Dickson’s Bayelsa State Failed to Invest, Industrialize

Investment and industrialization are twin concepts that are often interchangeably used in modern world economic system.
Industrialization is the process by which an economy is transformed from primarily agricultural to be one based on manufacturing of goods, where individual’s manual labour is often replaced by mechanized mass production and craftsmen are replaced by assembly lines while, in the economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not immediately consumed but are used in the future to create wealth.

In this circumstance, Bayelsa’s economic growth can be encouraged through the use of sound industrialization and investment policies at the business level. But at no point in recent times have calls for Bayelsa State to inquire into the nature and know causes of the wealth of nations through sound industrialization and investment policies been stronger than they have been lately.

Across the length and breadth of the world, Industrialization and investment are arguably the most talked about subjects among policymakers. So why have industrialization and investment processes in Bayelsa State failed to take-off in order to move the State to an enviable economic height.

Industrialization, Investment and water projects etc, in Yenagoa and its environments have been the campaign promises of the Restoration Administration-led by Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson with its acknowledged ability to bring prosperity, create jobs, employment opportunities with better incomes for all Bayelsans in 2012.
Yet, six years of the Restoration Administration, 2012-2018, Bayelsa State with its huge Oil and Gas deposits including its 13% Derivation Fund amounting to over #10bn monthly has no single industry nor investments for the youths and women to engage in the economic sector of the State.

In fact, the 13% Derivation Fund, Bayelsa receives monthly from the Federation Account is adequate to set up small-scale/agro-allied industries and investment opportunities to promote economic growth of the State; rather the State has remained stagnant without any industry of investments over the past six years.
Also, Bayelsa with its huge Oil and Gas deposits that accounted for more than 40% of Nigeria’s total oil revenue, yet this percentage that comes to Bayelsa has been grossly misused by its political leaders that lack entrepreneurial and investment initiatives.

As a result, Bayelsa’s industrialization and investment processes are likely to remain unattainable throughout the life span of the present administration which would come to an end by 14th February 2020. Besides, many Bayelsans thought the boom in 13% derivation would restore Bayelsa’s lack of industrialization and investment opportunities, but it failed to live up to the expectation of the people all these years.

Instead of effectively utilizing the 13% derivation fund to set up small-scale agro-allied industries and investment opportunities to stimulate the economic-sector of the State, the State under the Restoration Administration wastes the money on non-productive ventures such as visits to so-called Ijaw leaders in their various States, organized political rallies called mega rallies in support of this and that and even women prayer groups etc to the detriment of the State economy.
So also, Governor Dickson, who attended and fully participated in an Oil and Gas Summit, held in Houston Texas about two years ago in USA has neither attracted Industries nor Investors to establish industries and investments opportunities in Bayelsa to date.

Even, the Industrial Estate, an area of land developed as a site for factories and other industrial businesses located at Gbarain-Toru, a brainchild of the Restoration Administration is today moribund as no efforts are made to revamp and kick-start the project all this while.
States like Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross-River just to mention a few for instance effectively use their 13% derivation fund to set up small-scale agro-allied industries, investment opportunities including solving short-term domestic and economic problems such as regular payment of salaries of civil servants and pensioners in their respective States; the reverse is the case with Bayelsa State.

Has Bayelsa leader heeded to advice from experts and pump the 13% derivation fund into productive ventures of the economy of the State, prosperity and economic well-being of the people could have been different today.

For how long will the State government forsake these organized groups dancing at political and mega rally activities and women prayers groups for stipends for a meaningful economic venture that will pilot the State to the Glory of All Lands remain a mirage.

According to Modern World System Theory, two systems exist side by side and are continuously in conflict with one another namely; Economic and Political Systems. While the Economy is the Sub-structure with its economic benefits derivable from the four factors of production known worldwide; politics is the super-structure that is superimposed on the economy for its continuity and existence.

Therefore Bayelsans must not depend on the super-structure which is politics for existence rather the people of the State must depend on the sub-structure otherwise called the economy for survival. The basic problem of how social order and human progress can be possible in a society is where individuals follow their own self-interest and not to rely on politics for survival, because individualism will lead to order and progress.

It is a well known fact that in order to make money; people produce things that other people are willing to buy and not surely from political platforms, mega rally dances and women group prayer sessions for a living.

Therefore what the Restoration government should do, if it really has the interest of the people it governs at heart in this trying period is to provide a sound economic policy that is geared toward setting-up small-scale agro-allied businesses, industries and investment opportunities that will engage the youths and women groups into productive ventures based on the concepts of economic liberty.

Unity Must Take Precedence – 2

The other day I listened to Mr. Festus Keyamo on Sahara TV and I overheard him say, “Buhari is doing a good job-fighting corruption.” I said to myself, “this is not a follower of my mum’s uncle (Gani Fawehinmi) at all.” All over the south–Benue, Adamawa, Kogi, Taraba, Southern Kaduna, and Pleatue states–people are being killed, and all you could say is to start criticizing other activists who speaking truth to the brutish power of Buhari! Gani Fawehim will never support nepotism and the killing of innocent people by Buhari and his people.

Well, Nigeria is a failed state, as we have witnessed the fulfillment of every primary and secondary of such failed status. Can you imagine a country where wild animals like monkeys, snakes, and elephants are being accused by humans of stealing public funds? Under Buhari, I’d presume, even the devil himself is ashamed of this country. Can you imagine a country where a president’s tribemen kill innocent citizens as games and the president says or does nothing; can you imagine a country where just one section of the country controls every aspect of the economy; can you imagine where Christians are now seen as second-tire citizens and other Christian mandated to explain same as politically correct. In verse 6 of the book of Revelation Chapter 1, we read that “He has made us kings and priests,” but Nigerian Christians are leading from behind.

Unity must take precedence especially among the Southern Nigerians. Enough of seeking for excess money in the church. Too much love of money among our pastors must stop. How to take care of our poor Christian brothers and sisters must be our number one priority. By the way, what is the importance of CAN?

John Adams says: “I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world. As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.”

“The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity, and humanity” by John Adams. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor” by George Washington.

This country called Nigeria must be redirected on the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we want to succeed. Christians in many parts of Nigeria are oppressed and persecuted, suffering under governments they think that they are powerless to change anything; governments that hate their faith and silence their voices. The leaders we elect have great influence on our freedoms. They can choose to protect our right to worship and spread the gospel, or they can restrict those rights. This is one of the reasons we must have a Christian as the president of Nigeria come 2019. I want to implore all Nigerian Christians as citizens not to shy away or ignore from their primary responsibility which is the power of the vote, but you must all go and register before you can vote.

Unity Must Take Precedence

If Fulanis, a single tribe in a heavily multicultural society, head 15 of Nigeria’s 17 security agencies, that means one geo-political zone in the country controls over 90 percent of all the political offices in the land. Does that portray an equitable or perfect representation of all Nigerians? I don’t think so! This Buhari of Nigeria is a divider. Buhari, in fact, is a true president of Northern Nigeria. This man is the chief of nepotism, and that means he is totally unqualified to be the President of the Nigeria of our dreams. Buhari is a misfit for for Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore, Buhari MUST GO NOW.

Nigerians must start planning Buhari’s exit immediately. We must start now by uniting together as ONE. If the good people of the north desire true federalism, they should join this move. If we refuse to embrace unity now, the South, especially, will be in far worse shape than this present quagmire that Buhari has got us into. And our children and the future generations will never forgive us!

A house that is divided against itself can never stand. That is why all southerners must see themselves as ‘one’. South-East can’t do it alone; let us be sincere with ourselves and this power paradox must change. A tree does not make a forest. We all need one each other. We must forget about the past and our differences. Well, our differences can be harnessed into strength. Now is the right time for us to come together as one. Taraba, Adamawa, Kwara, Plateau, Southern Kaduna and Kogi state must also join in this struggle for a better Nigeria.

When or if we are united and work hard, I have no doubt in my mind that we can defeat the monster called Buhari regime and his allies in 2019 Election.

One of the unsolved problems that baffle me in Nigeria’s economy is the decentralization of the Police. We must decentralize the Police. Every state must have their own National Guard (army) instead of this centralized charade that we currently have. This is how it is done in developed countries. I don’t see any reason it cannot be done in Nigeria, if we claim to be practicing democracy and not craziness. The system of government we’re currently practicing in Nigeria is like the one in USA. So I do not see why we cannot decentralize the Police and let each state have their own National Guard (army) and control their resources.

My fellow citizens of Nigeria, I have been watching and listening to YouTube videos and following other materials on social media; how the Fulanis have been killing innocent souls in their homeland. These barbaric behaviors which the Fulanis currently exhibit unrestrained can only be stopped when the Southern governors are ready to unite as one and fight back.

Let me remind you of a statement that was said by a Fulani man many years ago:

This New Nation called Nigeria, should be an estate of our great grandfather, ‘Uthman Dan Fodio and we must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools, and the South, as conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future. (Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto in THE PARROT of October 12, 1960).

This is the plan of “President” Buhari as a Fulani man and his people have started to carry out the above statement. So, if the Southerners are still seeing themselves as different from one another, they’ll be making a big mistake. If the Igbos are seeing themselves differently from the Yorubas or the Yorubas sees themselves differently from the Igbos or Urhobo or Ishekiris and so on, the Fulanis will continue to kill the South and will finally take the entire Southerners as slaves. If you doubt it, wait and see what’s coming!

When you read the statement of Sir Ahmadu Bello, you will notice that the man didn’t say West or East or South-South, he said South which means a Fulani man sees the Igbos, Yoruba’s, Ishekiris, Urobos and other tribes in the south as one. The man also mentioned the minorities in the North and I believe he was referring to the northern Christians as willing tools.

We heard that Boko Haram abducted school girls and returned them after 2 billion USD was paid as ransom.  Now ask yourself: how many Christians would like come out to vote Buhari out knowing that the ransom paid to the extremist would be used to get more guns and cutlasses, which would be used during the election. Tell me please because I’m dying to get means of understanding this president?

Governor Fayose is the only governor that is performing his primary responsibility as a governor in my own view with respect to Lagos state governor. The number one primary responsibility of a government is to protect the life and property and the man is doing it for his state. Ondo state governor is the most useless governor I have ever seen in my life. What has the man done for Ondo state since he became the governor? I heard the man said Mimiko has done all the works in Ondo state and I said to myself, what type of human being is this. I can name numerous projects that can be done for the development of Ondo state and how we can implement them.

 

To be continued…

Unity Must Take Precedence – Part 2

Place of Arabic Language in Nigeria’s Curriculum

‘As a historian myself, I have taken the keenest interest in this development, for it is through the aid of these Arabic documents and those written in African languages in Arabic scripts Read more

Nigeria’s Followership Problem

We’ve had many essays that addressed leadership problems in Nigeria. Many columnists have posited that the only way out of the quagmire Nigeria’s in is to push for leaders that have ideas and that can make things happen. Where most of these arguments fail is that they do not make it clear that as important as it is to have good leaders, it is even more important to have good followers.

Nigeria’s leadership problem may predate its followership problem but the effects of both problems are equally devastating. The problem of followership has always been there but nowhere is it more pronounced than now.

In the past, there were radical voices amidst the followers that challenged government’s actions and spoke relentless truth to authority. We had Gani Fawehinmi. We had Tai Solarin. There’s Fela, Soyinka. We had Chima Ubani. We had radical voices that led the student movement against unfavorable government policies.

But this generation has the biggest case of bad followership. The few voices that used to speak have either been bought over, silenced or have joined government and are not worse than those they once spoke against. There’s Femi Falana who has become a voice that rails selectively.

There’s former NLC President and Former Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomole who joined politics, became Governor and became a thorn in the flesh of his people. A man who once rejected the Federal Government’s ‘no work, no pay’ rule turned around to do same to his people.

There’s former Ekiti Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who was an active voice in the NGO world and who pushed for democratic ideals before joining government, but when he ventured in, he became a different man.

And there’s Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, a man who was part of the civil society, who fought alongside the people right until he became Governor, but what became of him? He became that person that fought the people he fought alongside and sent policemen after his former comrades.

But I digress….

Nigeria’s followership problem has never been more pronounced than it is today. Citizens have become accomplices in the destruction of the nation. Rather than monitor the activities of leaders, followers coin excuses to defend leaders’ actions, excuses that paid spokespersons have difficulty coming up with.

It is really simple. Nigeria has leadership problems but it has even bigger followership problems. Until the problem of followership is solved, irresponsible leaders will continue to be on the rise. Until citizens stop seeing challenging government as lack of patriotism, the country will not move forward. So, as important as it is to call for responsible leaders, it is imperative that we emphasize that responsible and responsive followers are a must for any nation to progress.

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Corruption Between Nigerians And The People Of Lot

Josephine Agwu is a cleaner who works at the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos. At sighting a cash of $12,000 within the airport, all that comes to her mind was, “this is not mine, I must return it to the authority.” She did exactly what her mind told her and what followed her action was absurd and appalling.
“Was she destined to be poor in life?”. “If she doesn’t need it, can’t she give it to a relative who is in need?”. “Eeyah! Had it been I was the one who saw the money, alele!”.
These are echoes from some Nigerians following Josephine’s decision to return such a huge amount of money. That was sometimes ago and things are not as hard as it is now in the country.
The economy is bitten harder day by day but that doesn’t stop another person who shares a similar thought with Josephine to take the path of honour. That person was Mohammed Ogbanago. Ogbanago works with a popular commercial bank in Lagos as a security guard attached to the bank’s entrance and recently the sum of $10,000 got lost from a customer in the bank but on sighting the money, he returned it to the authority. Again, there was a cacophony of condemnation from those who saw his action as continuous sanction of poverty by the man.
In a recent interview he granted a Nigerian newspaper which I read online, Ogbanago said he did the action to convince many Nigerians and the world over that not every Nigerian is “fantastically corrupt” as erroneously opined by former British PM, David Cameron.
Indeed Nigerians are specially made people who are hardworking and the most happiest people on earth. We are people who turn every situation to anything you can think of, be it joke or satire. In fact, the late music icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti captured it well when he described Nigerians as people who enjoys suffering and smiling.
Before now, Nigerians hardly take other person’s property because their own is ever enough for them to savour. The fear of God was there and people’s conscience were still intact and working perfectly. Then you can display your wares outside without having to stay there while buyers only take their needs and drop their moneys as well. There was a high level of trust. Everything was working in Nigeria including the “powerful” power sector.
Things later changed with corruption becoming the norm in the society. Kidnapping, cultism and ritual killings then followed while rape, adultery, fornication and lack of respect for the elderly coupled with a new generation of Nigerians who believe in cutting corners to reach the El Dorado.
The internet age further dealt a big blow to our morality with the emergence of “yahoo boys” and “e-dating” which has led to many becoming victim of rape and assault in the hands of their predators. It also cemented the activities of advanced free fraudsters also known as 419.
So in the Nigeria of today, for you to be morally upright and tries to preach it while also practicing it, then you must be ready to bear the brunt from every Tom, Dick and Harry. You will be chastised and call all sort of names. Hence being upright in Nigeria most especially if you want to come up with an anti corruption toga, your skin has to be thick.
The case of Nigeria is closely related to the people of Prophet Lot who was described in the Bible as well as the Quran as a pious leader. His people were so corrupt that they were obsessed with anyone who tries to preach morality and a corrupt free society. They were the foremost of mankind who practiced homosexuality. They even tried to rape the guests of the prophet hence indicating the height of their moral decadence.
The people of Lot were so obsessed with anything good that they vowed to drive away anyone who tries to uphold justice, equity and fairness among them. Their end was disastrous and the rest is history till today.
For Nigerians, we have surpassed the feat achieved by the people of Lot as we are totally obsessed with every form of policy or reform that will bring about sanity into our ever decayed system. Or how do we explain the scenario whereby someone found a missing money or valuables and decided to return it since his or her conscience will prick him or her but our response to such person(s) will be to rain curses on them, saying they can never make it again in life.
We have lost our morality and it is even difficult to be just and fair or even speak the truth knowing fully well that doing such may lead to the end of the road. The girls have no shame again. The boys are ready made rogues while their parents have no moral justification to even tailor their lives to live a life full of dedication to humanity through handwork and above all the fear of God.
Most parents even buy certificates for their children and also steal public funds in their name –  even the unborn children have existing accounts dedicated to them. Corruption is now part of our life and that’s why it is now a burden to many Nigerians since the start of the Buhari government. The government have been blocking their illegal routes and also seizing their properties which were gotten from fraudulent means.
For the first time in Nigeria’s history, a sitting Governor’s account is frozen having been found liable to have gotten the money in the account from fraudulent means. The number three citizen in the country is also on trial while revelations are already unfolding about the number four citizen following allegations that he “padded” the country’s 2016 budget.
One thing that baffles me about some Nigerians on the ongoing battle against corruption is the fact that some of them are saying that the government should “bring back corruption” stating that the present state of the economy is as a result of the president’s fight against corruption. They had posited that when he did not start the anti graft war, the economy was better for it. And just like the people of Lot,  those Nigerians want the status quo to remain so that they can reap from where they have not sow.
In salvaging situations like these, the basis will have to come to the rescue. The basis here implies the home, educational and religious institutions. These three institutions have crucial roles to play in reshaping Nigeria. It is a nexus of solution that must be explored for us to return to the tabula rasa.

The Psychology of Settling

When you study the history of electioneering in Nigeria since 2003, you will discover that there is a recurring trend. That trend is called “settling”.

In the Nigerian Presidential election of 2003, Gani Fawehinmi was one of the Presidential aspirants. He was a man who people loved and who had a great record when it came to standing for what’s right. Yet when the results were announced, he had just 0.41% of the total votes compared to PDP’s Olusegun Obasanjo who won 61.94% of the votes to win a reelection.

In the 2007 election, Pat Utomi looked like he had something upstairs. He contested at a point in our national history when Nigerians were saying they were tired of politicians and needed technocrats and people who had the know-how when it came to the workings of a democracy. Pat Utomi should have been a shoo in going by this national body language. But he was only able to get 0.14% of the votes compared to PDP’s Umar Musa Yar’Adua who won 69.82% of the total votes to emerge President.

In 2011, there was a nationwide delusion. Nuhu Ribadu, the face of anti-corruption then stood no chance against PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2015, while some Nigerians were torn between choosing the PDP or APC, others agreed that Kowa Party’s Remi Sonaiya would represent a shift from the old order of recycling and mergers to a new order of competence and accountability. But again, Remi Sonaiya of Kowa was able to get 38, 076 votes compared to APC’s Buhari’s 15, 424, 921 votes.

What I am trying to show is that we have made settling an habit. We always know who can get the job done, who can be a new face compared to the old ones we have been seeing since 1960, but somehow we always manage to convince ourselves that those people won’t stand a chance. Before long it spreads, we start hearing: “Dat man for change dis kontri o, but he no fit win. If to say he dey APC.” Or “Dat woman sabi o, you no hear how she dey answer questions? But she no fit win. If to say she dey PDP now.” And like that, we convince ourselves and those around us that those better alternatives don’t stand a chance. And true to our predictions, those better alternatives go on to lose, resoundingly.

Now there is a psychological warfare at play here and it has been on for sometime now. It’s the same psychology that politicians used to win elections in time past. It’s the same psychology behind: “Whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win.” And so we sit at home and refuse to vote and with our refusal to vote elect men undeserving of that position.

But 2015 was an eye-opener. Misguided as the activities of the 2015 elections are shaping up to be, there are still lessons to be learnt from it. In 2015, the same politicians who had been waging this psychological war on us tried to awaken public consciousness by drawing attention to that war. There were jingles asking people to vote. There were adverts disabusing people’s minds of that notion of “whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win.”

The effect was startling. People voted and stood by their votes at a time when the nation was so on edge that some were running to neighboring African countries to escape the post electoral violence they were certain would occur. People slept at polling boots. People used torchlights to count votes. All over the country, voters defied the “normal”, defied the sun, went without food and helped usher in what they were certain was a new era.

Now, that psychological warfare is a two-faced war. We may have won one when we flung out the “Whether we vote or not, dey don know who go win” anthem, but the other side of that war is yet to be won. Until we fight and win that war, we will never truly have who we want in power. We will keep on settling.

Instead of giving up on who we think can get the job done because they are not running on the platform of a popular party, how about we support them because we know they are capable. How is it that we are trying to break free of the PDP and APC stranglehold and yet we still wish our preferred candidates ran on the platforms of those parties? How is it that we want to go to Canaan but we keep pining for the things of Egypt?

The reason why politicians who run on the platforms of these known parties win is because their political platforms manage to convince the people that the “battle” is between just two parties and that a vote for any other party asides those two is a vote wasted. From then on, the people begin to feel trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea. They begin to feel that they have to choose between two devils and must choose the lesser devil.

But that is psychological warfare at play. To fight and win this second phase of the war, electorates must vote who they think is best no matter the odds stacked against him/her. You will find out that millions of people feel the same way about the person. Politicians win because people vote for them. Without people, they are not better than the ordinary man on the street.

This second phase of psychological warfare will not be shouted from campaign podiums or ring from campaign jingles; it is the ruling class’ (regardless of party) weapon of mass disillusionment. The only way to win this war is to unlearn the lies we have been told about how “The woman no fit win. If to say she dey APC.” or “The man sabi o, but he no dey PDP.” We must stay true to ourselves. We must ditch the herd mentality of “Na PDP my grand papa and grand mama dey vote for tete.” Or “Na APC my fiance dey support o” and just be true to ourselves. The better alternatives can only become better choices when we give them a fighting chance in our heads. The moment we write them off as doomed-to-fail in our heads, we will only be playing into the hands of the psychological warlords bent on preying on our gullibility.

When those of us who know refuse to settle for lesser devils, our thoughts, our actions will spill over and affect the psyche of those on the streets. Did PDP not share money in 2015? Did that stop anything? Forget the “no power can stop an idea whose time has come” thing; the “idea” that won in 2015 has been around since 2003, why didn’t it fly before 2015? It’s because before 2015, the people were still held captive by the manipulations of the “whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win” psychological war. A victory over that psychological manipulation ushered in a totally radical way of viewing things and influenced the actions of the electorates in 2015.

That second phase must be won too to allow for the emergence of a new order separate from the familiar faces that have been around our political space since 1960. It is a victory that must be won in our minds first before spilling over to influence our actions and that of those around us.

Dissecting The 2013 Egypt Coup and Turkey Failed Coup

Friday in the Muslim world is a very sacrosanct day that affords the faithful opportunity to congregate and share thoughts.

As for the Friday 15th of July, 2016 it was indeed a dark one as some elements within the Turkish military forces planned to topple the democratically elected government in the country.

The reality was that the coup hit a brick wall courtesy of the masses resolve to move massively against the military forces who had announced a takeover of government on that faithful day. The fall out from the failed coup was massive as well with over 200 people reportedly killed while about 1,500 sustained injuries following confrontations between the forces and the defending masses.

On the other hand, there is currently a massive purge of military officials who have been involved in the purported usurpation of power while about 6,000 arrests have been made.

The judiciary is also not left out of the purge as over 2,000 judges have been removed apparently in a bid to institute a reform process in the judiciary which will block a reoccurrence of such senseless act against a democratically elected President in the country.

This is because Turkey does not have capital punishment laws against acts of treason by individuals against the state. That the constitution will be reviewed is certain when viewed from the outcome of this ugly incident.

Recall that the president some few days to the attempted coup through the judiciary gave more powers to the military apparently to secure the nation’s territory from wanton act of terrorism that had engulfed the country in recent past.

Let me stop there for now as my intention ab-initio was to dissect the reasons behind the successful Egypt coup of 2013 whereby the first Democratic government in the country led by Mohammed Morsi was toppled and why the Turkey’s version few days ago was unsuccessful even though the two Muslim countries share similar religious sentiment.

Mohammed Morsi was democratically elected in  Egypt following the 2011 Arab Spring protest which saw the end of Egypt’s maximum ruler, Hosni Mubarak. Due to Morsi’s Pro Islamic tendencies, he was tagged as a threat to western secularism and democracy.

He was removed by General Abdulfatah Al Sisi after massive protests from the masses who were sceptical about Morsi’s posture which they believe was tilting towards a more religious Egypt. Thus, the masses rejected a government they had elected through the ballot just because of some uncertain sinister motive.

Once again the masses had their way and for me there are more angle go that. The believe that a new bloc that will challenge western hegemony had emerged hence their grip of the Middle East and by extension the Muslim world will slip away in no time is a factor to note. The west supported the military regime to topple the first democracy in Egypt a system they had always preached and even financed across the globe. It thus means that democracy is good for the people when it favours the west and it is bad when there are tendencies it won’t satisfy their selfish interest.

The social media as usual played a vital role in mobilising the masses against Morsi. While its use during the “Anti-Morsi” campaign was successful same could not be said of the failed coup in Turkey as it was a story of a different stroke for a different folk.

So what has changed between 2013 that Egypt’s Morsi was toppled and 2016 that Turkey’s Recep Erdogan was unable to be toppled?

A lot has changed. The Turkish are now more conscious of their freedom than being a stooge to some foreign conspiracies and this could be viewed from the Egypt scenario as nothing has changed since the unpopular government of Al Sisi took over. There have been growing insecurity and human right abuses with many opposition politicians and journalists now behind bars.

As for Turkey, the government of Erdogan had been accused of the aforementioned challenges in Egypt as well and had been tagged as having Pro Islamic tendencies like Morsi thereby bringing to disrepute Turkey’s secular leanings as championed by the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Atatürk. But the fact that the masses wanted him is an indication that the mandate of the people cannot be compromised.

The West should note this as more people are getting acquainted with their ploy day by day. Though they have distanced themselves from the sponsors of the coup in Turkey, the role they played in the toppling of the Morsi government leave many in doubt as to their resolve against Erdogan who shares similar sentiment with the latter.

The same social media that was used to rally support against Morsi was employed by Erdogan to reclaim his mandate from the invading marauders who had come in the form of military forces. The masses took to their feet having been mobilised by President Erdogan who urged them to picket the streets and airports to defend their mandate.  No doubt the president is popular among them even after he had been accused of plans to destroy Turkey’s secular posture.

Turkish cleric and businessman, Fethulah Gulen was accused by the Turkish government of influencing the coup attempt following successive plots aimed at pitching his followers against the government of Erdogan while latest document obtained by Arab TV channel Al Jazeera showed names of 80 top government officials who would have taken power had it been the coup was successful.

For posterity sake those behind the coup attempt be it local or foreign should learn to respect the people’s mandate which is the core principle of democracy. The Turkish government has called for the extradition of Gulen who had been on exile in the US. Such a decision should be respected by the US if after investigation the man is found to be guilty.

Other leaders from across the world should learn from Turkey’s Erdogan because had it been he is not popular among the masses, he would have been left alone to carry his cross. Such popularity however do not come from an impoverished masses, it comes from an empowered ones.

 

Ending The Cycle of Madness: Reexamining The Third Option

I voted President Buhari in the last election. But no, it wasn’t because I thought he could change anything; I have never seen him as anything but a living and breathing disaster. I voted for him because I overrated the ability of Nigerians to think and reason correctly.

My thought was that if President Buhari failed (as I knew he would), Nigerians would sit, think, and consider a “third option”. That was what birthed my THIRD OPTION crusade. I wrote then that the problems of this country are systemic and will never be solved by mere electoral gimmicks and reforms, but by a revolutionary third force.

As at that time, PDP had ruled. A Yoruba man had been President. A southerner had been President. My thought was that if a northerner and a product of the merger became President and failed too like the ones who came before him, Nigerians would see that Nigeria’s problems surpass an APC, PDP, North, South thing and unite to birth a third option that will painstakingly erode the old order, end this current shitstem that glorifies looters and celebrates lawless leaders and establish a new order where illegality and the madness that characterised the old shitstem can no longer thrive. But I was wrong.

We don’t think. It is said that when a man is pushed to the wall, he will turn back and fight. Not Nigerians. We will bang our head against that wall and keep bleeding instead of turning back to fight. We don’t think. Baba Fela was right to have described us all as zombies. We have handed over our brains to political and religious leaders.

Look, Nigeria has bigger problems than Buhari, APC, PDP or the north. We are suffering from systemic failures resulting from a system that harbours countless social contradictions. You don’t patch up systemic failures this pronounced; you either rise to end the system or continue in the four-year electoral delusion, hoping things would change only to discover that they won’t.

Come 2019, President Buhari will either be reelected or somebody else will become President. We will restart the cycle of hope and right before our eyes see it dashed like before. We will come on Facebook and our blogs and write beautiful grammar about how we have been let down and how we have to wait till 2023. We will console ourselves with: “Your voters card is your power. If he fails, we will remove him too.” But we lie.

How many failures do we have to witness before we become old and grey and leave a horrible country for our children? It is delusional to think that any real power lies in that voters card. The real power lies in our ability to think and take unpopular steps.

Our search for sanity in the midst of these chaos will yield no fruit until this shitstem is torn down. Until then, we will continue to elect the same folks under different party names. Party names will change. Slogans will change. Emblems will change. Portfolios will change. But what will remain constant is the suffering and groaning of the ordinary people.

The children of the ordinary people will continue to get crumbs and continue to be offered 23, 000 naira jobs for 2 years while the children of the illegal beneficiaries of this shitstem will continue to get backdoor appointments to CBN, FIRS, etc. Ordinary people have no future under this shitstem. Their only hope for a better life lies in the struggle for a new system where merit, equality, freedom are more than mere words on paper.

We must end this cycle of madness. It has gone on for too long. Some people have been singing “e go better” since 1960. E never better o. Some people have been voting since 1960, chanting slogans, “HOPE xxx”, “TRANSFORMATION XYZ”, “CHANGE ABC”. But nothing has changed. Nothing has been transformed. When will we wake up to see the insanity that we have embraced for far too long? When are we going to open our eyes to see the hopelessness of our hope? There is no future for ordinary people under this shitstem; their only shot at a better tomorrow is to end this shitstem.

As long as this shitstem lives, the dreams of ordinary people will remain buried. The death of this shitstem is the only force capable of rolling away the stone from the mouth of the tombstone where their dreams and aspirations lie buried. This cycle of madness has gone on for long enough; the time to end it is now.

Redefining Mo Ibrahim’s Prize For African Leaders

The Mo Ibrahim’s prize for achievement in African leadership was announced few weeks ago and for the umpteenth time there was no clear cut winner for the coveted prize among past African leaders.

After reading the news, I remembered a discussion with a colleague at work recently on the personality of Mo himself and how best he could channel his God-given wealth to develop his home of descent – Sudan.

My colleague had argued that instead of Mo investing so much as high as 5 million dollars on African leaders, it would not be out of place if he directly spend or invest it in Sudan or some countries battling with economic challenges within the continent.

Since I was a novice about what he is saying I had to keep quiet but was quick to marshal out my point as well and told him I have heard so much about him and that he was at the anti-corruption conference held in London of recent alongside Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari among others.

So, who is Mo Ibrahim?

After the announcement that there was no winner in this year’s edition of the award, I was further challenged to do some googling about his personality and his rationale for setting up the African Leadership Achievement Prize.

There I found out that Mo is a Sudanese-British Billionaire with investment majorly in telecommunication and one of the most powerful persons in the United Kingdom.

The foundation he set up has been in the fore-front of sponsoring the African Leadership Prize which is geared towards celebrating leaders from the continent who had contributed immensely to the growth of their country.

From my research, one of the objectives of the prize is to ensure that Africa continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of exceptional leaders when they leave national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent.

Aside the 5 million dollars prize, it is expected that such Leader will earn 200,000 dollars monthly for the rest of his or her life.

That’s breathtaking you will say? Well, it was borne out of the free will of the donor which aims at encouraging African Leaders to invest vigorously in the countries they govern while also ensuring that such legacies are sustainable.

That the monetary value of the Ibrahim’s Prize is higher than the coveted Nobel Prize for Peace is also an indication that Mo meant well for Leaders from his continent of origin.

Since the Prize commenced in 2007, it has been won by four African Leaders, the last being former President of Namibia, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, .

In 2007, President Joaquim Chissano from Mozambique won the inaugural Prize while South African Leader, Nelson Mandela was an honorary awardee for that year. The award was not given to any Leader in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and of late, 2015.

Will it elude past African leaders in 2016 as well? Only time will tell.

So what’s my concern about someone’s else intention to reward African leaders for their achievements? The answer is not farfetched.

Most of these leaders are rich already while some of them will get life pensions and allowances after leaving the office. Why I am not saying leaders who have contributed immensely to the development of their countries should not be celebrated, what the sponsors of the Ibrahim’s Prize need to do is to look at sectors in which such huge amount of money can be invested.

Sectors like Science and Technology, Universal Health Coverage, Water Supply, Electricity, Education, Agriculture and Research among others can be prioritized, thus taking the continent out of the quagmire facing it in terms of funding these sectors.

Some specialized higher institutions on the continent have been established for the purpose of research in Medicine, Agriculture and Science and Technology. Such institutions are lacking adequate funds and they need grants to further consolidate on the mandate of establishing them.

Mo Ibrahim need to review his mandate on the 5 million dollars African Leadership Prize by channeling it to the development of countries and institutions on the continent rather than her leaders.

Africa need more philanthropists like the Sudanese-British billionaire at the moment in order to take her rightful place among the comity of nations.

Ours is a continent that is rich with abundant resources and talents which will take up the world in the near future. Suffice it to say that most innovations and inventions we see in America and the West today were developed by African brains.

Hijab, CAN and Religious Tolerance in Nigeria (2)

Obviously, the position of CAN which premised education as a sole property of missionaries requires rigorous review. The colonial authorities used education as a tool in administration towards integrating their culture and religious belief to respective countries they colonize. Yet the education and civilization promoted by the colonial masters were largely inherited from Islamic Civilization and Muslim Scholarship.

Sir John Glubb in A Short History of the Arab Peoples, 1969 stated that ‘the indebtedness of Western Christendom to Arab civilization was systematically played down, if not completely denied. A tradition  was built up, by censorship and propaganda, that the Muslim imperialists had been mere barbarians and that the rebirth of learning in the West derived directly from Roman and Greek sources alone, without any Arab intervention’.

Furthermore, UNESCO and the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL) in 2015 marked the 1000th anniversary since the appearance of the remarkable seven volume treatise on optics – Kitab al-Manazir – written by Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) who was a pioneering scientific thinker that made important contributions to the understanding of vision, optics and light. He was described as the father of modern Optics, Ophthalmology, Experimental Physics and Scientific Method and the first Theoretical Physicist.

Ian P. Howard argued in a 1996 Perception article that Alhazen should be credited with many discoveries and theories which were previously attributed to Western Europeans writing centuries later and influenced medieval European scientists and philosophers such as Roger Bacon, Robert Grosseteste, Witelo, Leonardo Di Vinci and Christian Huygens. But Alhazen’s book came into its own later, when it attracted the attention of mathematicians like Kepler, Descartes, and Huygens, thanks in part to Friedrich Risner’s edition published in Basel in 1572.

Again, the Arab Muslim physician, Abulcasis, has equally been described by many notable scholars as the father of modern surgery who first describe ectopic pregnancy and haemophilia among others and pioneered the preparation of medicines by sublimation and distillation. In 14th century, the French surgeon Guy de Chauliac quoted his book – al-Tasrif – over 200 times. Pietro Argallata also described Abū al-Qāsim as “without doubt the chief of all surgeons.”

Surprisingly, it took the turn of the millennium before World Health Organization (WHO) could acknowledge the pioneer work of Persian physician Rhazes (860-932) who gave the systematic description of measles, and its distinction from smallpox and chickenpox and published –The Book of Smallpox and Measles. The Bulletin of WHO, May 1970 read thus “His writings on smallpox and measles show originality and accuracy, and his essay on infectious diseases was the first scientific treatise on the subject.” It is thus befitting to ask: how would the world have been today without “algorithm”, “algebra” and “alkali” as the legacy of Muslim polymaths unto the West?

No wonder HRH Prince Charles of Wales, the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II, said in 1993 “If there is much misunderstanding in the West about the nature of Islam, there is also much ignorance about the debt our own culture and civilization owe to the Islamic world. It is a failure, which stems, I think, from the straight-jacket of history, which we have inherited. The medieval Islamic world, from central Asia to the shores of the Atlantic, was a world where scholars and men of learning flourished. But because we have tended to see Islam as the enemy of the West, as an alien culture, society, and system of belief, we have tended to ignore or erase its great relevance to our own history”

Moreover, the pre-colonial scholarships of Muslim Ulamah in Yorubaland also lend credence to this assertion coupled with their promotion of societal stability via mutual tolerance. Long before Missionary adventure in 1841, Islam has been in Yorubaland for well over two hundred years where the first and only literacy was Arabic as widely noted by Emeritus Prof. Ade-Ajayi. According to Prof. Isaac Ogunbiyi, the origin of the word ‘Yoruba’ has been traced to Arabic writers such as Ahmad Baba (1627 in his mi’raj al-su’ud) and Muhammed Bello (1837 in his infaq al-maysur) both of whom were reported among the earliest to name the people in Oyo ‘yariba’, ‘yaruba’, ‘yarba’ at a time when they were still referring to themselves by their diverse ethnic identities.

It is on this basis of freedom of religion that Barack Obama stated at Cairo University in 2009 that “Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That’s why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it.”

Reinforcing this assertion, Michelle Obama paid a visit to Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, United Kingdom in 2015 to inspire hundreds of young people where majority of teenage students cover their heads with hijab. Speaking to the crowd of hijab-clad girls, Mrs. Obama said, “When I look out at all these young women, I see myself. In so many ways your story is my story. I’m here because of you. Because girls like you inspire and impress me, every day.’ She couldn’t have chosen a more fantastically multicultural school – only a handful of hijab-free heads in the entire place – or a more impressive one, against the odds. More than 70 per cent of the students are on free school meals, but four-fifths go on to university.

Obviously, we live in one world as reiterated by Kofi Annan.  We need to understand and respect each other, live peacefully together and live up to the best of our respective traditions.  That is not as easy as we might like it to be.  But that is all the more reason to try harder, with all our tools and all our will.

It is time to unlearn intolerance and accept hijab as a divinely endowed honours worn by blessed Eve wife of Adam, Sarah wife of Abraham, Mary mother of Jesus and Khadijah wife of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah be pleased with them all) as a symbol of purity and humility.

Read Part 1

Hijab, CAN and Religious Tolerance in Nigeria (1)

On September 11, 2003, two teachers at the Franklin Science Academy in Muskogee, Oklahoma, were discussing the terrorist attacks that had occurred exactly two years earlier, when they spotted a sixth grader, Nashala Hearn, wearing a Muslim headscarf. The school’s dress code prohibited students from wearing “hats, caps, bandanas, plastic caps, or hoods on jackets inside the building.” One of the teachers sent Nashala to the principal, who warned and later suspended the eleven-year-old when she continued to wear the scarf.

The school attorney said, “You treat religious items the same as you would any other item, no better or worse. Our dress code prohibits headgear, period.” The school was willing to articulate the Establishment Clause argument against its initial antagonist, the Rutherford Institute, a Christian civil liberties foundation that assisted the Hearns in filing their complaint in a federal court. When the US Justice Department intervened by filing additional briefs against the school in the spring of 2004, however, the school quickly caved in.

Under a settlement agreement, the school agreed to change the dress code so as to include an accommodation, or exception, for religious headgear (hijab). The school also paid an undisclosed sum of monetary damages to the Hearn family. In response, Assistant Attorney General Alexander Acosta issued a public statement that “This settlement reaffirms the principle that public schools cannot require students to check their faith at the schoolhouse door.”

It is this constitutional position of law that underlines the judgment delivered by Justice Jide Falola of the state High Court in Osun State on Friday June 3, 2016 in favour of a case instituted by Osun State Muslim Community against the state government on the right of female Muslim students in public schools in the state to use hijab on their school uniforms. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), its chairman and others later joined voluntarily as respondents.

In his judgment, Justice Falola traced the history of religion and observed that religion was introduced to the case when CAN and others joined the suit, noting that he decided to deliver the judgment after all plea to settle the matter amicably has proved futile. Premising his judgment on Section 38 of the Nigeria Constitution and Article 8 of the 2004 policy published by the state Ministry of Education, Justice Falola held that female Muslim students were not exempted from the freedom of religion, conscience and thought.

The judgment re-echoed the position of Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, addressed to the Department of Public Information (DPI) seminar on “Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding” in New York, 2004 where he identified unlearning intolerance in part as a matter of legal protection. The right to freedom of religion – and to be free from discrimination based on religion – is long enshrined in international law, from the UN Charter to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other instruments. Such standards have been incorporated into the laws of many countries.

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief. Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is not only a moral duty, it is also a political and legal requirement. Tolerance, the virtue that makes peace possible, contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace as enshrined in Article 1.1 of the Declaration on Principles of Tolerance, proclaimed and signed by the Member States of UNESCO on 16 November 1995.

Article 26 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the international community in 1948, states that “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”

It is on the basis of using education as a tool in promoting tolerance that prompted Vernon Hills High School in USA to stage “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab” event in 2015 designed to allow Christians and other non-Muslim female students the opportunity to wear hijab and gain a better understanding of the Muslim faith. In the same vein, Dr Larycia Hawkins, a Christian and a Wheaton College Political Science Professor, posted photos of herself on Facebook and Twitter wearing a hijab to show solidarity with Muslim women in America and inviting other women to join her.

Saheela Ibraheem, a native of Ede in Osun State with her full-grown hijab was accepted to Harvard College at age ahead of her time. At 16, she was named to a list of “The World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers,” which got the attention of the White House. She was invited to Washington D.C. in early March 2015 where she introduced the president and first lady at a reception to kick off Black History Month. Acknowledging her exceptional nature, Obama said, “We are so proud of your accomplishments and all that lies ahead of you, and you reflect our history. Young people like this inspire our future.” At no point in her career has she been denied wearing hijab.

..to be continued