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Voice of Emancipation: Knowledge is Key

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By Kayode Emola

What doesn’t kill you, they say, makes you stronger; however, when you do reach breaking point, nothing can keep you standing. I do not know how much longer Nigerians can hold out before reaching breaking point. The sheer multitude of problems faced by the country seems to suggest that our leaders, who should be the nation’s visionaries, are blindly leading the blind.

Philosopher John Stuart Mill said, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” The millions of Nigerians living in abject poverty is not the fault of the international communities. The fault lies at the feet of every Nigerian who has stood by or is currently standing by, who accepts the mediocre leadership delivered by the past and present political classes, who do not advocate for good, either for themselves or for their fellow country men and women.

Many gullible people are pinning their hopes for a solution to Nigeria’s problems on the 2023 elections, though these will produce nothing but another liar to be president. The irony is that eight years later they will repent of their foolishness, praising the previous government, searching for another messiah, whilst nothing changes. We repeat this same cycle of madness and yet hope that the outcome will differ and one day Nigeria will be better.

The bitter truth is, it doesn’t matter who becomes Nigeria’s president, Nigeria will never be better. If we continue to deceive ourselves, accepting the current arrangement, building hope on nothing, then we will never see improvement. So, we either rise up now and take our destiny into our own hands, or else we will perish in our ignorance.

No regime in Nigeria has produced a positive change. Conversely, the country has retrogressed at an accelerating rate over the recent years. The failure to prioritise development has condemned Nigeria to fail inevitably across every index of progress.

Consider the situation with our universities: the highest citadels of learning have been closed continuously for the last eight months because of strikes over pay. The future of millions of scholars hangs in jeopardy because the government cannot meet its obligations to the university’s lecturers. Many prospective graduates who were hoping to pursue further education or employment are now unable through no fault of their own. Yet we Yoruba sit comfortably in our high places concerning ourselves solely with who becomes the next president of Nigeria. No wonder the Bible says, “My people die because of lack of knowledge”.

When we tell people that their living conditions within Nigeria are abnormal, that the road to a life of fulfilment and happiness is predicated on removing our Yoruba nation from Nigeria, many people view us as the problem rather than the solution. The simple fact is our youths have never known anything better; whilst those elders who have experienced the riches of life under Yoruba governance, who ought to be at the forefront of the call for Yoruba nation, are instead preaching one Nigeria.

Now, may I ask: what really is Nigeria, and who really are Nigerians? Nigeria, as with many other African countries, does not qualify to be a country. Nigeria was formed as a company; and every company is owned by its shareholders – those who either formed the company or who bought it subsequently. Nigeria was formed by the Royal Niger Company (RNC) and then, in 1900, was sold to the British government for £864,000 for its maximum exploitation. It is clear to see why Chief Awolowo concluded, “Nigeria is a mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English’ or ‘Welsh’ or ‘French’.”

However, from the time of sale through to the transition into Independence in the 1960’s, Nigeria was effective as a corporate entity, living within its means and producing optimally. Today, the company has been run into the ground, and yet many still celebrate its smouldering ruins as a nation.

If there are no Nigerians bonded into a nation by a commonality of language and culture, if the term “’Nigeria’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not,” then why are we killing ourselves to protect a company that we did not create? We, the inhabitants of this geographical area, are not the shareholders of the company, but rather the commodity that is being traded.

Today, many Yoruba people are running away from their homeland as far and as fast as they can. They emigrate to the USA, UK, Canada, etc looking for somewhere to call home. Many have lived in the diaspora for upwards of 40 or 50 years and can no longer return home because, in reality, there is no home to return to.

Yoruba sportsmen and women who have achieved great accolades in their relevant disciplines, such as Anthony Joshua and Tobi Amusan, have done it outside the shores of Yorubaland. It is not that our homeland is cursed, but that it has not been built into the enabling environment required for our people to thrive and fulfil their destiny.

When I was planning to come to the UK over 10 years ago, my plan was to spend one year obtaining a Master’s degree, before returning to a lucrative job with an oil company in Nigeria. Alas, 10 years has passed and now my home is in the United Kingdom, with no plans to return and settle in Yorubaland anytime soon. I am not complaining about the good life I have come to enjoy here in the UK; I am only saddened that our leaders have not done anything to create a better life for the millions of our people in our homeland. We, however, cannot follow in our leaders’ path of apathy; it is imperative that we stand up and fight for the future of the next generation.

We can continue to moan without taking action and wait for a miracle to happen; or we can begin to put in the effort required to bring our Yoruba nation out of Nigeria. The choice is in your hands, every Yoruba man and woman must choose whether to take the path of action or inaction. However, as for me and my household, we will continue to advocate for Yoruba nation. We are not pursuing independence because it is one of multiple solutions that can create a better life for our people; we are pursuing independence because it is the only way to create a better life for our people. The sooner we realise this, the better it will be for all of us.

Once realising this truth, the next question people may ask is, what should we do in response? We Yoruba need to be resolute in our demand for change, we must insist – in a non-violent manner – that there will be no participation in Nigeria’s elections across Yorubaland until we have been able to sit down and discuss how we want to move forward. After all, what we have in Nigeria is never election but selection – it is not the populace who elect their leader, but the electoral powers who select their choice. This is the time that will make or break Nigeria; we must accelerate the Yoruba independence journey to ensure that we are freed in totality from the mental shackles bound around our neck.

I implore those who are still searching for the solution to creating a better Nigeria to sit down and ask themselves: what is Nigeria? What language does Nigeria speak? If Nigeria is a cohesive country, then why is our lingua franca English? It is only when we know the truth concerning our origin and Yoruba heritage that we can appreciate who we truly are. We Yoruba are a great people, having a unique language, culture and tradition that transcend millennia. The sooner we begin reclaiming our identity, the better it will be, not just for ourselves but for all of the generations yet unborn.

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Opinion

Osun: The Power of the People is Under Attack

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By James O. Bamgbose

At the mention of democracy, what easily comes to mind is the fact that it is a system that places the power to decide leadership on the people. But the experience of the people of Osun state has been the entire opposite of this enticing feature that endears people to democracy. Politicians who fail to get the mandate of the people seem to have found a way to use the court to impose themselves power.

The most recent instance of such a repressive approach is the Justice T.A. Kume led Election Petition Tribunal decision that waved aside the will of the people for a different choice. In the majority judgment read by Justice Kume, the panel made a sweeping attack on the power of the people to choose their leaders as envisaged by the democracy.

The judgment was a clear indication that the law court is now an abode for politicians rejected at the ballot to sneak into power. Before now, violence and manipulations are the tools for politicians to force their way to power, but judges, who are obviously compromised, are the willing tools for politicians to boycott the people to power.

For anyone who followed the Tribunal proceeding up to the point of judgment, they will hardly be surprised by the verdict reached by Justice Kume and his colleagues. This is because Justice Kume never hides his bias against the respondents to the point that you wonder whether he is an arbiter or the petitioner counsel.

It got worse in his judgment, where he maliciously attacked the 2nd respondent (Governor Ademola Adeleke) by making a veil dismissal of his (Adeleke) as a dancer. “The 2nd Respondent cannot “go lo lo lo” and “Buga won” as the duly elected Governor of Osun State in the election conducted on the 16th day of July 2022. See Kizz Daniel’s song,” Justice Kume noted in his judgment.

This is not only a new low for a judicial officer but a clear statement of bias. It is evident that this bias weigh heavily on his decision, which by every indication, was perverse. Or, how can one reconcile the conclusion made by Justice Kume in the judgment that the Exhibit submitted by the respondents after the Exhibit BVR “amount to tampering with official documents” without any clear evidence adduced in that regard?

A judge is not a superman, and this is why most times, they rely on the presentation of an expert to have a clear understanding on the matter before them. One would have expected an unbias arbiter to seek the advice of an expert on the BVAS technology so as to make a sound decision that will ensure true justice.

This was not the case in the Osun Tribunal case, as Justice Kume, relied more on his opinion, rather than evidence that is before it to arrive at the judgment. Or, what could have informed the decision to ignore the BVAS machine physical examination ordered by the court, and go for a server report that has been disputed as incomplete by the maker, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It is known to the whole world that the BVAS machines were the device used in the polling units and hold more credible data than a server in far away Abuja. What Justice Kume did with the judgment is beyond injustice, but a serious attack on our democracy. With a decision as the one done by Justice Kume, voters will no longer be encouraged to participate in an election because their votes may not actually matter but the whim and caprices of a judge who was not anywhere near the place of the election.

This unfolding reality will be devastating. In other words, politicians will no longer be interested in what the voters think, but be sure to manipulate the judiciary and find their way to power irrespective of what the people decide at the poll. This is a great setback on our democracy and to imagine that the judiciary, which should ensure the sanctity of the ballot, is the same fouling it, is to say the least a demoralising.

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Opinion

The Oracle: Ethics and Discipline in Law: Akin to Waiting for Godot (Pt. 3)

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By Mike Ozekhome

INTRODUCTION

A nation is said to be developed when the standard of her discipline and ethics are measured in comparison with others in the developing society. Where this is lacking in Nigeria for instance, is what has led her to fail to measure up with other developed nations of the world. Today, we shall continue our discourse on this.

ETHICS AND MORALITY (continues)

To analyse law, refers must be made to a classic tale, originating in India, of a group of blind men and elephant even though there are numerous variations of the story, but I enjoy the Jain’s version in particular:

“Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! It is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan,” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by, and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched a different part of the elephant. So, the elephant has all the features of what you all said.” 

Because of the multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary nature of law several theories and schools of law have been propounded to wit: the Naturalist School, the Socialist Theory, the Positivist Theory, the Realists Theory, the Utilitarian Theory and so on, but we are not going to wear ourselves out with the various theories. For the sake of this write-up, we shall adopt the definition proposed in the Black’s Law Dictionary above, that is:

“As that which is laid down, ordained, or established. A rule or method according to which phenomenon or actions co-exist or follow each other. Law, in its generic sense, is a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority and having binding legal force. That which must be obeyed and followed by citizens subject to sanctions or legal consequences. Law is a solemn expression of the will of the supreme power of the State”.

“WAITING FOR GODOT” is a term coined from the story – Waiting for Godot – to describe a situation where people are waiting for something to happen, but it probably never will. Simply put, it is to engage in wishful thinking or to build castles in the air. The phrase is coined from the play by Samuel Becket. The play is basically two clowns waiting for someone who never shows up. It’s a metaphor for humanity waiting for some revelation of God’s presence amid horror, destruction and chaos.

They never get it. At the end a messenger boy comes to say Mr. Godot is very sorry but he’s unable to come today, but perhaps tomorrow. That’s life. Waiting for Godot is a tragicomedy in two acts by Irish writer Samuel Beckett, published in 1952 in French as En attendant Godot and first produced in 1953. Waiting for Godot was a true innovation in drama and the Theatre of the Absurd’s first theatrical success.

NATIONAL ETHICS

National ethics simply means a set of conduct and behaviours expected of every citizen, the breach of which attracts punishment. National ethics is defined as a system of morals, rules, and behaviour which every community in a country is bound to abide by and a breach of such rules usually attracts punishment.

National ethics is stated in the Constitution of a nation to guide the behaviour and conduct of citizens in their places of work. It serves to establishment of law and order and attainment of meaningful development in a country. The present Constitution of Nigeria states the national ethics to comprise the following: Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-Reliance, and Patriotism.

Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-Reliance, and Patriotism.

By discipline the Constitution meant Nigerians should try not to be corrupt, disobedient to laws or embezzle government’s funds when they found themselves in a position of leadership. Citizens are expected to be disciplined, always observing self-control and associating themselves only with people of good character. The importance of discipline which cannot be overemphasized include but not limited to the following: Discipline builds good habits; Discipline helps one stop procrastinating; Discipline helps one manage one’s time better; Discipline helps one achieve your goals; Discipline boosts one self-esteem; Discipline helps one master things; Discipline makes one more reliable; Discipline improves one’s ability to manage challenging emotions. When you have discipline in your life you can make small sacrifices in the present for a better life in the future. Discipline creates habits, habits make routines, and routines become who you are daily.

Like a muscle, discipline can be trained. The more you work on your discipline the stronger it becomes. You see this in sports all the time, the more disciplined team ends up beating the undisciplined team with greater talent. Disciplined teams can see the big picture and use restraint during adversity. Teams who aren’t as disciplined lose their cool and end up costing themselves a shot.

By integrity the Constitution states that Nigerians should try to be firm and honest in all their activities. They should not allow others to drag them into illegal and dishonest activities.

Integrity is a characteristic that many of us value in ourselves, and it’s one we look for consistently in our leaders.  But what does it really mean to have integrity? It is the quality of being honest and strong about what you believe to be right.

One could say that integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn’t easy. Or, one might see integrity as staying true to oneself and one’s word, even when one is faced with serious consequences for the choices that you’re making.

When we have integrity, we gain the trust of our leaders, our colleagues and our team. We’re dependable, and, when we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, we become role models  for others to follow.

All of this, in turn, directly impacts our success in life.

Dignity of labour entails that Nigerians should be proud of the work they do irrespective of its nature provided it is legal. It also means labour should be rewarded accordingly. That is, we should have respect for those who work for us. The dignity of labour is the philosophy that all types of jobs are respected equally, and no occupation is considered superior and none of the jobs should be discriminated on any basis. Regardless of whether one’s occupation involves physical work or mental labour, it is held that the job deserves respect. Simply put, any form of work, manual or intellectual, is called labour and respecting any kind of job (manual or intellectual) is called “dignity of labour”. Dignity of labour, in a nutshell, is the experience of self-worth and achievement that a person derives from his or her work. It is experienced when a person is treated as an equal in the workplace and when they feel useful to their company and to society in general.

By social justice the Constitution implies that Nigerians irrespective of where they come from should be treated fairly and rightly. That is, they should be given equal opportunities in terms of access to justice, employment, education, etc. This could help to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor to the barest minimum.

Justice is the concept of fairness. Social justice is fairness as it manifests in society. That includes fairness in healthcare, employment, housing, and more. Discrimination and social justice are not compatible. Now, social justice applies to all aspects of society, including race and gender, and it is closely tied to human rights. More specifically, what does social justice mean?

Social justice means that everyone’s human rights are respected and protected. Everyone has equal opportunities. This doesn’t guarantee that society will be perfect, and everyone will always be happy. However, everyone will have a fighting chance at the life they want. They aren’t held back by things out of their control like systemic obstacles or discrimination.

By Religious tolerance the Constitution simply means that Nigerians should learn to stay together without violating each other’s right in their practice of religion. That is, they should learn to believe that the religion of every person is important to him. Therefore, every Nigerian should consider the religion of another Nigerian important to the believer. That is, we should learn to believe that, much as we value our religions other people, too, value their religion no matter the pattern of worship.

This goal is a complex one due the great diversity of religions and spiritual beliefs existing in the world today especially in our society. Religion is also a very emotional topic. It can often be difficult for individuals to put their personal biases aside and consider ideas or situations objectively. (To be continued).

FUNTIMES

“Chatting with a Nigerian girl is like interview, if you don’t ask her question, she has nothing to tell you”.- Anonymous.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“In just about every area of society, there’s nothing more important than ethics”. (Henry Paulson).

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Opinion

How Atiku Abubakar Will Become the Next President of Nigeria by Dele Momodu

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I have read with bemusement many of the polls about the forthcoming Presidential election on February 25, 2023, and have come to the conclusion that the elitist polls have failed monumentally due to the over-reliance on technology in a largely illiterate population.

I have decided to help situate the forecasts based on the established polical history of Nigeria and empirical data.

A Presidential candidate cannot depend totally on votes from outside his home base to win this election. It is a fact of history that whenever the South produced two strong candidates, the dominant Nothern candidate won, such as in 1979 and 1983, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe versus Shehu Shagari.

Bola Tinubu is far weaker today in the South West and Awolowo was by far more formidable, while Obi is the new Azikiwe (the first Governor General and President of Nigeria) in the South East, and Kwankwaso is the current Aminu Kano.

Atiku Abubakar will dominate the North East, North West, North Central and South South. Tinubu may pick a few states in the North and South West but won’t have enough to win. The bridges required to cross to victory has taken Atiku 30 years to build. Tinubu has not been able to lock down the entire South West not to talk of the whole of Nigeria. Over-reliance on bribing the electorates will fail. Hoping to rig brazenly will also fail spectacularly. I repeat, the entire North and the South South will make Atiku the next President. Atiku will still be competitive in the South East and South West. Wherever Obi is number one in the East, Atiku will be number two. Wherever Tinubu is number one in the South West, Atiku will be number two or vice versa. Atiku will be the first to cross the line of recording 25 percent in 24 states. He will get 25 percent automatically in the 19 states of Northern Regions and will pick six in South South automatically. He will pick more 25 percent in all of the five states in the South East, a traditional base of PDP, and same in the South West. Wherever Obi is number one, Atiku will be number two or vice versa. I do not know of any state PDP will not record 25 percent and eventually win the overall popular votes. Nigeria has become so polarizingly divided (pardon my tautology) that the “peoples” are going to vote majorly along ethnic lines as well as primordial sentiments. The North will not vote a “fake Muslim” in the name of a pretentious and mischievous Muslim/Muslim ticket. The scam is dead on arrival. The North East will never vote for a number two position when they’ve been chasing the number one since 1966. The North West will not abandon an Atiku for a Tinubu who’s well known for his iron grip on Lagos State since 1999. The South West itself knows it has the most controversial and palpably weakest candidate in this race this time and would humbly and readily accept its fate with equanimity. It will also dawn on the South East that Obi’s raving popularity alone cannot carry him across the winning line and many of their traditional voters will willingly settle for ATIKU ABUBAKAR and IFEANYICHUKWU OKOWA, the cerebral man and gentle giant of Igbo ancestry. I predict that former President Atiku Abubakar will be the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is the most prepared, experienced candidate in the race who’s ready to hit the ground running from day one…
Nigerians will experience real politicking in the days ahead.

Chief Dele Momodu is the Director of Strategic Communications PDP Presidential Campaign Council

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