Allah, the Almighty, the most beneficent and the merciful may punish the Governor of Oyo State, Nigeria, Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi.Not because he has done something grievous against the general public, but this wicked governor has started to execute and implement projects and programmes which are threatening to eliminate our activities by putting us out of jobs in Oyo State.
Or do you wake up and pray solemnly for the progress and well-being of that person who believes he has to uproot your source of existence totally in the state where you have been operating with impunity before he ever dreamt of being a governor?
By the time you have gone through this piece, you will not have a choice but to join me in praying to God Almighty that this Governor who seems to love the public more than us should be punished by God and condemned.
Honestly, Governor Ajimobi is wicked, callous and insensitive.
Forget about the handsome face and the Pepsodent’s smile which blend perfectly with a cosmopolitan sartorial taste. Behind this façade is a robust passion of working against those of us who he believes are not within his concept of those fit to exist in the society.
And who is he to think this way though? But you see, when he was contesting, I warned all my colleagues who were engaged and equipped to work for him that this man is too refined and decent to work for.
Although we were paid generously for the various assignments which we carried out, but I insisted that this man who has a gap in his teeth setting and smiling like one who loves women, may be exhibiting those natural talents in disguise.
I warned them that they should join forces to work against him and destroy his mission, but because of the fat lucre, they all refused and greedily accepted the offer, worked conscientiously for him, thinking that he would not disappoint them when in the saddle.
But as if I was seeing vision then, immediately Governor Ajimobi was sworn – in, he, from day one announced that he would made this state inhabitable for us!
But, we thought he was joking as that used to be the norms and the rule. This is because whenever a new governor assumes office, he is expected to tell the people what they love to hear and warm himself to their hearts by deceiving them with sweet words.
But lo and behold, Governor Ajimobi has continued to proudly prove that he meant every word and promises he made.
We are dumbfounded that why should it be us to be first consumed by the heat of his revolution?
Agreed, that we were recruited by the great man to work for him and got paid for may be without his knowledge, but he could not claim not to have felt the vibration of our activities during his election when we played a very notorious part.
See our predicament now, instead of him to invite us to the Governor’s chamber, rub mind with us and recognise us as an alternate government, this Governor has swore to the heavens to see that we are eliminated!
And he has commenced this dastardly mission against us by doing everything on earth at ensuring that we are eliminated completely from the state.
If not that Governor Ajimobi is wicked and vicious, what is it we engage in that is even against the state and the people that he has to be striving hard to see that he eliminate us by all means and forces available to him?
Is it because our activities most times and all times seem to cultivate tears and sorrow in the lives of those who are unfortunate to cross our path?
Don’t we have right to exist?
Or is he now telling us that we too are not members of the society who must eke out what will make our existence on earth comfortable at
grave expense of others? Don’t we have right to do what we like even though it may be bloody, violent and upstage the harmonious ambience in the state?
Are we doing any harm if we flagrantly take possession of other men’s property and personal belonging without their permission?
Have we committed any offence brazen in its criminality if we forcefully dispossess people of their belongings and if possible send them to the world beyond in trying to resist and challenge our audacity?
Are we doing the state any harm by unleashing violence and causing people to gnash their teeth in pains and lamentation after carrying out our god-sent mission on the streets, on the roads, in daylight and night?
Are these activities of ours so perfidious and inimical to the society that a whole Governor of Oyo – State has to declare war against us?
Or are we doing something strange? Is he the first governor that ever ruled the state? So, why is his own so exceptional that he want us dead?
And what baffles us is his strong determination to achieve this aim of his against us.
And to demonstrate that he is dead serious about this, could you believe that this governor went as far as importing deadly arms and ammunition and also acquire and purchase operational vehicles for the police to fight and rout us out?
The most embarrassing part of the action has been his assault on one of our hide outs and covens on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
You cannot miss noticing what he is doing at the interchange when you are approaching Ibadan after the defunct toll gate.
This area has been our refuge and operational base since the construction of the expressway when this Senator Ajimobi has never dreamt of becoming a governor.
Walahitalai! God will not forgive him for demolishing this fortress, our stronghold and sanctuary where we used to plan, smoke weewee, lace our drug and hide after operations.
This governor has turned everything there upside down boasting that he would turn it into a fascinating arena to be beheld and admired and no longer fit for us and nefarious activities.
All of you know that all his predecessors never thought of touching this zone despite the fact that they knew it was one of our hide-outs.
Yet, he is the only one who believes that this area must be salvaged from us, beautified, and packaged so admirably that travellers using the expressway to other states will like to make a stop, tour the place and go with a good impression of having passed by a great city.
You can see that this wicked governor is thinking about the interest of the good and reasonable members of the society and thrashing on those of us who he believes our activities are inimical to the peace, harmony and tranquility of the society.
He believes those of us who are bandits, hooligans, pick pockets and armed robbers who are not willing to relinquish our bad ways should not stay and continue our business as usual in Oyo State.
And you say God will not punish him? No, God will punish him and you too for commending him on his war against us and his beautification projects which if successfully implemented to the letter will not only make the state safe and sound for investment but attracts tourists in drove.
I first heard of the name, Iwuanyanwu (I mean Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu) during my undergraduates days (in the Second Republic); a day after a certain event organized by the Imo State government, then headed by the late Sam Mbakwe. How the name came was that there were discussions about a certain young man who donated the sum of one million naira at the occasion which the government put together to raise funds for a certain project.
I could remember that we had gathered somewhere informally when the topic came up. It was, of course, so fascinating and our excitement knew no bounds. One million naira then (in the late 1970s) was simply mindboggling. And for the next two decades, the name, “Iwuanyanwu” became almost synonymous with philanthropy. But that is not the reason this tribute is considered necessary. Philanthropy yes, but it, at a point, became too common place that it no longer qualified as a yardstick for measuring a person’s worth or contribution to the society.
This is especially so in our clime where people stumble on stupendous wealth and because the same society is so permissible, the next thing is to flaunt it through ‘philanthropy’. Perhaps, propelled by the hands of destiny, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu was to leave philanthropy behind, to graduate into a higher pedestal of terrestrial calling that saw him demonstrate qualities that are at once uncommon and unique; attributes which have kept him on top even in the twilight of his earthly sojourn. By the date referred to above, Chief Iwuanyanwu was less than forty years of age. It is said that in life what matters is not to get to the top but the ability to remain there. For a fellow who climbed to the top so much earlier in life, it is needless to say that it must have taken so much dexterity, discipline and singleness of purpose for Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu to have continued to ‘reign’ for over three decades.
To be sure, “Iwuanyanwu”, as the brand appellation goes, is not the only fellow who has been able to maintain such a profile but there is a remarkable difference between him (and a few others like him) and majority of Nigeria’s big wigs. Which is that while over ninety per cent of the nation’s rich and famous owe it to political ascendancy, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu is one fellow who was upwardly mobile, politically and socially, even without holding a public office. Yes, he made a shot at the presidency twice but even it was in his failure at each occasion that further set him aside as a fellow through whom the common-place talk of ‘politics without bitterness’ can be best illustrated. In Nigeria, the commonest thing to find are politicians who rebel against the system the moment they fail to realise a political ambition no matter how unrealistic. But not for Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
His experience in 1998 during the grand transition that ushered in the current Republic is most illustrative. Chief Iwuanyanwu was almost picking the presidential ticket of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP) at the presidential convention in Kaduna when the clique of retired Generals that took it upon itself to pre-determine who would emerge as Nigeria’s president in 1999 struck. From nowhere, they brought an Ogbonnaya Onu and before anybody could spell “Onu”, he had stepped down for Olu Falae. That was how Nigeria came to have an all-Yoruba presidential contest in 1999. I always laugh each time I hear people argue that the Igbo had their worst political subterfuge in the ‘defeat’ of Alex Ekwueme at the PDP convention in Jos. But that is not correct.
The worst perfidy against the Igbo at that period was the stopping of Iwuanyanwu from getting the APP presidential ticket at its covention which was merely a few hours ahead. Had Iwuanyanwu gotten that ticket, it would have been most unlikely that he would have agreed to step down for Olu Falae. And the story would have been different; different in the sense that Ndi Igbo would have had bargaining power. For, once it became an all-Yoruba affair and with the active collaboration of their traditional political ally, the North, the stage was set for the current ‘it-is-our-turn, next” refrain among the Igbo.
However, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu was to leave all that behind to play a leading role in stabilising the dispensation that eventually emerged. Compare this with a situation where Olu Falae failed, up till now, to concede defeat by his fellow Yoruba, Olusegun Obasanjo. As a matter of fact, that the Yoruba practically turned their back against Obasanjo until 2003 was as a result of the recalcitrant attitude of Falae who found liberty in the puritanical attitude of his Yoruba kinsmen to form the opposition to a government which the entire nation handed to them on a platter of gold.
Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has continued to be a statesman in national politics in the last thirteen years regardless of the fact that he has never held any political office. There are times his critics describe him also as AGIP (Any Government In Power) but the truth is that it is perhaps the AGIP syndrome (in Nigerian context) that is responsible for the collective success in growing our democracy thus far, much to the surprise of the rest of the world. Anybody who has been close to the corridors of power in Nigeria would attest to the fact that power holders, again in the Nigerian context at least, are vulnerable and easily distracted. Against the backdrop of a society where a great majority are economically deprived due to perennial mis-governance, those who rise to power are always under pressure to perform miracles; the very root of the messiah-syndrome in our politics.
Agreed, opposition helps to keep those in office alert but it would certainly be total madness if everybody were to carry a placard against the many failures of those in government of any point in time. The point being made here in that a deeper look would reveal that it is those people that are referred to as AGIP that provide the needed stability in a polity that is so vulnerable. Some may not be entirely selfless but a fellow like Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu who at less than 40 years of ago could afford to donate one million naira to a public project, more than three decades ago, cannot really be said to be desperately in need of political patronage as the only means of survival. As in the aphorising that charity begins at home, Chief Iwuanyanwu’s home state, Imo, has benefited hugely from his generally conservative mien.
He has helped in stabilizing every administration that has come to the state since 1999. He did that for the administration of Chief Achike Udenwa who, at a point, faced a most formidable opposition from the highest echelon of the Imo political establishment. Incidentally, Udenwa was to himself play opposition politics during the regime of Ikedi Ohakim. Again, Iwuanyanwu was to play a stabilising role, regardless of the fact that he was benefactor to Senator Ifeanyi Araraume who, together with Udenwa, gave Ohakim his biggest headache. He is still playing that role, the current madness in Imo state notwithstanding.
There is, however, another sense in which Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has impacted significantly on the growth of Nigeria outside politics. It is his role in the development of the Nigerian media. Champion newspapers, which he founded in 1988, became a balancing factor in the politico-media equation in the country. Although, Champion was not established as an “Igbo paper”, it offered Ndi Igbo some psychological relief. For, apart from suffering from an apparent complex as a people who were not involved in an evolving national media that was playing a critical role in the onslaught against the military, it offered Ndi Igbo another opportunity, apart from the era of Nnamdi Azikiwe, to have some of their most talented heads in the field of journalism to be discovered.
I was one of those who used the platform of the newspaper to showcase themselves. Apart from the Daily Times which I so much hankered to be part of in the course of my career, Champion was another newspaper where I developed my reportorial skills. Before I joined the newspaper, I had only worked with news magazines. But I discovered that in spite of the fact that writing for news magazine was more intellectually fulfilling, I looked forward to becoming a reporter with a Daily. That opportunity came when I was invited to join the Champion newspapers as its pioneer Business and Economics Editor in 1989. As a matter of fact, some of my most cherished experiences as a journalist were during my days with Champion. Besides that the organization was one of the best managed in the industry (under one of the doyens of Nigerian Journalism, Henry Odukomaiya), I met some of the best editorial hands throughout my career.
All that was because the newspaper company was among the very few whose proprietors allowed the managers to run professionally. It was a well known fact in the industry that Chief Iwuanyanwu never interfered editorially with the newspaper. Today, the newspaper may not be having it so rosy but pleasant memories of my stay there continue to linger. So do I continue to nurse pleasant feelings of its proprietor, Chief Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, whom I later came to associate quite closely with several years after I left Champion.
He remains an inspiration to many of us and as I usually do each time any of my mentors turns the age of three scores and ten, I would say to the good Lord, please may it please Him to let me also count that number and more in my earthly sojourn. And this is wishing Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Aha Eji Aga Mba Ndi Igbo, who turns seventy on September 5, 2012, many more years of fruitful and eventful existence on earth. Okere writes from Owerri
Nicholas Ukadike played football to the highest level. He started his career in 1973 with Academicals before he played for the senior national team, the Green Eagles in 1983. For his club football, he played for the defunct Abiola Babes FC of Abeokuta, former ACB of Lagos and Iwuanyanwu National (now Heartland) FC of Owerri among other clubs. Despite the fact that he rose through the rungs in football and became famous with the game, Ukadike made a vow that none of his children would play football unless he or she obtains a good degree certificate.
The ex-international, who said that he was not happy with his growth in the game, in an encounter with TS Weekend, revealed among other things how his act of disobedience to his parents, who did not want him to play football, has remained a thing he would continue to regret as long as he lives. He also revealed why he married late. Read on! My children will not play football Not even in my dream will I allow my children to play football because I was not fairly treated, even as a national team player. The then administrators, who I so much believed in, deceived and left me in the cold when it mattered most. In my days in active soccer, playing football was good because you could earn a scholarship from a school. But because of my love for football, I couldn’t further my education.
I was rather going about playing football. My eyes are now open. I wouldn’t allow any of my children to make the kind of mistake I made. So, even if any of them is interested in playing football, he or she must first go to school and acquire a good certificate. That is the only condition that will make me to support any of them to join any sport. Bad treatment I encountered a lot of nasty experience in my active days in football, but I wouldn’t want to discuss them on the pages of newspapers since I have committed everything into the hands of God. I played for many clubs, but with the exception of Abiola Babes FC of Abeokuta, the rest cheated me.
Talking about welfare, they treated me badly. For instance, when I got an endorsement and did advert for 33 Larger Beer in 1983, then, I was playing for the Spartans of Owerri, which later became Iwuanyanwu FC and now Heartland FC, the beer company paid huge amount of money that ran into million for the advert. But the club collected the money and gave me peanut. When I asked questions, I was tagged a stubborn boy. The club management started to maltreat me and when I could no longer bear it, I left the club for Abiola Babes. Then, they would tell us to give our best for the country, but at the end, what did the nation do for us? Nothing! Nobody remembers us again. That is my grouse with the country. I dumped Green Eagles When I was playing in the Green Eagles, our handlers were James Peter, Chief Onigbinde, Paul Hamilton and Tunde Disu.
Some of my teammates were Paul Okoku, Alloy Agu, Willy Okpara and many others I can’t remember now. But I was forced to dump the national team because of the ill treatment that was meted out to me. Call a spade by its name I wouldn’t want to go into the details of what I suffered in the hands of different club because I wouldn’t like to mention names. Let the sleeping dog remain asleep. Mention the evils without calling names When I was in the Green Eagles, most of our allowances were not paid, yet we would go to camp with our money. Then, there was a lot of politics in the national team and if you don’t know how to play the politics, you would miss out. We had no laid down programme, all that everybody wanted from us was to win every match, nobody bothered about our welfare. For instance, when I was with Abiola Babes, my car was stolen and Chief MKO Abiola released money for me to buy another car, but the man in charge of the club then pocketed the money. When I realised what happened, I left the club and went back to Iwuanyawu Nationale. When they would pay your sign-on fees, they would never pay it complete, people were cheating me everywhere.
These are some of the reasons I would maintain that none of my children would play football without first getting the basic education. It is after that they can decide on what career to pursue. If it is football and later it fails to favour them, with their certificates, they can fall back to some other things without being frustrated. I guess most club managers saw me as a school dropout who does not know anything, so they were at liberty to cheat me. Moreover, it’s annoying that Nigeria does not recognise her past heroes, who played the round leather game. If it were in other countries, people like me would be celebrated. I would want to be celebrated for my achievements while I am still alive, not when I die people would begin to make meaningless eulogies.
For instance, I am a qualified coach, but who cares to know that I don’t have a job? Nobody wants to come to my assistance. I regret playing football I disobeyed my parents to please those that wanted me to play football for them by all means, but when it mattered most, none of them could stand by me. We played football with passion, having the understanding that if you drop your jersey, you might not get it again. All the clubs I played for knew me as a business-minded footballer, but they cheated and frustrated me out of the profession. So, I regret playing football. I disobeyed my parents My parents did not want me to play football to the point that I would quarrel with them, but I disobeyed them. Because of that, they stopped paying my school fees and I was forced to start hawking kerosene and oranges after school in order to raise my school fees. However, when my father discovered that my interest was in football, he allowed me to be, but the rest of the family never supported me.
I dropped out of school I did not complete my HSC (Higher School Certificate) because of football. There was a time I had a final year examination and there was a competition going on. They pleaded with me to stay and play the state competition, promising that after the tournament, they would speak with the authorities to allow me take the exam. But when I came back, the people could not help me out. So, I missed the examination and was very annoyed. That was how I dropped out of school. Retirement from football I stopped playing active football after the 1993/94 season. I retired from ACB when things became difficult for the bank. Initially, the management was complaining that it was not getting back its investment in the club. So, all the players were called back to the office. B
ut even in the office, the situation did not improve. It got to a point that paying our salaries became difficult for the bank. With that condition after putting 11 years in the office, I decide to throw in the towel. That was how I bade goodbye to football. I’m married I got married after I had retired from playing football. Of course, I married late. One of the reasons I like professional football abroad is that when you secure a club in Europe for instance, the white man would encourage you to get married if you have reached the age of getting married and have not yet married. They believe that when a player is married, he would be more responsible. But in my days, it wasn’t like that. In fact, when I was in active soccer, it was a taboo to see a player with a girl, if you were seen, the management would conclude that you had lost form. Meanwhile, you would be at the mercy of the fans, who would want to beat you up on account of what they termed indiscipline.
So, to avoid being ridiculed, we were highly scared to go near women. Even when you have a girlfriend or a wife, you wouldn’t like to make it known to the public to avoid embarrassment. It was tough in those days, because they could keep us in camp for many months and would not allow us to socialise with the public. I was obedient to the authorities and respected myself in my relationship with women. I had girlfriends I did not say that I had no girlfriend when I was playing football, but I played the game with caution. However, the condition we found ourselves affected me adversely in the area of marriage. To avoid being seen with a woman, I voided getting committed with any of them. I only got married much later after I had retired from playing football. I was loyal to the various club managements and fans, but denied myself of so many things. Currently, I have an academy and some of the players in the academy, though they are still young, are married with children. And if you ask me, it is very good for one to marry early and have children when one still has the strength to train them. I just got married 14 years ago. I would like to go back to school I would like to change many things in my life if I have the opportunity. In fact, if I could turn the hand of clock backwards, I would go back to school and obtain at least, a degree certificate before I could go into anything. People that managed to combine football with education like Adokie Amasiemeka and Segun Odegbami are on top today.
They had the opportunity and they utilised it well. Most of us who ended up remaining loyal to the country and the clubs we played for without fighting to improve ourselves, are today regretting our action. Many children I actually have three children, but I lost many. It’s not a palatable story. The ones that are alive are my treasure and I wouldn’t like to toy with them, especially, with their education. Where I met my wife My wife was divinely arranged for me. I met her at a wedding ceremony before we went for Seoul ’88. The attraction A lot of things attracted me to her. I strongly believe that she was meant for me. Her behaviour is what any reasonable man would fall for and she has a very sound family background.
I rue the death of my father It pains me that my father, who later backed me to play football, was not alive when I received my first salary. He fought everybody in the family to support me, but he was not there to witness what I became with the game. However, I am happy that I did not have injury for the 19 years I played football, except for the one goalkeeper Emmanuel Okala inflicted on me when we played in Owerri. I scored against him and ran to collect the ball when he hit me on the face and I was out for some weeks. I’m now into coaching I think my going into coaching is a calling. After retiring from playing football, I tried my hands in so many things but I had no peace of mind. Instead,
I was always seen myself getting involved in football matters, even in my dreams. So, after seeking for advice from some authorities, I resolved to go into coaching. Even after I had made up my mind to become a coach, I still had to battle with my wife, who did not want me to have anything to do with football again. But when she realised that I was only answering a call, she gave me her full support.
Nigeria’s U-20 women team the Falconets on Thursday beat Mexico 1-0 on Desire Oparanozie’s extra time goal to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s Under-20 World Cup holding in Japan.
Nigeria dominated the first hour but they were unable to breakthrough until Oparanozie’s header from Ugo Njoku’s cross in the 109th minute at Tokyo’s National Stadium.
Nigeria, runner-up at the 2010 tournament in Germany, will next play the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal match between the United States and North Korea on Tuesday.
Mexico had a chance to take the lead, but Yamile Franco hit the crossbar with an angled free kick in the first period of extra time.
It was substitute, Ebere Orji whose pass found the head of Oparanozie who used all her strength to nod the ball into the net. The player’s first attempt had hit the upright in the first half to the disappointment of fans.
It was dream come true for Oparanozie who was scoring her second in the competition.
“This is the most important goal of my career,” she said excitedly.
“I knew all eyes were going to be on me, but thank God l was able to get the decisive and most crucial goal.”
The Falconets’ splendid run has not gone unnoticed in the camp of the senior national team, as Coach Stephen Keshi and his crew have kept a close tab on events in the Asian country with hopes of a final Nigerian triumph.
Keshi was said after the team’s quarterfinal victory over Mexico that he foresees the team going all the way and bringing the trophy to Nigeria at the end of the championship.
“We support them while they were here as our daughters and we hope and pray that they will win the trophy which they narrowly lost to Germany at the last championship. So that it will help boost our morale ahead of the Nations Cup qualifier in Monrovia and also the World Cup qualifiers that comes up later.”
Everywhere in this country of ours are distracters and distractions. Some persons want selfish sacrifice even when they need the people’s support. They want to use the sensibility of the general people and hardly remember where several people have ended due to their rapacious selves and their inner political sickness. They exhibit tribal-prejudice and part-taking, which are very detrimental to Nigeria’s growth. Even when they know nothing about politics, they would want to make noise, upon the fact that they are senile or intellectually dead of objective contributions. They have warped mind but pretend with wise mind. They plainly think they have possession of Nigeria and Nigerians, when they have very retrogressive ideas. They make us discriminate in criticism and share ethnicity together.
The news speculating that Governors of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, and Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, were anointed by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to run for the 2015 elections was shallow. Lamido was contemplated to be the presidential aspirant, while Amaechi, his running mate. But Obasanjo through his Media Adviser, Mr. Garba Muhammad, freshly said that he was not exclusively in support of, or against any Nigerian, who had an ambition to run for the 2015 elections. Hear the statement: “Former President Obasanjo wishes to state that these media reports are not true. Far from thinking or planning for the 2015 elections, the former President is deeply concerned with more pressing national issues. However, the former President does recognise the rights and privileges of any Nigerian to vie for any elective office of his or her choice.”
While Obasanjo was right to exonerate himself, the wrong thing is, why must any right-thinking Nigerian be talking about anointing any candidate for the 2015 elections when we are yet facing perilous times in 2012 in the name of democracy? It seems that somebody was afraid of Obasanajo, and as a result, his irredeemable image is always in the news to make him look much relevant, by saying that he anointed Lamido and Amaechi. It is also evident that someone was trying to make Amaechi lock horns in enmity with his “brother” President Goodluck Jonathan since both of them come from the same political zone, by asserting that Amaechi was interested in contesting the 2015 elections, when he had not made such public. This is corruption of opinion!
It was a ridiculous story that Obasanjo anointed Lamido and Amaechi whereas he had been fingered in all ramifications of the Nigerian specter with the history of corruption and colossal misappropriation in Nigeria since the late 1970s. Did Idi Amin Dada of Uganda seize over N6M of Nigerian currency from Obasanjo as Head of State in the period in quote? How can Obasanjo anoint the “born again” Amaechi to run for 2015 elections? Assuming there is anything like that, can Amaechi win under Obasanjo? When would some Nigerians drop this old-frontage of thinking that Obasanjo is still much relevant, except in the camp of those who think his way? Where is the $16bn power project fund? But Obasanjo would say that he was the best President Nigeria had ever produced to fight corruption when comparison is made. It is better that he had denied anointing our Amaechi and Lamido, because Nigerians who know his history would not have taken the duos with a pinch of the salt, if the story of their 2015 elections ambition was true.
The squabble of Obasanjo or his government setting up the anti-corruption agencies does not hold water. Did he not use the agencies as his rot whalers? Under Obasanjo’s presidency, Nigerians regretted having an arrogant and visionless administration that witch-hunted perceived political enemy in guise that it was fighting corruption but rather ended up in glorifying corruption. Whitewash administration! Obasanjo had the rarest fate to lead Nigeria but he preferred to use guerrillas’ tactics in a democracy instead of being a democrat Nigerians direfully needed at the time. It was ignorant of anybody to say that Obasanjo still anoints people for elective positions in this country. What happened to the Lagos-Ibadan road contract? Why has it been awarded and re-awarded many times? Your guess is as good as mine.
Without mincing word, it would be essential to point that Obasanjo was part of Nigeria’s problem; he is supposed to retire to his farm but he is yet making some political posturing indirectly. Like it is in the military, it was under his civilian rule that we saw governors promoted to the senate, likewise the ministers and ambassadors, and kangaroo elections held. It was recycling galore under Obasanjo, and those who perhaps did not support him were frustrated to drop. It was under Obasanjo, because of his military background he used on the politicians that made politicians to be very wicked to this country, as we can see. Hardly are any of them thinking about any developmental projects.
Has Obasanjo not caused a lot of perceived political skirmishes in this country? Is it not a sad commentary from anyone that Obasanjo is still talking in this country without minding how terribly bad we have fared as a country he headed once as military personnel and later as a civilian? But some myopic and ignorant people would say that he tried when the cracks on the political wall show him as a man who wasted our collective future. There is a crisis of significance between the new generation and the continued presence of the old generation. Amaechi is one of the ‘fresh brains’ we wanted in politics, but it happens that his body language suggests that he knows everything in the world. They said that he studied English Language and Literature in the university but his aura posits that he knows even Economics more than a major in Economics.
Most skeptics would say that most Nigerian politicians cannot achieve what Obasanjo achieved between 1976-1979. Their doubting nature was that he willingly handed power over to a civilian President Shehu Shagari, and introduced the GSM/Internet communication when he came back in 1999-2007 as a civilian president, set up the EFCC to fight ‘corruption’. But are these not incongruities for anybody to make Nigerians still take their foolishness since 1999 to the 2015 elections? Nonetheless, there is no ruling out the fact that Obasanjo is a man of honour among his cronies, but he made Nigeria look foolish when he held sway as a civilian president with importation of shenanigan democracy laced with the introduction of “do or die” politics. Some politicians ‘did’, and some ‘died’! So, why would anybody still see Obasanjo as one of Nigerian strategic and visionary leaders, when his mates have chased and mortgaged the youths “out” of Nigeria to be a people that have found solace on Tweeter, Yahoo, Gmail, 2Go and Facebook? Just name them.
It is pertinent to say that Obasanjo wants to be in the news, or those whom he is still their hero, want him in the news all the time. But they should know that his era of “carry go” politics is over. The peoples’ votes now count. Obasanjo will be very far from the political arena watching the people as they decide who they want in 2015 to be president. Nigerians are not animals that must be reared by all means. Obasanjo’s anointing will never again serve any relevance because those that go to equity must go with clean hands. Does Obasanjo know that George W Bush rarely attend any political meetings since he left the White House, talk less of anointing anybody to run for office? The same is with Jimmy carter; he is said has been writing books to make a living and to sustain his charity work.
What stops Obasanjo from learning from these Americans? It is the minds of many Nigerians that those dishonest politicians countrywide should give up work and stop to partake or enlist another set of badly informed egotistical bungling shady politicians – the remnants of their anointed failures. It is better that Obasanjo denied ever anointing Lamido and Amaechi, because Nigerians are no longer to appreciate whatever that belongs to him, because anointing them will not influence the Nigerian votes to them.
In a nutshell, until Lamido and Amaechi come public and refute this allegation of their presidential intention in 2015 elections, Nigerians would only take the denial by Obasanjo as a mere window dresser.
Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV).
Let us agree that he will assist the school. But is it not bad that somebody is calling a dog and still holds a stick in the hand? Would the dog come? Is it not also very bad to deride somebody in the public, whom you know that is not performing very well, before promising to assist the person? Would it not have been better to first assist the person and if the person is not performing as is expected then you can come public to condemn the person?
This is what we read in the news that Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State did to the authorities of the Rivers State Polytechnic (RIVPOLY), Bori, Rivers State. He lambasted them during the institution’s 14th–17th convocation ceremony, for what he described as “churning out haft-baked graduates” into the societies. But if we may ask, what is the parameter used in measuring “half-baked graduates” when perhaps many of them had excellent points and came out with better certificates? Was Amaechi telling the world that because out of the 9,000 graduands, perhaps some had no knowledge of the computer, as a result they are “half-baked” graduates?
To be honest, education is beyond what many in Nigeria think education is. Education is beyond well furnished schools and lecturers’ offices, riding children to school in state-of-the-art cars, education is an unending process, but school is. It could be recalled that some years back, in a Sunday edition of The Nation newspaper, Professor Wole Soyinka said that “Mama Ogbomosho” taught him Economics. This woman besides had no formal education but was proficient in the Economics of her road petty trade that a Literary Icon as Soyinka still saw education in and learnt from her.
If Amaechi insists that the management of the school should provide his office in two weeks with the inventory of the entire polytechnic’s lecturers with their qualifications, this is fine. But why should he specialize much in paper qualification? It may surprise him that some of the lecturers might have gigantic paper qualifications but are just empty, because they went to school, and are yet to come in racing bike with education in the real sense. In Nigeria, do many people not go to school for want of certificate? Is this not why the country inhabits a very primordial people in the way some of us think?
To make that point home, there was an interview where people with Masters Degrees held sway, speaking big grammars and all that. Behold, when the interviewer asked some of them to spell scissors, admonishment, somnambulism, pandemonium, kleptomania etcetera, you will not believe what these Masters Degrees holders did: Some took excuse to go home and come back, while others said that they were not English Language students, because they could not spell the words. Are these also not people with “better qualifications”? Hogwash Degrees!
Education should be verified in practice, not in pronunciation. To a limited extent, education is the commendation from Amaechi to the beleaguered Vice-Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu–Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Professor Barineme B. Fakae, whom he used the opportunity at the convocation at Bori to inform, was reappointed due to his pathway records both at RIVPOLY and the UST, and not about his paper qualifications, which we know he might have. It is on this ground that the Academic Staff Union of Universities got it wrong when it accused Amaechi of interfering in the running of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, because ASUU wanted the “intimidating qualifications” it can see, not the quality in Fakae, as told by Amaechi.
The ASUU’s stance that Fakae’s selection by Amaechi in 2008 was illegal and the “undeserved and illegal” re-appointment of Fakae are not only in line to debase Amaechi, but also, an overstatement. If it was not the responsibility of the governor to do so, but that of the university’s governing council, then who appointed the “university’s governing council”? This does not mean to say that the University Law should not be upheld. Let people stop seeing education with the periscope of politics, as we have always seen in the activities of this ASUU.
However, these unnecessary attacks from Amaechi to Bori Polytechnic, and the ASUU attacks to Amaechi, are nailed to politics, not education. Educated people hardly fail to spell such word as scissors, but most schooled people do. This is a sensitive issue. Where Amaechi would have been wrong was if the tenure of the VC was not renewable. Fakae, as investigations reveal, has performed creditably, and that was why he was returned. Is it no longer the person who pays the piper that dictates the tune? Though, Fakae may have his shortcomings as VC of the school, just as everybody has.
It was noted that detractors are fighting Fakae because of his resolve that students must prove that they deserved their certificates by merits through ‘education’ and not through ‘school’. In school, one can wangle his or her way to get the certificate, but in education, there is not shortcut. Either you know it or you don’t. There is no whitewash. So, any traducers saying that Amaechi appointed Fakae whom they claim is without qualities for VC, please, what are the qualities for becoming a VC? Is it to issue unmerited degrees immediately a student is seen to have completed his or her studies within a period of time or in making sure that a student merits the certificate?
Let us agree in education outside politics, even though that politics is also part of education. Amaechi should however fulfill the promise that he made during the RIVPOLY’s 14th–17th convocation ceremony. It may take politics to be schooled, but it takes principle to be educated.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Phone: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The question, “Where Are The Prophets?” which a Nigerian reggae musician, Peterside Ottong, asked in his music album in 1989 is still begging for an answer. The question, after more than twenty years, is yet to be answered considering the fact that millions of people are seemingly searching for prophets who will begin to speak to those in power on their behalf. The reason for this cannot be far-fetched as it appears that our political leaders do not listen to the voice of the “common man”. Pastors and men of God, who are in this piece metaphorically referred to as prophets, are surprisingly becoming silent on critical national issues. Therefore, the words, pastors and prophets are interchangeably used in this piece. Pastors, who most of us reverently see as our own modern day prophets, are seemingly finding it difficult to call our errant political leaders to order when their performances are seen to have fallen far below expectations.
Our political leaders are not at the moment facing persistent, constructive criticisms from prominent ministers in Christendom and even from our traditional rulers as it ought to. This somewhat civic responsibility has, no doubt, been left in the hands of social critics, journalists, opinion writers, coordinators of NGOs among others. In my view, if these highly respected members of the society have been raising their voices together with other Nigerians, I believe our political system and by extension the state of our economy would not have come to the sorry pass it is today.
Pastors abound in our nation as it is very glaring that we have churches manned by them almost on every street, particularly in Lagos. But as it stands, it seems our pastors cannot collectively look our politicians straight in the face and tell them the truth. Only a few of them do so.
Recall that the Bible in 2 Samuel Chapter 12 tells a story of how Nathan rebuked David when God revealed to him the injustice David meted out to Uriah the Hittite by snatching his wife, Bathsheba, from him and sending him to battle to die. The Bible is replete with similar examples but suffice it to say that this singular example clearly demonstrates how modern day prophets are supposed to play their roles toward good governance. Simply put, pastors are supposed to tell errant political leaders the truth. The Bible describes all Christians as salt of the earth and light of the world. This implies that our pastors generally are also salt of the earth and light of the world. Like salt, they are supposed to add good taste to any sector of the society that is under putrefaction, and in the same vein beam light on any sector of the society that is in darkness. If our pastors were doing any of the foregoing divine responsibilities, most political leaders would definitely be on their toes in carrying out their responsibilities. As it is now, millions of Nigerians need the voices of our prominent pastors to correct the ills plaguing our nation. Some of these pastors would be revered and listened to by these politicians if only they could speak out.
Gone were the days when men of God, such as Rt. Rev. Dr. James Ukaegbu of the Presbyterian church, Rt. Rev. Matthew Kukah, Rev. Father George Ehusani, Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka among others constructively criticised our leaders or expressed their views on critical national issues. But today, we rarely hear or read about men of God speak on issues of national interest. Some of our modern day prophets seemingly find it difficult to criticise perceived bad leaders in our society. There is no denying the fact that constructive criticisms from various pulpits directed at some of our political leaders would put them on their toes, and this would help in further improving the economy of our country.
Today it seems our modern day prophets have resolved not to criticise or call our political leaders to order even when it is very obvious that these leaders are not meeting public expectations.
The apolitical stance which these prophets have apparently taken is not unscriptural as they are not biblically expected to meddle in partisan politics, but it is scriptural for pastors to always say the truth irrespective of whose ox is gored. The reason why pastors should begin to constructively express their opinion on critical political issues is because all their members are first and foremost affected by anti-people policies and programmes implemented by political leaders before going to them for spiritual solutions. I know this piece may likely goad some overzealous Christians to defensively say that our political leaders are usually prayed for. Good! But the word of God in the book of James chapter 2 verse 17 says “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”. If the truth must be told, most modern day prophets shout and scream only when they are delivering prosperity messages or raising prayer points on prosperity but messages that condemn anti-people policies and programmes and errant political leaders are expressed in hushed tones and somewhat couched in innuendoes.
There is no denying the fact that my view on this issue may compel any reader to wonder why it is difficult to acknowledge the fact that there are two or more men of God across the nation that are popularly known to be critics of those in government and their policies. Yes, it is a good observation. Unfortunately, this piece is actually directed at men of God who do not have any vested interest in partisan party politics. It is directed at those men of God who would speak and their words would be heard as the voice of an oracle.
The reason why today’s pastors or prophets cannot look at our politicians straight in the face and tell them the truth is that the materialistic world has systematically been dragged into the church.
Most of our political leaders are hypocritically religious and they pay unbridled reverence to pastors. This goes to suggest that our pastors are arguably on a better pedestal to be literarily drawing the ears of our political leaders whenever they introduce anti-people policies and programmes or when they become errant leaders.
Our pastors, who are invariably our modern day prophets, should let our political leaders understand that governance is all about serving the people and adding value to the lives of the people. Men of God should always in their messages let our president, governors, legislators and chairmen understand the frailty and futility of life as explained in the book of Ecclesiastes. The book, written by the biblically acclaimed wisest man that ever lived on earth, King Solomon, philosophically teaches that despite man’s successful exploits on earth in the area of work, pleasure, wealth, health and strength that all is vanity and that man must die. If the ex-governor that looted the treasury of his state was made to understand the message of King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes by a pastor, he would not have been in his present predicament in far away United Kingdom. I am of the assumption at this juncture that he must have nurtured and maintained relationships with one or two pastors, ostensibly for prayer for protection, before he landed himself in trouble.
In my view, our modern day prophets should begin to tell our political leaders the truth irrespective of whose ox is gored or what it would cost them. Permit me to say that most of our modern day prophets are somewhat closely connected to some of these political leaders so much so that speculations are rife that their relationships may not be devoid of any financial gratifications in the form of fat tithes, offerings, church project sponsorships, and “sowing of seed”. To some extent, the speculation may not be wrong. The reason for this cannot be far-fetched given the fact that our modern day prophets find it very difficult telling our political leaders the truth concerning the high level of corruption and abject levity which have come to characterized the ongoing political dispensation.
Finally, our modern day prophets or pastors should please begin to talk to errant political leaders for the sake of many Nigerians that are today suffering in all ramifications due to no fault of theirs. Perhaps, if they begin to talk to these leaders on one-on-one basis, making regular dispatches of individual, type-written sermons to them and delivering messages on the pulpits against the activities of these leaders, and even calling press conferences from time to time on critical national issues, our political leaders would have a rethink in their way of administering various political constituencies of our nation, and by extension imbibe high sense of probity in the management of public finances.
•Asabor wrote in from Lagos. E-mail: email@example.com
AWKA—A YOUNG man in his early twenties, Mr. Junior Egbunike, was, yesterday, confirmed dead following injuries sustained while pursuing his father’s kidnappers at the commercial town of Onitsha.
Mr. Amulunanma Egbunike was returning home with his wife and son simply known as Junior after the day’s business at the weekend in Onitsha and as they got very close to their house at the Onitsha Inland Town, hoodlums suspected to be kidnappers blocked his car and dragged him into their own car and drove off.
His son, who was driving his father’s car, pursued them with his mother also in the car. But barely 400 meters away, the car got involved in a head on collision with another car and both mother and son sustained serious injuries.
Junior, who had been in coma since the incident, gave up the ghost yesterday at a hospital in Onitsha, while his mother had been discharged from hospital.
With the death of Junior, the Egbunike family has lost the only child left, having lost the family’s only daughter some years ago.
Meantime, the kidnapped Egbunike is yet to regain his freedom