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Opinion: If INEC Postpones 2023 Elections… by Kayode Ajulo

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While I understand that the above state- ment has been credited to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I do not share the view that INEC would have made such statement at this crucial and eleventh hour.

My view is grounded against the backdrop that INEC, as the sole organ responsible for the preparation and conduct of elections in Nigeria, is well abreast with the relevant position of the law, and same would be lax to make such comments or publication.

Nevertheless, for the purpose of this discourse and exposing the position of the law and for the enlightenment of the unlearned, I find it pertinent to state my views.

Elections are the cornerstone of any democratic governance and political stability. Through elections, governments obtain the democratic mandate. They are a procedure typical for democratic systems, and Nigeria is a democratic country.

Smooth and uninterrupted conduct of elections as and when due, strengthens democracy, as every election is a sort of advancement of democracy.

Also, elections are pivotal to the quality of a country’s governance and can either greatly advance or set back a country’s progress, depending on its quality and credibility.

The Role of INEC in Elections
In recognition of the significance of elec- tions, our grundnorm, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) (“Constitution”) provides in Section 132 (1) thus:
“An election to the office of President shall be held on a date to be appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission in accordance with the Electoral Act.”

Additionally, Section 178 provides that:
“An election to the office of Governor of a State shall be held on a date to be appointed by the Independent National Electoral Commission in accordance with the Electoral Act.”

These above constitutional provisions have therefore recognised elections, and also recognised Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the institution saddled with conducting elections in Nigeria.

Section 153(1)(f) provides for the creation of INEC. While Section 153(2) and paragraph 15(a) of Part 1 of the third schedule to the Constitution empowers INEC to conduct elections. The paragraph provides thus:
“The commission shall have power to organise, undertake and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice President, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a State, and to membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each State of the Federation”.

INEC & Postponement of Elections
The above are the fundamental pillars guiding the conduct of elections in Nigeria by the umpire saddled with that responsibility, which is INEC. It is also imperative to note that, INEC is empowered to postpone an election even after a date has been scheduled for the conduct of the election in prevailing circumstances.

The relevant law is the Electoral Act. Section 24 of the Act provides as follows:
24.—(1) In the event of an emergency affecting an election, the Commission shall, as far as practicable, ensure that persons displaced as a result of the emergency are not disenfranchised.
(2) Where a date has been ap- pointed for the holding of an election, and there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies, the Commission may postpone the election and shall in respect of the area, or areas concerned, appoint another date for the holding of the postponed election, provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable.

Suffices to state that the above provisions are in pari materia with repealed Electoral Acts, and as such, same has been given judicial interpretation by the courts such as Dibiagwu v INEC(2012) LPELR-9831(CA), Nwoko v Osakwe & Ors (2009) LPELR- 4652(CA), Buhari v INEC (2009) NWLR (pt 1130) pg. 116. The Supreme Court in Sylva v INEC (2018) 18 NWLR Pt 1651 Pg. 310 at Pg. 348 endorsed the powers of INEC to postpone elections, to act urgently in aid to meet any emergency which occurs unexpectedly and could cause danger to innocent lives on the polling day.

The underlining factor however, is that INEC must ensure that persons displaced as a result of the emergency are not disenfranchised.

As a corollary to the above, it is important to state that the Commission has the responsibility to advise the country on when it is suitable to conduct an election, mostly when there are unavoidable and critical circumstances that cannot be managed. The only truth is, there is no pressing and unmanageable situation in the country at the moment, that calls for election postponement. Unless INEC has failed, in its own preparations of over three years.

Since the advent of the Fourth Republic and Nigeria’s return to democracy, the country has had to deal with some surmountable security situations in one region of the country or the other, especially in the areas mentioned by INEC as excuse to propose a postponement, and I cannot remember a point when that has affected a major election owing to effective preparation in the area of security and other exigencies.

It is therefore, utterly disquieting and disturbing, to receive such allegation from INEC that suggests that 2023 election may be postponed due to insecurity in certain parts of the country, like the South East and North East. The simple reason being that, in the past, we have had two different elections that were conducted in the midst of heightened insurgency and insecurity, and one can only wonder what magic or tactics were employed to pull those elections off? Are those tactics unworkable at this time, when there is a mellow in insecurity problems?
Why does 2023 elections seem to be the exception?

And, whether there is more to this situation that INEC is not telling us. It is no news that the whole nation seems to be holding its breath in anticipation of the upcoming elections and the anxiety of Nigerians regarding the elections is almost palpable.

Why then should INEC believe that postponing the elections is in any way a good idea, considering the ‘special circumstances’ surrounding this particular elections?

Now, it is also necessary that we cast our minds back to the 2015 elections, during Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure as President. In the months leading up to the elections, the news circulated in the media was that a whole State had been overrun and claimed by insurgents, and that several Local Governments were under their control.

At the time, the narrative being mongered was that the elections were the solution to Nigeria’s insurgency problem, as General Muhammadu Buhari was the messiah that would come and save Nigeria from itself. Now, the essence of revisiting this is that, if at that time where, according to media reports, insurgency was at an all-time high, the elections were still successfully conducted, what begs for question now is, why does it now seem like conducting the 2023 elections in February as prescribed is an impossibility, even as Government has constantly reassured us that everything is under control and security in our nation is intact?

The Law
As a legal practitioner, I always opt to view things through the lens of the law; therefore, we must first of all consider the legality of conducting elections. It is no news that the Constitution is supreme and its provisions sacrosanct, and in order to successfully marshal the point, we must first look to the provisions of this Constitution.

Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution provides for the right of persons to form a political party or association. It states that:
“Every person shall be entitled to as- semble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union, or any other association for the protection of his interest, provided concerning that the provisions of this Section shall not derogate from the powers conferred by the Constitution on the Independent National Electoral Commission the Political Parties to which that Commission does not accord recognition”.

Section 78 of the Constitution provides that the registration of voters and the conduct of elections, shall be subject to the direction and supervision of INEC.

It can be deduced from the aforemen- tioned sections, that the Constitution as the apex law of the land recognises the right of Nigerian citizens to form and belong to the political parties of their choice, it recognises the existence of INEC, as well as its responsibility for the registration of voters and the conduct of elections.

We can therefore, infer that the Constitution recognises the legality of the conduct of elections, which is one of the essential and inviolable features of democracy.

In addition to the Constitution, the Electoral Act of 2022 (Electoral Act) also recognises and makes provisions for the legitimacy of the conduct of elections in Nigeria. Section 1 of the Act provides for the establishment of INEC, while Section 9 makes provision for the creation of the National Register of Voters and voters’ registration, it provides:
“The Commission shall compile, maintain, and update, on a continuous basis, a National Register of Voters (in this Act referred to as “the Register of Voters”) which shall include the names of all persons— (a) entitled to vote in any Federal, State, Local Government or Federal Capital Territory Area Council election; and (b) with disability status disaggregated by type of disability”.

Section 6 of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides:
“There is established in each State of the Federation, Federal Capital Territory and Local Government Area, an office of the Commission which shall perform such functions as may be assigned to it by the Commission”.

The preceding sections of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, make it abundantly clear that elections in Nigeria are legal, indispensable to a democratic State, and are fundamental in upholding the pillars of democracy in Nigeria.

At this juncture, there’s the need to interrogate the functions and duties of INEC vis-à-vis her commentary on the state of the nation’s security, which with all intent and purposes, has patently created palpable panic and confusion by hinting that elections might not hold in Nigeria, though the INEC Chairman, has since debunked this, claims that the elections will hold and not be postponed, no matter what.

INEC’s statutory function is to organise and monitor elections. Any fear the institution might have should be relayed to the executive arm of Government, and allow the executive to decide accordingly.

Preparing for elections is not a day’s job. As an international observer to the United Kingdom (UK) in the 2015 general elections, I noted that it took them 16 years to prepare for the election. INEC should learn lessons from that.

I salute the National Assembly for their role in the build up to this election. Dr Ahmad Lawan and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila’s led Legislative Houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives have done tremendously well in discharging their duties. They have passed the Electoral Act, 2022 to institutionalise credible elections in Nigeria.

The Judiciary, has also been exception- ally and actively alive to its responsibili- ties. Most cases emanating from political parties primaries have been effectively dispatched. Even as of this time, 8.17pm of penning my thoughts on this matter, we are still in Markudi, Benue State, to ensure that all election petition issues are resolved to give way to a free, fair and credible elections come February and March.

Intensive training of Lawyers and various law firms for election conduct and management purposes, is ongoing. Every hand is on deck as far as the Judiciary is concerned, and it is ready to deliver speedy and quality services to ensure the success is the 2023 elections. There is harmonious coordination of the Judiciary across States, with respect to the forthcoming 2023 elections.

It is imperative to state that the Judiciary under the leadership of my Lord Justice, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, is more than ready. What I have witnessed, is unprecedented in the history of preparation of the Judiciary for election conduct. The CJN and brother Justices have once again displayed and set a record of unmatchable and exemplary leadership in this regard, and the only worthy reward at the moment for his exceptional hard work is to conduct the 2023 election as stipulated.

The buck then lies with the President as the head of the Executive, to ensure that Nigerians are safe and can exercise their franchise in the 2023 general elections. The primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of the people. See Section 14 (2)(b) of the Constitution. This implies that citizens must be able to carry out their civic duties, in an atmosphere of peace and safety.

It is therefore, expected that elections which are backed by the law, must take its course, and it is the duty and responsibility of the State to deploy every apparatus to ensure a harmonious platform for every citizen to exercise their Constitutional guaranteed freedom of choice in any given election.

It must be pointed out that, may the day never come in Nigeria when non- State-actors would intimidate the State apparatus and institutions, to the point where the government will not be able to protect its citizens to perform their civic responsibility.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to state that, for elections to be conducted, there must be an existing government armed with a responsibility to ensure that not only that the elections are conducted freely and credibly in a safe ambiance, but also that the law takes its due course. This fact is important, as it is a reflection of the Latin phrase Fiat justitia ruat cælum which means ‘let justice be done, though the heaven falls’.

We must therefore, understand that it is not impossible that the heavens may fall and injustice may reign, but, rather, there is the existence of certain figurative pillars holding up the heavens and ensuring that justice runs its due course.

These pillars are represented by the various governmental institutions we have in Nigeria, which are responsible for ensuring a free and fair election, that at the end of the day, justice prevails above all else. Examples of these institutions are the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Judiciary, the Armed Forces, Police Force and the Legislature.

As it is, there is palpable panic and confusion in the land. It is even affecting businesses. For instance, I am representing a client in an international transaction that has had to be put on hold because of the anxiety surrounding the 2023 elections.

I therefore, call on the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, H.E Muhammadu Buhari, to address Nigerians as the Chief Executive Officer of the country, on whose table the buck stops. The President should address the situation in the spirit of preserving our precious democracy, and allay our fears.

Dr. Ajulo is the Principal Partner, Castle Law Chambers, Abuja

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Opinion

Building Leaders Through Character Management in the 21st Century

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“Character builds a nation; it builds kingdoms, empires, families, and the world at large. Character tames freedom so as not to abuse absolute power; it promotes sustainable peace and global development, guaranteeing the handing over of a better world to the coming generation.” – Tolulope A. Adegoke, AmbP-UN, PhD., FIMC, CMS, CIV, MNIM

This article, by implication of its contents, aims to solve the societal menace that has ravaged, hampered, and tampered with the spinal cords of the majority of leaders in the Third World Countries, which has its roots in what I refer to as Untamed Freedom- the root cause of Character failure in humans, corporates, and nations at large. We all must understand that true leadership penetrates into the core aspect of human relations and endeavors, which helps to nurture, build, and deliver the authentic requirement for true and sustainable leadership, and how it affects the economy and politics of nations and the world at large. It focuses on ‘Character’ as the main and authentic key for leadership, how relevant it could be and why and as well how to harness it to building future leaders locally, nationally, and globally for the benefits of mankind. It also delved into the internal affairs of some developing nations in the world and how they have suffered from ineffective leadership practices through unethical conduct. It also looked into how ‘Ethics’ could be said to be a disturbing aspect of leadership and how it has so much affected the majority of the Third World Countries who are having issues in handling sustainable leadership. It therefore concludes with how a nation like Nigeria could enlarge its coasts by judiciously maximizing its endowments through effective ‘Character’ in individual and joint leadership endeavors, thereby enlightening the readers with the facts that character sees people as great ASSETS and not properties. The researcher adopted Historical and Thematic Analysis in carrying out the research.

I ponder so hard on ‘How do we then build leaders of today? I shall focus on the Power of Character (as vital requirement for leadership in Nation Building)’ with the aim of building capacity through greater enlightenment strategy towards fixing today, and as well handing over a better world to coming generations globally. Do you know why leaders are so weak in many developing countries of the world? The reason is that they lack CHARACTER. Lack of character is what makes bad leadership, and bad leadership is what breeds gross mismanagement and misconducts, while misconducts and mismanagement are what destroy or impede national growth and development. Bad leaders are one thing in the day and another thing at night! They make deals that are shady and then look pretty or handsome on the camera. They rule instead of leading; they grind instead of guiding. The Book of Life (Bible) says, God is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever! It also reveals that Night and Day are the same to God! This is a clear indication that God has CHARACTER! And He has given unto us the same thing called CHARACTER! If you are going to be what you were born or created or desired to be (future leaders), then, you must develop the first principle God gave to us (MAN) which is CHARACTER! For us to deliver the present and future, and as well fulfill divine intentions (purpose), we need to study God Himself and His manner of operations and creations according to Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 (NKJV): ‘Let us make Man in Our IMAGE after our likeness: and let them have DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ Nothing is therefore IMPOSSIBLE, because I and you came out of God. He is the most authentic leadership example to be followed; He has made us in His IMAGE and LIKENESS to have DOMINION over the works of His Hands. It should be noted that the first gift given to Man by God is IMAGE. Whatever God gives you first is what you need first.

What is IMAGE? Image simply means CHARACTER. God said let Man have my CHARACTER. The most important thing you need to become what you were born to be (which is a LEADER) is CHARACTER. The number one fitness in leaders today is CHARACTER. It is the foundation of leadership! Everybody was born to be a leader, but, we are not meant to rule over people! Leaders lead by examples, guides by principles, and guard by strategies. Leaders lead in specific areas of gifting or expertise. The word CHARACTER means FIXED, PREDICTABLE, STATUE, SET, STABLE, STEADY, DEPENDABLE, READY, and WORK! These are qualities which are unchanging and dependable like the STATUE. For example, have a good look at a STATUE; what is it doing where you put it or fix it? Whatever inflictive words you say to the ‘statue’, it still stands? That is simply CHARACTER! As a leader that you are wired or desired to be, can we trust you to be the same, even in the dark? Are you the same person when no one is watching? What would you do if none would ever find out? What are those things you secretly do on your mobile phones or laptops or on the internet? Are you the same person all the time? Are you the same person even when given freedom or power? When life rains on you, are you the same person? Are you the same person, no matter what people say to you or about you? That is why Third World Countries are having issues handling true and sustainable leadership! What is commonly present in those regions of the world are RULERS not LEADERS, due to lack of CHARACTER.

Requirements of Character for Sustainable Leadership Do you have CHARACTER? When you change location, are you still the same person? LEADERSHIP demands CHARACTER. A reliable example of Character is PRINCIPLE, because it is Constant, it never changes. When you throw something up, it falls down… it is like that everywhere. Leadership requires CONSISTENCY! This is because the will of God never changes. No matter where you go, gravity is constant. Do you have Character? I want you to keep encouraging yourself to keep on developing CHARACTER. As future leaders, who are empowered to save the future, to impacts our world positively, we must be unchanging (i.e consistent on the positive sides) if truly we are going to develop our powerful leadership capacities.

The Disturbing Aspect of Leadership The major disturbing aspect of leadership which most leaders do not consider to develop is ETHICS. Ethics is as a result of character! The power of unethical behavior affects everyone in the community, society, state, nation, and the world at large. Ethics is personal, but it is never private! A few business or political leaders have no ETHICS; they make some unethical moves that can affect everyone. When you violate character, it is a personal decision, but it is not a private issue. You affect all of us. That is why corruption must never be tolerated anytime, because one corrupt person affects everyone. Many developing nations are still struggling with their economy today because of unethical behaviors by a majority which has fully established CORRUPTION as a practice that can now be overlooked, which have crippled the economy of these nations. Many people consider Nigeria a poor nation in spite of all the natural resources she is endowed with (Precious stones, crude oil, very fertile soil among others), because just a few set of people are unethical which affects the entire population in the country. So many investors are currently scared to invest in some part of the developing nations, because there are just a few set of people who would abuse such an investment which has therefore deprived so many people of the opportunities to be employed or t become job owners, just because a few people are unethical. You need to tell your neighbor ‘Do right for my sake’. If great leaders who have been absorbed by history had decided not to do what is right, what do you think would have happened to us today? A few chose to stand right, do right and make right. One decision could have affected the entire world. This is why it is so important for you to have character for the sake of the millions who will look up to you some day! This is why your gift is critical to your generation, but protecting it is much more important. GREED is a matter of CHARACTER. When a research on the major cause of crisis in the world was made, it was said that some set of people had GREED, and greed became a global phenomenon. Discipline powers character for effective leadership. Character and Ethics are national and global security issues. Living right is a global security issue. When you live right, you are simply affecting a lot of people vice-versa.

The Tests and Trials of Leadership Character is developed by ‘testing and trials’. Testing is the development of ETHICS. Character is built or developed through pressure, temptation (trials), and resolve. The credibility of leadership is character! The force of leadership is character! The trust of leadership is character! The legitimacy of leadership is character! The integrity of leadership is character! The reason why people still celebrate Nelson Mandela, Koffi Annan among others is because he was tested and trusted. The reason why Nelson Mandela had so much credibility all over the world is because, while he was alive he went through a test of 25 years in prison, because of a conviction he had, he was just like a statue with this notion: I cannot bend; I am going to jail just like this; I believe in what I see, I believe in a dream, I believe in my convictions, because they are right, I will not compromise, I will not change! Nelson Mandela stayed faithful, he went through the test and trials, and people trusted him. In prison, he was the same, he was beaten mercilessly, he was the same, when he had to cut the rocks with chisel, he was the same, and when he came out of prison he was still the same, and was made the President of South Africa, because he was the same. People could trust him. Even the Dr. Myles Monroe (of blessed memory) once said: ‘People often look at me as if I was born the way I look, but I have been through a lot of things, pressures, scars on my back, tribulations, criticisms, attacks, but I decided, I believe what I believe! I stay steady! The world reads my books, I have been invited to over a hundred and fifty-two nations across the world and they wondered: who is this young man, but I have developed my character through tough times.’ Anybody could begin something, a few people finish! How many things have you begun, how many things have you started managing, how many of it have you finished? Where is your character? Are you steady under pressure? Can you be faithful under being disappointed? Can you still believe when no one is with you? When you have character, you are ready to go alone! Everybody is evil, not me! Everybody is corrupt, not me! Everybody is failing, not me! You have to work by yourself to develop character! Your innate gifts are at the mercy of your character! Your character is more important than your gifts, because without character, you can lose your gifts. That is why God gave Man CHARACTER (His IMAGE) before He gave him DOMINION (Control). Most people lose their provisions because they lost their character! That is why it is important for you to protect yourself by your character (IMAGE), and that is why character (IMAGE) is God’s utmost priority! Character is necessary for DOMINION (Control); it guarantees a tamed-freedom. Character breeds decent followers; then, it builds them into enviable leaders that can ‘MANage’ the natural resources as given them by God, and then, put them into appropriate and decent usage for the good of all mankind. Leadership is simply service to humanity, it is not selfishness, not greed, not abusive…Only character determines and promotes service. Service is followership, help; it is the authentic exhibition of our innate being. Character builds a nation; it builds kingdoms, Empires, family and the world at large. Character tames freedom so as not to abuse absolute power; it promotes sustainable peace and global development that guarantees the handing over of a better world to coming generation. It is a baton which must be passed on and on forever. Life is a mysterious gift given to man by God Almighty embedded with so many hidden treasures… its usage is up to man, but only the deeds of men pollutes it! Character therefore, should not be mistaken for REPUTATION. Reputation has become much more important in the world today than character, and that is a tragedy, because, position has become more important than disposition. As a matter of fact, we need leaders with character, not leaders with personality! Some people have well packaged personality but lack character, yet they are the most celebrated in our world today. Many people are well branded as dignified figures vying for leadership positions, unfortunately, ignorant people rush up to them, vote them in, then the economy and political structure of their countries crashes! Instead of voting the man with CHARACTER (i.e the right IMAGE), which complements leadership to the position of reliable leadership. This is simply the reason why I chose this topic: ‘HOW DO WE BUILD FUTURE LEADERS?’ Which focuses on CHARACTER in Nation Building in today’s world). Nigeria and other developing nations must first of all confront their domestic problems by consolidating their democracy. Democracy is not just the question of holding periodic elections, Important as this is, it means developing a democratic culture underpinned by the rule of law. We must build an egalitarian society with careers opened to talents. It should be possible for any (Nigerian) talent(s) to rise to any position that these talents entitle him or her. We must face the question of the economy squarely. Sixty-three years after independence, we still operate a dependent economy based on export of raw materials and industries of import substitution. We must reverse the process by building industries, particularly agro-based industries in which we have comparative advantage. Nigeria (My Country) can support huge textile and garment industries based on local production of cotton. This is also an industry which the current regime of the World Trade Organization favors for developing countries. The so-called Tiger economies of South East Asia, China and India virtually dominate the textile and garments industry of the world. We ought to be able to compete with Israel and the United States in providing the world with properly packaged tropical fruits. We should cut our tastes for unnecessary luxury goods and use what we can produce. We need to open our market to investments from the outside world. One hopes present policies in this regard would be determinedly pursued. The economy is a major factor to earning respect in the international system and we must do everything to develop our economy. There is no strategy of economic development better than those that have been tried and that have worked in the Western liberal democracies. Any attempt to graft economic development on an authoritarian regime will fail. Character is key factor!

We need to take a look at the example of Botswana (few years ago), when and where honest and liberal government and proper management of national resources and patrimony have led to development. Character sees people as greatest ASSETS and not properties. Value your fellow man greatly, they are the only tool that can stand by your side anytime any day, they shall be the one to continue your leadership processes in the future for the benefits of all as a result of your tremendous impacts on them. The assignment of leaders is not to raise followers, but leaders through greater impacts by living a life of great examples and never to forget to help them with emotional intelligence which is a key factor for leadership inputs and outputs.

Dr. Tolulope A. Adegoke is a Distinguished Ambassador For World Peace (AMBP-UN), and an accredited Effective Leadership Management Trainer. He is also a recognized Fellow, of the Institute of Management Consultants (FIMC), and a Certified Management Specialist (CMS), London Graduate School (LGS).

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Opinion

Tinubu, Beware Of Nyesom Wike

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By Richard Akinnola

Impetuous, garrulous, flippant, compulsively and deliriously narcissistic, that succinctly encapsulates the Nyesom Wike persona. A study of the political trajectory of the FCT Minister shows that he is only loyal to himself and nobody else, irrespective of his feigned allegiance. He may kowtow and genuflect before a political leader, as he is currently doing in Abuja but once he can no longer use you, he goes into a fit of incoherent vituperative verbal assault, denigrating his benefactors.

I watched his recent drama on Channels where he was reeling out his achievements as Governor, he said he built a Cancer Centre and named it after “one man”. He also built a Judicial institute and named it after “one woman”. (Pejoratively referring to Dr Peter Odili and his wife, Justice Mary Odili). His former political leader who he had praised to high heavens is now “one man”. How come his long time political associates suddenly turn enemies? -Rotimi Amaechi, Abiye Sekibo, Celestine Omehia, Austin Opara, Lee Meeba, and now, Dr Peter Odili, among others.

Almost everything that Wike had said in public have been repudiated by him. From the PDP primaries where he vowed to support whosoever emerged as candidate, to his vow not to be minister, to his scathing excoriation of the APC which he likened to a cancerous party, everything Wike supposedly stood for have been repudiated by his fickle mindedness.

Now, he is dancing around PBAT, like an urchin singing nursery rhyme, in his guttural and hoarse voice: “President Tinubu, on your mandate l shall stand”. President Tinubu, Wike is not standing on any mandate. He is standing on his opportunistic position as a minister. Remove him as minister and see if he would still be standing on your mandate. Tomorrow, before the cock crows at night, he would deny you if he is removed as minister and would start lamenting how he supposedly helped you but was used and discarded.

Here was a man who publicly said that Odili saved his political career as Chairman of Obio Akpor local government, leading to his rise in political ascendancy and he used every opportunity to praise and honour Odili and his wife. He followed this up with a public declaration where he was almost swearing thus: “I don’t know the day l would die but l know l would die one day but the truth must be told, any day that l would make Dr Odili and his family cry, may God allow me to go…I would never be alive to make you cry. I will never abandon you and your wife. Where would l have been but for you and your wife? Who am l? From where? My wife would not have been a Magistrate, talk less a Judge but for Mrs Odili. Nobody in this country can make me abandon you and your family. Never. …My wife and l are forever grateful to you for the roles you played in my life”.

This was shown live on CHANNELS. Today, what is Wike doing to the same Odili? Publicly dissing and ridiculing him on same CHANNELS just because Dr Odili refused to queue behind him to decapitate Governor Sim Fubara. As an elder statesman, Odili rather preferred to settle the differences between the duo, which Wike refused. That is Odili’s sin to attract Wike’s “Fatwa”.

He would do same thing to President Tinubu tomorrow if the president does not align with his interest. He doesn’t even understand the dynamics of larger politics to the fact that Odili and PBAT have a long-standing relationship being in the same class of 1999 Governors and that Odili doesn’t even have issues with PBAT. You cannot praise a man to high heavens for eight years in your fit of sycophancy, only to start publicly disrobing him just because he refused to be led by the nose in your ill-conceived political fight with your successor. What that means is that tomorrow, he’ll do same thing to president Tinubu if he doesn’t do his political bidding in Rivers state. That would amount to political self-immolation.

So, if everyone who has assisted you in your political ascendancy are bad, then, something definitely must be wrong with you.

Despite his accomplishments as Governor in terms of project execution which l acknowledge, there is no doubt, Wike has a serious character flaw that only him can cure. But trust me, despite his wealth and “power”, it’s a matter of time, this young man is on his way to political perdition. I pray he doesn’t end that way. Minister Wike, you are an achiever in terms of performance but l pray God grants you wisdom on how to navigate and relate with people who differ from you politically.

Richard Akinnola, a lawyer, activist and public affairs analyst writes from Lagos

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Opinion

Catalyst of Exploits (Pt. 1)

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“Look past the exterior, and see that there is so much more within. Then decide to unleash that potential to the fullest” – Lincoln Patz

I have no doubt that you have stepped into a greater realm of inspiration with the discovery of the potentials of the so-called zero. The next question therefore is, how can the possibilities embedded in a perceived nonentity become a reality? The answer, as you may have observed from the various examples that we considered in the previous chapter, is consciousness development. Or simply put, TRAINING.

Training has been rightly described as the process of acquiring the skills needed to succeed in a profession, vocation or venture. It is training or conscious development that turns trash into treasures, just as processing turns raw materials into finished products. Training is an indispensable requirement for bringing out the best in people. Even the most gifted people must go through some form of training to sharpen their innate abilities – how much more those who appear to be deficient!

The interesting truth here is that regardless of a person’s level of natural abilities – whether you consider it zero or zillion – training will always bring about a noticeable transformation in their lives. Take the case of Abraham as an example. Being an exceedingly great man, he had hundreds of servants who had been born in his house by his labourers and domestics. These might have been considered nobodies, having been born by lowly people. Yet, Abraham so trained them that they became valiant soldiers. And they were the ones who accompanied him to wage war against the captors of Lot and his household, and the expedition proved mightily successful (Genesis 14:14).

Two vital truths can be gleaned from the above. One is that you never can tell the true measure of a person’s potential until they have been thoroughly trained. This clearly tallies with our earlier assertion that everyone needs some form of training, whether formally or informally. The second vital truth is that everybody can indeed be trained to thrive.

From Vagabonds to Champions

Here is another proof that there is innate greatness in everyone that can be unlocked through training. 1 Samuel 22:1-3 says, “David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.”

The first thing to notice here is the deliberate reference to the profile and pedigree of these men who joined themselves to David. I believe that the purpose is to make us see that no one can be rightly written off as a failure or a never-do-well. As subsequent exploits of David would reveal, these average men who enrolled in the military academy of David were soon transformed into mighty men of valour.  2 Samuel 23:8-17 narrates the accomplishments of three of these men:

“These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time. And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder. And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.”

Isn’t this amazing! See what a bunch of men that people would have described as “frustrated failures” had become! What was the secret? Someone believed in them enough to train them, and they themselves were humble and disciplined enough to submit themselves to the training process. And the result was that they were transformed from being men of no repute, men of no value (more or less human trash, or simply zero) to history-makers!

Self-Application

So, what’s in all of this for you? What has all that we have discussed so far have to do with you? I’ll unravel it for you shortly. But, first, here is an insightful quote from Bishop David Oyedepo, “We go to school to acquire the literacy skills required to train ourselves most effectively in our fields of choice. Schooling is not the same thing as the real training! That is why there are many certificated, uneducated people! They have degrees but cannot deliver, because they are not trained to deliver!”

This is exactly what I wish to point out here. Everyone must take personal responsibility for being the best that they can be. Success is not an accidental occurrence. You cannot be wasting your precious time on irrelevances and expect to amount to much in life. You must wake up to the task of being positively responsible, deliberately reaching out and taking advantage of opportunities to enhance and deploy your skills.

As the example of the men who placed themselves under David’s tutelage shows, you are the one who must make up your mind not to settle for a worthless, defeated or frustrated life. Regardless of what people say or think of you, it is up to you to decide the direction you want your life to go!

As I earlier observed, training is not only meant for the ignorant or the inexperienced. It is an on-going activity that everyone must actively and constantly engage in, as long as we wish to stay afloat and be ahead. In other words, while schooling is periodic, training is for a lifetime!

The Place of Discipline and Diligence

Let’s face it: Training – whether formal or informal – is never an easy process. Even the Bible admits, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful…” (Hebrews 12:11). It is in the fallen nature of man to prefer the comfort of self-indulgence to the stress of self-enhancement. This is why many visions are aborted and many destinies are ruined. It is for this reason that discipline plays a crucial role in being a beneficiary of the power of training. It takes plenty of discipline to maintain a training lifestyle so as to emerge a relevant and dominant force in your generation!

It is possible to waste a whole lifetime if you do not understand the place of discipline and responsibility in achieving greatness in life. So, you must settle it in your mind from the outset that you are undoubtedly a Kingdom treasure that cannot afford to be comfortable with a substandard, mediocre or “trashy” life. The possibilities that God has wired into you must be empowered to find expression. You must therefore be ready to pay whatever price it requires. Let me quote Bishop Oyedepo again, “You belong to dignity, royalty, excellence and you have your excellence in Jesus Christ. Therefore, you have the mind of Christ. You have the creative, intellectual capability of the mind of Christ. You are not an ordinary person; you are a peculiar person in the order of existence!”

Closely attached to discipline is diligence. The two must function together to produce the expected result of excellence. Diligence simply means hard work. Interestingly, “hard work” is a term that many in this generation hate to hear. I often hear youths talk about “soft-work” almost everywhere now. They want the easy route to success. Of course, they may get what seems like success but because such is not built on the solid foundation of diligence, it often crumbles within a short time.

Proverbs 22:29 says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” Proverbs 12:24 (NKJV) adds that: “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labour.” The revelation here is that it is diligence that establishes enthronement. There is no future for an idle man in the Kingdom. Christ Himself demonstrated this when He said: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17).

Make no mistake about it – it is work that defines your worth! In other words, it is how much you work on yourself that will determine your ultimate worth. Work is a must for anybody who desires to take the lead. Even with the abundant favour and grace of God upon your life, you still must work because that is the God-ordained pathway to the top. In fact, the grace of God being upon you to guarantee success in all your ventures should spur you to attempt greater ventures than the average person. Paul the Apostle shares his own experience thus: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all…” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Every successful person (empowered zero) is a product of favour from the factory of labour. You can never take out of life more than what you have invested into it. Galatians 6:7 says it accurately, “Be not deceived…whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 2 Corinthians 9:6 explains it further, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

It is only hard workers who become great leaders (heroes)! There is nothing called “luck” in determining leadership or empowering a zero! The harder and smarter you work, the greater the level of your success. This is why someone ironically says, “I’m a great believer in luck and I found that the harder I work, the luckier I become.” So, dear friend, if you can concentrate more on empowering your zero, rather than wasting time lamenting, complaining, regretting, envying others, chatting on social media, listening to irrelevant talks or spending so much time watching the television, you will soon find your circumstances changing on their own. You will not even need to shake the Heavens before your blessings unfold!

Personal Experience

Permit me to use myself as a case study here. There was a time I sowed out my television in order to be on television. There was also a time that, for over a year, I did not subscribe to any cable channel, just to be able to meet up with the demand of delivering possibilities beyond the ordinary frequency. Here is Bishop Oyedepo again: “I have invested an average time of 16 hours a day from the time I stepped into ministry to date, no matter how odd the night may be, I still have my night to work. Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings and not mere men…Our business that did not look like anything – it was trash when we came into ministry; it had no form of comeliness that anyone should look for it. It is what you invest or put into a trash that will bring forth its treasure! You need to show the world out there that you are on a mission (that is to take the lead in your field). But you cannot take the lead without doing the work to make it happen. So, go on and do the work!”

You can always change your level. It all depends on your level of investment. Just by re-aligning your mentality to believe that you do not belong to mediocrity brings you closer to excellence! Just by evaluating your activities and relationships and severing all unprofitable ties will give your life a sharper focus and clearer direction.

Note it again – hard workers fly higher! Nothing is a substitute for hard work. Be ready to go through the incubation process of becoming a hero. Subject yourself to the diligence and discipline that will transform you to a solution-provider to the people of your generation.

Sacrifice: The “Extra” in Extraordinary

Added to your discipline and diligence is the need for sacrifice, or going the extra mile. Essentially, it is not enough for you to be disciplined and diligent – you must also go the extra mile in doing these. Sacrifice is the scar (or scars) that we bear in the process of carrying our crosses towards getting our crowns.

There is no star without a scar! The scar of every star is sacrifice. It is nothing else! It is simply the ticket towards delivering possibilities. Sacrifice is going the extra mile, paying the extra price and taking the extra steps towards delivering your mandates! Your extraordinary inputs will precede your extraordinary impacts. You must go the extra mile in discipline and diligence – and then the star in you will emerge.

So powerful is sacrifice that it can turn a “dummy” into a genius. It can make a so-called misfit become a maestro. There have been cases of people who had great gifts and potentials but found themselves in fields that were different from what they were meant to do in life. Many of these have had to put themselves through the rigours of returning to their natural passions and getting trained to live out their dreams.

See, you cannot have your cake and eat it! You cannot make omelette without breaking eggs! Not even faith is a substitute for sacrifice. Vision is not a substitute for sacrifice! Sacrifice is a covenant requirement of every Kingdom star! Apostle Paul again says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians1:21). The apostle is simply saying, “I’d rather die than allow anyone despise my glory in Christ”. This is a classic portrayal of what sacrifice entailsBeing crucified with Jesus Christ is sacrifice!

Every star has a story of sacrifice to tell. It is a must for you to rouse yourself from slumber and invest your time in creating the future that you desire! Until you do what others do not do, you will still remain on the same spot as others! You must therefore wake up and tell yourself the bitter truth and design for yourself an enviable destiny. Never let a year end without preparing a schedule of accomplishments for the following year. This will show that you are really on a mission to deliver your world from its aches!

Jesus Christ, the most anointed Achiever, says in Luke12:49-50: “I am come to send fire on the earth…But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” That was someone who had a clear picture of His mission and what it would take to accomplish it.  Anyone who desires to have a “global impact” must pay a “global price”. Yes, you cannot accomplish that glorious dream of yours without understanding its true worth and paying the necessary price!

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