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Friday Sermon: The Vanity of The Dead



By Babatunde Jose

And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is over all things competent. Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire..”(Quran 3: 189-191)

In 1972, while working as a reporter at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, in Ikoyi, I developed the morbid pastime of walking through the Ikoyi cemetery, marveling at the vanity of men and the type of tombstones many have fashioned for their departed. However, there were some that amazed me, such as those that were erected by those still living, with the sure intention of being interned therein. Hmmmm! Man proposes and God disposes. We have read in the good books that ‘nobody knows the hour, not even the Angels, nor the prophets of God’, the secret of ‘the hour’ is with God. My grand uncle, late Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony built a mausoleum at Ikoyi cemetery complete with marble finishing and a headstone with the inscription: Here lies the remains of Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony, 1907—-‘. What vanity! My Uncle did not die for another 20 years after the erection of the monument; and he was not buried there either. He was buried at Ayinke House, Ikeja General Hospital.

My client, the publisher and owner of Islamic Publications Bureau, was an Indian entrepreneur and had lived for long in Nigeria. His publications were text books for many schools in Nigeria. One December, he went on a tour of the North to visit his branches and consult with the various state governments that patronized his books. Unfortunately his car had an accident on the road to Sokoto and he died, only his driver survived to tell the story. The villagers on realization that he was a Moslem, did ‘janaza’ for him and he was buried there, with a small mound to mark his shallow grave.  His wife later visited the site and asked that his soul should not be disturbed. That was where Allah said he would sleep. Allahu Akbar!

Many have built such grandiose mausoleums to burnish their vanities but in the end such monuments lie waste with the passage of time.

We were at the Vaults and Garden private cemetery last Monday to intern the body of a dear mother Alhaja Dabiri, mother of our new chairman: Crescent Bearers. She was aged 87 and buried according to Islamic rites, without fanfare or earthly embellishments. But not so with the wonders of man’s vaingloriousness we saw at the cemetery which kept many of our mouths agape. Here were graves like no other; with billboards advertising the occupants, many with life-size, wide format portraits of the departed souls. There were some with garden benches for prospective visitors to the graves. Vanity upon vanity; there were empty tombs with built up enclosures, some with marbles, others granites and palladium. Most had enclosures with glass and decorated wrought iron designs, complete with sliding glass doors. Some of those in attendant at the burial were hissing openly and loudly at the obscenity of the spectacles. It was a most odious sight to behold.

If men were remembered for their loudness and vain acts, perhaps it would have been worth their while. Unfortunately, these posers and spiritually ignorant beings are soon forgotten; they did not leave wells for people to drink from, neither did they leave mosques or madrasas nor did they leave worthy children who would continue to pray for them and carry their flags after their demise.

Why are men so vain?  The vain creature is an irreligious being, as he is devoid of compassion and empathy for his fellow man. All he knows, is about himself and his image. He goes to any length to look good and accepted.  In all he does, he plays to the gallery. He donates the fattest offering in the church or mosque, but insist it must be announced for all to know; he is always at the front row in the Friday prayer in the mosque and he has a reserved seat in the front pew in the cathedral. It is however a very sad commentary on our belief and faith that we have carried this odious behavior to the cemetery. The idiocy of human vanity makes one reflect deeply on the whole purpose of life. Why are we here? What is the whole essence of man? Where are we going from here?

Allah says, “I have not created men except that they should serve Me” (Quran, 51:56). This life is a preparation for the Hereafter the ‘Eternal Home’ that will not be going to an end to which all human beings ultimately go. So, Muslims are required to observe righteousness in their daily life, based on Quranic teachings.

In another verse of Quran Allah Almighty says that:

“Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Quran 57:20)

No doubt, all those billboards and fancy epitomes of vanity will wither away with the passage of time and their owners and offspring’s will have a lot to answer for on the Day of Reckoning. Vanity is an emptiness or uselessness of things and Solomon wrote more about vanity than any other author in the Bible and more so in Ecclesiastes where vanity is mentioned 32 of the 35 times in the Bible. We also read in 2nd Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. A great admonition indeed!

Those who have ears should listen now!

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend



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Fuel Subsidy Removal: FG, Labour Meeting Ends in Deadlock




Talks between the Federal Government and organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidy ended in a deadlock on Wednesday as they failed to reach a consensus following the hike in petrol pump prices to over N700 from N195 per litre by oil marketers.

The hours-long meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa was to, among other things, prevent a labour crisis following the recent increase in the petrol pump price occasioned by the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited said it had adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to reflect the market realities. The agency, however, failed to state the new prices of petrol.

However, several retails outlets sold the product between 600 and N800 in Lagos, Abuja , Ogun and some other states.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, pointed out that the hike in the cost of PMS would trigger galloping inflation in the country, stressing that some outlets in the South-East were currently dispensing the product at N1,200/l.

Ukadike stated, “Once NNPCL retail stations have adjusted their pumps to reflect the new price, there is nothing you can do about it; that is the new price. As I speak with you, all of them are now selling at the new prices. The situation is so bad, that somewhere in Ebonyi State our members informed us that it is now N1,200/litre.

“We thought the President would remove the subsidy through a seamless means because the source of this petrol is the NNPCL. They are the ones subsidising petroleum products, they are the people who use their revenue to subsidise this product.’’

The IPMAN spokesperson expressed worry over the rate of increase in inflation and hardship that would come as a result of the latest hike in petrol price.

“This hike in petrol price will definitely lead to galloping inflation and will worsen the hardship already being faced by the Nigerian masses. It is not something to cheer about. It came as a surprise and in the coming days, we will see the very harsh ripple effects,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Ukadike has called on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to give other marketers the opportunity to start importing petrol in order to create competition in the sector.

“The NNPCL is importing and has not given people the opportunity to join them in importing so as to see whether private sector operators can import the product cheaper or not. So there is no competition. In a deregulated regime, there must be competition, everyone with capacity should be allowed to import,” the IPMAN official stated.

When asked whether other marketers could resume imports since the government had finally deregulated petrol prices, Ukadike replied, “Marketers can import, but let me tell you some of the factors militating against this. The first is that there won’t be availability of dollars.

“You will source your dollar from the parallel market and if you are not careful in doing this, and you go into the importation of petroleum products, you might not ‘come out of it alive’ at the end of the day.

“So what we are saying is that those advantages that NNPCL has, should be shared with other major importers of petroleum products. If it is through crude buy-back, they should let us know so that independent players such as IPMAN members can come together and be able to use it in the buy-back model.’’

He added, “For independent marketers, the most important thing is that there should be availability of petroleum products, and the government should open up the space for importers and investors to come in.”

NNPCL, the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years running, confirmed the hike in petrol price in a statement and a new pricing template released to marketers nationwide.

But the move has sparked a groundswell of anger across the nation with the Nigeria Labour Congress demanding an immediate reversal of the decision.

The union also said it would hold an emergency meeting on Friday on the fuel price increase which had triggered hoarding and scarcity across the country with attendant rise in transport fares, goods and services.

The fuel price hike by the oil firm is coming 72 hours after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural address on Monday that the subsidy regime had ended.

To pacify the growing anger over the situation, the FG hastily summoned some labour leaders to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday evening.

The meeting had in attendance the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, former NLC President and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and others, however, ended in a deadlock as the labour and government teams failed to reach a consensus.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Joe Ajaero, said “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”

He faulted the NNPCL over an official release published hours earlier reviewing the petrol pump price in its filling stations nationwide.

He said the move puts the labour unions in a difficult position on the negational table.

“That’s the principle of negotiation. You don’t put the partner, ask them to negotiate under gunpoint. The prayer of the NLC is that we go back to the status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people. If it is an action that must take off.

“The subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June. And before then, conscious people, labour management, and the government should be able to think of what will happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time,” Ajaero said.

The Punch

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Breaking: Founder, DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi is Dead




By Eric Elezuo

The Founder of DAAR Communications, owners of the foremost radio and television stations in Nigeria, Raypower and African Independent Television (AIT), High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, is dead.

Reliable sources said the High Chief died while exercising on a treadmill on Monday afternoon.

The source said Dopkesi suffered a stroke some weeks ago.

Details soon…

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I Stand on Rule of Law, with Our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, PDP, Says Dele Momodu




By Eric Elezuo

Frontline journalist and Director of Strategic Communications of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Council in the just concluded Presidential election, Chief Dele Momodu, had said that he remains a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and will always stand on the side of rule of law, and with the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Momodu made the revelations in a statement he signed himself, noting that the last election, which brought Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to power, was savagely manipulated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He praised the steps Atiku, and the presidential candidate of the Labour candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, have taken in seeking legal redress.

The statement in details:


My position on the state of our country NIGERIA is simple and straightforward. I’m a loyal member of PDP who owes absolute allegiance to Nigeria and its Rule of Law. My political party PDP and others passionately hold the view that the last Presidential election was savagely manipulated by the ruling party APC and the cases are already in courts. Nothing will make me abandon my party on the altar of convenience and profit. Win or lose, I will continue to stand on this principle without any malice or prejudice against those who think otherwise. Democracy is a game of choice and I’m resolutely standing by our candidate, the former Vice President ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR (GCON) who has taken the honorable and peaceful step of going to court to seek redress. This is the only way we can deepen our hard earned Democracy. Sacrifice is not always convenient but painful.

I salute and respect The Wazirin Adamawa and others like my dear friend and Brother, former Governor Peter Obi, the Labor Party Presidential candidate, for promoting the best tenets of Democracy in Nigeria and I’m willing to encourage them rather than discourage their onerous quests…


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