By Abiodun KOMOLAFE
On May 29, 2023, Bola Tinubu assumed office as Nigeria’s president, 16th leader. Nigerians wish him success in the onerous tasks ahead.
All the same, it is important to note that President Tinubu’s Nigeria is home to an array of folks: the diligent and the intelligent, the determined and the focused, plus the great boasters and the little doers; and they cut across her socio-political geography. Tinubu’s country harbours the progressives and the conservatives, the strong and the weak, the praise-singers and the faultfinders, the slippery and the flippant, the perpetual pessimists and the embittered opposition. Above all, it is currently a grim reminder of hangover politicking, collateral wheeling-dealing and deliberate promotion of comical sincerity; and they are in abundant supply.
On March 5, 1986, Mamman Vatsa, a Major General, and member of the Ibrahim Babangida-led military government, was executed for planning a coup. Until his death, Domkat Bali, former Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence Staff, maintained that there’s no way of knowing whether or not Vatsa actually committed the crime for which he was executed by his childhood friend. But again, this is Nigeria!
Let’s quickly wake General Sani Abacha up from his eternal sleep; he must have something great to share with Nigerians. Remember Daniel Kanu and the ‘Two-million-man March’. Though Abacha won many battles with bullets and allied munitions, the ‘Maximum General’ couldn’t but succumb to the superior power of the beautifully bitter songs of ‘we’ll make the elephant king’.
Inside Tinubu’s Nigeria, the Yoruba Agenda and the difficulty of coming up with one has been an obvious phenomenon. For example, there was widespread jubilation in Yorubaland when Oba Okunade Sijuwade became the 50th Ooni of Ife in 1980. To them, the hope was that, as a man of steel and means, Ile-Ife would be transformed into paradise within months of his ascension to the throne. With his international connections and business interests spanning the global landscape, Nigerians had no doubt in their minds that Oba Sijuwade would, within a short time, turn the ancient city into mini Lagos and that, in no distant time, Ile-Ife would overtake Lagos.
Matter-of-frankly, Nigerians held the belief that, with Ooni Sijuwade on the throne, negotiating a coordinate that would bring out a dual carriageway from Iga Iduganran Street to Enuwa Square would be the least of Ife’s worries; and that there would be total industrialization of the cradle of Yoruba culture such that ‘Segilola’ would have been a project long done. But, unfortunately, none of those expectations came to reality. Instead, His Imperial Majesty was always in Abuja, either dining with the ‘evil genius’ or clinking glasses with the ‘Goggled One’. Needless to repeat that it was during Sijuwade’s reign that the Ife/Modakeke crisis raged for years; and it was as if the gods were angry!
Tunji Adebiyi was personal assistant to the late Abraham Adesanya, a foremost pro-democracy icon and leader of Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural organization. With the birth of the 4th Republic in 1999, Afenifere played prominent roles, especially with regard to who became governors in the Southwest. Fortunately, the progressive bent had its way as all its elected governors were from the Afenifere House of Politics. Still, nobody remembered this diligent and loyal aide until Tinubu pulled him out, during his 2nd coming as governor of Lagos State. The rest is history! When Adebiyi died in December 2014, altar calls were reportedly made for donations so that his immediate family could have a roof over their heads. Such is the plight of most Nigerians: they get so little in return for their industry.
Once upon a time in Nigeria’s rich history, Adams Oshiomhole was on this side of the rung. But how time flies? The former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is now part of the Federal Government Delegation to the ‘subsidy-is-gone’ talks. But what has really changed? Is ‘Oshio Baba’ doing it for the love of dear fatherland, or is it because the former Edo State governor has moved from the passenger’s seat to the driver’s? Well, only God knows!
In Nigeria, politics and elections are contests: somehow fierce, sometimes deadly. Here, an educated group of people remain the most difficult set to govern. Days to go, former President Muhammadu Buhari confessed that he couldn’t wait much longer to be united with his cattle because governing herds of cattle is much easier than governing Nigerians. The question, therefore, is: when did Nigeria become so didactically disadvantaged as to have lifted up Egypt to the place of attractiveness to Nigerians?
Remember Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the 6th, 7th and 8th senate. Ekweremadu failed to understand the intricate details of the culture of the British man and he learned the bitter lesson in the United Kingdom. Those things the lawmaker had attached values and importance to in Nigeria had no effect in Britain. Take, for instance, the Distinguished Senator who went to the UK, thinking that he’d command some undue respect and that Nigerians would start shivering. But there was a clash of cultures and the British law sent him to prison.
Inside Tinubu’s Nigeria is Kamal Usman, a physically challenged JSS 3 student of STDSS, Kagara in Niger State who writes with his mouth. Usman needs help so that he can live out his dream.
As children, we were not trained to disobey the authority of the government. However, #EndSARS has brought with it an era of changing times and things. A crop of new children is growing up. Having realized that nobody is conscious of their existence, these children have come to register their presence. Interestingly too, they have realized that, if the ugly trend is not arrested, it will go on ad infinitum, because one ‘cannot be doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’. While the music lasts, the people will keep dancing, kowtowing as if all is well, whereas nothing is nice.
Lame-footed excuses! Limited understanding of institutional values! There is a trend in human behaviour that evolved almost with the creation of man. It is called blame game! When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, the simple response to God’s query was that it was He who gave it to Eve who, in turn, gave it to him (Adam) to eat; and he ate it! For Adam therefore, taking responsibility was out of the question. Likewise in Nigeria, if a man can no longer perform his conjugal obligations, it is Asiwaju’s fault. If it refuses to rain, some political gladiators will blame it on the president. If farmers’ harvests are poor due to bad agricultural policies and inclement weather, ‘na Jagaban cause am!’
From the look of things, is Nigeria a functional society? If she is, would some state governors have been into too many errors – as shown in the irreverent dabble into the traditional institutions and power relations? As the chief executives of their respective states, isn’t it better to face the many known troubles than to add traditional institutional matters to their plates? Anyway, that’s a worthy piece of advice that those who are collecting ‘chicken money’ from the governors won’t want to offer; and it’s for obvious reasons.
Taken together, the president has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve as the healing balm. Nigerians can only hope in the outcome of his experiments. For Nigerians, changing their beliefs won’t be out of place, as no president is capable of doing for them what they’re supposed to do for themselves.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org
Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States
The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.
The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.
In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.
Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”
“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.
“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.
“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”
Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”
Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life
Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.
Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”
Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.
The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.
While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.
According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.
The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.
“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.
“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”
Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.
Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.
The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.
Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).
Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks
The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.
The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.
Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.
CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.
Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.
DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.
She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.
Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.
Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.
Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.
ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.
CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.
CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.
The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.
CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.
- Source: Independent