Category Archives: Columnist

To Kwara Govt: Alleged Killing of 5 Drivers By Soldiers In Kwara And The Need For Justice

By Busy Brain

My heart bleeds profusely as I could not hold back the tears rolling down from my eyes when I read the news of five (5) drivers allegedly killed by Soldiers at Ilesa Baruba, Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State.

On what condition should innocent souls whose daily food revolve around their daily income be murdered cheaply, leaving their family and beloved ones into deep agony and somberness.

News Agency of Nigeria reported earlier that five commercial drivers were shot dead by soldiers in a dispute over N200 bribe.

NAN, quoting sources in the area said the incident was triggered off by a driver who refused to pay the usual N200 “booking” bribe to soldiers at a checkpoint they mounted Ilesha-Baruba/Chikanda highway.

The driver reportedly told the soldiers that he had already ‘booked’ earlier in the morning.

But the claim was said to have infuriated the soldiers who subsequently slapped and ordered the driver to do frog jumps.

According to the sources, the vehicle was also seized.

The driver later left the spot and complained to officials of the transport union in the area.

NAN learned that members of the union subsequently followed the driver to talk to the soldiers on his behalf.

This however allegedly degenerated into unpleasant arguments, leading to the alleged shooting of some drivers with three allegedly dying on the spot and two dying later from gunshot wounds.

The peak of brutality and wickedness displayed from the above reports have portrayed the Kwara State Government as one who cares less about justice for the civilians. The gong to demand justice should have started clanging since the day of that gory incident by Kwara State Government. This reminds me of Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum. The man that would never watch his people killed extrajudicially. Had the incident happened in Borno, Prof. Zulum would have dragged the killer soldiers and called them out for justice to reign. It is a message to the Kwara State Govt to act beyond condolence messages to the deceased families and the paramount ruler of Ilesha Baruba Kingdom and press for justice.

Although, many things have gone wrong in Nigeria and the personnel charged with the sole responsibility of protecting lives have been killing innocent like fowls without concrete justice for the victims.

Like many other extrajudicial killings that had happened in the past, here is another version in Kwara State, and the justices in our court have journey traveled to exile in Nigeria. As I pray for the soul of the deceased to rest in peace, I equally pray for our justices to come back and rescue us. Justice must be served.

Don’t only read it, share it as well for Justice.

Busy Brain Writes From Maiduguri

CC:

National Assembly
Kwara State Government
Nigerian Army
NHRC
NUJ

THE CHANGING NARRATIVES OF THE ABIA ONLINE OPPOSITION COMMENTATORS

By Onyebuchi Ememanka

Events of the last one week have revealed the true nature of the folks who do online opposition in Abia State.

These events have confirmed an opinion I have held from the beginning, that these guys have one objective, namely, to discredit the administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu AT ALL COSTS!

The release of pictures of a beautiful and well paved Osusu Road threw them off balance. They went into a negative frenzy of sorts. They ran helter skelter. Their disappointment was obvious.

This is understandable.

The old Osusu Road which depicted massive dilapidation made their job easy. Indeed, the road was in a terrible shape. Trees and other forms of vegetation had found a natural habitat in the middle of the road.
The guys went to work. Hundreds of pictures of the terrible Osusu Road trended heavily on all social media platforms. They used it as a signpost of the incompetence of Ikpeazu administration. Despite the tens of roads done by this administration, Osusu Road was used to rubbish every effort made by Ikpeazu. For the outside world, they saw Aba, Abia and Ikpeazu from the prism of a decayed Osusu Road.

Little did they know that Osusu Road would ever bounce back from the dead into a lovely scenery that is just a beauty to behold.

And so they changed strategy.

They would never live to see Ikpeazu get any accolades. Never!

After searching in vain for reasons to discredit the work, they now have adopted a new system.

Osusu Road is a very short distance road! What’s all the fuss about a road that is less than 3km?

Once their Chiefs conjured it, they all latched on.

But they are being smart by half. Or even a quarter.

For the several months that they played around the entire blogosphere with pictures of Osusu Road, never for once did they mention that it was a short distance road. They lampooned Ikpeazu for abandoning one of the most important arterial roads in Aba.
Then Osusu was a strategic road. Now, it has suddenly become an inconsequential, short distance road. Simply because Ikpeazu fixed it.

Some have become emergency quantity surveyors who sit in their houses and estimate the cost of building roads. The idea is to show that the cost of the roads are small and doesn’t warrant any cause for accolades.

Really?

If it’s so cheap to do them, how come they were abandoned for 15 years?

They forgot that Osusu Road has been abandoned since 2002 or thereabouts. This was a road commissioned by a Governor in this state with pomp and pegeantry. The road collapsed after two years of its rehabilitation and has remained abandoned ever since then. Ikpeazu inherited a decayed Osusu Road. This point must be made.

Same goes for Milverton Avenue.
Every Aba man knows that Milverton is a key road in the economy of Aba. Though short, it’s an extremely strategic road for the Aba Business Community. It’s been abandoned for more than 15 years. People have shouted. The bad state of that road has affected businesses in Aba.
Now Ikpeazu’s caterpillars have rolled into Milverton and its 95% reasy. The opposition online choir is dismissing it as a short road!

Omuma Road will be flagged off for reconstruction on Monday by the Governor. The story of Omuma is well known. I cannot even remember how many years it’s been abandoned. By the time Ikpeazu fixes the road, watch what they will say. Ordinary Omuma road? How many kilometers?

They will say the same thing about Ngwa Road when it’s completed. Obohia, Ohanku and Uratta will also be judged the same way.

I have learnt deep lessons from all of these.
Remain focused. Don’t allow discordant tunes played by a confused and frustrated choir distract you.
People will always talk, no matter what you do.

I am a very happy man. I see great things happening. By December 2022, these guys will be in greater pains. I have seen the plan on ground. It’s a realistic and workable plan. Aba will bounce back in full, with a solid network of roads never seen before since after Mbakwe.

They never knew things would turn out this way.

Now I begin to appreciate what my boss told me sometime ago.

“Ururuaja, all my life, I have always been underestimated by people. From my days as a boy. Through the various stages of my life, through the different schools I attended, people underestimated my abilities, and you know what? I like it that way. I like being the under dog in a fight. But they usually get shocked how I end. They are dumbfounded at the end. There is no single assignment that I have undertaken in life that I didn’t succeed. None. Not one”.

When the race for Governor started in 2014, Ikpeazu was the most unlikely person to emerge from the PDP. The field was filled with top political gladiators. Serving Senators, Ministers, billionaire businessmen, etc. No one gave him a chance.
He emerged!
To the shock of everyone.
A common ordinary waste manager? Defeating all these men? How did it happen? They cried bitterly.

In the elections proper, he was up against those who felt they owned the world. He dusted them and stuffed their big mouths with dry sand, ururuaja.
No one believed it. They wept and wailed and cried. They did everything under the sun to stop him but he stood strong. God stood with him. The man and his Chi!

In 2019, the same events were repeated. He beat them silly. Till date, they are still in shock.

By 2023, Ikpeazu will hand over a stronger Abia and much more infrastructurally updated Aba.

You don’t have to believe it.

Just sit back and watch it happen.

Have a great weekend, folks.

*Onyebuchi Ememanka is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Abia State.

Vital Observation on the Forgery and Perjury Cases Against Governor Obaseki and Shaibu of Edo State

By Sebastine Ebhuomhan

Sunday, 3rd January, 2021.

A lot has been written on the pre-election suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja on the 2020 Edo governorship election. In the past 72 hours, particular efforts have been made by known agents of the two men that are the subjects of court inquest to change court record from outside.

On the basis of a vital observation in this essay, the following emanated statement will suffice to buttress attempts strenuously and unlawfully being made to interrupt recorded court proceedings in the suits.

Please, read and note the public statement below.

THE BULLETS OF THE HARMLESS RABBIT MEDIA TEAM (BHR)

THE PURPORTED FORGERY CASE AGAINST GOV. OBASEKI (5)

WHAT THE JUDGE MIGHT CONSIDER.

1. In the presence of the original document, every other copy, whether it is certified or not, becomes obsolete and void. This stems from the fact that forging of a document is a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

2. In this case, the alleged forging of the degree certificate is to enhance the qualifying status of the forger. That is, to prove that he is a graduate of the university, when in reality, as the plaintiff alleged, he is not.

3. However, the university did not only confirm that the defendant was admitted and was graduated from the institution, it also attested that he was issued an ORIGINAL certificate. That has substantially vitiated the alleged INTENT of forgery by the forger.

4. And that leaves the issue under contention solely to the propriety of the CONTENTS of the copies presented and accepted as exhibits by the plaintiff.

5. Like we mentioned in the beginning of this opinion, whenever there is a conflict between the CONTENTS of an ORIGINAL and that of a COPY of a document, that of the ORIGINAL would naturally suffice over that of the COPY. This is because, the COPY was made from the ORIGINAL, and in the process of COPYING, something could alter the CONTENT.

6. However, the ORIGINAL must be attested to have emanated from the issuing authority, in this case, the University of Ibadan.

7. Once the university authority confirms that the ORIGINAL, that is in the possession of the defendant, is the one issued to him in 1979, every other consideration would naturally fall flat in the face of logic and commonsense. Logic and commonsense would reiterate that no sane person, who is in possession of a genuine ORIGINAL, would abandon same and proceed to forge a fake COPY for any purpose whatsoever.

8. It is therefore my opinion that this case shall be dismissed for lack of substance.

BHR MEDIA TEAM, firing live from Abuja.

OBSERVATION:
The statement above was carefully written, bandied and distributed publicly on the forgery and perjury case against Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki of the PDP, by the BHR after the last hearing. The BHR is a heavily funded but faceless media team of the embattled governor and his beleaguered deputy.

The need for this condemnable hatchet by the governor’s paid hand tools became overwhelming as mounting revelations in court continue to underline how Obaseki allegedly presented forged documents, committed other criminal offences and lied under oath to win election for both his first and second term.

When carefully reviewed, this statement above admits virtually all the allegations APC filed against Governor Obaseki. Yet, for a suit that is at the most critical stage of determination, it is not only sub-judicial for what it seeks to achieve through the back door but reprehensible for three (3) reasons when it is considered that Obaseki is yet to formally furnish the court all his originals and details of his election documents as juristically expected at the material time. These reasons, the APC legal team under the leadership of the able Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) and state leadership under the capable Col. David Imuse (Rtd.) must now carefully note ahead of the next sitting.

One, this statement is a deliberate attempt to distort facts, misinform the public and create unwarranted confusion in Edo State ahead of the court’s forthcoming judgment. Two, this statement is a clear and wicked attempt to confuse, shape the mind and write judgment for the Hon Judge of the Federal High Court of FCT, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, who has shown beyond reasonable doubts since first day, his readiness, sincerity and courage to deliver justice in the two suits before him. Third, this statement openly and improperly seeks to unlawfully intervene and interrupt a smooth legal process, sub-judicially.

Considered against the fallacious, baseless and unsubstantiated allegation of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole seeking to influence Justice Mohammed’s court for APC, earlier made by Mr Philip Shaibu (who has yet to clear himself in the other suit) and against the numerous media posts by Obaseki’s media assistants variously describing the trial as “heading nowhere”, “dead on arrival” etc., there is an urgent need to, on behalf of the plaintiffs: Mr Williams Edobor and the APC; as well as the party candidate: Pastor Andrew Osagie Ize-Iyamu, draw His Lordship’s attention to this cancerous malaise on Monday, 4th January, 2021.

Finally, this writer wishes Justice Mohammed, all the plaintiff and defence counsel and witnesses, the Nigerian Judiciary, members of APC and all the other political parties, the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as entire Nigerians a just, equitable, secure, peaceful, progressive and qualitative 2021.

Happy New Year!

Sebastine EBHUOMHAN is a multiple award-winning journalist from Edo State resident in Abuja. He can be reached at: usie007@yahoo.com; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

APC and the Odious Pride of Evil in Abia, By Michael Chijioke

“We are all frustrated, we’re almost helpless” – Mallam Nasir El Rufai

The above statement by Mallam Nasir El Rufai, a foremost Governor (of Kaduna State) and one of the poster boys of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was made on Monday while featuring in a television programme.

The statement succinctly defines the dire situation Nigerians have found themselves in the last five years of APC’s reign over the country.

But while El Rufai might have finally realised how frustrated Nigerians are currently, and lamenting the situation for possible solution, his fellow political actors in APC in Abia State have invested heavy (in)human and (im)material resources in the past few days in divisive, mischievous, misleading and malicious politicking that smacks of their insensitivity to the pitiable plight of the ordinary citizens who have been subjected to all manner of deprivation, dehumanization and indignity by the APC.

While Nigerians of good conscience are lamenting our nation’s situation and seeking ways out of the woods, some APC “thieftains” in Abia have taken to the media to heat up the polity by making unguarded statements, attacking the PDP and the Government of Abia State, embarking on political showboating while their Party throws the entire country in pitch darkness of poverty, insecurity, economic recession, hunger, infrastructural decay, social and industrial unrests etc.

Never in the history of this country have we witnessed such high number of kidnappings and killings of citizens, including the high and the mighty, the lowly and the downtrodden; of even soldiers and policemen, since the end of the civil war in 1970.

Today, under APC, dirges are sung in marriages, graves are dug for mourners at funerals because of the near certainty of audacious attacks on them by common urchins emboldened by the conspiracy of silence and the ineptitude of APC.

It therefore becomes totally inhuman for APC leaders anywhere, not to talk of those in Abia State where the Governor, despite the “frustration” and the situation of “almost helplessness”, according to El Rufai, is doing his best to steer the ship of state against the tide of poverty and insecurity, to condemn the Governor while looking away from the disaster which their Party has thrown Nigerians into!

Seeing APC leaders in Abia line up for banal photo-ops of dry defection ceremonies organised for political featherweights who can’t even deliver their immediate wards, and attacking the PDP-led Government in the State is an indication of a highly unrepentantly immoral characters who choose to revel in “defeated joy” (apologies to Shakespeare) over the graves of citizens felled by bandits and failed by their government. It is even most unconscionable for anyone to begin to talk 2023 now, over two clear years to the time, just to distract the Governor. That is the antics of the depraved!

The saddest part of this puerile venture is that it is being led by Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, a man who currently endures the inglorious rating by no other institution but the Senate itself as one of the very few Senators who have refused, failed or neglected, unwilling, unable or simply not ready to sponsor even one Bill in the Senate in the last one year. Because of this, Abia North Senatorial District which he represents has gone from a zone that produces quality legislators to one that is now being referred to as a “voiceless zone”. How else does one define failure? Yet, APC in Abia wants us to believe that they can do better than the PDP? Never!

The truth is that no matter how hard these characters try, Abians will never succumb to their mischief, half-truths and outright falsehood in an attempt to bring home the wanton loss of lives that has become the lot of a great number of Nigerians in other places.

Fact is, when 2023 comes, Abians will judge APC based on their disastrous national performances and will totally, completely, absolutely and comprehensively reject them in Abia once again even far more than they did in 2019! APC’s odious pride of evil will never stand in the State!

For now, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is focused on governance and the continued provision of dividends of democracy to the people. When the time for politics comes, then it will dawn on all those now running faster than their shadows that no matter how many fishes leave the ocean, water will still remain their master!

Omobude Agho: The Indisputable ‘Godfather’ of Civil Society Movement in Edo State

By Leftist Osazee Edigin

A lot of persons have given the wrong meaning, interpretation and impression about the word ‘godfather’ in Nigeria probably they have refused to look up the dictionary for it or because they have acquired half education just to follow whatever trend that comes their way.

There are certain persons who will pass through the planet earth and leave behind indelible marks to be remembered for many years to come owing primarily to their selfless contributions to their generations and the ones thereafter. One of such persons is Leftist Omobude Agho, the immediate past Coordinator General of Edo Civil Society Organisations.

It will be important we consult the Oxford English dictionary first to be able to know what the meaning of godfather is.

GODFATHER: Noun

1. A man who presents a child at baptism and promises to take responsibility for their religious education.
“he is godfather to her son”

2. A man who is influential or pioneering in a movement or organization.
“the godfather of alternative comedy”

Leftist Omobude Agho is more than qualified to be called a godfather in the civil rights movement in Edo State. He has over the years maintained consistency and resilience in building a formidable movement that has thrown up thousands of godchildren across the world through his mentorship disposition.

It’s very unfortunate, in Nigeria we have demonized the word godfather and what it depicts due to the type of politics we do here. There are godfathers in every sphere of life including the church where it presupposes the word emanated from, looking through the dictionary meaning of it. Godfathers are enablers to growing enthusiasts who become mentees before they could stand on their own.

What Omobude had succeeded in achieving over the years is to redefine what a godfather stands for, not the type of political godfathers a lot of Nigerians are familiar with.

As a godfather of the movement, he has stood on the front line with his leutenants that he had groomed confronting societal ills that tends to muscle the masses to a state of hopelessness. He has led many battles for and on behalf of the masses without a single compromise on his part.

He doesn’t enjoy a monthly salary or allocation to stay afloat, neither does he place demands on any of his numerous godchildren like the political godfathers do. He has maintained a fair family size from residue and passive incomes from his private ventures unknown to many. He hasn’t touched the organisation’s kobo as a leader.

He is a man largely loved by his numerous godchildren and distanct admirers. His presence is a threat to the oppressors in the society. He has over the years built what is called Study Centres across Edo state. These are community based educational classes where locals are equipped with the requisite information to be able to stand and defend their rights even without formal education.

Omobude Agho has faced several challenges in life by denying himself opportunities before him. Not to mention several accidents that has threatened his life. He is currently bedridden from a ghastly motor accident he had on his way back from Edo Central Senatorial Zone, where he went to set up four study centres at a go. In one of the accidents he had, a commercial bus driver rammed into his old Mercedes Benz V-boot and destroyed it beyond repairs, due to his compassionate life, he forgave the driver.

Much love was to be shown to him thereafter by members of EDOCSO who realised how he has used his personal car to do interventions in pushing the interested of the masses passionately and with fierce commitment, reasoned amongst themselves and collectively bought and donated a vehicle to him. While that was ongoing, another person from nowhere donated a Toyota Hilux to him which he had the recent accident with. He only drove the vehicle donated to him by members of EDOCSO for a while and gifted it away to someone who he felt needed it.

A major internal battle he has always had is the attempt by the political class to hijack EDOCSO which he led to an enviable height. This they have made attempts to do over the years by themselves or through their sponsored proxies. Even while still bedridden and no longer a Coordinator General of EDOCSO, there have been attacks on his pedigree. Thank God for the godchildren he has imparted on, who have stood firmly to repel any of such demonic attacks adequately.

Omobude Agho is a great motivator and he is bold. Many of his godchildren refer to him as the ‘oduma’ of civil society. ‘Oduma’ means lion in Edo language. I think the proper qualification should be the ‘godfather’ of civil society in Edo state. Who in his right senses wouldn’t want to have a selfless, committed, passionate and altruistic godfather like Omobude Agho. He is getting up soon to join his godchildren in energizing the struggle. The love and support thus far from the people have adequately been responsible for his medical expenses. They are well appreciated.

OMOBUDE AGHO, YOU ARE THE INDISPUTABLE ‘GODFATHER’ OF THE LEFT MOVEMENT. WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!

Before the 2nd wave: Humanitarian ministry and Nigeria’s Covid-19 response

By Dapo Bruce

As the year draws to a close with ministries and MDAs auditing past performance and defending their 2021 draft budgets it has become expedient to look at how effective the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was in its covid-19 response vis a vis its presidential charge as well as its unique position as Nigeria’s midwife of social safety nets for building resilience among the poor and vulnerable.

Nigeria’s Corona Virus index case was discovered on February 27, 2020 about three months after the emergence of what scientists called the novel Coronavirus in Wuhan China.

The news was made public the next day on February 28th 2020 and since that time the country has not been the same. The index case was an Italian man who arrived the country on a Turkish airways flight on February 27th.

With the disease in-country and no thanks to its viral nature and ease of infection, the disease soon grew legs among the Nigerian populace.

A day after the announcement by the honourable Minister of Health, worldwide infection figures, according to data sourced from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the country’s apex public health body, stood at 85,403 confirmed cases with 95.5% of those in China. 2,924 deaths had been recorded. By that time, the disease had affected just 49 countries and three of those countries were in Africa: namely Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria.

Nine months later on November 17, 2020, confirmed cases on the global scale now stand at 54,558,120 with 1,320,148 confirmed fatalities according to data reported by WHO.

The novel Coronavirus was given an official name Covid-19 on February 11, 2020 then upgraded to a pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the WHO.

Unlike with the Ebola outbreak during which the Federal Government was caught largely flat footed with the Lagos state government of Babatunde Raji Fashola taking charge, the Covid-19 response has been better coordinated with four major players driving the actions: the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and The Presidential Task Force, an adhoc task force set up to coordinate.

The PTF, which was set up on March 9, 2020 by the president, had an express mandate to coordinate a multi-stakeholder response to the pandemic by providing technical and material support at the national and sub national levels in order to manage the outbreak.

It was also charged with advising and recommending actions to the president on threat levels while providing updates to the media and general public. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was named chairman while Sani Aliyu was appointed national coordinator.

In 2016 when the Ebola crisis ravaged the world, the NCDC as well as the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development did not exist. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018, by President Muhammadu Buhari while the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was established on August 21, 2019 as a special intervention ministry for humanitarian affairs, management of disasters and social interventions.

So, when Covid-19 hit, the government was well prepared on the levels of strategy and execution to respond to the pandemic.

Following advice from the PTF, the president imposed a lockdown on Lagos, Ogun and Kano states on March 30, 2020. The lockdown was soon extended and other measures taken. They included shut down of schools, offices and recreational facilities as well as bans on interstate travel and sporting activities.

While the PTF focused on its coordinating function, the NCDC and Ministry of Health were the arrow heads of the health based response. The ministry of Humanitarian Affairs was tasked with implementing many non-health and non-pharmaceutical interventions and palliative measures across the country.

The president was clear in his charge to the Humanitarian ministry – extend a 3 month repayment moratorium on Trader Moni, Farmer Moni and Market Moni loans; pay 2 months Conditional Cash Transfer in advance to help the most vulnerable while IDPs would get 2 months food rations in advance.

The president also directed that the Ministry, working with state governments, should evolve strategies on how to sustain the school feeding programme for children while at home during the lockdown.
How well did the Sadiya Umar Farouq ministry carry out the president’s directive?

To concentrate efforts in tackling Covid-19, the ministry inaugurated its Technical Working Group (TWG) on the 27th March, 2020. The TWG was set up to complement efforts of the PTF. The mandate of the TWG was 4 fold – Social Interventions, Humanitarian Interventions, Advocacy and Sensitisation, as well as Monitoring & Evaluation.

The TWG has worked in close alignment with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to implement the National Response plan and provide leadership on the PTF- Covid 19 Security, Logistics and Mass care.

In compliance with the Presidential directive, the ministry facilitated a 3-month moratorium to 1,794,633 Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) beneficiaries while 12,000 beneficiaries in Abuja and Lagos received Trader Moni and Market Moni loans.

The minister also initiated the Conditional Cash Transfer to 453,744 poor and vulnerable households in 24 states plus the FCT beginning April 1, 2020.

In further compliance, the ministry expanded the National Social Register from 2.6 to 3.6m and using the extant Register, made up of 2,644,495 poor and vulnerable households the ministry impacted in excess of 11,045,537 individuals.

Under the modified home grown school feeding programme, the ministry working with state governments impacted 127,589 families in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states who received Take Home Rations valued at N4,200 and made up of 5 kg Bag of Rice, 5 kg Bag of Beans, 500 ml Vegetable Oil, 750 ml Palm Oil, 500 mg Salt, 15 pcs of eggs, 140gm Tomato Paste.

With the eggs sourced from local poultry farmers, the intervention provided much needed income to farmers from whom the ministry bought over 46,979,565 eggs to implement the programme.

In line with its humanitarian mandate the ministry convened the Zero Hunger roundtable in conjunction with the World Food Programme and leading lights of the organized private sector.

Aligned with SDG 2, the roundtable is to come up with short, medium and long terms solutions during and post Covid-19.

Following the FG’s approval of the release of 70,000 metric tons of grain from the Strategic Grains Reserve, the ministry facilitated the deployment of the grains to 13 front line states based on reported cases of COVID 19, population and density using the existing structure provided by NEMA. Recipient states include Lagos, Abuja, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Kano, Cross River, Enugu, Borno, Edo, Bauchi, FCT and Adamawa.

The Nigerian Customs Service also released 112 trucks of rice (67,200 bags of rice) to the Ministry. The rice has been distributed to 35 states and the FCT except Rivers.
Working with the NEDC, the ministry constructed both a 14-bed and 21-bed facility, each close to a large IDP Camp in Maiduguri to serve as COVID-19 Isolation Centres in the North-East using pre-fabrication technology.

It has also impacted on the poor, the elderly, the disabled as well as women and children with the provision of sundry food items as well as masks, Personal Protective Equipment, ventilators, masks, infra-red thermometer, hand gloves & sanitisers in its continuing effort to help cushion the effects of the pandemic and build resilience for the future.

Dapo Bruce, a public commentator writes from Ogun State.

2023: Dr Goodluck Jonathan not Qualified to Contest

By Law Mefor

A political thinker posited that politics is a concentric circle of conspiracies. It is such a conspiratorial game that while statesmen worry about development to cater for the present and coming generations, politicians are busy scheming how to retain power, return to power, or gain power.

Nigerian politicians could pass as the worst hue to be found anywhere. They bend the rules and violate the laws with impunity just to attain this stated private objectives.

For about a year now, the name of the former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has been popping up here and there whenever the successor of the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, is being discussed. Some say it is in the best interest of the North to hand power back to Jonathan and take it back in 4 years in line with principle of rotation of presidential power ruling the current democratic dispensation.

This argument is tenable since Jonathan is statutorily barred from contesting more than one term if he becomes the President of Nigeria in 2023. Some also say that the push for the return of Jonathan is to put a wedge to the aspiration of the South East to produce the nation’s next President. The proponents of this school of thought believe the Hausa-Fulani who hold the aces now are still weary of supporting an Igbo man to become the President of Nigerian. The reason often given is just the civil war and the issues that led to it, and the lingering bitterness and unpreparedness to forgive and let go on both sides.

The poppers of Jonathan in this regard think the former President should be able to take the wind off the sail of the South East agitation for the office of the President, and get the zone to join his Presidency one more time instead and dump their aspiration even if it means doing so grudgingly.

For a fact, South East was the backbone of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidency and supported his re-election with over 85% of their votes in the 2015 Presidential Election and has continued to suffer marginalization and exclusion as a consequence and got branded 5% voters of the Buhari Presidency. The calculation of those angling for the return of Jonathan is that it is only him that can pull the rug off the feet of the push for Nigerian President of South East extraction and offer the Igbo man a sort of dream deferred.

This permutation aims to kill two birds with one stone: stopping the South East and getting power to stay in the South in this season for just one term. It would have been a masterstroke were it not for the eligibility question hanging over Goodluck Jonathan in contesting the 2023 Presidential Election.

Apart from the morality of becoming the major obstacle to the South East aspiration (ordinarily, the South East is counting on the solid support of the South South which they gave their all) there are serious legal issues surrounding the qualification or rather the eligibility of Jonathan to contest the office of the President. (He is however qualified to contest for any other office in the land, ranging from Councilor to Vice President.)

The law in question is: “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (4th Alteration No 16) Act, 2017)”. This new constitutional amendment may have been contemplated following the rancor occasioned by the same Jonathan contesting the 2015 Presidential Election. Recall that the Northern segment of the country believed Jonathan was not qualified based on rotation of presidential power between North and South Nigeria and power ought to have shifted North in that season. There was also a gentlemanly agreement, which was reached with him (Jonathan) to go for only one term before he contested the 2011 Presidential Election. He reneged to inspire a groundswell of the behemoth opposition – the APC – that swept him from power.

In law, express mention of one thing is said to be an express exclusion of another. The constitutional amendment assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari on 4th June, 2018, does not permit former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to contest in 2023 unless repealed. The extant section barring Jonathan states in its explanatory note…”The act alters the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to disqualify a person who was sworn in as President or Governor to complete the term of an elected President or Governor from being elected to the same office for more than a single term.”

To give effect to the disqualification of any person who has been sworn-in to complete the term of a President or a Governor from contesting more than one term, sections 137 and 182 of the 1999 Constitution were amended to ensure same.

Then the question: is Dr. Goodluck Jonathan qualified to contest the 2023 Presidential Election? Where does this leave off Jonathan in view of his speculated return in 2023? Going by the express provisions of the said amendment on tenure, Jonathan is not qualified unless this extant law, which is now deemed a constitutional provision, is repealed and set aside.

In the light of this constitutional provision barring Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from contesting in 2023, those prompting him to throw his hat into the ring are either ignorant of this law or are being mischievous. Yes, mischievous in the sense that they would want to ridicule the statesman and cause bad blood between the South East and the South South whose relationship has been waxing cozy since the present dispensation.

In the light of this too, Dr. Jonathan should be advised to be guided by the quoted law and distance himself from the whispering clamor for his return in 2023. As alluring as it may appear, he should know that those who spearheaded that new law are the same vanguard now asking him to contest.

As a patriot and statesman who handed over power when he had reasons not to, rightly or wrongly, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should help the rotation of presidential power to the South East. He ought to be in the vanguard for Nigerian President of South East extraction in reciprocation of their unalloyed support for the Jonathan Presidency. Even yours sincerely is a Jonathanian and was in the trenches for him in 2015. One good turn, they say, deserves another.

Dr. Law Mefor, a Forensic/Social Psychologist and Journalist, writes from Abuja. Tel.: +234- 905 642 4375 E-mail: drlawmefor@gmail.com; follow me on tweeter:@LawMefor1

The Rambunctious Brouhaha called Igbo Presidency; a misplaced priority?

The arguments for or against Igbo Presidency has been such that no Nigerian can feign ignorance or deny the import, albeit, the continued unity and possible existence of Nigeria as a nation which many pundits have reasons to believe that Nigeria is sitting on keg of a gun powder because of the way this sensitive issue have been handled all along and if nothing is done about it, may not last for much longer.

The topic is so complex and complicated that one cannot just delve into all aspects thereof, but I will try as much as possible to stay on the course of the question of the much discussed topic of “Igbo Presidency”, I therefore crave your indulgence to be patient and read to comprehend this school of thought, the ideas driving it, and the inevitability thereof, as the panacea of a United Nigeria.

The term “rambunctious” as used in this context is tilted towards the two conditions the word can represent, either “negative” or “positive”, but in this case, both can righting be said to be in parallel to the argument either against or in favour of this quest for “Igbo Presidency” in Nigeria after over 60 years of independence and 30 years of a bad civil war that almost ended Nigeria.

The quest for Igbo Presidency is a direct product of marginalization, disenfranchisement, and lack of respect for Federal Character in the administration of a multi-ethnic union like Nigeria. Other attendant aftermath of this lopsided and systemic twist includes the much heated quest for self determination, referendum through plebiscite, restructuring and incessant call for total balkanization of Nigeria. Therefore this realities cannot be overlooked or wished away as they have come to stay with us.

Then question then becomes: Is this call a misplaced priority?

To address this question, I must foremost xray what the problem had been and juxtapose how Igbo Presidency might not be the solution to the Nigeria question. Then again, I’ll crave your indulgence of patience.

According to history, Nnamdi Azikiwe was one of the champions of an independent Nigeria and he became the first President of Nigeria, after them, we have had other leaders who played one role or the other to get Nigeria to wherever we found ourselves now, but on a more secondary position. But the fact remains that no Igbo after Zik had been given the chance again because somehow, many people from the Northern part are still living with the mindset that the Nigeria Civil war is not over and so Igbos must never be trusted for attempting to break out of Nigeria and must be made to continue to pay the ultimate price of a united Nigeria. But these school of thought forget that the generation being punished now were not privy to what happened between 1967-70 which makes it a more dangerous keg of gun powder as witnessed in the suppressed EndSARS protests that rocked Nigeria.

As a matter of priority, to avoid sounding as if the call for Igbo Presidency is misplaced. We must begin to look inwards to ask pertinent questions like trying to know why the status had been set against the Igbos in the first place, what informed it, why are other tribes apprehensive of this idea and what can be done to douse this apprehension to pave way for a calm and collected agreement for a paradigm shift to exploit other possibilities available to us as Nigerians.

We watched with trepidation when Major General Muhammadu Buhari fought tooth and nail for Hausa Presidency, he got it in 2015 and created the 97% to 5% philosophy. But to the chagrin of the both percenters, the suffering and maladministration is with equal measure. Therefore I am not an advocate of Igbo Presidency but a supporter of “Nigerian President of Igbo extraction”.

My position is that notwithstanding the economic disadvantage of the Igbo race in Nigeria occasioned by obnoxious policies aimed at strangulation, they have proved to be innovators and good administrators, creating survival out of nothing. The Hausas has proved to be knowledgeable in politics while the Yourbas are rooted in academic. A situation where management harnesses politics that is exported by intellectualism, we will have a progressive nation unlike the present setting where only the North are happily running everybody aground.

I am a supporter of “Nigerian President of Igbo extraction” because a lot of solution to Nigeria problems lies within it. We don’t need an Igbo President that may end up further dividing Nigeria like Buhari.

We must set the priorities right by identifying the sickness of Nigeria and applying every possible options, including but not limited to producing “Nigerian President of Igbo extraction”. That way, we would’ve solved the problem of agitation and call for balkanization among other simple challenges we are faced as a Nation.

The problem of Nigeria is never the masses, it is never the question of Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba. Our problem is the reality of elitist group of people that have continued to devide the masses along these fault line to continue to hold them in perpetuity because only by so doing will they be able to continue exploiting them for their pleasure and betterment of their generations.

Nigeria President of Igbo extraction is the priority now. The South East must be allowed to lead to keep the unity of Nigeria.

Comr Amos Kalu writes from Abuja, Nigeria.

Open Letter from a Bayelsan to Governor Douye Diri

His Excellency Sen. Douye Diri
Executive Governor
Bayelsa State.

Your Excellency,

BE MORE WORRIED/FEARFUL ON THE BACKWARDNESS AND UNDER DEVELOPMENT IN THE STATE THAN THE CONGRATULATORY MESAGES FROM BAYELSANS

Your Excellency Sir, I bring you a warm greeting from my neuclar family and CLG NIG LIMITED.

Your Excellency will note on before his mantle of leadership as the Governor and enthusiasm of Bayelsans to elect a leader to pilot the affairs of this State due to the bad leadership inherited by Government after Government, thus making the State looking less than a State, moreso, keeping the Capital in an embarrassing state as the most undeveloped State Capital in the 36 States of the Federation.

Your Excellency Sir, case upon court cases have come and gone, which most recent is the yesterday’s judgment by the Supreme court. It is also technically observed that the cyber space is crowded with congratulatory messages by your fans mostly Bayelsans who may not have a down taught of the consequences and challenges ahead.

Your Excellency, I am on the side to tell you to be more worried and fearful to achieving, bringing developmental strategies that are not politically galvanized (vain promise as usual).

Your Excellency Sir, there is no doubt that your administration will witnessed the most developmental challenges seeing the debt services ahead this current Government.

My candid advise to your Excellency are:-
1) Your Excellency must as matter of urgency engage indigenous technocrats, who are in the private sector, to buy ideas that will lead to reboot the economy and job creation and of course increase the IGR of the State. (NOT politically galvanized)

2)Your Excellency must be ready to face the reality, knowing fully well that Bayelsa is underdeveloped. And also a mechanism be setup to look into those unacceptable wages, divide and rule policy, block those who are ready to finger into the stationary monthly a location coming into the State without fear or favour.

3) For this administration to actualize it’s dreams in an open and transparent manner, the ministry should allow registered indigenous contractors to bid jobs and execute them. Your Excellency, it very obvious that only Governors who are not transparent allow direct service job to be carried in other to carry out dubious act to siphon money meant for the general development of their States.

Your Excellency Sir, this should not be a time to rejoice and making big party but a time to look inward to the challenges that will befall your administration which are far tedious, corrosive and fearful that the Supreme court case, and the past administrations, which I will refer as the SUPER SUPREME CHALLENGES in your administration.

Thank you Sir. I wish you and your administration great success.

Comr. David Awasa
The common Bayelsan.

A rabblerouser like Nnamdi Kanu cannot hijack our genuine struggle for a new Nigeria – Patrick Osagie Eholor

Says, ‘We will flush out all the bad leaders’

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu cannot come in disguise to hijack the genuine #endsars protest. We will not allow him to do that. People fought for one Nigeria. We are going to remain one Nigeria. Our problem is not about tribe or ethnicity. Our problem is about bad leadership. Now the people have finally wake up to say they want their right because their right is their life. That’s what we should focus on not on Nnamdi Kanu. For me, I don’t take him serious. If you’re a serious person who wants to agitate for your people you should be here for the struggle just like as I am here for the struggle. That’s what they call a patriot and a democrat. Kanu is just a rabble-rouser.

You reap what you sow. Tinubu has not been a good person. He is finally reaping what he sowed. He is not the only thief we have. But the problem we always have in Nigeria is about ethnicity. When we were pursuing Abacha, the northerners would say “is it only Abacha that stole?” A thief is a thief. Tinubu is a thief. He has been taking money and milking the Nigeria citizens. That’s what has finally caught up with him. I have no sympathy for him. And don’t forget that most of these people are going to pay a very severe price especially for those who are there now who have not condemned the justification of the military shooting the unarmed civilians (at the Lekki Toll Gate).

Let me tell you, Nigeria is going to be a pacesetter because the world is watching Nigeria. I can assure you the commander, President or whoever gave the order(to shoot) because soldier doesn’t shoot without order. They are all going to the Hague. The International Criminal Court of Justice(ICCJ) and they are going to spend time with Charles Taylor(former Liberian President) and other notorious criminals who are already there (in jail). That’s going to be their last vacation point. Believe me. It is never going to be business as usual.

Let me come back and focus on Edo State. We saw Governor Godwin Obaseki and his security team patrolling everywhere which is commendable. It is good for our safety. Most of the soldiers are zombies same with the police. That’s why we want the police to be reformed. So, Obaseki patrolling the town with security agents cannot solve the problem. We don’t want the massacre that happened in Lekki to happen in Edo State. What he should do is to engage the people, not through Crusoe Osagie(the Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to the Edo State Governor). We don’t need Crusoe to talk to us. We need the man we voted for to come and address the people. You will see the likes of Donald Trump who has issues with Americans, taxation, election rigging, Chinese, Covid-19 etc still address the press on a daily basis. When was the last time Godwin Obaseki addressed the press? There is what they call Meet the Press when you have to talk to the press and the press have to transmit what you are saying to the citizens to them. I am not the governor of this state but I speak more than the governor authoritatively.

Yesterday, I had a confrontation with the military men. They were going to whip me and I said they cannot do that as they’re going to repeat what happened in Lekki here. Soldiers are supposed to defend our sovereignty. They’re not supposed to police us. Police are supposed to police the people and the people are supposed to police the police. That’s the right thing in an ideal society. But because we have lost it here we don’t know what we’re doing. Thank God that finally we are going to flush out all the bad leaders. We don’t have environmental disasters. What we have over time is leadership disaster. Now, people are ready to take back power because power belongs to the people.

Patriot Patrick Eholor is the founder of One Love Foundation, a civil rights group advocating for a better Nigeria.
Over the years, One Love Foundation has taken proactive steps towards the reform of the Nigerian Police.