By Steve Osuji
ALAKE’S LACKEYS ON RAMPAGE:
One of the popular maxims you pick up from journalism school is that truth offends the most. It’s particularly so with wanton government officials. They are perpetually at loggerheads with the truth that they lose sight of governance issues.
Such was the plight of this column last week (8) when we interrogated the current presidency that had quickly shrunken and becomes puny. Of course the subject of the piece, Mr Dele Alake, President Bola Tinubu’s man Friday, obviously took umbrage. In a moment of unenlightenment, he unleashed his lackeys who responded with about half a dozen write-ups, mainly attacks on my person and a verbose defense of their boss. They accused me of being poor, mendicant and ungrateful. Thank goodness they didn’t say I was mendacious. But let it be known that I don’t envy their stupendous wealth without a legitimate source. Besides, poverty is a thing of the mind, and using my definition, I think I am among the most blessed persons I know.
Speaking about ungratefulness, I never saw my appointment as a member of the editorial board of The Nation newspaper (obviously owned by the incumbent President Tinubu never admitted) as a favour. After practicing at the highest levels in The Guardian, African Guardian, Thisday and New Age (as foundling editor) as well as managing a state governor’s media for four years, joining an editorial board couldn’t be a favour by any means. I was the one doing The Nation a favour with my wealth of experience and the enormous value I imbued with the newspaper. I spent nine years and I never got the car I was promised at inception. Over these nine years, I flogged my personal car to scrap working for the Nation. Yet I am supposed to be grateful. I never mentioned this in public. This and numerous other unspeakable discriminatory practices going on in that stable I endured yet here I am being denigrated in public for holding an opinion.
But the rather mediocre attacks on my person by hooded hack writers are emblematic of the lack of enlightenment in today’s presidency we broached last week. A presidency cannot operate on Alake’s 2G broadband against a possible 4 or 5G. The result would be inertia and flip-flops as we have seen in the last 8 weeks.
It also amounts to a most unpresidential response when you try to hack down a critic. Though the incumbent may be perching on the seat (fidihe), he remains the president of Nigeria by law today. We have the right and duty to show interest in the running of our country. Today, Nigeria is the only country we have; we all have equal stakes and we have a responsibility to ensure it is well run by our leaders, especially at the pinnacle of power.
If the goal of attacks was to circumscribe my right to free speech and commentary, it won’t work. Over the past 35 years, one had interrogated the leadership of Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalam Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari and now Bola Tinubu. No presidential aide called me names till now. My last word to Dele Alake is that if he can’t stand criticism, he has no business in our Aso Rock. If you don’t like the smoke, you leave the kitchen!
MORE CRUDITY AS POLICE ABDUCT A JOURNALIST ON THE STREET: When we speak of moments of unenlightenment, there were so many this past week. If you expected the Tinubu presidency to usher in some fresh breath and new light on the polity, that hope fades fast now. What we see creeping in is much vendetta, witch-hunt and official brigandage from every quarter.
Last Friday, a popular radio presenter and commentator, Chinonso Uba, better known as Nonso Nkwa was abducted on the street of Owerri, the capital of Imo State by hooded men after his morning radio show. For many tense hours, no one could tell his whereabouts. His family, friends and co-workers feared the worst. There was silent agitation, a latent upheaval brewed in the city as Imo people were sure the state government would be complicit in any harm to Nonso Nkwa. It took enormous media pressure to extract a release from the State Police Command. Nonso was picked by Force CID and flown to Abuja, the official statement read. It took about 24 hours for the Imo State government to announce that Nonso was picked up for “criminal libel”, allegedly against the state governor, Hope Uzodinma.
A video was subsequently released showing Nonso saying Governor Uzodinma collaborates with militant kingpin, Asari Dokubo to infest Imo with vicious unknown gunmen. Assuming without conceding there was such an allegedly libelous video, would that warrant such a level of crudity and impunity by the police?
When the new IGP Kayode Egbetokun was appointed recently, we had expected a new dawn at NPF. Now police under the watch of supposedly scholarly IGP would don hoods and scruffy jeans like bandits and abduct a citizen, a critic of the government on the street, not for armed robbery or terrorism, but for alleged criminal libel. What a shame, what a letdown.
How much did the Imo state governor pay to suborn the office of the IGP and cause him to commit gross illegality of abducting a citizen in the manner Nonso was abducted last Friday and has been kept incommunicado since – his lawyers, his wife, children and family were not contacted as to his whereabouts.
Finally on this, how come Asari Dokubo, the die-hard militant who has challenged Nigeria’s sovereignty and ridiculed the military and police; who boasts that he can’t be arrested, is still roaming free, raising more army?
MORE MOMENTS OF UNENLIGHTENMENT was the DSS almost having a shoot-out with officials of the Correctional Service over who keeps custody of a defendant, Godwin Emefiele, suspended CBN governor. This is a clear sign of insouciance among the military, security and intelligence corps. Nothing is changing for the better, rather, things get worse.
The nonchalant state of affairs was evident in the Senate last week when the upper chamber made an open mockery of the long-suffering poor people of Nigeria. The legislature was recently placated with an N79 billion bazaar upon inauguration while the people were forcibly yanked from eating the fruit of the land. The Senate obviously is far removed from the reality of the Nigerian poor.
AND THE BODIES OF EVIDENCE FROM THE LEKKI TOLLGATE further tars President Tinubu. It emerged last week that over 100 bodies suspected to be victims of the October 20, 2020 mass killings at Lekki during the ENDSARS protest were found in a morgue in Lagos. However official denials continue. But the people have long made up their minds having handed President Tinubu a locus in the scheme of that dark affair. And it’s not a fine place the president is if the truth must be told.
TINUBU’S MOTOR PARK DIPLOMACY IN NIGER REPUBLIC can only spell doom for Nigeria and Tinubu’s presidency. A lack of enlightenment can be very harmful. The only time one heard or read that a group of sovereigns ganged up to attack another sovereign on short notice was in the bible. Chronicles 18: 3 tells us how the contumacious King Ahab of Israel had casually asked the respectable King Jehoshaphat of Judah, “Will you go (to war) with me against Ramoth Gilead?
Wise Jehoshaphat seeing that Ahab surrounds himself with simpletons and fake prophets more versed in propaganda, says to Ahab, I will go with you but “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”
When the Niger Republic military putsch broke early last week, it turned out the perfect litmus test for Tinubu and his presidency. Being head of ECOWAS, he summoned his colleagues to Abuja for a meeting which was ok. But the outcome of the meeting and the communique therefrom will be recorded in history as the ultimate diplomatic faux pas. And we ask, is there no diplomat left in Nigeria to have guided our president?
How could President Tinubu levy a slew of sanctions and a threat to deploy military force in one week on a sovereign under the rule of a junta that has the possible support of foreign powers?
For want of a better description, let’s call it “MOTOR PARK DIPLOMACY”! In Lagos motor garages, of yore motor boys would rip their shirt and invite you to a duel with the slightest provocation. General Omar Tchiani had a successful coup in Niger Republic last week and he proclaimed himself head of state. He is the sixth successful coup in the Sahel region. ECOWAS didn’t raise an army against Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, etc so why would Niger’s be different. That’s bias. No General would accept that.
Who gives a successful coup an ultimatum on the first contact? Where has diplomacy gone? What about the Nigerien people? They prefer the junta to the criminal civilian regime that was booted out. Is Nigeria in a position to execute a war? The country has been at ‘war’ with ragtag Boko Haram for about 15 years without success. Nigeria is an overflowing refugee camp. Millions of Nigerians are already in IDP camps with the one in Benue recently adjudged to be the worst human camp in the world. Nigerian youths are fleeing the country in droves, seeking any shores but Nigeria’s. Nigeria is in its worst socio-economic state since the civil war of the 60s with over 130 citizens dirt-poor. Yet our president who is on a wonky mandate is hungry for war. Does Tinubu seek war to legitimise his presidency?
Now that he has boxed himself into a diplomatic cul de sac, what will happen next when Gen. Tchiani calls President Tinubu’s bluff as has been indicated already? Well my friends, we have one week to prepare for a war… are you thinking?
Feedback: email: firstname.lastname@example.org /31.07.23
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