Realisation of public service potentials in Lagos

Akintola Benson-Oke In an edition of the Harvard Business Review, it was noted that, “The goal of coaching is the

Akintola Benson-Oke

In an edition of the Harvard Business Review, it was noted that, “The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: to make the most of an organization’s valuable resources.” Similarly, a noted expert, Ed Batista has noted that, Coaching is about connecting with people, inspiring them to do their best and helping them to grow. It’s also about challenging people to come up with the answers they require on their own.

The quotes above indeed align with the vision of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration for the Lagos State Public Service. The ultimate goal of all of the administration’s investments in training workshops is for the Lagos State Public Service to attain that optimal state of performance and effectiveness where its units and teams and departments are headed by persons who understand what leadership means and who have developed their leadership potentials and have enhanced their performance skills. It is only at such a point in time that the Public Service can experience exponential growth.
However, Governor Ambode’s administration fully appreciates that there is need to chart a path to attain the desired end as opposed to merely talking about its importance. Otherwise, the efforts would be meaningless and would amount to undertaking a journey without a map.

The creation and adoption of such a path is the purpose of this 2-day training workshop. As I have indicated at several other fora, once the Lagos State Public Service is able to attain that optimal state of effectiveness and productivity through the aid of coaching, no problem will be too complicated, no task too herculean, no challenge too huge, and no task too complicated for it to confront head-on.

Stated differently, the ultimate goal of the Lagos State Government is to equip every officer of the Lagos State Public Service with leadership tools while the vehicle for achieving this is consistent coaching for every officer. Thus, the Lagos State Government would invest in every public officer by designing and delivering coaching instructions that would increase the knowledge and skills of every officer such that the multiplier effect on the public service would be dynamism, responsiveness, effectiveness, machine-like precision, and exponential productivity.

In this opening address, I will describe the tenets of this administration’s vision of desiring every officer to be leadership-equipped. After this, I will dwell on the benefits of coaching and how coaching can help in the pursuit of that vision.
The Akinwunmi Ambode administration’s vision for the Lagos State Public Service includes a calibrated leadership compass that will be evidenced by a number of qualities in every officer that will be impossible to discount. One of these is assertiveness. Among others, assertiveness and self-confidence will enable officers to:

(a)Say “no” positively and effectively;

(b) Recognise different types of behaviours and its potential impact; (c)Become able to resist the pressure and dominance of excessively dominant people; (d)Stand up to bullies and bullying tactics; (e)Exert a little more control in situations that are important to you; (f) Recognise potential conflicts and adopt skills to manage them; and (g) Talk confidently to people and be heard.
The vision also includes mentoring. One of the key tenets of leadership is the need to pass on knowledge and experience to others. Most great leaders throughout history have made it a priority to grow and develop other leaders who can come in, take the reins and lead more effectively.

Yet another tenet of the vision is effective delegation of authority. Delegation of authority is a process in which the authority and powers are divided and shared amongst the subordinates. When the work of a manager gets beyond his capacity, there should be some system of sharing the work. This is how delegation of authority becomes an important tool in organisation function: Through delegation, a manager, in fact, is multiplying himself by dividing or multiplying his work with the subordinates.

The possession of emotional intelligence is another personal attribute that indicates the presence of leadership potential and which forms a critical part of the vision. This is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of this attribute know what they are feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people. In leadership, being in firm grip of one’s emotion is sine qua non. After all, who is more likely to succeed: a leader who shouts at his team when he is under stress, or a leader who stays in control, and calmly assesses situations? I am therefore hopeful that you will be led to seek the development of the elements of emotional intelligence which include:

(a) Self-awareness. (b) Self-regulation.

(c) Motivation. (d) Empathy. (e) Social skills. Furthermore, every officer aspiring to leadership must develop, possess and maintain problem-solving skills. Developing the mind frame for deploying these skills is one of the essential soft skills that is mandatory for success in today’s rapidly changing world. According to Zoe Bendan, the mind frame for successful problem solving calls for:
(a)a laser-like focus on the solution and not the problem; (b) an open mind that entertains and tries ‘All Possible Solutions’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first; (c)viewing problems neutrally as opposed to viewing them as ‘scary’ issues; (d)thinking by changing direction and approach and looking at things in a new way;

(e) adopting the use of language that creates possibilities by the avoidance of closed and negative language; and

(f) the simplification of tasks by removing all details and going to the basics.
Effective communication skill is another indispensable personal attribute of leaders. In an article for the World Economic Forum titled, “Why the Best Leaders Make Communicating Effectively a Priority,” Walter Montgomery argued that if a leader seeks to make communications an instrument of strategic and tactical navigation, he/she should consider several actions, some of which are unconventional:

(a) Clearly and repeatedly, through both words and actions, send the message that effective communication is essential for organisational success and career advancement. This is a powerful, indispensable message. But it requires consistent, hard-nosed follow-through, including compensation incentives that promote good communication practices.

(b) Inject science into your communications strategy. Neuroscience and behavioural economics, in addition to the best polling and statistical techniques, have opened vast new areas of knowledge that leaders can use to their advantage to heighten their credibility and increase the effectiveness of their messages. Sophisticated research grounded in science is an excellent tool for developing strategies and messages that move people to desired actions.

(c) Mandate a holistic assessment of the communications status quo in your organization. In this assessment, do not be limited by the traditional definition of “communications.” Review both the verbal and non-verbal ways in which the organization projects an image of itself through its various activities. Include a study of every internal and external constituency that presents exposures and opportunities for the organization. Assess how it creates relationships with those constituencies, from the body language of a customer service agent to the treatment of laid-off employees, to positions on sensitive public-policy matters, to the design of products and services, to the public visibility of the leader, and so on.

Along the way, remember that communication is a two-way street, so it is essential to evaluate the organization’s ability to identify problems and opportunities and then reliably report that information through feedback channels up the hierarchy.

Dr. Oke writes from Lagos

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Nigeria’s soft spots

Kene Obiezu The largest congregation of black people anywhere in the world with its signature electricity blackouts, pervasive giving and

Kene Obiezu

The largest congregation of black people anywhere in the world with its signature electricity blackouts, pervasive giving and taking of kickbacks, dry taps, packed settlements, idle youths, broken roads, expensive food, high-priced oil and leaders who say one thing and do another has in the last ten years or so bloodily expanded its map of avoidable woes to include places hardest hit by its self-inflicted difficulties. They are easy to target. They are easy to set ablaze. They are perverse locations for butchered bodies. They are Nigeria`s soft spots.

They are those communities who for many years have been left without clean water, good roads, good schools, constant electricity because policies and plans have not been made or sustained or enforced to close the development gaps between them and the urban areas. They are those communities who live literally on the edge of Nigeria`s many struggles with corruption and underdevelopment. They are those communities now vulnerable to the many arrows fired at Nigeria `s vulnerability from enemy quivers. They are those communities forced by inequality and inequity to be Nigeria`s unwilling shields. They are those communities living Nigeria`s lack of equity and now, with Nigeria`s terrorist enemies.

The government will never make it official. The government will never admit that their security plate is overflowing . Yet, anyone who has followed the harsh explosion of each bomb detonated by Boko Haram and Fuluni herdsmen know that while the urban areas have been relatively safe for reasons of demography and concentration of security resources in and around them ,the rural communities have taken the bombs, bullets, fires, knife-cuts, rapes and brutal murders. They are Nigeria`s reluctant heroes.
In the many ways it shows its very ugly face, insecurity is a feature of rural life in Nigeria. It is a ghost that stalks our rural communities and makes all of us to shake our heads solemnly.

In most of our villages, tarred roads are absent and where present are full of potholes. Police men, soldiers, men of the Civil Defence lack efficient vehicles and firearms for their operations and operate from buildings crying out for renovation . The rural communities lucky enough to be electrified always sleep in the dark or resort to generators whose noise, fumes and possibility of explosion can do great harm to people and the environment. Drinking water is got from sources full of debris, leading to multiple cases of cholera, diarrhea, malaria among others and in the case of the Nigeria`s Niger-Delta region, sources polluted by the extraction and refining of oil, resulting in cancer among others .

Obviously, living in the villages with these difficult everyday experiences is not enough. Our rural communities must now experience bullets, bombs and fire.They must also look beyond their shoulders everyday.They must sleep with open eyes. They must also live in camps as refugees on their own lands.

Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State was the latest exhibition of brutality. Bage , Chibok , Dapchi, Riyom, Agatu, Zaki Biam, Rann, Nimbo have all featured at one time or the other in the gallery of terrorism`s darkest arts in Nigeria. Now, they live without the peace, serenity and sense of safety which used to be second-nature to our villages

Women and children speak of and to vulnerability. This vulnerability darkly emphasized by the fact that manhood is the premium qualification in Nigeria becomes criminal when they are cut down in attacks carried out without painstaking planning or robust resistance

A stable country is not a country without soft spots. When a country`s is able to secure its soft spots, it is rewarded with stability.
Multiple terrorist attacks on rural communities of northern Nigeria, pockets of agitation in Southeast Nigeria and relative restiveness in the Southsouth Nigeria betray how divorced Nigeria is from stability.

This pervasive vulnerability that becomes fatal with every new attack indicts successive federal, state and local governments in their collective and inter-generational failure to build rural infrastructure, especially rural security. The federal and state governments in their financial emasculation of the local governments must take the greater share of the blame. Rural communities used to be havens of peace and communal life. They have always known poverty and deprivation.

The local government system has been the most affected by Nigeria`s drought of good governance. Under successive federal and state governments famished for robust ideas and political will, the trickle of funds and institutional exemplars has left a severe thirst for governance that will execute projects at the local government levels.

This will need to be fixed. Nigeria`s Constitution is a great starting point. When strengthened, local governments can drive development and security at the rural levels. In the face of deadly attacks, the security they can provide can make the difference between bliss and bloodshed in our poorest villages. Policing in Nigeria can also be de-centralised.
Governments at all levels should immediately institute heartfelt inquiries into the bloodletting in some of our villages. While we should do everything to prevent floods from seasonally destroying the homes and crops in our local communities, we could transform their experiences by providing them security infrastructure, good roads, electricity and clean water.

A vast majority of Nigerians live in rural areas. Nigerians living in urban areas are from rural communities. Nigerians living in other countries trace their roots to many rural areas in Nigeria.

In Africa, there is no place like home. That is why we should do everything to soothe the pains of those whose value live in rural areas.

Obiezu writes from Abuja

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Entertainment industry and integration of Africa

Alabidun Shuaib Abdulrahman African societies are essentially multi-ethnic and multicultural. Africa is the second most populous continent which is home

Alabidun Shuaib Abdulrahman

African societies are essentially multi-ethnic and multicultural. Africa is the second most populous continent which is home to one billion people, about 15% of the world’s population. With 54 countries, the continent is divided into Northern Africa with its Arab cultures and part of the MENA region (Middle East- North Africa), and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Each country has a unique culture. Most Sub-Saharan Countries show strong ties to traditional African culture. Other countries, like Angola, where the colonial influence of the Portuguese lasted longer than in British or French colonies, the culture shows a very strong European as well as Brazilian influence due to its Portuguese language.

Multiculturalism in Africa is premised on challenges to cultural supremacy occasioned by the large-scale migrations of people of different backgrounds, views, norms, traditions, cultures, among others who experienced alienation, marginalization, and exclusion in the host country. Despite the fact in diversity, they experience in everyday life communal mutuality in village festivals, traditional dancing tunes and steps, religious worships and socio-cultural cooperation in works among others.

Meanwhile, tribal traditions in Africa to some large extent influence the design of socio-cultural entertainment with identical experiences except in the language of communication.

At the struggle for independence, African theatre and cultural forms became elements of resistance and the fight for independence. Songs, dances, and ritual dramas mobilized people to understand and reject colonialism.

Throughout history, popular theatre forms such as dances, dramas, musical compositions, narratives, and others have played roles in the cultural struggles of the African peoples and their development.

Today, however, in line with the integration agenda of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nollywood films have taken the front burner by upholding African cultural practices and promoting such among diasporas living in the various countries in the sub – region and in addition re – infusing the African practices and cultures into the original inhabitants of the various countries even outside the continent.

A recent survey conducted by Fayomi, Oluyemi O, PhD and published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK revealed that, 90.2% of Ghanaians and 65.4% of Beninese watched Nigerian movies popularly known as Nollywood films. This shows how appetite for entertainment is growing among Africans. This high percentage of viewership in these two countries might be linked with the roles Nollywood films play in Africa.

Nollywood is commercially-savvy but the values of entertainment of its clientele cannot be quantified. The entertainment bit is primary to the mode of representation in the industry, yet in that pursuit, one cannot forget its sense of mission, which is to produce culture.
The Nollywood’s model of rapid production and home consumption is now being exported across the continent, with countries such as Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, and Mali adopting this model over traditional American or European features. It is said to generate an estimated $500 to $800 million annually and is one of the largest Nigerian employers by sector and second only to agriculture.
On average, more than 2,000 feature length movies are made each year. A feature movie sells an average of 50,000 copies at about $2 a DVD, offering Africans an affordable entertainment option.

The rapid growth of entertainment in Africa is not only restricted to movies but also music industry which Price Waterhouse Coopers Entertainment and Media Outlook estimates South Africa total music revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4 percent to R2.4 billion ($178 million) by 2020, fueled by surging digital music streaming revenue.

As noted above, Nigeria remains one of the world’s fastest-growing Entertainment and Media (E&M) markets with overall growth of 15.7 percent in 2016, reaching $3.8 billion. Nigeria’s music industry alone is expected to grow at a breathtaking 12.9 percent CAGR—almost doubling from $47 million in 2015 to over $86 million in 2020—on the back of strong mobile music revenue.
Similarly, Kenya will enjoy strong growth in the next few years because of its strong mobile music sector. Kenya’s total music industry revenue is projected to rise from $19 million to $29 million in 2020.

Recently, Black Panther becomes a huge hit when it was reported that the film raked in over $500m after just 17 days in theatres, making it the 10th highest-domestic-grossing movie in history. It is a film that envisions an Africa that is strong, independent, peaceful and technologically advanced.

With the African Development Bank’s dream of building today a better future for Africa tomorrow, Africa can accelerate its industrialization, if the regional and sub-regional organizations can seize the opportunity of Nollywood general acceptance to achieve their objectives of integrations among the citizens of countries in the continent.

The African Development Bank can use the medium provided by entertainment industry in Africa to solve the problem of ethnic clashes, slavery, human trafficking, and act of terrorism by commissioning the African movie and musical producers to produce films and music that will promote unity in diversity among the people of Africa.

The major players in entertainment industry in Africa can be enlightened on the important roles their works play in the unity and development of the continent because in the time past, entertainment have helped to rescue, incorporate, preserve, and mediate not only the people’s aspirations, but also those factors which define their beliefs, expressions, and historical cultural development in general.

Abdulrahman writes from Wuye, Abuja via alabidungoldenson@gmail.com

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The alleged plot against Wike

When governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state spoke on Sunday at the Living Faith Church (aka Winners), Port Harcourt as

When governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state spoke on Sunday at the Living Faith Church (aka Winners), Port Harcourt as part of activities to mark the third year anniversary of his administration, there was this disturbing sense of urgency in his voice. His heart was heavy. He was sorrowful. You can feel his hurt. It was not for nothing.

He decided to speak up for Nigerians to hear him out. He accused the Federal Government of plans to kill him. He said: “intelligence report available to us this morning indicated that they are plotting to assassinate me in a crowd and claim it was an accidental discharge.” According to Wike, part of the conspiracy was to use the Nigeria Police to plant millions of dollars and AK-47 rifles at his Abuja residence. However, he expressed confidence that the grand conspiracy will fail because God will continue to defend him. Nonetheless, he alleged that a high-level conspiracy is afoot against the government of Rivers State which he leads.

Wike’s allegation is weighty enough to be ignored. It should not be interpreted as one of those posturings by politicians. There’s a heavy price to pay if the authorities sweep his allegation under the carpet. I share his grave concerns because Rivers state has become a hotbed of political violence in recent memory. Moreover, politics in Nigeria is always full of high-stakes. It’s a vicious game against perceived and real enemies and the politicians don’t play the game by any known rules, which is why Nigeria has been described at various times as one of the filthiest arenas of politics in Africa.

Any careful observer of politics in Rivers state will agree that Wike is not crying wolf. Coming close to another general elections, Rivers is indeed one state to watch. Recall that few days ago, a chieftain of the opposition All Progressives Congress(APC) and former governorship candidate in the state, had threatened that Wike would be “sacked” next year and be sent to his village or be thrown into jail. This threat is troubling. It’s against every tenet of democracy.

Two years ago, exactly March 29,2016, I wrote in this column that the conspiracy against Wike “is being waged on different fronts, the game plan is that if one plot fails, try another”. That,in fact, is what is unfolding now, hard and fast. Let’s not forget what the (outgoing?) National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said few months after the party lost Rivers state to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Oyegun had lamented that APC felt so pained for losing three oil-rich states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers.

I can understand why. In Rivers and Bayelsa states, you have two hotheaded guys as governors, who can never give up on their convictions. And in Akwa Ibom, you have a highly-principled former banker as Chief Executive. Altogether, these three governors are treasures. They are politicians who believe that political office is not just a prize to be won, but a duty to perform. So far, their accomplishments are evident to all to see and cherish. You can begin to see why the plot against Wike is thickening. More will come in the weeks and months ahead. It’s all about 2019 and the fierce battle to takeover Rivers state by all means. The ruling APC at the centre is borrowing from the playbook of Trotsky who said ,”you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you”. And, I ask: Must politics be played that way? It’s always a way out of the truth to think you must overrun a state by all means. I was in Rivers state recently, and I can bet that that the state is beyond the reach of APC under any free and fair election. Wike is the man in whom the people are “well pleased”. They believe he’s working, he’s performing. The electorate in Rivers state have a resounding confidence in his government. Go find out.

That’s why Wike is always winning. And that’s also why the federal authorities are not going to give up in their plots and frantic search for a smoking gun to discredit Wike. Wike knows that if he must overcome his political enemies, he must be ahead of them. The present conspiracy could be a subplot of the larger stratagem to frame him. But, he knows the schemes of the adversary.
In June, 2017,Mr.Sylva Ogwemoh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN),had filed a suit on behalf of Gov. Wike before a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja. The action was to foil a suit by the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) and the Department of State Service(DSS) to get a warrant to search the governor’s houses in Abuja and elsewhere in the country.
The submission of the governor’s lawyer is that the provision of Section 308 of the Constitution provides that no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against a serving president, vice president and governor. Didn’t the authorities know this, and yet proceeded to get a search warrant? That’s what a conspiracy intends to achieve. It blinds the seeker not to see the futility of his desperation.

But, Justice Ahmed Mohammed saw through the web of the stratagems and refused to grant the prayers of the defendants. In his judgment, the judge threw away the defendant’s case for lacking in merit, noting that the governor cannot be investigated based on section 308 of the 1999 Constitution. The Judge drew a contrast between sections 149 and 150 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 on one hand, and section 308(1)(C) of the Constitution, on the other hand.

These provisions make it mandatory for the owner or occupant of a house or his representative to be present during the execution of a search warrant in the said house or houses. Justice Mohammed also noted that section 308(1) (C) of the constitution prohibits issuance of a court process, including a search warrant against all persons covered by the same section 308.
If you think this will be the end of the search for a smoking gun against Wike, just wait and see. I am sorry for APC and its desperation to “capture” Rivers state. Things are rather getting worse for the party in that state. The recent ward and local government Congresses showed a divided, disillusioned, rag tag party in the state whose members would prefer to destroy their ‘father’s inheritance’ rather than share it.

The state branch of APC is going into next year’s election in a worse, disunited state than it was in 2015. Rivers state and its people love peace and good governance. Therefore, let peace reign in Rivers. The alleged plots to kill him under whatever guise and make the state ungovernable, is an affront to democracy. It will only benefit those who want to harvest in crisis. Such people prefer a declaration of emergence rule rather than a free and fair election. Already, Rivers state has witnessed so much bloodshed in recent years. President Buhari must not allow that to continue. That’s what a statesman does, irrrespective of party affiliation.

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OPINION: MEMORIES OF THE MONTH OF RAMADAN

When I was young, my friends and I used to be full of enthusiasm whenever the month of Ramadan approached.

When I was young, my friends and I used to be full of enthusiasm whenever the month of Ramadan approached. It was not actually because of the understood importance of the month or the spiritual rewards derivable from it. Who, then, cared much about what Ramadan really meant in the life of a Muslim? All we knew was that it was a month of fasting, eating early in the morning and breaking it at sunset. All we knew was that it used to come with a lot of goodies in terms of eating assorted menus and many uniquely interesting events. O Innocence! And we did it with our believing parents, brothers and sisters in Islam.

Although with my background as a Muslim from the minority, we fasted the month with faith but without caring about the rewards. We were more attracted to this great Islam obligation because of the atmosphere that always permeated the society from the beginning of Ramadan to its end. Unlike before and after Ramadan, the spirit of eating together to fast before Fajr prayers and break the fast together by sunset was overwhelming. The spirit of sharing was overpowering. And the spirit of giving was irresistible. During the period, it was difficult to specially differentiate between who has what to eat and who does not have. Muslims cooperated like one family.

Families would cook and bring to the Mosque. The poor had free access to the homes of the rich. The poor tasted the food of the rich or even fed with them. The rich would make time to chat with Muslims around and make great efforts to alleviate as much burdens as possible from the weak. And so the atmosphere remains until the Eid-Fitr is celebrated. And so it remains for few more days after Ramadan, a celebration during which the spirit of faith, love and brotherhood thickly saturate the air. And we always wished Ramadan should not end. O Innocence!

If wishes were all real, I would wish to remain in that stage to enjoy Ramadan to the full, to enjoy Ramadan without any slight worries and to enjoy Ramadan without fear or pressure. One would wish to be so, free from the life struggles to provide for one’s needs, for the immediate and extended families and for the underprivileged in the society. These struggles sometimes become overweighing to the extent that the sweetness in observing this great obligation becomes less and therefore, disproportionally felt. One goes to work immediately after the Fajr prayers and comes back home late due to the heavy traffic experienced in the cities. Like William Shakespeare said, we are wasting our powers in search of worldly things that are sordid. This is an everlasting reminder from Shakespeare: “The world is too much with us, late and soon; Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”

I writhe in anger when I try to compare my memories of Ramadan in the past and the present. Yet, I am soothed by the words of Allah SWT that He is in control of our lives and has made temptations part of the lives of believers. The chases in life have made many Muslim lose taste of the divinity in Ramadan, the only month that was called in the Holy Qur’an with its name by Allah and the only month that has a night greater than 83 years. Are we ready to make amends and try our best? Yes, we can do it.

Islam does not allow laziness at any time, including the period of Ramadan. Every time is precious in the life of a Muslim. That is why Allah swore with Time in the Holy Qur’an. Apart from the natural fixation of time for certain occurrences, there is time for every Islamic obligation and activity. So, under whatever circumstance a Muslim should not mix-up the time for every action. There should be no compromise for the time to perform spiritual activities. In the same way, there should be no compromise for the time to discharge duties through which legitimate livelihood is earned. Except for excuses accepted officially by one’s employer, a Muslim should not take Ramadan as an excuse to be inactive or abscond from duty. Rather, a Muslim can take an annual leave if there is the feeling of performing religious duties unsatisfactorily during the holy month.

However and under whatever circumstance, a Muslim should strive harder to attain the greatest aim of the month which is piety. Piety is not attained with laziness, pretence or fanaticism – overzealousness. It is attained by the regular observations of Allah’s commandments. Piety is the greatest level of faith because it makes a Muslim to be conscious all the time of the Presence of Allah. It makes a Muslim to build his/her life in accordance with the dictates of the Holy Qur’an. It makes a Muslim to be contented with the little available provision from Allah. And finally, it makes a Muslim to be ever ready for his/her journey day – death.

If piety is demanded of a believer at all times, it is much more required in the month of Ramadan. That is why Allah started and ended the discussion on fasting Ramadan with it. The first verse that discussed fasting is Q2:183 which reads: “Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain (taqwa) piety and righteousness”. The last verse is Q2:187 which reads: “… Thus does Allah make His Signs clear to mankind that they may attain piety (taqwa)”. And in Q49:13 Allah decrees: “The most honoured by Allah amongst you are those best in taqwa.”

During Ramadan, the consciousness of a believer of the Presence of Allah should multiply. Observing the obligatory prayers on time and the supplementary including Tarawih should be of great interest; keeping away from filthy actions openly and secretly should be paramount; reading/learning/teaching the Holy Qur’an should be a daily affair and sharing/helping the poor and needy should become of serious interest. The feeling of the Presence of Allah should summarily awaken the uprightness of a Muslim and inspire in him/her the strong belief in Allah’s bounty, mercy and pardon.

The believer should remodel his/her life to fit with the commandments of Allah in the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SWA). The sweet memory of the narration of Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) that the life of the Prophet was the Holy Qur’an is impressive. There is nothing about human life – both religious and circular – that is missing in the in Holy Qur’an. The life of our noble Prophet remains the best model for us. It is confirmed by Allah Himself in the Qur’an.

In addition, there is no amount of provision bestowed on man by Allah that can satisfy man. According to authentic narrations from the tradition of the Prophet, two persons who hardly get satisfied are seeker of knowledge and seeker of wealth. Ultimately, nothing satisfies man, nothing can quench the ever strong desire of man to acquire wealth except the soil – death. In short, the question that often seeks answer is: How much can a man have to stop him from seeking more? So, contentedness with whatever provision Allah avails should be of courage to a Muslim. To attain this laudable quality, a Muslim should not always look at those who are more favourded by Allah; rather he/she should always remember and consider his/her position above millions of people around the vicinities. That will spur him/her to be prayerful and hopeful in Allah for a better condition. Assuredly, no condition is permanent and Allah’s Time and Providence are the best.

By that, he/she should share and give out from the little provision during Ramadan. And indubitably the preparation for death should be an all time concern. Death is a timelessly timely visitor. It is definitely true that some people prepared for Ramadan but died in the wee hours of the beginning. Some are blessed to witness it but may die before it ends. Remembrance of death at all times will eliminate or reduce the penchant of a Muslim towards evil and enhance the love for doing good. So, a Muslim must maximally utilize any opportunity in life for the service of Allah and humanity which is the primary reason for his creation and for being alive. Purity of intention for Ramadan and putting in the best effort in doing good and forsaking bad can be an assured source of attaining Allah’s happiness in this life and the hereafter.

Therefore, fasting Ramadan should not be for mere merriment or showoff. Every action of man is given manifold reward, up to seven hundred times. But Allah SWT said in a Hadith narrated by Bukhari: “…Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.’ for the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk.”

The Paradise is awaiting those who fast the month of Ramadan. Paradise is the home of honour, dignity, eternal rest, beauty, peace, joy and satisfaction. Ramadan is here again for those who want all these goodies. Ramadan Kareem and may Allah accept all our deeds in it. Ameen.

Written by Muhammad Ajah, an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja.
mobahawwah@yahoo.co.uk

OPINION: WOMEN TAKE THE LEAD IN VOTING BUT THEY ARE NOT EMPOWERED TO BE VOTED FOR – HOW LEGISLATION CAN FIX THAT

Women constitute an expansive block of the electorate in Nigeria. In some countries in the sub-region, this is the case

Women constitute an expansive block of the electorate in Nigeria. In some countries in the sub-region, this is the case as well. They often take the lead in voting in elections.

For example, in the 2015 general election in Nigeria, 45,888,984 registered voters were women, while 22,944,984 were men.  Despite being the larger block of the electorate, women occupy less than 7 percent of positions in government (elective and appointive) in the country.

According to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) statistical representation of women in elective positions in 2015, women have only 6.1 percent representation in State Houses of Assembly; 3.89 percent in the House of Representatives and 7.34 percent in the Senate. And in the executive, women are also not well represented.

In Ghana, a country with enviable  democratic records, women participation in politics is not very impressive. As of November 2016, Ghana placed 150 out of 185 in the Inter-Parliamentary Union ranking on women representation. Women representation in the Ghana Parliament is about 10.7 percent. In the executive, only 27 percent of women are cabinet ministers. This is commendable, but it is still below the desired threshold.

In Togo, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 17.60 percent of seats in parliament are held by women. This is based on a 2017 ranking. And in the executive, only 18.4 percent of ministerial positions are held by women.

Based on these statistics, it is clear that women are not where they ought to be in terms of representation in government. It is for this reason that we must demand at least 30 percent representation at all levels of government. And we must push this advocacy with vigour and finality.

Although there are some women in the sub-region breaking barriers to successfully participate in politics, most women, especially those in the rural areas, and even those with required technicality and qualifications, are encumbered by socio-cultural and religious practices, inadequate financial resources, volatile political environment, political party discrimination, and absence of support from friends, family and the media.

As most of us know, some socio-cultural and religious practices act as a wedge to women’s participation in politics and inclusion in government.  In certain cultures, women are not being heard or even seen. And they are not allowed to own property. This naturally shuts out most women with leadership potential from politics.

Legislation is imperative in emancipating women and freeing them from socio-cultural shackles. Laws deliberately aimed at improving the plight of women economically and politically must be promoted and passed. The laws must prohibit discrimination against women by political parties and engender their protection against political violence. Legislation backed by implementation is the vehicle to creating an enabling environment for women to participate in politics and thrive.

Recently, a bill popularly tagged “Gender Parity Bill” which aims to give women equal opportunity in the workplace, job, education and government was shut down in the Nigerian senate. Such a bill is necessary to break the socio-cultural and economic strictures against women.

Politics generally is capital intensive, though this varies from country to country. But the point is, many women lack the means to foot campaign bills. Without economic power, political power is difficult to attain. Women should be empowered economically to participate in politics – this could be by giving their businesses and pursuit necessary incentives for growth, including indiscriminate access to low-interest loans; capital bonds for development, and certainly 50 percent participation in government skills acquisition and enhancement programs. It is a fact that the empowerment of women is the empowerment of a nation.

Our countries will be the better for it if more women are empowered to participate in politics. We as parliamentarians, representing the women of West Africa, must make it a bounden duty to promote and sponsor empowerment programmes for women in our constituencies. For example, through my human capacity development programmes, I have empowered thousands of young women with skills and cash for business in my constituency, Anambra North.

We must also help those, with interest and leadership potential, in realising the dream of representing their communities and constituencies in parliament at the local, state and national level. It is a task that must be done.

Our countries will be in good stead in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if there is a deliberate policy and action in including women in government. Gender disparity can be reduced, if not eliminated, if women are given room to participate in government. We must continue the advocacy of ensuring more women representation in government.  We must not relent in our effort, because that would mean failing in our duties as the voice of women.

Women are natural leaders, and their inclusion in government must be intentional and sustained. Again, empowering women is empowering the nation.

*** Excerpt of speech presented before the first ECOWAS Women Parliamentarians General Summit in Abuja by Senator Stella Adaeze Oduah, Senator Representing Anambra North Constituency.

OPINION: INADEQUATE TRANSMISSION OIL TO PUMP NIGERIA’S ECONOMY

In recent months and as the General Elections draw nigh, President Buhari and his team has insisted that economic growth

In recent months and as the General Elections draw nigh, President Buhari and his team has insisted that economic growth under his presidency “is better than it has been in many decades,” it has equally stood by the old lines like a Trump that “the Economy is raging at an all-time high, and is set to get even better,” and “It has been many years that we have seen these kind of (economic) numbers.”…If not for the last reckless administration we would have been TRANSMITTING better.

While some hyperbole is a matter of opinion, my President and claims by his henchmen and woman in the person of Kemi Adesoun that his stewardship of the economy puts his predecessors to shame can be checked by public information that is readily available to all. In fact, the data shown by the National Bureau of Statistics that compared to his predecessors, Buhari’s record so far falls somewhere between unremarkable and substandard. Moreover, other economic data suggest that the current expansion will likely wind down before his term ends, and his boasting will ring hollow once the economy slips from recession to depression because truth be told the situation at the TRANSMITTING tower is not good.

It is commonly said that a President deserves some credit or blame for the economy’s performance only after he’s been in office about six months. On those terms, let’s measure Buhari’s words against the record for real GDP growth over the last three quarters (July 2017 through March 2018). And those of the last twenty years and equally note that he is well into the final lap of his administration, the signal strength at the TRANSMISSION studio is at best poor.

Like all of Mr. Buahri’s predecessors, he promised to reform regulation and boost business investment, because such measures can stimulate faster growth. Moreover, if the new investments focus on productivity-boosting equipment, they also can help raise people’s incomes. Through all of last year, Buhari and his advisors insisted that business investment would soar once he cut corruption but like NaijaBet, the economic team has played a ‘Kalo-Kalo economy. We have TRANSMITTED false hopes.

So, Buhari devoted much of his first six months in office to rolling back time and castigating, and castrating the economy, and much of the next months on his single major legislative achievement; blaming the past and problems he inherited. Many economists (myself excluded) pointed out that APC had no economic blueprint and if any it’s changes didn’t alter reality in any meaningful way.

Now let me tell us a story and then I would round up this admonition…

A Professor started his class on a very serious topic. The moment he turned towards the blackboard, one of the students whistled. He turned, looked at the class and asked the whistler’s name. No one answered.

The Professor peacefully kept the pen in his pocket saying: “Lecture ends here. I’ll tell you a story to utilize the remaining time”.

Everyone became interested.

“Yesterday night I tried hard to sleep, but it was miles away from my eyes, so I thought I’d better get petrol in my car, which will save my time next morning and might induce sleep. After having my tank full, I started roaming in that area, enjoying the peace of a traffic free ride.

Suddenly, on the corner I saw a girl who was as young and beautiful as the clothes she was wearing. Must have been returning from a party. Out of courtesy, I turned my car towards her and asked if I may be of any help. She asked me if I could drop her to her home, she’ll be very obliged, to which I agreed.

She sat in the front seat with me. We started talking, and to my amazement she was very intelligent, had control on many topics which many youngsters don’t.

When we reached her address, she admitted my courteous nature and behavior and accepted that she had fallen in love with me. I also admitted her intelligence and beauty and that I’ve also started liking her. I told her about my job as a professor in the university.

The girl asked my number, which I gave her willingly. Then she asked me a favor, to which I couldn’t have denied naturally.

She said that her brother is a student in the same university, and asked me to take care of him, since we’ll be in a long relationship now.

I asked the name of the student. She said that I’ll recognize him with one of his very prominent quality, *He whistles a lot!*

All eyes in the classroom turned towards the boy who had whistled.

The professor said: *”I didn’t buy my Ph. D in Psychology I earned it”

No economist, much less any politician, has a test or technique to accurately predict the onset of a recession. One important reason is that a recession usually requires a shock that tips a weakening economy into a contraction. And for all the professors, the English accent-speaking minister, apex bank chief, economic team and experts. They all have not figured out, or at best do not agree whether it is inadequate or lack of, or the type transmission oyel (oil) is the problem besetting our never evolving economy.

So like I counted billboards, posters and signage all pointing towards 2019, we are nowhere like the professor in the story justifying why we are our economy has refused to show fluidity. We are harangued by poor transmitting transmission, promissory notes that cannot be ‘expended’ according to my friend Dalung, whither way to economic independence and fulfillment that will transmit good governance—only time will tell

Written by Prince Charles Dickson PhD.

OPINION: AI AND NIGERIA’S TRIUMPH AGAINST ALL ODDS

It takes strong determination and focus to deflate enemies unleashed from the pit of hell against a nation. It is

It takes strong determination and focus to deflate enemies unleashed from the pit of hell against a nation. It is a patriotic task for both the leaders and the governed. It can only work when both are in one accord and have an unbreakable resolve to triumph over these hardened enemies.

Nigeria is one lucky  country. It is fortunate to have had the privilege of its leadership by President Muhammadu Buhari at this point in history. Very dreary and fearful internal and external forces were unchained against Nigeria to cause the country’s destabilization and eventual breakup.

The Boko Haram terrorism was the kernel of this pot and plot. It has internal and external sponsors, who have been spending fortunes in hard currencies to cause crises of varying dimensions. Boko Haram leaders in Nigeria publicly confessed their sponsorship from the Republic of Iran, a nation globally identified as the deadliest terrorism destination in the world.

A member of the United Nations (UN), but Iran displays consistent recalcitrance and disloyalty to UN unrestrained.  The elusive Islamic State militant sect (ISIS) leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi  branded Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria led by Abubakar Shekau as the West African Province  of ISIS.  That was the fathom of Nigeria’s insecurity dilemma.

So, with ceaseless funding and a dozen paid internal agents scattered all over Nigeria,  Boko Haram insurgents were  on the verge of    capturing the entire Northern Nigeria by 2015, before President Buhari emerged to quench the fire. The Islamic extremists and fanatics mindlessly attacked, killed thousands, destroyed, abducted, displaced millions of natives and dehumanized its captives.

While  Boko Haram terrorism raged to suffocating points, a demonic separatist movement by the identity of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) led by a delinquent, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu  budded from the  South eastern  region of the country. The assemblage of miscreants, touts, daredevil cultists and hoodlums who operated under the banner of secession agitations propagated violence as their central ideology.

They were fearless, crude and barbaric in the execution of their separatism  agenda. IPOB members were incensed to the level that they could wake up any day and seal up the entire South east for days, looting, committing armed robbery, kidnappings and summary execution of scores of innocent people opposed to the struggle.

They flagrantly attacked and killed security agents without qualms and challenged the state to a combat duel.  They fruitlessly toyed with the idea of operating an independent state within a sovereign Nigeria, by declaring the “Republic of Biafra”; constituted a cabinet and launched its own security apparatuses it tagged ” Biafra Security Service (BSS) and Biafra National Guards (BNG)

As the dust whirled,   the irritant and ferocious Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) popularly called the Shiites in Nigeria, led by a demented Islamic cleric, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky staged their  own onslaught against law abiding Nigerians in the ancient of Zaria in Kaduna state.  They enunciated a bizarre religious ideology, which centered on bloodletting.   It was yet another budding terrorists’ sect sponsored by Iran.

With enough weapons at their disposal, the Shiites recklessly terrorized residents during their so-called religious processions; attacked and killed innocent souls, including security agents. Each time the lawless Shiites stepped out on their irreligious procession, Nigerians in that part of the country would experience a saturnalia of violence and bloodbath.

However, determined to extricate Nigeria from the manacles of these terrorists in accordance with his oath of office to protect lives and property of Nigerians, President Buhari commissioned the Nigerian military to aid civil security in halting the menace of these satanic sects.

The Nigerian Army, led by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the anti-terrorism campaigns went to extremes to tame these destructive sects and forerunners of the foreign sponsored  destabilizations plots against the country.   But as hard as these terror sects attempted to overrun the country, the Nigerian  troops suppressed their might and conquered them to triumph.

When the voice of victory of the Army against these foreign backed insurrectional sects became apparent and irreversible, it angered some foreign organizations clearly in oblique connivance with these sects. And one of such international organizations’ piqued by the actions of the Nigerian Army and sister security agencies stood out clearly.  Amnesty International (AI) failed to conceal its emotions and suspected affinity to foreign forces funding these sects against Nigeria by its official stamp.

It is an organization which lay claims to humanitarian mandate and assignment on human rights abuses and violations in Nigeria. But Nigerians found it curious and irreconcilable that AI was only interested in publicizing what it deemed was bruises to members of these terror sects during violent encounters with state security forces.  And in most cases, the organization fabricated claims or twisted the truth in favour of the sects.

AI made no pretenses about its indifference to what the terrorists neither did to vulnerable innocent and law abiding Nigerians nor to security agents, who are also human, with rights more pathetically and inhumanly abused by these sects.

These various sects killed Nigerians wantonly in bombings; could cut-off  the throats of victims and sometimes, killed slowly through mutilation of body parts of hapless victims.  But series of released official reports or commentaries by AI, it only preoccupied itself with presumed rights abuses and violations of the violent members of the sects.

AI completely ignored the rights violations of Nigerians by the terrorists.  And each time AI released such despicable reports or commentaries, it bolstered the subdued terrorists, who would launch fresh strikes or protests, understandably from the sympathy extended to them  in the reports by their suspected ally, the AI.

But AI exposed their nakedness and betrayed their concealed espionage mission in Nigeria when they released a  report  in 2016/2017, christened “State of Human Rights in Nigeria.” The organization chronicled cooked lies and spurious allegations against the Nigerian military and other security agencies on human rights abuses in the counter-insurgency operations in the country.   AI shamelessly alleged extra-judicial killings and mass burials in secret graves, torture, and prolonged detention of suspects without trials, disappearance and starvation of detainees against Nigerian military.

The report shocked Nigerians when it alleged soldiers killed and mass buried over 300 Muslim Shiites and about 2, 000 pro- Biafra activists  in Southeast. The fake claims provoked national outrage from Nigerians against AI, who staged protests for days, demanding the eviction of AI from Nigeria by the Federal Government.

But while  AI was excited to publicize the skewed report and  phantom allegations to promote foreign interests, it recoiled when the time came for  it to officially prove the authenticity of the claims. First, it was  through a Special Military Board of Inquiry inaugurated by Gen. Buratai and secondly, through a Presidential Panel on the same matter commissioned by President Buhari.

AI declined, even with pleadings to clear its name and hold its reputation proudly and impeccably. It thus, dawned on Nigerians,  the organization could probably be one of the many silent and masked forces working in a ring with foreign forces in emboldening terrorists sects against Nigeria.

But hard as AI tried, it failed to break the resolve of Nigerians to defend their country against terrorists and the determination of the Nigerian Amy to free the citizenry from terrorism.

AI’s covert operations to support or strengthen the festering of terrorism, extremism and separatism were courageously deflated by a Nigerian military, that  is more committed to humanity and security of Nigerians  than any other in the world. Nigerian Army realized that to win the war against Boko Haram terrorism and other insurgencies,  it must win the minds of the people.

This has accounted for the popular support the Army enjoyed during the tough times it battled the multifaceted monsters to earn victory.  The Army’s victory has weakened AI upon the discovery that neither the terrorists nor their paid agents have succeeded against the Nigerian people with the ruination project.

Haughtily today, the Nigerian security agencies have triumphed against AI and its foreign allies. The Nigerian Army has risen above conspiracies and the war on terrorism is irreversibly won.

Written by Prince Ugo, a Mediapreneur, from SwissCottage, London.

 

OPINION: APC CONGRESSES: A POSTMORTEM

An elderly man in a sleepy but egalitarian community was diagnosed for ulcer and cancer-related complications which of course, had

An elderly man in a sleepy but egalitarian community was diagnosed for ulcer and cancer-related complications which of course, had excruciating pains as its companion. One fateful morning and still on his sick bed, the old man resolved not to continue as the pains were becoming unbearable and just immediately, sent for his children.

On that day, at that time and in the place, the children gathered but helplessly gazed at their father as they could do next to nothing to ameliorate his pains. Suddenly in that milieu, the look on his face changed as he began to beam with smiles. Surprised at this turn of event, the son in excitement screamed Papa is getting better. And the old man smiled the more before responding thus; I am not, but was just savouring the mirrored fight that will ensue when I must have gone. Bewildered at this response, the daughter pressed further; Daddy, so, you envisage disagreement among your children?

The old man again remarked, no, I was only imagining how ulcer and cancer will be locked up in a fight of supremacy in order to ascertain the real hero that is responsible for his death so as to claim his carcass.

The above scenario depicts the rancorous All Progressive Congress (APC). The fight to hijack and domination of the soul of the party were fierce and total unsettling tales of blood characterizing the exercise across the country sickened sane minds.

Like the old man that enjoyed the ecstasy of the visual presentation and pictorial identification of what is to come, Nigerians were in the name of party congress physically presented with what analysts intelligently appropriated as the reenactment of the scramble and partitioning of Africa by the then colonial overlords.

From Ekiti to Rivers state, Adamawa to Delta state and the vast majority of the states of the federation shared but a common denominator; a party fractured into factions with each having parallel congresses.

Considering the calibre of people involved in this exercise that customarily supposed to be an intraparty affair, Nigerians are shell-shocked with the event that unfolded and such feeling has understandably necessitated the question as to if that is what 2019 general elections holds for the nation.

Indeed, the episode which was laced with mixed reactions has come and gone but not without torrents of lessons for the party and the masses with the most radical being that the jostling was not about the people or an effort to end their cries, but was primarily orchestrated by the politicians persistent resolve to consolidating on self-aggrandizement and ostentation associated with the political class.  To the gladiators at the Congresses, it was not about service but selfishness and ego.

To an appreciable extent, the Congress as organized has become a pragmatic pointer that nothing afterwards has changed politically but apparently nosedived from bad to worse with critical minds wondering what APC has become after travelling a long windy road to power.

This, in my views, explains why the party and of course its government has been emblazoned by the critical minds as the telling proof that success is a ‘lousy teacher that makes the winner feel that he cannot lose’.

What is even more curious to Nigerians is the Party’s choice of this inglorious part in the face of several knocks its led Federal Government has recently received over not too impressive performance with the former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo 3573 worded letter echoing the same position.

Aside this baffling dust raised by the Congress, APC like other political parties in the past, when viewed from a wider spectrum has by this congress demonstrated their penchant for ignoring political prophecies and non belief in the saying that ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ If not, the party should have hitherto designed preemptive strategies that would have nipped this unpalatable incident by the bud.

Regardless of what others may say, personal interest may have prepared the ground for this squabble but definitely was not the only factor that propelled this widespread acrimony across the states of the federation.

From observation, it was evidently glaring that leadership challenge acted as the enabler to the rancour as the party is currently loaded at its head with people that are more interested in leading than obeying; an arrangement that made the party invert pyramided and collapse inevitable.

This situation was further fuelled by the party’s leadership inabilities to expose this conflict that has fractured the party long before the Congress; a challenge that is mirrored in the mechanically manufactured amalgamation of what is today known and addressed as the All Progressive Congress (APC) during the build-up to 2015 general election. If the party’s leadership had attempted having these cracks mended before now, maybe, it could have provided the party with a gateway to a rancour-free congress. But allowing this ‘drama’ come to the open has as consequence brought untold difficulties to the image of the party.

Part of this difficulty looking at what Nigerians are saying is that the APC in the estimation of Nigerians is now reputed as a party that is lacking in internal democracy and their government unable to; accelerate economic growth, social progress, promote peace and stability or stop the generation of disadvantaged graduates among others.

Very instructive also, as the intraparty brawl continues unabated, other political parties are patiently waiting to feed on whatever that is left of the party via the provision of alternative platforms to the aggrieved members.

In the light of the above, it will in my views be politically unwise for the party to ignore these red flags as contrary to speculations, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may become the greatest beneficiary of this impasse.

In the same token, any attempt to view the recent alliance between Obasanjo coalition and the ADC as a paperweight move can only come at a heavy political price. And of course, the people’s will should not be in any way underrated as they have acquired the power that knowledge gives in readiness for the recently 2019 general election.

Catalyzing this fence-mending process, therefore, it’s imperative that the leadership of the All Progressive Congress urgently gets the fears of the masses allayed by finding a  set of iron-willed political strategist within that can proffer durable solution; by dealing with the conflict more comfortably with better action logic, and handle members resistant to change.

Written by Jerome-Mario Utomi.

jeromeutomi@yahoo.com

Opinion: Jungles And Havens On Earth [MUST READ]

In Finland, the household’s that earn 2,900 euros/N1.23 million and below per month  are classified as poor households. In Israel, 

In Finland, the household’s that earn 2,900 euros/N1.23 million and below per month  are classified as poor households.

In Israel,  those households that earn less than $920/N330,000 per month net income after tax are classified as poor .

In these  two economies ( Israel and Finland) above with some of the best health care facilities and universal health insurance schemes that covers all citizens  irrespective of societal standings, basic  qualitative  education to secondary school level is free .

In Finland, you can acquire any level of education you desire  even if you don’t have money.  These are countries with world class infrastructure.  You don’t produce your own power , security,  road, water etc . You will never read anywhere in the pages of the newspapers or electronic media,  where the prime minister or Mayor of the states  or their foot soldiers bragged to be commanders of free and qualitative education or free qualitative  health care.

We are talking about truly free and qualitative  education  and health care systems that ranks amongst the best in the world and not like the  gboju gboju, the more you look,  the less you see antics we have here in Nigeria.

Imagine the VP bragging of providing some kwashiokored one meal per day to phantom 7.5m kids at school with N150 billion as his governance legacy and achievement.

In this climes, you can never read anywhere in the papers or view it on telly a mayor or President cutting tapes to commission new roads, or borehole or class room blocks with dancers and fanfare. Never

Tufiakwa . Chineke mere unu Ebere.

BUT here in the jungle called Nigeria,  those households on N330,000 to N1.2m gross income per month regard themselves as middle income or rich class. Even in the midst of this atrocious environment with absence of any basic infrastructure, poor health and education system, they  still parade themselves as big men and are not one bit offended so much by the rot in the land to stand up and say enough is enough.

THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY I DAILY ADVOCATE FOR DIASPORA NIGERIANS TO BE ALLOWED TO VOTE. This is why I encourage them to come back home to participate in politics and help redefine/reshape the focus of our political discussion and themes.

An Igbo adage says that Onye njefu ije Ka Onye isi awo ihe Ama. Roughly translated as. He that is widely traveled and exposed to better environments is wiser than the Grey hair man in one corner of the jungle.

God help us

Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri is the managing director of Taurus Capital, He resides in Lagos Nigeria, You could reach him by email HERE

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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