Nigeria is yet to recover from the effects of what will perharps go down in the political history of the country as the mother of all protests that sprang up nationwide at the instance of the perceived neglected youth population.
The nationwide protests, framed under the theme, #EndSARS, like a social revolution, started on a peaceful note under a united front against the brute force of SARS against the citizenry, and the apparent indifference of the Federal Government to the glaring excesses of that unit of the police force.
The twists and turns of the protests have left in its wake negative consequences that threatens the very foundation of the nation.
Apart from the #EndSARS saga, there had been barrages of agitations, including, drumming for secession and war, by some aggrieved groups in the country. Amidst the heightened tension across the country, some concerned Nigerians have posited that the events of the past weeks should be seen as a watershed to reposition the country on the path of national rebirth.
A Moslem cleric, Alhaji Murtala Bamidele, who spoke with The Tide in Port Harcourt recently said Nigeria as a nation was presently passing through her most trying moment, but that the country can come out of the evolving crisis more refined if only the issues that led to the protests are addressed.
Bamidele said “the nationwide protests by the youths have shown that something is fundamentally wrong with the system and needs to be addressed to build the confidence of the masses in the leadership of the nation”.
He pointed out that the youth revolt was a national outcry that must not be glossed over, but rouse the sensitivity of the leaders to respond to the imperatives of good and responsible governance.
While commending the youths for their boldness to raise their voices against the forces of injustice, he frowned against the antics of infiltrators, outlaws and extremists whose penchant for incivility led to colossal wastages of lives and property across the nation.
He said, “in canvassing for a better Nigeria all citizens must be guided by their consciences we must not fan the embers of war and destruction, the eye of the world is on Nigeria and what Nigeria need now is peace and justice. We don’t have any other country apart from Nigeria, and Nigeria represents hope for the black race. No African nation can contain Nigerian refugee population if there’s war. The moment we are now as a country calls for sober reflection and consolidation on the forces that unite us”.
Bamidele, who is the chief Imarn of the Mile One Diobu Central Mosque, decried what he called the ‘insincerity of our leaders in governance’ and pointed out that such betrayal of public trust by leadership at all levels in the country had resulted in untold calamities in which the innocents are mostly the victims.
He said, “disintegration is never a solution to the Nigeria problems, our leaders must lead with a sense of responsibility, there should be employment for the youths, there should be provision of social amenities for the people, the art of governance goes with responsibility, our political leaders should be able to manage state fund with a sense of accountability and Nigeria will get to its expected height among the comity of nations”.
Commenting on the importance of the eidel Maulud celebration, the Moslem Cleric who is also the leader of the Tijanniyah group in Rivers State said the event represented the birth of Prophet Mohammed, and extolled the virtues of the Prophet of Islam.
“I want to use this opportunity of celebration of the birth of Prophet Mohammed to call on all Moslem faithfuls in the country to pray for the peace of the nation, I urged all Nigerians irrespective of their religious or political affiliations to embrace peace and contribute positively towards the building of the nation. We should emulate the character and services of Prophet Mohammed to Allah and humanity, the eye of the world is on Nigeria and our leaders need to sit up to redeem the image of the country, Nigerians have grown out of patience, they need a sense of care and wellbeing”.
The Moslem Cleric cautioned against religious intolerance, stating that Moslems and Christians were brothers and had to work together to promote peace and development in the country. He emphasised that, the religious, traditional and political leaders should live as role models by becoming responsive to their statutory obligations towards the society.
It would be recalled that the entire length and breadth of Nigeria had over the past weeks been under turmoil, with both genuine protesters and arsonists on the rampage demanding their pound of flesh from the system which they believed had failed to live up to their aspirations and dreams.
Stories by Taneh Beemene
Tai APC Collapses As Hundreds Return To PDP …Say They Were Blinded By Fake Promises
Over 500 former members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Tai Local Government Area have returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The returnees led by the first PDP Chairman of the area, Hon Peter Gwezia, announced their return to the PDP, last Saturday, during the GDI’s sensitisation programme for the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) at the Council Secretariat, Saakpenwa.
Speaking on behalf of the rest of the returnees while renouncing membership of the APC, Hon Peter Gwezia, said he and other APC members decided to leave the party due to failure of leadership.
While promising to work for the success of the PDP in the 2023 election, Gwezia said the APC lacked ideas, and was like a vehicle without engine, could not take them to their desired destination, hence their decision to leave the party.
In his remarks, Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Hon Chukwuemeka Aaron, who received the returnees on behalf of the Chairman, PDP Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor, assured them of equal treatment, saying there are no new members in the party.
“I want to welcome you all and to say that in PDP and GDI where you are today, no person is new. We all have equal status, we all have equal rights. Some of the people that were with you there doing the jamboree that came back today, they are commissioners; they have gone to the National Assembly, become chairmen of councils.
“So, having seen what our leader, Chief Nyesom Wike has done in Rivers State, and in Tai, and what your chairman of council is doing in Tai, they have come back to take their rightful position. We want to thank all of you, and to say that the party chairman and the chairman of council will integrate you into the activities of GDI”.
Also speaking, GDI President-General, Chief Bright Amaewhule, said the performance of the present administration in the state was enough testimony for any Rivers son or daughter to reckon that PDP was the only party which had their interest at heart.
Amaewhule said that of the candidates lined up for the governorship seat in the state, only the PDP Governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, was competent and qualified to give the state good governance from day one.
He, therefore, challenged eligible voters who have not collected their PVCs to do so as soon as possible, and prepare to cast their votes for the right party which was a master of good governance and quality projects’ delivery in the state come 2023.
The returnees, alongside GDI members from the 10 wards of Tai, including youths, women and students groups, later engaged in a wild gyration, turning the entire arena into dance frenzy.
The event also featured solidarity speeches from stakeholders among them former and current National and State Assembly members, former and serving council chairmen, former commissioners, party stalwarts, and captains of industry, among others.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
MOSOP Tasks SPDC On Fresh Oil Spill
Factional President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, has called on Shell Petroleum Development Company (Shell) Joint Venture (JV), the oil and gas multinational company, to take full responsibility and appropriate action to curb a fresh oil spill in Bodo Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Nsuke, who noted that the spill was first noticed in the community early last week, blamed Shell for the spill and urged the Dutch multinational to alleviate its impact on the community, curtail its spread and commence proper remediation and compensation in accordance with global best practices.
The MOSOP leader noted that the oil spills from the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell JV, suddenly erupted within the residential area of the community, alleging that it must have been caused by equipment failure.
He observed that although the cause of the spills, which was occurring 11years after the release of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports, was yet to be ascertained, the spills have affected residential areas and community dwellers have been asked by the MOSOP to evacuate the area, to avoid causality in case of a fire.
“This massive spill is occurring 11 years after the UNEP released a damning report exposing Shell’s devastation of the Ogoni environment.
“We have communicated with community leaders to cooperate with investigations and ensure that every detail about this spill is communicated to our secretariat as soon as possible”, he said.On his part, Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said, “the cause of the crude oil spill which occurred inside the community where people live is not yet known at this time.”
By: Tonye Nria-Dappa
Nigeria’s Freedom Of Expression Attracting Global Attention, Buhari Claims
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday, said it was instructive that Nigeria was attracting positive international attention as a country that promoted media freedom and freedom of expression.
He said this was premised on the government’s understanding of the important roles that information literacy and media education played in sustainable development.
According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said this while pledging his “full support” for three major international events scheduled to hold in Nigeria in October and November 2022.
They include: the 2022 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Global Media, Information Literacy Week in Abuja, in October, the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry in Lagos, as well as the second Global Association of Literary Festivals Conference, Abeokuta, in November.
In the statement titled ‘President Buhari pledges support as Nigeria hosts major cultural, tourism and literary events,’ he said the global events were opportunities to showcase the nation’s rich heritage in culture, arts, tourism and entertainment as well as advancements on media freedom.
Earlier, the Minister of Information ad Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that hosting the 2022 UNESCO Global Media, Information Literacy Week, would help to address the rising spate of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.
Expressing his delight to welcome international visitors to Nigeria, Buhari urged citizens to leverage the events to exhibit the values “that make us a unique, friendly and peace-loving people.”
The statement read in part, “Welcoming the decision by the UNESCO’s World Tourism Organisation and the Global Association of Literary Festivals to grant Nigeria the right to host these separate historic events, the President assures all relevant stakeholders and participants of the warmth and hospitality of the people of Nigeria.
“On the MIL Week, Buhari notes that it is instructive that Nigeria is attracting positive international attention as a country that promotes media freedom and freedom of expression, recognising the important roles information literacy and media education play in sustainable development.
“On the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry, the President says the rapid growth of Nigeria’s film, fashion, music, and the Information and Communications Technology sector, and the increase in international appeal and acceptance would continue to spur government to devote more resources to the sector.”
Among other initiatives, Buhari noted that the Creative Industry Financing Initiative, established by his administration and managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, had provided single-digit financing to many young Nigerians in the fields of fashion, film, music and information technology.
He noted that the $100 million re-development of the National Theatre, Lagos, into a world-class creative park is also ongoing, following the handover of the facility to the CBN and the Bankers Committee.
The President, therefore, expressed confidence that the literary world would find many good things to celebrate about Nigeria when they meet in the historic city of Abeokuta, homeland and birthplace of one of Nigeria’s finest literary icons and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.
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