There is this African adage that says, “A dancer does not see his back”. This assertion is apt as it is the spectators that judge the dancing skills of a dancer and could, when asked to make a comment, point out the mistakes the dancer makes.
In essence, dance steps follow a drum beat or musical beat and when a dancer performs well, follows the correct rhythm, he or she is commended for a job well done. Also, in the political realm, the accolades or criticisms follow the same pattern as it takes only the professional to see the fault in any political setup and offers good advice to those at the helm of affairs.
Just this week, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo sent an open letter to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the nation where he expressed worry over the security situation and other lapses of the administration. This is not the first time Chief Obasanjo has done so. During the presidency of the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, he counselled the former President and hauled abuses and condemnation at him. Under Ibrahim Babangida, he did same and the reaction was not different under Yar Adua and Dr Goodluck Jonathan. His pen danced and danced and the reward he got was not different.
Chief Obasanjo two years back also wrote a letter to the same President Buhari on his handling of the ship of the nation but was criticised not minding the fact that it was the same Obasanjo that Buhari met to seek his support for the office of the Presidency in 2015.
That notwithstanding, advice is never a curse. That is why those who really want to succeed in life brook criticisms and never hits back at those who give them useful advice. But to say Chief Obasanjo who fought in Nigerian Civil War and even saw to the surrender of Biafra is an unpatriotic person is really ludicrous and laughable.
Obasanjo has paid his dues and most of his observations are done without malice and it is only a dumb-witted person, people who don’t love the country that will see nothing good in his observations and advice.
The issue is not that Obasanjo is a saint or knows it all, but the stark reality is that Nigerians are in trouble and probably have entered what motor park touts call a ‘one chance journey.”
Of all the points or observations made by the former president which really touch the fabric of the country’s future is the issue of Nigerians gradually losing confidence in the ability of the Buhari administration to fight criminality perpetrated by herdsmen, Boko Haram and kidnappers in virtually every part of the country.
Today, even the wealthy in the cities and the poor in the rural areas are afraid for their lives, our houses have become fortresses and our streets in the urban areas are now gated. There is no week that we don’t hear of killings and kidnapping on our waterways and highways which have become death traps to travellers’ and commuters. In short, no place is safe anymore in the country.
Basically, Obasanjo’s letter raises about 11 salient points which include the need for a national dialogue to discuss the way forward and suggested that all former presidents, heads of state, heads of security , governors (both present and past) and other major stakeholders in the country, including council chairmen be invited to deliberate on the issues confronting the country.
Another point he raised was that the government must be an inclusive one. This observation is quite apt because of serious lopsidedness in the composition of the country’s security structure and other critical appointments which show that they favour only one section of the country and people of a similar religious affiliation.
This to some Nigerians shows that the present administration is the most sectionally -minded government Nigeria has ever had. That even after the end of the Civil War under General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria was a better place in terms of appointment of people to positions of trust.
The advice did not come as a surprise to all who have been following the trend in the country and for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to use his pen once again to sound a note of caution on the nation’s march into the future calls for concern. According to him, it seems Nigeria has been handed over to a bunch of criminals that even the Chief of Army Staff seems confused and is blaming the spate of insecurity on sabotage and lack of commitment by personnel of the Armed Forces. Is it not the same government that said it has crushed Boko Haram? How come this confession that it is fighting the war against criminality suddenly overwhelming it?
For Obasanjo to say the security issue is hitting the very foundation of our existence is not far from the truth as herdsmen have become a threat to the corporate existence of the country, and if left unchecked, might eventually result in massive inter-tribal war on a national scale as acts of retributive justice may lead to ethnic cleansing as it happened in Rwanda in 1994. So to curb any upheaval of such nature, the president must start thinking of solution and stop living in a cocoon where he sees nothing, hears nothing and is not even aware that his security chiefs are also doing nothing.
It is quite sad that in Nigeria, we are never always truthful to those who occupy the office of the president or governor. That is why according to the late music maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, “Nigeria is a big blind country”. A country where advice is seen as a crime with those who render good advice hounded, called nasty names and even threatened with arrest or even arrested for disturbing the peace of the nation. To be truthful, President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in all facets of governance. Under his watch between June 2018 to May 2019, over 7,253 Nigerians have been killed. The figure released by Nigeria Security Trackers (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations Africa, consists of those killed by Boko Haram and Islamic State in the Northern part of the country, herdsmen and extra-judicial killings by the military.
During the time frame according to the report, Borno and Zamfara recorded the highest number of killings, contributing to 49% of the total deaths within the last one year. Borno recorded 2,384 killings while 1, 157 people were killed in Zamfara. Other states that make up the most affected states are Kaduna, 540, Benue 330, Adamawa 303, Yobe 264, Taraba 176, Plateau 166, Rivers 160 and Katsina, the President home state, with 127 deaths.
One of the factors that ensured President Buhari’s success in the 2015 election was the issue of insecurity and most Nigerians thoughts that with his military background he would do a better job in the fight against criminality, but today, the tale is different as things are worse. States which never experienced bandits before are now bearing the brunt of banditry, robbery and kidnapping. States like Sokoto, Kebbi in the north and Ekiti, Oyo and Kogi axis are now seeing people killed on the highways, homes and farms. Not just there alone, farmers both in the South-South and South-East regions are even not faring better.
The situation is so bad that even elderly women are reportedly raped in their farms, killed or maimed and yet nothing is done to arrest and prosecute the culprits.
To Obasanjo, this is due to poor management of or mismanagement of our diversity, and when the silence by the victims becomes too much, something might set up a spark which might result in unforeseen circumstance. The earlier we tackle this malady, the better for the future of the country. And the only way forward is for President Muhammadu Buhari to be presidential in his actions by abiding by his oath of office to ensure the safety of lives and property of Nigerians and obey the constitution.
A country can survive one civil war but might not survive a second one which also involves ethno-religious differences.
Political Space Is Only For Parties Ready To Take Power – Okoye
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s), Festus Okoye, national Commissioner on Information and Voter Education has reminded Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) that political space is meant for political parties that are ready to take power, maintaining that political associations can exist, mobilise, build structures before seeking registration, as soon as they get registered they must be ready to take power.
Okoye said this while speaking on a local media station after the High Court adjourned hearing in the case filed by 33 political parties under the auspices of IPAC, challenging their deregistration by INEC.
The national commissioner reminded IPAC that as registered political parties, they should be ready to take power, because the space was not for learning, as the electoral body would be prepared to de-register any political partyand relegate it to an association if it found out that the party failed to meet the threshold of its registration, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution.
“The political parties contesting did not meet the terms of their registration, neither did they win elections in their various states, nor met the projections. Two of the parties that went to court, Labour Party and African Democratic Party, were not deregistered. They claimed they had court injunctions and I don’t know what they are doing in court.”
“The spirit and intent of the constitution, is that political associations can exist, mobilize people, build up structures. The moment they come for registration means they are ready to take power. If you are not due for political power, you should not apply for registration, because the political space is not for learning or testing the ground”, he said.
Okoye said that 74 political parties had been deregistered and the deregistion had already taken place.
He maintained that because the 33 political parties that went to court were aware that deregistration had taken place, that was why on 14 February they filed an application in court, asking the court to reverse it.
The INEC official stated that the act had already been completed, that was why the court adjourned till 27 February for accelerated hearing.
IPAC Hails Court Order Restraining INEC From De-Registering 31 Parties
The Inter-Party Adversary Council (IPAC) has described the judgment stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from deregistering political parties as victory for democracy and future generations.
National chairman of the council, Peter Ameh, who made the comment while addressing newsmen shortly after the ruling, said the late Gani Fawehinmi gave the 33 political parties that went to court the courage.
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in her ruling, said, having failed to counter the application by the applicants, the affected political parties had the legal right, which must be protected.
In an interlocutory motion with suit number FHC/ABJ/ CS/444/19 between Advanced Congress of Democratis (ACD) and two others vs. Attorney-General of the Federation and another (INEC), the applicants had on October 30, 2019, approached the court.
The IPAC chairman insisted that there was no way the commission would have succeeded in the illegality it perpetrated against the parties and the fundamental rights of Nigerians.
“We have every reason to thank everybody who stood against this illegality, especially Okey Raph Nwosu, who, despite his party scaling the deregistration hurdle, still joined in the suit because he believed in democracy.
“We believe in the spirit of the Constitution as stated in Section 40, which gave Nigerians the right to freely belong to any political association, and the Constitution stipulated that no agency of government can restrict that right.
“We started this case since last year when we saw that there was plan to put Nigeria upside down. It is our right to defend the constitution through section 225 to challenge the commission to stop it from taking this illegal action.
“INEC should know that if the interest of a political party is to talk about free education, the party should be allowed. If the interest is to talk about tree planting in the North-East, it should be allowed to continue with it.
Group Advises Women On Increased Participation In Politics
Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria League of Women Voters, has urged women to be very active in politics to avoid marginalisation.
The state chairperson of the league, Mrs Nnenna Anozie made the call in an interview with our source in Enugu yesterday.
was a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) that aims at empowering women both politically and economically.
She said that the league encouraged women to participate in election; adding that they discovered that in the last elections, many women did not participate either as voters or contestants in the elections.
Anozie said that the organisation aimed creating more awareness on the girl child and for every woman to be aware of her civil rights in the state and the country at large.
The chairperson said the group recently visited one of the girls schools in Enugu where they shared sanitary pads, carried out sensitisation awareness on dangers of drug abuse, rape and others.
”This is one way of giving back to the society as well as empowering our women because knowledge is power. Most of them are not knowledgeable about their rights and how to keep hygiene.
”Many of them are rape victims and they are not opening up because of stigmatisation.
”We want to embark on the sensitisation drive in all the states in the country; hoping that come 2023 most of our women will be equipped to run for political offices both at the local, state and national levels,” she said.
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