One of the biggest mistakes this country ever made was to allow APC to come into power in Nigeria. It must be sent packing in 2019.
The PDP dodged a bullet; a bomb even with the conduct of its presidential primaries a few days ago. This was conducted in a calm, serene and collected manner. There were no riots. No bombs went off to mark the process as “do or die.” Nobody got killed, maimed or injured. The party did not find it necessary to insult the intelligence of Nigerians by boasting that it now has millions upon millions of fictitious members. Everything was as smooth as silk.
The same could not be said of the APC. There is one word that comes to mind describing APC politics today: “shambolic.” APC primaries are characterized by violence, tear gas and acrimony. At the presidential level, the party virtually prevented other aspirants from competing against Buhari. It then showed its contempt for Nigerians by claiming the president, as a sole candidate, obtained a bogus 14.8 million votes.
Every right-thinking Nigerian knows the APC does not have a membership even half that size. Neither can it count such a large number of votes within a few hours.
The PDP, on the other hand, showed Nigerians it is now one of the few truly democratic parties in the country today. The list of contenders for its presidential ticket was top-heavy with men of timber and caliber.
On the ballot were such “juggernauts” as Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president of Nigeria; Bukola Saraki, current president of the senate; Aminu Tambuwaal, current governor of Sokoto; Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano; Ibrahim Dankwambo, current governor of Gombe; David Mark, former president of the Senate; Sule Lamido, former governor of Jigawa; Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto; Ahmed Makarfi, former governor of Kaduna; and Jonah Jang, former governor of Plateau.
This who-is-who list of aspirants suggested there would be cat-fights and acrimony. Indeed, many APC supporters were anticipating a free-for-all fight to the finish within the ranks of the PDP. But what happened was exactly the opposite. The PDP primary was open, transparent and devoid of rancor. Atiku emerged the clear winner, polling 1532 votes, more than double that of his closest challenger, Aminu Tambuwaal, who polled 693 votes. Indeed, Atiku received more votes than all his other ten challengers combined, who altogether received only 1372 votes.
Remarkably, and for the first time in Nigeria’s recorded political history, all the losers in the primary congratulated the winner and pledged to support him. No one complained of rigging. No one spoke of foul play. In spite of the stakes involved, the PDP convention to choose its presidential flagbearer turned out to be one happy family affair.
But, true to form, APC was the exact opposite. The party uses a loud megaphone to proclaim its hypocritical anti-corruption credentials. Nevertheless, it could only hold primaries riddled with blatant corruption. In Lagos, the official umpire rejected the declared results, claiming no election took place. Then it was forced, as a result of orders from above, to reverse its verdict. In Imo, the governor’s in-law lost an election, but was declared the winner because the election was annulled and re-taken.
At the presidential level, first the nomination fee for the primaries was raised prejudicially from the N27 million of 2014 to N45 million; indicating that the APC has a distinct preference for moneybags steeped in corruption and with money to burn. Then it declared that 2.9 million APC members voted for Buhari in Kano alone; a feat nothing short of outrageous and impossible. It then topped this by announcing that 14.8 million APC members voted for sole candidate Buhari to be the presidential candidate.
So doing, APC laid down the marker that it intends to fabricate votes contemptibly during the up-coming 2019 elections. There would certainly be a problem if, after claiming Buhari received 2.9 million votes from Kano alone during the primaries, it is then discovered that Buhari cannot even get 2 million votes from Kano during the election proper. What it means is that millions of votes can be expected to be pulled out of a hat in 2019, to justify this fictitious result declared during the recent primaries.
The truth of the matter is that, as a party, APC has turned out to be one big joke. A party that achieved virtually nothing in the last four years is nevertheless intent on telling Nigeria and the world that it has grown stupendously in membership and popularity. This is preposterous. In 2014, the party’s acronym of APC stood for All Progressives Congress. Today, the same acronym is now widely derided as All Promises Cancelled. This is because not only could APC not keep the highfalutin promises it made to Nigerians in 2015, it even denied most of them.
In its barely four-year stint in power, Nigeria has moved from the status of being the largest African economy to the derision of being the country with the largest number of poor people in the world. Candidate Buhari promised to make the naira equal to the dollar. However, the exchange-rate of the naira plummeted instead from 198 to the dollar to 360 to the dollar.
The reason was simple. Like Nero, the president fiddled while the financial markets burned. He saw no evil and heard no evil as innocent farmers were slaughtered incessantly by Fulani herdsmen.
Everything went literally from bad to worse right before our eyes. And yet, the APC would like Nigerians to believe that the same man who has presided over this very sorry state of affairs now has unprecedented popularity in Nigeria. The president’s men must really think Nigerians are dunces. This is the same deceit that the APC meted out in the gubernatorial election in Osun where we are meant to believe that people who were not paid salaries for over 2 years still went ahead to vote for the retention of the status quo. The people of Osun must like to suffer. In any case, many of us who refuse to believe these lies are convinced both the Ekiti and Osun elections will ultimately be overturned by the courts.
The truth of the matter is that APC is confronted with an election in 2019 that it cannot win unless it falsifies the vote massively. President Buhari has nothing to show for his tenure. The change he championed has been a change for the worse. In 2014, Buhari dazzled Nigerians by appearing in a western suit and bow-tie for the very first time, in the bid to convince Nigerians and the Western world that this leopard has changed its spots. But that turned out to be one big sham.
Today, the sham continues. The same man who said he could not be expected to treat the electorate who only gave him 5% of their vote the same way as those who gave him 97% is now dressed in the native attires of the 5%. It is pathetic to see Buhari now decked out in Igbo clothes, especially after his government neglected the Igbo, violated the rights of IPOB to demonstrate according to democratic protocols, and intimidated them with pernicious military exercises.
Buhari’s handlers must really think the Igbo and, indeed, Nigerians in general, are fools. Bereft of concrete policies, the Igbo are expected to vote for Buhari because he decided to wear their native attire and the Yorubas are supposed to vote for him because he made an illegal pronouncement; declaring June 12 as Democracy Day without first repealing the law that made May 29 Democracy Day.
Chalk and cheese
One does not have to be a supporter of Atiku to acknowledge that he would be the president that Buhari could never aspire to be. Atiku is one man who has thought seriously about being the president of Nigeria. Therefore, he would certainly not take six months to choose a cabinet of yesterday’s men as Buhari did, become known as Baba Go-Slow, and be celebrated for inconsequential do-nothing policy positions pathetically white-washed as “body language.”
A comparative analysis of the track-record of both men speaks volumes. After his brief spell as military head of state in 1984/85, Buhari did nothing of note for the next 30 years. He did not write a book, give a major policy speech, start a foundation, launch a company or even promote a cause. He only resurfaced briefly as PTF chairman and, at the end of his tenure, PTF was found by the Haroun Adamu commission of inquiry to have been riddled with corruption.
Not so Atiku Abubakar. After 8 years as Nigeria’s vice president from 1999 to 2007, Atiku has remained very active in the public place. He is a co-founder of Intels, an oil-service business with extensive operations in Nigeria and abroad. He is also the founder of the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola, Adamawa State. He has been involved in so many philanthropic projects and is indeed, the largest world-wide donor to the National Peace Corps Association in the United States. Moreover, he has written extensively about Nigeria’s public policy and, as can be expected of a former vice-president, is well-versed in national and international affairs.
Nom de guerre
So how can Buhari prevail against a man with such credentials, credentials that are foreign to our dear president? Don’t expect him to accept any invitation to debate Atiku at any time. The president simply cannot hold his own against Atiku under these circumstances. He is not a match for him at all.
Therefore, expect a lot of shenanigans from the APC between now and election day. Expect the APC party of anti-corruption to probably close down all Atiku’s businesses over the coming weeks and months. That is how the APC candidates run for office, using the instruments of the state to intimidate their opponents. Expect Atiku to be invited by the police on the grounds that he sponsored some armed robbery or the other in some local petrol station. Expect the tax authorities to send him a letter claiming they have suddenly discovered that he has paid no taxes in the last 40 years.
Expect his bank account to be frozen while serious investigation is conducted into various allegations that would suddenly spring up against him. Don’t be surprised if we are even told that Atiku is ineligible to run, because it has now been discovered that the former vice-president of Nigeria is not a Nigerian at all, but a Cameroonian.
It should now be abundantly clear to all and sundry in Nigeria that deception is the nom de guerre of the APC. This party of strange bedfellows has nothing of substance to offer Nigeria. One of the biggest mistakes this country ever made was to allow APC to come into power in Nigeria. It must be sent packing in 2019.
ABEOKUTA AND ITS PERENNIAL FLOODING: GOV. ABIODUN TO THE RESCUE
By Elijah Udofia
Saturday, July 4, 2020, is a day the people of Abeokuta, particularly those living very close to the city’s waterways, would not forget in a hurry. Like in the days of Noah, the floodgates were opened and the showers came down heavily, causing floods of havoc that ravaged portions of the city. For somebody who was in the capital city of the Gateway State for the first time, the sight of flooded roads, with water subterranean enough to swim, floating household possessions, evacuated trees, washed way bridges and people congregating on high rise buildings, waiting for the water to recede, is something he or she will live to remember for a long time.
On that day, the heavens opened and brought with it sorrows, but thankfully, without blood. The torrential rain which started at about three in the morning did not stop until six in the evening, thereby thrashing hard on the ancient city for 16 good hours, non-stop. It is instructive to note that July of every year, has always been a period when the city experiences great flooding, occasion by torrential rain. Apart from the destruction of critical public infrastructures, mostly roads and bridges, it is always a time when those living close to the canals, have their hearts in their mouths. Hardly a year passes without these areas experiencing flooding which lead to loss of properties and in some cases, life or lives as the case may be.
The recent one affected mostly areas are; Isale-Oja, Kuto, Ago-Ijesha, Ijeun-Titun, Ijeja-Igbore road, Gbangba, Elite-Lantoro road and Oba Adeleye’s recreational park. One is however happy that areas like Ijaye and Isale-Igbein, which used to experience serious flooding had been taken care of, by the construction of Lafenwa, Sapon, Idi-Aba, Ajebo road and Onikolobo, Omida and Sapon road. It should be noted here that the issue of flooding in Abeokuta is not new, as previous governments, including military administrations, had course to contend with this menace. The presence of the Vice President, who came to inspect the extent of damage caused by flooding two years ago, is an indication that the issue is not a child’s play. What is disturbing however is that the damages caused are becoming more devastating, which calls for concern by all and sundry?
Being the head of a government that came to power on the popular mandate, the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, immediately the rain ceased on Sunday morning, ordered a team of government officials, led by the Environment Commissioner, Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun took a tour of the areas affected by the flood and came up with a report to enable the government to respond accordingly.
As if that was not enough, the Governor, the following day, personally went round the affected areas to see things for himself. Prince Abiodun who was shocked due to the extent of damage caused not only to public assets, but to the property of the people, there and then, promised that his administration would assist them in mitigating the effect of their loss.
“I am here to look at the damage caused by the rain that fell on Saturday. Though I have sent my Commissioners and other government officials to inspect the damages, I decided to also come and see things for myself. I am happy that no life was lost, though you lost properties.
“I want to assure all of you who lost property to the flood that we will support you. In a few days’ time, government officials will come to see you to take down your names and properties affected, so that we can look at how to compensate you”.
On what the government intends to do to settle the matter once and for all, Prince Dapo Abiodun said the dredging of the canal that crisscrosses the State capital was on-going, while clearing of refuse in the gutters, was also carried out. He then informed the people that the government has assessed the damage caused to the roads and bridges with a view to carry out a comprehensive and proper channelization of the waterways.
“I want to assure you that we will repair the damaged roads, expand the gutters and bridges so that when rain falls, the gutters and the bridges would be able to accommodate the large volume of water. With this, the problem of erosion would be a thing of the past”, he promised
Governor Abiodun attributed flooding in the State capital to rapid development, besought the people to desist from dumping refuse or building structures on the waterways as these also contributed to the flooding. Collaborating the position of the Governor on the ways to find permanent solution to the menace of flooding in the State, the Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, noted that regular dredging of the waterways, converting some old culverts to bridges as well as delisting drainages to allow free flow of water will be done by the government.
The Commissioner disclosed that dredging is currently going on at Isale-Oja to Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library up to Orange Valley View Estate, adding that the government is not only looking at Abeokuta alone, as dredging is also ongoing in 16 places across the State. Though the government ultimate goal is to find a permanent solution to the problem, in the meantime, a temporary arrangement according to the Commissioner, was going on at the sites, as allowing the affected areas to remain unattended to, will adversely affect the socio-economic well-being of people and adds to their suffering. The Commissioner appealed to residents of the State to properly dispose of their refuse and desist from dumping them on waterways, to minimize the effects of flooding.
For Alhaji Bello Mohammed, Secretary, Isale-Oja, Kuto, Community Development Association, his community has been experiencing flooding on a yearly basis in the last 10 years. He opined that proper channelization of the canal with an adequate drainage system, would bring an end to the flooding. Also, Mrs. Abike Awosanya and Abideen Musibau, residents of Ago-Ijesha, in Abeokuta South Local Government, said that they want the government to urgently find lasting solution to the flood problem, as it has affected their means of livelihood and make life unbearable for them.
Also bearing his mind, Mr. Raphael Anthony, a motorcyclist, who plied Ijaye-Kuto route, appealed to the State government to regularly dredge the waterways and expand the drainages system as the existing ones can no longer accommodate large volumes of water, during heavy rain. More so, Mrs. Florence Adegbite, an apprentice hairstylist at Ijeun Titun, opined that, “from what I am seeing, I think the State government would need help, particularly from the Federal government to permanently address this problem, a huge amount of money will be involved.
Though Government has a big role to play in bringing an end to the flooding issue, l observed with pain that the actions and inactions of the people are not helping in this regard. A walk through the State capital, one will see the non-challant attitude of the people as they dump refuse even at places where they are not supposed to.
Some simple questions I would like to ask are, what is refuse doing on road medians? Why do people turn gutters, drainages which are supposed to carry water to the canal, to refuse dumpsites? Why do people find it difficult to clear gutters, even those in front of their houses? And most importantly, why do people build structures on waterways that were invented/constructed to serve as drains to the river. All these questions need urgent answers, if the problem of flooding in Abeokuta, is to be addressed.
Now that Governor Dapo Abiodun’s government is showing commitment by putting in place measures that will permanently solve the problem of perennial flooding in the capital city, it is imperative for citizens to also play their parts, because as the African saying goes, “one cannot clap with one hand”.
Udofia, Head of the Governor’s Press Crew, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
AREGBESOLA COMES TO JUDGMENT
BOTH RAPISTS AND POLITICAL RAPISTS ON RAMPAGE IN NIGERIA
By: Ademola Orunbon
There is no doubt that rapists are really on rampage in Nigeria. More worrisome is the frequent news of children and teenagers being raped almost in every nook and cranny of the country almost on a daily basis, with most of the cases going unreported. The situation is so bad that the notorious rapists are no longer strangers to their victims as they could even be members of the family or trusted neighbours and even domestic servants.
Despite the fact that human rights activists are quite unrelenting in their efforts at exposing the dangers our teenagers are being exposed to daily in the hands of these rampaging rapists and their collaborators, the situation has not really been brought under control. Enlightenment programmes on sexual education and the rights of the child against all forms of abuse should be stepped up and extended to even the schools, churches and mosques
The most worrisome of the current trend is child sexual abuse which is really on the ascendancy in the country. According to The Cece Yara Foundation, an international non-governmental organization, child sexual abuse has become more prevalent than most people even realize. The organization maintained that the menace is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious array of consequences.
According to the Foundation, one in every four girls experienced sexual violence in the country while one in 10 boys experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. The Foundation also disclosed that one in eight girls experienced unwanted sexual touching just as one in 10 boys experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. Aside Lagos State which really has a law against child sexual abuse and molestation, only a few States are really doing much to tackle this ugly trend. Many reasons have been adduced for the rising cases of rape in the country, especially those involving children and teenagers. One of the reasons is the rising cases of unemployment and moral decadence in the society.
The increasing intake of hard drugs by our youngsters is another contributing to the rising cases of rape in the country. We really want to join other partners across the country, especially rights advocates and non-governmental organizations which have taken the matter up to the public space with condemnation and advocacy. While condemning the rising cases of rape in the country, we implore our government to take the fight against the ugly trend beyond the level of mere rhetorics to real action.
Enlightenment programmes on sexual education and the rights of the child against all forms of abuse should be stepped up and extended to even the schools, churches and mosques. The campaign should start from the individual family with our young girls properly tutored on the need to know everything about their rights and how to protect themselves from being abused. The Point is however happy that recent cases are generating an unprecedented global wake-up call to the increasing rate of child sexual abuse in the country and the world at large. We only hope that the tempo will be sustained for the message to sink in foe all concerned to know the right thing to do as we join millions of other advocates against child sexual abuse and rape in the country.
We also call for prompt trial and prosecution of all cases of violations and abuse of our young girls as deterrent to others. Also, we implore all other States in the country to borrow a leaf from Lagos State where a law is currently in place to take care of issues relating to child sexual abuse and rape.
Also, other rapists that wrecking the country is political rapists, the way politics has been reduced to a trade shorn of every modicum of morality and respectability by some Nigerian politicians leaves much to be desired. Without a stretch of decency, our politicians appear to be travelling on the road to infamy. If their penchant to display hubris and character flaws is anything to go by, and the knack to approbate and reprobate or speak from both sides of the mouth is of major worry, the APC politicians have succeeded in sweeping baloney in their political space with their brooms.
It is a pity that those who found themselves in the commanding heights of leadership in Nigeria automatically transform themselves to semi-gods the moment they get power and position. Nigeria political office holders are in the main arrogant, pompous, and irritatingly proud and disrespectful until death, the ultimate reaper, levels them. Let me hasten to say that there are few exceptions, the reason I qualify the declaration with the phrase ‘in the main’. And so, the average Nigerian politicians have raped and still continue to rape not only their pauperized followers but the entire citizenry on all fronts. To be precise, our contemporary experience under the APC-led federal government appears to be very worrisome.
No man born of woman is so important that the world cannot do without his mortal presence. When politics is reduced to the level of deification of an individual whose credo is: “But for me, the world would collapse”, it needs to be expressly made clear that, that is the biggest lie ever told. History is replete with carcasses of warriors, geniuses, inventors and charismatic statesmen and women after whose demise the world moved on to even greater achievements. It reminds me of the truism in the wise saying of an anonymous bard: “In life nobody is indispensable or irreplaceable, including you. And your replacement will always be better than you. For every Queen Vashti there is an Esther waiting to take your place. For every Saul there is a David ready to take your place. For every Eli there is a prophet Samuel ready to take your place. Many people due to their position, their talent or their beauty think they are irreplaceable – how wrong you are!.”
It is time for us to begin discourage men (and women) without a second address or known source of income in politics! There are those who pride themselves as professional politicians. There are those who have been in one appointive position or the other since time immemorial. There are those who have contested for one political office severally but failed and have amassed stupendous wealth from selling out to the opposition. Please let them go and rest! They have contested in every imaginably election; give us a break please, or go home and find something to do. Our tragedy in Nigeria today is that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) tarred longer than necessary in seeking public office. Had he retired earlier – or, better still, had he been allowed to retire earlier – we would not have seen today’s misfortunes!
On the flip side, it looks to me as if there is a cycle of rejuvenated evil residing in humanity in our present world. These days, we are faced with a serious challenge of how to manage our sanity in the midst of a flurry of bestialities that keep erupting from left, right and centre. The orgy of violence perpetrated across all ages manifests the baloney of insipid malfeasance that is capable of infecting the left-over values we hold onto with spider web. The incidence of rape has overshadowed political discourses. It has displaced politics, economy and international affairs from our chats and local gossips. This is a rare development in our country. In most cases, in Africa and around the world, these are the three dominant topics people find engaging because of their predominant impact on their lives. The two possible exceptions to this fact are South Africa and India where rape cases are cyclical routine.
What has been responsible for rape ascendancy in our national gossip are the tragic and incredible patterns of the reported incidents. When a 75 year-old man is invading the undeveloped vagina of a 10 year-old girl with gerontocratic vitality, obviously this becomes a national news highlight. When a son (no matter his age) is desecrating the collapsing pudenda of his mother’s senior or age mate by exploiting the woman’s debilitating physicality to have a taste of “his route to the world”, of course, it is of national interest. When a brother decides to forcefully expand the unripe vagina of his 5 year-old sister by pounding and jerking her to death, of course, this ghastly scenario is of national significance. When five Yahoo-Yahoo boys, possibly excited by the number of unfortunate idiots they have scammed in one day, organized a rape circus for a flirting teenager, of course. When Hussippupi, an internet fraudster having over two million followers on Instagram, even much more than what Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola had, in fact, this takes precedence in national debates.
When a girlfriend plotted to have some of her friends raped by a monstrous gang of six – just to profane their virgin territories, which also is a serious case of national importance. And the list is endless. The lesson of homily in all of these sadistic sexual extravaganzas is that if the world is not coming to an end, then the end is coming to the world. The degree of sexual debasement, sexual harassment, sexual defilement, sexual perversion has attained an alarming crescendo to make GOD to extend the timeline of Covid-19 or to even upgrade it to “Covid Finale” so that we can all sing “Home, Here We Come” chorus.
Orunbon, a journalist and political analyst, wrote in from Federal Housing Estate, Olomore, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Can be reached via; firstname.lastname@example.org, or 08034493944 and 08029301122.
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