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The Oracle: Why Nigeria Needs Restructuring (Pt. 3)

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By Mike Ozekhome

INTRODUCTION

This week, we continue our discourse on why Nigeria needs restructuring to prevent its avoidable inexorable implosion and breakup through sustained inherent self-contradictions.

INSECURITY REIGNS SUPREME

In terms of security, Nigeria is becoming a killing field. The daily slaughter ritual in Nigeria that has turned the Nigerian geographical space into a killing field is not only criminal, but also smacks of total abdication of governance by the current government. It is most cruel, hideous, horrific, inhuman, dastardly and barbaric. The latest theatre of the absurd is Plateau state, where hundreds of innocent and helpless Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable (children, women and elderly), have been mindlessly hacked down in cold blood. Nigerians have become “walking corpses” or “the living dead” (apologies, AyiKwei Armah: “The Beautiful Ones Are not yet Born”). The government that appears overtly overwhelmed (if it ever cared at all), wrings its hands in utter helplessness and blames everything and any one, but itself. PMB says he can only pray to God for miracles. The Commander-in-Chief (C-in–C) in saying this, breaks the heart and freely donates to the citizens, helplessness and hopelessness. What is the military there for, since the Police has been overrun? Sections 130 (2) and 215 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as altered, make the President the C-in-C of both the Armed Forces and the Police. Never before, or after the three year bloody Nigerian fratricidal civil war has Nigeria witnessed such barefaced butchery of innocent souls in a most horrendous manner that portends ethnic cleansing and genocidal tendencies.

The entire security architecture of Nigeria has been greatly compromised and doctored. The Nigerian Constitution (section 14 (2) (b), makes the welfare and security of lives and property the primary purpose of government. Any government that cannot protect its citizens is not worth being called a government by any description or appellation. We have become a laughing stock before international circles. We make merriment and hold political rallies on the cold graves of hot steaming blood of innocent Nigerians. We wanted to win the world cup at all cost, amidst vengeful slaughter of fellow Nigerians. But, God is a just and righteous God. He does not tolerate injustice, wickedness. He does not condone unearned adulation and hero-worshipping: The Bible: Job 34:12; Col 3:25; Deut 10:18; 32:4; Isaiah 30:18. The Holy Quran: 5:8; 16:90; 59: 22-24. Die hard politicians are already busy, politicking about 2019, while our citizens are daily massacred in cold blood. A governor that is supposed to be the Chief Security Officer of his state is nothing but a mere toothless crying bulldog, having been stripped of such luxury of controlling powers by sections 215 (4) of the Constitution. This section enthrones a behemoth, elephantine and immobile Police Force at the center, with the governor at the mercy of the IGP and president. That is why I have, over the years, consistently and persistently clamoured for true fiscal federalism that allows for state Police and community policing. From Agatu, Naka and Agasha in Benue state, Demsa, Suwa and Burukulu in Adamawa state, Riyom, BarkinLadi and Jos in Plateau state, to Birnin-Gwari, Dangaji, UnguwarGajere in Kaduna State; from Izza, Wudula, Blakule and Darajimal in Borno State; to Takum, Shaakaa, Donga and Ntule in Taraba State; to Maraban –Udege Village, Aisa and Aguma in Nassarawa State; from Ugbona, Okpella, Odiguetue and Igiode in Edo State, Nigeria knows no peace. Things have fallen apart. The falcon can no longer hear the falconer.

Even in Uwheru, Oreba, Ovwor, Onicha-Olona and Abraka in Delta State; to Okpanku, Ozzala, UkpabiNimbo, Ngwoko, Ebor, Umuome, Ugwuijoro and Ugwuachara in Enugu State, the story is the same: gory and hideous blood-letting and festival of blood. The greatest worry of it all is that these killers are not ghosts or apparitions. They are known. They even come out openly, thump their chests, confess and own up to their criminal acts. The Herdsmen umbrella, Miyetti-Allah, claimed the blood-chilling murder of over 200 Plateau citizens was because 300 of its cows were rustled. It boasted that no one could have expected peace without retaliation, under such circumstances. The same group has, over time, infamously given various reasons for its herdsmen’s killings: Nimbo massacre, Enugu State (deadly attack): “we killed because they stole our cows”. Benue State (several programs): “we killed because of anti-grazing law”. Taraba State (several): “we killed because they blocked our grazing routes”. Adamawa State (many Communities): “we killed because they broke our cow’s leg”. Zamfara State: “we killed because the farmers said we were grazing on their farm lands”. Haba!

A PROSTRATE GOVERNMENT

Nearly seven years down the line, there have been no arrests, no prosecution, no arraignment, no convictions. Rather, some five Christians were arrested in Adamawa, tried and sentenced to death by hanging, for allegedly killing one Fulani herdsman. Some lives are now more precious than others. Rather than kill cow for meal to celebrate occasions, as we know it, we now kill human beings to celebrate cows. The government not only looks the other way, but actually condones the heartless cold-blooded slaughter. Nigeria cannot continue like this. The federal government must rise up to the occasion, draft military personnel to these volatile areas and wash its hands off, like Pontius Pilate, of compromise, condonation, aiding and abetting, of this national horror. The saddest and deepest of all the national cuts and travesty of justice is that there is no one to complain to. The president himself, the very C–in–C, who had promised to lead from the front during his campaigns in 2015, wrings his hands in utter helplessness, and moans (like any of us): “There is nothing I can do to help the situation except to pray to God to help us out of the security challenges”.

Interpretation: “I am helpless; Be prepared to take what you get”. But, the Holy Bible tells us that “God helps those who help themselves” (Hezekiah 6:1). In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, we are admonished that “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat”. In the Holy Quran, it is, “Allah helps those who help themselves” 13:11; (Tafsir of Chapter 022 verse 40). Is the president being fed the true and genuine situation of horrific and grisly events across Nigeria? Can he, when virtually all his security apparatchik consists of nepotic and cronystic appointees from his ethnic and religious groups only: Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, IGP, DSS, EFCC, Immigration, Customs, NSCDC, Prisons, NSA, C of S, etc, etc? Are we in the Fulani Republic of Nigeria, or Republic of Northern Nigeria?

The non-prosecution of these marauding herdsmen has emboldened them to commit more crimes. Daily carnage and spilling of innocent blood have become the norm. Nigerians now appear unshockable. Many lamentably try to justify this modern day genocide with partisan political interpretations, pretending all is well. Meanwhile, Nigeria dies by installment. Most Nigerians have become more cowardly than ever before, afraid even of their own shadows. Nigerians should stand and speak up before we are all eclipsed in dismemberment. Resonating voices appear suddenly mute. Where is the “Occupy Nigeria” group that vehemently protested against GEJ across Nigeria, especially in Lagos and Abuja. Even PMB had himself joined them. Where is General Yakubu Gowon and his praying Orchestral? Where is the voice of gap-toothed IBB? What of roving Ambassador, General Abdusallam Abubakar? Where is GEJ’s voice (even if he will be accused of partisanship, having lost the last elections)? Where are the human rights activists, emergency NGOs proprietors, CSOs, FBOs, etc? I cannot hear the voice of strong willed Ebitu Ukiwe? Where is respected Col. Dangiwa?

Why is everyone keeping silent when Nigeria is sliding towards totalitarianism, absolutism and even fascism? May God forbid “Ruandanization” of our already beleaguered contraption called Nigeria. Perhaps, to prick government’s conscience on the daily butchery of innocent Nigerians in their homes and farms, and the consequential seizure and renaming of their ancestral communities, we should implement the recent suggestion of my good friend, Senator Shehu Sani. He said: “We need a graveyard in the three arms zone of Abuja so that victims of the mindless killings in the country can be buried close to the seat of power. Then the Executive, Legislators & the Judiciary can feel the pains of the helpless widows and orphans we failed to protect.” Nigerians are crying. There is lamentation in the land. There is gnashing of teeth. Melancholy, despondency, hopelessness and regrets stare people in the face. These times are frightening.

Public trust that had initially been ballooned to a myth and anchored on the dizzying height of change mantra and PMB’s much touted integrity, has since considerably dwindled to a near zero level. Hear the sorrowful dirge of a victim of the Plateau genocide, Paul Wyom Zakka: “They told us to go to the farms because they could not provide us with jobs. We went to the farms without knowing that our produce were meant to feed their cows. When the cows came, we stopped them from destroying our farm produce; Today, they kill us daily so their cows can feed.” Thomas Jefferson, American president from 1801 to 1809, once famously said: “Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”.

From the forgoing it can be seen that, in the words of Sulaimon Olanrewaju (lanresulaimon@yahoo.com), Nigeria is a paradox; so wealthy, yet so poor; so endowed, yet so deprived. Nigeria makes more money than many countries of the world but is unfortunately ranked among the poorest because many Nigerians live below the poverty line as they earn less than two dollars a day. According to the Brookings Institution in a report, The Start of a New Poverty Narrative, Nigeria is now home to the highest number of people living in extreme poverty on the globe. Similarly, a United Nations report on Nigeria’s Common Country Analysis, says youth unemployment is 42 per cent, while the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) puts the number of out of school children at over 10.5million. Infant mortality rate is 85.8 of 1000 live births, while the country has the highest rate of under-five mortality in the world. Malnutrition prevalence, according to the UN, ranges between approximately 46.9 per cent in the South West to 74.3 per cent in North West and North East.” (To be continued).

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

We’ve seen over time that countries that have the best economic growth are those that have good governance, and good governance comes from freedom of communication. It comes from ending corruption. It comes from a populace that can go online and say, This politician is corrupt, this administrator, or this public official is corrupt.” (Ramez Naam).

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Adding Value

Adding Value: The Power of Imagination

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Dear Destiny Friends,

Success and failure start from the mind. The human mind is like a rubber, the more you stretch it, the more it expands. The human mind is the brain, if you don’t use it, it won’t work. We all have the power to change the course of our life without allowing us to be victims. This is because the greatest power God gave us at creation is freedom and choice. Just like you have the power to think positive thoughts, you also have the power to think negative thoughts. It should be noted that whatever you focus on expands.

It’s quite unfortunate that many of us don’t know how we can use our mind to attract opportunities, if properly stretched. For the human mind to work at optimal capacity, it must be capable of using the power of imagination. According to Napoleon Hill, “whatsoever the mind can conceive, believe, it can achieve it. The right question we should ask ourselves is if we are using the power of our imagination.

Imagination takes several forms. The human mind can be artistic in nature, it can be creative, and it can also be challenging. The mind will only work on how you program it. If you program your mind to think like a leader, it will be activated, if you program the mind to overcome challenges it will be activated, if you program the mind to either think positive or negative thoughts, it produces the desired fruits for you.

You may be wondering where the power of imagination comes from? The power of imagination starts from the mind. To understand how the mind works, you have to look at the brain. The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.

One may ask, is imagination the same thing as intelligence?  One can imagine something, but don’t take proactive steps to implement it, but the man who takes actionable steps can be regarded as an intelligent man because he got the inspiration and knows what to do. According to Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. This is a fact because the true intelligence level of an individual is not dependent on the facts a person knows but on how he applies them creatively to solve problems in the world.  Albert Einstein further stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

The power of imagination cannot be overemphasized. One of the distinguishing traits between wealthy men and the poor men is their mindset. A big difference between a rich mind and poor mind lies in how they process information. While rich and wealthy minds have a positive and growth mindset, poor men have a negative and fixed mindset. While the growth mindset sees problems as opportunities to make impact by solving them, fixed minds see problems as obstacles to making impact. While rich and wealthy minds spend money to invest, poor minds spend money to impress. While rich and wealthy people spend after saving, poverty-stricken minds save from the remnant of their expenses.

This power of imagination works in different ways. Sometimes, it comes like a vision, a revelation. inspiration or even feelings. This imagination can be something you would like to change, or a cause you would like to work on. When you get this prompting, the best thing you can do is commit it to prayer and believe in it especially if it’s a revelation or vision you have been shown. It might look so big and impossible to attain. Whenever you feel this way, just know that you must activate your growth mindset.

Wealth creation starts from the mind. If you want to be successful in any craft, you must envision it in your mind. Most of the great people if not all the great people we celebrate in the world utilized the power of imagination to create a product. If you want to be rich or start a business, you need to take the bold step, if not, you’ll remain where you are.

Nobody can stop a person whose time has come. Nobody can stop you; you are the only one who can stop yourself if you doubt yourself or tell your dreams, vision, or ideas to the wrong person. The wrong person in this case can be your parents, friends, mentors or even your spiritual leader. Don’t get me wrong, these people may not be bad people, they may not understand the calling or vision you had. They may not even see you as the person capable of doing it because you don’t look it. They may be speaking from their experience which may not be your reality. Let me tell you, if God wants somebody else to get the revelation or inspiration, he will put the imagination in their mind. Just to encourage you, God does not call the qualified, he calls the unqualified and then qualifies you.

In conclusion, the power of imagination is a very powerful and creative tool a progressive mind can use to excel in life if properly activated. This is because nobody knows you more than you know yourself.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success

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Opinion

Be Empowered to Remain in Power

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“When you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to “MANifest”! Chase excellence, and success would chase you pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”Tolulope A. Adegoke, PhD., MNIM, FIMC, CMC, CMS

 Commitment has been described as dedication, steadfastness, allegiance, faithfulness or loyalty to a course, and individual, group or a supreme being. It is about giving one’s self to a course with success as the only option. Commitment binds you irrevocably to a course you believe in until success comes. It is not the same as mere involvement, but dedication to seeing a course(s) completed or fulfilled to cause an effect or impact either within one’s self, others, corporates and the world at large.

The world is filled with peoples. Anybody can be involved. Being involved in an activity that involves other people does not make you part of a team. As a matter of fact, it only takes a number of people involved in working together to have a group. You must understand that a group is absolutely not a “team”. The difference? In a group, people are involved in activity(s). In a Team, people are committed to a process and a goal. The difference between commitment and involvement is known by the difference in the “omelette and “corned beef”. In the making of omelets, the chicken is involved, in the corned beef, the cow is committed!

Commitment is the secret to the success of the postage stamp. To get the letter to its destination, it must first commit to the envelope. After that, the rest is a matter of time. A train gets to its destination because of its commitment to the rails.

Commitment operates in five major levels which would be expatiated below:

  1. Commitment to God (The Creator that gives to all that gives and receives)
  2. Commitment to a Course for a Cause

iii.              Commitment to Process

  1. Commitment to People
  2. Commitment to yourself

Commitment to God

Those who have discovered themselves in God have no problem committing to Him. Those who sideline God in success ventures will find out soon enough that it is the pathway to “frustration” and an insignificant “death”.

Commitment to a Course for a Cause

You must always remember that, you were never created to simply pursue wealth and all trappings of the worldly successes. After all your bills are paid, and you have a spill-over, what next? Highly successful and effective people, first of all, find a higher course for a greater cause for which they were willing to lay down their lives if need be, then throw themselves wholly into it. The principle is that, if death does not scare you, the possibility of failure cannot! As the Bible rightly said, “those who keep their lives lose it, while those who lose it, find it!” The other name for it is significance or relevance. Make money in order to enhance your platform(s) for significance or irrefutable relevance. At a recent time, Bill Gate has committed time and resources to finding solutions to the scourge of HIV/AIDS and poverty eradication in Third World countries. What he did caught the attention of Warren Buffet (who wasn’t reputable for charity), the World’s Second richest man at that time. This made him donate the sum of $37billion (US Dollars) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When asked why, he answered, “Because they know how best to give it away better and faster than I can.”

Commitment to a Process

Everything in life evolves. The only tree that grew to full stature in one day died the same day! Ask Prophet Jonah in the Bible. If you cannot commit to a process, you will forfeit the promise.

To master your skill in life, there is always a process of apprenticeship. Permit yourself to fail…but don’t remain a failure. The Olympic medalist who won the 100-metre dash in less than 10 seconds was only celebrated for what he had invested years of consistency and hours of practice to.

Tiger Woods had played golf as a child and he had always nurtured a vision to win every championship in golf. So he started to work towards that, easily.

The father (being a good Lawn Tennis Player) of Serena and Venus Williams (The World Lawn Tennis Champions) had coached them to always win since they were very young.

What the world celebrate today in these people is actually the process they had committed too long before they started winning laurels.

Commit to Yourself

Budget for self-development. Your greatest investment is the one you make on your personal development. When you are right, everything around you will be right!

Things don’t happen because you chase them to happen, rather they happen become you have become a center of attraction that commands the necessary attention. For instance, when you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to MANifest! Chase excellence and success would chase you, pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”

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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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