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Tinubu’s Risky Niger Gamble, Shetty’s Embarrassment



By Farooq Kperogi

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday wrote to the Senate to inform it of an impending “Military build up and deployment of personnel for military intervention to enforce compliance of the military junta in Niger should they remain recalcitrant.” This is a dangerous, ill-advised, potentially self-destructive gamble Tinubu would do well to give up because it has the potential to consume not just him but also Nigeria.

I detest military regimes because I am repulsed by any system that imposes unequal, predetermined structural limits on the aspirational compass to leadership. It is for the same reason that I despise the unearned, inherited authority that monarchies represent. Everyone should, at least in theory if not in practice, have the latitude to aspire to the highest level of leadership in the land. Military rule limits leadership to professional people, as monarchies limit leadership to bloodline.

Additionally, as someone who came of age during totalitarian military regimes, I loathe the brutality and dehumanization that accompany all military rules and wish that no country would ever have to endure the nightmare of military monocracies.

But going to war with another country because it unfortunately devolved into a system of government that, in our judgement, is abhorrent is unwarrantedly arrogant, provocative, and reckless. This is particularly more so because, at least for now, the new military junta in Niger Republic enjoys enormous goodwill among the vast majority of the citizens of the country.

I have seen massive demonstrations in support of the new military regime in rural and urban Niger— and against President Bola Tinubu whom demonstrators have rechristened “Ebola Tinubu” to signal the toxicity and unwelcomeness of his intrusion into the internal affairs of their country. Nigeriens obviously have no problems at the moment with the junta in power. When they do, they’ll find a way to deal with it. Who are we to tell them how they should conduct their affairs and whom they should prefer as their rulers?

Plus, in Nigeria, the tide of public opinion is overwhelmingly against any form of Nigeria-led military aggression to restore civilian rule in Niger. Nigeria is itself wracked by disabling internal turmoil on multiple fronts, which the Tinubu administration hasn’t yet shown any willingness to confront, much less contain. Why is Tinubu igniting a fire in another person’s home to “resolve” a squabble there instead of putting out the enduring conflagration in his?

And who is paying for this unsolicited, foolhardy misadventure? Nigerians have been pushed to the very edge of existence (and several have already fallen off the cliff) by the cruel removal of fuel subsidies, yet the Tinubu administration will expend billions (that it repeatedly says the country doesn’t have) to start a needless and avoidable war in a country that is at peace with its anomaly.

Is it the 1 trillion naira the government claimed it has saved from the removal of subsidies that it will use to fight a thoughtless war in Niger that has neither tactical nor strategic benefits for Nigeria? It makes absolutely no sense.

Nigeriens don’t want a war. Nigerians, too, don’t. On whose behalf is Tinubu starting this pointless war then? “Democracy”? Whose “democracy”?

Well, if preservation of civilian rule is the sole motivation for Tinubu’s intervention in Niger, why is he unconcerned about military rule in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, which are also members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)?

True, Tinubu wasn’t president when these other coups took place, but what’s stopping him from adding Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea to his list of West African countries that must reinstate their ousted civilian presidents if “democracy” is his overriding concern?

The only thing that makes sense at this point is the widespread insinuation that Tinubu is doing the bidding of Western imperialist powers whose approval he seems insanely desperate for. Since his conservative, stultifying, and asphyxiating economic policies, which have paralyzed the country, are already merely a page from the World Bank and the IMF, it’s apparent that his greatest aspiration isn’t to serve Nigerians but to be a dutiful poodle of the West.

On the instructions of the West, he is killing his people with hunger. On the instructions of the same West, he wants to kill his neighbors with war.

In a private communication, famous University of Texas history professor Toyin Falola pointed out that this is France’s war. “France can give up Mali and Burkina Faso, but Niger is the only country it will not give up without a fight,” he said. “Agadez is the life wire of France, without which it will be using generators like Nigeria. No gas from Russia, and uranium is what it uses for its nuclear energy power. Nigeria cannot use its resources and army to work for France.”

Is Tinubu committing Nigeria to a violent entanglement with Niger on behalf of France because Paris is now his second home—like London used to be Buhari’s second home?

Another dimension to the situation in Niger that Tinubu and his advisers seem oblivious of is that Mohamed Bazoum was a deeply unpopular president who, as Professor Falola said, didn’t win his election. “His predecessor planted him there and gave his [i.e., predecessor’s] son a cabinet appointment,” Falola said. “Niger is a democracy on paper. The mafia distributes rent. Niger has the highest number of land cruisers per capita in Africa.”

What Professor Falola describes isn’t exclusive to Niger, of course. It’s the feature of most “democracies” in Africa. But when you throw Niger’s identity politics into the mix, you are staring at a really combustible situation.

Bazoum comes from Niger’s Arab ethnic minority (with roots in Libya) who constitute less than one percent of the population.

The Hausa constitute a little over 50 percent of the population. The Zarma (whom Hausa people call Zabarma, which probably influenced the Yoruba Sabarumo) are a distant second with a little over 20 percent of the population, although they dominate Niger’s military and civil service. There are other minor groups in the country such as Dendi (whose language is mutually intelligible with Zarma but who consider themselves different from the Zarma), Tuaregs, Kanuri, Fulani, and Gurma.

Former President Mahamadou Issoufou is Hausa, but for personal gains he rigged Mohamed Bazoum, a minority Arab, as his successor. Bazoum was overthrown by Abdourahamane Tchiani who appears to be Zarma going by the region of the country he comes from, but who enjoys the support of the Hausa.

The Zarma and the Hausa (who together constitute more than 70 percent of the population) were resentful that an Arab (with a minimal command of the Hausa language and probably zero proficiency in Zarma and whose people are less than one percent of the population) was imposed as president over them without actually winning a legitimate election.

Forcing the return of Bazoum as president would be a declaration of war against more than 70 percent of the country’s population. But that’s not even my worst fear. In the event of an all-out war, there would be refugees from Niger all over northern Nigeria, which could, in fact, flare up a Yoruba-Hausa ethnic strife in Nigeria because the narrative would be that a Yoruba man is killing Hausa people.

Should that happen, that could end the Tinubu presidency. Is it worth it? I don’t think so.

Maryam Shetty’s Unexampled Ministerial Embarrassment
I had no idea who Maryam Shetty was until I saw what seemed like an unremitting cornucopia of congratulatory messages directed at her on Facebook on her appointment as a minister by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

I saw jokes about how almost every (northern) Nigerian on social media somehow found a way to establish connections to her. I was going to join the joke by saying I was connected to her, too, because she shares the same first name as my second daughter, graduated from my alma mater in Nigeria, and even got some sort of certification from Emory University in Atlanta where I live.

Then I woke up Friday morning to the shocking news that her nomination had been withdrawn. I don’t recall if there is any precedent for this kind of embarrassment. Why was her name announced when the president hadn’t made up his mind that he wanted her on his cabinet? The public ridicule she has been subjected to can’t be redeemed by any compensatory appointment.

I thought her appointment sent a symbolic message to young women that they, too, matter. Kwara State governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has already blazed a trail in appointing everyday young women with no roots in political dynasties into commissionership—to the annoyance of political old stagers. I thought President Tinubu was following in Abdulrazaq’s lead and was going to write a full-length column to commend this.

The embarrassing but totally preventable flip-flopping of the Tinubu administration is becoming truly unsettling.

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Voice of Emancipation: Yoruba National Day: Lessons from the Kiriji War




By Kayode Emola

As we Yoruba descendants all over the world celebrate today the end of the Kiriji war that happened on this day in 1886, we remember those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we all enjoy today. Many people in our generation may not appreciate the sacrifice our ancestors paid to give us the freedom, liberty, and peace we enjoy today. Many of them back then did not live to see the peace and freedom they fought for, nor did they know they were going to pay the ultimate price, however, that did not deter them from pursuing freedom with all that they had including their lives.

As we celebrate 137 years to the end of the Kiriji war today, I would like to dedicate this column to those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we Yoruba have enjoyed so far. Although the war brought freedom to the entire Yorubaland and its people; especially those towns and villages that were under Oyo rule, the end of the war brought in a new master (the British overlords) over our affairs.

Shortly after the war ended, the British capitalised on our frailty and war fatigue to gradually colonise our land and take our inheritance by stealth. We did not suspect the actions of the new colonisers because we thought they had our best interest at heart. The rest they say is left to the history books and the journey to freedom continues.

Those who fought to see us free would be mad in their graves to see that the freedom they fought to gain from Oyo who is their neighbour was eventually lost to the British colonisers. They would be asking those of us around this day what we are doing to liberate Yorubaland from the corruption of Nigeria passed down by the British colonisers, since that was what led them to fight the Oyo rulers.

I do not believe that we have an excuse today not to stand up for Yorubaland and her over 50 million population who are being subjected to Nigeria’s misrule. The Yoruba people never signed any document anywhere with her eastern and northern neighbours on becoming one country, therefore we have no business being in Nigeria.

For some people who say that a Yoruba man is now the president of Nigeria, therefore we have the upper hand in directing its affairs. I will say being the president of Nigeria does not translate to development in Yoruba land. This is because Nigeria as a broken nation has gone beyond repair and cannot be mended. Not especially with the disoriented system of government that it currently practices.

Just like Slovenia and Croatia left Yugoslavia before they started reaping the benefits of nationhood. Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, or any other nationality in Nigeria cannot enjoy the goodness of a nation unless the people come together to decide their future. It would be better if this were to happen sooner rather than later to avoid the impeding danger the country may face.

We all know that Nigeria is living on borrowed time and those still behaving like they have a country to call home are just living in fools’ paradise. The only solution for Nigeria is complete dissolution, and any outcome short of this is just applying a sticking plaster to a gushing wound.

As we celebrate the peace we enjoy in Yorubaland today, may I use this opportunity to appreciate those who have kept the flames of peace burning bright. I also want to thank those individuals who have organised this year’s celebration and those who have volunteered their time and resources to see that the event is celebrated in style.

I also thank many of our diasporan Yoruba who are visiting Yorubaland, especially for the first time from places like South and Latin American countries, and elsewhere around the world. We appreciate your efforts in coming down to the homeland to celebrate this year’s event. May the peace of God be with us all and deliver the total freedom and liberty we all desire and grant to us our independent Yoruba nation sooner rather than later.

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Soliloquy: Between Big Brother Naija and Tastee Spelling Bee Competition




By Michael Effiong

This past Thursday, I was privileged and honoured to attend the Tastee Spelling Bee Competition organized to commemorate the 10th Remembrance anniversary of Mr Oluwabunmi Adedayo, who we used to fondly called gentle giant.

Oluwabunmi who was the Executive Director of the famous quick service restaurant, Tastee Fired Chicken (TFC) made quite an impact while on earth. He was warm and humble, and always willing to help others, little wonder that his dear parents: Pamela and Kunle Adedayo decided to turn their personal tragedy to a force for good by establishing the Bunmi Adedayo Foundation.

As I sat down to watch the primary school pupils wow us with their knowledge of English pronunciation and spelling, my mind wondered to my days as member of the St Joseph’s Boys High School, Surulere Literary and Debating Society, and a smile spread across my face.

Then my mind again meandered to the video of the quiz competition that occurred at the Big Brother Naija House which has since gone viral, my reaction this time was that of disgust.

In case you missed it, in the said video, the contestants were asked a pot pourri of questions ranging from mathematics to current affairs. What really caught many people’s attention was the scandalous answers that emanated from theses “celebrity” contestants.

One was asked who was Nigeria’s first president, the contestant did not know! How embarrassing was that.

Another was asked what was the meaning of CAC. She went : ” CAC (she pronounced it kak), CAC”, she looked so shocked as if she had been asked to climb Mount Everest and then blurted some gibberish as answer. All they wanted her to say was CAC is the acronym of Corporate Affairs Commission. How difficult can that be?

It was, therefore, a huge paradox and heart-warming to see these pupils, including a contestant from Pacelli School for the Blind, show their proficiency in the English language.

They lapped up their questions with effortless ease, in fact, some of them were spelling words that I, with my over 30 years’ experience in journalism, was encountering for the first time.I was really impressed.

When one juxtaposes the wondrous performance of these kids to the woeful performance of the Big Brother Naija Housemates, it is not hard to see why our country is where we are at the moment.

When I expressed my angst to an older friend on the Big Brother Housemates show of shame, he laughed and asked me what I had expected

He went on to explain to me that the criteria to be a housemate and win over 100 million naira, juicy prices and endorsement deals did not require any intellectual rigor.You are not expected to be intelligent or take any aptitude test. Just fill out a form, upload a video saying something about yourself and a photo!

Then, you must be articulate, interesting and willing to share your must private thoughts in an open forum to strangers and also be ready to cavort ceaselessly! That’s all!

He therefore affirmed that expecting any seriousness from the Big Brother Naija housemates was like Waiting for Godot.

I believe it is time for us to begin to change our mindset for the betterment of our country. What exactly is our priority as a nation? What are the things that interest us? What are the things that we spend our money on and what are the things that we spend our time on?

In contrast to the huge advertising and sponsorship that is poured on big brother naija, knowledge-based shows like the Spelling Bee, debate shows and quiz compettions never get any traction or attention by Nigerians. Winners hardly are appreciated with the kind of cool cash and media frenzy associated with big brother.

This kind of mentality has to change. If we are to turnaround the fortunes of our country, we have to change our attitude to knowledge and education in general.

It is time for corporate Nigeria to stop paying lip service to talent shows that are intellectually-focused, yes, not everyone has to be educated, but the large number of a country should rank up on that index especially even if to just showcase your talent, if Nigeria wants to take its rightful place at the top table of world prominence.

It is said that “Ideas rule the world” and that soft power is the new gold. How can we compete if we do not invest in our kids and youths like the Bunmi Adedayo Foundation.

Indeed, BAF has taken education as its focus. It has been in the forefront of training teachers and improving the learning experience of pupils.

According to the Foundation “It’s not about building schools, it’s also about building teaching and learning. That’s how communities flourish. They’re agent of change”

The Foundation is devoted to changing lives of children, by innovatively improving the quality of teaching and learning in Nigerian public primary schools.

The Foundation has so far organized 103 trainings, intervened in 1300 plus schools, built one state-of-the-art library, upgraded 5,200 plus teachers, donated one 40-seat ICT laboratory, worked in 56 plus Local Government Education Areas and impacted 15,000 plus pupils.

There is no doubt that we have to catch them young, feed them with the right ideals and ideas that will build them into worthy citizens.

On the day of the spelling Bee, which was won by my name sake, Michael Ofiemum, with Toluwani Toluwani and Janet Oseni taking second and third respectively, the Adedayo’s again showed that their milk of human kindness never runs dry when they extended full scholarship to six pupils of Navy Primary School.

Just like the Spelling Bee winners, contestants and their teachers went home with many prizes, gifts and loads of joy, the smile on the faces of the parents and relations of the scholarship recipients was indescribable.

There is no doubt that the impact of the Spelling Bee Competition and Scholarships by the Bunmi Adedayo Foundation will be etched on the hearts of these pupils and many years later, they will grow up to discuss how this rare opportunity shaped their lives and trust me, at that time, no one will be talking about who won Big Brother Naija 2023.

Let us all decide to invest wisely today by touching lives one child at a time!

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The Mastery of Strategic Alignment




By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“You need a plan to reach your goals. It is your plans that take or get you to a place, not just your dreams. Dreams without an active plan will take you to nowhere. It is a plan that empowers and exposes you to the discipline and responsibilities required to achieve your dreams or set goals. A plan teaches you “HOW” to get there, it is your blueprint. This is your time to set in place some plans that lead you to an ‘expected end’. By the time you get to the ‘end’, you shouldn’t be surprised, because success is intentional; it is deliberate. It is plans that takes you to success, and it is planning that helps you succeed for greatness. Therefore, set it up and step it up!”

– Tolulope A. Adegoke, PhD., FIMC, CMC, CMS, MNIM, CIV

 There should be synergy between your actions and ambitions. You should be able to look at your actions and tell your ambitions. From your ambitions, I will be able to tell where you are going by what you are doing. If what you are doing doesn’t tell or prophesy where you are going, then you are doing the wrong things. Since you are a limited resource, then you are not enough to go round; that means, you have to choose where you have to expend your energy. You cannot tackle everything at the same time. What you are doing must reveal or prophesy where you are going.

A plan is important, not just a dream. A lot of institutions teaches about dreams and vision, but they tend to dish the real deal in parts or halves. You need to understand that getting your plan lined up (to align) with where you are going is far more important. You need a plan to reach your goals. It is your plans that take or get you to a place, not just your dreams. Dreams without an active plan will take you to nowhere. It is a plan that empowers and exposes you to the discipline and responsibilities required to achieve your dreams or set goals. A plan teaches you “HOW” to get there, it is your blueprint.

This is your time to set in place some plans that would lead you to an ‘expected end’. By the time you get to the ‘end’, you shouldn’t be surprised, because success is intentional; it is deliberate. It is a plan that takes you to success, and it is planning that helps you succeed.

The Book of Life says: “write the vision, make it plain, so that whosoever that reads it may run with it.” Somewhere in your life, there ought to be a perfectly Mission Statement: your Vision, Purpose and Goals. That’s what is done in business, and you are in a business to earn a living. What’s your vision? What’s your purpose? What are your goals? With the aforementioned, you are able to choose what is yours wisely. Such that when people offer you things that are not in your Mission Statement, you can say NO because that’s not what you do. A lot of things can be very good, but if they are not in alignment with where you are going, you just have to let them go because you are a limited resource, which is specifically wired for a purpose or calling.

The Book of Exodus 25:1-9 unveils so much: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, that they may bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed, red and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, Oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil, and for sweet incense, Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the patterns of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”

Could God have designed a tabernacle? He is a Master-planner, but He invited His people into the process and planning, and gathering the raw materials. You can quickly tell or deduce by what they are gathering that they are getting ready to build something. Also, one of the most profound statements spoken by God to Moses in the above verses is “Build according to pattern”. In other words, you should have a pattern for living. What God meant by the above is that: “I want you to build according to what I have showed you, do not build outside my plan.”

What you need is that you should get your vision from the Lord; this is simply the vision of where you are going, and this is “WHY” I put you on Earth; this is the purpose I have for you to do. Your job or duty on Earth is to build on Earth what God has already shown you. So what has God shown you? whatever God has shown you is your purpose and vision. A plan simplifies the process of tasks for an easy accomplishment of set targets. Pattern helps you grow; it builds you and gives you a niche. You are here to build on Earth as Man according to purpose and pattern which has been revealed by God.

Most people have no pattern. This is where mentoring comes in to lead you to act according to a designed pattern or system. Mentoring is about giving somebody a pattern to operate with; it is about giving or revealing and availing to somebody what they can see: walk the way I walk, step the way I step. Ask yourself, genuinely, “do you have a pattern?” Do you have a pattern for a successful career, marriage, business or ministry? Have you ever been around someone who is succeeding? You cannot imitate what you have not seen! People who don’t just hear the word, but do the word prospers and keep going up, challenges notwithstanding, but they continue to succeed because they are obedient and attentive to a laid out pattern of success.

A plan is a clear strategy which is usually documented for the purpose of succeeding, leading, conquering and achieving set-targets or goals in any facet of human endeavours. If you must prosper, then you must not fail to plan!

You must understand that success is always intentional, though many people act as if it isn’t, but it really is. You do not graduate from College and be surprised how it happened; you don’t lose weight by accident; you don’t run a marathon and say you do not know how you did it! The authentic truth is that nobody succeeds by accident.

The next thing you must not fail to understand here is that, you need to forgive yourself for making mistakes. You may have done something so foolish. Success isn’t a magic pill, but an intentional act for a change to occur via the renewing of your mindset, it is a process, it is going to take a little time, but it will work if you work it.

Invest Extra Income

Any unexpected income that is beyond your budget is the kind of money you should invest. Stop engaging in lavish spending. Understand that you do not need to buy what you do not need at all! Other people are investing in the idea that you will spend; that’s why they built a mall; that was their investment, expecting you to spend your money in it so that they can save it. You open up streams of income by investing your extra income, and you don’t start spending like the prodigal son (a fool). Don’t spend beyond your limits again. Now, you have understood that there is need for added investment pockets. In the Book of Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus Christ taught the same concept about investment. Even if He didn’t teach it, you still need to know these concepts of investment because you need to do it for your own good!

One of the biggest errors or mistakes we make is that whenever we a get a lump-sum of money, the first thing we try to do is to pay off all our bills, and what you do not realize is that when you are trying to pay off all your bills, you have bills again. You need to maximize opportunities. Gradually continue to pay your way out of debts by using the measure called DISCIPLINE. Keep the money by saving it; Grow the money by investing the money!

The Book of Life says, “you should bring forth fruits, so that your fruits may abide.” God implies that: “I am interested in getting you to a place that you stop losing everything I am giving you. What you know now will change the next five years of your life.

How can you love somebody and not have a life insurance? So you leave them struggling, evicted and uncared for? It isn’t about the luxuries or the expensive gifts or items. I charge you to convert them into assets, and get an insurance! Set your priorities straight in-line with what makes sense!

Stop accepting what keeps depreciating, and stop ignoring what keeps appreciating. Stop paying for your emotions! Even if you love a thing or luxury or property, don’t buy it if it is beyond your financial means or budget. Quit the emotion, where motion is required for your legs to step back. Stop spending too much on what is not necessarily important for you. Buy the basic needs and invest the rest so that as you rest, the profit yields!

A plan makes you a planter (sower). The idea is the seed; the plan makes you the planter. Every planter (sower) is eligible for the harvest of whatever he or she sows or plants! Ensure that you update your plan on a regular basis, because things change, so that you can make this year your year of effective and sufficient productivity. You must have things in order. Every of your steps must count! Are you positioning yourself in the line of your dream? You need to get ready to do it before you do it! You need to look like it before you are it! Remember, God anointed David to be king while he was still a shepherd boy. God was gradually positioning David into Royalty. God told Samuel in the Book of 1Samuel 16:13 (paraphrased), “I have got a Man in the House of Jesse, find him, I want you to anoint him to be king.” At first, after David was anointed to be king, he was still a shepherd boy, but rumour heard it all across the territories in his time that David was going to be king. You need to realize and understand that God is much more interested and focused on “WHERE” you are going than where you are, at the moment; and He is committed to plan and ride with you, if you will be reasonable enough to take responsibilities and endure the processes required to arrive at the successes that leads to greatness through a PLAN or pattern (strategy) that is well detailed for shifts and positioning to prosper and prevail in your areas of calling or purpose.

…to be continued.

Dr. Tolulope A. Adegoke is an accredited ISO 20700 Effective Leadership Trainer

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