By Emeka Alex Duru
A friend called the other day from Germany to get a true picture of situations in the country. The initial attempt was to pretend that all was well; that apart from the dust of the February/March general elections, there was not much to worry about. But that seemed a big error; in fact, a terrible one. He blurted; “Old Boy (as we address ourselves), you got it wrong on this. Reports I get every day from people at home indicate that things are not working. The emergence of Bola Tinubu has not helped matters. Except for those in the corridors of power, every other citizen is panting. What I get is that for Nigerians, it’s from frying pan to fire”.
There was nothing further to argue with him. He was in order. Perhaps, at no time had Nigerians had it as rough as they are going through currently. And to think that this is a country that is not at war, yet the citizens are literally passing through hell in the hands of their leaders, rankles exceedingly.
The cost of every basic item in the land has hit the rooftop. Nigerians are hungry. And indeed, angry! Major roads and streets in the cities look deserted these days as if the country is in perpetual public holidays. Minor issues that would have been overlooked, can now result in fisticuffs. People wear frowns on their faces as if they woke up to continue with unfinished quarrels.
This appears to be the only system where the past is reminisced over the present. You would hear the people constantly cite instances of the ‘better’ days that have gone. In Nigeria, things don’t seem to improve, they get worse. Look at the leadership profiles of successive administrations.
It took the lethargy and cluelessness of the Goodluck Jonathan administration for the people to reference the misguided Olusegun Obasanjo government as one that gave the country focus. The ululation that accompanied the Muhammadu Buhari government in coming to power soon gave way to despair and the people realised that they had elected a parochial and narrow-minded president to govern them.
It did not take up to two years for Nigerians to realise that even in his utter lassitude, Jonathan was by far, a superstar compared to Buhari. That was when it dawned on the people that the assumed taciturnity of Buhari was not a matter of concern over the direction of the country but a dummy – sheer concealment of inaction and acute situation of not knowing what to say or do.
Tinubu has worsened the situation. Painfully, he is on the way to lionizing Buhari, with his litany of errors. Karl Meier, former West African Correspondent of the Independent of London, could not have chosen a better title for his book on Nigeria than, “This House Has Fallen”. Nigeria is currently on its fours, truth be told.
It could only take a president of Tinubu’s hue to make a weighty announcement of removing fuel subsidy and harmonising the foreign exchange market on his first day in office, without cabinet or without any contingency arrangement. Since that declaration which he admitted was based on the spur of the moment rather than any pronounced agenda, Nigeria has not been the same.
Four months into the February 25, 2023 presidential election, we had argued here, that Nigerians needed to know the candidates they were voting for. Knowing them went beyond merely knowing their names, identifying their faces or the political parties they were representing.
The voters needed to know their thinking, their level of sophistication and emotional intelligence. They needed to know what they had in ideology and programmes for repositioning the country. For a system that has been maliciously held down by a chain of rapacious leadership in the greater part of its 63 years of statehood, having such details on those aspiring for the highest office in the land, mattered.
Being the standard-bearer of a political party is a big deal. It is not a position for the boys but for serious minds. The office itself – the presidency – demands a lot. Gerald R. Ford (38th U.S. President) captured it that the presidency is not a prize to be won, but a duty to be done. It is the hardest job in the world, says American essayist, John Dickerson, in his piece on the White House.
For obvious reasons, the handlers of Tinubu shielded him from interrogation and ensured that his supporters did not know the candidate they were queuing behind, adequately. A gathering at the British Foreign Institute, the Chatham House, days before the election, provided him the opportunity to advertise himself, tell the world how ready he was for the job, sell himself and his programmes to the international community
It gave him the chance to address nagging questions on his health, his past, his academic records and his real identity – issues that his opponents have serially feasted on in mocking him. Rather, he ducked and parried the questions thrown at him at the gathering to his stooges. By evading the questions and assigning them to surrogates, Tinubu unwittingly confessed his lack of capacity and preparation for the presidency
Now, as they say, the chickens have come home to roost. He has happened in Nigeria, irrespective of his breezy paths to power and accompanying disputations. Nigerians are bearing the brunt. From his very first day in office, it was certain that Tinubu had no precise programme for the country, despite his claims that attaining the position had been his lifelong ambition.
In removing the fuel subsidy and unfolding a phantom palliative regime that is barely scratching at the problems, the entire thing looks vacuous. Tinubu is yet to explain to Nigerians how the distribution of rice and maize as well as a paltry N5 billion to the states, would cushion the impacts of the outrageous pump prices of petrol, rising inflation and youth unemployment due to the closure of small and medium scale businesses, that his hasty withdrawal of subsidy and forex market harmonisation have caused.
Governance is not about catering for the interests of cronies and hangers-on. That is the major challenge of the Tinubu administration. He is surrounded by sycophants who daily feed him with the impression that things are normal, when in fact, the country is going down the hills. Daren Acemoglu and James Robinson, authors of the encompassing book, ‘Why Nations Fail’, summed it up that the most common reasons why nations fail are because of parasitic political and economic classes. Nigeria has had this extractive elite over the years. For them, what matters is what they derive from the system, not what they add to it. The Tinubu administration is furthering this odious culture to the detriment of the people.
Things must change for the better. It is high time the President climbed down from his axiomatic white horse to address the challenges in the country. While his presidency lasts, let him reach out to people with the relevant know-how to assist him in running the country. They must not be his party men or cheermen but those who can look at him in the face and tell him that he is not getting his acts right.
- DURU is the Editor, of TheNiche Newspapers, Lagos (08054103327, email@example.com)
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