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Imperative Of Transcendent Minds

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Jason Osai

The ability of rational thought is not an all-comers game; it  requires stretching the mind beyond the reaches of general precepts and the usual perceptions that anchor lesser minds on mundane issues such as materialism, ethnicity or the neurotic preoccupation with the preposterous and idiotic matter of searching for the face of the Unknowable through the jaded and ossified creeds of institutional religion; the transcendent mind is neither Jew, Buddhist, Traditionalist, Christian nor Moslem. Transcendence of the mind, in this regard, implies the ability to see beyond the tiny little pictures and philosophies that constitute divisive hedgerows in humanity; the transcendent mind sees and savors the essence of the larger picture. In management and administration, transcendence requires embracing the concept of formalistic impersonality and being conscious of halo effect. In political leadership, transcendence calls for objectivity, sensitivity and decisiveness devoid of sentiments, sectionalism and all the other isms that create divisions and cause disaffection and conflict in human society. This piece focuses on the decisions and actions of two governors (one from the South and the other from the North), the averments of a consultant physician of Fulani extraction and a foremost Traditional Ruler from the North.

In very unequivocal terms, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State declined to provide land for RUGA arguing that the land he has is earmarked for agriculture. Couching his position in comical cynicism, Wike offered to give the Federal Government access to the seawaters of Rivers State for them to pipe water to RUGA settlements in the North just as they piped oil and gas there; this is an obvious reaction to the violence and insecurity perpetrated by herdsmen in the State in recent times and an eloquent expression of the resolve to protect Rivers people; that it was not a campaign speech demonstrated its patriotic root. In what seems a volte-face from the patriotism expressed in regard the RUGA uproar, Governor Wike appointed HRH Justice Sidi Bage Mohammed 1, JSC Rtd CON, Emir of Lafian Barebari and Chairman Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs, as Chancellor of Rivers State University. While the first decision painted a picture of vanguard of the people of Rivers State, the nationalist in Wike crystalized from the later decision; taken together, the two decisions clearly indicate a desire to maintain the corporate existence of Nigeria as a nation without compromising the interest and safety of Rivers people; they attest to the objectivity of Governor Wike and transcendence above interparty, interreligious and ethnocentric bickering.

On Nija.com Legit (July 16, 2019), Jerrywright Ukwu reports that Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello of Kogi State broke a twenty-eight year old jinx by building a chapel in Government House, Lokoja; said Governor Bello: “Religion is a matter of faith, of belief, not evidence, and if we do not have respect for the beliefs of others, it’s to our detriment, since a lack of respect diminishes us as human beings. So, I am shocked as to why my predecessors never bothered to build a chapel for Christians even when there is a mosque here.” Stating that “Religion is a matter of faith, of belief, not evidence” indicates that Governor Bello realizes that religion is imaginary and based on conjectural anecdotes and narratives. Again, to have said that “if we do not have respect for the beliefs of others, it’s to our detriment, since a lack of respect diminishes us as human beings” indicates that Bello is a Moslem in the true sense of Islam being a religion of peace; this means that he is beyond the fanaticism of extremism as instigated by some radical Moslem clerics. These eloquently speak to the transcendence of his mind, which reflects the desire for harmony in humanity.

Reacting to the RUGA palaver, Dr. Nura Alkali, a Fulani and consultant physician at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, opined that “only the blind will insist on living a 17th Century life in 2018. Fifty years ago, humans conquered space to land on the moon. Others decoded DNA, which advanced the science of animal breeding to levels never before imagined in history. But we still have people pursuing an impossible nomadic lifestyle to raise cattle.” This is a lamentation of a way of life that belongs in the distant past of Nigeria.

Reacting to the economically debilitating and pervading social insecurity and the biting undercurrents of ethnocentrism in Nigeria, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Emir of Kano and a Fulani, wrote thus: “After the First World War (WWI), the victors treated Germany with the same contempt Nigeria is treating Igbo. Two decades [after the WWI], there was a Second World War (WWII), far costlier than the first. Germany was again defeated, but this time, they won a more honorable peace. Our present political leaders have no sense of history.  There is a new Igbo man, who was not born in 1966 and neither knows nor cares about Nzeogwu and Ojukwu. There are Igbo men on the streets who were never Biafrans. They were born Nigerian; are Nigerians but suffer because of actions of earlier generations. They will soon decide that it is better to fight their own war, and maybe find an honorable peace, than to remain in this contemptible state in perpetuity. The Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have exacted their pound of flesh from the Igbo. For one Sardauna, one Tafawa Balewa, one Akintola and one Okotie-Eboh, hundreds of thousands have died and suffered. If this issue is not addressed immediately, no conference will solve Nigeria’s problems.” This clearly indicates fervent patriotism, strong sense of history and the realization of the fact that history has the uncanny capacity of being repeated by those who fail to learn its lessons. Sanusi’s averment transcends the wrangling amongst the major ethnic groups and myriad of minority groups across the Nigerian ethno-cultural space, where virulent ethnocentric vituperations and disintegrative nationalism are the order of the day and constitute the new norm.

Until the process of selecting leadership in Nigeria encourages and accommodates the emergence of patriotic, objective and decisive people in public office, the nagging issue of rudderlessness and lackluster performance in the public sector will persist to the detriment of the Nigerian society. Here, it is a collective responsibility; both the leader and the led share in the phenomenon. As the saying goes “a people deserve the leadership they get.”

Osai is a lecturer in Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

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Stop Politicising Ogoni Clean-Up -Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has expressed dismay that since 2016 when the Ogoni Clean Up exercise was flagged off by the Federal Government, no tangible milestone has been achieved.
The Governor said rather than tell the world the level of success attained, Federal Government continues to deceive the people by circulating same story of handing over remediation sites to contractors and wondered if handing over sites to contractors means that the contractors have done the job.
Governor Wike who bared his mind on the issue last Thursday when the Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, attributed the failure of the programme to undue politicisation.
He further stated that the Rivers State Government was alienated from the programme to the extent that nobody has ever briefed the state government since the inception of the exercise, stressing that the only way the programme would work is when the stakeholders , including the state government work together.
He urged the Federal Government to stop playing politics with the programme if it is serious about it and to also stop using unqualified contractors in executing the project.
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, said they were in the state to handover additional 36 remediation sites to contractors as part of the clean up.
Also last week, the Rivers State Executive Council approved the sale of the abandoned 17-storey Stock Exchange building in Port Harcourt.
The State Executive Council meeting which was presided over by the state governor reached the decision following reports that criminal elements have turned the structure acquired by the state government to their hide-out.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim who briefed Government House correspondents after the council meeting yesterday disclosed this, adding that the council also approved that the property be advertised for sale.
Another major event in the Brick House within the week under review was Governor Wike’s reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on the Bayelsa State gubernatorial election which declared the PDP candidate, Douye Diri winner and the threat by the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole that the PDP candidate would not be sworn-in.
Wike, who berated Oshiomhole for making such unguarded utterances said the APC National Chairman had no such powers to make pronouncement after the Supreme Court had ruled on the matter.
He appealed to the Federal Government to warn Oshiomhole to desist from making inflammentory utterances capable of destabilising the country.
“He is making statements as if he owns the country. This is the same way he is carrying on in Edo State, fighting the governor.
“He believes that  he has the forces to cause crisis. He is arrogating powers to himself which is not good”, Gov Wike stated.
The demise of Governor Wike’s uncle, Chief Charles Wike attracted the Governors of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu and Akwa Ibom State, Dr Udom Emmanuel who were in Brick House to commiserate with the Rivers State chief executive. While Governor Udom visite penultimate Sunday, the Abia State Governor came last Tuesday.
Both Governors had described the late Chief Charles Wike as an upright man who not only lived a life worthy of emulation but also gave Governor Nyesom Wike strong support and prayed God to give Wike and the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Governor Wike also joined prominent politicians and top personalities in the country to attend the funeral service of  Mr Alozie Anyanwu, late son of an elder statesman, Prince Emmanuel Anyanwu at Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Port Harcourt.
The Rivers State governor declared last week that the contributions of late Chief Emmanuel Wonukwuru Aguma to nation building should spur upcoming leaders to work harder for the people.

 

By: Chris Oluoh

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S’Court: Group Urges Peace, Solidarity In Imo

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The Imo State Concerned Citizens Forum (ICCF), a group of young professionals and businessmen from Imo State, has called on the people to maintain the prevailing peace and solidarity for the progress of the state and country at large.
The group made the appeal ahead of the Supreme Court review of its judgment over the governorship of Imo State on February 18.
It said this in a statement signed by its Convener, Mr Kingsley Onwubiko, a copy of which was made available to our source yesterday in Abuja.
ICCF commended Imo people for their massive show of love and solidarity to the former governor of the state, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, during the past few weeks, urging them to sustain the peace.
Our source reports that the state faced trying periods following the Supreme Court judgment which declared the candidate of the APC, Chief Hope Uzodinma, as governor of the state.
The supreme court has fixed February 18 to hear the application for review filed by Ihedioha.
Onwubiko appreciated  the  people, who trooped out on Wednesday (February 12), in response to their call for peaceful demonstration against the judgment of the Supreme Court.
He lauded Imolites for their refusal to be silenced in the wake of intimidations, threats and blackmail to stop them from expressing themselves through peaceful protests and prayers against the decision of the court.
“Voice of Ndi Imo was heard all over Nigeria and in the diaspora, showing the resilience and intellectualism of the Imo citizenry,” Onwubiko noted.
According to him, “as the Supreme Court is set to hear the application for review on February 18, we urge all Imolites to pray to God to deliver and restore our state to the hands of Ihedioha”.
He expressed optimism that the miscarriage of justice occasioned by the Supreme Court decision on Imo would be reviewed in line with the application filed by Ihedioha.
The convener also called for continuous prayers from all citizens against those trying to derail the gains of development and progress.

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Most Nigerians Have Given Up On The Country – Utomi

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A renowned economist, Professor Pat Utomi,has said that most citizens have lost hope and given up on Nigeria.
He called for an urgent national dialogue on the political future of Nigeria and on the security challenges.
The former presidential candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC) spoke over the weekend in Abuja at a citizens’ conversation on the state of the nation.
Utomi noted that it was high time concerted efforts were made to fix the numerous problems in the country.
He said: “As I go around Nigeria, I have found out that most Nigerians are in despair; they have even given up on their country and that is a very dangerous thing to happen to any people.
“The question, therefore, is: why are Nigerians so distrust? why are they so unhappy? why are our leaders trading abuses and insults every day on one another?”
Utomi lamented that Nigerians were not having a national public conversation which should focus on the common good of the populace.
“Some think the Nigerian state is hijacked and privatised; there is a sense in which people think elections are meaningless in Nigeria and there is a sense in which there is a level of distrust.
“We need to engage all critical stakeholders’ and groups, but we are starting from the group I like to refer to as complacent middle,” Utomi said.

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