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The Core: The Sloppy Law Of Nigerian Politics (The 2023 Connection)

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Nigeria

By Ikechukwu Agada

William Shakespeare is neither a Nigerian nor a native of Edo State but he hat it right when he put the following words into the mouth of Prince Hamlet: “We defy augury. There is divine providence in the fall of a sparrow.” And also is the lot of Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of APC, a member of the league of godfathers of Nigeria. He defied the augury of lasting influence and control (Like the Lion who does not live in the jungle) and has fallen into ridicule.

The Fulani intelligentsias have calibrated the most fragile sloppy political law for all heavyweight champions whose eyes are fixed on the 2023 goal post. The law is unwritten and it’s a mind game.

With the economy taken, security gone, the media becomes the battlefield knowing full well it is controlled by the South (in the hands of some contenders) and a pertinent missile for political victory. They understand all the tricks of the trade like the back of their hands and invent many new ones their rivals never see coming. With many boast loud and long about playing the game of politics, they create new game for them to play. They have mastered the political craft like chess game designed to box opponents into a corner by slowly and steadily clipping their wings. In other words, it is no coincidence that the dead and buried “Social Media Bill” of the last National Assembly reared its ugly head again. Every student of Nigerian politics should be good at spotting pattern which is the ultimate weapon of the sloppy law framers. To use a cliché, “the rest is history”.

Records are made to be broken, so goes the saying. What the speaker fails to add is that the statement rings hollow when applied to the arena of politics in Nigeria. Those who make the loudest noise are useful tools for the battlefields. But the diplomatic missions, the level headed and reserved are most sought after. 2023 interest has put the wailers, the plotters and the decision makers on a meal table.

The Social Media Bill is the biggest joke ever cracked in the history of Nigerian politics. The idea is a joke, passing first reading is a bigger joke then defending the bill is 2023 politics taken to the extremes. It defies logic that a government laced with Renowned Pressmen and rode to power via the instrumentality of the media (Electronic, print and new media) would suddenly change the goal post in the middle of the game. The bill is a duplication of the Cybercrime Act that has the hate speech aspect in it. Section 4 subsection 2 of the Cybercrime Act has almost the same wordings with the bill.

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Fake news is bad, hate speech is condemnable but awarding the defaulters with capital punishment like death by hanging is a hug to fascism. It is also digital totalitarianism and tyranny at its peak in a country where many who are indicted of corruption are treated like sacred cows. Death by hanging at a time the world is moving away from capital punishment is retrogressive governance. The bill is designed to silence criticism of the authorities via social media interventions. It is a well thought out graph plotted to criminalise dissenting voices. Even the government is not free from the bill.

What parameters would be used to determine hate speech? What of those that throw hate speech at the market place using native languages? What of purveyors of fake news and hate speech who live abroad? These are some of the questions begging for answers.

In a nation where corruption reigns supreme, creating hate speech agency is a waste of resources as their job description will be laughable. Some civilized nations like UK, Canada, France, Netherland, etc, have Hate Speech Law but not punishable with capital reward.

The Nigerian information and communication agencies need to bring stakeholders on the table to discuss best ways to handle the menace of fake news and hate speech. A lot of work should be put in the areas of sensitization, workshops, seminars on the distinct between free speech and hate speech to discourage disinformation and misinformation of the public. The Federal Government should put more efforts in the protection of Human Rights. The National Human Rights Commission should be properly funded to function effectively. Rule of Law should be obeyed at all times since it is fundamental to the independence of the judiciary and enforcement of Human Rights. It should be noted that disobedience to the rule of law is the worse form of hate speech. It is also hate speech to ridicule Nigeria before the world. Hate speech flows from hate action. Oftentimes, unemployment, bad governance, insecurity, poverty provoke hate speech. Nigeria does not need the Hate Speech Law, therefore, the bill should not pass second reading. The National Assembly should enact laws that will facilitate good governance and better welfare for Nigerians.

As the clock of the years prepares to strike 60 for Nigeria, the world expect a boom in her economy, massive job creation, good standard of living for her citizenry, reduced insecurity, standard electoral reforms and corrupt free system. This global expectation is the core.

GOD BLESS YOU.

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Opinion

Is President Buhari Mismanaging Nigeria?

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Buhari

By abiodun KOMOLAFE

It bears repeating that Nigeria’s continued existence will be at risk if the rich and the wealthy are not receptive to the clear warning of anger and poverty-induced disillusionments in the land.

First, Aisha Buhari’s warning that most of Nigeria’s leaders, “as a result of a long time of injustice done to” the mass of the people, “cannot go to” their “villages and sleep with” their “two eyes closed” is an indication that governance in Nigeria has failed; nothing is working! Her passionate plea to Muhamadu, her husband; and those working with him to “fear God, and … know that, one day, we will all return to God and account for our deeds here on earth” paints a clear picture of how the application or implementation of policy recommendations and remedies of the Buhari-led government have so far fared! Of course, that’s the wife of the sitting president of Nigeria, questioning the relevance, effectiveness or efficiency of Public Administration through government policy directives and their implementations. This is the question on the minds of the common man and woman on the street!

If reports from across Nigeria are also anything to go by, then, one can safely say that the man in the saddle as governor of Oyo State is a very likable person! No sooner had he mounted the saddle of governance than he started doing what truly portrayed him as not only being in charge but also as one helmsman who understands why he was elected to govern the over-6 million-strong population. And, within a few months in office, Seyi Makinde has demonstrated that strategic governance does not reside in building an empire or throwing money around but in building a team and being pragmatic in allocating resources to where they are needed most, in the most appropriate manner! He has proved that responsible leadership is not about the administration of an enclave. Rather, it is about the efficient management of the institution of the state; not even a public institution, because public institutions are located within the institution of the state.

Makinde won the election, not because the then ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state didn’t have laudable ideas but because its handlers were so full of themselves that they didn’t know how to sell those ideas to the electorate. GSM, as he is fondly called by his admirers, has therefore shown that it could happen anywhere! Go to Oyo now: the state is working and the people are happy! Makinde loves his people and his people appreciate him in return! While drawing inspirations from successful countries like Japan, which attained greatness through focus “on intellectual development”, the governor attributed the scourge of poverty in Nigeria to leadership failure. He insisted that “how we organize ourselves and how we utilize our God-given “natural resources” is the only thing that can “take us out of poverty.”

The foregoing painted, in graphic relief, the unfolding-yet-foreboding cataclysmic nature of Nigeria’s fragile democracy. Even, the aristocratic Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, for the first time, saw poverty in its garnished form when he bluntly called for a paradigmatic shift in our applied economic theories, and an overhaul of our public administration system.

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The perception of many Nigerians today is that, once the president reels out favourable policy statements, promises and intentions of government (that may never be delivered), government goes to sleep and everybody is on his or her own. Whether or not God be for us all, henceforth, is entirely a different story! For instance, the president promised on assumption of office to recover all Chibok and other Nigerians from Boko Haram’s captivity but, unfortunately, the story, as we speak, has gone from bad to worse. Years on, the Leah Sharibus of Nigeria have been languishing in the terrorists’ den for being who they are. The Emir of Potiskum, Umaru Bubaram Bauya, recently escaped death by the whiskers; and that was after no fewer than four members of his entourage had been brutally murdered by the marauders. More Nigerians are being beheaded. Then, and, as always, provocative, medicine-after-death, ‘all whip, no hay’ Press Statements from the Presidency that is obviously far removed from the people would follow!

So, where do we go from here, because it appears as if effective governance has taken flight? As things stand, politicians are just muddling through! Our policies are neither working nor pragmatic. So, nobody is sure of anything! Like laboratory rats, useful only for experiments, failure to source a creative distance from where we currently pitch our tent, in addition to poor welfare that is painfully customized to suit poverty in our country, has stolen the common man’s heart. So also, the crestfallen status of the Rule of Law and its negative essence has become more palpable in Nigeria’s socio-political firmament. Is it any wonder then why “we have abundance of” natural resources that are still being wasted”?

Staying with the philosophy of nationhood, that Buhari’s erstwhile persuasive ‘body language’ has failed Nigerians says a lot about the conspicuous challenges of the Nigerian state as a chronically ill society with patronage, patrimony and preference. Available indices are also unhelpful! For instance, Nigeria’s economy is projected to “have a suppressed economic performance at around 2% by 2020”, due, primarily, to government’s failure “to fix structural constraints.” And, unless bold steps are taken to address, especially, the “pace of growth and job creation”, the number of Nigerians stuck in poverty is also most likely to account “for a quarter of all people living in extreme poverty worldwide.” Evidence before the world has shown that Nigeria’s security architecture has collapsed. It is even being alleged in some quarters that we are using anticorruption to incentivize corruption. Is it any surprise why there is no war in Nigeria but there is also no peace; why motion is in excess supply while movement is in wanton scarcity?

Again, what happened and where did we go wrong? Why are our leaders engaging in ‘Marlian’ rigmaroles in ways that do not offer us a valuable anchor to believe that they understand even the basic socioeconomic issues that have unfortunately become existential threats to our unity? What are the roles of Nigeria’s Ahitophels and political janjaweeds, whose counsels are never destined to yield to persuasion or dialogue, in all of these? Above all, when last did we feel safe in Nigeria, irrespective of the differences in governments and administrations over the years?

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

~KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria. He can be reached via email: ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk

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Opinion

Amotekun, Miyetti Allah And That Channels Tv Outing

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By Charles Ogbu

There are things I read or hear that leave me wondering whether to pause and die laughing or die crying. The yesterday’s Channels TV interview where Miyetti Allah tried to cause a wedge between Ndigbo and the Yoruba is one of such things.

That a man who, in the 21st century 2020, still goes about trekking with cows all over the bushes in the country, sleeps (as in have sexual intercourse) with those cows as we’ve seen on videos, butcher innocent men, women and children in their sleep just so these cows can graze on the ancestral land of the deceased, a man whose part of the country has the highest number of out of school children (12million), worst poverty rate, highest maternal mortality rate, highest illiteracy rate and the presence of two terrorist groups – Boko Haram and the killer herdsmen – once adjudged the deadliest and fourth deadliest terror group respectively by the Global Terror Index; plus a gang of rampaging bandits which has taken over most part of his own part of the country, a man whose terror group butchers women and children in their sleep and comes on TV to admit responsibility for the killings…….. That such a man will come on National TV to use the term “primitive” on a people who had seen civilization long before his own progenitor left his mother’s womb should get every reasonable person drunk with laughter. Mirthless laughter, I mean.

Let us even look at the politics of the Arewas. What is there to emulate from a people who specializes in using gory displays of violence and mindless festival of blood to acquire and wield political power?

And to prove that the tired, worn-out, out of use analogue divide and rule tactic is the only thing they are good at, he tries to divide Southern consensus in support of Amotekun by reminding Ndigbo that during the last general election, they were stopped from voting their conscience in parts of Lagos by the Yorubas. He would have been right except he was wrong. The Yorubas never stopped Ndigbo from voting in any part of Lagos. It was Bola Tinubu and his APC thugs who stopped Ndigbo from voting in some part of Lagos. Tinubu is an individual Yoruba politician whose action CANNOT be blamed on the Yorubas. So the Miyetti Allah man should look for another card to play. This one don fail yakata.

Again, he reminds Ndigbo that a certain Yoruba Oba threatened to drown them in the Lagoon. True, he was right. The Oba made the threat which of course, wasn’t carried out. Now let us assume that threat was made against Ndigbo by an assistant to an assistant to an Emir, would it have ended up an empty threat?????? Your guess is as good as mine.

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We know the people who have value for human lives and we know those who are deaf, dumb and blind to the sanctity of human lives. We know the people who started spilling our blood for as far back as 1945 when Nigeria hasn’t even gained her independence and has continued up to this moment.

Now, let us even come down to the main topic; AMOTEKUN.

Below are some questions that not only require but demand answers:

Why is the Arewa North jittery that a section of the country has decided to set up an unarmed intelligence gathering regional security outfit? Why is the govt using Miyetti Allah as front to oppose Amotekun? Is this a confirmation that this group whose members are responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Nigeria is the militia wing of the Buhari led govt? Why does Channel TV keep inviting Miyetti Allah – a fulani group – to come and discuss Amotekun – a Yoruba Regional Security?

I do not have answer to any of the above questions but I do know one thing for a fact; as long as the Muhammadu Buhari govt continues to engage in an unholy intercourse with the terrorist group who butcher innocent Nigerians just so their cows can feed, as long as it is okay to have armed civilian JTF and Hisbah police in the North, as long as the Nigerian security agencies controlled by the Fulanis continue to collude with the herdsmen who kill, maim and rape innocent Nigerians and take over their land for their cows, there will continue to be AMOTEKUN, not only in the West but in the entire non-Caliphate rest of the country.

A govt that refuses to protect her citizens from a well known terror group with an ethno-religious agenda has no right to stop them from protecting themselves.

Those who think AMOTEKUN is about the Yorubas need to think again. It is about all of us. It is about our inalienable right to live as free humans without being butchered in our sleep and our lands taken over by a bunch of terrorists operating with govt sponsored impunity.

~ Charles Ogbu is a socio-political Analyst and good governance advocate.

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Opinion

Who Is Afraid Of Amotekun?

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By Azuka Onwuka

In the past 10 days, about 100 people were killed by Boko Haram, bandits and highway kidnappers in different parts of northern part of Nigeria. The Emir of Potiskum escaped being kidnapped by spending the night in the forest, but some of his aides were killed. However, these killings were not the key issue in the news last week. The key issue was the declaration of illegality given by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to the launch the South-West Security Network, code-named Operation Amotekun. Not only Malami opposed the launch of the security outfit. The Miyetti Allah Kaute Hore, a cattle breeders’ association, also opposed it.

Interestingly, most of the opponents of Operation Amotekun are northerners whose territory has been a source of serious security concern for many years now. There has never been any plan by the proponents of Operation Amotekun to move to the North in the exercise of their security duties. They will only operate within the states of the South-West. One then wonders why anybody from the North should be worried about it when there are enough things of worry to occupy the person. The issue of securing the South-West has sadly been made to look like a case of North vs South.

Given the level of insecurity in Nigeria and the number of casualties recorded every week, especially in the North where three dreaded groups operate, one would think that every Nigerian would gladly welcome any initiative that would help to check the activities of criminals in Nigeria. However, it is often said that with the exception of the gay issue, every national issue polarises Nigeria into North and South.

Our military are overstretched and war-weary. Our police are overstretched too and unable to cope with the diverse and complex nature of the security challenges facing Nigeria from different zones. And like former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said over the weekend, in his support for the launch of Operation Amotekun, local policing has become a necessity as a result of the “obvious inadequacies of the federal police to effectively deal with these rapidly growing security challenges.”

The former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the added: “The police are more likely to be effective in areas where they are well known and trusted by the local communities who in turn are willing to share information about known criminals and criminal activities, thereby foiling those crimes before they are even carried out…

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“In the envisaged new order, states and local governments shouldn’t be reduced to peripheral players in policing and security matters. When local police structures are closest to the grassroots, emergency response will be more effective than the current unwieldy chain of command that renders local government chairmen ineffective when their people are under attacks.”

The most ridiculous aspect of the opposition to the launch of Operation Amotekun was the threat that by its launch, the South-West may lose the opportunity to produce the president of Nigeria in 2023. This came from Alhassan Salleh, national secretary of the Miyetti Allah Kaute Hore. It is a way of telling the people of the South-West that if they want to be given the opportunity to produce the president in 2023, they have to leave their zone porous to make it easy for their people to be massacred. One wonders if a dead person can be president.

It is this sort of subtle blackmail that has made the South-West to virtually turn to the lamb since 2015, ignoring all the threats to their people. On July 19, 2016 I had written an article titled, “Something strange is happening in South-West”, to buttress this strange behaviour of playing the lamb led to the slaughter in a bid to be considered good by the North “to inherit the kingdom of Nigeria.” Some people even added a ridiculous dimension to the debate by telling me that I would not succeed in making them clash with the North.

One wonders how protecting one’s home should equate to fighting with the North. Can a zone be only said to be friends of the North if it does not complain or react when its people are killed? What type of friendship is that?

The biggest threat to security in Nigeria since 2015 has been the fear that protecting one’s people means fighting against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). Governors and other key politicians have been afraid to complain or take measures to protect their people against the killer herdsmen because of this fear. Few governors like Samuel Ortom of Benue and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti who tried to take action against the killer-herdsmen faced stiff opposition from Nigerian security agencies as if they were the aggressors. Rather than being supported to protect their people, they were threatened and harassed by the security agencies.

This confirms the views of many that the worsening security situation in Nigeria has the backing of government in one form or the other. In March 2018, Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd.) had said: “The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits. They kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movements, they cover them. If you depend on the armed forces to stop the killings you will all die one by one…. I ask everyone one of you to be alert and defend your territory, your state. You have nowhere else to go.” If anybody should know about what is happening in Nigeria security-wise, it should be Danjuma, a former Minister of Defence and Chief of Army Staff.

Thankfully, the support for Operation Amotekun has been swelling. Groups from the South-East, South-South, North-Central as well as individuals from many parts of Nigeria have given support to it. Interestingly, those with different political views from the mainstream APC in the South-West have been the strongest supporters. That points to the fact that life comes first before politics.

The words from the governors of the South-West have shown that they are not ready to be cowed or blackmailed into backing off the plan to secure the South-West. The level and depth of insecurity that the North-East and North-West have faced should not be wished on any zone. The regular kidnapping of people on the highways in the South-West is a warning that all is not well. The killing of Mrs Funke Olakunri, daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in July last year seemed to have jolted the governors out of their slumber.

For me, the South-West should take all possible measures to safeguard its zone for my selfish reasons. I live in the South-West. Because I love to drive between the South-West and South-East, I have to drive through Ogun and Ondo states. One cannot guarantee that one would not meet highway kidnappers on the way. I occasionally have projects that take me through the South-West. In recent times, I have been wary of undertaking such trips within South-West. If these highway kidnappers embarked on intelligence gathering on their targets, I would not be a target because I am not a high net-worth individual. But their modus operandi is weird.

The South-West governors should immediately individually send bills to their respective state House of Assembly to pass a law legalising the security network in each state.

The issue of bearing of arms by members of the Operation Amotekun is also a major one. Using batons to battle well-armed criminals is suicidal. People’s children and husbands should not be sent on such a suicide mission. Just as many different vigilance groups are allowed to bear arms, the operatives of Operation Amotekun should bear arms. Thankfully, the police had given support to the group. They should work closely with the police to make the South-West safe.

— You can Onwuka on Twitter @BrandAzuka

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