve an aim, in ensuring that the system is clean, where there is need for you to do some things in order to get to that particular place, do them so that you would not have this particular altercation that does not depict the kind of person that you are”.

Mr Ali had been summoned to explain the Service’s new directive on duties to be paid on imported vehicles.

 

Source: Channels TV

Opinion: Democracy, Corruption and Countrymen – By Lukman Sarumi

Across the world today, Athens jusxtapositional  system of government is the most widely practiced form in every sphere of a nation’s affairs, indirect democracy is adopted in replacement of the direct form practicable in the ancient Greek city state as the best system of government. This is however unconnected with it basic principles which provides utmost fairness for the governed populace. In Africa, the tenets of a democratic system of government in replacement to the junta sit tight administration is been adopted. Akin to the experience of many countries in Africa, Nigeria returned to a democratic-civilian rule in 1999 after the “Say, touch, do and Implement” theory of the military governments.
 Latent rosiness and renewed hopes filled the air upon the return of a democratic-civil rule in Nigeria, the hopes wore was in celebrating the future of seeing economic development rise to it peak, sustenance of  security of lifes and property, accrument in her citizenry welfarism and above all regard for a vital feature of democracy “rule of law”. Dismally this optimism seems to be a mirage, disapppoinment was borne in the breed representative democracy provided us with, money bag politics, corruption, impunity were the end result.
Article 21 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights stipulates: “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures”. Once again the polls were approached and the cornerstone rode on the platform of change and gracefully the will of the people prevailed.
Just when the hearts saw giving up as an option, a sheriff who refused to give up on his mission came running again however on a major collaboration and he is fit  to be conferred the honor of an old tenant, One who knows the nooks and crannies of his abode, one who knows what to do when he needs discharge an overstaying visitor. He lives in a majestic ‘aso’ at the top of a rock coupled with vast royal diadem. His story is that of a general whose cycle of progression enabled him leave behind his khaki for agbada, this evolution can as well be linked to what is called the cycle of progression or movement pattern.
A land filled with milk and honey was what we use to have, in abundance we ate, without worries we transacted, daily we woke up to the news of how big and mighty our giant was within it peers, in it simplest form haggling was minimal they had lots to deep into hence they had no reason to beat the price, all that mattered was the end product.  A cleansing process is required, our sheriff was willing to restore sanity, the yam eaters he was willing to curb, our system he wanted to set right only to be met with our hypocritical demons, with a head raised with pride we stood and marched for the goats accused of eating our common wealth, with utmost disregard for our moral values we sang praises of witch hunt, regional, ethnical alongside religious rants succeeded in becoming the basis. Gullibility at it peak, the eaters are united in amassing the collective wealth while we fall prey to the divide theory.  In the front line are those who we call the future, agog they went upon the arrival of a sentenced goat.
 Once again our optimism for a better democratic system via the mantra of change is a mirage, old wines are back in a new bottle.  Our milky lands are losing it source and a river that sets to forget it source will cease to flow, your hands must be clean in a bid to cleanse a land you all brought destruction to. The never relenting not too young to run campaigners seek not to extirpate the act of corruption rather within their various jurisdiction they exhibit acts advocating the opposite.
Sarumi Lukman Oluwapelumi is a final year student of political science at the university of Ilorin, kwara state. 
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Obama to Americans: Democracy needs you to survive, guard it jealously

Barack Obama, outgoing president of the United States, urged Americans to “jealously” protect democracy during his emotional farewell address on Tuesday night.

Speaking in his home state of Chicago, Illinois, Obama made it clear very early in the speech that he would be focusing on democracy.

Obama acknowledged the fact that America has flaws while noting that the country is “exceptional” and possesses the capacity to change and continuously move forward.

“For 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation. It’s what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny, pioneers to trek west, slaves to brave that makeshift railroad to freedom. It’s what pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans and the Rio Grande, pushed women to reach for the ballot, powered workers to organize. It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.

“So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional. Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.

“Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.

He strongly cautioned that America’s democracy should not be taken for granted, and urged his country’s citizens to dedicate themselves to rebuilding democratic institutions.

Obama implored everyone to participate in democracy, politics and advocacy with the overall aim of improving America.

“Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote.

“When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service. When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.”

“It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.”

“Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing.

“If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you.”

The outgoing president also touched on a number of his achievements in office, in the past eight years.

Obama reminded Americans that his administration overcame a “great recession”, created jobs on a consistent basis and made health insurance possible for 20 million people.

“If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history.

“If I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11.

“If I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high.”

Obama to outline vision of democracy in a Trump world.

US President Barack Obama will Wednesday sketch out his vision of democracy at a time of mounting global populism, seeking to soothe European allies anxious over a Donald Trump presidency.

On the second day of a European farewell tour, Obama will build on a topic he outlined on Tuesday — the “frustration and anger” of an electorate that feels it has been left behind by rapid globalisation.

“The lesson I draw — and I think people can draw a lot of lessons but maybe one that cuts across countries — is we have to deal with issues like inequality,” said Obama.

The 55-year-old Obama has chosen the “cradle of democracy” Greece to deliver a speech addressing the uncertainties that have led to the rise of populists like Trump.

Trump was able to tap into “a suspicion of globalisation, a desire to rein in its excesses, a suspicion of elites and governing institutions,” Obama noted.

Obama’s visit to Europe — his last foreign trip as American leader — has been all about reassuring traditional allies worried about Trump’s campaign rhetoric.

Trump welcomed Britain’s shock vote in June to leave the European Union and has cast doubts on the NATO alliance that has guaranteed relative peace on the continent for decades.

However, Obama was at pains to stress that Europe — and NATO — would remain the cornerstone of US foreign policy.

The US-led NATO grouping is “absolutely vital” to US interests and a strong, unified Europe was good for America and the world, Obama said in comments aimed at reassuring old partners.

“We know what happens when Europeans start dividing themselves up… the 20th century was a bloodbath,” he said pointedly.

Obama was expected to visit the Acropolis ahead of his much-anticipated speech before heading to Germany to visit Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he has described as “probably … my closest international partner these last eight years”.

During his time in Berlin, he will also huddle with the leaders of Britain, France and Italy, as European leaders desperately seek clues to future US policy in a Trump world.

– ‘Extraordinary compassion’ –

While Obama has generally been welcomed in Greece, some demonstrators hit the streets to protest against his visit.

Some 2,500 people brandishing banners denouncing US “imperialism” and calling Obama “non grata”, or not welcome, were turned away by police firing tear gas and stun grenades as they tried to breach barriers and head toward the city centre.

Many Greeks are suspicious of the United States after it helped install a repressive seven-year dictatorship in the country in the 1960s, and trade unions, leftist and anarchist parties denounce US involvement in wars in the Middle East.

Several hundred of the protesters appeared to be from Greece’s vocal anarchist movement, police told AFP.

On the first day of his visit, Obama also touched on issues that have shaken Greek society — a dramatic influx of migrants fleeing war and poverty and a crippling financial crisis.

He lauded the Greek people’s “extraordinary compassion” to hundreds of thousands of people arriving during Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.

He also pledged support for Greece’s economy, as Greek leaders seek a fresh US pledge to help alleviate the country’s enormous public debt, a measure actively sought by the International Monetary Fund but opposed by leading European lender Germany.

“In my message to the rest of Europe I will continue to emphasise our view that austerity alone cannot deliver prosperity,” Obama told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Russia celebrates as Trump takes White House on Election Day.

How many Electoral votes does Russia have?

Social media began asking the question as poll watchers in the Kremlin — and presumably Russian president Vladimir Putin — took delight in Donald Trump’s impressive Election Night showing.

Putin pinged Trump a congratulatory telegram following his White House win, adding that he hopes relations between the two countries benefit as a result.

Popular Front, a political movement founded by Putin in 2011, also took note of Trump’s victory and Putin’s alleged hand in the election.

“They say that Putin once again beat all,” the group tweeted.

 

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Trump had been widely criticized over what had appeared to be a cozy relationship with Putin.

Election coverage was so intense in Russia that at least one news commentator joked that voters in Moscow were looking for places to cast ballots for Trump.

The night-and-day coverage in Russia led many to complain that the Kremlin-managed news media was devoting more attention to the American elections than it gave to a Russia’s national parliamentary vote less than two months ago.

“Correct me if I am wrong, but this has not happened for any elections in Russia,” Dmitry Gudkov, an opposition politician, wrote on Facebook.

 

Gudkov lost his seat in part because nongovernment candidates got virtually zero television coverage.

The Russian news media has generally been kinder to Trump. Clinton, on the other hand, is regarded as an old adversary who would tighten the screws on the Kremlin.

“Clinton will surround us with nuclear rockets,” one Russian newspaper warned.

Vadim Tyulpanov, member of the Russian Senate, told Moscow’s Life News that Americans were tired of overly aggressive leaders, and that a Trump victory could lead to collaboration between the former Cold War foes.

 

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

He said he was dismayed that the American elite tried to paint Trump as a puppet of Russia.

China was watching the election closely, as well.

Commentators signaled Beijing’s preference for the billionaire, saying that like Russia, China was rooting for Trump because he appears less willing to confront China’s newly robust foreign

“From a comprehensive view, it would make it easier for China to cope if Trump is elected,” scholar Mei Xinyu wrote in the Communist Party newspaper Global Times.

 

Not Released (NR)

“This is because under the policy line advocated by Obama and Clinton, the political and military frictions between China and the U.S. will be more frequent.”

Not all of Russia rejoiced over the prospect of a Trump presidency. Margarita Simonyan, the editor of an English-language news outlet, tweeted a simple message.

“Democracy. R.I.P.”

Ondo guber: AD suspends 3 principal officers.

The Alliance for Democracy (AD) has suspended three principal officers of the party for their alleged involvement in the governorship candidacy saga in Ondo State.

A communique signed by AD National Chairman, Mr Joseph Avazi, issued in Abuja on Friday, said the three officials were suspended by the party’s National Executive Council [NEC] at its meeting on Oct. 26.

It listed those affected as: Alhaji Shehu Musa, Deputy National Chairman North, Mr Kehinde Aworele, the National Legal Adviser, and the National Organising Secretary, Mr Abdallah Ibrahim.

The communique added that the suspension was to allow the NEC to meet again and resolve the matter.

It stated that the NEC had appointed Alhaji Magaji Kwairanga to act as Deputy National Chairman North, Mr Roland Kientey, as acting National Organising Secretary, and the Deputy Legal Adviser to oversee the legal department.

According to the communique, the NEC has recognised Mr Olusola Oke as the AD candidate in the Nov. 26 governorship election in Ondo state

I Will Defend Democracy For Life – Tinubu

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said he will devote the rest of his life to the defence of democracy in Nigeria.

He said Nigeria must keep perfecting its democracy despite the daunting challenges.

The former governor of Lagos State said this in a statement, titled, “We must not take our democracy for granted,” on Sunday.

According to him, the country needed an unrivalled fiscal policy to weather the economic storm.

Tinubu said those that looted the national treasury in the last administration were trying to use the backdoor to continue their corrupt acts.

He said the country could not afford to fall into their deceit in order not to forfeit the nation’s future.

He said, “I have devoted most of my life to the struggle for Nigerian democracy. I would be more than happy to devote the rest of my days so that democracy can thrive and erase the unjust imbalances that have for too long been a heavy surcharge against the lives of most of our people.

“A great historic push and effort are mandated. Change takes boldness, perseverance and moral fortitude; profound change requires even more so. The task is hard but I neither fret nor worry. In my heart, I am comforted by the knowledge that we are so much better and stronger than the obstacle before us. We shall and must overcome it because it is in our nature and it is for our best destiny to do so.”

The APC chieftain said for the Federal Government to accomplish its economic rescue plan, it must dedicate unprecedented amounts for productive expenditure in the areas of transportation infrastructure, power generation, food security and job creation.

The statement partly read, “We have entered a period of stagflation where recession or shrinkage of the economy is accompanied by higher prices. Unfortunately, if we try to fight both at the same time, we fight neither effectively. Given the rate of joblessness and poverty, it is more fitting to fight recession at this point than to focus on inflation.

“We can endure a bit more inflation if it means more jobs and greater aggregate demand that can develop the velocity needed to free the economy of recession’s gravitational pull. We must resist recession; it is harder to shake off once it takes grip of an economy. Restructuring our economy is the most complex challenge before us. On this so much depends. We all must contribute if we are to win.”

Credit: Punch

Sunday Osanyintuyi: Buhari’s Presidency; One Year After and Wailing Wailers Achievements

 

Setting out to address a subject of this nature appears a huge task for me with reasons.  I am neither in government nor any party’s card carrying member. But as one of those who campaigned seriously for the current president just before March 28th, 2015 elections, the onus lies on me to access its successes, criticized its failures while setting clearer agenda for its progress. Needleless to mention that inability of sycophants of disposed GEJ administration to throng this path of honour was his undoing.  Some of them are lamenting today for not having enough courage to cane the government they served when it missed the road. Posterity judges those who embrace silence in the face of absurdity.

 Almost four decades as a Nigerian, I am a concerned citizen about governance in Africa and policies. In Nigeria particularly, when such policies have direct or indirect impacts on living.  Right from when I knew A from B, power supply in Nigeria has always been in comatose. It is so up till today.  However, the focus of this opinion today is neither lamenting the failures of the past nor predicting blink future but objective assessment of president Buhari’s one year presidency and wailing wailers (Opposition party members & pessimistic Nigerians) achievements.

To the wailing wailers, there is no perfection in humanity.  Human imperfections should not be excuses for failures. To Buhari and his team, you should always take cue from the wailers wail and not throw the baby away with the bath water. Some questions for the wailers.  Should you just wail because you need to? Shouldn’t your wailing have foundation and genuine reasons?  Should criticism just become a job while throwing away common sense? Can a house destroyed for 16 years suddenly be fixed in one year? Shouldn’t a proper foundation be laid to avoid sudden collapse?  Truly, opposition is a core bone of vibrant democracy. But when criticisms become tools for feeding, as the case with some of you, then there is an urgent need to retool and rethink. Clearly, the only feat your wailing has achieved in the last one year is NOTHING.  It has revealed the emptiness of your brain and its valueless.

Buhari’s Stand Against Corruption.

As we mark democracy day today as well as one year administration of Buhari’s presidency, one cannot but remind Nigerians that what President Buhari and his team promised us before last elections is CHANGE!  Change means clear departure from the normal. It is a definite step from away from the usual.  The usual before March 28th, 2015 election was impunity, poor leadership and directionless nation.

Change is an act or process through which something becomes different. We all agreed our nation has been on a wrong direction for long. From military era to the immediate past government, Nigeria was enmeshed in corruption. Everyone, including the deaf, heard clearly Buhari’s promise of change. In my view, president Buhari has kept faith with this promise in the last one year. Pains and some hardship tag along this change, but we as a people must learn to defer pleasure with little pains today.

His stands on corruption fight, which we all taunt as our major enemy leaves no one in doubt. What I feel the concerns of Nigeria enemies are the tenacity and brutality on how the corruption war is being fought.  Before you conclude Buhari is fighting opposition party members alone, please take an objective question on who were those in the helms of Nigeria affairs in the last 16 years of retrogression? The revelations on how money meant to fight Boko Haram war was shared among heartless people in power should be a thing of concern to you. The callousness, unpatriotic and perfidy of minds these people have are beyond imaginations.

President Buhari’s corruption fight in the last one year has been steadily focus with results.  Just few weeks ago, we had the first corruption victim, Ex – NIMASA boss, Raymond Omatseye jailed for 5 years over 1.5bn contract scam. National Publicity Secretary, PDP, Olisha Metuh is having his days in court over corruption as well as Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who incidentally is a top member of APC.  We have never heard such heart leaping news in the last 7 years, particularly under our immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan. It never happened.  Such is one change Nigerians voted for last elections.

2016 Budget Issues & Subsidy Removal.

In the history of Nigeria, its citizens had never been aware of budget process like it is this year. Citizens’ consciousness was geared up to the process of budget passage because of the openness of Buhari’s administration and his determination for change.  Though some deadly politicians tried to scuttle the process through national assembly, but thank goodness the president has since signed the budget and citizens would begin to reap the fruits.

Petroleum subsidy in itself is not bad, but the Nigeria case leaves the subsidized citizens at the mercy of the powerful and rich. Just last week, an international blogger, JJ Omojuwa outlined clearly the difference between the 2012 and 2016 fuel hikes. What made Nigerians refuted it 2012 was corruption. Today, Nigerians are not on the street because the global oil realities do not exempt us. Also with the current disposition of Buhari’s administration, Nigerians, though painful, accepted the increase knowing fully well integrity is the hallmark of the government being led by Buhari.  Integrity, focus and transparency were not found in the dictionary of Goodluck Jonathan’s team.

APC DEVELOPMENTAL AGENDA

If All Progressive Congress (APC) has any agenda for overall development of Nigeria and Nigerians, there is no best time to roll out than now.  We have tolerated the excuses enough and our patience for blaming the immediate past government has dropped to zero level. Now there is a budget to run with, take the fast lane and deliver.

APC led federal government must get to work immediately as its time enters the second year today. It does not appear to all that APC has proper coordination of its information machinery.  A situation where the presidency issues a statement contradicting ministry of Information on same issue lacks tact. Mr President, you cannot move into second year of your administration with this incoherent approach.  It takes so much away from you.

Recently, the opinion of Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Dr. Caleb Aborisade captures the views of those in the education sector. “I have not seen any meaningful thing done by this administration in the education sector. The only thing I know Buhari government is doing is fighting corruption and he is doing that well.” As much as it good to fight corruption, leaving education out of a national development is the worst type of corruption ever exists.

Buhari needs to, at this point, take an objective assessment of his ministers with a view of changing the change agents where necessary.  Nigerians and international community expectations are high. He cannot continue test run of ministers going forward. While commending performing ones, he should press reset button on less performing ministers.

Happy Democracy Day, Nigerians!

Sunday Osanyintuyi, media consultant & PR strategist writes from Lagos.

Sunday Osanyintuyi | @SundayOs

Osinbajo Hails ECOWAS Leaders For Ensuring Democratic Transition In Burkina Faso

Osinbajo hails ECOWAS leaders for ensuring democratic transition in Burkina Faso
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has lauded the ability of ECOWAS leaders to ensure an authentic democratic transition in Burkina Faso after 30 years of military rule.

 

 

Osinbajo said this in an interview with newsmen after the inauguration of President Mr Rock Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Ouaga 2000 Stadium in Ouagadougou on Tuesday.

 
“I think it is a very great occasion. It is a wonderful day indeed for West Africa and indeed for Africa because after 30 years of military rule in one form or the other, we now have a transition to an authentic civil democracy, which is incredible indeed.

 

“And the fact that all these happened with the active collaboration of ECOWAS states without any outside interference, is a great thing indeed.

 

I think that in many senses, ECOWAS has come of age. It shows that ECOWAS is able to resolve its disputes and to advance its own causes.

 

This is excellent indeed. So it is a very wonderful day and I congratulate the President on this great occasion and of course the people of Burkina Faso, who stood their ground and insisted on democracy.’’

 

 

The vice president also acknowledged the key role President Muhammadu Buhari played in halting the coup d’etat, which took place in the country, saying the stand of the Nigerian leader had ensured the installation of an enduring democratic rule in the country.

 

 

“President Muhammadu Buhari, of course, was at the table and was probably one of the key persons, who brought about this.

 

As a matter of fact the Burkinabes agreed that he played such a significant role in enabling this to happen.

 

Even from the time of their elections we aided the electoral committee logistically and in various other ways and the President was firm about the issue of the coup.

 

He was very firm and of course you know that he was possibly one of the active negotiators in ensuring that the coup did not stand.

 

So our relationships will be much stronger. I think the Burkinabe people understand the role that we have played and are very appreciative.’’

 

 

Osinbajo, who represented Buhari at the inauguration, said that the ECOWAS sub-region had come of age democratically and that the people of Burkina Faso had proved to be genuinely interested in good governance.

 

“They have been courageous; they have fought to see this day and they deserve all the congratulations and all the commendation.

 

“I think the people did an excellent outing; they stood their ground; but for that we probably wouldn’t be here today.’’

 

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Kabore, who spoke in French, pledged to restore the past glory of the country and entrench transparency and promote democracy.

 

 

Kabore, who described the event as the beginning of “a new dawn”, pledged that liberty, equity, justice, and national reconciliation would be his watchwords.

 

 

(NAN)

Democracy Has Come Of Age In Africa- Osinbajo

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that with the conduct of peaceful elections and transitions from one government to the other on the continent, it was clear that democracy had come of age in Africa.

A news release issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, in Abuja on Tuesday said Osinbajo made the remark in Conakry, Guinea, at the inauguration of Prof. Alpha Conde’s second term in office.

“It shows that democracy has come of age in Africa. All over, you can see the demonstration of peaceful elections, peaceful transitions from one government to another”, the Vice President said.

According to the release, Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the ceremony attended by several African presidents and leaders, noted that peaceful elections were producing right leaders on the continent.

He explained that the conduct of peaceful elections in African countries “point to the fact that democratic elections in Africa could produce leadership in the right way,” stressing that “we are seeing that everywhere in Africa.”

While lauding the leadership of the Guinean President and congratulating the people, Prof. Osinbajo described President Conde as “a great leader, a person who has committed himself to developing his people; a leadership that focuses on development of infrastructure and human capital”.

Credit: Vanguard

Taraba Tribunal Ruling Will Deepen Democracy – VOTAS

The Nigerian Voters Assembly (VOTAS) has said that the recent ruling of the Taraba State election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, will deepen the nation’s democracy.

The tribunal had declared Senator Aisha Alhassan winner of the April 11 election and ordered the removal the Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku.
President of the group, Comrade Mashood Erubami, said the tribunal ruling validating Senator Aisha Alhassan as governor-elect of Taraba is in consonant with best standards and conforms with the Electoral Act.
“It is heart warming and timely, coming at a time when Nigerians are looking up to the judiciary to confirm its place among nations upholding the rule of law. It is worthy of note that the judgement trailed other judgements that reversed elections results to rightful winners against those that INEC had earlier declared as witnessed in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States”, he said.
He added: “The number and nature of elections results upheld and reversed is a confirmation that there is new re-orientation among the judges and lots of them are now judging according to law and their consciences. The judgement so far has shown that some of the judgements of the past were not independently delivered and that not all those who were declared winners deserved it”.
Erubami said the judgement affirmed the need for political parties to always adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act and also revealed that INEC did not perform its duty in respect of party nomination and sponsorship of candidate.
“It INEC had done its job, the sacked governor should have been stopped before the election on the basis of qualification as enshrined in Section 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act. The judgement cleared all doubts and was not in my opinion shrouded in any mysterious declaration that can stand against it at the Appeal, more so, when the issues of jurisdiction and petitioner locus standi have been dismissed by the tribunal at the early stage before the judgement.”

Telegraph UK Praises Sahara Reporter’s Journalist For Thrashing President Mugabe

Compared to the BBC’s John Simpson or CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Adeola Fayehun from Nigeria is not exactly a global name in the world of television reporting. This week, though, she made broadcasting history as she did something that all few African reporters have ever dared do: ask one their ageing dictators when the hell he is going to quit.

As this video from Ms Fayehun’s TV channel shows, the feisty reportress ambushed Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe during a visit to Nigeria last weekend, asking the 91-year-old: “Are you going to step down?”

To the fury of his assorted security goons, she then refused to go away as they tried to push past her, repeating the onslaught like an African Jeremy Paxman. “Mr president, don’t you think that it’s time
you step down sir, so you can rest? When will there be change in Zimbabwe, sir? Is there democracy in Zimbabwe?”

Footage of her grilling of Mr Mugabe has now become a viral hit on among internet users in Africa, for whom it’s all too rare to see a leader publicly challenged in such fashion.

Yet while it may seem like nothing more than a piece of entertaining televisual theatre, take it from me, this kind of buttonholing takes quite a bit of guts. Waylaying any head of state is a nerve wracking enough experience at the best of times, and when it’s someone like Mugabe, there is every chance of a roughing up if he doesn’t like the drift of the questions (remember the vicious beating that his bodyguards once gave to the gay rights activist Peter Tatchell).

Not only that, in many parts of Africa, reporters can also find themselves arrested if they pull stunts like the ones Ms Fayehun did, especially if their target is a visiting heads of state. It hopefully says much about press freedoms in Nigeria these days that the Nigerian police did not apparently see fit to intervene – and that they let reporters near Mr Mugabe in the first place.

Indeed, at the risk of perhaps reading too much into it, this little episode says much about the changing politics of Africa in the 21st century. On the one hand you have countries like Nigeria, which despite its many problems, has just completed yet another relatively peaceful election, where the outgoing president has handed power without a fuss to his successor, Muhammadu Buhari. And on the other, there are still Cold War era gerontocrats like Mugabe clinging to power in the likes of Zimbabwe.

Ensure Nigerians Enjoy Democracy, EU Tells Buhari

The European Union (EU) on Saturday urged the president-elect, retired Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that Nigerians enjoyed the democracy dividends.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Michel Arrion, made the call at the Europe Day 2015 in Abuja.

Arrion explained that democracy meant nothing to the common man except it led to the improvement in their standards of living.

“But democracy only makes meaning to the common man to the extent that it delivers good governance, creates opportunities and improves the quality of living.

“Nigeria is rich, but Nigerians are poor. The incoming administration will have a lot to do in this regard.

“It must ensure that Nigeria’s massive population is galvanised into a formidable productive force that will generate wealth that is equally or rather equitably shared among all citizens,” he said.

According to Arrion, as the new government comes on stream, the world will want to see a Nigeria with the basic freedoms that distinguish democratic societies.

“The government must ensure that the basic freedoms including economic rights and welfare are not the exclusive preserve of a privileged few.

The EU envoy reminded Buhari of his promises before and after his election to pursue three priority objectives.

He said the first objective set by the President-elect was “to swiftly end the insurgency in the North East and restore peace and stability.

According to him, the second is to eradicate corruption, while the third is to put policies in place to put Nigeria’s economy on a proper footing.

He said that these goals set for the incoming government match closely the European Union’s vision for the country.

“Let me add a fourth objective that is very important for the European Union: regional integration,” he said.

Arrion said the EU strongly believed that peace and stability, as well as the economic development of Nigeria were achievable.

According to him, they will be better achieved within the framework of a closer and deeper co-operation of Nigeria with its neighbours in West and Central Africa.

“It is in that global context that the partnership between Nigeria and the EU is taking place. I am delighted to state that Nigeria and EU do share very strong relations of mutual trust and partnership.

“And I am very happy to confirm the excellent quality of our local political and policy dialogue between the 21 European Ambassadors and High Commissioner and the Government of Nigeria.”

He commended Nigeria and Nigerians for the success of the general elections, saying the last three months were very special for Nigerian citizens.

“We are happy that Nigeria has got it right, and look forward to other African countries following its good example,” he said.

The EU envoy commended outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for gracefully “accepting the outcome of the election so that his country can move on.”

He said the EU was commemorating May 9, 1950, when the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman made an historical declaration proposing the economic and industrial integration of Europe.

The Day was attended by European envoys and citizens, members of the diplomatic corps, government functionaries and other important personalities.

AIT Ban Dangerous For Democracy- PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described as unacceptable Monday’s directive by the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to bar a television house, Africa Independent Television, AIT, from covering his activities, saying the suppression of the media under any guise portends danger for the nation’s democracy.

Mr. Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has already announced the reversal of the directive.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Tuesday said after carefully studying the defence by Mr. Buhari’s campaign spokesperson, Garba Shehu, as well as the statement by the APC, it is persuaded that the action was not only unjustifiable, but also unconstitutional and completely against the spirit of liberty and the rule of law in a democracy.

“The PDP as a party that have nurtured the nation’s democracy in the past 16 years cannot afford to fold its hands and watch the constitutional rights, media freedom and personal liberty of Nigerians, the basic tenets of democracy being demolished.

“We ask, is this a beginning of the feared erosion of the freedom and personal liberty the media and Nigerian citizens have been enjoying in the last 16 years under the PDP led-administration? Has our dear nation finally fallen into the clutches of totalitarianism and impunity where government actions will based on egocentric decisions and impulses of individuals rather than the rule of law?

“While we assure the President-elect of our resolve to run a mature and responsible opposition based on issues, we are disturbed by this emerging development and reassure the Nigerian people that we will continue to stand with them on issues of democracy and freedom at all times.

“Perhaps, we need to remind General Buhari that part of the challenge of his new position, even as President-elect is that he has lost his private life which is now subject to public scrutiny and media interrogation, as required of the custodian of the mandate of the Nigerian people.

“The PDP is not oblivious of the background of the President-elect especially as it relates to the freedom of the media, but we had thought that having declared to be a converted democrat, he would make himself amenable to the basic principles of democracy by following the due process of the law on any circumstance.

“General Buhari may also wish to be reminded that the Nigerian constitution upon which provisions he emerged President-elect, also gave the media powers to cover activities of public office holders while at the same time providing legal avenues for redress in the event of any violation. If the right of the President-elect was in anyway violated by the AIT or any media house for that matter, he is expected to act within the law and seek redress in the courts otherwise one would have no option than to conclude that he is out for personal vendetta.

“The APC and the President-elect may have one or two lessons to pick from President Goodluck Jonathan, who though the most maligned and abused President in the history of our nation, even by the APC, allowed his actions to be sufficiently guided by humility, tolerance and the rule of law”, the PDP said.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Stop The Winner- Loser Acrimony: Redeem Nigeria’s Damaged Reputation By Rees Chikwendu

Let me be very clear from the start: I am not a politician, but a student of political studies and neutral observer of political issues and developments – especially those that affect my home country. I am a proud Nigerian. I have always identified myself as a proud Nigerian in all countries I have lived or visited. I do not carry any shame of being a Nigerian. I do, however – often and in every form – abhor the image of Nigeria, marred by poor leadership. I am appalled at the high level of illiteracy in the country and the denial of the right to education of millions of children in Nigeria (especially in northern Nigeria). I am filled with sadness when I see Nigerians bickering one another on ethnic sentiments instead of sharing the good found in each ethnic group. They have allowed their minor dissimilarities to set themselves apart.
Having had the opportunity to travel to and live in other countries, to experience other cultures, and having been treated sometimes unfairly by others because of my race or country of origin, I have come to see the need for Nigerians to be united. I have had issues with some acquaintances who wish for a divided Nigeria, where each ethnic group would have its own country. But how many countries would you get out of Nigeria if each ethnic group goes its separate way? Would that finally serve us peace in that region? I think we all (in our sincerest self) know the right answer. Nigeria is stronger united, with every ethnic group – big and small – being accorded the dignity as humans and citizens of one nation. This is possible, and it requires true leadership, a strong vision, and social engineering. The rest of Africa is looking at us to take back our place as the leader of Africa. My friends from other African countries do pray constantly for the sleeping giant to wake up from its slumber and take its rightful place in Africa.

At this period in Nigeria’s history, I have been watching the euphoria of many Nigerians for the hope of change. Nonetheless, as per usual, this excitement and happiness is again being tainted by the ethnic bigotry and hate speeches that has often trailed anything out of Nigeria. Why all the hateful comments against Ndi-Igbo this time? What has Ndi-Igbo done to other Nigerians to deserve hatred against them? Honestly I haven’t seen anything wrong from Ndi-Igbo besides their enterprise and integration into any society they find themselves. If Nigeria is to be truly one entity, are not her citizens supposed to integrate anywhere they live in the country? Are they not supposed to do businesses and develop where they live? That is just the spirit of Ndi-Igbo, which should not be despised by those that wish for a true and one Nigeria. It should be emulated! Yet Ndi-igbo are being berated and discriminated for who they are in their own country.

Without any bias, Ndi-Igbo spirit is a model for Nigeria’s development. If any leadership in Nigeria could put aside bias, the Ndi-Igbo model could level the playing field and put Nigeria head-to-head with any Western nation. They are achievers, no matter where you place them. Leave them in a lurch and economic deprivation, they will come out more prosperous than before. The late Sarduana of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello tacitly acknowledged the industriousness of Ndi-Igbo in a YouTube video. This does not in any way mean that other ethnic groups in Nigeria are not industrious. But in terms of effectiveness, Ndi-Igbo model should be adopted or fashioned into Nigeria’s economic and industrial development plan. How else would you explain the rise of a people who fought a Civil War, lost everything, but today rose to the top to become one of the most enterprising ethnic groups in Nigeria and Africa? The only ethnic group today in Nigeria that is probably on par with Ndi-Igbo is the Yoruba ethnic group. This is the spirit that thrust nations into development, not something to discard. Ndi-Igbo should be the envy of Nigeria (with respect to other ethnic groups) by bringing them fully onboard into Nigeria’s economic and industrial development plan; that is, if we are truly one Nigeria.
In the last presidential election that took place on March 28, Ndi-Igbo again exhibited one of those qualities that made them who they are – that is, a proud and trustworthy people. They have principles and political ideologies which they believe in just as other ethnic groups in Nigeria have their own political ideologies. Ndi-Igbo promised the outgoing president of their mandate based on their own political ideologies and principles. Honestly, many Ndi-Igbo should have known that president Goodluck Jonathan would not win that election, but they have proved to be people you can trust any day and time; they stood by the promise they made to the outgoing president. They were aware of the price to pay on the decision to fully support president Jonathan, but they – in united action – gave their mandate to him. They are not back-stabbers and betrayers! Is that not an evidence of Ndi-igbo unity? Should that not be an example of Nigerian unity? This is something to be commended, not chastised. When push comes to shove, there will always be winners and losers in politics. Those are the rules of the game.

In a democracy, especially one that claims to be consensus or representative as Nigeria’s, winners and losers are both supposed to be happy. In fact, nobody is a loser; that is, if it is believed that those who ‘won’ are forming government to represent the interests of the citizens. Yet happiness and/or satisfaction are expected to be higher when the interests of those forming the government are close to the interests of the pure majority. So I don’t see any shaking and need for the divisive sentiments spreading across the country and social media platforms.
At the end of the day, the APC government will make policies on collective action problems, which would benefit all Nigerians. Highly quality institutions that promote rule of law and low corruption would not know one particular ethnic group alone, whether Ndi-Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba, etc., instead the policies will be there to serve the interests of all Nigerians. If, for example, APC implements social welfare schemes, it will serve all economically disadvantaged citizens, and not only a Yoruba or Hausa. As long as the policies of the government are in congruity with the wishes of the citizens, everyone benefits. What Nigerians should be preparing for now is how to hold the new government accountable, not whether Ndi-Igbo voted for APC or not. The hate speech must stop!
In the end, Nigeria is not a one-party system democracy. There is need for opposition to keep those within government on checks. If there were no Nigerians on the APC opposition to raise the alarm, change would not have taken place. Opposition is healthy in a democracy, and I think the decision of Ndi-Igbo has put them more on that side of the political game. Those using hate speeches and threats against Ndi-Igbo only expose their political inexperience or amateurism. One of the priorities of Ndi-Igbo at this moment is to have a favorable political environment to carry on their businesses and commerce in peace. Can’t we all agree that it is time for Nigerian politics to transcend ethnic bigotry and embrace politics of ideology? (The answer is yes!). Therefore, if you by all means abhor the racism against blacks all over the world, then you have to stop the discrimination against Ndi-Igbo, because I don’t see the difference.

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Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates

Street Turnt For Lalong’s Victory. Who Says Democracy Is Not For Poor People? PHOTOS

Tudun Wada, a street in Jos has been celebrating the victory of APC’s Samuel Lalong, who has been declared winner of the Plateau State Guber poll.

Here are photos of the street crowd, who came out en masse regardless of tribe and religion to celebrate the “Change” in the Plateau State government.

Reacting to the outcome of the guber poll result, some commuters expressed great joy and said, “They said Democracy is not for poor people, but we proved them wrong”.

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Call Ekiti APC Members To Order Before They Truncate Democracy, Adeyeye Tells Buhari

Minister of State for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye has called on the President-Elect, Major General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) to call All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Ekiti State to order before they truncate democracy in the country.

The minister, who described the APC desperation to seize power in Ekiti State through the backdoor as a dangerous trend, added that the  APC members in the Ekiti State House of Assembly were capitalising on Buhari’s victory to cause crisis in the State.

He said the APC should stop behaving like party of bad losers. The minister said; “In 1999, Prof Tunde Adeniran of the PDP lost to Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Adeniran congratulated the winner. He did not go to court. It was in 2003 that Adebayo lost to Governor Ayodele Fayose that they went to the Tribunal. “Also, when Engr Segun Oni won election in 2007, these same APC people made Ekiti ungovernable for him.

“In 2011 when Fayose contested senatorial election and lost to Senator Babafemi Ojudu, he did not go to court. None of the PDP National Assembly candidates that lost in 2011 went to court.

“Since they lost the governorship to the PDP nine months ago, they have refused to accept defeat. It was as a result of this desperation to steal Ekiti people’s mandate that Chief Omolafe Aderiye was killed.

Read More: vanguardngr

#PAUSIBILITY: The Silhouette Of This Presidential Election by Adebayo Coker

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The dark clouds that gathered on our nation has finally cleared. The jubilation on the streets could be likened to the celebration we had when that killer wolf, Abacha was announced dead (no apology to the Abachas as I am not responsible for their father’s irrationality). The good Lord loves this nation. The doomsayers and those prophets that had in their own flesh believed the elections will not hold and if at all it held, the incumbent will be returned, should be left alone in their pulpits as I would want to believe that people would stop ‘patronizing’ such men that lack both physical and spiritual vision.

Let me quickly congratulate all of us for the peaceful conduct of the last week’s Presidential Election. The unprecedented determination of the masses was displayed as people trooped out en mass, both old and young, defying whatever weather conditions, to salvage the country from the seemingly continued abyss and dysfunction it was being navigated into. People invested their night-club time, queued and voted into the dead of the night; some even continued the voting exercise the following day regardless of the frustration brought about by poor logistics of INEC. The common Nigerians resolved in their hearts that the road may be rough but the destination will be reached. The onus of responsibility shelved on our shoulders was borne with utmost maturity that has now birthed a new Nigeria for all of us. Once again, Congratulations!

The hiccups witnessed in some states were indications that we still have space to improve on our growing democratic and electioneering process. Though barbaric, we will get there gradually. I am sure the coming Gubernatorial elections will be better than the Presidential in those South-South and South-East states where acts of brigandage were recorded. The people of those zones will not allow their common will to be truncated.

I managed the tension that was built up during the collation and announcements of the election results in Abuja as it was televised so well that anytime I wanted to misbehave I would ask myself what would GMB or Jonathan be doing by now? That made put myself under check not to die for nothing; the protagonists may not have to check their blood pressure at all, after all it is a game of numbers.

Let me stop here again to congratulate one man that history will vilify for his ineptitude and will also recognise for his sportsmanship, President Goodluck Azikwe Ebele Jonathan.

I am not here to add salt to the injury of anyone but I must say my mind as much as I would not want to talk about politics again via this blog. Starting next week, I want to talk about Citizen’s Rights especially regarding the power that we wield through our votes.

Sir, I ‘defended’ you amongst some people that believed you are politically finished. I told them you enjoy a great deal of goodwill amongst your party men which will earn you the Presidential ticket of your party on a platter of gold just as the same had won it for you in this past election. I am sure you can still sustain that till 2019. I also told them that all your aides love you so much and are ever ready to live with you in Otuoke after 29th May, 2015. Also, we will see great a number of ‘Nuttywood’ stars that will die for you just as some of them had proclaimed.

Your aides were your greatest enemies but I hope this time, you will tell them to have their heads checked with their recent April Fool publication of your humble self deserving of a Nobel Prize. Tell them Alfred didn’t understand the word ‘indolence’, neither did he leave any of his legacies behind for any act of malfeasance. Tell them to stop scamming you by preaching that you could be endorsed by anyone in the Academy that organizes the Nobel Prize because such a prize can’t be bought with dollars. The Prize is not given to anyone who failed in office as a President but admitted the obvious when voted out. You did nothing extraordinary by conceding an obvious defeat. Anyway, you have my good wishes in your future endeavors. When fortune throws anything at one, the beneficiary should try to understand the responsibility that comes with such a gift. I am sure we all will get a better understanding of the transience of power through your acts in office.

I believe the education and social exposure of ‘Elder’ Orubebe should have been added to common sense expected of a man of his caliber to understand that in politics you lose some and you win some. If we conduct an investigation on his home, he must be a wife beater. No matter what apology the elder gentleman may tender after that display of what one good friend of mine tagged “the last rant of a mad man”; he has etched the name of his forebears and future generations in the black book of history. The web will forever hold on to that show of shame for easy referral. Thank God for a more matured Jega, the devil would have used the ‘Pastor’ to truncate our peaceful democratic transition. I am sure that but for the sportsmanship GEJ displayed, he wouldn’t have tendered any apology for that act that even an Asari Dokubo would condemn.

Another lesson to be learnt is that of synergy. I call it: The Synergy That Works. Neither Tinubu nor Buhari could do it alone. Both came together, placed their cards on the table, reached a compromise and formed an alliance to oust their common enemy. They doggedly followed through, sacrificed their personal egos and ambitions, came up with the best of their best (politically and otherwise), and managed their campaigns as well as their candidates including their supporters. Then the result came. Kudos! I hope no one will become too much of a political liability that it will discredit the slogan of CHANGE you so much touted as your singsong?

Let me call your attention to some happenings that may unfold in a few days.

Our national geography may be affected with this Presidential Election results because Fayose had threatened to secede from Nigeria if GMB wins, so, am waiting.

Let us also be wary of Bastard Doyin Okupe (don’t crucify me for adding that appellation. He christened himself that immediately APC clocked one year) because he had threatened that never will GMB be a President in this land. Could it be likened to the report of BY THIS TIME TOMORROW in the bible?

Mama Peace should be put under adequate surveillance: not that she would run away but I suspect someone may attempt suicide. The officers of the law that had turned themselves to attack dogs, political tools and thugs should be ready to take their conscience to the dry cleaners by now. I don’t want to talk about FFK for I know he will dust his APC membership card and start singing Sai Baba!

I am sure any politician will now understand better what we “the collective children of anger” can do and undo. I am glad with the youths of this nation that did not allow themselves to be used as tools of confusion.

Lastly to GMB and Osibajo, I wish I can readily congratulate you and remind you that a friend to a friend of mine used to be your neighbor in Kaduna and Anthony respectively but I am not tempted to give you a hug yet. Not just yet till we start seeing that CHANGE you sold to us in your manifesto. As for me I will begin the change in my small space as I would want to believe that my President will not condone any iota of corruption and would protect me with the rule of law in the face of whatever interest other than national interest, both locally and internationally.

I wish all of us well. It is a New Nigeria after all.

Nigeria Is What Democracy Looks Like By Jumoke Balogun

Muhammadu Buhari has defeated President Goodluck Jonathan to become the new president of Nigeria, according to election results Tuesday. This is the first time in Nigeria’s fifty-four-year history that an incumbent president has been voted out of office.

The international community has praised the closely-watched election as largely peaceful and fair, despite technical hitches and isolated violence. This is momentous not only for Nigeria and the continent of Africa, but also for those around the world who believe in the tenets of democracy and in the fundamental right to the ballot box.

We must recognize the bravery and heroism of the Nigerian voter. In Borno, the Northeastern Nigerian state devastated by the murderous rampage of Boko Haram, the terrorist organization threatened before the election to shoot those who voted and to bomb polling sites. And yet, in Borno’s state capitol of Maiduguri, internally displaced people reportedly walked for miles to vote. A polling site set up for those internally displaced reportedly became an emotional reunion for those reunited with loved ones they thought massacred by Boko Haram.

“In this moment, I am encouraged. My countrymen and women have inspired me, and I am grateful.”

The people of Borno, whose children were stolen and murdered in Chibok, whose markets have been bombed, whose homes ransacked, whose women raped, who have bore the brunt of Boko Haram’s carnage, stood undaunted. Hundreds of thousands of people rejected extremism and exercised the most fundamental of human rights.

Images of perseverance and people power pervaded social networking sites. Great-grandparents voted, those who couldn’t walk to the polling sites were aided by nurses, the enterprising set up shop and fed the masses and the young passed the time bydancing. And when they couldn’t vote on Saturday, many made the journey back to their polling site and stood in lines for hours the next day when voting was extended.

Sporadic violence did not deter them. The rain did not deter them. The scorching hot sun did not deter them. The long lines did not deter them. Military intervention and possible intimidation during voting by officers who serve Jonathan did not deter them.

“Sporadic violence did not deter them. The rain did not deter them. The scorching hot sun did not deter them. The long lines did not deter them.”

The scene in Nigeria was exactly what people power should look like. It was beautiful, it was vibrant, and you may now feel free to think me naïve for my rose-colored analysis. Idyllic political paradise Nigeria is not, you may say, and I’ll agree with you. I’ll agree that one election will not resurrect a tumbling naira and a struggling economy, it will not end pervasive corruption, and it certainly will not magically disappear Boko Haram. To be honest, the choice for president wasn’t a particularly thrilling one.

Jonathan has been an ineffective president since 2007, and Buhari is a military man who orchestrated a coup d’état in 1983 and governed without the democratic consent of the people of Nigeria until 1985. Consequently, Nigeria’s choice was between an ineffective incumbent and this new president who has dictatorial tendencies. That, I should add, is debated by his supporters who believe he is a democrat who will bring about transformative change to Nigeria.

However, what transpired on voting day solidified the belief for me that Nigerians are moving Nigeria in the right direction. From #OccupyNigeria in 2012, a nationwide campaign that forced the hand of Jonathan when he tried to eviscerate fuel subsidies, to #BringBackOurGirls in 2014, where grassroots activists shamed Jonathan and forced his administration to publicly affirm the value of Nigerian life, this election is yet another example that shows that Nigerian people are serious about holding their government accountable. The days of Nigerians putting up with mismanagement, incompetency and a kleptocratic elite are dwindling and a new day is coming, if it’s not already here.

“As Africa’s largest economy, with over 173 million people, Nigeria is a bellwether for the viability of the continent’s democracies.”

And guess what? A new day in Nigeria means a new day in Africa. As Africa’s largest economy, with over 173 million people, Nigeria is a bellwether for the viability of the continent’s democracies. As one analyst puts it, as goes Nigeria, so goes Africa. Simply, a free and fair election absent of post-electoral violence is one that will embolden struggling democracies throughout the continent. With tense elections coming up later in the year for the Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso, Nigerians who voted are setting an example for their neighboring countries.

Finally, the implication of the Nigerian election goes far beyond Africa. Besides Nigeria’s immense role in the fight against global terrorism, Nigeria is also the world’s 26th largest economy. Even with its current struggling economy, Nigeria is still projected to have the highest real per capita growth among emerging countries between 2010 and 2050. That means that the nation with the largest black population in the world will have more clout and bargaining power in the international community. That’s a big deal.

Further, with nearly 80 percent of the country being arable and with a young andentrepreneurial population, a stable Nigeria has the potential to be both the world’s breadbasket and a source of innovation.

“This is the first time in Nigeria’s fifty-four-year history that an incumbent president has been voted out of office.”

Maybe it was this belief in Nigeria’s potential that emboldened the millions who stood in lines for hours and ignored the cynicism of those who discounted their political power. If so, I hope this belief in our potential and in a better tomorrow for Nigeria will continue to sustain the country in the upcoming days as we pray for a peaceful post-electoral season, as we wait for Goodluck Jonathan to concede and as we collectively think of creative ways to raise hell for those in office who refuse to follow the will of the Nigerian people.

I cannot predict the way forward for Nigeria. The tumultuous history of my country means that anything can happen at any time, and I am anxious about post-electoral violence.

However, in this moment, I am encouraged. My countrymen and women have inspired me, and I am grateful. With each and every vote, I am thankful that they waited, voted and tilted the arc of democratization a little more towards a more just and equitable world.

Credit: huffingtonpost

Buhari’s Victory Is Nigeria’s Finest Moment – Tinubu

Former governor of Lagos state and a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has described the victory of the presidential candidate of the APC, General Buhari as Nigeria’s finest moment in its political history.

“It is a moment when hope is re-born, faith is rekindled and a fresh fire of patriotism is released for the task ahead. I congratulate General Buhari, Nigeria’s President elect on his hard won victory.

Tinubu who was in Abuja at the APC secretariat commended APC leaders and members for the shift they put in during the preparation and campaign stages.

“I salute our galant party leaders and members for running the long distance to victory. To millions of Nigerians I say this- the APC seeks not power for its sake, but for the purpose of bringing a better life to our people and re-building our country”.

This is also democracy’ s finest moment. Nigerians alive today have witnessed the beginning of an era of change . They made this happen and they are the true celebrants and they are deserving. Together we share this victory.Side by side we would work together to bring our country back.

#PAUSIBILITY: Is The ‘D’ In The D-Day For Doom? by Adebayo Coker

Kindly slam that song Natural Mystic by Bob Marley into your stereo and let it roll as you read this piece.

The Yorubas will say: ti a ba da ogun odun, ogun odun ape, ti a ba da ogbon osu, ogbon osu ako – the fraudulent twist of time cannot last eternal.

Tomorrow, March 28th, 2015, we will all go to the polls to assert our constitutional right and also perform our statutory duty as Nigerians. Some of us would have loved to put this behind us long before now, especially on the 14th of February when this election was earlier slated for before #Pausibility: That Cretinous Shift.

Over a year ago, the choice of 14th February, 2015 as an election date wasn’t really welcomed in good taste by everyone, especially people who had believed they should be hanging out with their paramour or boyfriends. But as Nigeria’s call must be obeyed, we all put the national interest above all other interests. Liittle did we know, either by a stoke of fate or man, that the day will never be witnessed as an election date.

If we are to call it a stroke of fate, then we will say God heard some people’s prayers and made the day sacrosanct for them to celebrate their love as they believe that it is only on 14th February that love is celebrated. But by a stroke of man, some evil forces in INEC and in the Presidency frustrated all Nigerians from witnessing any election that day. INEC wasn’t ready for the election regardless of what Prof. Jega was touting. Presidency wasn’t ready for the election realizing they will lose so badly, so they engineered the shift by arm twisting us with the security report on the Northeast. Willy-nilly, we all swallowed the bitter pill of a six- week shift.

The six- week window provided an opportunity for all of us to re-assess and reaffirm our choices but a greater advantage that the postponement provided for all of us is the choice to live or die.

Yes, to live or die. Don’t be scared.

The National Human Rights Commission Pre-Election Report and Advisory on election violence states that 58 deaths had resulted from 49 election-related violence across 22 states in the country. With 11 incidents resulting in 22 deaths, Lagos topped the list of states with the most devastating record of election-related violence within the period surveyed. Kaduna State, which is next, recorded three incidents resulting in nine deaths. Gombe State recorded three incidents resulting in five deaths; Taraba, one incident, four deaths; Ogun two incidents, four deaths; Bayelsa, one incident, three deaths; Akwa Ibom, two incidents, three deaths; and Kano, two incidents, two deaths. The report indicates that the South-West geo-political zone had recorded the highest number of 28 deaths resulting from election-related violence within the same period. It is followed by North-West, with 11 deaths; North-East, nine deaths; South-South, eight deaths; and South-East, two deaths. Thousands were injured across all the six geo-political zones within the period.

The above report was for the period between December 3, 2014 and January 31, 2015, so there is every likelihood that the figures have increased. No doubt this is unprecedented in this land.

Then I ask a question: is it that we are just being politically alert in the country?

I am a child of some decades gone by. Even though I couldn’t vote in the 1993 elections I witnessed the singing and dancing of HOPE ‘93 without fear that I would be maimed by anyone. My mother wouldn’t stop me from singing that theme song anywhere anytime, because no one would harass her or myself. I participated in the 1999 elections; even when it was coming after long years of military interregnum, it was peaceful. The 2003 and 2007 elections were relatively peaceful except in Kaduna.

I ask another question: what has changed?

What I found to have not changed is the interest of the political players. These politicians are ready to pull the heavens down just to ensure their devilish interest. Don’t mind who whimpers amongst them, they know how to settle whatever amongst themselves. You should not be surprised if some blind followers were ORDERED to cast their vote for a candidate that is not a member of their party . You should not be surprised if the likes of that vagabond governor and Kiss-and-tell FFK jump ship and come to Bourdillon with brooms in hand rolling on the floor paying obeisance to the power that be if APC finally wins the Presidential election. You shouldn’t be surprised they will be baptized and called holy. These politicians…

What I also see has not changed is my people. We are so gullible, foolish and subservient to these evil politicians’ whims and caprices. We allow a very minute fraction of us to control the rest of us. They daily plunder our commonwealth right before our eyes throwing all of us down the abyss of poverty, yet we will sheepishly shake before them, skittering to collect some two hundred naira or dollar notes (I heard PDP is doling out good chunks) to stake our future.

Don’t you know that if a politician gives you a DSTV/GoTV as his political memorabilia, its a pointer that you will only see him again on the dish and not anywhere near your constituency? If he offers you a Generating Set, isn’t that an indicator that you should not expect him to fix power? If he gives you bags of ‘rices’, then your hunger will continue once you done eating those bags? Jeunkoku – chop and quench.

My people, for how long are we going to be employed as tools of discord, used to cause commotion on our brothers and sisters? How long are we going to be fooled by the cold smile of a killer who will come before us to tell us his or her ambition is not worth the life of anybody yet he goes stockpiling arms to cause mayhem if he loses? How long are we going to fall for the stuttering speech of a drunk who will preach peace but will unleash mayhem on the rest of us through some ethnic militias?

Their daughters and sons, even their dogs have been ferried to the other side of the seas. If you don’t know.

There is no fence to sit on anymore as that has been pulled down by the continued bastardization of our nation state. You will only continue in delusion if you think the fence still exists.

Let me remind you, some nations, though they came out to deny it much later, have predicted that Nigeria will break in 2015. Some doomsayers have also capitalized on this, but I found their postulation funny because one doesn’t need the holy spirit or the devil to draw the conclusion that we may be doomed if we don’t act right.

Listen to the lyrics of that song again: Natural Mystic.

Before cancer will kill a bad politician I urge you to vote right and be peaceful. “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.”

luv-nigeria

God bless Nigeria!

 

Adebayo Coker is a wordsmith. Societal Fragments, A Man Like Me: Noteography Of A Father To His Son, and Wobbled Words are his published works. He just finished writing Quarantined Vanity and working on What Suzzie Wants (a compendium of women’s plights). debayocoker@gmail.com. Follow: adebay_c

Chidoka At Chatham House, Says Jonathan Is Committed To Democracy

Aviation minister, Osita Chidoka, has said that President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to democracy, peace and security in Nigeria, even as he emphasised the Peoples Democratic Party’s strong history of upholding democratic principles.

He stated this when he was hosted on Tuesday by the Chatham House’s Africa Programme, led by the head of the programme, Dr Alex Vines.

Chidoka who was at Chatham House to discuss President Jonathan’s full commitment to democracy, said that every effort must be made to replicate the model of free and fair election that the world witnessed with President Jonathan’s 2011 victory.

Speaking on the visit, he said, “The discussion with Chatham House was very positive. We reviewed the facts at hand leading up to the presidential election in Nigeria. The Nigerian people are being given a choice between President Jonathan, a democrat by instinct and record, and his opponent, a ‘reformed’ democrat. This is a critical distinction.”

While in London, the minister granted interviews to BBC’s HARDtalk, the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, Sky News, NBC News, BuzzFeed and Voice of America.

The Machiavellian Nature of Democratic Politics in Nigeria By Tam Kemabonta

To be Machiavellian means to be cunning. It describes one with a penchant for manipulating people and feeling no remorse. In politics, a Machiavellian could be seen as an individual who buries moral sentiments and handles situations in practical terms. In other words, such an individual does not see right or wrong but only circumstances.

The term “Machiavellian” was derived from the 15th century political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli who penned down his ideas and principles of politics and statecraft in a small book called The Prince. The book contains maxims like: “And here it has to be noted that men must be either pampered or crushed, because they can get revenge for small injuries but not for grievous ones. So any injury a prince does a man should be such that there is no fear of revenge…”*

And “One can make this generalization about men: they are ungrateful, fickle, liars and deceivers, they shun danger and are greedy for profit; while you treat them well, they are yours. They would shed their blood for you, risk their property, their lives, their sons, so long, as I said above, as danger is remote; but when you are in danger they turn away…” These maxims gave the book a sinister image at the time it was published, a reputation that still waxes strong 500 years after.

Even though at that time politics in Europe was absolutely treacherous; with lecherous popes, megalomaniac kings, obsequious courtiers, and docile peasants – all of which Machiavelli made observations of and documented – Machiavelli’s book was seen as diabolical. In fact his name became synonymous with the anti-Christ.

At that time in Europe and other places of the world the axiom “the end justifies the means” was God’s word. Men would kill, steal and destroy to achieve any goal, if they thought it possible and worthy. Systems over the centuries were put in place to curb these excesses of human nature, that espoused “might is right” and “only the strongest survive” principles. The beacon of modern civilization grants the state a monopoly on violence and gives its citizens the equality of opportunity free from force and fraud. For Machiavellianism to survive it had to find way to express itself within the law – no exception. But in Africa, especially Nigeria the case is different.

The political arena of 21st century Nigeria has a deadly resemblance to that of 13th century political Europe. It is the order of the day to kill, steal and destroy to achieve one’s goals with absolute impunity. High profile killings go unpunished, because the law enforcement agencies are structurally too crippled to undertake any meaningful investigation. Policemen are paid to act as personal bodyguards to anyone who can afford it. State treasury is looted by the political elite on a daily basis. Basic infrastructure like roads, electricity, healthcare and shelter are unavailable and in areas where they are, they are decrepit due to the lack of a maintenance culture. Politicians arm thugs to attack their rivals and cause mayhem when things do not go their way. What is amazing is that all these acts of debauchery and treachery are done publicly with complete impunity.

Even Medieval Europe was not malevolently wanton as 21st century Nigeria is. The Knights had unwritten codes of chivalry and nobility. In Nigeria there exist institutions of government that include the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, structures non-existent in Medieval Europe – where such powers most of the time rested in the hands of one man – and still Medieval Europe presented a better system of handling state affairs than 21st century Nigeria. The Nobility and the political elite during this period in Europe were known to contort deceptive grand schemes against their rivals in a time where the realities of man were dire. These men were required to use their intellects most of the time in handling matters of state internally and externally – especially with invasions from foreign powers, which at that time was common place.

But in the 21st century when human realities have changed for the better, with effective international laws and treaties, that prevent invasion of one country by another no matter how powerful it is; with laws that state how armed conflicts should be conducted and the global acceptance of human rights, Nigeria has still decided to conduct its political activities like it is in the dark ages.

Between 1999 and 2014, there have been over a 100 attempted and successful political assassinations.** Till date no arrest has been made on any of the cases. “Investigations are underway” the Nigerian police are always known to say. According to Dapo Olorunyomi, a former Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a bulk sum of more than $20 trillion has been stolen from the state treasury by members of the political elite from 1960 till date. These men are known criminals and are still allowed to move around freely, some of them are still practicing politicians – such impunity.

It is time for the educated social elite to stand up for justice. We are the ones that would not succumb to demagogue, so why then do we remain cynical political illiterates? We first need to understand the functions of a state, and then the structures of our institutions of Government. Once these fundamentals are done, we can then begin to engage ourselves politically and demand that things be done accordingly, instead of resorting to violence and causing chaos when we have had enough. And this is the major problem of Nigerians generally. We transition rapidly from political passivity to political violence, eschewing political engagement.

Everybody wants to put an end to corruption especially when he or she is not benefitting from it. The cankerworm of vested interests eats the nation up. We want to stop corruption but we don’t want to lose the short term benefits. What stops the people from writing an anti-corruption bill and a bill of “recall-ment”? Then we demand that if any member of the house of assembly does not support the bill, we would not elect him. The only real power we the people have is to vote in and vote out. We would demand that only the people who support the bill get elected by us. If after being elected some of the individuals stops acting accordingly – to the terms of agreement made with the people that voted him or her – then we the people demand for the machinations for a “recall-ment” of these individuals to be set in process. Once they are recalled, their positions become vacant, elections are held within their consistencies for other individuals who are ready to take up the positions on our terms – we the people.

Public office is a burden, because it involves individuals putting their own interests aside and representing the interests of a group of people. It should not be a place where unscrupulous men carouse and revel in the perks of power. It is a burden and we the people should ensure it remains so.

Published with Author’s Permission…

How Jonathan is promoting one Nigeria, by Shagari

Second Republic and first executive President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, is happy that the country has witnessed 16 years of unbroken democratic rule and wants the trend sustained.

The octogenarian, who will be 90 years on February 25, said the country is maturing politically and commended President Goodluck Jonathan for promoting the unity of the country.

 The former president, who was toppled on December 31, 1983 by the Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) military coup stressed the need to strengthen our democratic, saying: “I sincerely could never have imagined that in my life time, under constitutional rule, with a deep and broad mandate, a zoologist from Bayelsa, one of our youngest states, could rise to become Commander-in-Chief.

“There is no better indicator that, while much remains to be achieved, our beloved Nigeria is slowly but surely maturing politically. Almost unwittingly, we are strengthening our democratic practice. And we must acknowledge and be thankful of the fact that Jonathan has taken it upon himself to diligently promote one Nigeria not only in words but in action.”

Credit: vanguardngr.com

IS this Democracy or Democrazy?

Amidst the recent events that have been happening in this county, one begins to wonder if we are back to the lawless and unconstitutional military regime. A second thought will only serve as a confirmation that indeed we are in a democratic government. Now, one cannot shy away from the reality that this are turbulent times; the dark days of our democracy. To say we have a functioning government will be a fallacy; we are in the jungle, a tussle for supremacy over the wild.

Two events have left me asking questions.

Firstly, whether there is any legal or logical basis on which seven (7) assembly members will impeach The Speaker of the State House of Assembly? Even when the Constitution has prescribed the manner and approach in which an impeachment can be carried out.

Secondly, whether the police are to maintain level grounds with all political parties or to be supportive and what is the function of the executive arm in a democratic government?

A further study of the constitution answers both questions, leaving no stones unturned. One then begins to wonders the duty of the judiciary in a so called democratic government. If all these provisions have been clearly stated in the book which is referred to as guiding every conduct, why then does this impunity persists?

Section 92(2) (a), (b) and (c) of the 1999 constitution as amended states that:

The speaker or deputy speaker of the house of assembly shall vacate his office –

(A) if he ceases to be a member of the house of assembly, Otherwise by reason of dissolution of the house;

(B) when the house first sits after the dissolution of the house or;

(C) if he is removed from office by a resolution of the house of assembly by votes of not less than two-third majority member of the house.

Based on this provision, can 7 members out of 26 members form the two-third required? The answer is no, 17 members are required to sign and form a two-third before the speaker can be impeached. There has been no dissolution and there is no two-third, how does one now explain the situation in Ekiti State, where 7 members out of the required 17 members impeached the speaker.

One then begins to ask questions if this is truly a democratic government, where the rule of law is strictly meant to be adhered to, since it is the bedrock of any successful democracy.

Moving on, what is the function of the executive, and what is the stance of the police, are they meant to be supportive and maintain a level playing field among the political parties in the country?

The ugly event that happened in the national House of Assembly Complex is a great threat to the democracy of this nation, as the number four citizen of this country the speaker of the House of Representative Honorable Aminu Tambuwal was unjustly harassed by the police force while

trying to make his way into the complex to perform the duty which Nigerians have elected him for. One begins to question the competence of the security operatives, while it is so easy for them to get intelligence about hoodlums attacking the complex, one cannot comprehend why they cannot get intelligence to curb the persisting insurgency that have been happening in the North East of Nigeria.

While there is insurgency in the north east, 1000’s of civilians have lost their lives, to tell how pathetic the situation is, school pupils (children) who are tomorrow leaders have lost their lives, yet the security operatives are more concerned about hoodlums attacking the NASS after it received intelligence, one then asks if the same energy seen yesterday by the police force can be directed to the stop of insurgency in the North East.

This is not the time to witch hunt, this is the time to work hand in hand and yield positive outcomes, when your country men keeps dying at the hands of insurgents, one then asks if the sole function of the executive which is the protection of lives and properties have been fully met and satisfied.

Before all hope is lost, this is the time to wake up and face the realities of the present events happening in this part of the world. Nothing is working in this country.

I’m only a Nigerian thinking aloud.

By: Oladapo Olowokudejo @xplicit_dee

My Thoughts On Power – Yomi Balogun

Power, is such a broad word it is hard to define without stating its connotative and denotative essence. In its denotative essence, it would mean the ability to do something or act in a particular way. Beyond this denotation, it comes with other inferences. Electric power for instance. The Power as we were taught in elementary physics, the rate at which work is done also comes to mind. Work/Time = Power as we were thought then. The Power I am writing about now is the power invested in leadership. What is the essence of this power and why do so many people want so much of it? I will be sharing my thoughts on this and many more in the coming days.

Yomi Balogun

Abayomi Balogun wrote in from Lagos.

Can APC really bring change? – Ayisha Osori

 

I know. It is easier to criticize than to create. I can hear the comments already but I can’t lie…the All Progressive Congress (APC) make it so easy to pick them apart.

First, as a supporter of change I have been miffed by how unprogressive they are. Progressive in any language means to want change, to reform, to want to buck the trend and what better way to do that in Nigerian politics than with (1) new faces and (2) more women and young people? We took the flaccid manifesto and party constitution and the mainly lackluster interim leadership and crossed our fingers for more. Here and there since the merger last year there have been a few flashes of inspiration to keep the torch of change alive. That is, beyond the symbolism of several parties taking the step to present a united front to present a viable opposition to PDP. But, if we are honest there have been disappointments and worry about the conduct of the party’s member registration, the acrimony around the ward and state congresses and now the APC National Convention that has ushered in a new national executive council.

At the convention last Friday, many of the party leaders spoke to the delegates, party members and Nigerians. I was struck by Bola Tinubu’s speech titled “the Great Change Arrives”. The words and sentiments expressed were noble and rousing but we cannot accept them at face value because at this time of Nigeria’s trajectory, it is critical for citizens to stop accepting platitudes and start being more discerning. Actions do speak louder than words; and the actions around the Convention as well as the results of the APC Convention could easily turn these words to cold ash blowing into the wind.

“Our country needs a new beginning.”

We would love to wipe the slate clean and start all over. However, to do that, we must identify and accept the mistakes that we have made and resolve not to repeat them. While the top hierarchy of party officials and politicians today, cut their teeth in national politics as young as 30, today these 70 year olds refuse to mentor and provide a more conducive environment for young people. Would a party that yearns for a new beginning select a 40+ year old as the National Youth Leader? Nigeria has so many engaging young men and women with the ‘bright ideas’ Tinubu also mentioned in his speech so why not let them come up with their representative or help them pick a worthy one? As for the decision to ‘zone’ the positions when juxtaposed with ‘new beginning’, the irony is too great to get into.

“Nigerian needs men and women who can be the change that we want so badly.”

Okay. So where are the women? Starting from the sub committees to prepare for the convention, APC made poor use of its women. With over 400 positions across 12 sub-committees, only 44 were women were appointed and about 30 of them were in the entertainment committee. And now that the Convention is over, not a single woman holds a position outside ‘nation woman leader’ or zonal women leader’. Is that the great change?

“We are not about violence, but about equity, justice and fairness.”

The case of Zuwaira Sani Bakori, a dedicated party member from Kaduna who secured the highest number of votes at her ward to become a delegate to the national Convention puts complete lie to this statement. This is a woman who was prepared. Who took the time to understand the process and followed it. She had her eyes on the Deputy National Organizing Secretary which had been zoned to her state. Despite the difficulties, she secured the nomination form, paid the fees and was screened for the position. She expected to be unopposed or at the very least to have a fair contest. Instead, the name of Sulaiman Hunkuyi who was chilling in China was announced at the convention ground as the ‘consensus candidate’. How is this just or fair?

 

It might be news to APC but Nigerians are asking harder questions and focusing more on separating the wheat from the chaff. We are making progress in identifying hollow words because when actions do not match rhetoric, the hole threatening to swallow us all gets wider. And despite the attempts of politicians to convince us that there is only one way to play politics…we’ll know change when we see it.

 

Chibok: Why are our female legislators M.I.A? – Ayisha Osori

 

What differentiates the 20 female senators of the United States Congress who signed a joint statement in support of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and the 34 collectively silent women in Nigeria’s seventh Assembly?

According to the New York Times, within 2 weeks of the campaign for the Chibok girls going global, female US Senators had also met with Secretary of State Kerry to push for sanctions on Boko Haram and surveillance support for the search. Senator Susan Collins, who co-spearheaded the effort, marveled at how easy it was to get the women together, “There was no need to convince, or cajole, or persuade. These girls cry out for a voice”.

Unfortunately, the female legislators in the National Assembly do not collectively feel the same way and it is important to ask why.

One possible explanation is that regardless of party, female Nigerian legislators cannot empathize with the public. Increasingly benumbed by daily reports of deaths and abductions, the argument could be, that if nothing was done in February when 59 boys were murdered in school, this abduction does not warrant special reaction. Fair enough considering the body count of over 2000 Nigerians killed by Boko Haram since Jan 1 2014. But Chibok is different because there is a solution which is to get the girls back. If the stories of abductions since November 2013 were not alarming, then the impunity of moving into a school and carting off hundreds of girls in the care of a government that was under a State of Emergency should be considered a game changer.

The second theory for their silence has been that the women fear alienating their parties and sponsors. We are 10 months away from the general elections and for those in PDP and APC everything is about 2015. But this is why there is safety in numbers. Using the Violence Against Persons Bill, currently languishing in the Senate, the respective chairs of the Committee on Women Affairs – Senator Esuene and Hon. Alaaga or even by Hon. Khadi who represents Jere constituency in Borno, could have galvanized all the female legislators. They could have shown agency and taken the opportunity for bi-partisan, joint house showwomanship to push for a bill that has been in the system for over a decade.

The lack of reaction is symptomatic of a larger malaise that infects all arms of government: a disconnect from the public, an increasing unwillingness to identify with social issues and/or recognize tipping points and a lack of accountability to citizens which stems from the doubtful legitimacy of those elected into office. That is the heart of the matter concerning elected representatives who are not concerned with issues which impact over 70% of the population.

While there is a global campaign to increase the representation of women in government in the belief that more women translates to sustained development, under Nigeria’s current political system and structures, it is unrealistic to expect this result. If we run a political process which is based not on valid votes but on rigging, violence, vote buying, security agency manipulation and compromised electoral officers, then we cannot expect to have men and women in elected office who are accountable to us.

This explains the problem identified in a Washington Post article where the authors pointed out that ‘the growth of women in African governance has not necessarily translated into real influence’ (‘nor translated into gains for women and children’). It also explains the silence of our female executives.

Some think that one of the biggest flaws of any feminist movement is the belief that women have an innate bond. Perhaps. But there is undoubtedly an empathy line that lights up once in a while. Sometimes all humans get the tug but there are situations, which are especially poignant for women, and loosing a child is one of them. The individual statements of a few female legislators and any behind the scenes support for the campaign are not enough. ‘I think when women come together across party lines, it is very powerful and effective,’ US Senator Landrieu said explaining why they acted. ‘When women stand united on an issue like this, we can bring tremendous amount of moral authority to the issue.’ It is a shame that our female legislators are incapable of understanding this.

It will be an even greater shame if we cannot change our political system to ensure that going forward, only the most capable and caring Nigerians get elected into office to represent us.

The President & the CBN Governor: in defense of institutions- Ayisha Osori

imagesI thought I had nothing more to say. That after 5 years of writing weekly, everything that I could possibly say about Nigeria, had already been said. But I find that when it comes to Nigeria – heartbreak country –there will always be new lows.

There have been many things written and said about the removal of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria but not enough about three things: the importance of institutions; the personalization of office; and the ‘clean hands’ argument.

There is a reason Obama’s first key message to Africa as President was “Africa needs strong institutions, not strong men. Yet, with the summary removal of the CBN Governor, the President of Nigeria took a bulldozer to the foundation of CBN’s independence which is critical for institution building, a healthy fiscal regime and the economy.  It is not a coincidence that over the last 30 years, the number of countries with independent central banks increased from 20 to more than160.

Regardless of what we think about the relationship between previous administrations and past CBN Governors, until now, no one ever blatantly yanked off the veil of doubt about the CBN’s independence from the Presidency. There is a reason why after over two hundred years of US democracy, no President – even with constitutional powers, has ever removed the head of the Federal Reserve Board. One tried – and it earned him impeachment proceedings.

The problem with not waiting for the CBN Governor’s term to be over in June and then prosecuting him on the basis of the FRC report is that the timing leaves the President open to the accusation that he has no respect for the checks and balances necessary in a real democracy. In a country where ‘I am loyal’ is a salutation, successive Presidents may expect a CBN Governor who is loyal to them and not to the responsibilities of the office. It means that the public; witnesses to the crude and anti –constitutional removal, may presume that the new CBN Governor is a ‘yes man’ of the worst kind.

This brings us to the issue of increasingly blurred lines of distinction between occupiers of a position and the position. It is a dangerous norm in Nigeria to personalize public office – for a person to take on a role today and the next, become known to all, even parents, only as ‘DG’, ‘HM’ or ‘Honorable’. It is this inability to distinguish between person and position that has contributed to the degradation of our institutions. If the President, his advisers and supporters could distinguish between individual and ‘office’, they would understand that regardless of the alleged virtue of their position today, there could be a different type of President and a different type of Governor in the CBN 10 years from now and by setting this dangerous precedent, the independence of the CBN has been compromised.

There is a maxim in law – ‘he who comes to equity must come with clean hands’. It means that a plaintiff who brings a case before a court seeking justice must also not be guilty of the same offense. There seems to be a presumption that the disclosure about billions of dollars missing from oil revenue remittance is wrong because the Governor got a share or that the controversial CSR spend is linked to the missing billions. No. In the application of the maxim, the bad conduct that is condemned must be part of the transaction that is subject of the lawsuit. Yet this maxim is being used as a defense for the illegal removal of the CBN Governor. This line of thinking leads us deeper into the trap of brazen embezzlement of public funds which we find ourselves in. There is already a tacit understanding that only the compromised or compromiseable can get into the highest offices. Yet we want the compromised and compromiseable to have no personal thresholds. In summary, Nigerians with a track record for honesty (saints as political realists call them) cannot get into office, but we expect the sinners who get in to be honourable and never rat on gang members.

The Economist’s ‘What is wrong with democracy?’ says one reason why so many democratic experiments have failed recently is the emphasis on elections to the detriment of other essential features of democracy (such as building independent institutions). “The power of the state needs to be checked and the first sign that a fledgling democracy is heading for the rocks often comes when elected rulers try to erode constraints on their power – like the President did by illegally removing the CBN Governor from office. No amount of obfuscation about suspension and removal will change that. Weak institutions and a refusal to adhere to our written laws are major factors in our continued underdevelopment and social and political decline. Until we insist that laws are respected with no personal exceptions for individuals in power, amendments to our constitution will not help. As James Madison argued about the working of democracy, “you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” This goes for every President and every CBN Governor.

Views expressed are solely the author’s

South Africa: Mandela Remains Critical – Zuma

Former president Nelson Mandela’s condition remains critical, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

“Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital and doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort,” Zuma said in Johannesburg.

Zuma and deputy ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mandela at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Sunday night.

“… I was told by the doctors, that Madiba’s health had changed in the past 24 hours and he was now critical,” Zuma said.

“They were doing everything… to make him feel comfortable.”

Mandela was asleep when Zuma visited.

“It was late when we got to the hospital and he was already asleep. We were there, looked at him, and we saw him,” he said.

“We had a discussion with the doctors and his [Mandela’s] wife, Graca Machel… and then we left.”

Zuma said he was not in a position to give further details.

Answering questions from reporters, Zuma said Mandela’s condition would not affect United States President Barack Obama’s planned visit to South Africa.

“If there was such a visit… and somebody fell sick, I don’t think we would stop the visit… So we [are] not going to stop because Madiba is sick,” Zuma said.

“So Obama is coming… ,” Zuma said.

Obama was due to arrive in South Africa on Friday.

In reply to another question about Mandela’s condition, Zuma reiterated: “I am not a doctor… when a person is critical, he is critical… I am not in a position to say how critical… .”

Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital on June 8 for treatment of a recurring lung infection.

The briefing by Zuma was initially scheduled as an off-the-record editors’ briefing on the economy and youth, but evolved into a fully fledged press conference.

Source: AllAfrica.com

BAMIDELE ATURU SECURES FIRST FOI ORDER

 

Bamidele Aturu

The struggle for transparency and openness received a boost today, the 1st day of March 2012 as Honourable Justice B.F.M Nyako of the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court granted the claim of Olasupo Ojo Esq in his action for himself and on behalf of the Committee for the Defence Human Rights (CDHR) under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. The law firm of Bamidele Aturu and Co had approached the court on behalf of the Plaintiff for an order of mandamus directing the EFCC to disclose to or make available to him the information he requested in his solicitor’s letter to the Commission dated the 7th day of June 2011.

It will be recalled that the EFCC had accused Mr Ojo who was then the President of the CDHR of compromising himself and the organization by collecting the sum of N52 Million from some of the suspects being investigated by the Commission in order to weaken it. On the instruction of our client we wrote pursuant the Freedom of Information Act to the Commission on the 7th of June 2011 demanding the following:

a.       Name of the suspect or suspects that gave N52 Million to the leadership of the CDHR

b.      Persons in the leadership of the CDHR to whom the money was given

c.       The manner in which the money was paid, that is, when, where and how.

The Commission, under the controversial former leadership, failed to deliver the information sought by our client in breach of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The order of the court today is a mandatory one which must be obeyed by the Commission. Effectively, the court has directed the Commission to supply the information requested by us on behalf of our client.

We expect the new leadership of the Commission to comply with the Court order forthwith. But if it does not, we will do everything humanly and legally possible to ensure that somebody gets decisively punished for disobeying the order. Our firm reiterates that in order to build democracy, statutory bodies must refrain from maligning credible individuals to score cheap and infamous points. We are committed to this goal implacably.

In the meantime we are grateful to God that we succeeded in obtaining the first order under the Freedom of Information Act. We also commend the justice for her courage. Nigerians must make use of the Act to expose corruption and corrupt or reckless public officials. May God bless Nigeria.

Bamidele Aturu Esq