BY: Ademola Orunbon
It is the belief of many that democracy should guarantee people good life. A stable democracy piloted by visionary leaders who possess the intellectual clouts to see issues at their broader and more complex perspectives should ensure a strong, stable, vibrant, virile economy with an enabling peaceful and stable political environment. Under a condition like this, the citizens can benefits maximally and fullest from democracy – good living condition, employment generation, security of lives, property and equal opportunities for self-actualization.
It must be the quest for a society where every individual can pursue his or her own aspiration using his or her God given potentials to the fullest that made many Nigerians take the battle for democracy with seriousness it deserved. But our democracy had been bastardized through bad leadership and non-challant of our leaders that tends to stay in power for the rest of their life, although Africa countries has trends of ‘sit tight’ syndromes.
Indeed, I don’t see any concrete reason why youths of nowadays will be canvassing people to vote for a 70 years and above old man into power, as they did in the last year general elections, while the youths of 40 plus roaming around the streets without job opportunities and which could not even have access to ordinary State House of Assemble ticket, instead of National House of Assembly due to the high cost of nomination forms and financial constraint to pursue his/her political carriers.
Imagine after Fifteen (15) years of uninterrupted military misrule during which the most cherished values of Nigerians were destroyed, with cavalier arrogance, by a band of ruthless, atavistic and self-seeking soldiers, the hunger of Nigerians for good governance can be understood. For fifteen (15) years, we all watched helplessly, albeit painfully, the systematic denigration of all decent norms and the deliberate pauperization of the citizens of this country. But for the pursuing of good governance and government of the people by the people and for the people ‘Democracy’ which ushered in our present transition that people earnestly eagering/aspiring for but the reverse is the case as we all watch without any rebuff, our activists had gone to sleep in the present of draconian legislation and military mentality/junta of the present administration.
Presently, no activists, group of people dare challenge the government, if they dare mobilize for protest or anything else, they will be framed up and end up in questioning by the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) or Department Of State Security (DSS) for unknown reasons. People now opt to keep mum instead of reacting to their style of governance. When are we going to put enough to all these maladministration, witch hunting of innocent people of this country for goodness sake? After all, the era of military junta is over and our constitution entrench everyone free of association and expression which we are now depriving of.
Now, the consequence, of course, were devastating; hunger, disease and ignorance became the lot of Nigerians. Life became a thing to endure rather than enjoy. But with the birth of the democratic dispensation, in 1999, millions of Nigerians were imbued with hope, hopes that at last, beautiful things were about to happen to the country that their sorrows and distress would soon be the thing of the past and come to an end totally. What with the avalanche of promises made to the people by the democratically elected leaders! But after twenty-one (21) years of transition programme, the democratically leaders are yet to make the people see the difference between this civilian regime and the plundering military junta that for long held the nation hostage.
Although, it is commonly said that the worst civilian regime is much better than the best military administration, Nigerian will want to see this betterment in very concrete terms and forms. Nigerians will wants to see food on their tables, have access to effective health care delivery system, good roads, potable water etc. There must be a remarkable difference manifestable in the quality of life of the citizens of this country. The life become harder for the people, people are committing suicide by jumping into the rivers and hanging themselves for the fact that they cannot meet up with the present situation of the Nigeria’s economy, no more middle class, it is either you rich or you poor, corporate beggars become the order of the days, no one is now feeling shy to beg for money. Please, what sort of democracy are we practicing?
We surely know that the problems of this country are too numerous to be solved even within the short period of any administration irrespective of any political parties. But one would have expected that after twenty-one (21) years of civilian administration, any serious government should have laid the foundation for finding lasting solutions to these problems. Regrettable, however, our politicians have been busy chasing shadows. All we have been hearing are ganging-ups impeachments, combat between governors and his deputy, accusations and counter accusation of corruption both real and imagined – while the social problems of the people have been neglected. When will the politicians stop pursing all these fruitless ventures and for once start working to make life better for those who elected them into office or will they allow the hope of Nigerians to die off?
Imagine from obscurity, oil boom catapulted Nigeria into global economic limelight in the 60s and 70s, and the doom of a profligate nation was held in abeyance by time. Very soon, corruption came knocking, but boom wedged its foot against the door ajar, inquiring who the intrusive visitor was. Corruption is an albatross who never travels alone. Ethnicity, impunity, nepotism, arrogance, disunity and unimaginable leadership were on its entourage. Corruption shoved down boom out of the doorway, tearing down the door for his entourage to march in. Ever since, Nigeria has battled corruption, its entourage and other forms of evil without success.
Of all the evils bedeviling the country, however, none is as frightening and as potentially calamitous as the evil of drug abuse afflicting her youths. Not corruption. Not defections. Drug abuse is the very Sword of Damocles dangling high above the heart of Nigeria. Drug abuse has scaled the fence of higher institutions and entered into churches and mosques, the holy of holies. Indeed, the drug abuse has been on the increase, but I never knew it has entered into places of worship. Imagine the viral video of a young cultist girl in hijab then, who confessed of killing several people.
If you can recall then, when some Abia state University students beheaded fellow students and used their heads as goalposts, the federal and state government didn’t see drug abuse as a predisposing factor. When armed robbers killed over 50 persons in a bank robbery in Offa, Kwara state years back, the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), didn’t see drug abuse as a factor. Government didn’t see drug abuse in the squishing of countless victims’ head by Badoo Boys in Ikorodu, and the ritual killings by Yahoo-Yahoo Boys. Oh Allah, where are we going in this country. We hardly govern ourselves successfully. Shall we call for emissary to do so? if we couldn’t do it then.
The Presidency and National Assembly are lost about redeeming Nigeria’s drugs-crazed youths, but are very much alive political pettiness. Cultism doesn’t reside in tertiary institutions and secondary schools anymore, it has moved into primary schools, mechanic workshops, hairdressing salons, butchers’ association, viewing centres, eateries and beer parlours. No family is immune; the threat is real. There are times when parents must maintain eternal vigilance on their children. While the children of the rich do cocaine, heroin, amphetamine etc, those of the poor sniff gum, human and lizard faeces, urine and gulp Tramadol. Marijuana is now like peppermints to our future generation.
Orunbon, a journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Can be reached via: orunbonibrahimademola@
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; email@example.com, or 08034493944 and 08029301122.
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