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Friday Sermon: The Burden of Leadership

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By Babatunde Jose

The leadership conundrum in Nigeria has been an ever recurring decimal in our march towards self-sustained development. Many authorities have proffered all sorts of hypothesis on this problem but like the proverbial offensive odour of an elephant’s fart, it has refused to go away. Unfortunately, our leaders have failed to adhere to the various in junctions pertaining to leadership in a community. Most of them are people of questionable pedigree, dubious characters and most often people operating on the periphery of crime. Therefore: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:16-20)

Jules Masserman, United States professor of Psychoanalysis, University of Chicago says the leader must fulfil three functions:

1.    The leader must provide for the well-being of the lead … The leader, whoever he is, must be interested in your welfare.  He must not be ravenous like most of the vampire leaders of the ‘Third World’; such as our present day political and religious leaders; who have turned the masses into their ‘milking cows, to be exploited to satisfy their greed and lust.

2.    Leader or would be leader must provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure … a Leader must provide a social order free of self, voracity and ethnicity. Unfortunately, “there is still with us much sorrow and sin, injustice, oppression, wrong and hate. Still does arrogance deaden conscience, rob struggling souls of even the crumbs of pity, and make, of loathsome flesh and crumbling dust, fair-seeming idols for worship. Still does ignorance blow a mighty horn and try to shame true wisdom…  Still does greed devour the substance of helpless ones within its power: Nay, more, the fine individual voice is smothered in the raucous din of groups and crowds that madly shout what they call slogans, new, old falsehoods, long discredited! What can we do to make God’s light shine forth through the darkness around us? Prof. Jitendra Dhoj Khand.  We are a helpless people, who have refused to make efforts to help ourselves; architects of our own misfortune. Like Cassius lamented to Casca in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,” And why should Caesar be a tyrant then? Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf, But that he sees the Romans are but sheep. He were no lion were not Romans hinds.”

3.    The leader must provide its people with a set of beliefs or national ideology. It is easy to talk of the fellowship of men under a single banner. This has not been possible in our clime as the leaders are bereft of vision and mission; and are not endowed with the spirit of corporate, political or spiritual leadership. They do not have any apparition of a ‘promised land’. Neither are they agitators who are more likely to possess these qualities.

Leadership denotes the ability to move masses of men, the talent to produce ideas, and forge the union of theorist, organizer and leader all in one; a rare phenomenon which we find only in great men of history: Ghandi, Napoleon, Caesar, Lenin, Mao, JFK and Hitler.

The leaders we have are charlatans, false leaders and men of untruth. Like they say: A false man cannot build a brick house! If he does not know and follow truly the properties of mortar, burnt clay and what else he works in, it is no house that he makes, but a rubbish heap. It will not stand the test of time and it will fall straightaway.  It is like a forged bank note; they get it passed out of their worthless hands.” Heroes and Hero-worship), p.58.  It is sad indeed! And the 21stCentury is fast going.

Let me end by quoting the conclusions of Olutola Abolurin in his treatise on Religion and Religiosity, when he said: Nigeria therefore is not suffering because of the open show of religiousness, rather there are too many professing religion who do not really have ingrained in them the virtues of the religions they profess and have no intention of seeking the redemptive paths offered by their religions. Religion has become for many the mask to wear to obtain preferment or to lull others into dropping their guards in their personal and business interactions.

The problem we have is the leadership of the society – political, business, civil, and religious. We all claim to be religious but we do not reflect the values of our professed religions in our behavior, in politics or in governance. Indeed for most of us, politics or business is a “do or die” affair and anything goes. And a lot get away with it. Institutions to curb our excesses are corrupted by us. Religious leaders unfortunately also pander to those who are rich or powerful, and in the process, undermine the religious values that should provide the moral anchor for the society. By our actions and inactions as leaders we debase the society and the people become cynical and alienated. We, the leaders in Nigeria, nay Africa, are the problem.

Barka Juma’at and a Happy Weekend.

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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