|Femi Ajayi's Outlook|
Friday, May 5, 2017
ccording to Mark Twain “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.” Are Nigerians ripe enough to change the drenched malodourous hackneyed diapers for the sake of their CHILD health to survive life?
Nigeria, a blessed country, in all ramifications, the theoretical pride of Black population, has become a laughing stock as Nigerians are turning ‘professional’ comedians with a member of the National Assembly engaging in a musical comic of ‘Double punishment’, ‘ajekun iya ni yo je…’, whereas someone is launching a comic book on ‘Seven Ways of Becoming a Professional Whistle Blower’, while Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture would rate Senegalese Joloff Rice better than that of Nigerian made. They are termites terminating the fabrics of the country with the unfortunate self-imposed disasters; cued from visionless leaders and captains of the great country where road networks, have turned into death traps; the power generating sector could not produce enough power for thecitizens; water supply is becoming a luxury for an average Nigerian. Disappointedly, there is no adequate medical facilities for basic medical services.
Thomas Jefferson is of the opinion that “the two enemies of the people are Criminals and Government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
Embarrassingly Nigeria has been on a standstill for a while, praying for the miracle to happen in the land where nothing works, despite all the available human and natural resources, as everyone in the country seem to be sleeping with their heads on the same direction. Unfortunately the ought-to-be spiritual leaders have embarked on better revenue generation with fervent prayers for the higest donors, regardless the sources of their money; auctioning the work of God to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, most scholars’ intellects have been mortgaged by the ‘cheaters’, not leaders. In other words, the Nigerian intellectuals seem to formulate theories on what is not working for the country. Hopefully, when the Nigerian intellectuals think differently, differing from what would be their gains only, at the expense of the suffering masses, Nigeria would feel the advancement envisaged.
Nigerians sympathize with the uncontrolled decline health of Nigerian President, not able to drink or eat, working at home, with passionate prayers for God healing hands to repair the damaged repairable tissues in his body. His respect for the Constitutional provision allowing his Vice President to act for him, not to repeat the History, adds more to the positive prayers for him, possibly quieting the populace.
On his return to Nigeria from his proplonged London Medical Leave; a Nigerian welcomed him with N200,000.00 suya gift, a member of NYSC killed fowls, and an elderly man danced Shoki music in the open market for his return then. However, the poor approach to the economy ligers on, as looters continue their looting business. Unfortunately the status of his ill-health is not made public, whereas he is a public figure. Citizens have the right to know the state of health of their President for the smooth sail of prayers.
It was rumored that the Northern leaders met with the northern Governors, courtesy of Babangida, that VP would be forced to resign, while Saraki, the number three Nigerian, would take over the relics of the Federal Government, the rumor Saraki denied. Saraki is strappingly battling the ethical-political fishing net he is entrapped with now (May 2017), which might have damaged his political ambition of attaining Nigerian Presidency. Unfortunately, rumors strive effectively in Nigeria and almost like the real event.
There is need to remind the power snatchers what Charlie Chaplin disclosed that “You need power, only when you want to do something Harmful, otherwise Love is enough to get everything done.” We should note that when anyone tries to control everything, the individual enjoys nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.
The prayer of an average Nigerian if for God to grant Buhari a virtuous sustainable health to continue using his body language to fight corruption in the land, which it is a foundation for the incoming leaders of the country to chip-off corruption wings. An average Nigerian does not want him to exit from the scene, for now, just like Brazil’s Foreign Minister resigned (February 2017) on the basis of his ill-health? (Culled from WhatsApp) The prayers for Buhari are becoming stronger per second.
There have been mixed feelings on Buhari’s health as commentaries, as expected, have been harsh on his administration, as the changes he desired and capable of doing, which are not coming by, are not happening for an average Nigerian, with no access to ‘stealing’ from the public treasury. Abraham Lincoln first said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
Regrettably, Buhari’s desire to be the President by all means have not been actualized except for exposing the looters of the public treasury keeping the recovered money in the freezer instead of using them to lessen the burden of most Nigerians. Life in Nigeria has not been stress-free while Professionals are committing suicide, echoed with sudden deaths. Unfortunately Buhari’s administration flight is nose-diving into a rocky mountain in the sprawling desert with some lousy indolence noise making Ministers.
Nigeria, being one of the most religious countries in the universe, with its ceaseless prayers, the citizens expect things to be better on the issues that are encumbering progress in the God-chosen country, of no natural disasters, except the man-made ones, blessed with both Human and Natural Resources.
Most Nigerians are concerned about Fulani Herdsmen attack across the country, taking over the country’s land through the Senate Grazing Bill; the Kaduna Christian slaughtering by their fellow human beings like ram on the compulsory spread of Islam, with an excuse that Bishop Oyedepo incited the killings, while the duo ‘freedom fighters’ of El-Rufai and Buhari are applying silence policy to control and stop the practice. We equally have compulsory retirement of some Army Generals, which was believed to have been skewed to the South; graced by the National appointments already twisted to the north; Buhari’s ‘chicken tea and egg’ game on corruption; the economic slump of the country; weakening the Naira to US Dollars of $1.00 to N400.00 as of May 2017.
Nigerian Legislative Body under the Subtle Watchful Eye of the Executive
A school of thought is of the opinion that grazing reserve and ranch Bill is intended as occupational policy for Fulani and Islam to penetrate the Middle-Belt and Southern Nigeria. Meanwhile the Bill creates a council with a Chairman, appointed by the President. The council shall have the power to take land anywhere it is located in Nigeria and then pay any compensation.
The NASS creepy National Grazing Reserve Council Bill would have the power to take away Nigerians land anytime, anywhere they want and pay whatever the Government wants to pay as compensation (even when Nigerians affected do not want to sell). In other words, an assigned piece of land, which belongs to citizens would be ‘forcefully’ assigned to herdsmen for grazing purposes, whereby the appointed Nigerian Attorney General would decide if you have a case against the Federal Government. Ironically you have to notify the AG before you go to court for redress of your land taken from any citizen, which is an indication that you lost the land forever. In the Nigerian society where ethnic and religious loyalty take over the appointees sense of reasoning, AG would not give his consent to any suit to such victim caught by the National Grazing Reserve Bill. In other words, if the appointed Attorney General refuses to give his consent to the suit, you have lost your land forever to the herdsmen.
Where is the Nigerian respected leadership, supposedly to be a source of strength for the spongy Nigerian society? It will be unwise for Buhari’s administration to impose unpopular decisions without adequate consultation with the citizens. It will be counter-productive to the Herdsmen leading to chaotic situation and anarchy with the ill prepared security agents to curtail it.
Nigerians should be searching their conscience before selecting or electing some representatives to the National Assembly. Unfortunately, their shortsightedness on issues that affect their people, especially on the Grazing Bill which is loaded with some deadly details, is an embarrassment to their inapplicable intelligence.
Unfortunately, Senator Daniel Jonah O. Melaye, who presented himself in November 2016 for a one-week seminar in leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Educational Leadership, which does not qualify him as an academic achievement, or a Harvard alumnus, who equate that to a four-year Degree program. With the controversy surrounding his education in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, his CGPA, his good status at the Department of Geography, his graduation, plus his presence at the London School of Economics, and the controversy of the NYSC documents date, disallowed University to pass through him, is proposing a law that bans Tribal Marks in Nigeria. Melaye is sponsoring a Bill for the Prohibition of Facial Mutilation, Offences, Prosecution and Punishment of Offenders which has passed second reading in the Nigerian Senate. Instead for the National Assembly work on some meaningful bills they are on working on banning tribal marks.
They are making it look like it is very wrong to have tribal mark. Nonetheless, there are some parts of our culture that should be refined not through law. Giving the citizens the freedom of choice, while the National Assembly regulate these practices, not banning them; with full professionalism, which is part of the Constitutional provision of protecting citizens’ life.
In another development, the Nigerian National Assembly is proposing a Bill, sponsored by Rep. Gyang Dung (PDP-Plateau) and eight others, to provide for the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal, in adjudicating matters relating to the tenets of the Christian faith, to complement the regular courts. In other words, the proposed Bill is to exercise such appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings, involving questions of Ecclesiastical law and Christian personal law. Could that be a way of endorsing Sharia Court of Appeal in Nigeria? Some of the National Assembly members might have been religiously euphoric.
Could it be that El-Rufai is acting on the scripts on religious killings in Southern Kaduna from Buhari August 2001 as APC Presidential Candidate, when he echoed that “God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the TOTAL implementation of Sharia in the entire federation of Nigeria”? Or endorsing what Boko Haram General, Abubakar Shekau claimed on January 27, 2012, that “By Allah, we will not stop fighting until every Nigerian is living by Sharia law. If you don’t abide, we will kill you.”
El-Rufai, who is gunning to be the President in 2019 as well, might have gotten his head tilted to a wrong direction through his negative religious policies, and unfortunately lost that fire in his system, damning the consequences for doing the right thing in Nigeria, which he used during the Abuja clean-up exercise during Obasanjo’s administration. According to one of Chinese proverbs, “Be careful, bees with honey in their mouths, have stings in their tails.”
In addition, el-Rufai is proposing religious preaching bill which is considered as a test run sequel to full censorship of Christians, who are the primary target to be banned and restricted from preaching. It will be recalled that the adoption of Sharia in Zamfara State by Ahmed Sani in January 27, 2000, spread to other twelve Northern States, while Obasanjo thought that it would fizzle out; while Christians innocently avoided it. It is repeating itself in Kaduna State with el-Rufai alleged support of the religious killings.
Unfortunately, El-Rufai leadership skills have been challenged, his radical approaches to societal ills have been tested, while his managerial style has been on a deteriorating down-turn. Upright citizens keep on asking how he could, in his right mind, allow his humanitarian skills to be questioned and his opaque religious intolerance level exposed? While he abated the disunity in Kaduna State to the level of low intelligent capability been remotely exposed. His raucous orientation have been mimicked by the religious attacks in Kaduna while his genteel aperture has been locked. Where is the ‘elephant brain in that little rat’?
We are of the opinion that Nigerians should have the freedom to believe, practice, and promote their beliefs without (government) interference, harassment, or other repercussions as long as practices are based on, or resulting from, those beliefs that do not break the law. There ought not to be any religious persecution discouraging religious freedom and the freedom to express and/or promote all or certain religious beliefs, with repercussions ranging from discrimination and harassment to prevention and prosecution, either by legal and/or illegal means.
The mode and pattern of appointments in Buhari administration has been very suspicious, as he has tilted towards the Moslems with about 90%. In a country without a true separation of power, where subordinates are at the mercy of Chief Executives, and in view of the overbearing Executive powers in an emerging bounteous democracy like Nigeria, the fears and concern of Nigerian Christians over marginalization has been confirmed.
Rusty Eric once declared that “as long as greed is stronger than compassion, there will always be suffering”
In 2016, among the 60 countries tested, Nigeria was the number one of the most corrupt country of the world, followed by Colombia, Iran, Pakistan, Mexico, Russia, Algeria, Kazakhstan and Bolivia. Unfortunately, corruption has damaged the country to its bone marrow; electricity supply is epileptic where most Nigerians go to sleep in darkness every night, water supply is a rare commodity, health consulting clinic is a luxury, education has been the survival of the fittest.
With the exposé, Nigeria has been milked dry, while some impenitent looters are still very active, hurting innocent Nigerians, whereas nothing has been done with the recovery senselessly kept in deep freezer. Could the looters just come out, confess and apologize to the country for their past cold-hearted actions. Regrettably the Nigerian structure has been baptized with corruption.
Our churches, unfortunately, condole the corrupt practices by celebrating and idolizing the highest donors, whose sources of wealth are dubious. Churches accept mouth-watering gifts (offerings) from just anybody without asking questions with the impression that anything is acceptable in the house of God. Some leaders ask the Imams to sit on the mats protecting them from their malicious and undesirable behaviors and continue cheating Nigerians. Unfortunately the sacred institution has been tarnished by the brush of corruption.
Unrefined school of thought is of the opinion that for EFCC to make impact in fighting corruption, it has to apply exhaustive investigation of corruption cases, and also hire the services of well Ogbologbo (Learned) lawyers. Meanwhile, an average Nigerian should be a Whistleblower to stop the menace of government officials stealing from peoples’ resources. Nigerian Intellects assist Nigerians to have proper change of mindset in making the country great again.
In addition, the unnecessary delays in corruption cases, remain a major challenge confronting Nigeria’s justice system, as Judiciary is the main headache in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. The sector should work in improving the administration of criminal justice system, reducing delays, restoring public confidence, as well as improving judicial performance. If and when we consider all the variables of corruption, we would hardly exonerate anyone in Nigerian public sector.
Nigerian mainstream elites should liberate Nigeria and stay away from the unworkable theory for the country. They should stop endorsing the practice that does not work, which results into negative consequences for the country. One of the purposes of a University is to interject some initiatives on a proven empirical findings, on how a society should develop. Whatever the government is trying to make on the society, drawn from well tested scenarios, harvest all available opinions before a final decision of a policy is implemented. If the current policy does not work there is room for adjustment from the perspective of the University, which turns out students on very large numbers, to practice whatever the University has made out of them. Otherwise it will be recycling of the practices that do not work for the country.
In other words, when the practice is not working for the country, it is for the specialized University in such area, to influence the government, to specifically improve its services and make things positively better for the citizens. The roles of the Universities are to improve the society not dancing to the tune that NEVER works for the country. Students turned out by the Universities are the marketing tools to make that change for the society not recycling the practice that doesn’t work.
Femi Ajayi is a Professor of Policy, Management & Conflict Resolution, at Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State