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Open Letter To Goodluck Jonathan (I)

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I admire and salute your courage to withstand the
mounting pressure on you for some time now to declare stand on the forthcoming 2015 general elections. By this impassive act you’ve proved to political sycophants that you are no push-over and of no simple estimation. You’ve rendered their insidious political permutations redundant and places same in abeyance. Let me also appreciate your sincere intention to render governance delivery to Nigerians who voted you into office in 2011 with great enthusiasm and expectations.
I also hope that you would welcome and appreciate a sincere and frank expression of mind, and a conveyance of the total mind of common Nigerians on your administration. Your Excellency Sir, common Nigerians here refer to the majority group of Nigerians that depends totally on public facilities for their entire welfare and whose powers form the authority class but usually find themselves in constant frustration and lamentation of dashed hopes and expectations of good welfare in the face of hyper affluence of the authority class from the corporate wealth of the nation, the real voting class in elections, the real power owners but the perpetual suffering group.
Since your position is one of intense pressure there is every tendency that a lot of salient issues, beyond sycophancy, may elude your imperative attention and you might wish that some one had drawn your attention to them. It is borne out of this consideration that this humble letter is written.
Yes your Excellency Sir, your silence so far on 2015 gives the impression that you are seriously bearing your mind on a lot of national issues and measuring your journey so far regarding the axiom that “one good turn deserves another”. So before you speak on 2015, I would like you to note the fact that in 2011, you were the next political figure after late Moshood Kasimowo Abiola, popularly called MKO, of cherished memory, to occupy the enthusiastic hearts of Nigerians who clearly demonstrated same in a massive turn-out in the elections.
Both of you are the political figures in Nigeria so far that Nigerians ever believed, trusted and strongly, anchored upon their corporate hope and expectations.
If you recall the spirit of Nigerians in 2011 national voters registration exercise and the subsequent general elections that brought you to power again, you would be restless in Aso Rock as to how to very satisfactorily serve Nigerians in adequate appreciation of this corporate faith, confidence and trust so enthusiastically demonstrated in a political leader in this country. The turn-out for that national voters registration exercise was massive and impressive. Massive because those who confessed that they had never before registered and voted, or had in many years not participated in the exercises, turned up. Impressive because never in the history of Nigeria’s national exercise had Nigerians exhibited such sincere spirit of patriotism and cooperation.
Recall also how the common Nigerians voluntarily carted with joy their generating sets, tables, chairs etc, to the voters registration centres and spiritedly battled to forestall the threatening failure of the exercise by the Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines that refused to function properly at the commencement of the exercise, by providing mythelated spirits, cotton wool, water, detergents, etc, to clean fingers to aid easy capture. Your Excellency Sir, all this was done because of your individual person.
In my Jonathan’s Presidential Candidacy Reawakens National Patriotism published in the National Point Newspaper of March 21, 2011, p20, I presented a graphic picture of this unique spirit of commitment of Nigerians in a national exercise, of an old woman at one of the registration centres in Port Harcourt, who bluntly refused to live her seat for another person after the data capture machine consecutively failed to capture her finger prints.
Considering the passionate plea to her by the registration officers to stay aside a while for another person as a plot to rig Jonathan out of the election said, in vehement reaction, “Una no want mek I vote Jonathan wey God bring mek im come helep poor people?”. She later felt comfortable and left the seat after being well convinced that the exercise wasn’t Jonathan’s election proper yet to come.
Again, recall the common Nigerians unique spirit of commitment on the day of the presidential election. As early as 7am they had all formed up at their different registration centres and would not live until after the counting of votes, Jonathan was rigged out.
This was a unique corporate resolve to ensure that all was well for your person in that election. This was also a unique corporate demonstration of faith, trust and confidence in a political leader.
Your Excellency Sir, in 2011, you were the most appreciated president ever in re-election exercise in this country. The common Nigerians hoped and trusted that the elusive governance delivery of age-long would finally come to pass in your continued administration since the then just ended two years of completing late President Yar’ Adua’s tenure was considered not long enough for obvious achievements in your short leadership.
The tempo and euphoria of your Excellency’s re-election soared higher and higher as the hope and expectations of the arrival of the common Nigerians era kindled through out 2011. But while the manifestation of this dream was faithfully awaited, you dashed this nascent hope, faith and trust in a public leader by thanking common Nigerians for your re-election in your removal of fuel subsidy on  1st January, 2012 against all popular voices.
Ukutumoren, a public affairs analyst, writes from Port Harcourt.

Open Letter To Goodluck Jonathan (II)
Ukutumoren E. Ukutumoren
In reaction to Nigerians cries and lamentations on this, you haphazardly rolled out vehicles on public display for distribution to states nationwide, to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal. These vehicles soon disappeared from sight before states could receive them. Since then, the common Nigerians had been greatly hit by increasing high cost of living occasioned by this fuel subsidy removal. As if that was not enough, you soon against increased the electricity tariff in the country against all popular voices who cautioned that if the power tariff increase was at all necessary that should be only after the hitherto dismal power supply situation had improved and after the prepaid meters had been available to every household in the country.
Again you promptly assured Nigerians that the prepaid meters had already arrived the country and soon every household would have them.
So before you speak on 2015, your Excellency Sir, know that up till the moment of this letter, common Nigerians are continually sending save our souls (sos) message cries to who cares, about the gross and constant exploitations by power operators nationwide through incredible, unjustified and fraudulent electricity bills in the face of dismal services and their cries for prepaid meters, which you had promised, are yet to reach you.
In January 2012 during Nigerians stiff reaction to your removal of fuel subsidy you commented that the strong reaction of Nigerians to that policy was due to the fact that previous governments had deceived them. That sincerely, the subsidy gained would be used to repair the existing refmeries to full capacity utilization and new ones built to end fuel importation. Through this you would, amongst other things, build and equip new hospitals, thus creating business and employment opportunities and also improve health care delivery. Your Excellency Sir, before you speak, please note that common Nigerians are still expectant of these and are asking and would continue to ask about the states of the old refmeries and the number of new ones built and why Nigeria is still importing fuel, and unemployment level. Imagine also the fate of these Nigerians to learn that you would rather want to sell out the said refmeries whose fate brought them the present excruciating suffering. This constitutes nothing other than a grand deceit by a leadership.
Corruption has been identified as the bane of Nigeria’s corporate progress. You appreciated this fact and promised to fight it to at least the barest minimum. Common Nigerians so believed you. Unfortunately, your action in this direction is nothing to write home about and your administration is widely seen as the worst in corruption with the dangling rope of the EFCC fmding the necks of some of your indicted ministers.
This national cankerworm pervades all nooks and cranies of the country. Private sectors not excluded. Product manufacturers flood the markets with inferior products. Product containers and sachets contain increasingly lesser quantities of core products and weights against the declared specifications.
The church leaders become insidious champions, wining ‘medals’ in immorality, dubiousness, marriage breakings, family disunity and psychic manipulations. All this unabated. Before you speak, Your Excellency, note that common Nigerians feel so disappointed in your corruption fight and very uncomfortable with the frequent news of missing billions of dollars from the federation account in your administration; and the whole dwindling state of values in the country.
You also promised a functional power supply and they strongly believed you but up to this moment the state of power supply nationwide is no far departure from the immediate dismal past and is characterised by outrageous and fictitious charges that prompt the current save our souls (SOS) message cries nationwide from consumers and the end is not in sight.
Nigeria is the richest nation in West Africa or Africa and has spent so much trillions of Naira on fruitless power supply over the decades. Common Nigerians are no longer happy with the present state of power supply and see no reason why Nigeria after spending so much could not have functional power by now.
You further promised common Nigerians affordable housing as cost of cement would not exceed one thousand naira (1,000.00) in your tenure. But today only the authority class can afford the cost of building materials in the country.
The basic expectations of the masses from any leadership are safety of live and property, good roads, electricity, supply portable water, and health care! These still remain grossly elusive to them. But the degree of loss of lives and properties coupled with the colossal trillions of naira expended so far on the current insecurity challenges, to no abate, is unprecedented in the history of democratic leadership of this country and the common igerians are very uncomfortable with the inability of the leadership to contain the situation due to delayed and inadequate action.
So before you speak: on 2015, your Excellency Sir, please note that the afore stated are the agitating issues in the core minds .of common Nigerians and do not constitute a condusive atmosphere for the breath of fresh air which you promised them in 2011. They are more uncomfortable also when they count that by 2015 you would have spent six (6) and eight (8) years consecutively in the Executive Presidency of this nation and all they have is explanatory achievements for this long Executive Presidential tenancy. In fact, the enthusiasm that greeted your presidential candidacy and election in 2011 has really gone.
Finally, Your Excellency, you acknowledged the fact that you are the most criticized and condemned democratic president so far in this country. This is very true Sir. But your reaction that you would be the most praised and appreciated president at the end of tenure in 2015 rekindled the hope and expectations of common Nigerians. Your Excellency Sir, I believe you could be if only you can successfully midwife the National Conference by
subjecting its report to a referendum, and give Nigerians the age-long elusive Funtional Power Supply.
Ukutumoren, a publisc affairs analyst, writes from Port Harcourt.

 

Ukutumoren E. Ukutumoren

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Opinion

Before Youths Are Consumed

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It has become expedient for all Nigerians to be subjected to mandatory periodic drug tests, given the high crime rate and the pervasive killings across the land. Honestly, how this proposition can be accomplished remains unclear at the moment.
From time to time Nigeria is rudely reminded that there are issues concerning the mental and psychological state of a good number of citizens, especially youths, in relation to illegal drug consumption. The most recent reminder were the incidents of 1st January 2018 when daredevil cultists and herdsmen effectuated widespread killings in different parts of the country including Rivers State.
Drug use and abuse are obvious reasons why many youths have taken to heinous crimes. Hard drugs are the source of dangerous crimes and health problems in our society today. Because of their regular abuse, drug-related incarceration has increased in the country’s prisons.
What is drug abuse? It is the deliberate use of chemical substances for reasons other than their intended medical purposes which results in physical, mental, emotional or social impairment of the user. In other words, drug abuse can happen when they are used illegitimately.
Why are many Nigerian youths taking to massive drug consumption as a way of life? There are two primary reasons for it. These are peer group influence and depression. Another reason for the huge drug intake is ignorance. Many drug addicts believe they need hard drugs to feel good. So, they are taken as routine medicines.
That is why the fight against the plague has to be intensified before our youths are consumed. The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have to be up and doing in this legendary battle by preventing the sale of pernicious drugs in the country.
Both agencies must ensure that dangerous drugs like codeine, tramadol, diazepam etc. are only sold upon presentation of doctor’s prescription to prevent their abuse. Punitive measures have to be instituted against erring medical doctors in this regard.
It is hard for anyone to dispute the expansive deglutition of hard drugs in Nigeria, especially in the northern part of the country. For instance, recently released statistics indicate that about three million codeine are consumed in Kano and Jigawa States annually.
The situation is so awful that some residents of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in North East are involved in this misconduct. While girls take dangerous cough mixtures and other drugs with codeine to get ‘high’, boys use cocaine, heroine and Indian hemp.
Indian hemp is the most frequently expended drug perhaps because it is home-grown and so easily accessible. It is also cheap. Because of its effect in mood alterations, poor and uneducated youths have found ally in it to their detriment.
Precarious drugs are ingested in virtually all sections of the country. For example, between October and November last year, officials of the NDLEA, Bayelsa State Command, arrested 77 illicit drug suspects. The command says tramadol, codeine and diazepam were among drugs absorbed by youths in the state.
Youths who are into drug abuse have to be educated on their effects more so when it has been established that reckless use of hard drugs can destroy kidneys and make the victims vulnerable to cancer. It also leads to increase in crime rate, mental disorder, child abuse, domestic violence, rape as well as homelessness and poverty.
For these reasons, access to illicit drugs must be restricted. Unrestricted access to drugs and poor regulatory framework are part of the reasons for the astronomical increase in their unauthorised use. Governments and law enforcement agencies in the country must obviate this.
Additionally, the existence of many unregistered and illegal medicine outlets and open drug markets all over the country make it easier for Nigerians to source some of these drugs without prescription.
The recurring hazard of drug misuse and abuse is taking unprecedented toll on the health of consumers. What the development requires is immediate erection of rehabilitation centers across the country to assist in quick rehabilitation of drug addicts.
To check this trend, governments and all stakeholders must collaborate and design ways to prevent access to dangerous substances. Also, drug regulation must be made stronger to thwart distribution chains. Open drug markets in major cities have to be identified and dismantled as well.
Nigerians should be properly enlightened on the dangers of hard drugs and be made to purchase drugs with prescription from only registered pharmacies as is the case in civilised climes. NAFDAC and NDLEA have so much to do in this regard. They have to synergise to stem the wanton abuse of drugs that promote high crime rate currently experienced in the country.

 

Arnold Alalibo

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Opinion

ASUU, CONUA And ABN Phenomenon

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The Tide newspaper, Monday, October 7, 2019, carried a headline: Splinter Group Emerges in ASUU (P.16). Anybody who knows the antics of mischief makers would not find it difficult to understand that Nigeria has been under the spell of “spoilers” for quite a long time. Similarly anybody who has taken keen interest in crisis management strategies may have come across the local version of the “divide-and-rule strategy, called “Okamike factor”.
Current emergence of a splinter group among Nigerian university lecturers under the name “Congress of University Academics” (CONUA), had long been expected. What the wider public should be told is the operational strategy of paid agents who play the role of “spoilers”. Sponsorship of such groups can be traced to political authorities or the establishment. Their spoiling roles and activities cut across public establishments and labour unions.
An Association for Better Nigeria (ABN) emerged years ago as a countervailing force of extra-patriotic Nigerians. Members of that group were so patriotic that they spoiled the ambition of a Presidential aspirant whom they were paid to spoil. Their activities went further to plunge Nigeria into deeper political crisis and also resulted in the early death of a naïve female Justice who got involved in the spoiling game. Thanks to injection of military stratagem into civil politics!
Unknown to the Nigerian public, there emerged a voodoo system of crisis management, strongly consolidated via the use of a faceless cabal. Readers of this article would find it instructive to trace the whereabouts of the ABN voodoo master and his current state of health. Interview him if possible. The triumph of evil is usually short-lived and pyrrhic. So, let it be with Dr Faruk!
Of more concern to the reader is the pattern of selection of willing tools in the service of the cabal. There is a growing evidence of the stereotype about some ethnic groups being ready to sell their souls for money, becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy. When the spoiling virus found its way to a professor of virology for being responsible for the nation’s economic adversity by taking a cup of tea and gold wrist watch as a gift, keen watchers knew that the game was one-sided and political.
In the case of the university system, the game played out via Professor Ben Nwabueze’s theory of “Imperfect Obligation”, whose motive was to annul an agreement between ASUU and the Federal Government. A similar strategy of annulment of an election result via the ABN voodoo antics also succeeded. It was not an issue of concern that there arose divisions and animosities among lecturers, and a national crisis arising from arbitrary annulment of an election. What was important was momentary victory.
The use of willing tools and fifth columnists as spoilers goes with some reward, via unmerited promotions, political appointments or some other personal gains. In the case of universities, the spoiling game resulted in managing the institutions like fiefdoms and labour camps. This was followed by a system of witch hunt, ostensibly to root-out radicalism in the campuses. In the old Rivers State Unviersity of Science and Technology, team-spirit and collegiality were destroyed via the use of an “Integrity” group. A Vice-Chancellor would not have the courtesy of listening to any advice of older colleagues who taught him a few years ago.
There is no doubt that there was a deliberate process of installing the divide-and-rule strategy as an establishment practice. A vital part of its implementation included the use of “big stick” to make any recalcitrant radical to tow the establishment line. The strategy has continued to work, thanks to dealers and wheelers in compilation of secret personal dozzier. In the case of universities, some Vice-Chancellors used cultists and female church members to feed their personal computers with unverified information about staff who are not in their “good book”.
Obviously, any establishment managed through gossip peddling and boot-licking strategies would breed and encourage divisions and animosities among the staff. The role of politics in these malpractices is that those who engage in them are being rewarded for previous exploits, or do so with the hope to be rewarded thereafter. The over-all consequence is that efficiency and cooperation among a workforce become seriously undermined.
In the past 41 years of the existence of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), all internal crises have always had external political influences. It is quite sad that ethnic and religious influences can also create divisions among such enlightened workforce as the ASUU. Now even private universities are not immune from the spoiler virus.
While individuals may differ widely according to numerous factors, commitment and loyalty to the goals and objectives of the organization that an individual work for should not waver. But the spoiler virus destroys personal conviction and commitment, thus rendering the strategy of management by use of a cabal dangerous. Same strategy is playing out in Rivers State electoral matters, via the current AAC/APC/Army alliance.
Why nothing works out effectively in Nigeria is largely due to what a researcher described as “Okamike factor”. If an incompetent dabbler confronts you with a big stick and money and tells you that he knows and can perform better, what would you do? Fight him; go to court to challenge him, or resign your appointment? In the Nigerian experience, money being such a great soldier, would easily resolve the crisis. But the society pays a sad price for such gangsterist system of management of national affairs. This is exactly what had unwittingly been installed in Nigeria’s public establishments. It has evolved from mafia to cabal. It is not relenting or about to stop. Its sponsors are strong!
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

 

Bright Amirize

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Opinion

Need To Maintain Our Institutions

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Nigeria is a sovereign nation and all hands must be on deck to maintain its sovereignty. To achieve this, a number of infrastructural developement must be put in place. The ideology of sovereignty of any nation is to make things possible for the citizens. Since Independence till date there has been slow pace of development in the country. This is as a result of nonchalant attitude of the leaders in government and some citizens when projects are awarded for execution. Often times, when it comes to solving problems for the masses what you hear is that there is no political will to enforce the policy. One wonders the kind of political will our leaders need before things are put in place. The deposit of mineral resources in the land of Nigeria is a good omen for national development.
The education sector has been drifting from its original aims and objectives. This is because the system is no longer meeting the expectations of the nation. In any sovereign nation, education is the door way of achieving purposeful development. Through research works in education, other sectors are managed effectively and efficiently. The falling standard of education caused by neglect of the sector has caused emigration of Nigerian students to neighbouring nations, thereby, denying our educational institutions funds to upgrade their facilities. Today, most of the leaders and well-to-do in Nigeria send their children and wards to Ghana, the US and the UK for university education.
It is true that no nation is an island. But that does not mean we should abandon our country for foreign facilities.
Indeed, the power or energy sector is one of the sectors begging for massive improvement and upgrading of facilities. The federal government has said so much about improvement of power in the country. Yet no meaningful achievement has been recorded. And if the government is ready to improve power in Nigeria, there is no need for the federal government to budget for generators for Aso Rock or government buildings. That is suspicious! In Nigeria, generators have taken over the power sector. And so each time generators are mentioned in the budget there is need for doubt. Over the years, Nigerians have been complaining of poor power supply in the country. And to many the cry against epileptic electricity supply is waste of time. All the processing and manufacturing industries use electricity from generators to power their machines. But in some countries of the world there is constant supply for decades. No wonder some companies are relocating to neighboring countries where electricity supply is relatively constant. Recently, there was bidding for electricity facilities in the country. There is no need for further delay in ensuring efficiency in the power sector. Therefore, power should not be toyed with, if Nigeria wants to be one of the biggest economies in the world. Everyone needs electricity in Nigeria.
Nigeria has been known as a developing nation for many years now and has not achieved tangible development, due to some nefarious activities of some persons in government and outside government. Nigeria has a wide road network but yet the roads in the country are in deplorable state, which gives room for questions. Nigerians enjoy pot holes-free roads in UK, the US and other nations of the world. But when road projects are awarded to some of them to construct as it is done in foreign nations, some siphon the funds or use poor quality materials to construct roads in the country. Today our federal roads are begging for reconstruction and rehabilitation, because they are very bad. And those who do the shoddy jobs are applauded and more multimillion projects are awarded to them to continue the bad jobs. Something has to be done to stop the ugly trend of events in the country. Because the roads are bad, motorists take the opportunity to charge commuters heavily. This also has led to high cost of commodities and has weakened the purchasing power of many Nigerians . Indeed, most of the staple foods we eat in the country are imported from foreign nations. For instance, Nigeria depends on imported rice till date when there are arable lands for rice farming in the country. Abakaliki rice is still under peasant farming system till today because government has not taken any proactive measure to improve rice farming in the country. There is need for concerted effort by all to change the state of things in the country.
Health for all has been a long time slogan which no one wants to sing or recite again because of the inability of the government to deliver health services to the people. It is still very sad to hear that Nigerians can only get better medical treatment abroad. Why? Nigeria has the resources that could make her health system the best in the world. Today, cancer screening machine is rare to come by in the country. Few months ago there was outbreak of Lassa fever in some states of the nation. And it was a difficult task to get treatment, because the machine to screen a victim’s blood sample is only in Benin. And it was reported that Lassa fever was first noticed before independence of our dear nation.
Indeed, today we fund foreign health system and they keep on growing faster than ours. Almost every government functionary receives his or her medical check up abroad. That is why our health sector is dying even when we have professionals to make it work. It is high time our leaders pondered anew to change some things. The national and state assemblies should enact laws that should make the government to improve its facilities. Over dependence on foreign institutions when we need to improve and develop the ones we have is a serious threat to democracy. Therefore, there is need for government at all levels to embark on an aggressive campaign on infrastructural development in the nation. Nigerians can enjoy the best if there is honesty and selfless service to humanity.
Ogwuonuonu wrote in from Port Harcourt.

 

Frank Ogwuonuonu

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