The Urgent Need for The Peoples’ Votes To Count In Nigeria

In Nigeria today, Nigerians exercise their civic responsibilities at the polling booths, with hunger and poverty in the land intheir  minds.

This is to the advantage  of the contestants, who are extremely desperate to garner votes, to give them unhindered access to the Government treasury.

Sadly, at the Local  and State Government levels, the electorate are’blindfolded’ to vote for unknown candidates, who at the long run behave true to type, after winning elections. Since, they do not know those who voted for them, they immediatley disconnect with the electorate, once they occupy public office.

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Although sources of funds of contestants is of great importance, same  has not been given serious attention over the years.

However, in the time past, specifically 2007, the situation was quite different, when Princess Patience Ajudua won election into the Delta state House of Assembly on the Platform of the Accord Party, to represent Oshimili North state constituency.

The people of the  state constituency voted for whom they know very well and who also know them very well.

Princess Ajudua is from the Ajudua familyt of Ibusa, a family which has impacted poisitively, on the lives of the people.

The family, singlehandedly tarred the major link road from St. Augustine Primary school to the General hospital in Ibusa.

In addition the family rehabilitated and resuscitated the water reservoir in the community for the benefit of the people, while also ensuring that it constructed  an ultra moderm library inside St. Augustine Primary school. It also granted scholarships to imdigent students of the community.

Not done yet, the family established a community bank and named it after the founder of Ibusa, Umeje.

Indeed, personal resources had gone into the empowerment of the people , before Princess Ajudua became the peoples’ representative.

Such instances are rare in the present dispensation, considering the lies, deceit and unfulfilled promises of the elected representatives of the people.

The people have actually identified those who can deliver the dividends of Democracy, unfortunately, those identified do not belong to the two dominant  political parties in Nigeria. Although, Nigeria is not operating a two party system, the two political parties have up till date won  almost all elective positions in the country .

Of worry, is the  fact that most of the elected rperesntatives are rubber stamps to any decision taken by the Executive, even if  such decisions against the interests of the people they claim to represent.

Sadly, the cries of the people, that they are tired of cosmetic empowerment  programmes, have fell on deaf ears.

Curiously, the people insist that their votes did not count in the 2015 general  elections in a number of states of the federation, this they say resulted in the presence of strange faces as their representatives in public offices .

For the major purpose of economic growth and development, Government should do all within its capacity to ensure that the peoples’ votes count, and depend less on imposition and manipulation. Hopefully.

 

 

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The Wages of Shielding Corrupt Persons

In 1996, when Jose Maria Aznar became the Prime Minister of Spain, the country was ranked among the poorest in Europe.

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Weighed down by the home grown separatists, deteriorating economy and penetrating poverty, Spain was not in the competition within Europe.

However, within a space of five years,  Aznar made the difference. He turned around the economy of Spain, and effectively curtailed the activities of terrorists in the Basque region. At a point in time, the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) of Spain was more than those of Canada and Russia.

Spain regained its frontline position in Europe, while its citizens had a refreshing  new lease of life,  for the period  it lasted.

With this as a background,  the present administration in Nigeria has since its inception on May 29th, 2015, focused on corrupt elements outside the corridors of power.

Curiously, happenings have indicated that no political office holder either former or serving, who belongs to the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) has come under the searchlight of the anti-graft agency-the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC). The EFCC has been ferocious, in its hunt for  those in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Blackmail, intimidation and threats are now tools in the hands of those with the wherewithal, to whip dissenting voices to submission.

Of worry, is the visible signs of corruption that are present in every nook and cranny of most states of the Federation.

A dangerous method on parade presently, is the public indictment of targeted passt or serving politically exposed persons, in a bid to frighten them to part ways with their political ambitions. Also of note, is the existence of the ‘untouchables’, these are the individuals who bankrolled the present administration to power.

Out of self preservation, those indicted and the ‘untouchables’, support the ‘status quo’, while their ‘wrong doings’  are discreetly, swept under the carpet. Among the lot are ‘spoilers’ and thos co-opted to mislead the citizenry.

With this as the latest  template, the present administration, as could be observed from  happenings, has continuously exhibited its inability to be sincere in its fight against corruption in the land.

Sadly, Nigeria might not be able to follow the path of Spain, as long as identified corrupt persons remain in Government and are vigorously shielded from prosecution.

Nigerian Politics and The People’s Predicament

In politics, lessons are repeatedly taught and learnt. It is now left for those involved to modify their gains and loses to suit the situation they eventually find themselves.

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Regrettably, the laws of Niccolo Machiavelli have all along been wrongly applied in this clime.

After the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) convention in 2003, Chief Barnabas Gemade made spirited attempts to be adopted as the Presidential candidate of the United Nigeria Peoples Party(UNPP), but failed. This was Chief Gemade’s fall back option, when his future in the PDP became uncertain.

Indeed, Chief Gemade was the backbone of the UNPP, in his home state, Benue, even though he was a card carrying member of the PDP. Not surprisingly, meetings were held in his home, with Chief Gemade in attendance. Of note, is that is followers held him in high esteem.

Curiously, it was discovered that the former PDP National Chairman, contested the Presidential primaries, alongside, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, with the intention to use same as a bargaining chip to persuade the then President to compensate him with a ‘mouth watering’ political appointment. This did not sail through.

Indeed, double standards, as a means to an end in politics has become a unique brand in Nigerian politics.

Chief Gemade began losing his followers, after he abandoned Senator Daniel Saror, who he successfully convinced to let go of his senatorial ambition to contest for the Benue governorship seat on the platform of the UNPP.

To be extra sure that Senator Saror abandoned his ambition, Chief Gemade boosted his morale financially and that was how Senator Saror was able to purchase the UNPP nomination form for a whooping N2 million.

Interestingly, at the Swange cinema hall, Makurdi venue of the governorship primaries, Chief Gemade, with the financial backing of a political money bag, Usman Abubakar(a.k.a Young Alhaji) influenced the leadership of the UNPP in the state to adopt Mike Mku, instead of Senator Saror as the party’s Gubernatorial candidate.

Already, aspirants for elective positions in future elections are aligning and re aligning, while hinging their intentions on optimism.

Indeed, a sizable number of these aspirants rely solely on optimism and money(for the money bags), as a strategy to hoodwink their competent opponents to the bargaining table, with hope that rewarding agreements would be made.

With this in mind, the average Nigerian, contending with insecurity and economic hardships, brought about by bad governance, is of the hope that the same quality of political office holders, presently on display, would not re-emerge to torment and torture all and sundry in a new dispensation.

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Arms Build Up and The Fate of Harmless Nigerians

Armed gangs,  which creations of the political class, ethnic militia, kidnappers, private citizens and armed robbers, could be said to be responsible for the dangerous spate of arms build up in Nigeria today.

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Indeed, whenever a violent crime occurs in any Geo-Political zone of the country, eye witnesses always give detailed accounts of the sophisticated weapons brandished by the assailants.

During the tenure of  former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, precisely November, 2001, the then Inspector General of Police, Musiliu Smith, informed the President, that a large consignment of arms and ammunition were intercepted at a Police check point along Kafia/Makurdi road in Nasarawa state. The interception of arms and  ammunition by security agencies is the trend presently.

The proliferation of illegal  arms, continue unabated, despite seizures, so far made by men of the Nigerian Customs at the Lagos Port.  Indeed, most seizures are made without arrests.

Of worry, is the increasing rate of poverty, official corruption and brigandage, which have become hallmarks of daily living in the country. Without doubt, this has made the land fertile for illegal arms trade for the purpose of perpetrating  evil.

Sadly, violent crimes have been followed, closely, by breathtaking orders from Government to the Police to bring the perpetrators to justice.  This is usually a step ahead of the Police call on members of the public to furnish it with useful information that would aid its investigation, while reassuring that it is on top of the situation. But members of the public take the Police call with feverish suspicion.

Not done, the Police go on further to inform helpless and harmless citizens that their  duty of securing lives and property could be boosted, with input from the public.  Curiously, the people insist that they can only make inputs, when confidentiality of inputs become a reality.

The parade and arraignment  of suspected criminals trail the foregoing,  with suspects having a field day recanting and denying involvement in the crimes for which they were arraigned.

At the end of it all, nothing, till this moment, has been done  to unravel how these criminals procure sophisticated weapons.

This has prompted a cross section of Nigerians to conclude that those  with ”recognition and steam” are better positioned to get to the root of the matter. Possibly.

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Policing The People: The Nigerian way

In July 2005, the  then  Acting Inspector General of Police,  Sunday Ehindero, put in place a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the alleged killing of five Igbo traders and their female friend, by some policemen, at the Apo Mechanic village, on  June 7 of the same year.

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The committee which was headed by Mike Okiro, then a Deputy Inspector General of Police(DIG), was dissolved by the  then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

The President hinged his decision on the fact that the Police could not be a Judge in its own case. In addition, the President’s action was predicated on the testimonies of one Chukwu, a photographer hired by the Police in the Federal Capital Territory, to take photographs of the lifeless bodies of the six Nigerians.

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The photographer had confessed that the Police were responsible for the crime, as he stated that he saw the Police bring guns and placed by the side of the six, to make them look like armed robbers, after which the Police ordered him to take their photographs.

The photographer also revealed that he was very shocked, when he saw the Commissioner of Police of the FCT Command, explaining to Nigerians that those killed were armed robbers, while relying on the photographs to give flesh to his explanation.

This development emboldened the President to put a stop to the Police investigation, to avert a situation whereby the outcome of the investigation would be favourable to the Police.

Without hesitation, the President set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to find out how the six were killed and the role of the Police in the incident.

Nigerians now felt that the action of the President was an indication of his lack of confidence in the competence of Ehindero, as Inspector General of Police.

Corruption and inefficiency have become recurrences in the Nigeria Police Force; this has affected almost every senior Police Officer, who  has occupied the office of the Inspector General of Police.

In this dispensation, when Ibrahim Idris assumed office as the Acting Inspector General of Police, Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief, with the thinking that they would soon begin to sleep with their two eyes closed. This is, sadly, not the case.

Indeed, for several years, there has always been a disconnect between the IGP’s office and the 36 state Police Commands. This informed the establishment of special task forces by successive Inspectors General of Police, to tackle crime all over the country. What are the states Police Commands doing then?

Accusations of deprivation of funds and counter accusations of mismanagement of funds and corruption have characterized the relationship between the    IGP’s office and the states Police Commands. On issues bothering on corruption, the Police cannot be a Judge in its own case, although the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is an Anti-Graft agency.

The funding of the Police still remains in the circle of administrative bottlenecks and the late release of funds by the Federal Government. Sabotage now takes prominence.

Of worry, is the communication lag between the office of the IGP and the Police Service Commission(PSC). Since the PSC is not responsible for the appointment of the IGP. Successive occupants of the seat of the Inspector General of Police have always been suspicious of any suggestion or advice emanating from the commission.

Interestingly, some state Governments, which are promoters of state Police, have since  taken advantage of the situation and have also become part of the issue for debate. However, state Police cannot fly, in an environment filled with political  office holders bereft of ideology and principles.

Nigerians should not be deceived by the activities of some selfish  and greed-driven citizens, who continuously discredit the present structure of the Police, in favour of sectional interests and designs.

About Attitude                   About Behaviour           About Values

Workers Welfare: Michael Imoudu as a Role Model 3

Discrimination was the order of the day during the colonial era. In November, 1947, Imoudu led others to demonstrate against racial discrimination at the Bristol Hotel, Lagos. 

In the cause of the demonstration, he was physically assaulted and arrested by the Police.

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However, of worry, is the self-preservation approach of present day labour leaders.

At different times, he mobilized the conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to protest against colonial rule and also workers and peasants for the independence movement led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, during the nationwide tour of the National Council of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC), to raise funds and support for the Nigerian delegation to the constitutional conference in London.

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The Labour wing of the NC-Democratic Grand  Alliance, of which Imoudu was a member, won four seats in the Lagos Town Council elections in 1950.

In 1964, Imoudu  led the general strike  against the restriction of Democracy, which was  targeted at compelling the Government to implement the report of the Morgan commission. In addition, he was a member of the Marxist Socialist Workers and Farmers Party.

In the Second Republic, he was Vice President of the Peoples Redemption Party(PRP) led by Mallam Aminu Kano.

His track record formed the basis for his becoming the founding President of the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) in 1964. The NLC of today possess a different design and ideology.

Sadly, pragmatic approach to labour issues and concepts remain lacking, even as Labour leaders’ sacrifices and tribulations for Nigerian workers are cosmetic, debatable and trailed by controversy.

Those in the labour struggle, with Imoudu’s frame of mind and character are relatively few and extremely difficult to identify, in these days of ”he who pays the piper, dictates the tune”.

About Attitude                      About Behaviour                  About Values

Workers Welfare : Michael Imoudu as a Role Model 2

The need for an increase in wages and better working conditions prompted Imoudu to lead a demonstration from the locomotive yard in Ebute metta, Lagos to the Government House situated at Marina, Lagos Island, Lagos.

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The Governor General of the Colony of Lagos, Bernard Bourdillon noticed that any form of industrial action at that period, could disrupt railway supplies to the coalition, during the Second World War in 1941. It was on this premise he acceded to a 50 per cent pay rise for the workers.

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This success, further inspired Imoudu to put forward more demands, among which were conversion of daily casual labour to salaried employment, Saturday work with pay, permanence of daily labour, holiday travel grant and payment of arrears to cover 1932 to 1942 of unpaid entitlements.

This did not go down well with Bourdillon, who facilitated the termination of Imoudu’s appointment on 23 January, 1943 and also ordered his arrest under the Nigeria General Defense Regulations, 1941.

In quick succession he was relocated and remanded at the Benin prison, while in prison, he influenced inmates to demonstrate against poor feeding and other deplorable prison conditions.

In response, the British Colonial Government in 1943, restricted Imoudu’s movement to the palace of the paramount Chief of Auchi and made an order for him to report twice a week to the Auchi Police station.

As a result of a face off with the District Officer of Auchi and his moves to facilitate the establishment of peasants’ cooperatives for the benefit of peasants in Etsako and Ora, he was again remanded in the Auchi prison.

Some of his comrades, including T.A Bankole openly spoke against Imoudu’s action, to the hearing of the Chief Secretary of Government.

After spending two and a half years in prison, the labour activist was set free.

A mass rally was held at Oko-Awo, Lagos to celebrate his release from prison, while nationalists such as Herbert Macaulay were on ground to grace the occasion.

In June 1945, he successfully led over 30,000 workers to down tools for 44 days.

The industrial action was hinged on the inability of the colonial Government to actualize the promise of Bourdillon in 1942, to review allowances according to living index.

Bourdillon’ successor, Arthur Frederick Richards vigorously refused to pay the allowance.

This resulted in the abrupt end of the unpopular Richards constitution, and set the stage for self government. To be continued.

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Workers Welfare : Michael Imoudu As A Role Model 1

The activities of Labour leaders today is the raging  debate among workers in Nigeria. Workers express sadness and worry over the way their leaders handle issues concerning them.

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While the workers continue to wallow in the vicious cycle of poverty, hunger and worry, their leaders insist that they should be patient and show understanding with the Government.

The agility and activeness of labour leaders of the present time, is determined by the political class and not by the deteriorating condition of workers in the country.

Up till this moment, the name Michael  A thokhamien Ominus  Imoudu, represents a good example of a labour leader with a difference within the Nigerian territory and has continued to serve a s a source of inspiration  for the present set of labour leaders. Perhaps.

Imoudu was born on 7, September, 1902, to a Soldier, who had fought in East Africa. His upbringing resulted into his fearless personality. He did not have fear for witches or wizards, master or servant, black or white.

At the age of 14, he began his education at the Government school, Ora. In the course of his education, he received double promotion to standard one. After the death of his Father, the forward looking young Imoudu moved on in his quest for education, at various times at Ontisha, Benin, Sapele, Warri and Agbor.

His adult life revolved on protests against wrong doing by constituted authority. As a student of the Government school, Agbor he staged his first protest.

He led students of the school to protest against the alleged embezzlement of Empire funds by the school’s teachers. This resulted in the manhandling of the Headmaster.

At various times, he worked as linesman in the Department of Post and Telegraph (P and T) in 1928 and an apprentice machinist at the Railway Corporation. He worked tirelessly on three shillings and four pence per day. The work conditions depressed those in the railway and it was noticeable, but the grievances of the railway men were uncoordinated. During the industrial action of the sectional foundery men in 1931, Imoudu spearheaded a platform to fight for the rights of workers. This he made possible by opting to work as journey man at a reduced wage of three shillings per day.

On 20, January, 1940, Imoudu was the only one among his colleagues, who  signed the registration document of the Railway workers union and on 7, October, 1940, Imoudu was elected President of Railway men.  To be continued.

Political Office Holders As Servants of the People

The basis for true civilization is the respect for law and order. Due process and the rule of law, features prominently in the lexicon of societies all over the world.

Indeed, unstable power supply, lack of good roads, declining standard of education, unreliable health care delivery, high unemployment rate and insecurity are just some of the challenges threatening  the diminishing  hopes of Nigerians, who before this time, had high expectations.

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The myriad of challenges persist because the political class are in short  supply of Democrats, who possess finesse and are willing to embrace the culture of Democracy and the rule of law.

At a point in time in Nigeria’s history, the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari was the Presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP), while a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was the standard bearer of the Action Congress(AC). The stake holders of the coalition are now singing different tunes.

Indeed, constitutional Democracy is a vital tool for a stable united Nigeria, with emphasis on unity in diversity.

This line of thought recommends that the  of leaders of each ethnic group should have  a basic willingness to engage in cooperative efforts with the leaders of other segments in a spirit of moderation and compromise, while still retaining the support and loyalty of their own followers.

The commitment of leaders of all ethnic segments to the continued unity of the country becomes crucial and debatable.

Without doubt unity is synonymous with the safety of lives and property, in a workers’ friendly environment. With this in mind, it would not be wrong to call for the restructuring of the Nigeria Police Force by Government and at the same time, it is high time workers restructured their trade unions for better results.

In the present dispensation, a major characteristic of governance at all tiers, is the constant abuse of power.

Sadly, over the years, the servant leadership ideology has failed to take root in the country’s national life, with political and public office holders as prominent actors.

However, Nigerians are hoping that sometime very soon, political and public office holders will reconsider their present positions, and become servants of the people. Maybe.

About Attitude                                           About Behaviour

 

 

Restructuring : Is the People’s Welfare the Issue ?

In 1998, the Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo restructured, 12 months after the structure became the platform to campaign for Igbo Presidency.

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In 2004,  the socio-cultural organization restructured, even though  the general elections came up in 2007, and Nigerians  were of the opinion that the Presidency of Nigeria was for  all Nigerians. Their argument was hinged  on the fact that no section of the country was excluded from aspiring to become the number one  citizen.

Indeed, there has never been and there is  still not any  constitutional law  that stated that a particular  tribe  cannot vie for the position of President.

Interestingly, Ohaneze is a South East  Geo-Political zone based organization, which seeks to project the image of the Igbos and the  rest of Nigeria in  general.

Although at a particular point in time, the organization was accused of been elitist, its  objective  according to a cross section  of  members is to  ensure that the ordinary  man  in the street  is  a member.

The members  argue that anybody who  is  Igbo or  of Igbo  extraction, within  Igboland or in diaspora, should be considered as a member of Ohaneze. Such individuals, according to them  can attend meetings without a  third party making  introduction.

”You can come to Ohaneze meeting without anybody introducing you. If  there is need to introduce yourself, you get up and tell them who you are”, they stated.

In an interview session with a Lagos based news magazine in 2004, the then President of the Anambra chapter of Ohaneze, Dozie Ikedife, insisted that restructuring was on course, irrespective of any presidential election.

”If it happens that no  Igbo man is installed  as President this  time around, Ohaneze will still play  its role to ensure that a President is installed  in this  country and that things move peacefully with a sense of  equity, fair play, justice and enhancement of the sense of  belonging  for  all”, Ikedife had declared.

Since no  tribe or ethnic  group has been excluded from Nigeria, the debate about who occupys the  number one seat in 2019 and other election dates, should be for  all and sundry. Perhaps.