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BAT: THE NEW NIGERIA VISION AND THE GHOST OF JUNE 12

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I have never joined discussions on the older generations handing over to younger generations because the issues are much more than that. Handing over of leadership is not a choice. It’s an established natural law that nothing can change the ageing process. Those nations with enlightened leaders are conscious of the inevitability of death that is why they train younger ones to take over. I am not going to be discussing why a candidate is better than the other. My reasoning is not founded on faults nor fallacies; but on the reality of things that are before us as Nigerians.

Asiwaju made his own mistake in 2011 by delivering the southwest to PDP rather than CPC with whom they could have at least provided alternative governance for Nigerians and naturally he must receive his due chastisement as divine penalty. He actually allowed himself to be ‘used’ by the old Afenifere/NADECO caucus whose agenda since after June 12 is to move the Yorubas out the Nigerian nationhood. The same folks are his greatest enemies today when he chose to correct the mistakes of the Buhari led government. His merger with Buhari was seen as a game taken too far by some silent gladiators but the eventualities of the APC primaries proved a bigger point than many of us could imagine. Asiwaju truly meant the statement, e lo fo kan baale – you guys should go and relax. His emergence has reawakened the hopes of many Nigerians that good times may be imminent.

The achievements of Asiwaju in our national polity are too significant to be made feeble by anybody not to talk of many of the constituents of my generation – The Nigerian Youths. Asiwaju had not only provided the people of southwest with a performance-based leadership template since 1999 but has successfully engaged his own party by compelling it at all times to prove itself to be virile. A closer study of Asiwaju’s politicking towards the Nigeria agenda is the fact that he had successfully been able to involve a lot of people from various ethnic backgrounds in his refining system of governance. The appointment of individuals’ that were not from Lagos State into key positions in the governance of Lagos State is a good pointer. I boldly say that he was that single man that stretched this path of honour just for effective governance. To him, we all must get the job right whether you are Yoruba or Igbo. Asiwaju remains the most detribalized Nigerian politician on Earth – res ipsa loquitur. Asiwaju is a master strategist and a political titan of no mean measure. He is a product of many factors ranging from his political consistency, training and planting of political associates and in particular social capital programmes and philanthropic gestures over the years. It is no longer news that Asiwaju has really paid his due in the political atmosphere of Nigeria; hence there is no dispute as to the everlasting relevance in the political history of this Nigeria from his NADECO days to this present Fourth Republic where he has navigated through various potholes to stage himself. One reason why he can lay credence to being a true-born democrat is his salutary efforts to redefine the concept of party politics in the effervescent terrain called Nigeria. This is no doubt a man with the Nigeria Agenda. In the game of politics, Asiwaju is a master planner, commanding force and arresting personality who has not only raised men and leaders, he is also a great friendship builder and manager. It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.

Asiwaju fought for our democracy from the days he was exiled from Nigeria alongside other pro-democracy activists over the June 12, 1993, presidential election crisis. That election which was annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) was won by Chief MKO Abiola who died fighting to actualise his mandate freely given to him by Nigerians. This is the journey that Asiwaju is leading at the moment. It is safe to conclude that Nigeria might get to see a replica or a better version of June 12 elections. The spirit of are alive and would be set to work again. No doubt the Muslim-muslim Ticket is coming to play again. In 1993, Chief MKO Abiola chose a Kanuri man as his Vice; and 30 years later Asiwaju also picked a Kanuri man has his Vice. This can never be a mere coincidence but a substantive one. A brief into what Senator Kashim Shettima stands for is his action towards the issue of insurgents in Nigeria, more particularly Boko Haram. Contrary to the propaganda that has filled the media space on the fact that he was the cause of the captivity of the Chibok girls by Boko Haram insurgents. It is notable to point out that Senator Kashim Shettima has been coordinating the rehabilitation and resettlement of victims of the Boko Haram insurgents. This is what over 50,000 children are benefitting across the 27 local governments in his State. It just doesn’t measure up saying he made the Chibok girls case happened. We had a federal government that failed woefully in that aspect. A part of the solution that many feared to take is what Shettima has been doing before now.

The June 12 mantra of hope was not based on religion whether was it premised on bias and sentiments. It was founded on the believe that Nigeria must work. It’s just so insensitive that at this critical time of our governance, we are playing the religion cards as a yardstick to good governance. Many have forgotten so quick that Asiwaju being a Muslim sacrificed his Vice President’s slot for a Christian even when it was considered then that a Muslim – muslim ticket was not in a bad place. We also forget so soon that sometimes in 2011, the Action Congress of Nigeria fielded a Muslim-muslim ticket. Nuhu Ribadu and Fola Adeola were both Muslims but I guess hell was not let loosed because many never believed the duo could emerge victorious at the general polls. Is this present outcry indicative that Asiwaju-Shettima is a goal already? If yes, it is a sure bet from antecedent of the duo that they are both leaders who exercises uncommon influence as well as considerable power. As it is, we have the duo that truly understands that challenges that all in Nigeria must face. Beyond flattering, they have proven that they are always set to assist in the setting of goals and priorities, to work with others in finding paths to those goals chosen, maintaining public morale and motivation and nurturing a workable level of public unity. The implication is that both men possess the power or influence of transforming something common into something valuable. To many who do not know, our land that is watered by the Niger and Benue and located between the sandy wastes and Gulf of Guinea, washed by the mighty Atlantic is set to be purified by the renewed June 12 hope again. The way of knowledge is superior to the way of action.

 

 

 

By Amb. Habeeb Whyte Esq.,

[email protected]

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele Unruffled

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The Story of Godwin Emefiele can be likened to the story of a child born with uncommon grace. Every time enemies have tried vehemently tried to cut short his life by firing hot shots targeted at taking his breath; he resurfaces like the proverbial cat with nine lives. Yes, he is a dogged fighter and one who so much believes in giving his all to the betterment of his fatherland. Since his appointment as the Governor of the Central Bank close to a decade ago; he has tried his best to ensure policies that will stabilize the economy by giving preference to Small and Medium Scale Enterprise, and also huge investments in agriculture which is currently fetching the government and the country billions of dollars in return on investment.

 

Despite all the hard work and sleepless nights, he and his team put in motion for the upliftment of the country economically and giving our Naira more power some unscrupulous elements have resorted to blackmail and campaign of calumny in undermining his office and all the work he has invested over the years.

 

Like the proverbial ram in a fight that moves back to bring more firepower; the Banking and Finance graduate from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, has remained firm in proving cynics wrong but not giving into their antics of cyberbullying and all kind of tactics. Instead, he has remained a terror for those who want to plunge Nigeria into recession and financial distress by hoarding a substantial amount of cash which is supposed to be in circulation. This we gathered was his sin that has made many want his head at all costs. After several meetings with his team, he resorted to the Naira redesign which got many tongues wagging as several people in high places lashed the CBN Governor for deliberating trying to scuttle their plans.

 

At a point when he travelled out of the country for medical checkups, his detractors also went on different media campaigns claiming he was wanted by the state security service for some nefarious acts. After the campaign, Emefiele jetted back into the county and was given a warm welcome by his boss President Muhammadu Buhari. This further threw his enemies off balance as they are currently looking for a way to get rid of him. In spite of all these, Emiefele has remained unruffled and unbothered; discharging his duties according to the constitution. He further got many aggravated when he announced days ago that the deadline for the old currency in becoming acceptable won’t change as he urged Nigerians to deposit the old cash in their account or risk the currency becoming expired.

 

Sources say; The former Director at Zenith Bank is not bothered and not giving in to the pressure from all corners as he is committed to ensuring a better Naira and a better economy for Nigeria. “Emefiele is aware of those fueling the mischief around him but trust me, he has the backing of his boss which is to restore the strength of the Naira and strengthen the Economy and also turn Nigeria into a digitalized economy where we would run a cashless society which will ease pressure from currency printing and also put Nigeria on the global pact as a thriving economy that is not reliant of cash. This will open more investment for Fintech companies and other service providers.”

 

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The Benevolent Side of MC Oluomo Musiliu The Media Hardly Talks about

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Oladapo Sofowora

 

For the want of a better description; the erstwhile chairman of the National Union Road Transport Workers Lagos State chapter and now Lagos State Park and Garage Management with the sobriquet MC Musiliu Oluomo Akinsanya is a misunderstood person. More reason many unprintable names have been ascribed to him on and off the media space. Those who are not familiar with him have stereotyped him owning to his background as a ‘task collector’ at the motor park before rising through the rank to attain the post of Chairman of the Lagos State Park and Garage Management. In reality, Oluomo is a super intelligent and brilliant chap who on several occasions has displayed his native intelligence in proffering solutions to issues. While many believed he is not lettered, those close to him averred that his brilliancy and vast knowledge in issues relating to his field, politics, finance and corporate governance will marvel you. He is a man with few words but he is one of the few men who have impacted his immediate environment with his God-given wealth more reason he has thousands of followers who see him as a model and also as a leader with listening ears.

 

Those close to the Oluomo of Oshodi disclosed that; He is a man destined for greatness. He has sowed traits of wizardry from his formative years which helped him climb the ladder of success early in life. As much as he likes to stay away from the media space, his good deeds often find a way to throw him into public consciousness. One thing Oluomo holds in high esteem is Loyalty. He believes as a man, your word should be your bond. Like the popular parlance; the prestige of a man lies in his ability to talk and stand firm with it. While many tried to cast aspersions and make disparaging comments about him he has remained unperturbed. He was given an archetypal outlook with the demeanour of an ‘Agbero’; Oluomo on the other hand does not see nor portray himself in such a manner. He is a cultured and well-grounded cosmopolitan man who is in tune with the latest fashion and style and also with his culture and tradition. His sense of organization, mobilization, leadership qualities and carriage even supersedes those who are lettered. His urbane nature is evident in the structure of the organization he currently heads. Oluomo on the other hand never despised his humble beginning as we gathered that those who were instrumental to his rise to the top, he goes back to show his gratitude.

MC Oluomo

One thing that marvels many is his humility personified nature. He is so gentle that he respects even the children around him. He is a stickler for success more reason anything he ventures into he is open to new ideas which have given him an edge over his rivals. Today, his idea gave birth to the QR code on Lagos Bus recently launched to curb kidnapping and other vices among drivers plying Lagos roads. He also ensured drivers are given good welfare packages as they often give room for the reorientation of task collectors and also bad drug and alcohol abuses by drivers in Lagos state. He also opened a complaint desk for commuters to report any incident of lawlessness by drivers and task collectors. He has also acquired buses for drivers in other to cushion the effect of the dwindling and biting economy in Nigeria.

 

One thing he never jokes about is philanthropy known as Zakat according to the teaching of Islam. As a devoted Muslim, he believes wealth is from God and the lives you touch with your wealth would be counted when everyone returns to meet their creator. That’s why he has been involved in philanthropy and humanitarian causes. He has over the years donated proceeds of his business to charity. It is public knowledge that anyone who cries to his house would definitely return with a smile on his or her face. Those close to him averred that he loathes the sight of anyone in distress; he is always ready to assist. Despite the beautiful thing being done by Oluomo; the media have not been fair to him. Despite the negative media, He is one of the few who loves journalists and media practitioners and he has over the years empowered those close to him. Regardless of the negative press, he has not stopped being a good person and he will continue to do his best to uplift humanity. Over the years he has been involved in paying school fees for out-of-school children running into millions of Naira. He has paid hospital bills for sick and pregnant women, he has empowered widows and also given out cars to many. He has established businesses for people and paid house rent and built houses for several people. A source disclosed that Oluomo was said to have imbibed the traits of giving from his parents that’s why he is being tagged a ‘dangerous giver’.

 

If there is one thing that stands him out, he knows how to keep friendships and build relationships. He believes relationship plays a pivotal role in the development of man. As a politician and a mobilizer, Oluomo is well-loved and respected within the Lagos metropolis and he is also a delight to many artists, actors and praise singers. He has been able to sustain his reign with his open hands and his support for those around him. He is a man who wants those under him to grow wings and soar high. More reason he has many people who love him to a fault and can go to any length just to prove their love and loyalty. Despite the negative media around him, he has continued to blaze the trail in politics, business, human management, and other spheres of life. As much as the media will not portray him as an angel in human form that he is, Oluomo’s name will forever be crested in Gold as one of the most benevolent people the Yoruba will call ‘Eleyinju Aanu’.

 

 

Oladapo Sofowora a Journalist and columnist at The Nation Newspaper Writes From Lagos.

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TRULY, THE NIGERIA CUSTOM SERVICE IS WORKING FOR NIGERIANS

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The Nigerian Customs Service via its Public Relation Unit has sort of rekindled my hope of a better Nigeria. It is also a re-assurance that there will be light at the end of the tunnel for Nigerians with the way and manner the unit swiftly responded and immediately put their hands to the plow until justice was served on a matter I personally reported on the 30th of November 2022.

As a border boy, I am not unfamiliar with the rules and restrictions placed on several business activities in and around the border communities and as a law abiding citizen I try to keep my part of the Nigerian Deal to the best of my abilities even though these restrictions are very inconveniencing for the average border community dweller. But on that faithful Wednesday afternoon, an officer of the Nigerian Customs serving in one of the checkpoints between Idiroko and Owode went above board. This officer had threatened to delay and waste my time, and he did -for no just cause than the fact that I had an altercation with one of his errand boys popularly called CAMP BOYS that are ordinarily not suppose to be on the road whom I queried for hitting on my car with a stick after confirming I had no contraband in my car. The only response I got from the guy after my polite enquiry is to refer to me as being stupid! He repeated the verbal assault, adding who am I? Of course, I told him he must be stupid too for him to have a feel of what he was ditching out on me. Suddenly, the said officer came on the scene, requested to see my custom papers (which was immediately given to him and confirmed genuine) and then he dropped an unguarded statement “I will delay you today”, and thus, the delay started.

After waiting for over 1hour and 30minutes with no end in sight, I decided (out of my frustration) to report this case of intentional delay and inhuman treatment on The Nigerian Customs Service official Facebook Page inbox. I remained there with my friends until few hours later when the “BOSS” of an officer feels fulfilled and Okay to release my papers and car keys. That was after several hours of delay for no just cause. I left the scene frustrated because I had missed my appointment and also cancelled all other engagements for the day. But my main worry as I zoomed off in my devastated state was; will things ever get better for our nation in the area of respecting human rights?

But alas, The Public Relations Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service cleared my doubts! At about 6:48pm of the same day I received this as a response to the message I had earlier sent to their inbox:
”Good afternoon, I have forwarded your case to the appropriate channel. You will be contacted”.

I thought this was some regular face saving message since the message appeared to have been read but I was wrong! By 7:46pm (Just about 1 hour after the response) I heard my phone ringing:
Me: Hello, good evening
Caller: Hi, my name is….a Superintended of Customs…. And I am calling from the headquarters in Abuja, I got your complaints and I want to know if you were able to resolve the matter?
Me: (Surprised and Excited)… Good evening sir sir sir, my name is Julius Oyedokun …. (And then I re-narrated the whole story)
And the Superintended of Customs replied thus: “Please you have to understand the orientation; some people like to do the exact opposite of what they are meant to do. Some thinks that their wearing uniform is an opportunity to molest and victimize people, so I think that’s what some believe the uniform is meant for. And whoever toes that line, I don’t think we must pamper him but we just have to give him a fair hearing.”
Me: (Still surprised and amused… I thought within myself, Wow wawwu… Is this happening in Nigeria or some American Film???)
And within a few seconds the Superintended of Customs linked me up with another Unit of Lagos state, to which he assigned to take up the case and do thorough investigation of the matter with a caveat that “IF” the incident actually happened the way I have narrated, the officer in question should be identified and disciplined accordingly. Fast forward to the second day, I was heading to work when some calls started coming in to ask If this was the same Julius that had an encounter with a particular customs officer yesterday… Infact, I was invited to identify the erring officer via a WhatsApp video call (from their Zonal Office) among all the officers that were on duty on the day of the incident at the check point. All were summoned.

Anyways, long story cut short, I even had to beg on his behalf when I saw the action that were been taken after the officer was identified, scolded and reprimanded appropriately BUT one thing remained with me since the day and that is the fact that a better Nigeria is in the offing.

The takeaway from this encounter is that Nigeria is not unredeemable. Good things are happening in the Nigeria Custom Service particularly from the top echelon. C.G Hammed Ali Reform initiatives is taking shape within the organization. Despite knowing a good number of top officers in the NCS, I decided to go through the official channel to test the efficacy and effectiveness of the unit and how prompt public complaints will be addressed. To say I’m impressed with the handling is an understatement.
Kudos to NCS. Good things takes time. Bad eggs in the NCS should watch their back. Then, other Nigeria institutions should endeavour emulate NCS particularly the Nigeria Police Force.

Thank you Nigeria Customs Service and God bless Nigeria.

Julius Oyedokun writes from [email protected]

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