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IBB Terrorises Buhari as Saraki Transmits I-G

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Tunde Odesola

You can call me a fool for all you care, I won’t bat an eyelid. I have the right to be foolish, anyway. But move away from my arm’s length if you call me stupid, for stupidity is mental retardation simplified. Foolishness is a choice. Stupidity is not, it’s endowed. It’s wired to the DNA. As adjectives, ‘foolish’ is lacking a good sense or judgment but ‘stupid’ is lacking in intelligence or the inability to think. Stupidity is the crown on an empty skull. Foolishness is the obstinacy that dares the lamb to look at the tiger in the eyes. With a little more caution, the lamb could, by keeping silent in hiding, escape a bloody journey into the belly of the black-striped, gold-furred tiger with flaming eyes, stalking the jungle.

Then Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari blazed into power in the very last minute of 1983. His coup was a welcome blow that broke the spine of the inept and corrupt Shehu Shagari administration which was more popular for wearing long caps on idle heads than arresting the debilitating inflation crippling the economy. Fire bellowed down the nostrils of the Buhari tiger, clawing, tearing and mauling perceived impediments to national greatness. Everybody feared the tiger until a certain lamb from the largest state in the country, Niger, came to tame it two years after. This Niger lamb was beautiful and pleasing to the eyes, its baaing was melodious to the ears; everybody who feared the tiger loved the iamb of the lamb. The furry lamb was a paradox that unnerved and reassured simultaneously. Not very long after being crowned king, however, the corrupt-wind of genetic mutation blew the way of the lamb, which sloughed its fur for scales and metamorphosed into a snake. The lamb’s harmless mouth turned into striking serpentine jaws of poison, savagery replaced genteelness, and evil stalked the land unstoppably. Sometime in the August of 1985, the snake chased out the tiger from the lair, taking over the kingdom.

I’ve never set my eyes on a scrotal sac with one ball. But I’ve often heard the Yoruba describe any man wailing meaninglessly as having only one ball in his sac. What’s the link between wailing and one scrotal ball? Does wailing complement a missing ball? Does wailing alleviate the pains or absence of a missing ball? With the way Nigerians wail meaninglessly on social media, compulsory medical check on scrotal sacs across the country won’t be a bad idea. However, it’s not only Nigerian proletariats that wail, Nigerian leaders wail, too. Last week, former man of steel, President Buhari, lamented in Abuja during the inauguration of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s headquarters in Abuja. He said he was ousted in 1985 and detained for three years by Brig Gen Ibrahim Babangida because he (Buhari) was fighting corruption as of the time. The President said, “I was removed as the head of state, detained for three years and people whom we recovered stolen money from were given back their money and I remained in detention up until my mother had to die to save me from detention.”

Mr President, you’re free to think Nigerians are fools, but don’t you think we are stupid. In our foolishness, we can clearly see the lie in your statement that your mother waited three years to save you from detention. Why would a mother wait for 1, 095 days to save her son? What if death had knocked on your soul before her intervention? Oh, your media aides would say, “The President was speaking figuratively.” Yes, he was speaking politically, too. When a figure of speech borders on representing an idea better or worse than it really is, it is called an exaggeration. So, is the President blowing issues out of proportion in order to gain political sympathy? The President said he was toppled 33 years ago because of corruption and that the money he retrieved from corrupt politicians were returned to them, right? And Babangida, who toppled him, is still alive. Please, where should the anti-corruption war of Buhari begin from, if it is only to set the records straight and debunk the claims that his military administration was vindictive? So, Buhari knows some individuals with stolen public wealth, and he keeps quiet and feels comfy about it? What manner of leader is he? A weakling? There, surely, exists a difference between foolishness and stupidity.

Foolishness and stupidly rule the Nigerian online political space where innumerable people talk inanities all at once. Some talk and say nothing. Some applaud roguish politicians defecating on our collective sensibilities. In Animal Farm, George Orwell depicts the proletariats as stupid. Are Nigerian proletariats better? Foolishness and stupidity went round the bend last week as another President, Bukola Saraki, tackled the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. Saraki, the President of the Nigerian Senate, last Wednesday, accused the IGP of planning to implicate him in the trial of some suspected hired killers arrested in Kwara State. Hitherto, there was no love lost between Saraki’s flimsy Senate and the unmeet police boss as Saraki and his gang of senators had repeatedly invited Idris to appear before the Red Chamber futilely. If the Senate was planning not to pass the budget of the police – in retaliation of the I-G’s scorn, a quick rethink wasn’t unlikely as Idris wouldn’t think twice before withdrawing police orderlies from our self-serving senators. Who wan die? Not these senators gulping billions of naira in taxpayers’ funds monthly with nothing to show for it.

In the heat of the back-and-forth kafuffle between the senate and the I-G, a video clip went viral. In the video, Idris, who was reading an address at a public function, was portrayed as being unable to coherently read his address, needlessly repeating the word ‘transmission’. A man in a dark suit and blue shirt stepped in to help with the speech which being ruffled by the wind while Idris bungled on. A closer look at the video, however, shows that Idris’ lips and the audio don’t sync. The IG, though a lawyer, doesn’t possess the gift of the garb. He speechifies the English Language in a laborious way. With its back pinned against the wall, the police force released its version of the video showing the IGP reading an error-free address. The two versions were from the same Kano event, but the part wherein the man in suit stepped in to offer a helping hand was excised from the version released by the police – suggesting that Idris truly made a couple of mispronunciations while delivering his speech. His traducers, however, fanned the embers of the innocuous error into a horrible conflagration by manipulating the audio to make the I-G sound as repeating himself. The Presidency later joined in the fray by describing the video as doctored. I’m not a fan of the IGP as I consider many of his actions unbecoming since he was appointed by Buhari on March 21, 2016. But a fool worth his salt would see through the deft doctoring of the video. That a lot of Nigerians believe that the IG could, in a two-minute, 18-second video, publicly repeat ‘transmission’ 13 times, and ‘I mean’ six times, shows why the political class continues to manipulate us with the stupidest of ploys. A bosom friend, Shola Ogunjimi, however, has a different opinion. He said Nigerians knew that the video was doctored, but that they believed it because of the brainlessness that attended some of Idris’ past actions. A former Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council, Prince Ayoade Adedayo, who felt no pity for Idris, believes there is more to the video than what the police are claiming.

I ask, why is Idris suddenly being portrayed as deficient in speech and reading now that some powerful people are being linked to some suspected hired killers? Why?

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We’re Not ‘Officially Aware’ of Anyone Working Against Tinubu’s Victory – FG

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The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said it was not “officially aware” of any entity in the Presidential Villa working against the victory of the All Progressives Congress’ flag bearer, Bola Tinubu. It also said that President, Muhammadu Buhari was neither favouring nor disfavouring any presidential candidate ahead of the February 25 election.

“If there’s anybody who is working against any candidate, we don’t know officially,” the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, told State House Correspondents after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the President at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, alleged that some “elements” in Aso Rock are working against Tinubu’s emergence as President.

El-Rufai, who spoke on a Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, explained that the persons in question were aggrieved that Tinubu defeated their candidate in the June 2022 APC presidential primary.

He cited the naira redesign policy as one of several schemes targeted at the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, who also made a similar claim a week earlier.

According to El-Rufai, “I believe there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries.

“They are trying to get us to lose the election, and they are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right. I will give two examples: this petroleum subsidy, which is costing the country trillions of Naira, was something that we all agreed would be removed.

“In fact, I discussed with the President and showed him why it had to go. Because how can you have a capital budget of N200b for federal roads and then spend N2 Trillion on petroleum subsidy? This was a conversation I had with the President in 2021 when the subsidy thing started rising. He was convinced. We left. It changed. Everyone in the government agreed, and it changed.

“The second example I will give is this currency redesign. You have to understand the President. People are blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for the currency redesign, but No. You have to go back and look at the first outing of Buhari as President.

“He did this; the Buhari-Idiagbon regime changed our currency and did it in secrecy with a view to catching those that are stashing away illicit funds. It is a very good intention. The President has his right. But doing it at this time within the allotted time does not make any political or economic sense.”

But fielding a question on the issue on Wednesday, Mohammed argued that the Buhari-led government has been fair to all candidates regardless of party affiliations.

He said, “On a more serious note, one thing I can assure you is that, no matter who, this administration is focused and determined to ensure a free and fair election. And I think this administration, and for that matter now, the most important person in this regard is Mr. President.

“I think he has shown by words and deed that he is committed to a free, fair and credible election. And fair, free and credible elections mean not favouring or disfavouring anybody.

“Everywhere he goes, he makes that very clear, even as recently as Friday, when he was in Daura. He said the same thing. So if there’s anybody who’s working against any candidate, we don’t know officially.”

Speaking in Ogun State last Wednesday, the APC presidential candidate alleged plans to sabotage the coming election.

Tinubu cited the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the lingering fuel crisis and as part of plots to thwart the polls and his expected victory.

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2023 Elections: INEC Deploys 707,384 Presiding Officers

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The Independent National Electoral Commission will deploy 707,384 presiding officers for the general elections scheduled to commence on February 25.

The commission also said that since electoral education was important, there was a need to infuse it into the National Values Curriculum of primary schools in Nigeria.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated these during the public presentation of the Electoral Education Curriculum and Teachers’ Guide for primary schools.

The curriculum which was developed by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening  – Sustaining Electoral Engagement for Democracy project funded by USAID and FCDO and implemented by National Democratic Institute and IFES, was in partnership with the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council, INEC (through the Voter Education Department), National Orientation Agency, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All and academia from across the country.

Okoye said, “We believe that electoral education is important in the goals of our nation. Electoral education is a specialized area and that is why we have this curriculum being infused into the National Values Curriculum in our primary schools.

“For instance, for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the commission will deploy a total of 707, 384 presiding officers and assistant presiding officers.

“These presiding officers will be drawn from the crop of young men and women doing their National Youth Service Corps, while the assistant presiding officers will be drawn from students from federal tertiary institutions.

“It is therefore important for us to understand the importance of electoral education in the development of our democracy.

“A national civic education curriculum and teachers’ guide with a specific focus on electoral education will prepare our children for the challenges ahead and also prepare them on how to respect other people’s races and also prepare them to assume leadership in future.”

The President of IFES, Anthony Banbury, said its contribution to the project was to strengthen Nigeria’s electoral process through effective teaching and learning of civic education in primary schools.

“To catch them young, the revised curriculum is a hallmark innovation that will introduce children and youth very early to the concept, processes, ethics, and values of democratic systems and governance.

“It will be essential for the young people’s orientation to initiate a shift from the existing norms. In the long term, it will increase civic participation and knowledge of democratic systems and values, as the children of today become the adults and the voters of tomorrow,” Banbury said.

The Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, said the aim was to strengthen the fabric of the nation’s democracy for sustainable growth and development.

According to him, since the return of democracy in 1999, citizens’ participation in elections and the electoral process had remained an issue of concern.

He also said that a known reason for this was the lack of adequate electoral knowledge.

“Hence, promoting democratic electoral culture and developing civic skills are therefore necessary for well-informed and responsible participation in elections and in the electoral process,” Junaidu said.

He said that the above informed the initiative of the NERDC in collaboration with IFES to develop the Electoral Education Curriculum for primary schools in Nigeria.

According to him, the curriculum, generally, is developed to expose young learners to the rudiments of democracy and inculcate in them the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for active citizens’ participation in the democratic process.

“Specifically, the curriculum is designed to achieve five key objectives, which are to: equip learners with basic knowledge of the concept of democracy, the role of elections in democracy and good governance.

He said the choice of primary school learners was hinged on the core principle of using education as an instrument of socialisation for the young to assume adult roles for the good of society.

“Thus, the teaching of electoral education at this level will ensure that when children reach voting age, they would have already understood the fundamentals of active participation in the political and electoral process,” Junaidu said.

While commending the management of NERDC for the initiative, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by his Senior Technical Assistant, Dr Claris Ujam, said the curriculum had become a dynamic process for sustainable national development.

He said, “Every time, there are changes or developments happening around the world, the school curricula are affected.

“Therefore, the inclusion of concepts and contents of electoral education under Civic Education is in line with the drive under the Ministry’s Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan.

“This is to enable the acquisition of citizenship values and skills through quality education. The electoral education curricular contents constitute a remarkable step to create positive change in the election landscape and political development.”

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Pro, Anti Ekweremadu Protesters Storm UK Trial

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The human trafficking case against a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, resumed in a London court on Tuesday.

However, anti- and pro-Ekweremadu protests were staged in front of the court ahead of the proceedings.

AFP reported that before court proceedings, there was a gathering of protesters, some of whom were in support of the lawmaker while others were against him.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested alongside his wife at Heathrow Airport in London on the allegation that they flew a young man from Nigeria to the UK to harvest his organ.

The allegation added that the organ was meant for Ekweremadu’s daughter, Sonia, who is currently hospitalised with a kidney-related illness.

Some Nigerians had in October 2022 protested in Abuja against the continued detention of the lawmaker who has now spent 223 days in the custody of UK authorities.

Protesters, once again, gathered at the court on Tuesday to either support the embattled lawmaker or protest his continued detention in UK custody.

“I mean, this case is unbelievable,” one protester, Citizen Gbola, was quoted by AFP as saying.

“Where else in the world would you have a deputy senate president, who is still a serving senator, he’s still getting his regular wage?”

According to Daily Mail, Sonia couldn’t make it to court on Tuesday but sought permission with a psychological report by her team claiming she was not fit to stand trial.

She had pleaded not guilty to the allegation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself, when she appeared in court on November 7, 2022.

The young man, who levelled the allegation against the Ekweremadus, told Staines Police Station that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

A 50-year-old medical doctor from South London, Obinna Obeta, was also arrested in connection to the allegation.

During proceedings at the Old Bailey court, Ekweremadu who wore a grey tracksuit top only said “Yes, miss” when asked to confirm his name.

Seated beside the lawmaker in the dock and dressed in black was his wife who was granted bail in July 2022 while her husband was said to be a flight risk.

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