By Casmir Igbokwe
The majority of Nigerians are in agreement that President Bola Tinubu made a fantastic speech at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last week. Some sound bites from his speech made many Nigerians proud and projected his speech writer as a candidate eminently qualified for promotion.
Like a motivational speaker, our President intoned, “To keep faith with the tenets of this world body and the theme of this year’s Assembly, the poverty of nations must end. The pillage of one nation’s resources by the overreach of firms and people of stronger nations must end. The will of the people must be respected…” Good talk, Mr President!
But, let us start by respecting the will of the Nigerian people with regard to the February 25, 2023 general election. We cannot continue to pontificate in foreign lands while our home front is worse off. We must avoid being a typical example of the saying that the hood does not make the monk.
Let’s even examine Tinubu’s speech point by point. His first point has to do with economic growth. The President blamed longstanding internal and external factors for Nigeria’s and Africa’s economic structures that had been skewed to impede development, industrial expansion, job creations and the equitable distribution of wealth.
He recalled that he removed what he called the costly and corrupt fuel subsidy and discarded a noxious exchange rate system in his first 100 days in office to foster economic growth and investor confidence in Nigeria. Well, investors are not fools. They are fully abreast of the precarious situation in Nigeria. They know that equity, security and ease of doing business are scarce commodities in the country. A few of them may come only to snatch what they can grab and run with it. The other day, we were almost deceived to believe that the United Arab Emirates has lifted the visa ban it placed on Nigeria. It turned out to be a hoax, at least for now. These advanced countries might have even laughed off our President’s plea for their cooperation in opening their ports to a wide range and larger quantity of African exports and meaningful debt relief as well as direct investment in critical industries.
To further woo them, Tinubu talked about the aftermath of the Second World War and the way nations gathered in an attempt to rebuild their war-torn societies. Nations, he said, saw that it was in their own interests to help others exit the rubble and wasteland of war. He wondered why today and for several decades, Africa had been asking for the same level of political commitment. Mr President, look no further. What has happened to Africa is what also happened to the South-East of Nigeria. After the war, the Federal Government promised three Rs: Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reconciliation. These were observed in the breach. The marginalization of the South-East has not abated. Tinubu should first heal the wounds of the war in Nigeria before assuming the victim mentality for Africa.
The President also spoke about democratic governance in Africa. This is where his hypocrisy smiled widely at discerning Nigerians. “Failures in good governance have hindered Africa. But broken promises, unfair treatment and outright exploitation from abroad have also exacted a heavy toll on our ability to progress,” he said. He condemned military coups as well as any tilted civilian political arrangement that perpetuates injustice. Regarding the coup in Niger Republic, he narrated measures he has taken as Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore democratic governance in that tiny country. He noted that the wave of coups crossing parts of Africa did not demonstrate favour towards coups but a demand for solutions to perennial problems.
Obviously, this is a clear demonstration of “teacher, don’t teach me nonsense.” Any good observer will attest to the fact that our democracy is not what it ought to be. The last general election nullified any little gain we may have made in our march to an ideal democracy. Not only is our electoral process greatly flawed, our judiciary has also been highly compromised. Some of the verdicts emanating from the various election petitions tribunals can only be described as queer.
Yes, we can claim to be practising democracy, but what manner of democracy? A democracy where power is snatched at the polling booths and stamped at the courts! A democracy where voters suspected to be opposition supporters are harassed, harangued, and violently violated. Physician, heal thyself!
This brings me to violent extremism which Tinubu also spoke about. According to him, our region is locked in protracted battle against violent extremists who operate with lethal weapons and vile ideologies. Pledging African nations’ readiness to work towards disbanding extremist groups on our turf, Tinubu urged the international community to strengthen its commitment to arrest the flow of arms and violent people into West Africa.
Here again, our President spoke well. Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province are typical examples of these extremists tormenting our people. But, sometimes, bad governance and injustice engender this extremism. It is from fighting real or perceived injustice that the extremists graduate to terrorism. Initially, Boko Haram was not as brutal as it is today. But it turned into a terrorist group when its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed in police custody in July 2009. Hitherto, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) only agitated peacefully for self-determination. It was suppressed and declared a terrorist organization. This pushed the group into some form of armed struggle.
If not for the way the late President Umaru Yar’Adua handled the Niger Delta militants, perhaps, they could have been worse than Boko Haram today. He dialogued with them, caused them to surrender their weapons and offered them amnesty. Today, there is relative peace in that region such that militant leaders like Asari Dokubo could pay courtesy visit to President Tinubu in Aso Rock and talk down on our soldiers without qualms. Our President should exploit his friendship with Dokubo by advising him to stop flaunting his weapons anyhow. He should direct him to stop importing thuggish protesters into Abuja in the name of showing solidarity for him and his government.
It is pertinent to note that some of these extremists and militants are just after our rich mineral resources. This formed the fourth point of Tinubu’s speech. Many of these mineral rich areas, our President said, had become catacombs of misery and exploitation. He cited the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Mali, Burkina Faso, among others, as nations that had suffered this exploitation for decades. “Foreign entities abetted by local criminals who aspire to be petty warlords have drafted thousands of people into servitude to illegally mine gold and other resources. Billions of dollars meant to improve the nation now fuel violent enterprises,” he regretted. Quite true!
The fifth point of his speech which dwells on climate change needs support of all and sundry. As he put it, northern Nigeria is hounded by desert encroachment just as the south is pounded by the rising tide of coastal flooding and erosion. African nations, he added, would fight climate change but must do so on their own terms. Good. But do we have the wherewithal?
Finally, the President expressed the wish of Africa not to be appendage or patron, or to replace old shackles with new ones. According to him, Africa is not a problem to be avoided, nor is it to be pitied. Instead, he said, “We hope to walk the rich African soil and live under the magnificent African sky free of the wrongs of the past and clear of their associated encumbrances. We desire a prosperous, vibrant democratic living space for our people.” Fantastic! I can only add that implementation of these sweet ideas must begin at home. Tinubu should return home and sincerely confront the problems of Nigeria with justice and utmost good faith.
•Igbokwe is a Nigerian journalist and publisher of www.newsprobeng.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