Saturday, 24 February 2018

ARTS AND CULTURE

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News & Stories (1632)

In the last few days, I have sat back to reflect on the perplexing matter of the so called Fulani Herdsmen attacks nationwide. As an opposition politician it is a veritable political tool that if craftily manipulated and orchestrated in a sustained manner, is enough to send this Government packing in 2019. Just like Lai Mohammed and his team of propangandists hanged the Jonathan administration employing the Boko Haram insurgency and the dubious chibok girls affairs. I am not a fan of President Buhari and i certainly do not wish the APC well. So it is not in my intrest to assist either to get out of an insolvable and potentially dangerous political quagmire.

But this is our country and our fatherland.  It must not always be an irresponsible and desperate struggle for power all the time at the expense of national cohesion and survival.

Something, to my mind, just does not add up on this Fulani herdsmen attacks. Classically, it has become ubiquitous. It comes up randomly anywhere and everywhere. Benue, Taraba, adamawa, plataeu,kaduna, zamfara, enugu, anambra, Edo , Ogun, ekiti, kwara etc etc.

The style is as confounding as the viciousness that is typical of the orgy of these attacks. A strange accompanying phenomenon is the associated arson of farmlands and houses. The questions are: if the struggle is about feeding cattle, why burn farms and houses thereafter? How come this pattern is consistent everywhere. is there a script or operational guideline? How do the herdsmen benefit from these mayhem?

My take: the government itself initially believed these acts were committed by the fulani herdsmen in their attempt to secure the lives of their herds. Obviously the government sympathised wrongly with the herdsmen and this was responsible for the initial poor official response to the attacks.However, the DSS, in its early brief to the government, included a vital information ignored by virtually all of us due to the overwhelming emotion brought about by the numbers of people butchered and the dastard nature of the attacks. The preconcieved notion of the bias of the administration in favour of the Fulanis did not help matters. The DSS had suggested the infiltration of the country by agents and converts of the terrorist group ISIS.

In my opinion, the operative signature and character  profile of the terrorists, we had named fulani herdsmen , fit no other group in the world but the ISIS. Typically, the attacks are mindless, brutally vicious with no clear cut defined or obvious benefit to the attackers!!!. It is a fact that towards the twightlight of the operative effectiveness of the Boko Haram insurgents, this new group ISIS, had emerged as a separate clearly defined entity within the Boko Haram Camp. As the number and strength of the Boko Haram became severely degraded, the ISIS components have crystalised  and adopted a more diffuse operational strategy, which is what the nation is currently witnessing.

I also believe that those in government have finally come to terms with this unfortunate reality, but in order not to create national panic, have kept this to themselves. Hence the various military operations announced by the army covering the entire nation. While I appreciate the efforts of government not wanting to create panic, in this type of situation citizens watch and vigilance is extremely important. It is better we are well informed  and multiple local based channels of communications be quickly established to assist the security agencies. It is my belief that these facts be made known to the public so as to douse the ethnic tensions and ill feelings pervading the polity presently. Personally, I believe we are in a state of national apprehension and this is not the fault of any government.  The government needs to open up and shed the image of entrenched nepotism if we must all fight this together in a non-partisan manner. By the grace of the omnipotent God, any group or groups that rises against Nigeria and its citizens shall fail and be destroyed in the mighty name of Jesus.

  • Dr. Okupe is a former presidential spokesman
Posted On Thursday, 22 February 2018 01:53 Written by

It is now appropriate, indeed imperative, for the Nigerian Left to present its own manifesto to the country. This should be in form of a people’s manifesto, a people’s charter of demands in a situation of national emergency. A people’s manifesto at this point in our history is not a dissertation-like programme of social transformation, the type of thing any Left formation should be able to produce in 24 hours. Rather, it should be a clear and concise statement of not only what the Left believes should be done to reprieve the nation from a threatening catastrophe, but also a statement of what – in alliance with other socio-political forces – the Left can mobilise the Nigerian people to do.

To put the matter differently, a people’s manifesto at this time is first and foremost a Nigerian Left’s manifesto in the ordinary sense of the word: a “public declaration of intentions, motives, or views” or a “public statement of policy or opinion.” Yes; but beyond this, a people’s manifesto is a people’s charter of demands presented to the Nigerian state and governments by the Nigerian Left. A people’s manifesto has this double character because although it can be used for an election, it is not election-bound.

This opening declaration should, however, not be misunderstood as implying that without an explicitly Left intervention, the country is doomed. No. Nigeria can still be reprieved- as it was reprieved in 2015 and- before that – in 1993 and at some other critical points in the country’s post-civil war history. What my proposition should be understood as implying is that if the country continues in its present course a reprieve from catastrophe will again be a temporary or false one. And a temporary or false reprieve will, again, make the nation’s fundamental problems more acute and complex when they explode again in a conjuncture – as will surely happen again. The problems will then be much more difficult to resolve in the context and framework of a single country.

This article is however not the people’s manifesto as advocated. It is rather the initiation of a discussion on its contents, nature, parameters and politics. An illustration will also be provided.

A Nigerian people’s manifesto drafted and presented by the Nigerian Left should not begin with a catalogue of what a Nigerian state or the incumbent or future government should do for the people. Rather, it should begin with a self-introduction of the movement, organization or platform presenting the manifesto. There are at least three reasons for this. In the first place, the Nigerian masses have, for decades, been recipients and victims of deception from personages and entities in power or seeking power. The people are therefore increasingly cynical. In the second place, the Nigerian Left has a strong and enviable record of involvement in popular struggle and patriotic selfless service which it should be proud to present to the public.

In the third place, we know that in this era, it is not only speech-writers that can be hired; manifesto – writers are also hired. In other words, manifesto-writing has been professionalized. Just put the money down and say what type of manifesto you want and the scale of lies you wish to be included, and the job will be done. Although there are always differences between fake manifestoes – however beautifully written – and genuine manifestoes, most readers may not be patient enough to spot the inconsistencies and incongruities in fake declarations.

I wish to propose that the difference between a people’s manifesto drafted and presented by the Left and other manifestoes cannot be found in the “lists of contents,” a comparison of what the authors and publishers promise to deliver to the people: roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, airports, electricity, jobs, “stomach infrastructure”, etc, etc. The difference lies in the “totality” or “packaging” which shows whether the manifesto is a revolutionary and popular-democratic declaration or a pack of lies, deceptions and illusions. On the one hand, the “totality” or “packaging” indicates not only what will be done but also how it will be done, with what resources it will be done, where the resources will come from, and when exactly it will be done. For, even if you swear by all the deities known and unknown, that you will run from Lagos to Calabar in three hours I will be a bastard to believe you.
On the other hand, in this period of extended emergency, the “packaging” or “totality” unambiguously answers the question: Whose desperate needs are being articulated and planned for: those of the Nigerian masses or those of exploiters, predators and state-robbers who always present themselves as “the nation”? To put the matter more bluntly, does the manifesto unambiguously indicate plans to immediately redeploy the nation’s resources in favour of the hungry, the endangered and the forgotten?

An appropriate “table of contents” for a people’s manifesto in this particular period of extended national emergency in the lives of the Nigerian masses may be structured in several ways. For instance, it may have the following eight-point structure: Who are we (that is, the authors – the Nigerian Left)?; The country we now have; The country we wish to have and are committed to fighting for; Fundamental human rights; Directive principles of state policy; Social transformation; National unity, federalism and popular-democratic restructuring; and Immediate steps (on pressing needs and current crises).

Back to history. The Nigerian Left is one of the oldest ideological tendencies in Nigerian politics because the Left grew out directly from organised anti-colonial and labour struggles – both of which started in the early 1930s. By the eve of independence in 1960, popular democracy and socialism had become the clear aim of the Left.

As early as May 1961, a Leftist group in Lagos, organised by Gogo Chu Nzeribe, Peter Ayodele Curtis-Joseph, Tanko Yakassai, M.O. Johnson, J.B. K. Thomas and a few others, had, in an extended public declaration, described itself as the “organisation of workers, women, farmers and farm labourers, peasants, artisans, teachers and intellectuals, small businessmen and women, professionals, lawyers, youths, students, the unemployed, the maimed, the deformed …” This was a clear ideological selection which the authors justified this way: “These are the people who know misfortune and therefore are capable of waging limitless and courageous struggles until victory is won.” Left out of this long list was the “indigenous Nigerian capitalist and feudal class that had emerged as the virtual successors to the British colonialists.” The group pledged to “organise, unite and lead the peoples of Nigeria in a relentless and uncompromising fight against capitalism and capitalist exploitation of the Nigerian peoples”.

Significantly, these young Nigerians opposed regionalism and declared their commitment to “one undivided Nigeria, under unitary and centralised government.” And, consistently, they declared their belief in the creation of a “Union of African States” and “one common nationality for all Africans.”

The revolutionary Lagos group – let us call them so here – advocated a 40-hour week for all workers, full employment, unemployment benefits, social security, worker-participation in management, special allowances for “all labour that is especially risky or dirty, adequate minimum wage, free medical treatment, free education, paid maternity leave, paid rest-time during nursing period ….” Putting itself forward as a vanguard in post-colonial nation-building, the group concluded its public declaration by repeating that it was formed to “lead the peoples of Nigeria in their just struggles for peace, friendship, national reconstruction, a better future, democracy and the triumph of socialism.”

That was the Nigerian Left about 57 years ago, just six months after independence. A contemporary people’s manifesto can proceed from here by indicating what has changed, what has remained and what has emerged.

Posted On Thursday, 22 February 2018 01:21 Written by

Five Nigerian police officers who were accused of killing Boko Haram’s founder Mohammed Yusuf while in their custody have been reinstated, a police oversight body said on Monday.

The officers were charged with committing a terrorist act and unlawfully killing the Islamist group’s spiritual leader during days of unrest in the northeast city of Maiduguri in July 2009.

The clashes, in which about 800 Boko Haram followers were killed, prompted an escalation in violence that has since left at least 20,000 dead and made over 2.6 million more homeless.

A judge in Abuja in late December 2015 acquitted the police on the grounds the prosecution could not establish a case against them. The ruling attracted little publicity at the time.

A spokesman for the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, confirmed a report in the Daily Trust newspaper that the officers were now back on the beat.

“It is true. They have all been reinstated. The Police Service Commission acted upon a memo sent to it by the inspector general of police,” he told AFP.

“The memo was accompanied with the court orders that they should be reinstated. The court acquitted them of all the charges and we have no choice but to obey the orders of court.”

Amaechi Nwaokolo, a Nigeria security analyst at the Roman Institute for International Studies in Abuja, said the acquittal and reinstatement was “a source of concern”.

Boko Haram has long used the fact that no-one has been prosecuted or convicted for Yusuf’s death as a reason for its armed struggle, he argued.

“This development will further give Boko Haram a tool for recruitment and radicalisation of its ranks by using it to show the lack of justice it has been preaching,” he said.

“Extra-judicial killings by state security apparatus give terrorist groups the needed tool and justification to recruit others and carry out terrorist acts as retaliation.

“It was the killing of Yusuf that led to the escalation of the violence and the degeneration of the conflict to the level we have today.”

Nigeria’s security services have been repeatedly accused of abuses against civilians during the insurgency, including arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killing.

Many civilians have been held for years without access to lawyers or being brought to court.

Last week, 475 were released from custody after it was found there was not enough evidence to prosecute them, at mass trials of suspects at a military facility in central Niger state.

A total of 468 others were freed last October. Taken together, they account for more than half of those on trial.

Posted On Tuesday, 20 February 2018 01:45 Written by

…two of their seven children unaccounted for – Police

Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri

After three weeks of investigation, the Monitoring Unit of the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Imo State Police Command has nabbed a couple for allegedly selling their daughter, Chinecherem, for N400,000, a few hours after delivery.

The couple – Ifeanyi, 35, and Emmaculata Elijah, 30 – are indigenes of Amakpu- Umuba, in the Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State. But they are residents of Irete, in the Owerri West LGA of Imo State.

Other suspects said to have been involved in the crime are Grace Mezu, 55, of Umuoba Uratta, in the Owerri North LGA; Fedalia Ariri, 55, also of Umuoba Uratta; and Amarachi Obiekwe, 49, of Osina, in the Ideato North LGA.

Parading them on Monday at the command headquarters in Owerri, the state capital, the Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, said the couple conspired on January 26, 2018, a few hours after giving birth to the girl and sold her to Obiekwe, through Mezu and Ariri.

Enwerem, who disclosed that the couple had given birth to seven children, said the whereabouts of two were still unknown.

According to him, the woman was delivered of the baby at home, while the waiting buyers paid immediately to take possession of the newborn baby.

The police spokesperson, who explained that the baby was recovered on February 17 in Lagos State, said the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, had ordered that the matter be charged to court at the end of investigation.

Enwerem said, “The innocent baby was denied love and parental care immediately she was given birth to. The parents conspired to take N400,000 instead of their daughter.

“The Commissioner of Police, who is pissed off with this act of wickedness and crime against humanity, has ordered that the wheels of justice and investigation be accelerated so that the matter would be charged to court.

“Having found out that the mother of the child was part of the conspiracy,  the CP has ordered that the innocent baby be taken from her and handed over to the Imo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare.

“The suspects have made confessional statements and we are working to ensure that justice is served. The Commissioner of Police advised that those who are in need of children should go through legal means to adopt them.”

There was a mild drama when the couple and the other suspects started accusing one another.

While the three other suspects and the child’s father, Ifeanyi, said the baby’s mother was part of the crime, Emmaculata denied knowledge of it.

Speaking to newsmen, the woman who allegedly bought the baby, Obiekwe, said she gave the couple the agreed amount in their house.

The father of the baby, who confessed that he traded his daughter for money, said the crime was planned and hatched by himself and his wife.

He said he and his wife gave Mezu, who brought the buyer, N6,000 from the amount that was paid for the baby.

Posted On Tuesday, 20 February 2018 01:31 Written by

The Senate on Thursday invited the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, to appear before it to explain how the $600 million Euro bond sourced from the Chinese Government was used.

The upper chamber said $600 million loan received to revive the power sector was allegedly diverted by the Federal Government to remodel four airports in the country.

It noted that there was $600 million Euro bond from the Chinese Government for the rehabilitation of the power sector, out of which $100 million was allegedly diverted as counterpart funding for the remodeling of Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhghide, issued the summon at the meeting of the committee on Thursday.

Urhoghide, (Edo South), said the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Director- General of Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs. Patience Oniha, would also appear before the committee on the matter.

Urhoghide, who spoke when the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari, appeared before his committee, said those invited should appear before the committee next week to explain the rationale behind the movement of such loans from its original purpose to another.

He said there was the need to establish the desirability of the loan.

Posted On Friday, 16 February 2018 01:33 Written by

”My mistress usually inserts sticks inside my vagina, hits me with iron rods, wires and also ties me with chain whenever she is going out.

“My Aunty always use blade to cut my skin.

“These scars, injuries on my head, body and lips were inflicted on me by my Aunty for 4 years, ‘’ Miss Faith Nwanja, 12-year-old house help narrated her ordeal in her dialect.

Nwanje, currently in custody of Ezza-South Local Government in Ebony state, disclosed in Abakaliki, the dehumanizing treatment meted on her by her mistress, Mrs Nkechinyere Bartholomew in Onitsha, Anambra state.

The girl, a native of Okoffia-Ohaji, said Bartholomew, now at large, subjected her to serious torture for the four years.

The victim said she was suffering great pains in parts of her body where her mistress used different objects, including iron rods and wire to beat her.

Mrs Ngozi Nwanja, the mother of the victim, said her daughter was 8 when she was handed over to Bartholomew.

She said efforts to see her daughter was not successful as the Bartholomew’s mother always claimed that her daughter’s contact number was not reachable.

“When Bartholomew came for my child through her mother who resided in Idembia Ezza-South LGA, she promised that her daughter will take good care of her.’’

The brutalised maid

The Vice Chairman of the Council, Mrs Caro Ewa, explained that the victim was brought to her on February 12 by Head of Department of Education and Social Welfare of the council.

She said the Chairman of the council, Mr Sunday Ogodo, ordered the arrest of the mother and brother of the accused because they were conniving to shield Bartholomew from arrest.

“Her mother and brother have been released by the police, but her younger sister is still in detention because she stays in Onitsha with them and also brought the victim back to Ebonyi along with her aunty.

“No government will support this evil, because the level of injuries on the child’s body is weird,” Ewa said.

Meanwhile, Mr Godwin Igwe, Head of Department, Child Development in the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, described the degree of injures on the victim as “real damage’’.

According to him, the perpetrator boasted that she will settle the matter with money.

“This is worrisome. There is increasing cases of child brutalization.

“From all indications Nwanja’s hand is condemned and we don’t know the extent of damage to her brain and other parts of her body,” Igwe said.

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State

Igwe appealed to the government, Civil Society Organisation (CSO), philanthropists, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), the police and public who are interested in Child protection to save children from abuses.

Bartholomew, he said, would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others and the victim would be taken to the hospital for medical examination and treatment.

Nwanja with her mangled arms

“We will take steps to stop the trend as its portraying a negative image of the country before the International community,” Igwe said.

 
 
Posted On Friday, 16 February 2018 01:22 Written by

Jacob Zuma, South African President has announced his resignation on Wednesday after the ruling ANC party threatened to eject him from office via a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

Posted On Wednesday, 14 February 2018 22:23 Written by

Workers at the National Health Insurance Scheme on Thursday temporarily grounded activities at the head office of the agency in Abuja, demanding the reversal of the controversial reinstatement of the Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf.

Also, the National Conscience Party has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari for the reinstatement of Yusuf, who was suspended by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, for fraud-related offences.

The workers, under the aegis of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria and the Joint Health Sector Union, began the protest about 40 minutes after Yusuf resumed at the agency.

The unionists, who sang protest songs, said the reinstatement of Yusuf would thwart his investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The protesters, who described the reinstatement saga as ‘Yusufgate,’ said it was a mockery of Buhari’s anti-corruption war.

Addressing journalists on the premises of the agency, the Chairman of the NHIS arm of the union, Mr. Razaq Omomeji, said the protests would continue until Buhari reversed Yusuf’s reinstatement.

He said, “Our presence is to jointly endorse the position of the Secretary-General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria on the reinstatement of Prof. Usman Yusuf. We demand and urge the President  and the Federal Government to reverse the reinstatement if they want to have peace and industrial harmony.

“We are a law-abiding people and we have never in the history of the NHIS, created any problem for anyone. But the reinstatement of Prof. Yusuf will cause chaos in the scheme.

“They should allow the man to be cleared by the EFCC before he is allowed to resume. We can help them in investigating the man.”

Omomeji said the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress were looking into the matter, adding that the NHIS boss had done nothing but described workers as thieves.

He said Yusuf bastardised the scheme by making arbitrary appointments in flagrant disregard for the Civil Service Rules.

“His first action when he took over the affairs of the scheme showed that he had no plan for the agency. He appointed a lady born in 1984 to Level 15. She was at Level 9 at the EFCC before she was brought here. Imagine that!”

Also speaking, Mr. Aina Benjamin, who is the Secretary of the Medical and Health Workers Union, NHIS branch, said Yusuf would launch a revenge attack on all the whistle-blowers in the agency and therefore called on Buhari to remove him.

“He is coming here to fight back and there is no way he would not come here with his own agenda and then the agency would not be able to progress and that is why we are asking the President to reverse this reinstatement,” Benjamin said.

He rubbished claims that the panel set up by the ministry to investigate Yusuf was not well constituted.

When asked if the workers would embark on strike if the President refused to remove Usman, he said, “We will wait for our national secretariat on the next line of action.”

The NCP asked Buhari to reverse the reinstatement of Yusuf because of the damaging effect the action would have on his image and the anti-corruption war of his administration.

The NCP in a statement signed by its National Vice-Chairman, Waheed Lawal, in Osogbo on Thursday, described Yusuf’s reinstatement as a betrayal of trust reposed in the President by majority of Nigerians who voted him into power based on his promise to fight corruption in the country.

He said it was absurd that the Presidency reinstated the NHIS boss who was accused of fraud, arguing that Yusuf’s  reinstatement while he  was still being investigated by the EFCC was a dent on the anti-corruption war of the present administration.

The statement read, “We, in the NCP, see the recall of Prof. Usman Yusuf as a betrayal of trust and confidence the Nigeria people reposed in the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. He  has, with this singular act, halted every progress this administration is making to curtail the act of corruption among public officers.

“How on earth will a man who can’t account for the expenditure of N919m NHIS fund be recalled back to duty? Why will a man who publicly said f**k you to a serving minister be recalled just like that? Why is the Presidency condoning Yussuf? Is it because he’s the President’s kinsman?

“We are perturbed by this development and it has become imperative for the President to address the nation on his stance, as it is becoming clearer that nepotism and favouritism are a determinant to most of his policies, as the recall of AbdulRasheed Maina remains unresolved till date.

“It is on record that one Mr. Femi Akingbade, the former acting Executive Secretary of NHIS was summarily removed from office on mere allegations contained in petitions submitted against him, with the baggage of revelations emerging from the administrative panel of enquiry of how Yusuf diverted funds through phony contracts, illegal training and spending of unbudgeted allocation on cronies and friends.

“It was only during his short stay that the association of HMOs threatened to disengage from the NHIS owing to maladministration and policy somersaults. However, if the President was actually dissatisfied with the Ministry of Health panel, he should have instituted a fresh panel to investigate  the allegations levelled against Yusuf.

“We hereby call on the President  to immediately reverse itself, allow the law of the land to take its full course on the Usman Yusuf case, give the anti-corruption agency the marching order to conclude their investigation, so this nation can be on the part of justice again.”

In a related development, the immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in Osun State, Dr. Suraj Ogunyemi, has described the reinstatement of Yusuf as a slap on the face of the minister.

Ogunyemi, who said this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Osogbo, described the reinstatement as unfortunate.

He said such would portray the government as not being serious with its anti-corruption war, saying the Presidency ought to have allowed investigations to be concluded before returning him to his duty post if he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Posted On Friday, 09 February 2018 01:29 Written by

Former President I brahim Babangida has denied a widely circulated statement in which he urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election  in the 2019 election.

The statement was issued on his behalf by his media Prince Kassim Afegbua.

Babangida  said he has unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities in the country and does not need to resort to what he called “sensational public correspondence”

According to Babangida, the views  expressed statement  are personal views of the writer.

The statement containing Babangida’s denial is reproduced below:

MY COUNSEL TO THE NATION–BY GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA, GCFR

Distinguished Members of the Fourth estate of the realm.

It has been drawnd to my attention a press statement on the State of the nation, particularly 2019 general elections and beyond.

Let me categorically state that as former President and Statesman, I have unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence, therefore those views  expressed over there are personal views of the writer.

However, with due respect to individual opinion and constitutional rights,  it is worrisome that Political events and civil unrest in many part of the country, has raised many questions on the governance and unity. Indeed 2018 is inundated with seasons of literatures on the corporate existence of this country. Many of such literatures have shown concerns of the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections.

It will be recalled, that in my message to this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I specifically expressed the dire need for proactive measures to stop farmers/herders clashes in the middle belt, Cattle rustling, armed robbery, Kidnapping, gangsterism and Cultism. Our security agencies have to step up surveillance with more efforts on intelligence gathering for maximum success.

Recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators is alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions. Despite all these challenges, I am optimistic that the political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.

I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give and take. Since after  my military years that metamorphosed to the only Military President in the history of Nigeria and my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy. Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self imposed mentorship. This trend of pitching political class and the people is unhealthy and skewed.

The clamour for re-alignment of governance in the country as we are approaching 2019 election year is a welcome development only if the agitations are genuinely channeled through legislation and total supremacy of the constitution . Any attempt outside this circle of democratic tenants is deceptive and divisive idea capable of plunging our political journey into disarray.

Our present political parties and their structures need parameter pillars that will make them more strong with unique ideologies. However, our present political parties need surgical operation that will fusion them in to a reasonable numbers. I have been an advocate of two party systems but in our present reality in Nigeria, our political parties can fusion into strong political association/party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.

As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political parties that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in two party systems as the best option for Nigeria.

It is high time that, we dialogue more on any issue in order to have a political solution on any problem affecting us. It is sad that, Nigeria had its fare share of conflicts, and we cannot continue to fall back to those dark years of bloodshed.

As a people, now is the time to come together to address all Communal conflicts and criminality under any guise to further unite the country in line with the vision of our founding fathers so that as a nation, we can forge ahead in the task of building a more prosperous nation.

SIGNED:

GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA GCFR, FORMER MILITARY PRESIDENT & COMMANDER IN-CHIEF OF NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES.

1 UPHILL DRIVE, MINNA.

SUNDAY, 04TH FEBRUARY, 2018.

Posted On Sunday, 04 February 2018 23:07 Written by
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