By Emeka Alex Duru
Recent remarks by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the February presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, on the poor management of the Nigerian economy, by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, contributed to this outing. Atiku, who spoke through his aide, Phrank Shaibu, described the Tinubu administration as incompetent and clueless. He accused the president of running an ‘Animal Farm’ economy, while Nigerians were getting poorer.
For illustration, Animal Farm is a satirical novel, by an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic, Eric Arthur Blair, who preferred a pseudonym, George Orwell, in his writings. First published in England on 17 August 1945, the book, Animal Farm, tells of a group of farm animals who rebelled against their human farmer, in the hope of creating a society where all would be equal, free, and happy.
In launching out their rebellion, the battle cry was ‘all animals are equal’. But at the attainment of victory, the struggle was betrayed and a dictatorship that was worse than what the animals had previously experienced was imposed on them and the privileged ones among them began to lord it over others. The mantra shifted from ‘all animals are equal’ to ‘all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. The farm ended up in a state as bad as it was before. Historians often link the lessons of the novel to the betrayal of the Russian Revolution by the autocratic regime of Josef Stalin.
Events since the inauguration of Tinubu on May 29, point to Nigeria drifting to the Animal Farm project. While he took his oath of office, Tinubu promised Nigerians a new lease of life; a future better than what they had experienced in the past. “Our administration shall govern on your behalf but never rule over you.
“We shall consult and dialogue but never dictate. We shall reach out to all but never put down a single person for holding views contrary to our own. We are here to further mend and heal this nation, not tear and injure it”, he vowed at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of his swearing-in. He also pledged to be the president for all and not to any particular section or group.
But five months into the administration, Nigerians are seeing Tinubu and his administration for what they are. The economy has plunged further south and the cost of living is beyond reach. By the close of the week, the Naira had fallen to N1,150 to One US Dollar. While Nigerians scavenged the Bins in the past for food, there are no more baskets to rummage. Distraught citizens bring back images of inmates of Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps, these days.
Atiku captured it that, “Under Tinubu’s watch, the inflation rate has risen steadily from 22.79% in June to 24.08% in July to 25.80% in August and now 26.72% in September. Food inflation has also moved steadily from 25.25% in June to 30.6%”. The administration, he said, is wasteful; adding that the way money is being frittered amid scarcity of resources shows the insincerity of the government. He added, “Even at a time when he (Tinubu) is calling on everyone to tighten their belts, he inaugurated the largest cabinet in Nigeria’s history and is set to plunge Nigeria deeper into more debt”.
Now, these are serious issues that border on the future of the country. Every Nigerian of good conscience must be concerned at the scary turn of events in the country. Towards the February election when the voters were on the countdown to the end of the nepotistic Muhammadu Buhari administration, the expectation was that among Tinubu, Atiku, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), whoever emerged would be better than the departing president in terms of planning, recruitment of personnel and deployment of resources. The three were seen as thoroughbred civilians and successful businessmen who should bring their entrepreneurial skills to better management of the economy and corporate existence of the country.
Tinubu was particularly advertised by his foot soldiers as a strategic head-hunter and human resource management wizard. But the entire thing has ended up as mere hype and propaganda. If anything, rather, Tinubu has demonstrated worrisome narrow-mindedness and parochial tendencies that constitute a serious threat to the peace and development of the country. So far, the administration has manifested an obvious lack of mission and focus. Like Buhari, his predecessor, Tinubu has shown to be only interested in grabbing power without using it effectively.
Just as Buhari parceled out nearly all the critical offices in the country, especially the command positions in the armed forces and paramilitary to his Muslim Fulani kinsmen, Tinubu has ceded strategic appointments in the economic sector to his South West Yoruba folks. At the last count, the Federal Ministries of Finance, Solid Minerals, Transportation, Blue Economy, Digital Economy, Justice and Attorney General of the Federation are occupied by Yorubas.
Federal Inland Revenue Service, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Customs and Central Bank are also headed by indigenes of the zone. So also, are the Army, Police, and Immigration, among others. For a system like Nigeria with a complex heterogeneous ethnic structure, nothing can be more callous and insensitive to the feelings of other Nigerians and the constitution that prescribes federal character in key programmes and appointments. But to Tinubu, the situation is normal.
As if the President’s insensitivity is not enough, other sections of the leadership class keep rubbing it on the people on all fronts. Contrary to their admonitions on Nigerians to keep faith in the country and bear the pains of the harsh economic climate in the country, the President and the leadership of the National Assembly have carried on in a manner, indicating that money is not Nigeria’s problem but how to spend it.
Signs of the pervading prodigality at the leadership level began to unfold when Tinubu, on his first official visit to Lagos, rode on a convoy that many swore, comprised 120 vehicles or more. The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, on his own, cruises around on a regal train. The other day, he and his colleagues in the Senate, mocked Nigerians in their misguided, “Let the poor breathe” Resolution.
The bazaar has not ceased. In fact, Nigerians are still in shock over the news of each of the 360 lawmakers in the House of Representatives receiving a brand-new Prado SUV, at N130 million, totaling N57.6 billion. The package excludes the 109 senators, which added to the bill, would make the cost higher. That, incidentally, is to be funded by a system that is seeking a $1.5 billion loan from the World Bank!
The sad reality, therefore, is that the country is on a rougher and more bumpy ride ahead. So, when Tinubu admonishes Nigerians to bear with his government and give him time to fix the economy, he needs to be reminded that he and other elected officials should lead by example. They need to cut down their extravagant lifestyle to the level that the people will align with their sermons.
For now, Tinubu and members of his political class are far from the people. They have not manifested empathy to the people. They have not shown faith and concern for the plight of the electorate. They are merely humouring themselves and entertaining their supporters, not facing real governance. And the people know.
- DURU is the Editor, TheNiche Newspapers, Lagos (08054103327, 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