By Kalu Nwokoro Idika
As tension is escalating between the United States of America and the nation of Iran over the airstrike that led to the instant elimination of General Qassim Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian elite forces, it will be paramount to revisit the statement made by the media spokesman of Major General Mohammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina who blasted and asked America “who made her the policeman of the world” after Nigeria was shortlisted among nations of the world where Christians are facing unprecedented persecution.
Anyway, Femi Adesina would have made such bogus statement out of overzealousness and ignorance but the recent inter play of political power between these two countries over the death of Qassim Soleimani must have taught Femi Adesina that though nobody might have made America the police man of the world but their military and economic prowess has automatically conferred the title on them.
This brief commentary is not designed to make any form of case for America but to enlighten Femi Adesina that sometimes there is need for one to look before leaping. It’s a shame for a man whose country can’t even produce pencil to ask America who made her the police man of the world. America with it’s patriotic leaders have worked so hard to utilise both the human and material potentials of the country for the betterment of all Americans. They have strong democratic institutions and ensures accountability in all stratum of the government. Americans within and beyond are protected and given a sense of belonging by their government which makes every of her citizen to see the interest of America as paramount in all they do. America has built state of the art universities where the best brains are harnessed for onward technological advancement of the country. What has Nigeria done for her own?
The global influence of America can’t be overemphasized. America as a country has the largest military industrial complex in the globe which is housing some of the most dreaded nuclear warheads, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and other unquantifiable military hardwares. It has the capacity to conduct military drill in any part of the world under 24 hours. It’s elite forces is the finest. America also is the most fortified nation in the world. They have the wherewithal to decide among the peripheries (like Nigeria) who gets what, when and how.
Moreover, the United States is the world’s largest economy with an estimated Gross Domestic Product of $20.513 trillion, notably due to high average incomes, a large population, capital investment, moderate unemployment, high consumer spending, a relatively young population, and technological innovation. The best tech companies are found in America. The country is home to the finest brains in the world. Out of it’s magnanimity, millions of dollars is been transferred as aid to the clueless and kleptomaniac third world peripheries like Nigeria which can’t survive without it as a result of bastardized political system
Unfortunately, Femi Adesina, the unprofessional spokesman of Major General Buhari forgot where he comes from. He suddenly lost sight of the fact that he comes from a begging nation. A country that begs America to sell some of her junk jet fighters and armoured personnel carriers to their military, begs America for medical aid, begs America for investment, begs America for military expertise to combat bokoharam. A begging nation that can’t even produce toothpick and enough rice to feed her hungry and poor growing population. A nation that begs for loan to finance her budget when over $500 billion have been made from the sell of crude oil since it’s discovery in 1956. The shame of a nation.
Nevertheless, if Femi and his principal doesn’t want to see America as the police man of the world, there is need for them to stand straight and reposition things. Adesina and his employer must see to the fact that Nigeria will stop being a begging nation. Stop begging for loans, military expertise, build more industries, state of the art universities, skill acquisition institutes, stop the stealing and stashing of public fund in foreign banks. Ensure accountability, rule of law and adequate respect for human right. Public officials involved in corrupt practices should be given capital punishment and security agencies should be reformed to be discipline and result oriented.
However, anything short of the above recommendations will continue to make Nigeria a puppet periphery and United States the police man of the world. A nation that can’t feed and protect her citizens has no say when it comes to inter play of power in the global community.
~ Idika is a political analyst, investigative and freelance journalist
Beyond COVID-19 Pandemic
By Ikechukwu Agada
If painful, purposeful activity is the steering that pilots the vehicle of existence, then passion is the fuel that keeps it moving.
As usual, the political establishment is out in full force to contain the dreaded hydra-headed novel monster called Covid-19(Coronavirus) threatening the world, signposting that sports and common challenge(Crisis) unite Nigerians faster than religion, ethnicity and the likes.
The giant of Africa is blessed with resilient and intelligent professionals with a history of patience in managing common challenges. It is therefore food for thought for her leaders why she is not one of the best nations of the world despite these virtues. The Coronavirus Pandemic is becoming a wind(Global Emergency) that is blowing across the world showing the strengths and weaknesses of nations based on leadership. It has become a yardstick for measuring great nations in terms of capacity, technology and leadership. The world as a global village is on its knees(Despite technological expertise) forcing nations to depend on itself to survive. This means that any nation that cannot help itself out of the menace is on a short distance to extinction and economic stagnation.
The virus is the same globally, it does not move, people do and when they self-isolate; it is easily contained. Online business and shopping(E-Commerce) where engagements and contactless delivery are involved ought to be promoted to encourage social distancing for the basic things of life. The approach to its containment is based on leadership and makes nations distinct. This is definitely not the time to depend on foreign imports as nations, borders and economies are under lock and key precipitating self-production and self-dependency. This is also not the best time to play politics but to show leadership to save lives. The pedestrian politics that wired out over the Coronavirus status of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari; where an attempt was made to conceal the information and later attempted arrest of the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is most unfortunate. The sudden silence in the camps of the Minister of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on update of information (For high profile cases) immediately following Mr Abba Kyari’s Coronavirus status speaks volume of the Nigerian tragedy.
World over, governments are not adopting politics as a way of fighting the life threatening disease. The unceremonious barring of some media houses critical of the Federal Government’s inadequacies is analogue and alien in such a time when information is key to surviving. The powerplay that engulfed Mr Abba Kyari’s Coronavirus status where some media houses were axed for breaking the news leaves a sour taste in the mouth. More heads may still go over the development.
Life is precious and should be treated as such, therefore any Nigerian irrespective of the social, political and financial status who demonstrates symptoms of this virus should be made public and isolated to save lives. If Boris Johnson and Prince Charles’ Coronavirus status could be made public then nobody in Nigeria should be treated like a sacred cow. It is criminal and medically unetiquette to hide such dangerous information from the public because of societal status.
Leadership is basically needed at this time in Nigeria to toe the path of some proactive nations that contained this Coronavirus to avoid it escalating beyond control. At a time where social distancing is Paramount, Nigerian Correctional Centres( Formerly known as Nigerian Prisons Service) should decongest inmates as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus. Under this deadly pandemic, the Correctional Service Act ought to be revisited to free some inmates in line with global standards. It is time to activate the prerogative of the mercy law across the states to effectively manage the crisis because the Nigerian Correctional Infrastructure is in a sorry state. The Correctional Service Reform on the exclusive list of the National Assembly should be treated with urgency to save many innocent inmates.
Federal and State Governments need to provide palliatives just like the Lagos State Government, to encourage Nigerians in this period of mass self-isolation to reduce the suffering of people. The National Assembly needs to review the constitution to accommodate fire disaster and disease outbreak to position Nigeria as a proactive nation before the world. The healthcare, education, emergency economic stimulus and other important welfare bills should be National Assembly Topmost considerations in its oversight functions to encourage domestic productions and discourage importation and tourism for such purposes. Time to fix the Nigerian healthcare system is now since some leaders have been cultured to travel abroad for medical tourism.
Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, standard social facilities, proactive leadership(Especially in containing the Coronavirus Pandemic), local production and a healthy economy will be large considerations for rating great nations. Nations will rise and some others will fall after the menace. Nigeria should view the Coronavirus Pandemic as a springboard for rebirth. The Coronavirus Pandemic too shall pass. If Nigeria succeeded Ebola, she would be victorious against the Coronavirus causing havoc around the world. Spread hope not fear!
GOD BLESS YOU
Making Sense Of Oshiomhole’s Reprieve
By Abiodun Komolafe
Once upon a sociopolitical space, there was an unknown ‘Edo Boy’, who came into limelight through the Textiles Industry, where he was a paid secretary of its Union. (Conventionally, paid secretaries are never made political heads. But Adams Oshiomhole became the political head of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, which, in itself, was an anomaly). The emergence of the Iyamho, Edo State-born politician as a leader in Nigeria was aided by the society’s sociopolitical milieu. Why? A quick look should suffice.
First and foremost, the society’s worldview was laissez-faire and regrettably assuming. The ruling paradigm, then, was that man was created noble, and his inner nature was inherently good. Not only that, the uncertainty in the country’s political firmament, and the little or no skepticism as a political virtue on the part of the masses, all met at the table to foist the former governor on the hapless citizens of Nigeria. Besides, the complacency as well as the faith of the majority in a benevolent God who cares for all, thereby lessening the burden of responsibilities of good governance on governments, and the pliability of the government, under which Oshiomhole served as Labour’s first citizen, also aided his emergence as a force to be reckoned with. In other words, though regarded as NLC president, somewhere along the line, ‘Comrade’ became a tool in the hands of the government; and ‘the rest is history.’
But, how did the situation between Oshimhole and Godwin Obaseki become so messy that the latter is now calling for the former’s head? That the situation between the godfather, who practically installed the godson as his successor, to have so worsened means that something fundamental must be wrong. Again, for Obaseki’s camp to have confessed that it was only following in the footsteps of Oshiomhole clearly spoke to how he who lives in glass house must not throw stones. But, if we may ask: what gives our former governors this impression that they must continue to have a hold on the states where they have once served, if not for the reason of corruption? Why can’t they emulate Kashim Shettima, who is now at peace with himself as a former governor? Nonetheless, the feud in Edo is good for the masses, because such will always bring out the best in a democracy.
After Jimmy Carter left office as the 39th President of the United States of America, he confessed to a stunned world that, for the first time, he understood what ‘African leaders always feel when they want to leave office.’ Well, this statement might seem innocuous or harmless; but it was thought-provoking! The good thing about Carter was that he knew that he had no choice because that’s the Constitution; and Americans have a lot of respect for their Constitution! But, as far as the Africanness in us is concerned, the Constitution can go to blazes! That’s why former President Olusegun Obasanjo has the temerity to attempt a shameful 3rd Term ambition that adoringly placed a dent on what would, at least, have been an alluring legacy.
Let’s come back to the apparent lack of cohesion in the national All Progressives Congress (APC) and the notorious little foxes, such as Oshiomhole’s face-off with his state governor. Without doubt, these can spell doom for the continued success and sustenance of the ruling party, if not quickly and efficiently addressed. Yes, some forces may succeed in muscling Obaseki out of the 2nd Term race. But then, as long as Obaseki’s problem remains unsolved, Oshiomhole’s case will also remain precarious. Why? The governor is most likely to raise dust; and, if he does, that will be bad news for the party; no longer for President Muhammadu Buhari, but the party. After all, Buhari is already negotiating his way out of Aso Rock! The more reason the president must genuinely intervene now, even, when the waning nature of party supremacy in Nigeria dictates otherwise.
That’s not all! There is also an effect on the political participation profile of the masses. For instance, lack of cohesion in a political party is an indication that the party is disorganized. And, if it is, it will also yield itself to ineffective government. After all, nobody will want to put his or her faith in a party that lacks cohesion or effective organization. Not only that, discipline will become watered down, as nobody will be answerable to anybody. Talking about development, the masses are definitely going to be at the receiving end of this needless power tussle. Since needless marginalization in politics leads to economic insecurity, feeling safe, either at home or at work, will also become very difficult. Not even in a country where growing insecurity has manifestly become a diet.
This also takes us back to the issue of party formation. Though political non-participation is just the resultant effect of the disarray that we now notice in the party system, party system becomes disarrayed as a result of the faulty foundation of the party in question. In other words, if we get it wrong at the level of party formation, the likelihood of such wrongness posing perennial problems is palpably high.
All things being equal, the brawl between Oshiomhole and Obaseki could never have been in good faith! Nonetheless, a virus that tarries for too long in a man’s life has the capacity to mutate and transform into aberrant, more hostile and vicious types. What we are saying here is: as an amazing Labour leader and politician, the APC National Chairman should realize that it is time to rethink his strategy and the endgame of his political ambition. Glaringly, the reprieve granted by the appellate court remains temporary until all pending cases might have been dispensed with. We also need to note that the aggrieved and the disgruntled have the option of ‘acting nPDP’, or going back to their vomit. This may be dangerous for APC!
Well, controversy or not; provable or improvable, Oshiomhole has done his bit! Won’t his Achilles heels be the inability to leave the beat when the ovation is still ascending? On the other hand, ‘power’, they say, ‘corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Will Obaseki learn how to ‘give honour to whom honour is due’, especially, those who once fed him? Lastly, who’s right on the Edo story and who will write the last chapter of the national APC conundrum?
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@example.com.
Breaking News From Aso Villa
By Femi Adesina
Quite a challenging week it has been for Nigeria, and, indeed, the rest of the world. Except perhaps in China only, where the affliction started from, figures of Coronavirus infections continue to mount in other parts of the world. Italy and Spain have been particularly badly hit.
But as the world reels under the impact of a most pernicious pandemic, a suicide bomber wreaking deadly havocs, merchants of fake, hateful news remain fully at work. Aso Villa, the seat of presidential authority, has been their focus for most of the week. They have kept churning out spurious reports after the other about President Muhammadu Buhari, and some other people who work with him. If you choose to believe them, the President by now has even been evacuated, and is receiving medical attention at an undisclosed location somewhere in the wide world.
Breaking news from Aso Villa. That is what you have had day after day. And each time I am contacted to authenticate one story or the other, I tell the enquirers that the Presidential Villa is part of the world, part of humanity, and the people there are not immune from what is happening in the rest of the world.
But the outright fake, hateful news, I have ignored all week. Not a word in response. How do you begin to give wings to concocted stories through responses that will make the falsehood fly faster? No, purveyors of wickedness should not have the satisfaction of drawing us out all the time, and getting some tacit endorsement for their flight of fancy.
A top aide of the President tested positive early in the week. He is receiving adequate care, and he has our best wishes. But for the sinister minds, it was floodgate to all sorts of malediction. All sorts of Breaking News followed:
‘Intensive care machines brought into Aso Rock.’ ‘President Buhari coughing ceaselessly.’ ‘PMB under intensive care.’ ‘Adesina among those who accompanied Abba Kyari to Kogi.’ (I never did). ‘Garba Shehu under self-isolation.’ ‘Buhari may be smuggled out of the country, as condition worsens.’ And by yesterday, a recorded message started circulating on WhatsApp, saying President Buhari had been sneaked out of the country. To where? By who? Their fecund imaginations did not say.
And more Breaking News: ‘Buhari bans journalists from covering Aso Villa.’ (A man supposedly in intensive care was still banning reporters. Lol). ‘Buhari in self-isolation’ (Yet he was in the office on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, even receiving visitors). ‘Aso Villa shut down.’ And the vile beat goes on…
Why do some people conjure nothing but evil? Why do they imagine vain things? In 2017, while President Buhari had his medical challenge, they were on orgy of negative wishes, misinformation, and disinformation. But God pulled a fast one on them. He brought the President back, as right as rain. Haven’t they learned their lessons?
With the good people, however, positive things are happening. Tony Elumelu’s UBA is giving N5 billion to help Nigeria and Africa. Abdusamad Rabiu (BUA) has donated one billion Naira in cash. . Folorunsho Alakija has imported test kits and other materials for Nigerians, worth hundreds of millions of Naira. Aliko Dangote, after an initial donation of N200 million to combat Coronavirus, is leading top bankers and the private sector generally to raise aid. GTBank has donated a 100 beds care center. The Redeemed Christian Church of God has provided ventilators. And many more. These are the people and organizations that should define us as a people, not the conjurers of wickedness and doomsday. God is surely greater than them. And Nigeria too.
~ Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity.
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